THREAD COUNT. What makes the best cotton sheet?
Thread Count matters. Although thread count is not the only thing that indicates QUALITY.
What is Thread Count?
Thread Count is the number of threads per 10cm2. So the higher the thread count, the finer the quality of the sheet. It takes long fibres of cotton to make strong but thin threads, and it takes these silky thin threads to make high thread count fabrics.
Higher-thread-count sheets are made with finer (thinner) yarns. The more yarns that fit into a square inch, the smoother, denser, and more durable the fabric. Fine yarn is also more expensive to produce, thus resulting in pricier sheets (and why densely woven sateen is more expensive than percale).
Cheap sheets are made with thicker yarns, resulting in lower thread counts and a rougher feel.
However, it doesn’t matter what the thread count of the sheet is, if the thread itself is of poor quality.
‘It is the thread that counts, not the thread count”
And the best cotton, long staple cotton, which has longer threads of cotton fibre which therefore helps the alternating warp and weft yarns stay smooth and flat, is either certified Egyptian Cotton or Supima Cotton. And that gives you smooth, luxurious sheeting.
When you see counts above 300 for percale or 600 for sateen, that sometimes means the manufacturers are using ply—the number of single threads twisted together in yarn—to artificially inflate the thread count, namely counting two-ply yarns as two yarns instead of one. That means a 500-thread-count sheet made with two-ply yarns might be advertised as 1,000 thread count.
However, Thread Count is a good benchmark of a good quality cotton sheet.
As a general guide, Good Quality Cotton sheets start at about a 250 thread count, while European sheets can go much higher. Combine the thread count with a good long staple cotton, and this should help you choose your beautiful quality cotton sheets.