Fresh off our research into how often you really need to wash your sheets (spoiler: once per week), we decided to tackle the debate if thread count really mattered or not. And, if so, does the higher the thread count mean the sheets are actually better and more comfortable? We consulted with a variety of experts in this space so answer these thread count questions once and for all! Experts consulted in this article include: HGTV, Jackee Reeve from Wirecutter, Business Insider, and The Today Show.
The Ultimate Guide to Thread Count
What Actually Is Thread Count
Thread count refers to the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric in a sheet or bedding set.
Many people believe that a higher thread count indicates higher quality and durability, but this is not always the case. Thread count alone doesn’t determine the quality of your sheets, as factors like the type of cotton, the weave, and the finish also play an important role.
Sadly, to make things even more confusing, some manufacturers artificially inflate their thread counts by using thinner, weaker threads twisted together to create a higher number. These sheets may have a high thread count, but they are not necessarily softer or more durable.
How Thread Count is Calculated
Hey math nerds, there actually is a formula for how the thread count is calculated.
They figure out the thread count by adding the number of vertical threads (warp) and horizontal threads (weft) per square inch. So, for example, if there are 200 vertical threads and 200 horizontal threads per square inch, the thread count is 400. Make sense? Kind of.
So, What's Considered a Good Thread Count?
So many of us are always looking for the best thread count, under the assumption that the higher the number, the better your sheets are. Myth!
A good thread count number for a sheet is subjective and varies depending on your own personal preferences, including what type of sleeper you are (hot and sweaty sleeper or a cold sleeper). Generally, a thread count of 200 to 800 is considered good, with the sweet spot being between 300 to 500. Higher thread counts can result in denser fabric, which may be too heavy or stiff for some people, while lower thread counts can be too thin and fragile. Again, whether or not it’s “good” depends on what you’re looking for.
It’s essential to note that thread count is not the only factor to consider when selecting sheets. Other factors to consider include the type of cotton (such as Egyptian cotton or Supima cotton), the weave (such as percale or sateen), and the finish (such as mercerized or combed). The combination of these factors will determine the overall quality and feel of the sheets.
Thread Count By Fabric Type
We consulted with the sleep experts at The Sleep Foundation to figure out what some of the best thread count ranges were for a variety of some of the top materials used in popular bed sheet options ranging from cotton, to bamboo, linen, and more. Please keep in mind these are the average ranges, and like we mentioned above, thread count vs. quality is subjective.
Thread Count Based on Being a Hot or Cold Sleeper
Believe it or not, instead of equating thread count to the highest or best quality, you can always choose based on what type of sleeper you are. So whether you’re a hot and sweaty sleeper or more of a cold and chilly sleeper, the different thread counts can work to your advantage.
Hot Sleepers: For hot sleepers, a lower thread count (200-400) may be more comfortable because these sheets tend to be more breathable and lightweight, allowing for better airflow and heat dissipation. A lower thread count can also help prevent the sheets from trapping heat and moisture, which can be uncomfortable and cause night sweats. This is us 100%.
Cold Sleepers: For cold sleepers, a higher thread count (400-800) may be more comfortable because these sheets tend to be denser and warmer. The tight weave of higher thread count sheets can help trap body heat and provide insulation, making them ideal for colder nights. However, it’s important to note that some higher thread count sheets may feel too heavy or stiff, which can be uncomfortable for some people.
Ultimately, the best thread count for hot or cold sleepers will depend on your own unique needs and preferences.
So to sum up, yes thread count can be important and a general indicator of a higher quality bed sheet, but it’s not the end-all, be-all. In fact, there are other factors that come into play that can help you figure out what kind of sheets you actually need.
If you’re a hot or cold sleeper you can use thread count to provide guidance to fit your sleeping needs and don’t forget to look at the material used in making the sheets like cotton, precale, linen, sateen, etc.
We hope we busted some myths in regards to the importance of a good thread count number and gave you some additional options to look at.