The 7 Best Percale Sheets for a Cool and Crisp Bed, According to Our Tests

Our favorite is the Lands’ End Premium Supima Cotton Percale Bed Sheet Set because it strikes just the right balance between softness and breathability.

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best percale sheets
Real Simple / Rachel Marek

Percale bed sheets are great for hot sleepers thanks to their crisp texture and breathable construction that drapes gently over the body, as opposed to clinging to it. Percale doesn't refer to a specific fabric, but rather a weave that features a one-thread-over, one-thread-under pattern—although it's most often produced from cotton.

To come up with these recommendations, we tested 27 percale sheets in our Lab and evaluated them based on quality, texture, breathability, durability, and value. For expert tips and insight on what to look for in percale sheets, we spoke to Jeffrey Kambak, CEO of U.S. operations at The Trident Group (a textiles manufacturer) and vice president of the Home Fashion Products Association.

Kambak says percale sheets are experiencing a resurgence in popularity, however, many consumers still don't know what to look for when shopping for them: "There's a lot of misinformation out there," says Kambak. "It's not all about thread count, it's much more about the quality of the yarn and how good the company is at finishing the textiles."

Our top pick, the Lands' End Premium Supima Cotton Percale Bed Sheet Set, is made from a premium type of cotton that is guaranteed to be grown in the U.S. and made from extra-long staple fibers. In our testing, these sheets had a softer feel (unlike some of the more stiff percale sheets on the market), but they still kept us cool.

Below, find more of our selections for the best percale sheets, based on our in-depth testing.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall Percale Sheets: Lands' End Premium Supima Cotton Percale Bed Sheet Set

best percale sheets
landsend.com

Who it's for: People who prefer softer sheets or people who want a set made from American-grown cotton.

Who it isn't for: People who prefer to buy organic bedding.

These percale sheets from Lands' End received high marks across the board in our testing. They're made from Supima cotton—a type of premium cotton grown exclusively in the western and southwestern U.S. and guaranteed to be extra-long-staple—so they boast the highest quality materials on the market.

Unlike some of the other percale sheets we evaluated, our testers found these not to be overly scratchy: "They're extremely soft and almost silky, so they feel great against the skin as you lay between them," says one tester. "They don't have the papery, stiff texture I've found in some of the other sheets we tested. I immediately want to take a nap on these."

The 300 thread count falls right in the optimal range for percale, which allows the sheets to breathe without sacrificing softness or durability. Our testers say the sheets don't trap hot air, but instead allow for air to flow underneath.

There was no damage to the sheets post-wash, and they came out of the dryer with very few wrinkles. These sheets grew even softer after laundering, as percale is supposed to do with each wash. Given their performance in our testing and high-quality materials, we're convinced these sheets will last for years: "Assuming these maintain their soft texture after multiple washes, I'd absolutely buy these for the price," says one tester.

Product Details:

  • Material: Extra-long-staple Supima cotton
  • Thread Count: 300
  • Pocket: 16 inches
  • Sizes Available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king
  • Certifications: N/A
  • Return Policy: 90 days
  • best percale sheets
    Real Simple / Rachel Marek

Best Organic Percale Sheets: Saatva Organic Percale Sheet Set

best percale sheets
saatva.com

Who it's for: People who want breathable sheets that are certified organic.

Who it isn't for: People looking for more color options.

If you are looking specifically for organic bedding, opt for the Saatva Organic Percale Sheet Set. This set has earned the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification, which proves that the sheets are 100 percent organic, from harvesting to manufacturing.

Our testers note that these sheets feel soft and plush, as opposed to the stiff and papery feel of some percale sheets. We particularly appreciate that the fitted sheet comes with tags that indicate which way to place it on the mattress. In our breathability testing, we found the sheets to provide ample airflow. (The percale weave and 200 thread count enhance the natural breathability of the cotton.)

