Should You Upgrade Builder’s Carpet for your New Home?

Should You Upgrade Builder's Carpet from Home Builders?
There are few moments more exciting in life than the moments before you buy a new home…

Buying a new home is one of the most meaningful and expensive experiences most people will have in a lifetime. It comes with a lot of decisions that need to be made, including which type of flooring you’ll have installed. Depending on how much you’re spending on your home as well as on who is building it, what you’re offered may vary considerably, with everything from vinyl to hardwood flooring to carpet being on the table. Today we’ll take a look at the most common options for carpeting new homes and whether or not they’re worth upgrading.

What’s commonly offered for standard builder’s grade carpet?

Should You Upgrade Builder's Carpet from Home Builders?
…but choosing between installed carpets can be a challenge (particularly if you try to do so with arms full of children).

Builder’s grade carpet will typically be a wall-to-wall, broadloom option that doesn’t cost anything beyond the base price you’ll pay for the home. While the specific style and pile you get will naturally vary from one builder to the next, we’ll focus today on what you’re likely to get when buying an entry- to mid-level priced home.

Typically, what you’ll see here will be either a 20-30 ounce cut pile Saxony or 20 ounce looped Berber-style carpet; you’re not going to see cut and loops or friezes here, and whatever you find will almost always be in a low (not medium- or high) pile. While these options can and do work for many homeowners, there are a number of situations where you might want more durability, such as if you have a large family, pets, or live with a number of roommates or have frequent guests. Builders know this too; this is why they start you with the cheap stuff to get you to look into the upgrades.

What will you get with an upgraded builder’s carpet?

Should You Upgrade Builder's Carpet from Home Builders?
You’ll spend more on an upgrade, but you’ll get more for your money….

When you upgrade with a builder before buying a home, your carpet weight will increase slightly–perhaps up to a 30-ounce Berber or a 40-ounce Saxony carpet–but you’re still not going to get the truly high-weight, high-pile carpets that give the most longevity. Why bother with an upgrade, you may ask?

Should You Upgrade Builder's Carpet from Home Builders?
…including boosts in longevity…

The reason to consider upgrades is because in addition to a significant boost in carpet weight, you’ll typically also get far more options in the fibers that make up the carpets. For example, while a starter carpet made from synthetic fibers may only come in polyester or olefin, an upgraded carpet may give you nylon (which is more durable than polyester) or triexta (which compares favorably with nylon).

Should You Upgrade Builder's Carpet from Home Builders?
…and in the color options you can choose between.

Beyond added fiber choice and quality, upgraded builder carpets can also get you a much wider range of colors available, as long as you’re willing to pay for them. While you may only get to choose from three colors (which all look the same) when selecting a standard grade carpet, the upgraded options may be as much as seven, ten, or more. The point, again, is to get you to spend more money, as this gives the builders more when the project is done than they would with a base model home.

Is it worth upgrading builder’s carpet, or is the standard carpet enough?

Should You Upgrade Builder's Carpet from Home Builders?
Ultimately, it’s a question of where you want to put your money.

The main question to answer at this point is whether it makes more sense to upgrade the carpet ahead of time or stick with what the builder offers. The answer, of course, will vary with what you want to do with your home. If you have a larger budget and don’t want to bother with a carpet replacement in a few years, we’d suggest choosing the highest carpet grades your builder offers. While you’ll spend more in the process (especially if your builder pairs carpet upgrades with other required upgrades in the home), you’ll also insure the carpet this way against the time and money needed to replace it in the next several years, which might be worth the extra money up front.

Should You Upgrade Builder's Carpet from Home Builders?
If you want to get rid of carpet entirely down the line, skip the upgrades.

However, if you’re interested in a carpet replacement on a shorter timespan, whether to find your own high-end carpet or to switch away from carpet to a bare floor like hardwood, vinyl, or tile, then you’ll obviously want to skip the upgrade and just stick with whatever you have. Presuming you have a different floor in mind for the coming years, you’ll be better off saving your money to reach your long term goal.

Which vacuums can handle both standard and upgraded carpets with ease?

Should You Upgrade Builder's Carpet from Home Builders?
…and no matter what you do, don’t skimp on the vacuum.

Regardless of which carpet you choose, you’re going to need a vacuum to keep it clean. While you can choose the cheapest vacuums on the market to do a passable job with low-pile carpets, particularly if you don’t plan on keeping them for long, we always recommend planning for the long term, which in our books means buying vacuums that will a.) last long enough to see you through as many carpet changes as you care to make, and b.) be capable of cleaning whatever pile or style your needs and tastes lead you toward. The bad news is that very few vacuums on the market are designed to meet both of those qualifications. The good news is that there are still a few that are, notably those made in Germany by Miele. Two examples include the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog (reviewed here and here) and Miele Compact C2 Electro+ (reviewed here and here).

