When it comes to thread counts in bed linens, bigger is better—right?

Both the definition behind and the attraction toward thread counts make sense — the term is simply a measurement of the number of both vertical and horizontal threads in a single square inch of fabric. More threads must then equal more comfort.

In limited ways, it’s true. Many high-end bed sheets on the market feature thread counts of up to 600. And those stiff, scratchy, newspaper-like wraps you’ve slept on at cheap roach motels were probably closer to 50.

But smarter sheet shoppers know that thread count numbers shouldn’t be the single relied-upon indicator for the comfort and softness you’re hoping for from your sheets.

Here are some other factors:

Ply — Take a thread, and twist it around another thread to form a single, double-thread. Make sense? That’s “Ply,” and it’s an important factor when it comes to understanding linens. One oft-cited example of how thread count numbers can be misleading revolves around ply: Do 300 thread count sheets contain 300 single-ply threads in that particular square inch? Or is it 150 double-ply threads?

Understanding what kind of ply you want actually leads to our next factor:

Thickness — Use fine, thin silk or cotton, and your sheets will likely be soft and smooth. Use a ball of yarn better left to your grandmother’s knitting (or a kitten’s playing), and, well, you can imagine what kind of sleep you’ll get. Most sheets quite obviously trend toward the finer end of the spectrum, but there is still measurable (and noticeable) variance in thread thickness. In the end, thinner equals higher thread counts and a lighter, more delicate fabric. Thicker threads increase durability, but can be much heavier and tend to lose that smoothness factor.

Material quality — You could probably find a way to jam 600 pine needles into a square inch, but the number alone wouldn’t translate to a comfortable sleep. Don’t get lost in numbers while overlooking simple factors like the quality of the material—and the quality of fabric treatment and finishing—you’ll be getting. Cotton, polyester and blends each feature their own sets of pros and cons—and each come in both high and low-quality forms. At Hunt, we use only the finest quality materials (and the most value-oriented and cost-effective—not that we’re bragging).

You…— are the bottom line. Everyone is different when it comes to the fickle science of sleep, and you’ll only truly know what’s best through experience (though we don’t recommend the pine needles). At Hunt, we (thankfully) provide an abundant array of different types of wholesale bed linens.

Contact us, and our wholesale linen experts will help you decide what’s best for you.