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Carpet Comparison

By Alan Fletcher - 30-year Carpet Expert & Trusted Consumer Advocate


What Makes One Carpet Better Than Another?


Carpet quality is determined by several factors including: The type and quality of materials used; The amount of fiber face-weight; and how well it is constructed. Here is some important information you need to know before you make your final carpet selection. 


Let me explain a little about Carpet Specifications and where you can locate or obtain all this critical information as you are shopping for new carpet for your home. This is the first page of many you should read on my free website before you make your final carpet selection. 



The Carpet "Specification" Label


On the back of every carpet sample there should be a label that shows the name of the manufacturer, the Type of Fiber used to make the carpet pile, the warranty information and the carpet style and color. The label might reveal which anti-stain or anti-static treatments have been applied. It may also include the Pile Density Rating, Pile height and the Tuft Twist Count, but in most cases these specifications are NOT listed on the carpet label. 


These carpet "specs" is the critical information you MUST have to help you determine how durable the carpet is and whether or not it would be a good choice for your needs, goals and lifestyle. 


Sadly, many carpet manufacturers either don't provide complete information on the labels or retailers may remove, alter or refuse to provide the information that consumers need to make wise and informed carpet choices. 


Why is it difficult for you to comparison shop for carpet?


Most carpet stores carry the exact same carpet brands, styles and colors as other nearby carpet stores. Some carpet retailers may not be willing to provide you with the carpet specifications to make it harder for you to comparison shop. They don't want you to shop for a lower price on the exact same carpet down the street. In their mind, it's not fair for their commissioned salesperson to spend hours helping a customer find the perfect carpet... then for that customer to buy the exact same carpet down the street because it was a few dollars cheaper. While I do understand their frustration with dealing with customers who shop around for the best deals, I believe all consumers deserve to have full and complete access to the carpet specifications. 


If your carpet retailer is not willing to provide you with all the carpet specs, then you might consider shopping somewhere else. Bear in mind that the salesperson will often have to call the carpet maker to gain access to the "spec sheet" and it could take a day or two to gather all the information for you. Be patient!



How To Shop For Carpet?


You should take your time shopping for carpet and gradually narrow down your selection to just a few carpet types that you really like, that may be suitable for your needs and that are within your price range. Then before you make your final choice, ask the salesperson to provide you with a spec sheet for each of those carpets you are considering.



Private Labels on Carpet Samples


One problem you may encounter when shopping for carpet at home improvement stores like Lowe's or Home Depot, is that they have placed private labels on all their carpet samples. They have deliberately changed the style and color names to prevent you from being able to comparison shop at other local carpet stores. 


What this means to you is that if you find a carpet that you really like, you will have a very hard time finding the exact same carpet at another carpet store. This is a sneaky trick that prevents you from determining if their prices are fair and reasonable. I consider "private labeling" a Carpet Scam!


Chances are good that the same carpet is available at other local carpet stores in your area but are selling under a different style and color name. Using private labels is how they prevent you from comparing their prices with other nearby carpet retailers. 


This is also how they can get away with charging you more for the carpet, padding and installation. They try very hard to take away your right to shop around to find the best deal. Are their prices fair? How would you know if you are unable to comparison shop? For this reason and many others, I do not recommend buying carpet or flooring from any home improvement store. Common Consumer Carpet Buying Mistakes



What is the PAR Rating?


Many carpet manufacturers have a durability scale they use to inform consumers. It is usually based on a number from one to five, with five being the most durable. I don't like their rating systems because I think it is not an accurate true-to-life calculation. I suggest you take my free carpet foot traffic test to see what grade of carpet you might need for your home. Take my free Carpet Foot Traffic Test



The Tuft Twist 


What is a Tuft? 


Carpet fibers or "filaments" are grouped together to form tufts and twisted while heat is applied to "set" the fibers permanently, hence the term "heat set". The tighter the filaments are twisted the more durable the carpet will be.


This tuft has 7 twists and is a sign of a well-made carpet.




This tuft has 4 twists and is not as good and is a sign of a lower grade of carpet




The Number of Tuft Twists is an important key to making sure your carpet retains its like new appearance longer. Frieze styles tend to have a higher tuft twist (over 6) and is why they are well-known for their durability and retaining a like-new appearance longer than most other carpet styles.


  • The Tuft Twist is based on the number of twists per "lineal inch" of tuft. 

  • The Tuft Twist numbers usually range from 3.0 to 7.5



What makes a Carpet look or appear worn out?


Carpets with a low Tuft Twist (3 to 5) tend to untwist or “blossom” at the yarn tips more quickly thus creating a worn out or matted down appearance. For this reason a Carpet with a higher Tuft Twist will retain its like-new appearance longer and tolerate a higher level of foot traffic. 


When comparing carpets side by side, you must consider the Tuft Twist to help you determine which carpet is the better choice. Carpets with a lower Tuft Twist tend to "blossom" more quickly and as a result will appear worn out sooner. 


Study this chart to better understand how carpet quality is determined in part by the number of twists each tuft has. Most frieze styles have a high tuft twist rating of at least 6 or more. That's one reason why frieze carpets tend to wear better and last longer than many other styles. 



Carpet comparison, how to compare carpet, polyester vs nylon carpet, nylon vs Smartstrand carpet, pet polyester vs nylon carpet.



Next Up:  



Carpet Fibers - What you need to know

Popular Carpet Styles - How to choose

How much does new Carpet Cost?

How to Measure Carpet in four simple steps

Take my free Carpet Foot Traffic Test




Alan's Preferred Carpet Dealers

It's getting hard to find an honest and reputable carpet dealer these days! That's why I have formed my own special hand-picked list of carpet dealers who are locally owned, give free estimates, offer fair prices, have knowledgeable staff, provide honest measuring and hire qualified installers. See who I recommend near you!



















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