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.

  • Dreamz
    DRMZ1009FeaturesHard to Fit collectionU- shaped pillowcase400 Thread count100pct Cotton sateenMachine wash and dryProduct Type: Sheet setSize: Massage TablePattern: SolidMaterial: 100pct CottonNumber of Items Included: 3Pieces Included: 1 Ftted sheet, 1 flat sheet, 1 pillowcaseLife Stage: AdultGender: NeutralThread Count: 400Washing Method: Machine washable DimensionsFlat Sheet Length - Head to Toe: 91"Flat Sheet Width - Side to Side: 56"Fitted Sheet Length - Head to Toe: 72"Fitted Sheet Width - Side to Side: 31"Fitted Sheet Pocket Depth: 4"Mattress Fit: 6"Overall Product Weight: 3.2 lbs
    $52.99  from Walmart US
  • Kohl's
    Complete comfort from Kensington Manor. Count on this Tradition Sleep pillow for restful sleep, night after night. In white. Features 300-thread count damask cover Hypoallergenic fiberfill Piped trim Ideal for all sleep positions Sizing King: 20"L x 28"W x 7 1/2"D Jumbo: 20"L x 36"W x 7 1/2"'D Construction & Care Polyester Cotton cover Machine wash Imported Size: Jumbo. Color: White. Gender: Unisex. Age Group: Adult. Material: Polyester/Cotton/Damask.
    $24.99  from Kohl's
  • LC Modern Classics
    Stifle your allergies during the night with these LC Modern Classics asthma and allergy friendly Foamessence memory fiber 300 thread count pillows. In white. Features 2 pack 20" x 28" (each) 33-oz. fill weight For back and side sleepers Extra firm Allergy relief Improved flexibility and comfort Construction & Care Cotton Polyester, fiberfill fill Machine wash Imported Size: Queen. Color: White. Gender: Unisex. Material: Polyester.
    $54.99  from Kohl's
  • Elle
    Rouse refreshed after a restful night's sleep on these Elle down-alternative pillows. In white. Features 2-pack 18" x 26" (each) 600-thread count cover Firm support Hypoallergenic down-alternative fill Fill weight: 28 oz. (each) Ideal for all sleep positions Construction & Care Polyester Cotton cover Machine wash Manufacturer's 1-year limited warrantyFor warranty information please click here Imported Shipping Tips Vacuum-packed container reduces packaging waste and saves on shipping costs Allow 24 hours for this product to return to its original shape After unwrapping, air product for a few hours to eliminate trapped odors Size: Qn Pillow. Color: White. Gender: Unisex. Age Group: Adult. Material: Polyester/Cotton.
    $44.99  from Kohl's
  • Royal Majesty
    Your good night just got even better. This Royal Majesty pillow features a soft cotton cover and cozy down fill to help you rest more comfortably. In white. Features 350-thread count Fluffy down fill Soft density Damask pattern Piped trim Ideal for stomach or back sleepers Sizing Jumbo: 20" x 28", fill weight: 16 oz, fill power: 600 King: 20" x 36", fill weight: 19 oz, fill power: 600 Construction & Care Down Cotton cover Dry clean Imported Size: King. Color: White. Material: Cotton.
    $89.99  from Kohl's
  • Kohl's
    Experience deeper, more rejuvenating rest with this Kensington Manor Luxury pillow. In white. Features 1000-thread count damask cover Supportive gel fiberfill Hypoallergenic Piped trim Ideal for all sleep positions Sizing King: 20"L x 36"W x 7 1/2"D Jumbo: 20"L x 28"W x 7 1/2"D Construction & Care Polyester, gel Cotton cover Machine wash Imported Size: Jumbo. Color: White. Material: Cotton.
    $48.49  from Kohl's
  • Royal Majesty
    Let this Royal Majesty pillow soothe your head after a long day. In white. Features 500-thread count Siberian white duck down fill Medium density Damask pattern Piped trim Ideal for all sleeping positions Sizing Jumbo: 20" x 28", fill weight: 20 oz, fill power: 700 King: 20" x 36", fill weight: 28 oz, fill power: 700 Construction & Care Down Cotton cover Dry clean Imported Size: Jumbo. Color: White. Material: Cotton.
    $149.99  from Kohl's
  • Pacific Coast
    This children's Pacific Coast Feather pillow features an allergy-relief construction for a comfortable night's sleep for your little one. In white. Features 19 x 24 300-thread count Feather fill Fill weight: 18 oz. Ideal for all sleep positions Construction & Care Cotton Feather fill Machine wash Imported Size: Std Pillow. Color: White. Gender: Unisex. Age Group: Kids. Material: Feather/Cotton.
    $29.99  from Kohl's
  • Sealy Posturepedic
    For a custom sleep experience, opt for this memory fiber pillow from Sealy Posturepedic. In white. Features 20"L x 26"W x 4"D 300-thread count Moldable fiber adapts to your movements 2" gusset Breathable cotton cover for increased airflow Easy care Ideal for all sleep positions Construction & Care Polyester Cotton cover Machine wash Manufacturer's 3-year limited warrantyFor warranty information please click here Imported Size: Queen. Color: White. Gender: Unisex. Age Group: Adult. Material: Polyester/Cotton.
    $24.99  from Kohl's
  • Pacific Coast
    This allergy-free Pacific Coast Feather down pillow features a patented concentrated core for enhanced support throughout the night. In white. Features 500-thread count Fluffy down fill Ideal for all sleep positions Sizing Standard: 20" x 28", fill weight: 27 oz, fill power: 550 King: 20" x 36", fill weight: 37 oz, fill power: 550 Construction & Care Down Cotton cover Machine wash Imported Size: King. Color: White. Gender: Unisex. Age Group: Adult. Material: Feather/Cotton.
    $219.99  from Kohl's
  • Pacific Coast
    Made with a unique pillow-in-a-pillow design for softness and support, this Pacific Coast Feather pillow is sure to give you sweet dreams. In white. Features 300-thread count Feather & down fill Ideal for all sleep positions Sizing Standard: 20" x 28", fill weight: 28 oz. feather & 4 oz. down, fill power: 550 King: 20" x 36", fill weight: 35 3/4 oz. feather & 5 1/4 oz. down, fill power: 550 Construction & Care Feathers, down Cotton cover Machine wash Imported Size: King. Color: White. Gender: Unisex. Age Group: Adult. Material: Feather/Cotton.
    $54.99  from Kohl's
  • Kohl's
    Sink into the luxurious comfort of this Kensington manor Manchester pillow. In white. Features 500-thread count damask cover Supportive gel fiberfill Hypoallergenic Piped trim Bee & star embroidery Ideal for all sleep positions Sizing King: 20"L x 28"W x 8.3"D Jumbo: 20"L x 36"W x 8.3"D Construction & Care Polyester, gel Cotton cover Machine wash Imported Size: Jumbo. Color: White. Gender: Unisex. Age Group: Adult. Material: Polyester/Embroidery/Damask.
    $64.99  from Kohl's