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Percale bed sheets are crisp, comfortable and durable

Percale is the preferred fabric for sleepers who like their sheets to feel crisp and cool. They're a terrific choice especially 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 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 users say the sheets soften after repeated washings, some note that they're too rough out of the package and can take a while to soften up enough. However, most are very pleased, and those run-to-warm sleepers say they keep their cool even over 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, owners say 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 surprisingly 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 seem at first glance. L.L.Bean offers its sheets in a wide variety of colors and several prints, although the selection of colors and prints do undergo occasional changes.

If the muted pastels and neutrals that most sheet-makers produce make you yawn, the Garnet Hill Fiesta Percale Sheets (Est. $18 to $68) offer a vibrant alternative. The 200-thread-count combed cotton sheets please most reviewers who like their sheets crisp and cool, although a few find them too scratchy. The 12-inch pocket depth may be a bit scant for those with pillowtop mattresses, but most owners say they do fit well on standard mattresses. The sheets are available in a range of bright colors, but are subject to availability. As with L.L.Bean's sheets, all Garnet Hill bedding pieces are sold separately.

Kohl's Big One Percale Sheets (Est. $20 to $50) might be a good bet for those with tighter budgets who want a convenient option from a local, brick-and-mortar store. Made of a 275-thread-count cotton-polyester blend, the sheets are a smooth, crisp alternative to sateen, especially for the price, many reviewers say. Few complain about durability, saying the sheets hold up well in the wash and resist shrinking. Most users are also happy with the fit, which they attribute to the fitted sheet's well-elasticized sides and deep, 17-inch pockets. However, some say the sheets are too scratchy, even after a few trips through the washer. Others complain of the colors fading after a few wash cycles.

Microfiber is becoming an increasingly popular fabric for bed sheets because it's very soft, as well as affordable and durable, and no microfiber sheet gets as much praise as Mellanni Microfiber Sheets (Est. $40). 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) are included.

Owners note that these Mellanni Microfiber Sheets are very thin, and many were 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 Mellanni offers a lifetime, no-questions-asked guarantee.

Elsewhere in this report:

Best Bed Sheets | Best Sateen Bed Sheets | Best Flannel Bed Sheets | Buying Guide | Our Sources

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