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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.

L.L.Bean has a reputation for producing quality sheets, and customers say our Best Reviewed L.L.Bean 280-Thread-Count Pima Cotton Percale Sheets (Est. $105-$170) don't disappoint. Owners find them to be cool and crisp, with a pleasingly substantial feel. The sheets fare well in expert durability tests, earning praise for their sturdy seams and resistance to tears, and reviewers say the fit is good even on thicker mattresses. Those who want very soft sheets should probably look elsewhere, however. Users say the sheets soften after repeated washings, but sateen options might be better for those who prefer "soft" over "crisp." Some report that the sheets often come out of the dryer wrinkled, and all pieces must be purchased separately.

If the muted pastels and neutrals that most sheet-makers produce make you yawn, the Garnet Hill Fiesta Percale Sheets (Est. $40-$100) 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. Owners also like their fit on a range of mattresses. The sheets are available in 12 bright colors, but some users say the hues can fade a bit. Expert durability tests show minimal shrinking and pilling, but puckering and tearing is an issue. As with L.L.Bean's sheets, all pieces are sold separately.

Kohl's Big One Percale Sheets (Est. $20-$50) might be a good bet for those with tighter budgets who want a convenient option from a big-box 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. However, some say the sheets are as scratchy as sandpaper, even after repeated trips through the washer. Others complain of wrinkles and say the sheets collect lint.

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