Maybe you’re in the market for some new bed linen and you’d like to treat yourself to something that looks and feels good. And that may last for longer than the cheap sheets you can buy at your local supermarket, on the high street or online.

what is the best thread count for sheets

If that applies, then you need to know all about the best thread count for sheets! Otherwise, how will you know what to look for?

What you also should know is this. Are the highest thread count sheets necessarily the best? Plus, what thread count is ideal for bedding?

If you’re wondering what’s the best thread count for bed sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers, then ponder no more. This guide will tell you all you need to know about finding a good thread count for sheets.

We also look beyond the best thread count for bedding made from cotton. Just as oranges are not the only fruit, cotton is not the only option when it comes to premium quality bed linen. Other choices include synthetics, plus other natural materials like bamboo and silk.

There’s percale and pinzon sheets to consider too. If you want to know what they are - or the answers to all your other burning bedding questions - then read on to find out more. This is what you really need to know about thread counts and bed linen.

So - what is the best thread count for sheets?

To answer this question and work out what you should be buying, let’s break it down by taking an in-depth look at thread counts. With none of the flannel.

What is thread count?

Thread count is a number that reflects how many strands there are per square inch of cotton. Both vertical and horizontal and vertical threads are included in the number, showing buyers how densely woven the fabric is. While this number can indicate better quality, more softness and thus improved comfort, a higher number doesn’t always guarantee this.

What’s the highest thread count?

If you’re shopping for bed linen, then you may well find some sheets, duvet covers and pillowcases with high thread counts. Suspiciously high thread counts, in some cases. Any thread count approaching or over 1,000 is unnecessarily high.

With very high thread counts, more threads may have been crammed in when the fabric is woven. Regardless of their thickness, length, quality or strength. More threads do not always make for better quality bedding.

What’s a good thread count?

So what thread count is best when it comes to bed linen? According to Good Housekeeping tests, the finest bedding had a thread count between 300 and 500. A thread count higher than 500 isn't always better, though, and a thread count under 300 isn’t always worse, either.

The quality and length of each thread and how they have been woven together can count just as much as the thread count number. As a general rule of thumb, though, buying sheets with a thread count between 300 and 500 is a good bet.

What is pinzon?

Pinzon is an extra luxurious and long-lasting type of cotton. It’s often used for making more upmarket bed linen. Pinzon cotton is woven from extra long strands of cotton, which results in a fabric that’s both stronger and softer.

What is percale?

Percale sheets are so-called due to the way the fabric has been woven. This is often made from cotton, but may also be made from bamboo. Or even synthetic materials, which are sometimes combined with natural materials.

The weave creates a grid-like shape. For the finest percale, longer fibres are used when weaving the fabric. Percale bedding generally has a thread count between 180 and 300.

Due to the tight weave, percale can feel firmer at first than other fabrics. With washing, though, it does gradually become softer. Some percale is labelled as being made from blended cotton, which means it contains man-made materials as well as cotton.

Egyptian cotton

What is Egyptian cotton?

Egyptian cotton comes from the Nile Delta, which is in Egypt. Hence the name. It’s thought to be the finest cotton in the world.

What sets this cotton apart is down to the area’s climate and soil. The weather and fertile earth here mean that the cotton grows slowly and for a longer period of time than average. This results in longer, finer fibres which are then used to make Egyptian cotton textiles.

bamboo sheets are very hardwearing

Is a thread count used for bamboo?

Thread counts can apply to cotton, and also to bamboo. In the case of the latter, the thread count on the label may be somewhere between 150 and 500. Most will be between 250 and 400.

silk sheets

What is momme count?

Momme count is the silk equivalent of the thread count for cotton. The name is different because this is calculated in a different way. Instead of basing the count on the number of threads, fine silk fabric is weighed to work out the momme count.

This means that silk with a higher momme count is heavier. The momme count reflects the density of the fabric, and thus the silk content. For bed linen, the optimum momme count is 22.

22 momme mulberry silk is very soft and sleek, with a subtle sheen. Though it may look delicate, the fabric can be surprisingly strong. It’s therefore the most comfortable choice, and is long-lasting too.

The downside is the cost of fine silk, as many silkworms are required to produce high momme count fabric. A great compromise is to seek out high thread count cotton sheets and duvet covers, while sleeping on a super smooth silk pillowcase.

Read about some of the benefits of sleeping of silk.

Thread count summary

If you’re looking for high thread count cotton sheets, then look for a pinzon, Egyptian or regular cotton thread count of between 300 and 500. However thread counts for other fabrics will vary. Good quality bamboo sheets, for instance, are likely to have a thread count between 250 and 400.

For natural, synthetic or blended percale fabrics, a thread count between 180 and 300 can be expected. And in the case of silk, it’s not a thread count that’s used at all, but a momme count. The best silk bedding has a momme count of 22.

You can shop here for 22 momme mulberry silk pillowcases

April 03, 2023 — Michelle Fletcher Smith