Bed Sheet Thread Count Facts
What is thread count?
Simply put, thread count is the number of horizontal and vertical threads per square inch of a woven fabric. For example, a 300-count bed sheet has 150 vertical threads and 150 horizontal threads. While this is an important number for measuring the all-around quality of sheets, an astronomical thread count doesn’t automatically guarantee out-of-this-world comfort. So if you see a number that seems too good to be true, it probably is.
For example, microfiber threads are made up of multiple smaller threads, which means that many microfiber sheets end up being listed with an extremely high “thread count” that doesn’t translate to improved comfort and quality. You can find quality sheets with a 200-thread count, but most luxury sheets typically start at 350 or 400.
Thread Count Chart
Broadly speaking, a “good” thread count for sheets can be anything between 200 and 800. Bed sheets with a count below 200 might be more affordable, but they don’t meet our standards of comfort and durability. Use the thread count chart to find luxury sheets that will increase the comfort of your bed and transform a good night’s sleep into a great one.
When does thread count matter?
Like carats in diamonds, thread count assesses quality but isn’t the whole equation. It’s generally true that higher thread count sheets are thicker and softer, but there are other factors to keep in mind.
Ultimately, thread count only matters if you’re comparing sheets of the same material. Fabrics have different sized threads, changing how many can fit in a square inch. For example, sateen cotton sheets have a higher thread count than linen sheets, but both are premium materials. Yet linen sheets often have a lower count because the fibers are larger. This means you can have two quality sheet sets with a 200-thread-count difference.
This explains why 200-thread-count linen sheets feel much better than 200-thread-count cotton sheets. You should also be wary of sheets with inflated thread counts. While a set of 1800-thread-count sheets may sound incredible, that number’s probably too good to be true. If you see sheets advertised as having a thread count of 1,000 or higher, with a retail of $50.00 or less, you should be skeptical.
How to Choose Sheets Without a Thread Count
Materials like cotton, linen, and bamboo use thread count but not all bedding materials do. You won’t find a thread count listed for bed sheets made of flannel, satin, or microfiber. When shopping for these kinds of sheets, look for weight-related measurements such as ounces or grams per meter. You can learn more about individual fabrics and how to measure quality with this Bedding Materials Guide.
Other Factors to Consider When Buying Sheets
You shouldn’t ignore thread count when shopping for new sheets, but other factors, like ply, fiber length, and organic or blended fibers, can also affect your purchase. Ply and fiber length refer to the tiny yarns that make up the fabric. Long, layered fibers, like Egyptian and Pima (or Supima) cotton, leave you with stronger sheets that don’t pill or damage as easily.
If an organic process is important to you or if you have particular allergies, check for warnings of chemically treated fabrics. And if you aren’t a fan of your luxury sheet material being blended with polyester or other fillers, look for “100-percent” callouts to ensure your favorite fibers aren’t being diluted. Read our Tips on Choosing Hypoallergenic Bedding Materials to learn the benefits of tighter weaves and organic fibers.
More Ways to Shop
- Bedroom Guides