High thread count sheets are synonymous with luxurious bedding, but can you really buy your way to a better night’s sleep?

What Does Thread Count Really Mean?

High thread count is immediately associated with quality, but it’s a misconception. Thread count is simply the number of yarn per square inch. Think of it as the equivalent of attaching a label like “low fat” to a sugary candy. Just because it has one appealing quality doesn’t mean it’s perfect overall.

Most sheets fall into the 300 to 700 thread count range, but many top that at 1,000 with high prices to match. Because thread count doesn’t determine quality, most sleepers won’t notice a difference between outrageously high thread counts and their mid-range counterparts.

What to Look for Instead

While thread count might not determine quality, there are a couple of factors that are important in determining how your sheets feel.

1) Weave

The weave of your sheets will affect longevity, price, and feel. For silky soft sheets with plenty of warmth, seek out a sateen weave. If you run hot when you sleep, a percale weave is the best fit—it has a cooler feel and longevity through washes.

Chateau Home Collection Sateen Weave Queen Sheets Set available from Amazon

Magnolia Organics Percale Collection Sheet Set available from Amazon

2) Fiber

The fiber of your sheets also determines how they feel and how long they last. The best fiber is completely subjective, though longer fibers will hold up best and have less pilling. Egyptian cotton, which is associated with luxury along with thread count, is a long fiber. However, pima and supima, bamboo, and cotton-poplin blends are also high-quality options that come in at a variety of price points.

Mayfair Linen 100% Egyptian Cotton Sheets available from Amazon

Zen Bamboo Luxury Bed Sheets available from Amazon

Not All 700 Thread Count Sheets Are Created Equal

While you may be able to get affordable high thread count sheets from big box retailers, not all 700 thread count sheets will feel the same. Fiber and weave are major factors, as is the location where the sheets were manufactured. Italy and France are known for high quality sheets, and Egyptian cotton will feel different than a cotton-polyester blend.