If you’ve gone shopping for bed sheets recently, you may have found the choices to be pretty confusing. Thread counts vary in number from 150 all the way up to 1200 and beyond. Retailers would have you believe that the 1200 count sheets are better, and therefore charge a good deal more for them.
What does thread count mean exactly and is it important? Thread count is the number of horizontal and vertical threads in each square inch of material. These numbers can be misleading, however, because manufacturers may weave two threads together into one, creating what’s called two ply. This may create a stronger, more durable fabric, but one that isn’t as soft. Then they double the thread count number to reflect those two threads combined into one. So, instead of calling it 200, they call it 400 count. In this Consumer Reports article, this discrepancy is pointed out: http://18.104.22.168/home/2010/04/review-of-bed-sheets-linens-thread-count-pima-egyptian-supima-cotton-best-sheets-sateen-twill-.html
Some retailers now have samples of the sheets they are selling, which allows you to feel them and determine the softness for yourself. For a good explanation of the different types of materials used and things to look for when buying sheets, check out this page: http://www.cottoninc.com/pressreleases/?articleID=364 You may discover that you are paying more for your sheets than necessary.