It will come as no surprise, but Egyptian cotton is globally recognised as the finest cotton thread in the world. You cannot talk about luxurious high quality sheets without talking about Egyptian cotton, so when it comes to the softness of any product made by it; you can’t go too wrong. There are however sheets that are softer than others, and it all revolves around two things; the grade of cotton, and the thread count.
Basics of Thread Count (and how this relates to Softness):
For a more in depth look at what a thread count is, Dreamy-Bedding has done a more extensive article on the specifics and logistics of thread count here.
To put thread count simply though, it entails the number of thread that run both vertically and horizontally in one square inch of material. So in a 200 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, there are a total of 200 pieces of thread woven into one square inch, both horizontally and vertically combined. You need to understand that thread count is not the be all and end all of quality; it just gives an idea as to how course or fine the thread really is.
What makes a sheet soft?
The softness of any sheet is based off two things; the fine-ness of the thread that is woven, and the thread count. Most sheets are made from some sort of cotton, but because we know it is the stand out material, we want to discuss Egyptian cotton in particular.
Egyptian cotton is the finest cotton thread, and is globally recognised as such. This means that you can fit more threads into one square inch, raising the possibility for high thread count sheet sets. The benefit of this, is that the higher the thread count, the softer it will become, and the longer it lasts. But even low thread count quality sheets made from 100 Egyptian cotton are exceptionally soft.
Let’s have a look at an array of thread counts, and what you may well find.
100-200 thread count: Although low on the scale of softness, these Egyptian cotton sheets are perfect for domestic, informal and low budget needs. They are very popular in hospitals and hospices, and domestic rentals but would be ideal for a spare bedroom. They’re very light and airy, and if you’re looking for well made sheets at the right price then these sheets may be the right choice for you in summer as they allow better airflow.
400 thread count: By far, the most popular sheets for general home use. It has a great balance of quality and durability, while being light and airy. Due to the fine threads of Egyptian cotton, 400 thread count cotton sheets are a great happy-medium in regards to softness. Dreamy-Bedding believe you just can’t go too wrong with a 400 thread count Egyptian cotton sheet set. Even the holiday world has caught on, rarely will you find a top end hotel that doesn’t use 400 thread count cotton sheets.
600 thread count: Now we’re talking soft. These are actually made through a compressed air machine, as the thread begins to get really dense at this thread count; they need all the help they can get to create such a tightly woven material. You’ll find that this thread count in particular is both strong and soft, but the fabric still feels delicate. These sheets feel smooth and soft from first touch and also soften with every wash. These sheets are a great candidate for having the best thread count.
800-1000+ thread count: These high thread count cotton sheets are ridiculously strong, yet considerably soft. Being a high thread count, the prices can begin to sky-rocket. If you have the cash flow though, Dreamy-Bedding would highly recommend this thread count in terms of longevity; you won’t have to buy another sheet set for many years. They’re durable, very soft and generally highest of quality. One thing to be aware of is the multi-ply process. Many companies to enable the possibility for higher thread counts will use single ply thread, then combine it with another to make multiply thread. For example, a 1200 ply thread count may actually be 3-ply 400 thread count. Although it increases the strength of the sheets, it dismantles the opportunity for the thread to soften over time as much as a single ply thread count. It will soften, just not as much.
Dreamy-Bedding would always recommend 400-600 thread count sheets. These are by far the best value for money, and carry some strong characteristics, that you just can’t go wrong with; however if you have the money for a more luxurious sheet set, that could last you a very long time, then 800+ thread count sheets are exceptional. On the flip side, if you have a low budget, going with a low thread count (<200) is not a bad option, but will always recommend Egyptian cotton as opposed to any other alternative cotton. It give you the peace of mind, knowing your product is well made and high quality, but won’t break the bank.
You can find a list of our favorite Egyptian Cotton Sheet Sets rated by category on our helpful best Egyptian cotton sheets reviews page, with handy links to help you with buying your Egyptian Cotton products online.