What is Thread Count?

What is Thread Count?


Thread count may be the most coveted subject in regards to sheets. While there are many other things to consider when deciding to purchase a pair of sheets, thread count is by far the leader of the pack. Thread count refers to the amount of threads, both vertical and horizontal, in per square inch of fabric. This article will discuss the basics of thread count and what many of the popular options mean to you the consumer. Please remember though that many do not even consider thread count to be the most important factor when considering sheets. Other factors such as thread quality, yarn size and finishing are considered in front of thread count.

Thread count all depends on the thickness of each individual yarn. Yarn length is also important and Egyptian cotton is notorious for having the longest thread in then world. In fact that is the reason it is so sought after and expensive. A lot of the controversy surround thread count is in reference to ply. Ply refers to single and 2 ply, but in fact there are so many combination’s of the two that make quality sheets that each one should not be judged individually.

Bottom line is that the higher the thread count, the softer the sheets are going to be. Thread count can also interfere with the finish of the sheet. For instance, lets say you are buying flannel sheets, but a high thread count in this finish would ruin the overall appeal of the flannel. Same would go for jersey sheets which are the feel and consistency of t-shirts. Most stores will offer a wide range of thread count and finishes, typically the thread count will run between 180 to 320, except in higher end stores where you can find 1000 count sheets.

Standard quality sheets are considered around 150 thread count and “good” quality tends to begin around 180 thread count. 2oo thread count seems to be the average purchased sheet set. Thread count above 500 tend to be misleading and they are typically plied, but again it can be stressed that the difference between single and 2 ply is negligible depending on other quality factors. As a side note and a bit of personal advice from experience, the higher the thread count, from a standard retailer, will be soft and smooth, but they will also wear much much quicker than your average 200 thread count.

For instance, you might find holes worn in sheets where your feet fall (most likely caused from rubbing your feet together and general movement).


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