Sateen sheets have a unique luster and are slightly thicker than percale sheets, which we cover elsewhere in this report. Although sateen isn't as shiny as its name implies, it has a feel of smoothness that many people love in a bed sheet. To maintain that smoothness, it's important to purchase properly fitting sheets when you buy sateen; if you purchase fitted sheets with pockets that are too deep, you will have wrinkling and folds that negate the smooth effect.
The Royal Velvet 400-Thread-Count WrinkleGuard Sheet Set (Est. $130 to $200) is popular with those who love softness but hate wrinkles. Reviewers say these 100 percent cotton sheets, sold exclusively through JCPenney's, are silky smooth with a substantial feel. Testers with TheSweethome.com found they were weightier than comparative sheets, helping them drape smoothly and retain their warmth. Users say the Royal Velvet sheets are very soft right out of the box and only get better with repeated washings, although there are a few who say that even these sheets are too rough for their taste.
Most users say these sheets live up to their wrinkle-free name, coming right out of the dryer looking as if they had been ironed. The Royal Velvet sheets' extra-deep 18-inch pockets accommodate large mattresses, although that generous fit may be a bit too much for thinner mattresses, and those who don't like wrinkles also don't seem to like loose-fitting sheets. We saw almost no durability complaints, and some owners say that they have had their sheets for years. Royal Velvet offers their sheets in a wide variety of colors, 11 at the time this report was updated. They're available in full, queen, king and California king, but not twin or twin XL.
Buyers searching for a higher-end sateen sheets will love the Cuddledown 400 Thread Count Cotton Sateen Sheets (Est. $170 to $230). Experts with TheSweethome.com say they feel "just a little bit better" than the Royal Velvet set, praising their luster, silky feel and easy drape. Users agree, saying they are smooth and luxuriously comfortable. The sheets also earn top marks for wrinkle-resistance, and users say they hold up well in the washer and dryer. TheSweethome.com testers warn that they aren't the strongest sheets, however, and could score higher for tear resistance. They are sold piece by piece instead of in a set.
Cuddledown's fitted sateen sheets are available in two depths: 16 and 21 inches. The extra-deep 21-inch sheets particularly please reviewers with extra-thick mattresses and large mattress toppers or pads. If you're particular about color, they're offered in about 18 different hues, including muted pastels and deeper colors such as spice red, ivy green and sapphire blue. These sheets are Oeko-Tex certified to be free of harmful substances and are finished with a satin stitch. They're also available for every mattress size: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king and California king.
Sateen lovers who need a quality sheet set on a budget, perhaps even for their college dorm room, should appreciate the reasonably priced Threshold Performance 400 Thread Count Sheet Set (Est. $30), which The Sweethome.com's editors endorse as "almost as soft as the Royal Velvet sheets." Testers say they aren't quite as breathable and are more prone to wrinkles, but they're hard to beat for the money. Most users agree, saying they're soft and smooth, though a minority say they're scratchy. And while these sheets nailed experts' durability tests for factors such as strength and pilling, some reviewers say they ripped or tore after a year or so.
The Threshold sheets, sold exclusively at Target, fit mattresses up to 20 inches, which users with thick mattresses appreciate. A double-turn hem adds a bit of embellishment. They're available in a range of colors, including neutrals and vibrant hues, and for all mattress sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king and California king.