The right bed sheets can make a big difference in your comfort overnight, and if you’re a sucker for all things soft, a sateen set is definitely the way to go. The bedding usually has a slight luster, and is known for its silky feel.
Typically made from 100% cotton, sateen sheets are slightly warmer than, say, percale sheets due to their unique weave, but they’re breathable enough for year-round use. Because these sheets are so popular, nearly every brand sells a set, but not all sateen sheets are created equal.
We tested a variety of top-rated sateen sheets, and the bestselling Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheet Set(available at Brooklinen) was by far our favorite. These super-soft sheets make you feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud, and they’re easy to care for and hold up beautifully over time. Our tester has owned a set for more than three years now, and they’re still going strong. Looking for a high-end feel without the high-end price tag? Consider the California Design Den Cotton Sheet Set (available at Amazon).
These are the best sateen sheets we tested, ranked in order:
Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheet Set
California Design Den Cotton Sheet Set
Nestwell Egyptian Cotton Sateen Sheet Set
Coyuchi Organic Sateen Sheets
Boll & Branch Signature Hemmed Sheet Set
Standard Textile Home Sateen Sheet Set
Threshold Performance Sheet Set
Cuddledown Solid Sateen Sheet Set
Martha Stewart Collection Open Stock Solid Cotton Sheets
Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheet Set
I first got my hands on the Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheets several years ago, and when testing wrapped up, I didn’t want to take them off my bed. So, I bought a set for myself. And then I bought several more. These sheets hold up phenomenally, and they’re the only ones I regularly use on my bed.
When I washed them in warm water and put them through the dryer, they came out soft and wrinkle-free. I love the slightly heavier weight as well. When I napped in these sheets, I expected I’d be hot since the weather was quite warm, but to my surprise, I stayed at a comfortable temperature.
The set aced our other tests, as well. They wrinkle significantly less than other options, likely since they're made of cotton sateen, and stains come out easily.
As for the details, each set comes with a flat sheet, a fitted sheet that fits mattresses up to 15 inches deep, and two pillowcases with envelope closures—a feature I’ve come to love, as it keeps my overstuffed pillow in place. Made from 100% cotton, they’re smooth to the touch and have a somewhat shiny appearance. There’s a decent selection of colors and patterns, including several seasonal options. Sizes range from twin XL to California king; the only size Brooklinen doesn't carry is a split king.
These California Design Den sheets softened nicely after one run through the laundry. In fact, they had a similar texture to the high-end Coyuchi sheets and were delightful to sleep on.
This mid-priced option is ideal for anyone who doesn’t want to spend more than $100. Made from 100% cotton, these sheets come with four standard pieces, and the fitted sheet has a 16-inch pocket to slip over your mattress. There's several subdued colors, and the brand also offers a split king set, which can be hard to find. That said, the construction was somewhat lacking—there were loose strings and some of the seams showed signs of unraveling after a pass through the laundry.
(As a side note: With an 800 thread count, these feel almost identical to the 300-thread-count Coyuchi sheets, and are a prime example of why the measure shouldn’t be your sole consideration. )
I’m Camryn Rabideau, a freelance contributor here at Reviewed. I’ve been testing sheets and other bedding for several years now, and I’ve personally slept on more than two dozen sets, ranging from sateen and percale to flannel and linen. (An added bonus is that I’m now an expert at folding fitted sheets!)
In addition to my vast experience in product testing, I also studied textiles, fashion merchandising, and design. I took several courses on textile science, learning how to evaluate and differentiate fabrics. Fun fact: One of the easiest ways to figure out what fiber a fabric is made of is by setting it on fire! (Please don’t try this at home.)
If you’ve ever dreamed of getting paid to sleep, prepare to be jealous. To test each set of sheets, I slept on them twice: overnight and for a one-hour nap. I evaluated how soft and comfortable each felt, as well as a number of other criteria, including whether they made noise when I shifted in bed.
Next, I put each set through a series of tests to see how much they wrinkled and if stains were easy to remove. (Admit it, you eat in bed sometimes.) I stained them with fruit juice and diet soda, crumpled them up in a ball, and left them sealed in a bag overnight. It feels disrespectful, but it’s all in the name of science. The next morning, I evaluated the wrinkles then rinsed them in warm water before putting them through the wash. I didn’t use any stain remover or pre-treatment for this test—just regular laundry detergent.
Finally, I examined the construction, as I always find that the corners of inexpensive sheets rip at the seams. I also considered the depth of the fitted sheets, as well as how easy the sets were to store.
What You Should Know About Buying Sateen Sheets
Most of us buy sheets simply based on how they feel, but there are actually quite a few factors that differentiate bed linens. If you want to get technical, fiber, construction method, and thread count all affect how sheets feel, perform, and wear over time, and these are the things we consider when testing and recommending bedding.
