The Truth about Thread Count
“Let’s Talk Thread Count”
True or false: Higher thread count equals higher quality bed sheets? If you answered true, that’s no surprise, since most consumers have been led to believe this myth. But the truth about thread count is, “High thread count doesn’t guarantee better sheets,” as reported by Consumer Reports. Before we explain why let’s first define what thread count really means.
What is Thread Count?
Thread count simply refers to the number of horizontal and vertical threads that are woven in one square inch. The misconception has been that the higher the count, the softer the sheet—with some brands touting up to a 1000 thread count.
As Consumer Reports stated: “To get that higher number, manufacturers use thinner strands of fabric twisted together as if they were one. Then they double, triple, or even quadruple the thread count to make the number more attractive to the consumer.”
So, to put it simply, thread count is really about fabric density: the higher the thread count, the denser or heavier the fabric, which does not equate to more comfort—or higher quality. Instead, it may cause the opposite effect, creating sheets that are stiff, heavy, and rough.
The Truth About Thread Count
What has happened in the bedding industry is that manufacturers and their marketing departments have thought up a clever and deceptive gimmick in order to top their competitors by inflating their thread count, as well as giving themselves an excuse to charge consumers higher prices.
But as we have found, the consensus from textile experts is that any thread count over 400 is dubious and consumers should be skeptical, advising that normal sheets generally range from 180 to 400.
Thread Count Guide: What Is the Best Thread Count for Sheets?
Now that we’ve busted the high thread count myth, you might be wondering: What should I be looking for in quality sheets?
Well, one thing to look for is “quality”: the quality of the fabric—the type of fibers being used—and the manufacturing process. Shop from brands you trust—brands who are transparent about what their sheets are made of and how they are made.
When shopping for sheets, ask yourself: What is the material? Is it made from premium natural fibers like cotton and linen, which are durable and breathable?
And ask about the manufacturing process: Are the sheets treated by chemicals that can be harmful to sensitive skin and to the environment?
As for thread count, from our own in-depth research in designing and manufacturing high-end bed sheets, a 400-thread count is optimal for sheets, offering you a medium-weight fabric that’s great for year-round use.