What Does Thread Count Mean?

Thread Count Image Image Source: Flickr

Thread count is a measure of quality of fabrics used for bedding. This measure of quality looks at the fineness or coarseness of a fabric; in this case it mostly refers to bed linens like sheets and pillowcases. Thread count is the number of threads going each way in one square inch of fabric.

Thread count is measured by counting the number of horizontal and vertical threads in one square inch of fabric. Thread counts average from lowest (80) to highest (1200). Most are usually between 180 and 300, and anything above 300 is considered higher quality.

Higher thread count means more threads, and this usually translates into a more densely woven fabric that lasts longer and is many times softer. Some exceptions to this rule are fabrics made of linen, flannel, or jersey.

Fabrics like linen, flannel, or jersey are subject to low thread count because of the type of material they are made of and the properties of that material. For example, part of the softness of flannel comes from its low thread count because of the material its made from.

Ply and thickness are two factors that also affect thread count. The ply is defined as the number of threads that are wrapped into a single thread. Single-ply refers to the use of single threads in the construction of a fabric. Two-ply refers to materials that twist two threads together into a single thread, thus increasing the fabrics thread count and creating a stronger thread. This creates a heavier, more durable fabric.

Using finer threads often allows for softer, smoother fabrics and more fit into a square inch. Finer thread, like silk, create a lighter fabric, and are thus more desire able than coarser threads. They are also more fragile, so it is important to care for them especially well.

While thread count is important in picking your bed linens and sheet sets, remember that cotton and silk are the main types of materials to judge based on a high or low thread count. Other materials like linen, flannel, and jersey may have a lower thread count, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t comfortable. Blends are also common, and often create softer materials. Jersey-cotton blends, for example, are ideal for baby sheets and other types of baby bedding.

When in doubt, see what feels the best. You’re best off visiting a fabric store and exploring the many different kinds of materials to find out how a fabric feels. Knowing what you’re going to get makes your sheet shopping experience easier and more rewarding, especially if you’re shopping online.

