One of the most frequent questions we get at Pet My Carpet involves finding the best carpet available. We typically explain that “the best carpet” will vary depending on your priorities. However, given the fact that most people ultimately want to know which carpet is going to be the most durable, or in other words, which will last the longest, this is the question we’ll answer today. It’s important to note that this guide is aimed at homeowners and not at commercial environments like businesses and offices; however, much of the information will apply to residential and industrial settings alike. Similarly, these recommendations are based purely on durability without price considerations.
Which natural and synthetic carpet fibers are the most durable?
If durability is your top priority, and not stain resistance, ease of cleaning, budget, or any other factor, you’re going to have two choices before you: nylon and wool. Yes, there are some promising alternatives like triexta, but wool is the oldest durable natural fiber while nylon is still the most established high-end synthetic fiber, so we’ll focus on these two today. Both are strong, resilient, and more capable of withstanding high foot traffic than almost any other option out there.
What are the pros and cons of nylon and wool?
Wool is highly durable, ecologically friendly, and fie resistant. However, it also loves water, and will happily grow mold or mildew if you expose it frequently to spills. Wool, being an organic material, is also prone to fading when set up in rooms that receive direct sunlight for extended periods of time. It’s also difficult to clean and can shrink if you don’t know how to care for it. Beyond that, wool is also a bit less resistant to abrasion than nylon.
Nylon, in contrast, is about as strong as wool but is vulnerable to staining; this is why you’ll almost always find a nylon carpet with factory-applied stain treatment. Without it, you’ll see colors and stains in your nylon carpet that will never go away, because it likes water almost as much as wool. Nylon, being synthetic, is also less environmentally friendly than wool and can also emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds), particularly when new.
Do face weight and density matter in carpet longevity?
Carpet face weight and density are frequently mentioned as the be-all, end-all of carpet durability. The truth is, though, that while they’re important individually, neither will tell the whole story. We’ve written extensively about both before, but the long and short of it is that the more you have of each, the better–not just because it means you’re getting additional strength in your carpet, but because the denser a carpet is, the less aged it’s going to look.
Think about a forest; if you fly over it as a bird would (or from a helicopter), a denser forest will take your breath away, while a sparsely-populated one will let you see the dirt below and look less appealing. Similarly, the more fibers you have, the more strength the carpet has. If you’re going to try to lift a giant (which is how you look to a carpet fiber), would you rather do so with 10 friends or with 100? If you don’t want to get crushed, you’re going to want as many hands as you can get. When searching for a carpet with durability in mind, you’ll want at least 60 oz of face weight (again, more is better), and at least 2,500 ounces per cubic yard if at all possible. See here for how to calculate both face weight and density.
Which styles of carpets are most durable, and does the twist level matter?
There are four main types of carpet: Saxonies, berbers,cut and loops, and friezes. All of these can work when it comes to durability, but because of how they’re made, some types are going to give you more years when matched for quality than others. Of the big four, frieze carpets (which are basically updated shags) are going to give you the best odds of longevity. Frieze carpets are wavy or curled and are also known as twist carpets, because they features many twists per inch–typically between 7 and 9. A carpet’s fiber twist is one of the most important, yet frequently overlooked, elements in durability. The more twists you have in a carpet fiber, the stronger the fiber and the stronger the overall carpet. It’s the same reason you can tear a piece of cardboard much more easily if it’s flat than if you twist it into a stick. So if you want durability in a carpet, you can look for a high twist number, or you can save yourself some time and just get a frieze.
So the most durable carpet is a high-twist, very dense, high face weight nylon frieze?
Basically, yes. The more of these factors you can combine into one carpet, the better off you’ll be. However, don’t stress too much if you can’t match every factor; there are lots of elements that go into making a carpet that will last 15, 20, or 30 years, and it’s tough to combine them all into one carpet. And the more of these factors you do manage to find in one carpet, the more you’re going to pay to take it home. Your best bet is to buy the best carpet within your budget and in accordance with your priorities.
Which vacuums are beset suited to cleaning durable carpets?
While the decision of which carpet to buy for longevity may not be easy, the decision of which vacuum to choose to help clean and maintain it can be. In short, you want a vacuum with a beater brush, or an electric motorized brush head. Air brushes aren’t going to have the power to lift dirt, dust, grime, pet hair, and everything else that can get stuck in a carpet out efficiently. This is even more true when dealing with higher or denser piles of carpet. When you’ve got rotating brushes, on the other hand, you’ll have the power you need–particularly when those brushes are on height-adjustable cleaning heads. Two vacuums that meet these requirements easily are the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog (reviewed here and here) and Miele Compact C2 Electro+ (reviewed here and here).
If you find our research on PMC helpful, you can follow our efforts to keep maniacally reviewing home cleaning tools by shopping through our links above. We promise to keep fighting the good fight against every horror children, animals, and grown, yet messy humans can inflict upon a clean home.