Thread count is an important thing to consider when shopping around for new sheets, but this number can also be misleading. In fact, did you know the highest thread count doesn’t necessarily mean higher-quality bedding? It’s true!
Before you add any new bedding to your shopping cart, here is a helpful guide for ensuring you get the perfect set of sheets for your needs and budget.
What is Thread Count?
Sheet thread count refers to the number of threads contained in one square inch of fabric. Thread counts typically range from 60 to 1000, with most bedding products falling somewhere in the middle, usually around 300 or so.
The higher the thread count, the more vertical and horizontal threads there are in every square inch. As such, sheets with higher thread counts are softer and can feel more luxurious than lower thread counts, which are crisper to the touch. Higher thread counts are also more expensive because more threads are used, requiring a greater amount of material to complete the finished product.
When shopping for new sheets, thread count is denoted on the packaging as a number followed by “tc.” For instance, when a sheet has a 300-thread count, it will read “300tc.” A 300tc means there are 300 threads woven in each square inch.
Thread Count Misconceptions
Thread count provides a handy way of narrowing down your bedding options, but it can also be misleading. Just because a sheet has a 200-thread count doesn’t mean its quality is lacking compared to a similarly styled 400tc sheets. The 400-thread count sheet may be softer and likely come with a higher price tag, but this doesn’t mean the 200tc sheet is an inferior product.
In fact, some manufacturers use thin, low-quality threads to double the thread count, allowing them to market an inferior product at a higher thread count. Most people who are unaware of this misconception will buy from unreliable sellers without realizing their product is not always the best option.
To avoid buying low-quality sheets, consider the source. Higher thread counts sold at rock-bottom prices are typically made from thinner threads. As such, they won’t last long and may even feel scratchy or start to pill. Pilling is when low-quality sheets develop small balls of fiber on the surface, which compromises comfort as well as aesthetics.
Instead of using thread count as your sole guide for buying new sheets, shop with a reputable department store and choose trusted brands. That 300tc from Liz Claiborne, Royal Velvet, or JCPenney Home will almost always be a better option than an 800tc sheet you find online from an unknown seller.
Consider the Bedding Material
Material is just as important as thread count, if not more so. Sheets made from synthetic materials are affordable options for shoppers on a budget, but they don’t breathe well and can make sleeping uncomfortable, if not impossible.
Cotton sheets are the preferred material for most sleepers because it’s a quality material that breathes and stands up to everyday use. Cotton sheets include Egyptian cotton, pima, percale, sateen, and most flannels, although some flannel sheets are made of wool for added warmth during the winter months. Any one of these options is ideal for home bedding because the materials keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter, the sheets can last a lifetime with proper care, and the fabric transfers moisture away from the skin.
On the other hand, cotton blends tend to be more affordable and durable than pure cotton sheets. A rich cotton and polyester blend, for instance, is a smart option when you’re on a budget and need sheets that look great but still provide a good night’s sleep.
Quality sheets and pillow cases, regardless of thread count, will repel dirt and bacteria, protect sensitive skin, and have anti-allergenic properties, even if the sheets are not advertised as such.
Shop for Essential Features
A sheet’s features are just as important to consider as thread count. For example, wrinkle-resistant sheets are an easy-care option that many buyers find hard to pass up. Wrinkle-resistant sheets are even offered in a range of thread counts and blended materials, resulting in soft, cool, crisp finishes that stand up to the washer and dryer. Even the most fitful sleeper can’t phase wrinkle-free sheets!
At JCPenney, you’ll find quality sheets that are hypoallergenic, reversible, easy-care, shrink-resistant, stain-resistant, quick-dry, and breathable. Certain styles even feature deep pockets for those thicker mattresses. From temperature regulation to no-iron care, today’s sheets are designed to meet the demands and preferences of individual sleepers.
To help determine which sheet set is right for you, ask yourself if you prefer cool and crisp percale, silky sateen, T-shirt-like jersey weave, or luxurious Egyptian cotton. Remember, honing in on your own comfort preferences is just as important as buying a quality thread count.
Do Your Research
Since the thread count alone can be misleading, you’ll want to do your homework when shopping for a new set of sheets. Simply touching the sheets in the store can’t tell you much; instead, inspect the threads for any signs of pilling.
When buying online, read reviews to compare customer feedback. At JCPenney.com, you can even sort your search results by rating, making it easier to shop for the best products regardless of thread count.
Sheet thread count is just one of the many factors to consider when purchasing new sheets. That’s why JCPenney offers an unparalleled selection suited for all types of sleepers.