Sheet Thread Count: What Does it Mean?

Sheet Thread Count: What Does it Mean?

Sheet Thread Count: What Does it Mean?

Buying a high-quality mattress from Mattress Warehouse is just the beginning of a good night’s sleep. What you put on that mattress is also important for sleep hygiene.

“Thread count” is a term commonly used when discussing sheets. It’s often used as a shorthand term to describe the quality of a sheet set. But what does thread count mean? And how much should you trust it to tell you about the quality of a bed sheet?

What Does Thread Count Mean for Sheets?

Bed sheets usually advertise a certain thread count. Thread count is the number of threads in a square inch of the sheet’s fabric. The tighter the weave, the more threads can fit inside a square inch, so the higher the thread count. High thread counts have often been associated with higher-quality sheets that are softer and more durable. 

What is a Good Thread Count for Sheets?

Since sheets are made with different materials that are woven differently (we’ll get into the details of this more below), “good” thread count can vary. In some cases, a well-made bed sheet made with good materials might have a lower thread count than lower-quality sheets with higher thread counts.

In general, we recommend staying above a thread count of 200. Anything less is likely to feel less comfortable. After a 600 thread count, you probably won’t feel much of a difference if you continue to go up in thread count. 

Be mindful of companies that advertise very high thread counts, like 1,000 or more. There’s not that much of a difference in feel for these ultra-high thread counts. They’re usually made with multiple fibers wrapped together to create an artificially high thread count that might be made from poor-quality materials. Additionally, these claims are not always accurate and may be used to price the sheets higher than average.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common materials for sheets and what a “good” thread count means for each of them.

Cotton Percale

Percale sheets have a looser weave, making them lighter and more breathable. The average thread count for cotton percale is about 180, while a high-quality percale will have a 250-300 thread count.

Cotton Sateen

Sateen sheets are made with a denser weave, resulting in a heavier fabric. The average thread count is about 250-300, while a high-quality sateen sheet will have a 300-600 thread count.


Bamboo sheets are popular for their cooling effects. As with cotton sheets, weave matters when it comes to thread count. Most bamboo sheets fall in the 250-350 thread count range but may go as high as 400-500. The higher the thread count, the denser the sheets and the less cooling they’ll be for hot sleepers. 

Is a Higher Thread Count Always Better?

A very low thread count can be poorly woven and prone to holes and tears. It may feel threadbare when you sleep on it. As you shop, look at thread count in relation to the sheet’s other qualities. The thread count should be consistent with the rest of the sheet’s construction so that it all works together to form a good, long-lasting sheet.

What Else Contributes to Sheet Quality?

As we’ve seen, thread count is only one factor you need to consider when shopping for bed sheets. Some sheets are designed to keep you cool at night and wick away sweat. Some are made to be ultra-soft. 

As you look at the advertised thread count, here’s what else to keep in mind.


Most sheets are made from woven fabrics, but thread count usually only applies to cotton or bamboo sheets. As you shop, look for materials that will give you the most comfort:

  • Cotton sheets are breathable, soft, durable, and good for year-round comfort
  • Bamboo sheets are breathable, smooth, easy to care for, and good for warm sleepers
  • Linen sheets are made with thicker fibers than cotton but stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter 
  • Jersey sheets are breathable, soft, and wick away moisture
  • Silk sheets are measured by weight, not thread count, and are known to be gentle on the skin and remarkably smooth
  • Flannel sheets are also measured by weight and are great for cold sleepers or throughout the winter


As we’ve touched on earlier, the way the sheets are made will contribute greatly to their quality. The weave of the sheets will affect how they feel. Percale is a loser weave that provides exceptional breathability to the sheets. It means a lower thread count, but quality percale construction made with good materials will give you high-quality sheets.

Sateen is a denser weave. As such, a thread count that’s too high can mean tougher sheets that don’t feel very soft. 

Staple Length

What is staple length when it comes to bed sheets? This refers to the length of the cotton fibers that make up a chunk (or “boll”) of raw cotton. Cotton staples are divided into short, long, and extra-long sizes. Short staples are used for things like denim and cotton beauty products. Long staple fibers are used to make soft bed sheets. When sheets are made with extra-long staple fibers, they’re considered very high quality.

Stitching and Seams

A high-quality bed sheet will be well-stitched with good seams that don’t fall apart with the first wash. The materials and construction of your sheets should include reinforced seams and careful stitching that can stand up to the normal wear and tear of bed sheets for as long as possible.

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Don’t trust your Mattress Warehouse mattress to just any bed sheets! Shop sheetings and bedding from Mattress Warehouse today for the highest quality from our most trusted manufacturers.
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