What is a Good Thread Count for Sheets?

 pure parima egyptian cotton duvet cover


If you’re shopping for the best bedding, then you probably know Egyptian cotton sheets are widely regarded as the softest, most luxurious option on the market. Still, choosing a set of sheets is more complicated than customers may realize. In fact, buyers need to consider a wide range of factors, including quality of cotton, weave, material, and the smallest factor; thread count. Keep reading to discover what is a good thread count for sheets, along with more tips on choosing the best bedding. 

What Is Thread Count?

Stroll the sheet aisles of your local Bed Bath & Beyond or Macy’s, and you’ll see two words emblazoned on all the products: thread count. Long considered a hallmark of quality sheets, thread count refers to the number of threads that fit in a square inch of fabric. And while many of us are taught that higher sheet counts automatically translate to better-quality products, the truth is that you can’t fit more than 800 threads in an inch of fabric. Moreover, retailers claiming to sell sheets with thread counts of 1000 or 1500 are actually inflating their numbers by using cheaper multi-ply thread. 

While 800 threads is the maximum number that can fit in a square inch of fabric, some of the best sheets on the market have only around 400 threads per inch. After all, thread count is a measure of fabric density rather than fabric quality. Sheets made with too many threads (or multi-ply threads) tend to result in thicker, coarser sheets that don’t allow air to circulate. This lack of breathability can cause sleepers to get hot and damp in the night. Rather than focusing on what is a good thread count for sheets, shoppers should pay attention to the cotton type and quality of cotton used, along with the preferred weave when selecting bedding.

Understanding Weave

The weave of your bedding impacts the way it feels against your skin. Most sheets feature either a percale or a sateen weave. Featuring the same number of warp (vertical) and weft  (horizontal) threads, percale has a tight weave that feels cool and crisp against the skin, like the best hotel sheets. Percale with lower thread counts (200-400) tend to be lighter than those with higher counts (400 to 800), though they will also be warmer. In general, Percale is a great choice for those living in hot climates. On the other hand, Sateen sheets have a higher percentage of warp threads. The end result is a buttery-soft feel and a shiny appearance. Sateen is an ideal option for sleepers who love the feel of silk against their skin.

Comparing Bedding Materials

When it comes to bedding materials, cotton is the clear winner. Smooth and breathable, cotton keeps sleepers cooler than synthetic options like polyester or microfiber. It’s also more durable than those sheet materials. As a result, it tends to last longer than other types of bedding.

Still, not all cotton sheets are created equal. Typical cotton features short fibers, which feel rough and scratchy against the body. On the other hand, Egyptian cotton sheets boast extra-long staple fibers because it is grown in the fertile soil of the Nile River Valley. Soft and durable, these fibers result in higher-quality sheets that last for years. Additionally, Egyptian cotton is known for its breathability. Because air can pass through, you don’t have to worry about waking up soaked in sweat on hot summer nights. 

Finding a Good Thread Count for Your Sheets

Clearly, there are multiple factors affecting sheet quality and comfort. However, that doesn’t mean you should discount thread count entirely when purchasing bedding. While there’s no one right answer when it comes to thread count, a recent WireCutter article offers the following recommendations:

Percale: Look for sheets with a thread count between 250 and 500, with higher numbers translating to a denser sheet. 

Sateen: Opt for sheets with a thread count between 300 and 800. Again, higher counts correlate with heavier bedding that might not be as soft to the touch. 

editor's pick best egyptian cotton sheets

Shop Pure Parima’s Egyptian Cotton Sheets 

Tuck Sleep awarded Pure Parima their Editor’s Pick for bedding for the second year in a row! Pure Parima sheets are made with 100% extra long-staple Certified Giza Egyptian Cotton. All of our Egyptian cotton sheets bear the coveted Cotton Egypt Association seal of approval, so you know you’re getting the highest-quality bedding. Light and silky soft, our sheets are perfect for hot sleepers and anyone seeking a superior variety of bedding. Ready to experience the Pure Parima difference firsthand? Shop online today and start sleeping easier. 

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