What Is Thread Count? How to Choose the Right Sheet Set for You

Female airing out bed sheets

Standing in front of a wall of sheets suddenly becomes a mountain of possibility. 300 or 1000? Then when you touch a small swatch, the 1000 thread count feels rougher, but is more expensive. And what even is a thread count? And why do some materials not have one? 

Never mind wanting to find a specific color to match your bedroom decor and then being overwhelmed with so many choices. 

Below we’ll break down some of the basics regarding sheets and make it easier for you to pick the best for you and your new Gardner mattress. 

Thread Count

Thread count. 200, 500, 6000. What does it all mean? 

First, what is thread count anyways? 

HGTV has this to say about it: “Thread count refers to the number of horizontal and vertical threads per square inch. Generally, the higher the thread count, the softer the sheet, and the more likely it will wear well — or even soften — over time. Good sheets range anywhere from 200 to 800, although you’ll occasionally see numbers over 1,000.”

Second, you want to determine which type of fabric you’re looking for. It will help you figure out the realistic ranges of thread count for that material. Anything above 1000 is probably not actually that thread count but brands can say that without having to back it up. Sometimes manufacturers use weaving tricks to double up the amount of threads so it’s technically a 1000 thread count. It’s unfortunate, but a reality in the intense industry of sheets. 

While picking out sheets less than 200 in thread count wouldn’t be good in terms of softness, but you could safely buy any sheets between 200 to 800. With time sheets become softer with each wash and so it’s great to keep that in mind if the sheets you’ve set your heart on feels a bit rougher in the package. 

Of course, there are some exceptions to the rule. 



The type of material you choose will help you narrow down the thread count range to look for:

Cotton: 200-400

Egyptian Cotton: 300-400. The fibers of Egyptian cotton are longer and finer which produce a softer product once woven. 

Percale Weave: 200-400. Percale is just the type of weave and uses a traditional crisscross pattern. It’s traditional for a reason — it lasts a long time.  

Sateen Weave: 300-600. It may seem confusing especially with the shininess of the fabric and the smoothness of a sateen sheet set, it is not at all related to silk or satin. Sateen is referring to the type of weave and is actually heavier than percale. Sateen weave can actually retain heat, which makes them a great set for winter time. 

Bamboo: 300-500. Bamboo sheets are a great choice for those prone to allergies since it is hypoallergenic and antibacterial. But the bamboo fabric is considered coarse by some and could irritate sensitive skin. 

Linen: 80-140. Thread count is less of a useful indicator for linen sheets and rarely listed. Be suspicious and avoid higher thread counts for linen sheets.

Keep in mind that some fabrics don’t have a thread count. So if you do see a product of silk, microfiber, flannel, or jersey with a thread count, be weary and avoid it. Silk is measured in momme. While the other fabrics are measured in grams per square meter or GSM. 


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