Marketing hype suggests that the higher the thread count, the better the quality. Little else is emphasized on the front package cover that would suggest other aspects of quality to be considered, such as fabric type (ie cotton, silk, modal).
Having always been perplexed by the increasing number of thread count available in sheets and wondering if these sheets are better than the lower count sheets, eg 300, I decided to do a little research. I came across an article by Linen Place that lays it all out. It is agreed that thread count is a deciding factor when choosing quality bedding. However, it is not the item on the top of the list to consider. Three others take precedence: Fiber Quality, Yarn Size, and Finishing.
“300 thread count can feel far superior to a 1000 count,” the article reports. This is not something marketers will tell you. Marketers use the thread count metric as a marketing tool. The higher the number, the more consumers feel they are getting a high-quality product. What ends up happening is that these products are competitively priced and have to now be mass-produced and then suffer in quality of fabric and other elements. Marketers hype up the thread count idea and de-emphasize the other qualities.
Let’s consider the other factors that make a great bed sheet. The most popular sheets are 100% cotton. However, fiber quality is refined further with the staple, or length of the cotton fiber. This is what the term, Egyptian cotton, refers to. Along with Egyptian, Pima is also the longest cotton fiber incorporating a durable product. The second factor is yarn size which is an indicator of the fineness of the yarn. Without going into too much detail, the yarn size can also be “doubled” into 2-ply (super fine yarns that are twisted together) for an even finer, more luxurious experience. For the third factor, finishing, I will just briefly mention that the process requires an added step which most less-quality bedding linens may not undergo.
What does this mean for you, the consumer? Basically, it means that if you see bed linens of 600 or 1000 thread count at a price too good to be true, well then follow your instinct. It most likely is too good to be true. In quality, you get what you pay for. You might get the 600 count sheets at a steal but you may not get a premium fabric with it, so compromising the overall quality of the linens. The often-overlooked but equally important quality metric of fabric also plays a key role. Would not you rather sleep surrounded by cotton or silk rather than nylon or polyester?