Best Thread Count For Sheets (Based on Material)

February 17, 2021 | Casper Editorial Team
illustration of pillow and sheets illustration of pillow and sheets

The perfect environment for sleep varies from person to person. To find your ideal sleep environment, you need to understand what types of bed sheets are right for you by looking at 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. 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, you’re going to want to find the perfect thread count sheets to fit your sleeping style. Keep reading to learn about how thread count works and the best thread count for sheets.

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. 

illustration of thread count with example counts

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 that determines the quality of a sheet. 

Does Thread Count Matter?

While a higher thread count is usually associated with higher quality sheets, 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 weave, the weave you choose determines the lustre 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 are generally considered top-tier because of their length. 
illustration of 3 ways to determine sheet quality

Is Higher Thread Count Better?

While higher thread counts typically mean 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 sheets. 

Long story short: higher thread count isn’t always better. With cotton, you’ll often see thread counts of 200 to 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 80–140 is the sweet spot for linen. 

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. 

What is the Best Thread Count For Sheets?

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 a basic guide of the ideal thread counts you should look for with these various sheet materials:

  • Bamboo: 250–350
  • Cotton: 400–600
  • Linen: 80–150
  • Percale Weave: 250–300
  • Sateen Weave: 300–600
chart of materials and their ideal thread counts

Weave Types

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. 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).

image of percale sheets with CTA to shop 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. 

image of sateen sheets with CTA to shop sheets

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 right sheets for your needs. 

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. Plain cotton sheets are 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? Casper’s collection of quality sheets and mattresses is made to create the perfect bedroom environment for sleep.