The Best High Thread Count Sheets

Cotton sheets can be a luxury to sleep on, but how do you know which ones to buy?

By Sheryl Grassie

High thread counts used to mean super soft high-quality sheets, but things have changed. Read on to get a better understanding of what high thread count is all about and our picks for best sheets.

Spinning a Yarn

The idiom to “spin a yarn” (which means to tell a story that isn’t entirely true) applies in more ways than one when it comes to thread count. First, thread count is all about how much yarn is woven into the fabric. It is determined by how many threads there are per square inch, and this includes both horizontal and vertical threads known as the warps and wefts. The maximum number of single fiber threads that can fit on a loom per square inch is 400.

Lower thread counts in the 150-200 range have been considered a looser, coarser, and shorter wearing weave, but with modern ways of finishing fabrics, lower thread counts can be quite comfortable, even luxurious. Higher thread counts in the 300-400 per square inch range are generally a softer, more durable fabric and considered ideal.

But then things began to change…Manufacturers started literally and figuratively “spinning a yarn” by using multiple strands to make up a single thread. The thread is the same size whether it is made of one single strand, two, or even three thin strands twisted together into one thread.

If manufacturers count all three strands in a thread, they can claim thread counts as high as 1200. But this is very misleading, because multiple stands in a thread don’t improve the fabric and can actually compromise the quality and softness of the sheets.

Linen experts consistently recommend you look for single ply cotton as a hallmark of good sheets. This restricts total thread count to a maximum of 400 or thereabouts. Further, they encourage extra-long staple cotton for higher quality. Look for Pima, Egyptian, and Supima® in 250-500 thread counts. Here are our top recommendations for best high thread count sheets.

Our Top Picks for the Best High Thread Count Sheets

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LL bean pima cotton sheets

L.L. Bean 280-Thread-Count Pima Cotton Percale Sheet Set

These sheets are made from 100% long-staple pima cotton yarns for a luxurious, extra-smooth feel that is sure to improve your sleep. They are smooth, crisp, soft, and enveloping. The fabric is OEKO-TEK certified against the Standard 100 toxic chemicals for a healthy night’s sleep. The sets come with a flat sheet and a fitted sheet, that has a 15” deep pocket, and 1-2 pillowcases depending on the sheet size.

L.L. Bean offers these sheets in 8 solid colors and 2 prints in shades of blues, grays, and neutrals. The prints are both blue and white. To keep colors from fading and the sheets in good condition, care instructions include machine washing and drying.

  • Price: $109.00-$169.00
  • Sizes: Twin, Full, Queen, King
  • Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars, 422 reviews
Matteo Los angles sateen sheets

Matteo, Los Angeles – Washed Sateen Sheet Set 300 Thread Count

Matteo is manufactured in the USA and committed to the highest quality sheets. They use a medium-weight yarn in 60’s style cotton for both the warp and weft that has a slightly retro feel. The result is an outstanding 100% cotton, 300 thread count fabric that is soft, strong, and breathable.

Great for year-round, these sheets are long-wearing, and the sheet sets are dyed together for consistency of color in non-toxic dye. They come in 13 different rich, neutral earth tones. The sets include a top, bottom, and 1-2 pillowcases. Care instructions include washing in lukewarm water with a cool rinse and tumble dry on a low setting. This natural look may appear slightly wrinkled, iron if desired.

  • Price: $265.00-$415.00
  • Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, California King, King
LL bean egyptian cotton sheets

L.L. Bean Premium Egyptian Percale Sheet Collection 400 Thread Count

These sheets are 400 thread count 100% Egyptian cotton, a super strong and long-lasting sheet set. Egyptian cotton is known for its super softness and lush, extra- comfortable feel. The fabric has been certified by OEKO-TEK against the Standard 100 most toxic chemicals, and you can be assured of a healthy night’s sleep in addition to comfort. The sets come with a flat sheet and a fitted sheet that has a 15” deep pocket, and 1-2 pillowcases depending on the sheet size. Extra pillowcases can be purchased separately.

L.L. Bean offers these sheets in 3 solid colors, light blue, soft gray, and white. The care instructions include machine washing and drying. You will snuggle in and never look back.

  • Price: $179.00-$239.00
  • Sizes: Twin, Full, Queen, King
  • Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars, 85 reviews
Brooklinen luxe core sheets

Brooklinen – Luxe Core Sheet Set 480 Thread Count

These sheet sets are soft with a slight satin sheen. They are made from 100% long staple cotton that has been OEKO-TEK certified which means it has been tested and certified against harmful chemicals for a healthy sleep environment.

These soft and extremely comfortable sheets come in 14 different colors and prints.  Eighty-two percent of their customs give them a 5-star rating on this 480-thread count sheet. The set includes a flat and fitted sheet that comfortably fits up to a 15-inch mattress and comes with 1-2 pillowcases depending on size. King and California king come with extra-large pillowcases.

  • Price: $129.00-$169.00
  • Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, California King, King
  • Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars, 12, 158 reviews

The Pros and Cons of High Thread Count Cotton Sheets

Pros 

Cotton sheets are considered the most popular material for bedding. It feels good on the skin, is easy to care for, washes up nicely, and can get softer with multiple washings. Cotton comes in an organic option if you are so inclined, is readily available, and comes in a range of prices. Cotton sheets are durable, especially if they are high thread count, and can last for years and years. Cotton is easy to print and patterned cotton sheets abound.

Cons

Sometimes the world of cotton thread count can be confusing and misleading. It can take some work to understand why some higher thread counts are not really better sheets, and it can be easy to purchase something and then be disappointed.

Egyptian cotton for example, is grown in an area of Egypt that produces extra-long fibers that make for an especially soft and strong sheet, but the labeling for sheets is not regulated and consumer can be fooled. Estimates are that with as much as 90% of the sheets labeled as Egyptian cotton really have cotton from other countries. Another downside to high thread count cotton is that it can be expensive and less expensive versions can be scratchy and uncomfortable.


Summary

In order to purchase a good set of high thread count sheets you need to understand exactly what the count means. Your best bet is to find sheets between 300-400 or thereabouts. Higher numbers, especially over 1,000, can be very misleading with threads made from multiple twisted fibers that don’t improve the quality of the sheets. In order to make a good choice, do some research or pick from one of our recommendations for best high thread count sheets.


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