What (Actually) is the Best Thread Count for Sheets?
When it comes to the best thread count for sheets, we often think that the higher the thread count, the better. But it turns out, this isn't actually the case, and high thread counts are actually more of a marketing gimmick than an indicator of quality bedding.
To help you choose your perfect bedding, we're sharing a thread count guide that will explain everything you need to know about thread count including what thread count actually means, whether or not it's important, and what actually is the best thread count for sheets.
What is thread count?
Before we look at what the best thread count is, let's talk about what thread count really means. Thread count is the number of yarns per square inch. Yarn is woven in both directions, so if a piece of cotton has 100 yarns running lengthwise and 100 threads running widthwise, it has a thread count of 200.
But are high thread count sheets really better?
We're often told that a higher thread count is better because it means the fabric is softer. If you can fit more yarns into a square inch, it means the fibres must be a lot finer, creating a softer fabric.
To an extent, high thread count can good, but there are a few things to consider. The first is that the quality of the yarns is more important that the number of yarns. Just because there is a high quantity of yarns, doesn't mean the quality of the fibres is high.
The second is that different weaves will have different thread counts, so simply using a thread count number doesn't give you an accurate picture.
And finally, you should be wary of really high thread counts (we see you, 1500 thread count sheets!) because in this case, individuals fibres are often split to increase thread count, making the overall fabric weaker.
When does thread count matter?
The only time thread count should even factor into your bedding decision making process is with cotton sheets. For anything other than cotton bedding, thread count is generally just a marketing gimmick. For polyester bedding, for example, fibres can be manufactured to be made so fine that they can advertise a very high thread count, but the quality is likely not there.
In the case of linen bedding, the fibres are generally thicker, so they bedding will likely have a lower thread count even with very high quality bedding.
What is the best thread count for sheets?
If we are talking about cotton bedding, thread count can still be a factor in choosing good bedding, but again, higher isn't always better. We recommend a thread count between 300-600, depending on the weave, and anything above that can be chalked up to a marketing ploy and avoided.
Sateen sheets vs Percale sheets thread count
Two of the most popular cotton bedding sheets (and the ones that we carry at Delara) are sateen and percale, and due to the variations in weave, you'll look for a different thread count.
Percale sheets feature a one over one under weave (making them lighter, crisper, and more breathable), which sateen sheets feature a two over one under weave (making them smoother with a slight sheen). So a percale sheet will naturally have a higher thread count, and this is due to the weave, not the quality.
How to choose the best bed sheets
By now, it's probably pretty clear that thread count isn't an important factor in the quality of your bedding, so what should you look for when choosing the best bed sheets?
The number one thing to look for when you're choosing bedding is the quality of the fabric. This means looking less at the thread count, and more at the material itself.
At Delara, all of our bedding is made from Fair Trade, 100% organic cotton, so you know you're getting bedding made from ultra high quality, eco-friendly materials. Rather than prioritizing thread count, we focus on making our bedding out of clean materials that are soft to the touch and easy on the environment.
The result? Soft, cozy, breathable bedding that's free from the chemicals you'll find on most commercially produced bed sheet.