The general rule with fabrics is that they get better with higher thread counts, leading us to wonder just how far a material’s thread count can go.
What is the highest thread count? The material with the highest thread count ever is Malouf’s 4K Ultra TC sheet, which has a thread count of four thousand. For most common materials, the highest recommended thread count for high quality is between 500 and 1000.
The 4k bed sheets are manufactured by Malouf. The head designer, Hamilton Hyve explains that there is a patent pending since this development is huge in the thread count arena.
There are some rules governing a material’s thread count, with the aim of producing the best sheets and clothes possible. Some of these rules and other related points are discussed below.
Does Thread Count Really Matter?
Thread count is one of the most key factors that contribute to a great sheet. Not only does the thread count determine how soft sheets are, but it also affects their durability.
Sleeping on luxurious sheets is what everyone wants after a stressful day. When shopping for sheets, one of the common quality rating terms you will see is “thread count”. So, what does “thread count” mean exactly?
A material’s thread count refers to the number of vertical and horizontal threads in one square inch. It is a measure of the number of threads woven horizontally and vertically in one square inch of fabric.
We could simply say thread count is a measure of how tightly knitted a piece of fabric is. Usually, the higher the thread count, the softer fabric is. We could also say that a fabric’s thread count is an indicator of how soft and sleep-inducing it is.
However, apart from a material’s thread count, you also need to pay close attention to the quality of materials used in making the fabric. It does not matter how high the thread count is, if the sheets are manufactured from lower quality fabric, its overall quality will not be very impressive. Also, strands of thread made from itchy material will always remain itchy, regardless of how many pieces of it are tied together.
High-quality fabrics are usually those made of higher thread counts from thinner threads. The thinner threads go through a process called Carding, where shorter threads are worn out, thus leaving only the longer, more desirable threads. These longer threads can be tightly woven together paving the way for smooth, softer, and more luxurious sheets.
Thus, whenever you shop for sheets, watching out for materials with high thread counts alone is not enough. You also need to pick high-quality material for optimal comfort and a good night’s rest.
Here is a video for you to watch that argues that threat count is not the way to determine the quality of bed sheets:
The Following Chart Analyzes the Popularity of Various Levels of Thread Count of Sheets Between Forum Users:
|Best thread count||Percentage of total results|
|With high durability and comfort offered, many people found that the best thread count for sheets was one thousand. I recommend the pure Egyptian cotton bed sheets that are available on Amazon.||31.58%|
|A great option for the best thread count is a count of six hundred. When purchasing, be sure to make sure the thread count is true to its claim, and not double ply.||15.79%|
|Many users reported that the best thread counts for sheets were five hundred.||21.05%|
|Depending on the quality of the material going into the sheets, people found that thread counts of four hundred were more than sufficient||26.32%|
|Although thread count doesn’t necessarily mean quality, people found that typically thread counts between 300 – 250 were not comfortable nor lasting.||5.26%|
What is the Highest Thread Count Ever?
The highest known thread count belongs to the 4K Ultra TC Sheet set made by Malouf, which has a thread count of 4000.
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Buying a material with such a high thread count is often unnecessary because of its cost. Depending on the ply of the sheet, the optimal thread count could be anything between 500 and 1000.
You might be wondering, “what is Ply?” Ply is simply the number of yarns in a singular thread of fabric. The Ply of a thread is a factor that also indicates the durability of a fabric. One-ply threads have one strand of yarn per thread, two-ply threads have two strands per yard; any thread with more than two strands per yard is a multi-ply thread.
Multi-ply threads have more than two strands per yard and are likely to be of poor-quality material. When choosing sheets, make sure they are made of one-ply or two-ply threads to get the best quality fabrics.
When it comes to judging the quality of sheets, most people instantly look at the thread count; and thus, many manufacturers take advantage of this, and inflate their thread counts. To get a high thread count, some manufactures use “plies” (much thinner threads of fabric) and twist them together as though they were one. This leads to doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling the thread count to make it more attractive to unsuspecting buyers.
Another method used by manufacturers to exaggerate the thread count is to use low-quality fabrics made of thinner threads. Due to the thinner nature of the fabrics, they end up using a much higher thread count, which looks attractive to buyers. The downside, however, is the poor-quality fabrics of thinner strands as they are less resistant to wear and tear and are thus less durable than good fabrics of thicker strands. You are better off with high-quality fabric with low thread count than a low-quality fabric with high thread count.
You can see sheets labeled 1200TC (thread count) and above (for two-ply threads), but the truth is, the highest achievable thread count per square inch is 1000TC – with 500TC running vertically and 500TC running horizontally.
Also, the highest possible thread count is 1000TC for a two-ply thread and 500TC for a one-ply thread. Anything above that is most likely fiction.
What is a Good Cotton Thread Count?
There is no magic number agreed on as the perfect thread count. However, some of the best materials usually have a thread count ranging between 200 and 600.
The ideal thread count is dependent on the materials that your fabrics are made from – whether percale, sateen, etc. The 200 to 600 thread count mentioned above for comfortable sheets is majorly for materials made from one-ply thread. This thread count is equivalent to 400 to 1200 for a two-ply thread.
Any sheets with a thread count below 200 for a one-ply thread and 400 for a two-ply thread will most likely not be soft enough and thus deprive you of comfortable sleep.
