Egyptian cotton is a subset of long fibered cotton varieties, the other main ones being pima cotton and Xinjiang cotton. 400 thread count (500 imperial thread count) would be the highest optimal thread count for a premium sateen weave. You will see higher ones on the market, anything from 600 to 1200.
These are made with twisted yarn ie 2 or more pieces of yarn twisted together so that thread count can be multiplied by that factor. Using twisted yarn has two main effects. It makes the sheets significantly heavier and less breathable. Twisted yarn also weakens the weave and decreases durability. 400 thread count would be your best bet in terms of price and quality. Anything higher increases the price you pay without increasing the sheet quality by the same factor.
The distinct feel of Egyptian cotton sheets come from the unique properties of Egyptian cotton itself. Egyptian cotton has extra-long staples, which means each individual fiber is exceptionally long.
For sheets to be considered 100% Egyptian, the cotton should be sourced exclusively from Egypt through sellers with a certification from the Cotton Egypt Association. Some sheet sets contain a blend of Egyptian cotton and other varieties of cotton but are simply labeled as “Egyptian cotton.” These options usually cost significantly less than 100% Egyptian cotton sheets.
Several other high-quality types of cotton may also be used in place of authentic Egyptian cotton to craft luxury sheets. For instance, Pima cotton, which is another type of extra-long staple cotton, enjoys widespread popularity at a lower average price.
Does thread count really matter?
- The short answer is no. High thread count sheets do not mean better quality. Often threads are simply split to create a higher thread count, misleading the consumer that it’s better, when in fact it can weaken the fabric and cause pilling. For this reason, thread count should not be the deciding factor when purchasing high-quality sheets. We recommend looking deeper into the details when the thread count is higher than 600. What matters most in luxury bedding is the quality of the cotton.
What thread count is the softest?
- Thread count alone does not determine soft features in bed sheets. Long staple cottons, especially with Egyptian cotton, are considered to offer the most luxurious feeling. Sateen woven sheets are recommended for a buttery smooth feel with a luminous sheen.
When Does Thread Count Matter?
The truth is, ideal thread count needs to be taken into account with the quality of cotton, single ply vs. multi ply cotton, and the type of weave. If you’re a fan of a heavier sheet, you might be a fan of our 600 thread count Virtuoso. If you prefer something a bit light weight and crisp, even a 200 thread count like our Boutique sheeting will have you in sleep heaven.
But really, it depends a lot on other factors. The type of weave and quality of the cotton or other materials used makes a much bigger difference than the thread count number. That said, be suspicious of anything with a thread count higher than 600. It’s most likely been inflated in an effort to charge more for lower quality sheeting.
What Is a Good Thread Count for Sheets?
If you must measure thread count, look for something in the 400-600 thread count range, and remember to be certain that they’re single ply. But really, there are much better ways of choosing fine quality sheets.
Firstly, you’ll want to look at what the fibers are made of. We believe fine cotton sheets to be the best, both in terms of comfort and ease of care. There’s a reason cotton has been spun into sheeting for thousands of years.
Next, you’ll want to choose a weave that feels right to you. The most common for fine sheets are sateen and percale. Check out our guide to the differences between percale vs sateen for more details.
Finally, check to see if the fabric is made from long staple cotton. This refers to the length of the individual cotton fibers that were spun together to make each thread. Longer cotton fibers create stronger, smoother threads, and tend to last longer.
In the end, the best way to determine which sheeting is the right choice for you is to sleep on it. Different people sleep better with different weaves, weights, and textures of sheeting, so choose something that feels luxurious against your skin, and enjoy it.
What to Consider When Buying Bed Sheets
Aside from the size of your bed and personal style preferences, selecting the right sheet material is the biggest factor to consider before buying sheets as this will have the most impact on sleep comfort. Additionally, you’ll need to keep in mind the height of your mattress as a standard pocket depth may not be big enough to cover a tall mattress or a mattress with a topper. Features that will affect the price include material type (linen is often the most expensive), where the material was sourced, whether sheets and pillowcases are sold separately or as a set, and bed size. Wrinkle resistance is a feature that may or may not be important to you but is something to consider when choosing a material as some fabrics, like cotton, wrinkle easily.