What is a good thread count for bed sheets?

Written by cindi pearce
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If you are in the market for luxuriously soft bed sheets, select a sheet that is made out of 1-ply thread with a yarn size between 18.1 and 45.4 Kilogram a yard and that features a thread count between 180 and 420, according to Selectcomfort.com. Thread count refers to the number of warp (vertical) threads and the number of weft (horizontal) threads in 1 square inch of fabric. However, Consumer Reports notes that some manufacturers use "creative math" to boost the thread count, so keep that in mind. Also note that the softness of a sheet depends on the weave every bit as much as it depends on a fine thread count.

Warp and Weft

Cotton is woven into a fabric and the number of threads that are used in weaving are counted by the square inch. If you have a sheet with a thread count of 180, that means there is a weave of 80 horizontal threads (weft) and 100 vertical threads (warp) per square inch. However, the thickness of the thread that is used must also be taken into consideration. The finer the thread, the more threads there will be per square inch, which will give the sheet a higher thread count.

The Higher, The More Delicate

The higher the thread count, the more delicate and thin the fibres will be, so a high thread count doesn't necessarily mean that it's a better product. You have to also take into consideration "ply". A 2-ply doubles the thread count and makes the cotton heavier, which isn't necessarily your goal.


Single-ply uses a single thread, whereas two-ply fabric is constructed out of twisting yarns together before weaving occurs. Two-ply doubles the thread count. Consequently, if you have a one-ply sheet with a thread count of 100 that is comparable to a two-ply with a count of 200.


If you can afford it, you can buy sheets with thread counts as high as 800 or 1,000 threads, but perfectly satisfactory sheets can be found that have a 180 thread count. If you see the term "percale" that means there is a thread count of at least 100.

Pure Linen Versus Cotton

If you want pure linen sheets rather than cotton, a thread count of 100 is absolutely fine because linen has thicker fibres.

You Decide

In general, a thread count of 200 to 220 is considered a good thread count, according to Missourifamilies.org, whereas a 230 to 280 thread count is considered better and 300 to 400 is top of the line, which is going to cost you some money. However, not everyone agrees that a higher thread count necessarily results in a better sheet. You will have to decide for yourself.

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