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The Joys of Thread Count: What Number is Right for You?

The Joys of Thread Count: What Number is Right for You?

Bed with soft sheets

If you're in the market for new bedding, you're going to see the term "thread count" thrown around quite a bit. But what is it and what number should you look for? Fear not. Here are some quick tips to help you when shopping for new sheets and pillowcases.

What is Thread Count Anyway?

First off, thread count is defined as the number of threads per inch. That number is calculated by adding the amount of warp and weft threads in one square unit of fabric, either a centimeter or an inch. Simple, right? Basically, when you're considering thread count, you're considering the density of the fiber being used.

Learn more about thread count here.

By the Numbers

Now that you have a general idea of how this whole thing works, let's take a look at typical features of thread counts by the numbers.

  • 150 - This number is the industry standard. These typically are cotton but have a rougher feel to them.
  • 150-200 - This range usually is where you see a noticeable difference in texture. Bedding made with a thread count of 180 typically is made with a percale weave and has a soft feel.
  • 200-400 - Bedding that falls in this range is not only soft, but it's also durable. If you're looking to make a long-term investment, anything between 200-400 is ideal.
  • 400+ - Thread counts that exceed 400 tend to have a very plush feeling. The closer you get to 800, the softer and denser your bedding will be.
Stack of bed sheets and pillowcases

Bigger is NOT Always Better

Just because some bedding might have a high thread count prominently displayed on its packaging doesn't mean the product necessarily is better. If a bedding set has an extremely high thread count but is made from a cheap or uncomfortable fabric, you're actually getting more material that is neither durable nor comfortable. 

Also, the difference in density and softness aren't as obvious once you exceed a 400 thread count. For example, you can notice the difference between a 400-thread-count sheet and an 800-thread-count sheet, but you might not notice it between an 800 sheet and one labeled 1,000.

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