With the exception of Egyptian cotton, thread count has been the focus of most marketing campaigns in the bedding industry over the past decade or so. Touted on packages, pushed by sales staff and understood by few, it has in many ways become the holy grail of bedding. But how does it affect the old standby of percale sheets? Is thread count important when one is shopping for percale sheets?
The short answer is yes, but not as much as one might think.
What Is Thread Count?
Thread count is defined as the number of threads inside a square inch of fabric, counting both length and width. If a sheet of fabric has 220 individual threads in the width and 180 in the length it would be described as having a thread count of 400. That is all thread count is – simply the number of threads in a square inch of the fabric. The problems arise when manufacturers begin to count a 2 or 3-ply twisted yarn as 2 or 3 threads. What is essentially 400 thread count sheets are sometimes advertised as 800 or 1200 thread count. This isn’t exactly true and is why simply buying by thread count alone can be misleading.
While thread count is important, we here at Only Percale Sheets think that it is not the be-all-end-all of buying sheets. When shopping for percale sheet sets, there are several other factors that come into play. Considering the kind of weave, the durability, the softness of the fabric, the price, the type of material used, and many other things are all important when buying sheets.
The problems with focusing on thread count are most apparent when trying to buy sheets that have a high thread count yet are very cheap. While a high thread count can increase the perceived quality of the sheets, if the threads themselves are of lower quality or the weaving method used when making the sheets is not what the buyer is looking for, disappointment will be sure to follow.
How Does This Affect Percale Sheets?
So what should a person look for when buying sheets? Figure out what kind of weave first. Once that is decided many other things can fall into place. Percale sheets have been popular for literally hundreds of years. Their durability, softness combined with crispness, cool nature and comfort have made people return to them again and again. Percale sheets will by nature have at least a 180 thread count. Buying percale sheets with thread count in the 400 range is a good safe rule of thumb if looking for great sheets. As mentioned above, extremely high thread count sheets may not be accurate. A set of percale sheets with a thread count around 400 is a great place to start. But don’t be turned off by lower thread counts than this. Some percale sheet sets with 250 thread count are rated very highly.
Percale Sheets – The Best Bet
Buying a set of percale sheets depends on more than just thread count. The fact that they are percale will greatly increase their quality. But the most important thing is feel – open them up and see how they feel if possible before buying. If you cannot then make sure the retailer has a generous return policy. You’ll be glad you did.