The sheets came out of the dryer with relatively few wrinkles and no damage or shrinking. Given the materials, the price point is very reasonable when compared to the other percale sheets we tested—but be sure to take advantage of the 45-day sleep trial and one-year warranty (which you'll receive if you decide to keep the sheets after the trial ends). Our one complaint is that the sheets only come in three neutral colors, so if you're in the market for more brightly colored bedding, you'll need to look elsewhere.

Product Details:

  • Material: Organic long-staple cotton
  • Thread Count: 200
  • Pocket: 16 inches
  • Sizes Available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king, and split king
  • Certifications: GOTS
  • Return Policy: 45 days
  • best percale sheets
    Real Simple / Rachel Marek

Most Breathable Percale Sheets: Riley Percale Sheet Set

best percale sheets
rileyhome.com

Who it's for: Hot sleepers or people who prioritize breathability in sheets.

Who it isn't for: People who want sheets that can withstand frequent washings without loose threading.

Right out of the package, these Riley sheets were incredibly smooth to the touch, though not overly silky or slippery. "They seem crisp and remind me of a hotel sheet," says one tester. But where they really stood out was in our breathability testing. The lightweight sheets scored a perfect 5/5 rating for breathability because they maintained their cool-to-the-touch sensation for the entire time we laid on them.

Unfortunately, they did shrink a bit after washing and there was some loose threading. We're hopeful that this was just a result of the first wash and that there wouldn't be any further damage from subsequent washings. This set also doesn't come with a flat sheet, which may be a pro if you're one to forgo a top sheet. But if you do sleep with a top sheet, keep in mind you'll need to pay extra for one.

Product Details:

  • Material: Long-staple cotton
  • Thread Count: 400
  • Pocket: 14 inches (twin and twin XL), 16 inches (full and up)
  • Sizes Available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king
  • Certifications: Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex
  • Return Policy: 60 days

RELATED: The 8 Best Cooling Blankets for Hot Sleepers

best percale sheets
Real Simple / Dera Burreson

Best Deep-Pocket Percale Sheets: Casper Percale Sheet Set

best percale sheets
amazon.com

Also available at Casper, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Nordstrom.

Who it's for: People with extra-thick mattresses.
Who it isn't for: People looking for ultra-soft bed sheets.

GOTS-certified and made with organic long-staple cotton, Casper's percale bed sheets stand out for their high-quality construction and breathability. They also have a 300 thread count—the sweet spot for percale bedding, because it's breathable without sacrificing durability or insulation during the colder months. Our testers found no loose strings, snags, or dye flaws both before and after washing these sheets. We particularly appreciate the deep, 18-inch pocket that will accommodate almost all mattress sizes.

They stay true to percale's crisp, matte finish, but they're not exceptionally soft (although we do suspect they'll continue to grow softer with each wash). The sheets come in multiple color options via the manufacturer, and they're even sold in several different bundle options, including with or without a duvet cover. Plus, the sheets are backed by a 30-day sleep trial and one-year warranty.

Product Details:

  • Material: Organic long-staple cotton
  • Thread Count: 300
  • Pocket: 18 inches
  • Sizes Available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king
  • Certifications: GOTS
  • Return Policy: 30 days via manufacturer
  • casper percale sheets
    Real Simple / Rachel Marek

Best Percale Sheets With No Top Sheet: Parachute Percale Sheet Set

best percale sheets
parachutehome.com

Who it's for: People who want the option to forgo the top sheet.

Who it isn't for: People who are not in a position to spend a lot on bed sheets or people who don't want to pay extra for a top sheet.

These long-staple Egyptian cotton sheets from Parachute are comparable to a button-down shirt in terms of feel: "Sometimes cotton sheets can be crunchy, but these were very comfortable," one tester says. "I prefer cotton sheets in general, and these feel cozy and soft."

Our testers immediately noticed that the fabric is cool to the touch and that it didn't noticeably rise in temperature after five minutes. After washing, the sheets remained soft and there were no visible signs of wear and tear. The sheets come in eight different earth-inspired colors, including sand, clay, moss, and more. We also like that the pillowcases come with an envelope closure to keep the inner pillow neatly tucked out of sight.

