What is a Good Thread Count for Bed Sheets?
Before you purchase a set of sheets, it’s important that you understand the basics of certain fabrics. This way, you’ll be able to compare labels without any trouble and make the right decision. One question you’ll come across during your sheet purchasing journey is: what’s the best thread count for sheets?
There’s a good reason behind this! The bedding industry emphasizes the importance of thread count and its effects on the quality of a sheet. A common belief is that the best thread count is the highest thread count.
Unfortunately, a high thread count doesn’t always mean that your sheet will be comfortable and durable. Here, we’ll find out which thread count is the right for you and why the highest thread count isn’t always the best:
What is a Good Thread Count: At a Glance
Thread counts between 300 and 500 are typically the best thread count. Sheets boasting thread counts above 800 generally are low-quality, whereas those under 300 may still be comfortable and high-quality. The higher the thread count, the lower the quality of bed sheets are.
What Does Thread Count Mean?
Thread count is the yarn count per square inch of your fabric. Companies typically add the number of warps, i.e., vertical yarns, and the quantity of the wefts, aka horizontal yarns, to calculate the total thread count.
A high thread count is believed to be of high quality because it makes the sheet more durable and softer. However, factors like the quality of the fabric and weave are highly essential.
Is a High Thread Count Better?
The answer to this is; sometimes but not always. For this reason, it’s best to be skeptical of sheets boasting a thread count greater than 1000 or more, especially if they cost low. It is because unusually cheap sheets mean that it’s likely that the manufacturer utilized two or more strands of fibers to make a thread.
Multiple fibers wrapped up in a single thread, i.e., multi-ply threads, typically mean loose and rough fabrics. Just because a sheet boasts a low thread count doesn’t mean it is of low quality. Several leading brands produce cotton sheets with a 200 thread count that feel luxurious and soft.
When Does the Thread Count Matter?
The only time the thread count of your sheet matters is for 100% cotton, single-ply weaves. Let’s take a closer look at times you should ignore the thread count:
In some cases, marketers may use 2 to 3-ply yarns to double or triple the thread count of your sheets. 2-ply yarn means your thread is fabricated from two smaller threads twisted together.
Polyester or Blends
Contrary to cotton, polyester fiber is manufactured by man and, thus, may be super thin. It also means that polyester and cotton/polyester blends boast thread counts reaching thousands.
As a matter of fact, manufacturers are now using revolutionary techniques to use thinner polyester.
While it’s true that polyester boasts several selling points, such as its wrinkle-resistant, budget-friendly, robust, and more durable, however, it doesn’t feel half as luxurious as natural fiber sheets.
Linen and Silk
Just like polyester, silk and linen also offer threads incomparable to cotton. Since linen is thick, it boasts a low thread count, whereas silk is so thin that it has to be measured by its weight.
Flannel and Knit Fabrics
Flannels, as well as knit fabrics, are typically manufactured with cotton. Unfortunately, likely, you won’t receive a thread count for them.
Flannels sheets are sold based on their weight, whereas jersey-knit sheets boast an utterly unique construction than traditional sheets.
What Makes a High-Quality Sheet?
Apart from measuring the thread count, consumers should consider the sheet’s fiber, weave pattern, and staple length to determine the fabric’s quality.
In fact, staple length, fibers, and weave have a significant impact on the appearance, touch, feel, and sustainability of a bedsheet. Let’s discuss these factors:
Sheets come in a variety of fibers such as polyester, cotton, silk, bamboo, etc. The type of fiber your sheet boasts impacts its longevity, maintenance demands, feel, aesthetic, and much more.
Tencel, linen, Egyptian cotton, and bamboo fabrics are comparatively popular since they are strong yet luxe and comfy. Choosing the perfect fiber mostly depends on personal preference. For instance, you may enjoy the look and feel of satin, whereas individuals who get cold during the early evening may purchase cotton sheets.
When it comes to the length of fibers, short, long, and extra-long are the three main types of staple length. As a general rule, the longer the staple length, the comfier and softer your fabric will be. Thus, long and extra-long staples are believed to be light, smooth, durable, and comfortable.
On the flip side, shorter staple-length fabrics are rough and thick. These make for uncomfortable bed sheets; however, they are perfect for towels, denim, and such.
Weave refers to the pattern in which weft and warp yarns are interlaced. Weaves play a vital role in determining the feel, durability, and look of a fabric.
The most popular and sustainable weaves are sateen and percale. While sateen sheets are soft, luxurious, and soft, percale sheets are breathable and offer a unique matte look.
The Bottom Line
While it’s true that thread count helps you gauge the quality of a sheet, various other elements help determine whether a sheet is worth the price.
As you shop for bedding products, you will likely come across many different kinds of bed sheets. Each sheet usually boasts a different weave, thread count, and staple length. In fact, you might even come across thread counts as low as 200 and as high as 2000. While your 200 thread count sheet may be soft and luxe, it’s likely that the high count sheet’s thread count is inflated.
Thus, it’s best to avoid purchasing sheets with unusually high thread counts for low prices; chances are, the manufacturer used low-quality materials.
He is an Engineer, designer and jogging enthusiast. His team of product testers and reviewers are as passionate as he is about sleep improvement and are on a collective mission to reveal to you only the best sleep solutions and products.