Percale is the preferred fabric for sleepers who like their sheets crisp and cool. They're ideal in warmer climates, during the summertime, or for those who tend to sleep hot. However, those who want very soft sheets may want to consider sateen sheets instead, which we cover elsewhere in this report.
L.L.Bean has a reputation for producing quality sheets, and reviewers say the L.L.Bean 280-Thread-Count Pima Cotton Percale Sheets (Est. $35 to $65) don't disappoint. Owners find them to be cool and crisp, with a pleasingly substantial feel. Though experts with TheSweethome.com say these sheets soften after repeated washings, some users say they're too rough out of the package and can take a while to soften up enough. However, most are very pleased, and those who "sleep warm" say they feel cool even after months of use, retaining that crisp feel for quite a long time.
The L.L.Bean percale sheets fare well in expert durability tests, earning praise for their sturdy seams and resistance to tears, and reviewers say they hold up well over years of use. These sheets have been around for many years and quite a few users say they are on their second or third set and are still extremely pleased. With a 15-inch pocket, the fit of the L.L.Bean sheets is good even on thicker mattresses. Some report that the sheets often come out of the dryer wrinkled, which is a big problem for those who insist on perfectly smooth sheets -- and a surprising number of people do prefer that.
L.L.Bean percale sheets do not come as a set; all pieces must be purchased separately, which makes them pricier than they may first seem. L.L.Bean offers its sheets in neutrals, soft pastels and several prints, although the selection of colors and prints do undergo occasional changes. The sheets have a subtle hemstitch but no other embellishments, and they are available in twin, full, queen and king. L.L.Bean backs the sheets with a lifetime satisfaction guarantee.
While the L.L.Bean sheets have plenty going for them, a low price tag isn't among their perks. Value-conscious shoppers and college students who need extra-long twin sheets have a solid percale choice in the Threshold 300 Thread Count Ultra Soft Sheets (Est. $12 to $20), which experts with TheSweethome.com say do a great job of keeping users cool in warmer weather. Users agree, and most are complimentary of their soft, worn-in feel. However, some caution that they aren't crisp enough for percale traditionalists and are prone to wrinkling. Some reviewers also report issues with tears and inconsistent sizing, but the sheets did fare well in experts' tests for overall resistance to rips and pilling.
Threshold Ultra Soft sheets are sold exclusively at Target and fit mattresses up to 20 inches thick. Users love the fitted sheet's labeled corners that take the guesswork out of which corner is which. Like the L.L.Bean sheets, you must purchase the flat sheet, fitted sheet and pillowcases separately, but the total should still be quite reasonable. Also, some reviewers like this, saying it lets them replace worn pieces without buying an entirely new set. Most of the 11 available colors are neutral, though there are a few brighter choices: red-orange, aqua and green. The sheets are available in all sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king and California king.
Microfiber is an increasingly popular fabric for bed sheets because it's very soft, affordable and durable, and few microfiber sheet sets get as much praise as Mellanni Microfiber Sheets (Est. $20 to $35). Thousands of owners rave about these sheets' softness right out of the package -- although any sheets should be washed before use. For the price, say reviewers, you can't find a better deal in sheets, because the entire set (one flat sheet, one fitted sheet and two pillowcases) is included.
Owners note that Mellanni Microfiber Sheets are very thin, and many have been leery that they wouldn't last, but ended up pleasantly surprised at their durability. The 16-inch pockets fit most mattresses very well, and the top sheet is reported to be generously sized as well. Mellanni sheets come in a good variety of colors, both bright and muted, and all sizes including twin XL and California king. The edges are embroidered. Anyone who's on the fence about microfiber might be comforted by the fact that Mellanni offers a no-questions-asked lifetime guarantee.