Thread count refers to the number of threads woven together per square inch of material. The more threads woven together means a higher thread count. Thread counts for bedding typically range from 200 to 800, though 1,000 and higher thread counts do exist. Typically, cotton materials with a higher thread count are warmer, more durable, softer or soften well over time - up to a point. But don’t just rely on thread count to indicate quality, the type of yarn and the finishing process are also equally important.
Is thread count a real thing?
Yes, it's really not a marketing ploy but a proper scientific term with strict standards. The thread is counted lengthwise (warp) and widthwise (weft). For example, 100 lengthwise threads woven with 100 widthwise threads equals 200 thread count.
Does high thread count always equal high quality?
No, thread count is not the most important indicator of quality bedding, more important is the quality of the cotton threads that the bedding is weaved from. You can have high thread count sheets made from poor quality cotton – more about threads later.
So, do keep an eye out for suspiciously sounding high thread count. Some manufacturers unfortunately achieve high thread counts by artificial means. Instead of counting individual threads they count each ply spun within each thread and then twist multiple yarns together. They are probably using low quality cotton that is artificially strengthened in this way.
What's the best thread count for bedding?
Assuming that you are looking at bed linen that is made from good quality cotton, here's our guide to the best thread count:
Choose 200 thread count and above. Anything less will wear poorly and likely soon become full of rips and holes!
Higher thread counts can feel overly crisp. Be wary of really high thread counts over 800. This can produce stiff linen that’s really not very comfortable to sleep with and is also really hard to iron!
After testing various thread counts we picked 600 thread count in 100% Egyptian cotton as our favourite. It gives scooms sheets, duvet covers and pillowcases a dense and silky-soft feel, gets better with each wash and wears really well.
Egyptian cotton feels luxurious while being wonderfully durable. Although it may feel a bit harder when new, Egyptian cotton improves with age and will soften each time you wash it. Unlike most bed linen, your scooms Egyptian cotton sheet, duvet covers and pillowcases will become more comfortable to sleep with the more you use it. Well worth the investment!
See our guide to Egyptian cotton.
Click here to get the perfect bed linen from scooms.