Sateen vs. Percale
Most people know that percale sheets have a crisp feel, but do you know what sets them apart from, say, sateen sheets? Percale and sateen are actually different styles of weaving. In fact, they’re often made from the exact same yarns, but the fabric’s construction makes all the difference.
In weaving, the yarns that run vertically are called “warp” yarns, and the horizontal ones are called “weft” yarns. Percale relies on a simple over-one, under-one weaving pattern. Basically, the weft yarns go over one warp yarn and under the next one, until a piece of fabric reaches the desired size.
The result is a tight weave, similar to that of a high-quality men’s dress shirt, and that’s what gives it a crisp feel and matte finish. Compared to sateen, it’s quite durable and less prone to snags. It’s also more breathable than other fabrics thanks to its thin yarns and light weight, making it a great choice for summer nights and hot sleepers. However, it’s quite prone to wrinkling, so you’ll need to take your sheets out of the dryer immediately if crumpled bedding is a pet peeve of yours.
Sheet Fibers (Or, Why Cotton Is King)
Many people mistake percale as a type of cotton, but as we just explained, it’s actually a weaving technique. That said, the vast majority of percale sheets are, in fact, made from cotton.
The natural fiber is known for its softness and breathability, and there are many different varieties available today. There’s Pima, Egyptian, and American Upland, each of which has a different staple length—a.k.a. how long a piece of fiber is when it’s harvested. Longer staple cotton makes more durable fabrics that are less prone to pilling, which happens when fibers break and wind into little balls on the textile’s surface. Egyptian and Pima cotton are extra-long staple fibers, so they’re a good bet for sheets and less likely to pill over time. (Sometimes Egyptian cotton is used to refer to any cotton grown in Egypt, so also look for wording that indicates the staple length.) To lessen the chances of pilling, choose your staple length wisely. You’ll want fabric made from “long” or “extra long” staple cotton, which will likely be softer and last longer.
We’d recommend passing on percale sheets made from another fiber or a blend of fibers, such as cotton-polyester. Percale and cotton go hand-in-hand, and you’ll likely lose the signature breathability and lightness if another fiber is introduced into the mix.
What’s Up With Thread Count?
Finally, we need to talk about thread count, which refers to the number of warp and weft threads in one square inch of fabric. Most people assume that a higher thread count automatically equals higher quality—a myth perpetuated by cheap sheet companies. However, it isn’t that straightforward.
Depending on the manufacturing country, the thread count can be calculated differently. You see, a piece of yarn is typically made up of several smaller threads twisted together, and this is called its “ply.” For instance, a three-ply yarn is made up of three smaller threads. In the United States, the ply is not counted toward the total thread count, but in other countries, it can be. So, a sheet made from two-ply yarn might have a thread count of 250 when manufactured in the U.S., but when made overseas, it might label it as 500 thread count—but it’s actually the same fabric. Some brands do this purposely to make their product seem more appealing, and overall, it’s really just confusing to consumers.
For these reasons, thread count isn’t a surefire way to gauge the quality of sheets. As long as the thread count isn’t ultralow, say less than 200, you probably don’t need to sweat it. In fact, in our extensive testing, many of the best sheets have a thread count of 250 or 300, so we really don’t recommend worrying too much about it as you shop.
Other Sateen Sheets We Tested
Nestwell Egyptian Cotton Sateen Sheet Set
I was extremely impressed with the quality of the Egyptian Cotton Sateen Sheet Set from Nestwell, a relatively new in-house brand from Bed Bath & Beyond. (It’s not the only Nestwell product that’s impressed us.) In fact, it performed almost identically to the Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheet set. The Brooklinen sheets took our top spot due to a few design features that we prefer, such as their envelope pillowcase closures and traditional elastic band. However, you really can’t go wrong with these sheets from Nestwell, which you can score for 20% off as a Beyond+ Member.
What’s so great about the Nestwell sheets? For starters, they’re made from 100% Egyptian cotton—the crème de la crème of the fiber world—and they have a 625 thread count that makes them soft, smooth, and strong. The set comes with a flat sheet, fitted sheet, and one or two pillowcases, depending on the size, and it’s available in eight subdued colors. These sheets have a buttery smooth feel that’s not overly silky, and they’re a joy to climb into each night.
The corner stitching on the fitted sheet is quite interesting, with a unique ruched design. This unconventional stitching made it slightly harder to make the bed, as the elastic doesn’t give as much, and we’re skeptical that it would fit mattresses up to 18 inches, as the brand claims. Beyond this, however, the Nestwell sheets aced all our tests—the linens had minimal wrinkling after a wash and dry cycle, and stains came out easily.
