Are you looking to buy new Canadian bed sheets and are wondering what is a good thread count for sheets? The threat count, which refers to the thread density in a square inch of fabric, is a popular way to rate the quality of a bed sheet and you might have heard people say that the higher the thread count the better the quality of the sheet.
But is this really true? Are higher thread counts better and how much does thread count matter when you are picking new bed sheets? How do you pick the best thread count for your bed sheets?
In this article, we cover all there is to know about thread counts when it comes to choosing new bed sheets. You will find out what thread count means, recommended thread counts for different types of sheets, when thread counts matter the most, and what else can be used to determine the quality of bed sheets.
What is a Thread Count?
A thread count measures the number of threads that have been woven into one square inch of fabric. Essentially, it described how tightly woven the fabric is. A fabric’s thread count is calculated by adding together the number of widthwise (weft) and lengthwise (warp) threads within a specified area. For example, if a cotton sheet has 100 weft threads and 100 warp threads per square inch, its thread count is 200.
A thread count indicates the feel and softness of a fabric. In the marketing of bed sheets, it is often used to imply that one sheet is of a higher quality than another. However, this is true only to a certain extent because thread count is just one part of what determines the overall quality of sheets.
The Best Thread Count for Bed Sheets
When choosing new bed sheets, the old saying of quality over quantity applies and higher thread counts do not equal better quality sheets. Normally, sheets that are both durable and comfortable will have a thread count between 200 and 800.
You should avoid buying bed sheets that have a thread count below 200. When the thread count is below that, the sheets will not have a soft feeling and you may not sleep as comfortably.
The best thread count also varies depending on the type of fabric and the weave used. For example, average-quality sheets that have percale weave, which is also known as the plain weave because of the simple one under, one over pattern, will often have a thread count of 180-200. On the other hand, the thread count for average-quality sheets with a sateen weave, which is a more tightly woven pattern, is between 250 and 300.
You can find the high-quality thread count ranges for common bed sheet fabrics below.
- Bamboo: 300 to 500
- Cotton: 200 to 400
- Egyptian Cotton: 300 to 400
- Percale Weave: 200 to 400
- Sateen Weave: 300 to 600
Linen sheets generally have a thread count of 80 to 140. However, you will not often see thread counts included in descriptions for linen sheets. This is because it is not as useful an indicator of softness or quality for linen as it can be for the other bed sheet types. If a linen sheet has a higher thread count, avoid buying it.
Other Types of Bed Sheets
There are also other types of bed sheet materials, where thread counts are not used to indicate the softness and quality. If you see thread counts listed for the fabrics below, avoid buying them as it is not a real factor in these types of sheets.
- Flannel: the measure used for flannel sheets is GSM, which refers to grams per square meter. A good quality, heavyweight, and durable flannel sheet will have 170+ GSM. Flannel sheets with a lower GSM will be lighter and more breathable, but not as durable.
- Jersey: GSM is also used for jersey sheets. Commonly, the measurement is around 150 GSM but this depends on the materials used to make the jersey sheet.
- Microfiber: another material type that uses GSM. A good quality microfiber sheet will have a GSM measurement of 90 to 120.
- Silk: the measure for silk sheets is called momme, which looks at the number of pounds in a piece of silk measuring 100 yards by 45 inches. If you are buying silk sheets look for a momma range between 17 and 22.
The Truth About Higher Thread Counts
The higher the thread count, the more the sheet is likely to cost because, presumably, you are getting a higher-quality sheet. However, that is not always the case and often, a really high thread count could mean the sheet is actually poorer quality. They are likely to have used lower quality yarns, the craftsmanship may not be as high, or the weave not as good, and the thread count is high to disguise the product’s true quality.
When looking for new bed sheets, the “safe range” is usually between 200 and 600 but remember to modify the range depending on what material the sheet was made with. Thread counts between 600 and 800 are not likely to make much difference in your experience of using the sheets, but they will make a difference in the price tag.
Instead of choosing sheets that have very high thread counts, choose sheets that have been made using high-quality fabrics and have lower thread counts for a similar. When too many threads have been packed into a fabric, it can stile the airflow and make the sheets hotter and less breathable.
Sometimes fabrics that have high thread counts of above 800, have used lower-quality threads, which have been double or triple plied. Because there are two or three fibres in each thread, the thread count is doubled or tripled. This means that a sheet made with triple-ply threads that has a 900 thread count, could be of poorer quality than a sheet with a 300 thread count made with high-quality threads.
