Which bed sheet thread count is best?
Bed sheet thread count can be a confusing subject, complicated by plenty of outdated and misleading information. The idea that high thread count means high quality while low thread count means low quality doesn’t hold up on close examination. An example of highly rated bed sheets with an optimal thread count is this Threadmill Home Linen 100% Egyptian Cotton 400 Thread Count 4-Piece Jacquard Bed Set.
What to know about bed sheet thread count
Understanding thread count
For many years, high thread count has been used as a marketing tool to sell sheets. But the best bed sheet thread count varies depending on the type of material used, whether it’s cotton, linen, bamboo or something else. True sheet quality is better determined by a combination of factors, including thread count, as well as weave and fiber quality.
The choice of weave is often as much about personal preference as it is sheet quality.
- Plain combed cotton uses a 1:1 weave (meaning one vertical thread for every one horizontal thread).
- Percale is another 1:1 weave but uses higher-quality, long-fibered cotton with a thread count of 225 or more.
- Sateen sheets use a 1:3 weave to give them a softer, heavier feel that’s better for cooler nights.
You count the threads in a weave to get the thread count number. More threads within the same square-inch area make for a tighter weave and a higher thread count. However, many manufacturers pad the thread count with double- or triple-ply threads. This elevates the thread count number without improving the quality of the sheet or weave, making comparisons of thread count misleading.
Material and fiber quality
Every type of fabric has its own pros and cons, and different fabrics need to be treated differently to take advantage of their unique characteristics. You wouldn’t want high thread count linen sheets, for example, as this would make the fabric too heavy and take away the classic breathability of linen.
What thread count to look for in quality bed sheets
Thread count by fabric
The only time thread count really matters is when you’re doing a one-to-one comparison of 100% cotton single-ply weaves. If you’re seeing thread count numbers above 600, you can be skeptical of whether the sheets are truly single-ply or 100% cotton.
- Cotton: Look for single-ply sheets in the range of 300 to 500. If you’re looking for a superior cotton sheet, Egyptian and Pima cotton are the way to go. Sateen weaves tend to be a bit higher in thread count than percale weaves, but choosing one over the other is a matter of personal preference rather than sheet quality.
- Flannel and knits: Cotton flannel sheets and knit sheets are typically marketed more by weight than by thread count.
- Linen: Linen sheets are more loosely woven for cool breathability, with a thread count in the range of only 80 to 150.
- Silk: Silk sheets are usually measured by weight rather than thread count.
- Bamboo: Bamboo sheets are best with a thread count of 250 to 350.
How much you can expect to spend on bed sheets with a decent thread count
Cotton sheet sets in the best thread count range of 300-500 can be found for under $10, but if you want higher quality, you need to pay attention to other factors as well. You’ll find Egyptian or Pima cotton sheets starting around $40 and going as high as $300 or more.
Bed sheet thread count FAQ
Why do cotton sheets pill?
A A “pill” is a small knot of fiber that forms on the surface of the fabric. With lower-quality fibers, pilling can start to happen right away or when sheets are washed. Most fabrics will pill eventually, but the problem is worse when shorter fibers are used — as in lower-quality cotton or cotton-polyester blends. Longer-fibered Egyptian and Pima cottons pill less.
How often should you buy new bed sheets?
A Generally, bed sheets need to be replaced every two to three years. Higher quality bed sheets can last longer. You should wash your sheets at least once a week.
What are the best bed sheets with a decent thread count to buy?
Top bed sheet thread count
Threadmill Home Linen 100% Egyptian Cotton 400 Thread Count 4-Piece Jacquard Sheet Set
What you need to know: This reasonably priced sheet set includes a fitted sheet, top sheet and two pillowcases.
What you’ll love: 100% Egyptian cotton is great for durability and comfort. The set is available in a range of colors to match your bedroom.
What you should consider: While highly reviewed by most customers, some have experienced quality control issues with their sheets coming apart at the seams.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top bed sheet thread count for the money
Easeland 400 Thread Count Cotton Bed Sheet Set
What you need to know: This highly rated sheet set is available at a bargain price and includes a fitted sheet, top sheet and pillowcases.
What you’ll love: While not Egyptian or Pima cotton, these sheets use long staple cotton yarns for durability and strength. They’re soft and smooth with medium weight and maximum breathability for warm nights.
What you should consider: Customers really seem to love these for the price, with just a few complaints about durability.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Pure Parima 100% CEA Certified 400 Thread Count Egyptian Cotton Sheet Bed Set
What you need to know: On the higher end of the price scale, these 400 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets feature extra-long fibers for durability.
What you’ll love: The sateen weave makes these soft and smooth, while the thread count of the cotton still allows for breathability. The sheets are double hemmed. A variety of color options are available.
What you should consider: This sheet set is more expensive than others, but they’re made to last.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Michael Ray writes for Best Reviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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