Coyuchi is known for its high-end organic linens, and the brand’s sateen sheets didn’t disappoint. These luxe sheets are beautifully soft and impeccably made—in fact, the stitching is as nice as any I’ve ever seen. Plus, they come with an impressive array of certifications, including Global Organic Textile Standard, Fair Trade, and Made Safe. The set includes your four standard pieces, and the fitted sheet can accommodate mattresses up to 15 inches.
These sheets are made from 100% organic cotton that’s grown and woven in India, and the finished fabric has a 300 thread count. During testing, these sheets were incredibly welcoming and draped wonderfully—I didn’t want to take them off the bed! In terms of feel alone, they’re every bit as great as our top pick.
However, these sheets fell short in a few areas. Despite the brand’s claim that they’re naturally wrinkle-resistant, we found they actually wrinkled more than other sateen sheets. Stains didn’t come out quite as easily, leaving behind discolored blotches. Then there’s the overall value: These sheets are more than twice the cost of Brooklinen. We don’t think you’ll regret buying the Coyuchi sheets—they really are lovely—but you can stretch your dollar and get an equally good set.
The Boll & Branch Solid Hemmed Sheet Set is another good option that’s worthy of some praise. The sheets performed just as well as our top pick in many key areas. While not as smooth as the Brooklinen sheets, they’re just as comfortable, providing a crisper feel while still being pleasant to the touch.
The set includes four pieces, except for a twin or twin XL size which include one pillowcase. The sheets are made from organic cotton and feature a smooth sateen weave, and the pocket is great for tall mattresses at an impressive 17 inches deep. There are nine basic colors, ranging from multiple shades of gray to white and a spruce green.
As for the downsides, these sheets wrinkle a bit more than the Brooklinen set, and stains don’t come out as readily. Nonetheless, they’re beautifully constructed and were a dream to sleep on, and that’s what matters the most at the end of the day. Plus, my cat is obsessed with them for some reason, and I for one trust his judgment.
The Threshold Performance Sheet Set from Target is the most affordable option we tested, and they’re a great choice for anyone shopping on a budget. The construction is surprisingly nice with double-stitched seams, deep pockets, and extra elastic in the corners to ensure a snug fit.
In terms of sleep experience, these were in line with your typical cotton sheets—not super soft, but plenty comfortable and breathable. The only downside is they didn’t perform that well during the stain tests—the Diet Coke was still visible after washing.
This set is available in twin/twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king sizes, and all the sets include four standard pieces, except the twin size, which only includes one pillowcase. There’s a wider range of colors available than many other brands—there are trendy rose and rust hues—and there are a few simple patterns, as well.
The Standard Textile Home Sateen Sheet Set is a splurge, but we liked their smooth, cool feel. They’re the only product on this list that isn’t 100% cotton, made from 65% ring-spun combed cotton and 35% “Centium Core” microfilament polyester. The brand claims that the blend will increase the fabric’s durability. Their sateen weave is bright and shiny—it almost looks like silk! During testing, these sheets were extremely comfortable to sleep on, while remaining easy to wash and resisting stains and wrinkles.
They didn’t quite make it to the top of our list due to the construction. There were a few other details that we didn’t like, including that the elastic on the fitted sheet doesn’t go all the way around the bed. This kept it from fitting as snuggly as other products. Further, the flat sheet has just a single line of stitching along its top hem. This was surprising given the price tag, and it means the set may prove less durable in the long run.
Cuddledown 400 Thread Count Solid Sateen Sheet Set
The Cuddledown Sateen Sheet Set is noticeably shinier than other sateen sheets we tested, and they had a slightly swishy texture that we didn’t love. It also resulted in more noise than usual as we shifted around in bed. They’re made from 100% cotton and come in a rainbow of colors that are sure to brighten up your bedroom. The brand allows you to customize the sheet in one additional way, too: You can choose between a regular fitted sheet and a deep-fitted option that can accommodate mattresses up to 21 inches.
There are some good qualities to these sheets—for instance, the silky fabric was difficult to stain, as liquid just beaded up on top. Nevertheless, their texture wasn’t the most appealing and they were simply unmemorable. Given the high price, your money is better spent elsewhere.
Of all the sateen sheets we tested, these ones from the Martha Stewart Collection were our least favorite. The sheets are made from 100% cotton and have a 400 thread count, but they had a strange sheen that made the white appear almost blue. Like the Nestwell sheets, the corner stitching on the fitted sheet was ruched, making it harder to put on the bed, and the stitching was quite messy, making us question the longevity of the linens.
The good news is that these sheets performed well in both stain and wrinkle tests. Both stains came out easily, and the sheets only showed an average amount of wrinkles. Unlike many other options, these sheets are sold in individual pieces—not as a set—and they’re available in a range of pastel hues.
Camryn Rabideau is a full-time freelance writer and product tester with eight years of experience. She's been lucky enough to test hundreds of products firsthand, and her specialties include bedding and pet products, which often require help from her two dogs, three cats, and flock of rambunctious chickens.
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