Overall, we think the price is fair considering the quality and materials. However, flat sheets are not included in the base price—so if you're pro top sheet, you'll have to add one to your set for an additional fee.

Product Details:

  • Material: Long-staple Egyptian cotton
  • Thread Count: Not listed
  • Pocket: 16 inches
  • Sizes Available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king
  • Certifications: Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex
  • Return Policy: 60 days

RELATED: These Cooling Percale Cotton Sheets With 1,400 Five-Star Ratings Changed How I Sleep at Night

best percale sheets
Real Simple / Dera Burreson

Best Percale Sheets With Color Variety: Coyuchi Organic Crinkled Percale Sheets

best percale sheets
coyuchi.com

Also available at Nordstrom, Wayfair, and Anthropologie.

Who it's for: People who want bed sheets with a natural crinkle and multiple color options.

Who it isn't for: People who are bothered by wrinkled sheets.

Coyuchi's 100-percent organic cotton sheets are GOTS certified and treated with a plant-based finishing process. They have a natural crinkle that gives them a more relaxed, lived-in appearance—although people who are bothered by wrinkles will probably want to steer clear. The double-stitched seam gives the impression of luxury, and the sheets come in a wide variety of nature-inspired colors, including undyed options for people who want the most natural option.

In terms of breathability, the sheets have a 180 thread count, which allows for plenty of air movement. Our testers stayed cool for the entire five minutes they spent laying on them. We found these organic sheets to hold up well in the washer and dryer, but they did shrink a bit. Like other percale sheets, these are soft but not silky, and they'll continue to get softer after each wash. This pick is ideal for the hot sleeper who prefers sheets with a more natural finish.

Product Details:

  • Material: Organic long-staple cotton
  • Thread Count: 180
  • Pocket: 15 inches
  • Sizes Available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king
  • Certifications: GOTS
  • Return Policy: 30 days via manufacturer
  • best percale sheets
    Real Simple / Dera Burreson

Best Splurge Percale Sheets: Snowe Percale Sheet Set

best percale sheets
snowehome.com

Who it's for: People who want percale sheets with a high thread count.

Who it isn't for: People who want sheets for a twin-size bed.

These sheets from Snowe are made with 100 percent long-staple cotton and have a thread count of 500—the highest out of all the sheets on our list. Our testers didn't find any visible flaws or snags on these sheets, and they also noted that they have more of a crisp, hotel-quality texture that is not overly soft.

Even though their thread count is on the high end, the sheets didn't feel too heavy or dense. Plus, they remained breathable and crisp for the duration of our testing. In fact, one tester says this is the "best attribute" of these sheets: "You can move over and the sheets are cool to the touch."

After washing and drying, these percale sheets didn't have any signs of damage, although testers noted that the fitted sheet was a bit tighter when they remade the bed. But at 17 inches, the pocket depth was already generous to begin with. These sheets are definitely more of a splurge than others on our list, but we think it's safe to assume they're made to last. It is also important to note that these bed sheets do not come in twin or twin XL sizes, so people shopping for children's bedding will need to choose another set from our list.

Product Details:

  • Material: Long-staple cotton
  • Thread Count: 500
  • Pocket: 17 inches
  • Certifications: Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex
  • Sizes Available: Full, queen, king, California king
  • Return Policy: 60 days

RELATED: The 10 Best Cooling Sheets for a Sweat-Free Night, According to Our Tests

best percale sheets
Real Simple / Rachel Marek

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the Lands' End Premium Supima Cotton Percale Bed Sheet Set. We like that it's made from Supima cotton, which is American-grown, extra-long-staple cotton that is considered by some to be the best on the market. In our testing, we found these sheets to be soft and not overly stiff or scratchy like some percale sheets can be. The sheets didn't trap hot air underneath either, but gently draped over the tester, allowing for lots of air movement.

