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What is Thread Count?

What is Thread Count?

Understanding Thread Count 

If you go shopping for new bedding, you’re going to run into several terms you may never have heard of before. One big one is the thread count, which refers to the fabric’s density for each square inch of your sheets. But what does it actually mean, and does it matter? 

Defining Thread Count 

Thread count is the measure of how tightly the manufacturer wove your sheets. It’s a measure of the number of threads in a square inch of fabric. You can calculate the thread count by adding the widthwise and lengthwise threads in a square inch of your sheets. So if you had a cotton set of sheets with 100 lengthwise and 100 widthwise threads, your thread count would be 200. 

Generally speaking, you can use the thread count on the sheets to get a rough idea of how soft your sheets are. It’s also very heavily implied that a certain sheet set is higher quality if it has a higher thread count. While this is true to a point, it’s not the only thing to take note of as you shop. 

The Best Thread Count for Your Sheets 

You can find very comfortable sheet sets of decent quality with a thread count range of 300 to 700 and up. At the very minimum, your thread count should be at least 200. If you go lower, your sheets most likely won’t feel soft enough to be comfortable. 

Also, the weave and fabric type you pick out will cause the best thread count range to fluctuate. For example, sateen weave comes with a very tightly woven pattern, so decent sheets in this category have a thread count of 250 to 300. On the other hand, plain weave sheets can be decent with a 180 to 200 thread count range. Below are the basic thread count ranges for high-quality sheet sets in varying materials: 

  • Bamboo from 300 to 500 
  • Cotton from 200 to 400 
  • Egyptian cotton from 300 to 400 
  • Linen from 80 to 140 
  • Percale weave from 200 to 400 
  • Sateen weave from 300 to 600 

Higher Thread Counts Don’t Necessarily Mean Better Sheets 

Sheets that have a higher thread count attached are usually more expensive, and companies market them as being of better quality. It is true that if your sheets have a thread count of 400, they’ll usually feel softer than a 200 thread count sheet set. However, this depends on the yarn quality used to create the sheets, the weave, and the craftsmanship that went into the production process. Generally, getting sheets with a thread count of 200 to 600 for most common styles will give you the best results. 

When shopping for sheets, take your time, consider your options, and pick out the thread count that will be comfortable enough to help lull you to sleep. You can get sheets that last for years and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.