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August 15, 2018

What Is Ring Spun Cotton? The difference between: 30 singles & 20 singles

Here at Spectra we pride ourselves on the quality of our garments and lot of this is down to our super soft ‘Spectra Spun’ fabrics that we use throughout. While ‘Spectra Spun’ and ring spun cotton may sound cool and fancy, what does it really mean?

Ring spun cotton is smoother and longer yarn compared to open-end yarn. In addition, ring spun yarn goes through a spinning process that softens and straightens each fiber. The end result of ring spun is a more refined fiber. Ring spun combed yarn, is where the cotton fibers are spun and then combed to remove impurities and enhance the luxurious hand feel.

When someone says ’20 singles’ or ’30 singles’ ring spun it refers to the gauge (thickness) of the yarn in the t-shirts. The higher the number, the better quality and softer feel of the shirt. 18 singles = cheap, 20 singles = a step up in quality & hand feel especially if it is 20 singles ring spun (style 2100 from Spectra USA), 30 singles (see Spectra USA list below) = the bomb!

The best way to remember, think of bedsheets: the higher the thread count = the better quality.

Most cheap shirts are made from 18 singles OE = open end yarn. Low yarn count = coarse thick yarn = cheap t-shirt. Therefore any higher yarn count and add ring spun, you will have a superior quality t-shirt with a refined hand. Spectra USA only offers 20 singles as its most economical option and 95% of the line offered is ring-spun and combed cotton. Our 20 singles ring-spun heavy weight t-shirt is the premium option for the old school t-shirt.

One of the biggest advantages of 30 singles ring spun combed t-shirts, besides the fact that they are very comfortable, is it is the optimal base fabric for digital printing (DTG), screen printing, heat transfers and even sublimation on the blends (52/48 cotton/poly).

Spectra USA offers many styles that are manufactured with 30 singles premium ring spun yarn: men’s, ladies, juniors, and kids.


3100 Men’s short sleeve crew neck 100% cotton

31USA Men’s short sleeve crew neck 100% cotton

3050 Men’s short sleeve crew neck 52% cotton / 48% polyester

3055 Men’s long sleeve crew neck available in 100% cotton & 52/48 blend

3105 Men’s short sleeve V-neck 100% cotton

3400SS Men’s short sleeve crew neck 50% organic cotton / 50% recycled polyester

2007 Men’s tank top 100% cotton & 52/48 blend


8600 Ladies short sleeve crew neck available in 100% cotton & 52/48 blend

8862 Juniors short sleeve crew neck 100% cotton

8500 Juniors V-neck 100% cotton


3250 Kids short sleeve crew neck 52% cotton / 48% polyester

If you have technical questions on t-shirts or the fabrics, please email

We endeavor to answer all inquiries.

Article written by Brian McLaughlin.