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how to buy bed sheets: linen vs. percale vs. sateen - cnet

how to buy bed sheets: linen vs. percale vs. sateen - cnet

In the last few years, several brands (think Parachute, Brooklinen, Boll and Branch) have popped up selling luxury sheets, available in linen, percale, sateen and more. That's made made us wonder: do we need new sheets? And what even is percale anyway?

Your bed sheets are made of either long staple or short staple cotton. Most of the luxury bedding brands out there make their sheets with long staple cotton. Essentially that means these are long cotton fibers that, when spun into thread and woven, produces a soft, durable fabric. Ever heard of Egyptian cotton? That's long staple.

Exactly how any cotton is woven into fabric affects the type of sheet you end up with. Whether you're shopping through a luxury bedding brand or at a department store, you'll come across percale and sateen sheets, both which are merely types of fabric weaves.

Think of percale like a well-pressed button-down shirt; crisp, matte and firm. Percale sheets are lauded for keeping you cool at night, especially during hot summer months. They are often used in hotels, so you've probably encountered them during your travels.

Percale sheets can feel crisp at first, but generally soften with repeated washings. It's worth noting that percale sheets can wrinkle very easily. If really you want your sheets to be smooth, you might need to break out the iron.

Because the threads are tight, sateen sheets are warmer and a bit a heavier, making them ideal for all seasons. However, they aren't ideal for people who sleep hot, because they aren't as breathable as percale or linen.

Of course not. You can find percale and sateen sheets at most stores for less than $100 a set. One-hundred-percent linen sheets are going to be the hardest to find on a budget, since most sets are pricey.

If your budget allows for it, there's an good argument for buying a set of high-end sheets. Because they're made with long staple cotton or linen, they'll feel softer than the sets you'll find at a big box store.

Even after one night of testing a pair of linen sheets, I can notice the difference in quality between them and my typical $80 sheet set. I can't yet vouch for their durability, but if the sheets last years without wearing out (like most luxury brands claim), then you'll get your money's worth.

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