Many of us turn to the thread count (TC) to judge the quality of sheets. What is the highest thread count for sheets? Is there a good thread count for sheets that everyone should stick with?
There is a common misconception that a higher thread count means a high-quality bed sheet. Since thread count is considered the top indicator of quality, bedding brands have continued to use it as a marketing concept. Unfortunately, there are too many lies and manipulations about thread count and bedsheets.
In this article:
- What is thread count (TC)?
- The highest thread count for sheets.
- Recommendation for a good thread count for sheets.
- Are 1000 thread count sheets good?
- Are 800 thread count sheets good?
- Are 600 & 400 thread count sheets good?
What is Thread Count?
Thread count is the number of strands of fabric woven in a piece of fabric per square inch. It is typically calculated by adding both horizontal and vertical thread in that small area of the fabric. A tightly woven fabric tends to have more threads per square inch thus a higher thread count.
Read Also: Highest Thread Count for All Sheets
The lengthwise threads are called warp while the widthwise threads are known as weft.
Now that we’ve provided an answer to “what does thread count mean?” let’s jump to something related – selected a good TC for your bedding.
When shopping for bed sheets, one needs to consider the number of threads as a means of determining the quality, but this is usually just one of the steps to buying a good bedsheet. Threads per square inch of fabric are just one of the many rather than everything you should know.
The main indicator of the quality of a bedsheet lies in the material used to make the threads.
Some sheets have fewer threads per square inch but the quality of the material would still make it better than a bed sheet with a higher thread count but low-quality fibers.
What is the Highest Thread Count for Sheets?
The highest thread count for sheets is 1,000. Some bedding manufacturers list their sheets to have a 1,500 thread count but these are usually the most questionable fabrics in the category of quality sheets. A TC range of 400 – 700 is often good for most fabrics.
A higher thread count means a heavier and cozier sheet.
If the fabric has fewer strands in each square inch, it will be more breathable.
Quality, breathable fabrics such as bamboo and silk do not have a high TC because the density of strands determines the ability to allow air to circulate in and out of the sheet.
People living in colder climates or are cold sleepers benefit from dense TC because they are less breathable and retain heat.
More often than not, many people wake up in the middle of the night with heavy sweating instead of feeling cold. Therefore, it is common to expect such hot sleepers to be better off with low TC sheets because they are more breathable.
Related: What are Jersey Sheets? Advantages and Disadvantages
What’s a Good Thread Count for Sheets?
A good thread count for sheets is a 200 to 800 range. There can’t be a perfect and exact magic number to tie to all people. Some people prefer light, breathable bedding, which tends to be low TC. Others love heavier and cozier sheets that have a high number of strands per square inch of fabric.
At a minimum, consider sheets that advertisers say are between 200 and 400 in thread count.
Anything lower or higher could be less ideal.
Type of fabric and weave also play a role.
Let us explain this better.
A simple “plain weave” has a one over, one under pattern. Therefore, the quality of such sheets will be about 200 TC.
Contrarily, other sheets like sateen weaves have more tightly woven patterns. Therefore, an average sateen sheet will be about 300 thread counts.
Some of the expected TC ranges for various fabric types are as follows:
- Bamboo: 300-500
- Cotton: 200-400
- Egyptian Cotton: 300-400
- Percale Weave: 200-400
- Sateen Weave: 300-600
Linen has a very low thread count at approximately 80 – 140 and this is quite low. Such should be avoided.
Best Thread Count for Sheets
The best thread count for sheets is 200 – 600, which is a middle-of-the-range of strands for a softer and more comfortable feel. These bedding will wear well and grow softer with more washes. Any ranger between 200 and 800 is largely acceptable.
This range still allows manufacturers to factor in other qualities such as being cozy and breathable.
Excessive threading above 800 is often less likely to be worth the price because the weight and feel are about personal preferences.
Note that as you increase the thread count, bed sheets begin to feel similar. They also have nearly identical performance in terms of keeping a person warm.
When you pack too many threads per square inch of fabric, the outcome is a stifled airflow. The sheet will be much heavier and warmer.
We don’t recommend high thread count sheets for people who sweat a lot at night.
If you live in a cold climate region, an 800, 900, and 1000 TC is ideal but care must be taken to avoid buying a low-quality bed sheet.
There are far too many cases of manufacturers and stores disguising low-quality high TC sheets as true quality sheets.
1000 thread count sheets
1,000 thread count sheets are supposed to be good for cold sleepers. They are heavy and cozy.
However, depending on quality, most high thread count sheets like this could be less breathable. Since air can barely pass across the fibers, the sheets tend to have poor heat control and could cause suffocation.
Fortunately, they are largely luxurious and more comfortable than lower TC sheets.
800 thread count sheets
Some elaborate tests and consumer trials have revealed that bed sheets with thread count>800 often rank lower than those in modest threat counts. This means that TC alone does not always indicate the quality of bedsheets.
It is common to find a 400 TC sheet to be softer a lighter than an 800 TC sheet.
The reason behind this contradictory nature is that higher TC sheets probably involve multiple-ply thread use or sometimes, they could add picks to make them denser and heavier.
600 thread count sheets
A sheet with a 600 thread count is generally good, but it could be just 300 two-ply threads.
Other manufacturers could label a three-ply thread woven 200 to the square inch as a 600 thread count bed sheet. All these indicate that you could find a 400 TC sheet that feels better than a low-quality 600 twisted thread.
Depending on individual needs and budget, this category of TC is not always bad as long as you know what to look for.
400 thread count sheets
A 400-thread count sheet is a good spot for Egyptian cotton. Most fabrics in this range are usually comfortable and well-priced. Assuming that they are made of quality yarns, a 400 to 500 thread count for percale is almost perfect for most people.