Best Thread Count for Sheets Explained

Best Thread Count for Sheets Explained

Written by Nectarsleep editorial team

Last Updated on Jul 18, 2022

In this article:

    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.

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    What Does Thread Count Mean?

    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.

    What Is the Best Thread Count for Sheets?

    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:

    MaterialThread Count
    Linen80-140
    Cotton200-400
    Percale Weave200-400
    Egyptian Cotton300-400
    Bamboo300-500
    Sateen Weave300-600

    Is Higher Thread Count Better?

    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.

    When Does Thread Count Matter and When Should You Ignore It?

    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.

    What Do High-Quality Sheets Consist Of?

    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.

    1. Fiber

    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.

    2. Staple Length

    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.

    3. Weave

    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.

    This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.
    {"faq":[{"_id":"94dcbb4","title":"What is the highest thread count for sheets?","content":"\u003Csection class=\"sc_fs_faq sc_card\"\u003E\u003Cdiv\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"sc_fs_faq__content\"\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThe sheets with thread counts over 1000 are the highest, though the highest thread count sheets are often of low quality.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/section\u003E\u003Csection class=\"sc_fs_faq sc_card\"\u003E\u003C\/section\u003E"},{"_id":"46a5575","title":"What is the best thread count for sheets for no pilling?","content":"\u003Cp\u003EThe best thread count to resist piling is between 600-650. Therefore, percale sheets have the highest piling resistance\u003Cstrong\u003E.\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E"},{"_id":"f10c29b","title":"What thread count sheets do hotels use?","content":"\u003Cp\u003EHotels use 300-350 thread count cotton fabric with long-staple fibers to ensure softness.\u003C\/p\u003E"},{"_id":"5f20448","title":"What thread count is the softest?","content":"\u003Cp\u003E180-280 is the best thread count for soft sheets. It leads to soft and cold sheets with higher durability.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E"},{"_id":"506e71f","title":"Is a 500 thread count better?","content":"\u003Cp\u003EYes, a 500 thread count could reflect a thicker sheet made of fine, good-quality yarns.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E"},{"_id":"95f1c73","title":"Is 300 or 600 thread count better?","content":"\u003Cp\u003EYes, a 300 thread count is an optimal range for sheets to get the desired softness. A 600 thread count sheet may lead to breakage, except for percale 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