Is a Higher Thread Count Better in Sheets for Comfort and Quality?

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You might have heard at some point or the other the importance of thread count when picking out sheets. It is supposedly an important determinant of the quality of the sheets and many people seem to think that a higher thread count translates to higher quality and better comfort. But is this true?

What is thread count?

Since understanding the concept of thread count will be important in helping us to determine whether it is important to sheet quality or not, let’s start from the basics of what thread count is.

In simple terms, the thread count is the total number of threads that has been woven into a square inch of fabric. The thread count value quoted on sheets is based on the number of threads that have been woven horizontally (otherwise known as the weft) and vertically (otherwise called the warp). This value can also include extra threads (or “picks” as they are sometimes called) that have been woven into the horizontal threads. Sometimes because of these added picks, some fabrics can end up with thread counts in thousands. But most normal fabrics whose thread count have not been inflated this way usually have the maximum value of around 400.

Is thread count important? – The Fallacy of high thread count

Chances are, you have been hooked by this too, tricked into buying a sheet simply because the thread count on its label is high. But at the end of the day, you might end up discovering that the thread count isn’t really a true measure of quality. It is nothing but a ruse that most of us have fallen for.

In the distant past, thread count was nothing more than just another number on the label. While people knew about it, they were not as fixated on it as they are today and it was not in any way an overall decider of sheets quality. Counterfeiters having realized the over emphasis on thread count and that people were simply buying based on thread count have now flooded the market with sheets that falsely claim to be of high thread count or they have simply manipulated the threads to attain higher counts, preying right into our gullibility as consumers! Even some established manufacturers have encouraged this fallacy by labeling their sheets as highly threaded.

No it isn’t true. Thread count doesn’t really matter!

With thread count being overinflated in most cases, there is a need to place less importance on the thread count and focus on other factors to determine quality. While you can still consider the thread count as a possible indication of quality, a high thread count doesn’t always mean high quality and you should look out for other factors in addition to it.

What you should look out for instead, as a measure of quality and comfort

This includes but isn’t limited to:

  1. Type of weaving used

The weave of the sheet determines how it will feel against your skin. There are various types of weaves all with different properties. Sateen weaves usually have a softer feel and luscious sheen but are usually less durable than Percale weaving, which is the most common type of threading with most cotton sheets isn’t always so fancy. Sheets with combed cotton weave also have a nice soft texture and are also durable.

When it comes to bamboo sheets , are also made using either the sateen weave or the the twill weave. And just like cotton, sateen weave produces the more softer and silkeir of bamboo sheets while the tighter twil weave produces more durable bambboo sheets.

2. Quality of material used in the manufacture

The quality of a cotton sheet usually determined by the fiber used. Usually, you should expect better quality sheets from longer fibers. Average cotton fibers which measure about 1-inch in length usually produce sheets that are rougher in length than the extra-long staple fiber that is at least 1.5 inches in length. Long fiber sheets are also lightweight making them more breathable and of superior quality as is the case with 100% Supima cotton sheets and 100% authentic Egyptian cotton sheets.

Bamboo sheets have also been know to produce good quality and soft sheets, that improve with each washing. In fact, bamboo sheets are said to be better than than ordinary cotton sheets with many consumers claiming that they are a great alternative to the expensive superior Egyptian cotton, given their similar features.

Man-made microfiber sheets also make for some of the most popular sheets. Microfiber sheets made using extremely fine fibers of polyester are soft and resistant to pilling and wrinkling.

2. Country of manufacture of the sheets

Even the source location of the sheet can be a great determinant of quality as well. Sheets made by trusted manufacturers in the US, Italy or France bearing a mere thread count of 150 (Like the Cariloha bamboo sheets) are known to be of superior quality compared to the ones displaying a thread count of 2000 imported from China.

These are just a few of the other factors that are an indeed better determinant of sheet quality when used together than when thread count is considered as an isolated factor. When buying sheets, you should only consider the thread count as just one of the many factors you will need to put into consideration and check out for other factors as well, because no matter what your retailer tries to tell you, a very high thread count in itself does not guarantee quality!

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