You  can buy the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog here on Amazon or buy the Miele Compact C2 Electro+ here.

Canadians can buy the Miele C3 Cat & Dog here or buy the Compact Electro+ 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.

Related Posts and Reviews...

Shark Rocket HV302 Review, HV391, HV300 Comparisons

Shark Rocket HV302 Review, HV391, HV300 Comparisons
The Shark Rocket HV302 is a starter ultralight stick vacuum that offers a lot of value for not a lot of money.

Corporations keep promising us a world like the Jetsons where all of our chores are completed like robots. We’re not there yet, though, and until then, we’re still going to need human-steered vacuums. Yes, buy a robotic vacuum or mop if you can’t bear to clean anything anymore, and it’s certainly a better solution than tying a Swiffer to your toddler and hoping for the best, but robotic vacuums still have a long way to go before they’re as agile as an able-bodied man or woman. A robot’s not going to clean your countertops, your sofas, or your stairs, and it’s certainly not going to detail the inside of your car. So what’s a busy person to do?

Shark Rocket HV302 Review, HV391, HV300 Comparisons
It includes a few of the features found in higher-end Shark sticks…

Well, if you buy a Shark or Dyson, you can make vacuuming ideally faster, easier, and maybe even fun if you find the right tool. If all you want is the most power and suction you can buy, the best uprights on the market today are the Shark APEX DuoClean AX951 and the Dyson Ball Animal 2. But if you want something with more power than a handheld Dyson V7 Car+Boat and more portability than the aforementioned uprights, you’ll do best with a hybrid stick vacuum–one that can shift smoothly from upright to handheld modes for maximum flexibility.

Shark Flex DuoClean HV391 Review, IONFlex IF201 Comparison
…although you’ll ultimately get more performance from the DuoClean Flex HV391.

We’ve taken the time to review just about every stick vacuum on the market, and have yet to find any better than the Dyson V8 Absolute and the Shark IONFlex 2x DuoClean IF251,  although the V8 Animal and IONFlex DuoClean IF201 tie right behind them for third place. But presuming you want a stick’s convenience and can live with a power cord, or simply want the worry-free practicality of cleaning without worrying about whether you’ll have enough battery life left to finish the job, you’re going to want a corded stick vacuum. While the Rocket HV300 is a low-cost bargain, the best corded ultralight in our books is the Flex DuoClean HV391; today we’ll compare both to the Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Upright Vacuum in Orange (HV302) to see which offers the most for the money. Our thoughts in ten seconds are to buy the HV391 to take advantage of maximum cleaning power on carpets and the back-saving flexible extension hose, and to chose the HV302 if you’re on a small budget. We fully review it below, and you can buy the HV302 here in the USA or buy the HV302 here in Canada.

How does the Shark Rocket Ultra-Light HV302 Upright compare to other Shark ultralights?

Shark Rocket HV302 Review, HV391, HV300 Comparisons
We like its slim, sleek design…

The Rocket HV302 is one of several corded and cordless Shark ultralights released in recent years to tackle Dyson’s near monopoly on the stick vacuum market. Frankly, they might have gone a bit overboard; there are dozens to keep track of, and we’re doubt even Shark knows just how many models they’ve got on the market. That said, here’s how the HV302 ranks compared to other Shark stick vacuums.

Before we compare it, it’s worth reviewing some Shark-specific terms. “ION” vacuums are cordless and run on Lithium-ion batteries. “Flex” vacuums may be corded or cordless but can be bent (or flexed) in the extension wands through a joint that makes it possible to clean beneath beds, sofas, and dressers without wearing out your back and knees. Finally, “DuoClean” is what they call their vacuums with dual brush roll heads. Per Shark, these heads are more efficient and more effective than the separate head systems found in Dyson sticks like the V8 Absolute.

Shark Rocket HV302 Review, HV391, HV300 Comparisons
…its quick transformability into a handheld cleaning machine…

As we mentioned above, the best Shark cordless vacuums are the IONFlex 2x DuoClean IF251 and IONFlex DuoClean IF201; the only difference between the two is that the 2x comes with two batteries and the IF201 only includes one; both have LED lights and other high-end features. The top corded ultraight is the Flex DuoClean HV391 (which also includes lights) followed by the DuoClean HV382 and HV322. The HV382 includes DuoClean while the HV322 does not; both have LED lights but don’t flex. The ION Rocket IR101 is an entry level cordless option; it doesn’t flex or DuoClean.

Finally, we come to the entry-level Rocket HV302 and Rocket HV300, both of which don’t flex or DuoClean but are corded. Neither includes LED lights and both feature less powerful motors than their higher-end counterparts.

