What’s the best thread count for sheets? If you’ve ever been sheet shopping, then chances are that you’re well aware of the term “thread count”.
Anyone who has ever dealt with the frustration of misunderstanding what sort of sheet they’re looking for, what size to get and ultimately buying the wrong one, etc., knows this.
To be fair, there actually isn’t really one truly correct answer.
Thread count is a basic necessity for sheets and for their levels of comfort, but what does it mean exactly and why is it so important? Well, we’re going to discuss it here today. So sit back, get comfy and read on as we dive into the importance of thread count for sheets and which is precisely the best one to get.
It’s not rocket science that tells us that sleep quality is directly related to the quality of the bedding we use. Sure, some people can sleep far more easily than others in just about any situation or location.
(Some of us here are actually quite envious of anyone who can doze off on an airplane.) The quality of bedding material is in direct connection to the quality of sleep.
So what can your bedding tell you about your sleep? Or rather what is your sleep telling you about your bedding? Maybe you weren’t aware of how truly important high-quality sheets can be for rest. Simply put, the better your bedding, the better your rest will be.
What IS Thread Count?
Sheet making is a highly ancient and mastered technique and practice we humans have been developing since well over five thousand years ago.
Some of the first and finest sheets were actually woven by the clever Egyptians.
They were absolute geniuses when it came to what they slept on. Naturally, the heat of the day is exhausting and cooling down at night is imperative. So when it came to cooling sheets, they had themselves covered—pun intended.
Thread count developed back then isn’t too dissimilar to thread count we have today.
Basically, it’s the total number of yarn strands per square inch of fabric. So yes, a higher thread count is typically definable as a very high quality and comfortable sheet.
However, what you may not realize is that there’s actually more to a good sheet than just a high thread count.
So What Else Is There to Sheets?
We’re so glad you asked. What’s the best thread count for sheets? The number depends, actually.
Researchers took several different kinds of sheets and tested them thoroughly in blind runs using both 500 and 1000 thread count sheets of different brands.
Surprisingly, both sheets came back equal in terms of softness and comfort.
The 1000 count sheet also seemed to be slightly less wrinkled out of the dryer with a firmer grip on the mattress than the 500 count. This means that honestly, anything around 300 to 500 is going to be a relatively good fit for a sheet, as well as decent comfort level for you.
Does Thread Count Matter?
Yes, it does. But really only with fitted cotton sheets. This is a very common type of sheet for a multitude of reasons. For one thing, being so light and airy, they’re a wonderful breathing sheet at night. They’ll keep you cooler than something like thickly woven silk sheets, which are designed to trap heat in.
They’re also typically better for your skin and breathing at night due to the increased air-flow. These sheets are so versatile that it’s actually acceptable to straight-up ignore the thread count where they’re concerned, whereas other sheets demand you pay attention to their counts. Here are a few examples of sheets where the thread counts should probably be paid closer attention to.
Linen and Silk Sheets
These are highly popular sheets for those with a more romantic interest in sleeping, since silk is a very luxurious and soft material.
Thus, it’s quite tempting for people looking for that extra soft smoothness in their bedding. The problem with these fabrics is the fact that thread counts actually don’t truly exist in their make as they do with materials like cotton.
Linen is almost always going to have a lower thread count because the threads are extremely thick, which also makes them much warmer and less airy.
Similarly, silk is actually a very thin thread that is woven together supremely tightly. This means that rather than thread counts, silk fabrics are usually measured by weight, which is far from accurate.
Flannel and Knits
You might have a pair of flannel or knitted pajama pants at home that you like to hack around in after a long day. You’ve probably noticed how warm they are as you wear them for long stretches of time.
Like silk, flannel fabrics are sold by weight instead of thread count due to their tightly woven, thick nature. This is what makes them so warm, often times a little too warm, especially for bedding.
As for knitting fabrics, they may be made from similar material, but they have an entirely different type of construction from the other fabrics.
This makes it extremely difficult to count the threads that are woven into them. Hence, they’re not really appropriate for bedding, to begin with honestly, but to each their own.
The Best Sheets
There’s a reason that cotton is the most popular type of sheet on the market. When it comes to the best kinds of sheets to buy, the most popular (and often most expensive brands) will all have a few things in common.
The first thing is their fiber content. Premium cotton sheets such as Egyptian or Pima cotton are considered very high-grade material, as well as much softer, more comfortable, and far more durable.
It’s such a popular spectrum of cotton in fact that many companies have taken to mislabeling their sheets as either Egyptian or Pima in order to get away with raising prices.
Then we have cotton/polyester blends which are slightly more affordable, albeit at the cost of some of that classic natural feel. Pure polyester sheets are popular for their super soft feel and ability to wick away any sweat that falls on them.
The best sheets are going to be the ones that have the best ability to keep you both comfortable and cool at night while you’re trying to sleep.
Regardless of the fact that our bodies tend to naturally cool down while we’re asleep, we still actually can’t sleep unless we get cool and then stay that way throughout the night.
Becoming too warm will eventually wake you up and disturb your rest, which doesn’t help anyone. So when you’re looking for new sheets, it’s important to pay attention to the ones that breathe.
Those keep you cool and dry throughout the night, while also keeping you comfortable and soothed. The better your sheets breathe at night, the more restful your night will be as you drift off to sleep wrapped in your blanket.
This is a big factor in sheet weaving and it comes with two major possible options to choose between.
You’ll have the choice of percale or sateen. What do those mean and what does that have to do with the sheet I buy, you might be asking? It actually has a lot to do with it.
First off, percale. This type of weave is a basic, grid pattern that will feel both light and crisp to the touch and tends to be a preferred favorite among common sleepers.
On the other hand, sateen, which may sound like satin to many, and for good reason, has a different effect.
Its weave is mostly consisted of a soft and smooth texture due to its yarns going in one direction floating over several yarns going in the other direction. This is what gives this type of sheet its luxurious feel.
There are lots of other weaves of course, such as the jersey-knit sheets which can have the feel of a T-shirt, for better or worse.
So what’s the best thread count for sheets? Well, what type of weave are you even looking for, for starters?
3- The Winner Is...
Honestly, there is no winner. The thread count of sheets is as relevant as it is irrelevant. Depending on what type of sheet you finally settle on, you may not even need to pay attention to them whatsoever.
So many factors play a part in the decision and it’s really more of an investment than a proper purchase.
The price for better quality sheets is naturally going to climb pretty high, depending on the sheet and the supplier.
It mostly boils down to whatever you know you can afford and are willing to spend.