Thread Count Meaning Explained

Find out the meaning of thread count and discover the best thread count for your sheets with Christy's handy guide.

If you're shopping for new sheets, you've probably seen the term thread count used a lot - but what exactly does it mean?

Thread count can be a great indicator of a sheet's quality, but it's not the only factor you need to consider if you want to find the most luxurious bedding for your home.

In this blog, the bedding experts at Christy explain exactly what thread count means to help you find the most luxuriously soft sheets for your bed.

Plain dye pillowcases

What is thread count?

Quite simply, thread count (TC) is the number of threads packed into a given area of fabric. It defines the measure of the number of vertical and horizontal threads per square inch of your bed sheets. The higher the thread count, the more threads within the fabric, and the denser it is.

Bedding manufacturers calculate thread count by adding together the number of lengthwise (warp) and widthwise (weft) threads. For example, Christy's cotton sateen duvet set has a thread count of 400, which means there are 200 warp threads and 200 weft threads in each square inch of fabric.

Thread count is often used when describing luxury bed linen to suggest that the sheets are of a high quality. However, while it is true that bedding with a high thread count tends to be more soft and luxurious, the quality of the fabric used is far more important than the quantity of threads.

What is a good thread count for sheets?

The best thread count for sheets ranges roughly anywhere from 200 to 600. Any sheet with a thread count lower than 200 likely won't feel as soft, potentially compromising the comfort of your sleep.

However, when it comes to choosing the best thread count, the type of fabric and its weave make a huge difference. Percale is also known as 'plain weave' because of its simple one over, one under pattern, so quality percale bed sheets (like Christy's Stornoway Chambray duvet set) typically have a thread count of around 200. By contrast, sateen sheets are more tightly woven, which means the average-quality thread count is closer to 300 or 400.

As a guideline, the average ranges of high-quality thread counts for sheets of various materials are as follows:

  • Cotton: 200-400
  • Egyptian Cotton: 300-400
  • Percale: 200-400
  • Sateen: 300-600
  • Bamboo: 300-500
  • Linen: 80-140. 

Thread count is not a reliable quality indicator for linen sheets and is seldom provided. Higher thread counts should be avoided when it comes to linen sheets.

Bear in mind that some materials are not measured using thread count. These include:

  • Silk: Measured in momme. High-quality silk sheets will be around the 17-22 momme range.
  • Microfibre: Measured in grams per square metre (GSM). High-quality microfibre sheets will be in the 90-120 GSM range.
  • Flannel: Measured in GSM. Durable, heavyweight flannel sheets will be in the 170+ GSM range. Lighter flannel sheets will be more breathable but less durable.

Remember: Always think ‘quality over quantity’ when it comes to sheets and thread count. Other considerations determining quality are as follows:

  • The quality of the fabric
  • The weave type
  • The manufacturer’s production process

For the highest quality sheets, always choose a trusted manufacturer like Christy. Our sumptuously soft bed sheets and luxury duvet covers are expertly designed to ensure you get the best night's sleep, every night.

Lerwick Stripe bedding


Is a higher thread count better?

As mentioned, sheets with a higher thread count are considered to be of a higher quality - but that's not always the case.

It's true that a 400TC sheet will usually feel softer and more luxurious than a 200TC sheet. However, that's assuming that the quality of the yarn used, the weave, and the craftsmanship are identical for both sheets.

It's worth noting that excessively high thread counts (600+) are rarely worth it. You'll be paying more for sheets that are almost identical to high-quality fabrics with lower thread counts in terms of feel and performance. What's more, trying to pack too many threads into a fabric can sometimes stifle airflow, producing heavier, less breathable sheets.

Look for sheets with a thread count of around 200-600 for the softest feel, taking the average thread count range for each material into account when making your decision.

How do I make sure I'm choosing the best quality sheets?

Now that you know what thread count means, the next step is to discover the ideal sheets for your bed.

For the most luxuriously soft bed sheets, you can't go wrong with Christy. With over 170 years of experience in producing the highest quality home textiles, you can count on us for sumptuous bedding that lulls you gently into a peaceful slumber.

Thread Count Meaning Explained