  • Royal Majesty
    Embrace elegance with this Royal Majesty down-alternative comforter, featuring a soft DuraLoft fill that promises a cozier night's sleep. In white. Features Level 3: Heavyweight 500-thread count Fill weight: 58 oz. Fluffy DuraLoft fiberfill 1 gusset Baffle-box design prevents fill from shifting Damask stripes Double piping Soft cotton cover Hypoallergenic Sizing Twin: 68" x 88" Full/Queen: 88" x 90" King: 108" x 90" Construction & Care Cotton Polyester fill Machine wash Imported Size: Full/Queen. Color: White. Gender: Unisex. Age Group: Adult. Material: Polyester/Cotton/Damask.
    $135.00  from Kohl's
  • Kohl's
    Stay snug throughout the seasons with this Kensington Manor Gel Loft comforter. In white. Features Level 1: Lightweight 300-thread count Hypoallergenic gel fiberfill Baffle-box quilting keeps fill from shifting Striped damask cover Piped trim Sizing Twin: 66" x 86" Full / Queen: 86" x 86" King: 104" x 86" Construction & Care Polyester, gel Cotton cover Machine wash Imported Size: Twin. Color: White. Gender: Unisex. Age Group: Adult. Material: Polyester/Cotton/Damask.
    $89.99  from Kohl's
  • Kohl's
    Show off your sophisticated taste in your sleep space with this Chandelier comforter set. Features 8-piece set 800-thread count Pieced design Embroidered motif Cord edge details Ruffled flange on shams Queen 8-Piece SET 90" x 92" comforter 2 standard shams 2 Euro shams Bed skirt: 14" drop Square pillow: 17" x 17" Oblong pillow: 12" x 17" King 8-Piece SET 104" x 94" comforter 2 King shams 2 Euro shams Bed skirt: 14" drop Square pillow: 17" x 17" Oblong pillow: 12" x 17" Construction & Care Polyester Dry clean Throw pillows: spot clean Imported Size: Queen. Color: Grey. Gender: Unisex. Age Group: Adult. Material: Polyester.
    $174.99  from Kohl's
  • Eddie Bauer
    You'll stay toasty until the morning with this down comforter from Eddie Bauer. In white. Features Level 3: Heavyweighth 300-thread count Fill power: 800 Hypoallergenic goose down fill Sumptuous sateen cover Baffle-box construction prevents fill from shifting Solid design Sizing Full: 82" x 94", fill weight: 30 oz. Queen: 88" x 94", fill weight: 40 oz. King: 106" x 94", fill weight: 50 oz. Construction & Care Cotton Down fill Machine wash Manufacturer's 1-year limited warrantyFor warranty information please click here Imported Size: Full. Color: White. Gender: Unisex. Material: Cotton.
    $599.99  from Kohl's
  • Sleep Philosophy
    Stay warm during the winter months with this Sleep Philosophy Adrien Thinsulate 300 thread count comforter set. Watch the product video here. Features End to end box quilting prevents fill from shifting Hypoallergenic Twin 2-Piece SET Comforter: 29-oz. fill weight Standard sham Full / Queen 3-Piece SET Comforter: 39-oz. fill weight 2 standard shams King 3-Piece SET Comforter: 47-oz. fill weight 2 King shams Construction & Care Cotton Fiberfill fill Machine wash Imported Size: Twin. Color: Blue. Gender: Unisex. Age Group: Adult. Pattern: Solid. Material: Cotton.
    $104.99  from Kohl's
  • Kohl's
    Show off your sophisticated taste in your sleep space with this Chandelier comforter set. Features 8-piece set 800-thread count Pieced design Embroidered motif Cord edge details Ruffled flange on shams Queen 8-Piece SET 90" x 92" comforter 2 standard shams 2 Euro shams Bed skirt: 14" drop Square pillow: 17" x 17" Oblong pillow: 12" x 17" King 8-Piece SET 104" x 94" comforter 2 King shams 2 Euro shams Bed skirt: 14" drop Square pillow: 17" x 17" Oblong pillow: 12" x 17" Construction & Care Polyester Dry clean Throw pillows: spot clean Imported Size: King. Color: Purple. Gender: Unisex. Age Group: Adult. Material: Polyester.
    $187.49  from Kohl's
  • Sleep Philosophy
    Stay warm during the winter months with this Sleep Philosophy Adrien Thinsulate 300 thread count comforter set. Watch the product video here. Features End to end box quilting prevents fill from shifting Hypoallergenic Twin 2-Piece SET Comforter: 29-oz. fill weight Standard sham Full / Queen 3-Piece SET Comforter: 39-oz. fill weight 2 standard shams King 3-Piece SET Comforter: 47-oz. fill weight 2 King shams Construction & Care Cotton Fiberfill fill Machine wash Imported Size: King. Color: Grey. Gender: Unisex. Age Group: Adult. Pattern: Solid. Material: Cotton.
    $159.99  from Kohl's
  • Sealy
    Your best night's sleep starts with this Sealy Optiluxe pillow. In white. Features 300-thread count cotton sateen Conforms to your head & neck Adjusts to your movements Ideal for back & side sleepers Jumbo: 20"L x 28"W x 6"D King: 20"L x 36"W x 6"D Construction & Care Polyester Cotton cover Machine wash Manufacturer's 1-year limited warrantyFor warranty information please click here Imported Size: Jumbo. Color: White. Material: Cotton.
    $49.99  from Kohl's
  • Sleep Philosophy
    Stay warm during the winter months with this Sleep Philosophy Adrien Thinsulate 300 thread count comforter set. Watch the product video here. Features End to end box quilting prevents fill from shifting Hypoallergenic Twin 2-Piece SET Comforter: 29-oz. fill weight Standard sham Full / Queen 3-Piece SET Comforter: 39-oz. fill weight 2 standard shams King 3-Piece SET Comforter: 47-oz. fill weight 2 King shams Construction & Care Cotton Fiberfill fill Machine wash Imported Size: King. Color: Orange. Gender: Unisex. Age Group: Adult. Pattern: Solid. Material: Cotton.
    $159.99  from Kohl's
  • Spring Air
    Featuring a Eurobox design for maximum loft and minimal fill shifting, this Spring Air down-alternative comforter keeps you cozy and warm. In white. Features Level 3: Heavyweight 300-thread count Down-alternative fill Sizing Twin: 63" x 86", Fill weight: 44 oz. Full/Queen: 88" x 90", Fill weight: 65 oz. King: 104" x 89", Fill weight: 76 oz. Construction & Care Cotton Polyester fill Machine wash Imported Size: Full/Queen. Color: White. Gender: Unisex. Age Group: Adult. Material: Polyester/Cotton.
    $119.99  from Kohl's
  • Aladdin
    Features 8-piece set 300-thread count Queen 8-Piece SET 90 x 92 comforter 2 standard shams 2 Euro shams Bedskirt: 14" drop 2 throw pillows: 11 x 19 (each) King 8-Piece SET 104 x 94 comforter 2 King shams 2 Euro shams Bedskirt: 14" drop 2 throw pillows: 11 x 19 (each) CAL. King 8-Piece SET 104 x 94 comforter 2 King shams 2 Euro shams Bedskirt: 14" drop 2 throw pillows: 11 x 19 (each) Construction & Care Cotton Polyester fill Machine wash/spot clean Imported Size: King. Color: Blue. Gender: Unisex. Age Group: Adult. Pattern: Floral. Material: Polyester/Cotton.
    $204.99  from Kohl's
  • Kohl's
    Let your bedroom take flight with this butterfly 300 thread count bed set. In blue. Features 8 piece 300 thread count 250-oz. fill weight Butterfly print Queen 8-Piece SET Comforter: 92" x 90" 2 standard shams 2 euro shams Bed skirt: 15" drop 2 throw pillows: 10" x 18" King / California King 8-Piece SET Comforter: 94" x 104" 2 King shams 2 euro shams Bed skirt: 15" drop 2 throw pillows: 10" x 18" (each) Construction & Care Cotton Cotton fill Machine wash Imported Size: Cal King. Color: Blue. Gender: Unisex. Age Group: Adult. Material: Cotton.
    $224.99  from Kohl's