What is Thread Count? Does Thread Count Really Count

What is Thread Count? Does Thread Count Really Count

For a good night’s rest, you need soft sheets of the best quality. Most people think that high-quality bed sheets have the maximum thread count. Thread count in bed sheet means the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. People believe that thread count also determines the durability of the bedsheet. But can it be said that a bed sheet is of superior quality only because of its high thread count? Is there a need to take other factors like the weave of the fabric and the manufacturer into account before deciding if the bedsheet is of the best quality?  

Keep reading to know the true test of quality in bedsheets.  

Overview: What is thread count?  

Take a piece of fabric and examine it. You will make a horizontal and vertical weave of thread or yarn. Well! The number of threads or yarn in a square inch of cloth is its thread count. Many people believe that the fabric’s softness depends on its thread count. The general idea here is a high thread count means a softer bed sheet, while a fabric with a lower thread count is coarser. But then again, is that a myth or a fact? What about the fabric weave and quality? Do they affect the bed’s softness?  

Let us analyse that also.   

What is the Best Thread Count for Sheets?  

Quality, comfortable sheets can be found with thread counts ranging from 200 to 800 and beyond. No magic number is the perfect thread count. That being said, there are generally acceptable ranges for various quality sheets.  

At a minimum, look for sheets with an advertised thread count of 200, as anything lower than that will likely not feel as soft and may result in a less comfortable sleeping experience.  

The fabric type and weave make a difference in the best thread count for sheets.  

Is a Higher Thread Count Good?  

Ideally, sheets with thread counts ranging between 300 to 500 are of good quality, depending on their fibre content and construction. If the fabric's thread count is over 300 and less than 500, you can only sometimes say that it is of the best quality if it is of an inferior weave.  

These weaves are softer, thicker, and durable. You may wash and use them multiple times, and they may still be good to use. But does that mean they are of the best quality? No, it does not because the manufacturers achieve a higher thread count by weaving multiple yarns together, which ruins the fabric and brings down its quality. Keeping this in mind, a higher thread count implies higher durability but cannot always guarantee quality. So here, it is not only the thread count that matters.  

What if the Thread Count is below 180?  

Let us understand this better with an example.  

Hold the sheet against light, and you’ll know exactly what I am trying to get at.  

You will see light rays coming through the weaves of the fabric, and they do not wear well for regular use. In addition, bed linen with a thread count of less than 150 will not stand the test of time or multiple machine washes.  

But when it comes to fabric, you cannot generalise and say that it is of better quality or lesser quality by judging only by the thread count. Continue reading the article to understand why.  

Yes, a piece of fabric with a 180-thread count is indeed lower in thread count. But it is unfair to say that such fabrics are of inferior quality depending only on the thread count. Do you know why?  

If a manufacturer perfects the weave of fabric with thread counts ranging from 180 to 200 threads count, it will not remain coarse to touch. It will be even softer than fabric having a thread count of 500 or more. Here the finishing makes all the difference in proving its superiority.  

Another crucial point here is that manufacturers use a more mechanical finish and reduce the number of chemicals in making bed linen out of fabrics whose thread count is lower than 200. The fabric is much stronger and does not wear off easily. For this reason, you should invest in a bed sheet that has a thread count of 200 or lesser. Many well-known brands manufacture and market bed sheets of this kind. Customers are comfortable with these sheets because they are available at reasonable rates.  

If the bed sheet’s durability, softness, brand name, and price determine its quality, you can say that these sheets are of the best quality available at a reasonable price.  

When does thread count really matter?  

Thread count really matters for 100% cotton sheets with single-ply weaves. A higher thread count could indicate that smooth, fine yarns were used instead of thicker, coarser strands in this case. However, thread count should not be the sole deciding factor when purchasing sheets, and it may not always be applicable.  

Does thread count make a difference?  

A piece of fabric with a 180 thread count is the most "quality" bed sheet with a thread count of 180 or above – some others could even have up to 1000.  

However, it's vital to understand the 180 TC bedsheet meaning. The thread count refers to the number of horizontal and vertical threads per square inch of fabric. So, a 180 TC cotton means that the sheet would have 180 threads running horizontally and 180 vertically in one square inch of the fabric.  

Like thread count, the weaving technique also matters. Depending on the weave, the fabric may be sateen, percale, or linen. And they differ in texture — Sateen is smooth and shiny while percale is soft and crisp.  

Also, satin and sateen differ– satin is made of fibres like silk, polyester, or nylon (or a blend of all three), whereas the raw material for sateen is cotton. The weaving technique gives it a smooth texture and a shiny, lustrous look.  

A “ply” is sometimes a better measure of quality than thread count. It indicates how the manufacturers achieve the desired thread count. A ‘single-ply’ denotes a thread made with only one strand, but for a ‘two-ply,’ two strands of yarn must be twisted together to make one thread. But the higher, the better, is not always the correct parameter to decide to buy bedsheets. Though it sounds fantastic, a thread count of 800 and above needs to be double-checked for authenticity. Sometimes, use the ‘multi-ply’ technique to weave the threads together. Unfortunately, that makes the fabric thick and coarse. Such a blend can be more harmful than beneficial— it damages the cloth.  

Weavers may weave a cloth of 600 thread count by using 300 two-ply threads. So, when it comes to a multi-ply fabric, many strands are twisted together to make a single thread – which is not preferable.  


When buying bed linen, it is advisable to look for the thread count while also considering other factors like fabric, weave, and trust in the brand.  

Bed sheets with a thread count between 180-300 are excellent quality, and a thread count between 300-500 make up the luxurious lot. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Does thread count really matter? 

Thread count can be a factor in determining sheet quality, but it is not the sole indicator. Other factors like fabric, weave, and brand reputation also play a crucial role in the softness and durability of bed sheets. 

2. Is 1000 thread count real? 

Yes, 1000 thread count sheets are real and available in the market. However, extremely high thread counts may not always guarantee superior quality and comfort. Factors like fabric type and weaving technique also influence the overall feel of the sheets. 

3. Is 1500 thread count real? 

Yes, 1500 thread count sheets are real and exist. Similar to 1000 thread count sheets, extremely high thread counts may not always result in the best quality sheets. It's important to consider other factors like fabric and ply to assess the sheet's overall comfort and durability. 

4. Which is better 200 or 400 thread count? 

Both 200 and 400 thread count sheets can be of good quality depending on their fibre content and construction. Generally, a thread count ranging from 300 to 500 is considered good quality. However, the softness and comfort also depend on the fabric type and weaving technique used, so it's essential to consider all factors when choosing sheets. 

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