Our Testing Process

We blind-tested 27 different percale sheets in our Lab, meaning our testers didn't find out the brand name or price until they completed their testing, in an attempt to eliminate bias.

First, we visually inspected each sheet to assess its quality, looking for any loose or uneven threads, imperfections in the dye or pattern, or other flaws. Our testers also measured each sheet and compared its dimensions to those provided by the manufacturer.

Next, our testers used the sheets to make the bed in our Lab—including the fitted sheet, flat sheet (when applicable), and pillowcases—evaluating how secure they felt to the bed and how easy they were to slide over the mattress or pillows. During this portion of the testing, we also evaluated the texture of the sheets, like whether they felt smooth, soft, crisp, or scratchy—bearing in mind that percale is meant to have a crisp, matte-like finish (not a silky or satin-like finish).

Once the bed was made, testers laid on the sheets for five minutes to assess their breathability, wearing short-sleeved shirts so they could experience the feel of the sheets on bare skin. We first took note of any cooling sensation. After five minutes, we recorded whether the sheets felt warmer or maintained any cooling sensation. Our most breathable pick—the Riley Percale Sheet Set—scored a 5/5 on this portion of the test.

And considering that breathability/airflow can be impacted by the density of the material, we held each top sheet up to a light to evaluate whether you can see the light passing through and to what degree.

Finally, each set of percale sheets was laundered according to the manufacturer's instructions. After, our testers remade the beds and rated the durability of the sheets based on whether there was any damage or shrinkage post-wash.

Once testing was complete, our testers received the price of the bed sheets and scored their overall value based on price and performance.

best percale sheets
Real Simple / Dera Burreson

How to Shop for Percale Sheets Like a Pro

Type of Cotton

Percale is a type of weave—not a fabric. You can find percale sheets made from fabrics other than cotton, such as polyester or viscose from bamboo, but the vast majority are made with cotton. However, not all cotton is the same. Here are a few of the most common terms you may hear thrown around about the types of cotton used in bed sheets.

Long-Staple Cotton vs. Extra-Long-Staple Cotton: Most bedding is going to be made with long- or extra-long-staple cotton (short-staple cotton is generally reserved for items such as clothing, cotton pads, etc.). Long-staple cotton, by definition, has fibers that measure about 1.25 inches in length, creating a softer, more durable fabric. Extra-long-staple (ELS) cotton has fibers that measure about 2 inches in length, making it more desirable.

The three most sought-after types of ELS cotton are Egyptian, Pima, and Supima (the latter is a trademarked brand of American-grown Pima cotton). "The best cotton for sheets is Supima cotton," says Kambak. "Supima cotton is guaranteed to be grown in the U.S.; it's also guaranteed to be ELS, which is an extra-long staple. Some Egyptian cotton is ELS, but not all." The Lands' End Premium Supima Cotton Percale Bed Sheet Set, our best overall pick, is the only one on our list made from Supima cotton.

Organic Cotton: Many sheets are labeled as "organic," but this only means they were made with some percentage of organically grown cotton. And just because the cotton was organically grown doesn't mean the sheets themselves are organic. For 100-percent cotton bed sheets sourced and processed without pesticides or herbicides, look for the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification—more on this below.

Cotton Blends: Most percale sheets are made with 100 percent cotton, although you can find some cotton-synthetic fiber blends (one of the most common pairs is cotton and polyester). This can help to bring down the cost of the sheets, but at the sacrifice of the durability and feel. All of the percale sheets on our list are made with 100 percent cotton.

best percale sheets
Real Simple / Dera Burreson

Thread Count

It's a common misconception that thread count is an indication of quality, but this is not the case. Thread count is simply an indication of the number of threads in a square inch of fabric.

"​​The higher the thread count, the more densely packed the yarns are, and the sheet tends to get really heavy and not breathe very well. You want some air to be able to pass through," says Kambak, who suggests a thread count of 200-250 for percale: "I am a fan of lower thread count percales because they do what percale is supposed to do, which is breathe."

