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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 and padding selection.



What is the PAR Carpet Rating System?

Don't confuse the PAR rating with carpet durability in your home. Some carpet manufacturers have a durability scale they use to help inform consumers. It is usually based on a number from one to five, with five being the most durable. I don't like these rating systems because I think it is not an accurate true-to-life calculation you can depend on. If you don't know what grade of carpet you need, I suggest you take my free carpet foot traffic test to see what grade of carpet you might need for your home. Don't spend too much or too little on new carpet and padding. Take my free Carpet Foot Traffic Test


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 fiber Face-Weight, Warranty information and the Carpet Style name and Carpet Color name. 


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, but in most cases these specifications are NOT listed on the carpet label.  


These Carpet manufacturing specifications are the key bits of information you need to help determine the carpet's durability level and whether or not it would be a good choice based on the level of foot traffic you have in your home. 


Many carpet manufacturers today don't provide complete product information on their carpet samples. Some carpet retailers are reluctant to call the manufacturer and request this information and provide complete carpet specs to their customers. Homeowners can call the mill direct and request carpet specifications. I have compiled a list of carpet mill websites and phone numbers for you.  List of Carpet Mill Websites and Phone Numbers



They want to make it difficult for you to comparison shop.  

Most carpet retailers carry many of the the exact same carpet brands, styles and colors as other nearby carpet dealers. Some carpet retailers may not be willing to provide you with the carpet specifications to make it harder for you to comparison shop. They want to make it hard for you to shop for a lower price on the exact same carpet at another dealer down the street. In their mind, it's not fair for their commissioned salesperson to spend several 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 firmly believe that all consumers should have access to complete and accurate carpet manufacturing specifications. 



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.


Bear in mind that the carpet retailer will have to call the carpet mill and request the "spec sheet" and it could take a day or two for them to obtain all the information for you. Be patient! However, if your carpet retailer is not willing to call the mill or make an effort to provide you with the carpet specs you need, then you might consider shopping somewhere else. One of the hardest specs to obtain is the Tuft Twist. If you have good eyesight you can usually make an educated guess about this specification by looking at the carpet. Here is what I mean...



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 Facts:

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

  • The Tuft Twist values usually range from 3.0 to 8.0, the higher the better.



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. The illustration at left shows how a tuft may appear if it has blossomed. 


For this reason, a Carpet with a higher Tuft Twist value 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 simple Tuft Twist 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 Style Carpets tend to wear better and last longer than many other carpet styles. 


Tuft Twist Chart




Next Up:  



Learn More...


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 a special list of hand-picked carpet retailers 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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It's getting harder every day to find honest & reputable Carpet Dealers to recommend to my readers! That's why, since 2008, I have been building my own special list of hand-picked carpet dealers who have passed my requirements and provide first-class customer service; are locally owned; give free estimates;  have knowledgeable sales staff; and use qualified installers. Don't take chances... See who I recommend near you!

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