Are you planning to replace your old sheet with a new one? Shopping for new sheets may not be as easy as it seems. You will come across numerous terms used that may be unfamiliar to you. One such common phrase is thread count! Thread count refers to the number of threads per square inch of fabric.
Thread count is a rough indicator of the softness and quality of fabric. It is referred to as the count of threads per square inch of fabric. Generally, manufacturers sum up the number of horizontal fibers known as wefts and vertical yarns known as warps to measure thread count. For example, a cotton sheet with 200 warp threads and 200 weft threads in each square inch of fabric will read a thread count of 400.
Marketing and salespersons use this heavily to show that a particular product is of higher quality than competing sheets. Thread count is not the only consideration for the overall quality of a set of sheets. Thread count is primarily related to cotton. Other materials, such as silk, are measured by weight, not thread count.
While buying a sheet, you should look for a minimum thread count of 200. There is no ideal thread count for sheets. Comfortable sheets come with thread counts ranging from 200 to 800 and more. There are generally accepted scales for various kinds of quality sheets. Sheets with a lesser thread count won’t feel as soft and lead to a poor sleeping experience.
Let us go through the thread count chart that mentions the ranges of thread counts for sheets of various materials:
High thread count sheets are typically associated with high-quality fabric, but this isn’t accurate.
Be careful with thread counts of 900 or higher. They are very cheap. The manufacturer may use two or more fibers to make one thread, to multiply the thread counts. Multiple fibers wrapped into a single yarn are known as multi-ply threads resulting in slack and rough fabrics.
Multi-ply sheets are likely to break because manufacturers use low-quality fibers to compress higher thread per square inch. Single-ply fabrics come with high-quality materials and higher durability. The perfect thread count for soft and long-lasting bed sheets ranges between 300 and 500.
Thread count matters only for 100% cotton, single ply weaves.
Ignore thread count when buying –
Multiple-ply yarns – Manufacturers use 2-ply or 3-ply yarns to double or triple the thread count. 2-ply yarn means a thread made of two smaller threads twisted together.
Polyester or blends – Polyester fibers are synthetic and super thin, meaning polyester and cotton/polyester blends can have thread counts in the thousands. Manufacturers use modern techniques to produce sheets with thin polyester threads.
According to a recent study, 1,500 thread count sheets manufactured using modern techniques were not a good performer. Polyester threads have their brownie points- they have more strength, wrinkle-resistant, and are affordable compared to cotton.
Linen and silk – Linen and silk also cannot give thread counts that are comparable to cotton. The thread count of linen is low, thanks to the thickness, while silk is so thin that you should measure it by weight.
Flannel and knit fabrics – Although built with cotton, you may not come across thread counts for them. It is because flannel sheets have an entirely different composition than traditional woven sheets.
As mentioned above, measuring thread count is not your only quality check when looking for high-quality sheets. Let us run through the other factors that affect the comfort, appearance, and durability of bed sheets.
The type of fiber affects features such as a bed sheet’s durability, looks, maintenance required, etc. Manufacturers use different threads, including cotton, polyester, and bamboo, for sheets.
Linen, bamboo, and Egyptian cotton are firm and give a lush feel with comfort. There is no thumb rule to select a particular fiber. It depends on whether you are looking for comfort or ease of maintenance.
The staple length is the width of fibers used to create a fabric. Staple lengths are usually short, long, and extra-long. The longer the staple length, the softer the fabric. Long and extra-long staples are high-quality since they give a smooth feel and are durable.
Short-staple fabrics are rough and thick, so they are not particularly comfortable sheets. However, daily clothing like denim, towels, and t-shirts use short-staple materials.
The weave refers to the pattern in which warp and weft threads merge. The type of weaves affects the feel, look, and durability of the sheet. The most popular weaves are percale and sateen.
Percale sheets feel crisp and are breathable. Sateen sheets feel soft and give a rich feel, although they have poor breathability.
Remember that thread count is not the only measure of a good sheet. The quality of the threads, the manufacturer, the weave type, and several other factors contribute to the performance of bedsheets.
While buying sheets, look for a trusted manufacturer, research material quality. Thread count is one of the several factors to keep in mind.
Check out NectarSleep’s Luxury cotton bed sheet designed to help you slip into softness every night.