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Q&A: Does a higher thread count mean a higher quality sheet?

Q: Are 1000 thread count sheets the best quality? If I want the softest sheets, should I buy ones with the highest thread count?

A: No, not necessarily! A higher thread count does not always equal a higher quality sheet. To illustrate this point, take a look at the five items in the image below. Imagine that you were weaving fabric and using these items as your "yarn".

The first "yarn" is a threaded steel bar

The second is an unstable brass chain

The third is a coarse hemp rope

The fourth is a rigid polypropylene rope

The fifth is a soft, fluffy strand of cotton

Regardless of how many "yarns" are woven together, the softest sheets to sleep on would always be the ones woven with the fluffy cotton yarns. Increasing the brass chain to a thread count of 400, or the rope to a 600 thread count, does not make your "fabric" better quality. It's the quality of the cotton fibres that makes a sheet feel luxurious and soft to the touch. That's why we always recommend 100% Egyptian cotton, which is the best in the world. At that point, any thread count above 200 is all about personal preference.

Image and idea courtesy of Sferra Linens.