When people talk about the good old days, they may not automatically think of bed sheets. But for many, most modern-day sheets pale in comparison to your grandmother's cool, crisp linen. And that's why the best percale sheets are so in demand (and so difficult to find): These are the lightweight, breathable, old-fashioned sheets that you slept in during summer sleepovers at your grandparents' when you were young.
Referring to the type of weave used in their design, percale cotton sheets are closely woven, flat, and smooth — and pretty much always made from 100 percent cotton. Unlike sateen weave sheets, you should never expect percale sheets to be soft and satiny — that would defeat their purpose. Instead, these crisp, cooling sheets are ideal for spring, summer, sweaty sleepers, and anyone who simply prefers a lighter, less clingy sheet that stands the test of time.
When it comes to thread count, it's important to forget everything you've been told about needing sheets that boast nothing less than 1,000 threads. Percale sheets typically range between a 200 and 300 thread count, and that number does not affect their quality.
Regardless of your budget, mattress size, and color or fabric preference, the five choices, below, are the best percale sheets you can buy online today.
1. Overall Best Percale Sheets
Linen Home Cotton Percale Sheet Set
With a fair, affordable price tag, a 100 percent cotton percale weave and 200 thread count, and outstanding reviews from more than 350 customers, these are the overall best percale sheets you can buy. They’re OEKO-TEX certified to ensure they aren’t made with harmful chemicals, and the fitted sheet can fit mattresses up to 16 inches deep. Also, they come in 11 colors, which is pretty rare.
Reviewers say these sheets are crisp, cool (and that they stay cool throughout the night), durable, and that they fit well. They’re also very easy to care for, though you may want to run an iron over them if wrinkles bother you. And they get softer and even more comfortable after a few spins in the washing machine.
- Available sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, and king mattress sizes
2. Best Deep Pocket Sheets For Bigger Mattresses
Abripedic Bed Sheet Set
A lot of sheets will claim they have deep pockets that fit deeper mattresses, but this quality set of percale sheets truly lives up to that promise. These sheets feature pockets that can fit mattresses up to 22 inches deep. They come in nine colors, including ivory, white, and periwinkle.
One reviewer writes: “These are truly your grandmother's sheets: Crisp, tight weave percale. I ordered a second set because they are so nice. Be aware that the over-sized top sheet could be too large if you have a bed spread with bed skirt. Our top sheet is too wide for this arrangement and shows below the bed spread. I just tuck it in, so it is OK.”
- Available sizes: queen, king, California king
3. Most Affordable Percale Sheets
Pinzon Percale Sheet Set
With more than 1,000 reviews, this percale cotton sheet set combines affordability and quality. The sheets are made with a 300 thread count, and the flat sheet has a 6-inch hem. They come in five colors and are described as breathable, crisp, and perfect for warm nights and hot climates.
Over sixty percent of reviewers gave this set a five-star rating, with one writing, "The fitted sheets have elastic all around, so they stay put, deep pockets. Both sheets have made it through a 70 pound dog trying to dig out the imaginary mice from the mattress. So far [the set] has been washed in the range of 8-10 times without any seams coming apart or fading color. There has been no noticeable shrinkage either."
- Available sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king
4. Best Percale Sheets That Won’t Need Ironing
Nautica Stripe Cotton Percale Sheet Set
Here’s the deal when it comes to percale cotton sheets: wrinkles are going to happen. Unless you purchase sheets made from a blend of percale cotton and polyester, which means compromising when it comes to that crisp, cool feeling that you get from 100 percent cotton percale, there really is no such thing as wrinkle-resistant percale sheets. But (in case wrinkles are a real pet peeve) one way to get around having to iron your sheets is to opt for a striped set, as the design does a great job of concealing wrinkles.
These striped sheets have a 200 thread count and come in four colors, including three striped versions in red, charcoal, and blue.
- Available sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king
5. Best Luxury Organic Percale Sheets
Alterra Pure Sheet Set
These GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified-organic percale sheets may cost more than most, but reviewers say they're worth every penny and you’ll have them for years to come. They are considered “heirloom percale,” which means they boast an older 1x1 weaving style that you won’t easily find these days. These sheets have one of the tightest, crispest weaves around, with elastic on the corners and bottom of the fitted sheet, as well as a 310 thread count, which is slightly more than most percale sheets.
These sheets continue to get softer and silkier the more you wash them (though they’ll always remain more “crisp” than soft). They come in two colors: off white and pebble gray.
- Available sizes: twin, queen, king, California king
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