Bed Sheet Thread Count – The Complete Guide

Bed Sheet Thread Count – The Complete Guide

Do you need new bedsheets? Are you afraid of buying something that you might be disappointed with after you purchase it? Buying sheets for a bed can be a daunting task when you are not sure if you understand bed sheet thread count. You may be familiar with the feeling of uncertainty when you compare the multitude of numbers, fabrics, and patterns. Luckily the complete guide to choosing the right sheets is below. Keep reading to discover what each one means and which one offers the most comfort for your personal taste and budget.

The Truth about Thread Count

You’ve heard it all before. The controversy between those that say thread count is the deciding factor in sheet quality and the ones that claim it doesn’t really matter at all. The truth is thread count does matter in most sheet sets…at least to some extent. However, there is a lot more to it than just selecting the right thread count. There is the fabric that is used, the dyes involved, and the style of the weaving that was chosen. To choose the right sheets, you first need to understand thread count.


Thread Count Selection

Thread count by definition is the number of threads woven horizontally and vertically into one square inch of fabric. Though there are sheets that begin at around 150-180 thread count, 200-800 thread count sheets are considered “the good ones.” Anything less than that will leave you feeling as if your sheets are scratchy and stiff. Lower thread count sheets also will make you feel hotter at night, more than likely leaving you to toss and turn often. Alternatively, the higher the thread count, the softer the sheets will feel. Thus 500-800 count is considered extremely comfortable at a price most can afford. Higher thread counts will feel more like silk but will cost considerably more if you want true luxury.


Lower Thread Count Equals Comfort?

There are some lower thread count sheets that are just as comfortable as the higher count ones. How is this possible? Companies that use fewer chemicals and more mechanical finishings improve the quality of the sheets dramatically. For a boost in comfort and half the cost, try combed cotton sheets in the 300-400 thread count range, and you will be out like a light in no time.

Bed Sheet Thread Count – The Complete Guide

Types of Weaves

The type of fabric weave and manufacturing process will not always be listed on the packaging when studying the product. However, there a handful of terms you should be familiar with before you decide to buy anything. 

  • Percale – Plain weave fabric that has a thread count of at least 180. It is crisp and is considered the cheapest of sheet selections. It is crisp and rough against the skin.
  • Sateen – A blend of a cotton and satin weave which creates a highly soft texture. Inviting fabric makes sleep enjoyable but not as durable as a tighter weave.
  • Combed Cotton – Short fibers have been removed from the fabric, leaving only the long ones. This essentially makes the fabric strong and smooth.
  • Egyptian Cotton – The least likely to produce pilling and lint, Egyptian cotton becomes softer the more frequently it is washed. It is the softest and most porous of all cottons available. Thread count begins about 800 and higher for this type of cotton weave.


The Perfect Thread Count

The ideal thread count for the perfect night’s rest really depends on your personal taste. Everyone is different, but as a general rule, 300-500 thread count is the most luxurious for the vast majority of individuals. However, before you make a selection double-check the fabric and weave style. Even the amount of dye used in the manufacturing process can make sheets feel stiff and uninviting when you slide into bed at night. Sheets with heavy use of dyes are more commonly found in 250 thread count range. This is especially true for special character collections or children’s designs. Keep in mind that dark solid colors can be heavy on the dyes as well. 

With everything that goes into the manufacturing process for making sheets, does thread count really matter? Maybe it does to some people, then again maybe it doesn’t. The age-old debate continues on, but the factors involved certainly seem to suggest that thread count does matter.