Thread count vs GSM - What are they and do they really matter?

With so many different measures, excessively high numbers, and different companies using a different catchy phrase to describe their products, it is becoming harder and harder to cut through the BS and figure out whether the sheets that look good, feel good too!

Let’s start with a rundown of some of the most common quality measures. 

Thread Count

The traditional measure of cotton sheet quality is measured by threads per square inch or strands of fabric, determined by counting the number of horizontal and vertical threads that make up the weave of the fabric. 

We have all grown to believe that the higher the thread count, the better the sheets - we’ve been sold a lie! Just over 50 years ago, the highest thread count available was generally no more than 180. Now, “top of the line” sheets boast thread counts of 1200. Have we become that much better at making sheets, or is there some marketing sorcery involved - probably a little bit of both! 

Manufacturers have been found to count threads for each ply of fabric that makes up your sheets. Although the high numbers may sound luxurious and top quality, they may in fact be thick, non-breathable and cheaply made. Don’t be fooled by the incumbents!


GSM, or grams per square meter, is the measure of choice for natural fibres like flax and hemp. GSM is the weight of one square meter of fabric. The higher the number, the denser the fabric.

So what’s a good GSM? It really depends on the product. A light linen shirt may be as low as 130 GSM, whereas rugged denim jeans can be over 450 GSM. Generally, higher GSM means higher prices due to higher quality inputs and better weaving processes. However, different fibers have different inherent weights, and fabrics such as denim and wool will have higher GSM’s than cotton and linen.

Our luxurious hemp sheets are 170 GSM. This means the fabric is light, flexible and soft, with the naturally strong hemp fibres ensuring our products will be enjoyed for years to come.