How to Choose the Best Thread Count for Sheets

Written by Alison Deshong

Expert tested
Updated Regularly

Thread count is one of the most common criteria shoppers look at when shopping for sheets. This measure refers to how many individual threads are in one square inch of the fabric. Some think that a higher thread count is inherently superior, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Different materials and weaves vary in their ideal thread counts.

To clear up any confusion, we’ll explain thread count and how it’s calculated before sharing the optimal thread counts for common sheet materials and weaves.

What Is Thread Count?

Thread count is determined by measuring the number of warp (lengthwise) and weft (widthwise) threads in one square inch of material. If there are 150 warp threads and 150 weft threads in a square inch, the fabric has a thread count of 300. The thread count varies based on the thickness of the yarn and the tightness of the weave.

Lower thread counts relative to the material type and weave typically equate to flimsier, rougher sheets. Higher thread count options tend to be smoother and more durable, but they can also feel warmer and heavier. Selecting the best thread count for you can enhance your sleep environment.

Is a Higher Thread Count Better?

It’s a common belief that a higher thread count means higher quality, but this is not always true. The quality of the material is also very important. Sheets with a low thread count but high-quality materials may feel softer than high thread count sheets that use lower-quality materials.

Shoppers should be aware that some bedding manufacturers attempt to capitalize on the misconception that thread count relates to quality by inflating their numbers. For example, a manufacturer might use lower-quality multi-ply threads and count each ply separately. If you see a thread count over 600, be wary.

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What Thread Count Is Best?

There isn’t one right answer as to which thread count is best. The quality of the material, the type of material, and the weave all play roles in how sheets feel. Your personal preferences, sleep hygiene practices, and preferred care procedures also influence the best option for you. However, sheets with thread counts between 200 and 800 often combine comfort and quality.

Ideal Thread Count Ranges for Common Fabrics

The ideal thread count range is typically between 200 and 800, though 200 to 400 is also appropriate for most types of materials and weaves. Linen is a notable exception to this rule, as it traditionally has a much lower thread count. Plus, thread count is less useful as a quality indicator for linen.

Microfiber, flannel, and jersey are usually measured in grams per square meter (GSM) rather than thread count. Silk is measured in momme, which indicates the weight in pounds of a piece measuring 45 inches by 100 yards.

Ideal Thread Counts

Thread Count



Egyptian Cotton


Pima Cotton











90-120 GSM


170+ GSM


~150 GSM


17-22 momme

About The Author

Alison Deshong

Staff Writer, Product Testing Team

Alison is a health writer with ample experience reading and interpreting academic, peer-reviewed research. Based in San Diego, she is published in the journal PLOS Genetics and the Journal of Biological Chemistry and has been a copywriter for SmartBug media. With a master’s degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Davis, she has nearly a decade of academic research experience in life sciences. She enjoys helping people cut through the noise to understand the bigger picture about sleep and health. Alison likes to stay active with rock climbing, hiking, and walking her dog.

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