The percale sheets on our list range from 180 to 500 thread count. According to Kambak, the quality of the cotton and how well the company finishes the material are more important factors than thread count.

Pocket Depth

As with all bed sheets, you'll need to consider the pocket depth when purchasing percale sheets. Pocket depth refers to the maximum mattress height a fitted sheet can accommodate. A 12-inch pocket depth will technically fit a 12-inch mattress, but we suggest purchasing a fitted sheet with a pocket depth that's at least two inches more than your mattress height, to be sure it'll stay put throughout the night. And remember to include your mattress topper when you measure your mattress height. We found the Casper Percale Sheet Set to be best for extra-thick mattresses due to its 18-inch pocket.

Product Certifications

When bed sheets are made, they are processed with chemicals, which can leave residual harmful substances on your sheets. Look for the Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex label, which ensures that the product has been tested and proven safe from these substances.

For organic bedding, the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification is the best way to verify that sheets are 100 percent organic, as many manufacturers make unfounded organic claims.

Return Policy

Sheets are a deeply personal choice and can have a profound impact on the quality of your sleep, which is why many companies offer trial periods so you can actually sleep on their bedding. These can range from 30 to 100 days, and you can usually return the sheets for a full refund during this period.

More Percale Sheets to Consider

Brooklinen Classic Percale Sheets: These 270 thread count sheets are made from 100 percent long-staple cotton, and we found them to have a light and airy feel. We also like that they come in a wide variety of both solid colors and patterns. However, they do seem to be more prone to wrinkling than some of the competition.

West Elm Organic Washed Cotton Percale Sheet Set & Pillowcases: This is another great organic option for the price, and the 200 thread count makes the sheets breathable and cool to the touch. Plus, they became even softer after the first wash.

best percale sheets
Real Simple / Rachel Marek

Questions You Might Ask

What is percale?

Percale is a type of weave that uses a one-thread-over, one-thread-under pattern. The resulting sheet has a crisp, matte finish that's cool-to-the-touch and highly breathable.

What's the difference between percale and sateen?

Percale and sateen are the two most common weaves for bed sheets. While a percale weave uses a one-thread-over, one-thread-under pattern, in a sateen weave, "three or four yarns will go over the top of one," says Kambak. "So [sateen] is a softer fabric, but doesn't breathe as well, and it's also not as durable."

Percale also tends to drape the body, as opposed to sateen, which tends to cling to or lie heavier on the body. Percale sheets create a gentle slope that allows for more air movement underneath and "a more gentle sleeping experience," according to Kambak. Sateen also has more of a sheen and a silk-like texture, as opposed to the crisp, matte feel of percale.

How do you wash percale sheets?

Always refer to the manufacturer's specific care instructions, but in general, you can wash percale sheets in cold or warm water with a mild detergent and dry them on low heat. Remove them from the dryer immediately to prevent wrinkles. Avoid fabric softener and bleach, as these can put a strain on the fibers over time.

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Melanie Fincher, associate commerce editor for Real Simple with three years of experience writing product reviews and lifestyle content. To compile this list, we tested 27 percale sheets in our Lab and evaluated them based on quality, texture, breathability, durability, and value. For tips on what to consider when shopping for percale sheets, we spoke to Jeffrey Kambak, CEO of U.S. operations at The Trident Group (a textiles manufacturer) and vice president of the Home Fashion Products Association.

What Is Real Simple Selects?

Next to each product on this list, you may have noticed a Real Simple Selects seal of approval. Any product appearing alongside that seal has been vetted by our team—put through tests and graded on its performance to earn a spot on our list. Although we buy most of the products we test, sometimes we do get samples from companies if purchasing a product ourselves isn't an option. If that's the case, we test the product just like we test anything we buy, but we also disclose that we received it for free to be as transparent with you as possible.

Love our recommendations? Check out more products that have earned the Real Simple Selects, from humidifiers to cordless vacuums.

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