Best Thread Count For Sheets [Depends on Material]

August 2, 2022 | Casper Editorial Team
illustration of pillow and sheets illustration of pillow and sheets

When you hit the hay at night, nothing beats drifting away to dreamland enveloped by soft sheets on your skin. Your sheet thread count heavily influences your ideal sleep environment. You can’t be expected to get a good night’s rest with scratchy sheets! 

The best thread count for sheets will depend on the material you’re leaning toward — and preference will differ from person to person. 

So how can you find the best thread count for sheets to get great sleep?

Whether you’re part of the 60% of Americans who think a top sheet is essential or you’ve switched over to a duvet cover, we’ll give you the information necessary to find the perfect thread count sheets to fit your sleeping style.

Whether your sleep preferences require a low or thread count, Casper’s selection of sheets has something for everyone. From soft, buttery sateen sheets to breathable, cooling sheets, you’ll love what you find.

What Does Thread Count Mean?

Thread count is an indicator of how soft a sheet is and is determined by the number of threads woven into a square inch of fabric. Thread count is calculated by counting the horizontal threads (wefts) and vertical threads (warps) to get the total number of threads. 

How thread count works

Thread count is an easy way to figure out the general quality of your sheets. A low thread count might mean sheets are rough and cheaply made, while higher thread counts can indicate soft, silky sheets. However, it’s important to remember that thread count is just one factor determining a sheet’s quality. 

What Is the Best Thread Count for Sheets?

So what is the best thread count for sheets? Different sheet materials have varying thread counts, and what might be the ideal thread count for one material could feel like sandpaper for another. Additionally, what thread count is preferable for you might not be what’s preferable for someone else.

Thread count is highly specific to the material of the sheets. Lower thread count materials like bamboo and linen can feel just as soft as higher thread count materials like cotton. Here’s our thread count sheets chart that breaks down ideal thread counts for various sheet materials:

  • Bamboo: 250–350
  • Cotton: 400–600
  • Linen: 80–150
  • Percale Weave: 250–300
  • Sateen Weave: 300–600
Best thread count chart by material

Is Higher Thread Count Better?

Looking for what thread count is softest? While higher thread counts often prompt thoughts of softer sheets, it’s also important to consider the sheets’ durability. Because sheets with ultra-high thread counts are so soft, they usually are less durable than sheets in the mid-range thread count of 400–600.

Additionally, some companies artificially inflate thread count by using double- or triple-ply threads, which is why searching for the highest thread count possible won’t always mean you end up with the best quality sheet.

Long story short: Higher thread count isn’t always better. With cotton, you’ll often see thread counts of 200–800, and anything around the 200 mark likely isn’t the best quality cotton. However, for other materials like linen, more threads can actually make the fabric heavy and less breathable, which is why a lower thread count of 80–150 is the sweet spot.

Other popular sheet materials, like silk, flannel, and jersey, use alternative measurement methods such as momme — which is why thread count shouldn’t be your only deciding factor in determining the best sheets for your bed.

Does Thread Count Matter?

While a higher thread count is usually associated with a higher quality sheet, there are other factors to consider when looking for quality bedding, like weave and fiber quality.

  • Thread count: Thread count is dependent on the type of sheet material, which is why you should look at the ranges of high-quality thread counts for different materials.
  • Weave: Weave, or fabric construction, refers to the finish of a sheet and affects how the sheet feels against your skin. Ranging from a flat plain weave to a silky sateen sheet weave, the weave you choose determines the luster of your sheet.
  • Fiber quality: The fiber content can determine the softness and durability of your sheets. Long fibers allow for lighter weights, meaning sheets will be more breathable and comfortable. Fibers like Pima and Egyptian cotton sheets are generally considered top-tier because of their length, giving them the reputation of being the best material for sheets.
How to determine sheet quality: thread count, weave, and fiber quality.

Weave Types

The weave types are plain cotton, percale, and sateen.

Weave types vary from a flat plain weave to a sateen weave. While there’s no one answer to which weave type is best, understanding the different options can help you make an educated decision about what weave type is best for you.  

Plain Cotton

Plain combed cotton is made with the traditional 1:1 weave method. This type of weave is combed to remove short cotton fibers, leaving only long fibers for durable, strong fabric. Plain combed cotton is the most common type of weave, and although it’s more prone to collecting odors, it can easily be cleaned in a washing machine. 

Percale

Percale Sheets are made with the same 1:1 weave as plain cotton sheets, but percale is only made with high-quality weave material at a thread count of 225 or more. Percale sheets are made of cool, breathable cotton and have a soft, crisp feel that’s great for hot sleepers

Because of the long natural fibers, Percale Sheets feel very smooth and high quality. Additionally, percale sheets boast the benefits of durability and spill resistance. Finally, since percale sheets can be tossed in the washing machine, they’re an excellent choice for a high-quality feel without the work (or the sky-high price tag).

Shop percale sheets

Sateen

Sateen Sheets are made with a 1:3 weave, with one vertical thread woven for every three horizontal threads. This weave creates a silky fabric with a lustrous touch. Because of their buttery soft texture, sateen sheets are wrinkle-resistant and have a heavier feel — making them great for colder climates. This is a key difference to consider when comparing percale vs. sateen sheets.

Shop sateen sheets

GSM vs. Thread Count

GSM vs thread count

While the GSM (grams per square meter) vs. thread count debate is rarely considered, it should be if you want your sheets to last. The GSM value represents the weight in grams of a square meter of the material used to create the sheet. The thread count of your sheets may indicate softness, but it is not the same as the measurement of the GSM, which measures durability.

Simply put, the GSM directly affects your sheets’ texture, quality, and breathability. It is a quick approach to determining the actual thickness of the microfiber sheets. When comparing sheets made of microfiber, it is a more accurate gauge of sheet quality than thread count.

The GSM number might differ significantly across different sheet collections and manufacturers. Today, almost all fabrics have a GSM rating, however, it’s mostly associated with microfiber towels and bedding. Generally speaking, the higher the GSM number, the stronger and more durable the sheets will be. Aim for a GSM of 100 or above.

Picking the Best Thread Count for Sheets

Falling asleep in a soft, cozy bed is one of the best feelings. To make your sleep experience amazing, you want to have the best type of sheets for your needs. Maybe you want the best thread count for cool sheets. Or perhaps you desire a good thread count for winter warmth through the night. To learn how to choose bed sheets, compare the types of bed sheets

While there’s no one answer to the best thread count for sheets, you can determine the right thread count, weave, and fabric for your specific needs. For example, a plain cotton sheet is great for people who like to keep the thermostat low, while sateen might be best if you want to bundle up in cool weather.

Ready to catch some zzz’s? Whether your sleep preferences require a low or high thread count, Casper’s selection of sheets has something for everyone. From soft, buttery Sateen Sheets to breathable, cooling sheets, you’ll love what you find.

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