Pros, cons, and key features of the Shark Rocket HV302 Vacuum

Shark Rocket HV302 Review, HV391, HV300 Comparisons
…and its featherweight portability at 8 pounds.

Key features of the HV302 include 100 estimated airwatts of maximum suction; our estimate is based on comparisons to the Dyson V8 Absolute and V6 Absolute, which feature 115 and 100 airwatts respectively. The HV302 is meant to clean bare floors, low-pile area rugs and carpets, and upholstery at home and inside vehicles. It features an adjustable cleaning head and can be used in a handheld high-portability mode as well as in a full-sized stick mode. To switch between the two, you simply connect or disconnect the extension wand as needed. It features a quick-mount wall mount and is 46 inches tall, tips the scales at 8 pounds, and has a cleaning path 9.8 inches wide. Its power cord is 30 feet long and the reach is 37 feet. The dust cup holds .07 gallons of dirt (.42 dry quarts) when filled to capacity.  Accessories include a dusting brush, a 5 inch crevice tool, an upholstery tool, an accessory bag, a hard floor hero (a dust attachment) and a car detail kit. Unlike the HV382 or HV322, it does not include headlights. Packaged  with the HV302 are the user manual, quick start guide, and 5 year limited warranty.

What’s the difference between the Shark Rocket HV302, HV300, and the Flex HV391?

Shark Rocket HV302 Review, HV391, HV300 Comparisons
Stairs and upholstery are easy to tackle…

There are a number of differences between the Rocket HV302 and Flex HV931, but only a few between the HV302 and HV300. Let’s look at the Rocket differences first and then what separates the HV391 from the HV302.

The main differences between the HV302 and HV300, aside from color (orange in the 302 and blue in the 300) are in cord length (30 feet in the 302 vs 27 feet in the 300) and accessories. Specifically, while both include a dusting brush, crevice tool, and upholstery tool, the HV302 adds an accessory bag, a hard floor hero dust attachment tool, and a car detail kit.

Shark Flex DuoClean HV391 Review, IONFlex IF201 Comparison
…but the convenience of the Flex HV391 can’t be beat.

Compared to the Rocket HV302, the Flex HV391 does a better job at cleaning due to its DuoClean brushroll system; the dual brush heads help it clean carpets more effectively than the HV302 or HV300, especially as the pile heights increase. The HV391 also includes a Flex feature that makes it far easier to clean beneath furniture; with the HV302 and HV300, the only way to clean beneath low parts is to stoop or to drop to your hands and knees, and we can confirm that this only gets harder with age. We also feel suction is greater with the Flex HV391 compared to the Rocket HV300 (115 airwatts vs 100 airwatts), meaning you work less to clean the same amount of flooring or upholstery when using the HV391 compared to when cleaning with the HV302 or HV300.

Shark Flex DuoClean HV391 Review, IONFlex IF201 Comparison
The HV391 is also more powerful than the HV302 in stick and handheld modes…

There are also some accessory differences to be aware of, but the truth is that they aren’t going to make nearly as much of a difference in cleaning as the increased power, wand flexibility, and brush head efficiency we described above. That said, you will get more accessories in the HV302 than you will with the Flex HV391, which only includes a duster crevice tool, an under appliance wand, and a pet multi tool. The HV302 and HV300 also have the advantages of being cheaper, even though that affordability comes at the expense of a more difficult cleaning experience.

How well can the Shark Rocket HV302 clean floors, furniture, and pet hair?

Shark Flex DuoClean HV391 Review, IONFlex IF201 Comparison
…and we’d ultimately recommend it to keep your knees and back healthy as the years wear on.

To summarize our review, while the Rocket HV302 is a basic Shark ultralight, it’ll still do a more than acceptable job cleaning homes, apartments, condos, townhouses, and other living spaces. It’s not going to offer the power or functionality of the HV391, but it’ll still handle bare floors and low-pile carpets and area rugs with the included cleaning heads. This means you’ll be able to deal with hardwood, engineered wood, vinyl, laminate, ceramic tiles, marble, bamboo, concrete, brick, and similar bare  surfaces while cleaning carpets like Saxonies, berbers,and  cut and loops. We’d just suggest an upgrade to the Flex HV391 to take advantage of its increased cleaning power and the knee- and back-friendliness of its flexible design.

You can buy the Shark Flex HV391 here on Amazon. If you don’t need the flex and other upgraded features, you can save a lot of money by buying the Rocket HV302 here instead. We’d skip the HV300 due to the shorter power cord.

Canadians can buy the Shark Flex HV391 here on Amazon or save money by buying the simpler Rocket HV302 here instead, although the HV300 is also an option.

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.

Related Posts and Reviews...

Discussing the latest trends in carpets, bare floors, and cleaning appliances for homes with little feet.