Excessively high thread counts, typically above 600TC for one-ply cotton fabric and 1200TC for two-ply fabric, usually do not change much in terms of actual characteristics, except for the high price tag. Thread counts above 600 for a one-ply thread are not necessarily better for a sheet made of quality material.
So, do not be sold by high thread counts into paying a much higher price than necessary.
One more thing to note is that for fabrics like cotton, high-quality material does better with a medium or low thread count, rather than extremely high ones. This is because trying to pack very high-quality fabrics can sometimes make the material heavy and sometimes restrict airflow.
Thus, if you are opting for a high-quality material sheet, like one made cotton fabric, the optimal thread count that you should stick to should range between 200 and 600 for a one-ply thread.
What is the Highest Grade of Cotton?
Egyptian cotton is the highest grade of cotton in the world. Clothes and sheets made from Egyptian cotton are softer, finer, and last longer than their counterparts. This cotton type has gained a reputation as one of the best cotton types, and not without reason.
Egyptian cotton is the world’s finest reasons due to the following characteristics that set it apart from other cotton types:
- Its softness is super comfortable, like nothing else in the world.
- The strength of the fiber makes it solid, durable, and very resistant to stress.
- It has the incredible ability to absorb water, making it possible to make fabrics of deeper, brighter colors.
- Its length makes it easy to produce soft, thin fabrics without sacrificing the strength of the yarn.
- It is handpicked, which guarantees the highest levels of purity.
- Its fibers are straight and intact as handpicking puts no stress on the fibers – as opposed to mechanical picking.
When buying your dream sheets, in addition to the thread count, you should consider many factors like the color, pattern, and feel of the fabric. If you are looking for high-quality fabric that is soft and strong at the same time, a cotton sheet is your best and smartest choice for obvious reasons.
Even when choosing cotton, you need to do your research, as there are many distinct types. Depending on the type of cotton you get, the durability, breathability, and comfort of your material will differ.
However, with cotton of the highest grade like Egyptian cotton, and the optimal thread count, you can be assured of soft and comfortable sheets.
It is worth pointing out that some people consider Supima (short for Superior Pima) to be the highest grade of cotton due to its extra-long-staple (ELS) fibers. People argue that when it comes to cotton, the longer the fiber, the better. Depending on the qualities you are looking for, both Egyptian and Supima cotton are excellent choices of cotton.
Is a 1500 Thread Count Good?
A 1500 thread count can be both good or bad depending on the ply type of the thread and the type of fabric used.
If the sheets were woven with fabric like Egyptian cotton or Pima, then a thread count of 1500 might be a bit of an overkill, especially considering the breathability of such sheets.
Also, if the sheets were threaded using a fabric of lower quality than cotton, then, for a two-ply thread, a 1500 thread count is good and might even be optimal in some cases.
However, if the sheet is one-ply threaded, then, regardless of the type of fabric used, a 1500 thread count is not optimal.
As mentioned above, a material’s thread count, in addition to a few other factors, is a way you can compare the quality of your sheets and choose the perfect sheets for your bed.
And while thread count is not the only factor to consider when choosing sheets, sheets made of higher thread counts are generally more luxurious and softer – the perfect recipe for a good night’s rest.
What Kind of Sheets Do 5-Star Hotels Use?
While Tencel, linen, and polyester sheets have all been successfully used by many hotels, cotton sheets are still the most used sheets in 5-star hotels.
Hotel sheets fall into a broad category, and you may come across many types of sheets, depending on the unique taste and style of the hotel you visit.
Top-notch hotels have a reputation to uphold for being associated with rest and relaxation. Hotel managers realize that people value high-quality sheets for increased comfort and better sleep, and thus invest in sheets specifically designed to achieve a good night’s rest during their stay.
Aside from being comfortable, hotel sheets are expected to be durable and resistant to wear from frequent washing. Also, hotels need to use sheets that appeal to a vast majority of their guests. All these requirements make cotton sheets the obvious choice of sheets for most hotels.
Below is a list of some of the types of sheets that are used most often by 5-star hotels. These sheet types have gained popularity due to their unique features which include their breathability and durability, amongst other qualities.
- Egyptian Cotton
Egyptian cotton is commonly touted as one of the highest grades of cotton, which makes it an obvious choice of fabric for hotel sheets. Egyptian cotton sheets are made of long-staple fiber and most sheets made from them usually have a thread count of four hundred (for one-ply threaded sheets) or more.
Pima is a long-staple cotton variety that comes from the same cotton species as Egyptian cotton. It is lauded as one of the best types of cotton and it is also a common choice of cotton for hotel sheets for the same reasons as Egyptian cotton.
Supima, meaning “Superior Pima” is a type of extra-long-staple (ELS) cotton. It is an upgraded type of Pima cotton, and it is mostly grown in the US.
Cotton sheets can be woven in a variety of ways, but the most common weaves used for hotel sheets are percale and sateen.
Percale sheets are woven in a one-up, one-over pattern and they usually have an equal number of horizontal and vertical threads. Percale sheets are often sturdy and breathable and have a crispy feel as opposed to softer fabrics. Also, their equal distribution of warp and weft threads makes them especially durable.
Sateen sheets are woven in a one-up, four-over weave pattern. They are liked for their luxurious feel and appearance. They have a slight sheen and retain more heat than other weave patterns. Sateen sheets are an excellent choice if you live in areas with colder climates.