We spend about one-third of our lives sleeping, according to scientists. Given that important parts of our lives are spent sleeping, we should treat shopping for bed sheets as important as shopping for the mattress or bed frame. Bed sheets play an important part in helping us sleep. They’re soft, they keep us cozy in the winter and cool in the summer, and they prevent our skin from getting irritated. But, which bed sheet works the best for you?
There are many popular types of bed sheets – cotton, silk, linen, percale, sateen, and many others. However, just like we have different preferences for choosing our mattresses, pillows, or even the whole bed frame, our preferences for different sheet materials could also differ one form to another.
With that in mind, we crafted this very compelling and detailed guide that will help you choose between which bed sheet is the right for you, percale or linen. If you are a fan of sateen sheets, you can look at another comparison we crafted – percale vs. sateen in case you need to choose between those two.
Researchers claim that choosing the right sheet for your bed is so important, that the right option will ease you on sleep disorders, while the poor quality sheet could even intensify them, according to the study. So, let’s be wise when it comes to choosing the right bed sheet for your room, and make your night slumber as lasting and restful as humanly possible.
Most bed sheets are made out of cotton or include it in the fabric. Cotton is one of the finest materials, especially when it comes to the summer nights which can be hot and humid, causing constant sweating and warming up. Cotton is quite durable and soft, so it’s also breathable.
Cotton is available in two options – long-staple and short-staple. If you’re going for the more budget-friendly sheet, you’re going for the short-staple cotton. Long-staple cotton is more luxurious and its most popular counterpart is Egyptian cotton which is made out of the most durable long-staple cotton.
Both percale and sateen are made out of cotton. Percale contains cotton or is available as a 100% cotton sheet, while sateen is also 100% cotton at all times. Linen is different compared to sheets made of cotton. It’s made out of flax plants being not only heavier materials but also 30% stronger than cotton.
Over time, they get softer, and finer to the touch, which gives it a more luxurious feel. Now that we cleared out the basics, let’s compare Percale Vs. Linen.
As we mentioned earlier, percale is made out of cotton. On the market, you can find it like 92% cotton or 100% cotton. It’s also usually made with Egyptian cotton which is the most luxurious type of long-staple cotton. Still, it’s affordable and has a matte finish, which makes it an ideal option for long summer nights, when temperatures hardly go down.
We like to compare it to soft button-up shirts that always only feel softer over time and conform nicely to your body, especially because of their matte finish. Percale is a durable material, it will last you for a long time. It has a lifespan of many years, if not decades.
That’s because even though it feels extremely soft to the touch, it only gets even softer with time. It’s safe to wash it in the machine, and being so lightweight, it doesn’t take too much time to dry. With that in mind, it’s low maintenance and easy to clean overall.
If it’s not 100% cotton, you may find it mixed with polyester or rayon, as well as some other materials on occasion. Still, given cotton makes the dominant material in the sheet, it doesn’t lose its softness and breathability.
Even though percale looks like an ideal sheet material for summer, there are some things to keep in mind.
- It can get quite wrinkly which many people may find uncomfortable going to sleep.
- For some people, it may feel too cool, so it’s not advised to use it during the winter months.
Linen, unlike percale, sateen, and other cotton-made sheets are not made out of cotton. As mentioned earlier, it’s made out of flax plants which are extremely tasking, and time-consuming to extract. That being said, linen is rare and more luxurious compared to percale which is even considered affordable.
Being rare, linen is more expensive than other sheets. It takes a lot of time till it’s made, but the result is flowy, luxurious, and feels premium on any bed.
A lot of people use it as a summer sheet same as percale because its softness and airy construction make it incredibly cool to touch. Even though it’s heavier compared to percale, and cotton, in particular, it doesn’t trap heat which can make you uncomfortable. Instead, it feels like a fresh, breezy, and soft cloud that will take you to the dreamland.
Because it’s heavy and strong, linen sheets are good at absorbing moisture, which means that they’re great for people who are sweating a lot. Sweating can often wake you up in the night and prevent you from getting quality sleep as you’re constantly tossing and turning.
Finally, it feels welcoming and stylish. Its luxurious finish adds a little rustic and middle-century style to your bedroom, which a lot of people like to see. Similarly to percale, with time and each next washing, linen tends to get softer. Its softer texture leads to it being used for years and decades. It’s also considered more durable than cotton-made sheets, by at least a couple of years.
Linen sounds almost too good to be true. Here are some things to be wary of when shopping for linen bed sheets.
- Their luxurious texture and laborious extraction make it incredibly expensive compared to other sheets.
- Same as percale, they can get wrinkly, which can be quite annoying to some sleepers.
Percale Vs. Linen: A Detailed Comparison
Now that we highlighted the traits of both materials, let’s dive into their deeper comparison. Here you’ll get to know more about both materials and see what works best for you.
When it comes to the thread count, the minimal thread count you could see on the percale sheet is 180. However, on average, percale sheets can have anywhere between 200 and 400 sheets. The thread count refers to the number of horizontal and vertical threads per square inch. It also determines how soft some material is. There are also percale sheets with up to 500 thread count.
Linen is generally considered softer than percale. With that in mind, it may not need as high a thread count as percale. You can find thread count linen sheets of 80 to 120 thread count, which is generally low for percale.
Nevertheless, some companies that want to add a more premium and luxurious touch will opt to make sheets with a thread count from 200 to even 800, which is higher than in most materials. That also makes it more expensive.
Editor’s notes: Linen is softer than percale, especially over time. But percale sheets with a higher thread count (500 to 600) are also more expensive.
Percale is made mostly out of cotton, while linen is made out of flax plants. Although linen is generally considered to be heavier than percale, it still feels equally soft. It’s worth noting that its structure feels timeless and more lasting compared to percale. Its extraction is tedious and takes a lot of time and dedication, which also makes it more durable.
Editor’s notes: Linen can outlive percale sheets by at least a couple of years more.
A low-quality percale can be found at pretty much any store for less than $20, but it’ll feel more crisp than soft and it won’t be as long-lasting as more expensive options. With that in mind, a good percale sheet should cost anywhere from $50 to $200. Those with the highest thread count and softness will cost about $200.
Linen is extremely expensive, mostly because of how difficult it is to harvest and produce. A lower-quality linen sheet can be found for less than $100. However, if you want a high-quality linen sheet, prepare to cash anywhere from $200 to $400.
Editor’s notes: For those restricted on budget, percale is the better option.
Both materials are soft, durable, and slick. Linen is heavier than percale, but it doesn’t stop it from being effective at regulating the temperature the same way as percale does. Overall, both will also get wrinkly, with linen being a bit more wrinkly than percale. Linen also feels crispier than percale, and because it lasts longer than percale and gets softer with each next washing, it has a timeless and rustic look that is hard to beat.
Editor’s notes: Both materials are fairly soft, but if you want a less wrinkly option, go for percale.
Both materials have great temperature regulation. Percale is soft, airy, and breathable, which makes it ideal for summer nights. However, during the winter, it might get too cold. Linen has an all-year great temperature regulation. What’s more important is that linen can absorb moisture, which is ideal for people who both sleep hot and sweat at night.
Editor’s notes: For whichever option you go in the end, it’s good to know that both have impeccable temperature regulation. Neither of them will cause you to sweat or wake up burnt out in the middle of the night. Still, if you still want your toes to remain toasty in the winter, consider a linen sheet.