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What Is Thread Count?

By Tanvir Chowdhury
Sateen sheet set and duvet cover set on bed

When it comes to buying quality sheets, we’ve all heard that the higher the thread count, the better the sheet. Many people have probably asked themselves the question, “what is a good thread count for sheets?” Some bedding companies sell sheets with 700, 900 and even 1,500 thread count in an effort to prove that they offer the most luxurious sheets. But when it comes to quality and comfort, high thread count is not quite as meaningful as many people think. 

While thread count is certainly something to be considered if you’re in the market for some new sheets, higher thread count doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality. In order to produce a higher thread count, manufacturers are required to double or triple the number of threads used. They do this by using thinner strands of fabric, which makes the sheets more susceptible to breaks and tears. So in order for companies to reach the high thread count that people are looking for, they end up producing sheets that are lower in quality- the exact opposite of what you want!

If high thread count is a marketing gimmick, what’s the best way to find durable, comfortable, high-quality sheets? In this post, we’ll discuss the meaning of thread count, how much it actually matters (not as much as you may think), and what other quality measures you’ll want to watch out for when you’re shopping for bed sheets. 


What Is Thread Count?

Thread count is the number of threads per square inch of fabric. The thread quality is something that needs to be considered when looking at thread count. Sheets may have a thread count of 300 with thick, sturdy threading, while another set of sheets could have a thread count of 900 using thinner, lower quality threads.

For example, a 300 thread count sheet consists of 150 vertical threads and 150 horizontal threads woven together. Now, consider a 900 thread count sheet. It also has 150 horizontal threads and 150 vertical threads woven together, but to reach the higher count, bedding manufacturers must use multi-ply yarn. Each thread in a 900 thread count sheet consists of three thinner strands of thread twisted together into a single ply. 


How Does Thread Count Affect Quality?

Having a higher thread count can affect quality, but not in the way you may think. Multi-ply threads create three comfort problems for sleepers. One, they allow for less airflow, which makes the sheets less breathable and traps in heat. This can be especially problematic for “hot” sleepers who tend to overheat, making it hard to maintain a comfortable temperature while sleeping. Two, a higher thread count can make sheets feel heavier and scratchier against your skin, leaving many struggling to get comfortable when settling in for the night. Three, multi-ply threads tend to be less durable and more likely to break and pull. This is because the thinner threads typically come from low-quality fibers.

Most bedding enthusiasts agree that the ideal thread count is between 200 and 400. Sheets that fall into this thread count range are more likely to be made from a single-ply thread with a weave that is both breathable and durable, creating sheets that are more likely to stand the test of time, both in quality and comfort. Sheets clocking in at less than 200 may be too thin for comfort, while those over 400 likely use multi-ply threads that cut corners on quality and are more likely to wear out faster than other sheets. 


What Really Matters When Buying Sheets

If you’re looking for the highest quality, most comfortable and softest sheets, consider the material and the length of the fiber. Long-staple and extra long-staple cotton such as Supima or Egyptian,  Are both fabric types well known for producing incredibly soft sheets, while also staying strong, durable and long-lasting.

Organic cotton is naturally durable without harsh dyes and additives. Both of these have the potential to irritate your skin, something you certainly want to avoid if you’re in the market for new bed sheets. You may be wondering what the best thread count for sheets is? All Ela Lane sheets are made from 100 percent organic long-staple cotton. Our percale and sateen sheets are 300 thread count, which we think is the perfect thread count for a comfortable night’s sleep. We prioritize using only the safest materials and high-quality fabrics to give you peace of mind and incredible comfort with your bedding. Try them for yourself and you’ll see what we mean. 

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