Why Thread Count Does and Doesn’t Matter

Comforter Sets

Perhaps one of the most-used quality indicators for sheets is the thread count. The prevailing idea about the thread count is that the higher its value, the better the quality of your fabric. Because of this idea, bedding-manufacturers often brag about high thread counts as a marketing ploy for consumers to think their products are of the hest qualityigh.

While having a high thread count does figure into the softness of the fabric and can be an indicator for quality, it is only so for a certain extent. The thread count most definitely impacts the quality and softness of the sheets. However, the numbers can be misleading as certain manufacturers often do “magic math” to show they have a high thread count.

Thread Count Defined

A piece of fabric is made by weaving threads together. These can be made by weaving vertical threads, called warps, and horizontal threads, called wefts, together to form a fabric. A thread count is then calculated by tallying the number of the warps and wefts together per square inch of material.

Higher thread counts indicate that more threads are woven together in order to form the fabric. This is possible through the use of smaller pieces of thread. Because of this, the thread count can be an indication of softness and quality, as well as an indication of how the sheets will wear over time.

Thread Count as a Quality Indicator

Having a thread count above 200 is considered to be good quality. And by looking at the number of threads that can fit into a single square inch of bedding fabric, 400 is likely the maximum number it can reach. This means that thread counts between 200 and 400 are products of high quality. A thread count higher than 400 strongly indicates the usage of multiple ply threads to create the fabrics.

Typically, manufacturers make use of single-ply threads in the weaving of fabrics. However, in order to achieve higher thread counts, some manufacturers nowadays make use of double-ply or even triple-ply threads in weaving fabrics. Each ply is then counted as a single strand, which means double-ply threads count as two, and triple-ply threads count as three.

One big caveat of having thread counts this high, however, is that they do not really create softer and higher quality fabrics. In fact, they can even result in sheets that are stiff, heavy, and may not hold up over time.

Quality Indicators to Look Out for Alternatively

As a quality indicator, thread count can be a good factor to be on the lookout for, in conjunction with other factors, namely: the material, the weave, the length of the fiber, and, of course, the price.

When looking for quality sheets, be sure to look at all the other factors that contribute to the overall quality of your sheet. Remember that you spend 33% of your day in bed, and a good quality sheet spells the difference between a heavenly time, or 8 hours of tossing and turning.


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