What About Low Thread Counts?
When you are buying bed sheets, thread counts below 200 should be avoided just like extra-high counts. Unless you are buying linen sheets, which are fine in lower counts. When a sheet is made with fewer threads, it means it is loosely woven and can feel rough and even have holes. It could also mean that the sheet was made with very thick yarn that will not feel soft or comfortable against your skin.
When Is It Important to Look at the Thread Count?
If you are looking to buy 100% cotton sheets made with a single-ply weave, you should definitely look at the thread count. With these sheets, a higher count is likely to mean that the sheet was made with fine, smooth yards rather than with coarser, thicker strands. However, you still shouldn’t look at the thread count alone when deciding on the best sheets for you.
When Can You Ignore the Thread Count?
If the sheets are not made with single-ply weaves, then it means they were made with multiple-ply yarns and the thread count will not be an accurate indicator of the sheet’s softness.
You can also ignore the thread count if the sheet is a polyester or polyester-cotton blend. Polyester is a manufactured material and the threads can be super thin, increasing the thread count to thousands.
What Else Should You Consider When Buying Sheets?
As we have mentioned already, you should not base your decision to buy a bed sheet on the thread count alone. The other factors, which you should also look at, preferably before the thread count, are the material and the weave.
Bed Sheet Materials
Possibly the most important factor when choosing new bed sheets is the material they are made with. Egyptian cotton bed sheets are considered to be the best sheets when measured on a range of qualities, including durability, breathability, and softness. Egyptian cotton sheets actually improve the more you use and wash them.
Supima cotton sheets are also high-quality bed sheets, made with cotton developed and grown in the United States. Supima cotton sheets are also known as Pima cotton sheets. Other types of cotton include brushed cotton sheets, sometimes called flannel sheets, and polycotton sheets which are a mix of cotton and polyester.
Many people like linen sheets because they are long-lasting. They are also breathable and have great temperature regulation, helping you to keep at a comfortable temperature during your sleep. Silk and bamboo bed sheets are both great options for people who like sheets that help them keep cooler during the night.
Bed Sheet Weaves
Many people might not know that there are different types of weaves used on bed sheets. Percale sheets have a tightly woven weave. They are lightweight, crisp, and cool. Sateen weave has a silkier feel than percale. Luxury bed sheets often have sateen weave because of the luxurious feel of the weave.
Twill, which has a herringbone pattern, is not the smoothest bed sheet option and not as popular as percale or sateen. However, they are very durable sheets. Other weave types, less commonly used in bed sheets, include jersey, and waffle. They are less common because jersey sheets are not very durable and waffle sheets are highly textured.
While knowing the thread count of single-ply cotton sheets is important and can be used as a guide on their softness, thread counts should not be the only quality used when choosing bed sheets. For cotton sheets, look for sheets that have thread counts no lower than 200 and no higher than 600. If cotton sheets have a thread count higher than 600, they could be made with a lower-quality yarn that has been plied multiple times.
If you are buying linen sheets, the thread count is lower than for cotton sheets. For silk sheets, look at the momma count, and for flannel, jersey, and microfiber sheets, look at the GSM count.
Before you look at the thread count, focus on the material you want when shopping for bed sheets. Egyptian and Pima cotton sheets are generally considered the most comfortable and best-quality sheets there are. You also need to look at the weave type as some weaves are stronger and softer than others. Then you can have a look at the thread count of the sheet.
Frequently Asked Questions
The thread count is calculated by counting the number of vertical and horizontal threads in a square-inch piece of fabric. So if there were 200 vertical and 200 horizontal threads, the piece would have a thread count of 400.
However, sometimes a fabric can have strands that are woven together in, for example, two or three plies, and each ply is counted separately. This can give it a higher thread count without improving the quality.
For Egyptian cotton sheets, a thread count of 300 to 400 is generally the best. However, if you are looking for the softest Egyptian cotton sheets, those with a thread count between 300 and 360 are most likely to be the best.
You might sometimes see thread counts as high as 2,000 on bed sheets. It is best to avoid these sheets as the numbers have likely been inflated by using multiple plies of lower-quality threads to achieve a higher count.
You can use the thread count as an indicator of the softness of bed sheets. Generally, sheets that have a thread count from 200 to 400 are the best. Below two hundred and the sheets are likely to be rough, over 600 and the number is likely to be inflated using multiple plies. Use the thread count together with other qualities such as the weave and the material to determine the quality, softness, and comfort of a bed sheet.