For many people, buying new bedding can feel as exciting as Christmas. The idea of fresh, clean, brand new bedding is the kind of stuff that dreams are made of.
However, it can quickly become confusing and overwhelming when you enter the world of thread counts.
Before you find yourself down a thread count rabbit hole, our guide to finding the best thread count for your new sheets is here to help.
We have covered everything from what thread count is, to reasonable ranges of thread count based on material.
Purchase your new sheets with confidence with our guide to the best thread count for your sheets.
What Is Thread Count?
Let’s start with the basics, what exactly is a thread count? In short, it is the number of threads that have been woven into one square inch of fabric.
The total number of threads is made of yarn woven horizontally, called weft weave, and yarn that is woven vertically called warp weave.
The resulting criss-cross pattern forms the fabric of your sheets and the total number of strands used makes the total thread count.
A comfortable range of thread count can be between 200 and 800. Although this range may be smaller depending on your budget for sheets. A thread count of 200 is still going to be comfortable and high quality.
How Does Thread Count Affect Bedding?
The general rule with thread count is that the amount is important.
Sheets with very low thread counts are likely to be of lower quality, with the potential for holes due to a loose weave, or rough, uncomfortable yarn being used.
Both of these are things that you do not want from your bedding.
However, it is important to note that an unusually high thread count could be indicative of an inaccurate, inflated thread count without the higher quality, but with a very high price tag.
Another crucial thing to remember when purchasing bedding is that thread count is just one indicator of quality and feel.
While it is important, other factors should be considered as well, such as the quality of the yarn used in making the sheets, where it was sourced, and the overall feel of the sheets.
Is More Always Better?
So, when considering the thread count of sheets, is more always better? Well, while the general indicator is that higher is better in terms of quality, durability, and softness, it isn’t quite that simple.
Looking for sheets with a general thread count range of 200-600 is the easiest way to ensure the best results for your purchase depending on the material used.
Sheets with a thread count that is lower than this range will likely be rough and uncomfortable, low quality, or lacking durability. Thread counts below 200 should be avoided where possible.
Similarly, sheets boasting a thread count in excess of 600 likely won’t increase much in quality or durability, but the price tag is likely to increase exponentially.
Even if the thread count is accurate at these levels, too many threads packed into a piece of fabric can stifle airflow and produce a sheet that doesn’t breathe, resulting in warm sleeping conditions.
While this can be a benefit during colder months, it can be uncomfortable during the summer.
If you come across sheets with a thread count of 900 or higher, be very wary. This can be an indicator of lower quality sheets made with multiple ply threads.
This is a trick used by manufacturers to artificially inflate their thread count. Each ply can be counted as a single thread, therefore boosting the thread count by two or three times the actual amount.
A 900 thread count is more likely to be a lower quality 300 thread count made with 3-ply threads.
What is considered a high thread count varies depending on the material of the sheets you are buying.
For example, what is considered a high thread count for cotton, would be a lower thread count for bamboo.
This is where research is important if you want to purchase the best sheets for your needs.
Thread Count Ranges For Different Materials
As mentioned above, there are different thread count ranges for different materials. Let's take a look at the general ranges for the most common materials used for bed sheets.
- Cotton: 200-400
- Percale weave: 200-400
- Egyptian cotton: 300-400
- Bamboo: 300-500
- Sateen weave: 300-600
- Linen: 80-140 (Linen sheets are slightly different from the other sheets listed. Thread count is rarely listed on linen sheets as it is not a useful indicator. Avoid higher thread count linen sheets)
There are also sheets made from material that is not measured in thread count which could also be good options for you.
Sheets made from materials such as silk, jersey, flannel, and microfiber are measured by weight rather than thread count.
If you are looking for sheets in these materials the general guide to quality sheets is different.
- Silk: 17-22 Momme (lbs per 45” X 100 yds)
- Jersey: 150 GSM (grams per square meter)
- Flannel: 170+ GSM
- Microfiber: 90-120 GSM
This guide should give you an idea of the reasonable ranges of thread count for the materials you are looking at for your sheets.
Sheets with thread counts that are significantly lower or higher than these ranges should be treated with caution as they may be of a lower quality.
When purchasing bed sheets, thread count is a good indicator of quality, softness, and durability.
The best thread count for bed sheets falls within a reasonable range of thread count based on the material used for the sheets.
There are also sheets made from materials that are not measured by thread count that should not be discounted in your search.
However, thread count is not the be-all and end-all of sheet quality indicators and should be only one of many factors considered when determining which sheets you purchase for your bed.