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What is the Best Thread Count for Sheets?

What is Thread Count? What is a Good Thread count? What Does Thread Count Mean? Many people believe that a high thread count on sheets means a high-quality product, however, this isn’t always the case. There are other factors that make a sheet of good quality, such as weave, ply, and material. Too many bedding manufacturers use cheap cotton and a really high thread count. You’ve seen them before, sheets that boast a 1,000 or more thread count using cheap cotton, but are no better quality than a 400 thread count, high-quality cotton sheet – a practice that became known as “thread-count marketing”. The Federal Trade Commission has been quite clear about transparency of ingredients and construction and issued a stark warning to the textile industry to help customers not be deceived.

“Consumers could be deceived or misled by the practice of stating an inflated thread count, achieved by multiplying the actual count by the number of plies within the yarn.” James Kohm, associate director for enforcement at the FTC

Today we are going to give you the facts about what makes an all-around good quality sheet.

The Makings of a Quality Sheet: Thread Count Guide

What is thread count?

Simply put, thread count is a measurement that takes into account how many threads are used in a square inch of fabric. To get this figure, you have to look at the warp (vertical weave), and weft (horizontal weave) of the fabric. These are counted up to determine the fabric thread count.

It starts with the yarns’ diameter. Depending on how thick or fine a yarn is, it will be assigned a number. Higher numbered yarns are finer. In cheaper sheets, a size 30 or so thick yarn will be used. Higher-end sheets will use a 100 or more yarn diameter.

What is ply?

Not all threads of yarn are the same, and the ply used in bedding can often be a better indicator of quality. The diameter of the yarn, or how fine it is, is taken into consideration along with the ply, pr how many threads are twisted together.

Threads that are single-ply use one yarn strand per thread, whereas a two-ply with use two yarn strands twisted together per thread.

Tip: A ply greater than two should be avoided. It means that cheaper yarn in multiple-ply threads have been used, which is how some companies try to boost thread counts.

What is weave?

The weave is the way threads have been woven together. In sheets, you have a plain or sateen weave.

Plain weave (also called tabby weave, linen weave or taffeta weave) – in this weave the weft and warp threads alternate, like the pattern on a checkerboard, to create an even weave.

Satin & Sateen weaveSatin is a warp faced rearranged twill and sateen is a rearranged weft faced twill. Thus satin is the reverse side of sateen weaves. With a sateen weave the weft threads will lie across 4 of the warp threads. This allows for more vertical threads to give it that satin feel.

Is a higher thread count an indicator for better quality?

The simple answer is no. However, there is a certain range that thread count should be in for specific materials used in sheets. A sheet that is below a 180 thread count would be quite flimsy and you would be able to see the holes between the weave pattern.

Then you have the ridiculously high thread counts, which are nothing more than a marketing ploy. You would find better quality in a 300 thread count sheet that a 1,000 thread count sheet. The higher thread count sheets tend to use cheap multiple-ply yarn that is packed tightly together. This gives you a scratchier, heavier, and less durable sheet.

What is the best thread count for sheets?

Taking into account the diameter, ply, and thread counts, we’ve come up with the best thread count for sheets of all types. The best quality sheets run between 250 and 500 thread count. Bearing that in mind, a sheet that falls between these numbers is not guaranteed to be of good quality. You need to look at the other factors mentioned earlier. The construction of the fabric and material used is just as important, if not more so.

Best thread count for Egyptian cotton sheets?

Egyptian cotton sheets are known for their softness and durability. The best thread count for Egyptian cotton is between 400 to 700. However, you can find good quality sheets in a lower range of 200 to 200 if they have used a finely made single ply yarn.

What is the best thread count for sateen sheets?

Sateen sheets are known for their warmer feel. A good-quality sateen sheet will range between 300 to 600 thread count. At this count, the sheet will lower the chance of snagging. Any higher than this and the sheet would feel too heavy. You can find an average quality option in a 250 to 300 thread count range as well.

What is the best thread count for silk sheets?

With silk sheets, thread count is not used as a measurement. Instead, momme (moe-mie) is used. This takes the weight in pounds of a 45-inch by a 100-yard piece of material. The higher the momme, the better the quality. Your standard silk sheet will be around 19 momme. Higher quality silk will be between 22 and 25 momme.

What is the best thread count for bamboo sheets?

Bamboo fiber is very soft and subtle. The fabric it creates has a luxurious, breathable, and smooth feel. The average bamboo sheet will be between 300 to 450 thread count, but the normal range is closer to 300.

Best thread count for Supima cotton sheets?

Supima uses a very fine weave and is quite soft due to its long-staple fibers. A 100% Supima cotton sheet should be between 400 to 600 thread count.

Best thread count for percale sheets?

The average quality percale can start from 180 thread count and should not go past 500 thread count. A good range for a quality percale sheet is 250 to 300 thread count. However, there are some good quality 200 thread count percale sheets as well.

What is the best thread count for sheets to keep you cool at night?

This will depend on the fabric being used. Keep in mind that higher thread counts mean denser, heavier sheets. You want to choose moisture-wicking materials, such as cotton and linen. Sheets with a 300 to 400 thread count tend to be best for keeping you cool at night.

Best thread count sheets for the summer?

As mentioned above, you need to look at the material as well as the thread count. You want a fabric that will feel light, cool, and breathable on your skin. The average range for a good summer sheet is between 300 and 400 thread count. Any higher and the material will be denser and heavier. You want to avoid fibers that are known for trapping air, such as polyester.

What is the best thread count for winter?

This also depends on the type of sheet you choose. Silk and bamboo sheets are known for being able to regulate your body temperature, keeping you warm when it’s cold. With silk, you want at least 19 momme, and bamboo should be between 300 to 450 thread count.

Cotton and linen sheets in a higher 600 thread count is also a good choice because it will be denser. Other materials that are good for winter are fleece and flannel, but these are sold by weight, not by thread count.

When should thread count matter?

The only time that thread count should matter is when you are looking at single-ply woven, 100% cotton. You should ignore thread counts in the following scenarios:

Multiple-ply Yarns

It was back in 2002 when Good Housekeeping shone a light on the ridiculously high thread count gimmick. Manufacturers would use multiple-ply yarns as a way to triple their thread count to make their products seem of a higher quality.

Polyester and Blends

Polyester fibers are synthetic and can be produced as a super fine thread. They cannot be compared to cotton thread counts realistically. What this results in are polyester and cotton-polyester blended sheets having very high thread counts. This is a technique that manufacturers use to boost their thread count but doesn’t make for a good quality sheet.

Linen and Silk 

Linen sheets uses flax fibers, which are thicker than cotton and won’t give a comparable thread count. Silk has fibers that are very thin and aren’t measured in thread count but by weight.

A Final Note

So, what is the best thread count for sheets? Most of the fabrics we have looked at range between 300 to 600 thread count as average. A lot will depend on the type of fabric, the weave, and the ply being used as well. But 300 to 600 is a solid guideline for sheets. You want to beware of really high thread counts, especially with multiple-ply threads being used. These are usually not good quality. Now that you know the facts about thread count, you can make a more informed decision when you choose to buy yourself some new sheets!

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