Best Carpet Brands: Are Brand Names Worth Paying For?
What are the best carpet brands?
It’s a question I’ve avoided for a while, and I’ll go into more on why early in this article.
But at the same time, it’s a question by not answering, I think I leave carpet shoppers with a point of frustration. Shoppers want to know about carpet brand names.
So to compromise, I decided to write this article covering popular brands, but I start it with what are brands, and why I think I could be doing you a disservice by recommending a specific brand.
Let’s start by answering, “What really is a brand, anyway?”
What is a brand (this isn’t just fluff… it matters for buying carpet)
According to Merriam Webster, “a class of goods identified by
name as the product of a single firm or manufacturer.”
In the real world, it’s basically a “stamp of approval” or “face” behind what you’re buying. Rather than buying a generic car and knowing nothing about it, you buy a Lexus and trust two things:
- It’s made with high-quality parts
- Lexus will stand behind their work if you have problems
Some brands are better at #1 and #2 than others, and that’s where a brand reputation comes in.
But here’s another important thing about brands:
Often times one giant brand own multiple other brands, or one
manufacture buys the right to put a brand name on their products.
In other words, you could be buying the exact same product as
a generic, made by the same purpose, but paying a higher price because they put
their brand name on it.
Here a couple of examples:
- Proctor and Gamble owns both Tide and Gain
- Marchon (a glasses brand) pays Nike, Calvin Klein, and Lacoste to put their brand names on Marchon’s glasses (so Nike, CK, Lacoste aren’t actually making the glasses)
So moral of this discussion on brands:
In almost all products, brands don’t mean as much as most people think they do, which brings me to my next point:
Why I usually don’t recommend specific brands
The problem with recommending brands is it can make you miss out on some of the best deals.
Let me give an example:
‘Elite Carpet Brand’ makes 90% excellent carpets and 10% bad. And ‘Generic Carpet Brand’ makes 50% excellent and 50% bad. You might say I should definitely buy Elite Carpet Brand.
But here’s why this is wrong:
‘Elite Carpet Brand’ has much higher carpet creating costs because they advertise their brand to you and carpet sellers. This means they have to charge more to make a profit. And to add to it, they also charge a premium because they know many shoppers have heard of their brand (because of marketing), haven’t learned about carpet, and will only be comfortable going with the brand name.
So ‘Generic Carpet Brand’ is cheaper, but I have a 50% chance of getting poor quality carpet. Right?!
Not really. Because unlike cars or Tshirts, you can learn exactly what makes a carpet good quality. And all this information is readily available. This page on carpet durability will nearly everything you need to know.
Now you don’t need a brand to tell you.
Here’s a less-wordy summary of what I wrote above:
- no brand is a 100% guarantee you’re getting good carpet
- brands are consolidating: 10s of brands are made by the same factories and just put their different “stamps” of approval on the carpet
- similar to above, brands will “private label”, or make the same carpet with different brand names to different manufacturers
- you may pay hundreds or thousands more for the same carpet in a well-known brand vs lesser known brand
- unlike many other products (cars, tshirts, etc), I can show you how to figure out how good
The benefits of brand names
Okay, so I just spent the introduction of this article brand
bashing. But they do have some benefits. And in fact, when it comes time for me
to get new carpet, there’s a decent chance I’d go with a brand.
There are a few reasons. The main reason is stain-resistant technology. When you buy a carpet, its durability is mostly made up of the material you choose and the specifications of the carpet. I say “mostly” because there is one other factor: stain-resistant treatments.
This is especially true with nylon. Nylon isn’t naturally stain resistant, so the “brand” of treatment you choose can make a difference in how well the nylon resists stains (but won’t otherwise affect on the nylon performs).
There are a few other ways brands can make a difference. We talked about customer service because of the brand’s reputation earlier. Another thing brands can do is make softer carpets or unique colors of carpets. This is part of the manufacturing process but won’t affect durability (in fact, sometimes softer carpet can be less durable).
One last way brands can make a difference is creating their own materials of carpet.
Here’s a summary of a few benefits carpet brands can provide:
- After the sale customer service may be better because brands have a reputation to uphold. Generics don’t care.
- Innovative anti-stain technologies that are especially important for nylon carpet fibers
- Other technology benefits such as water-resistant backing or softer carpet
- Just because brand-names are often more expensive doesn’t mean they always are
- In rare cases, completely different materials the brand has created or licensed exclusively
Best carpet brands: Brand breakdown
Okay, so now that we’re through with the fluff (although, I do
think it’s important “fluff” if you
skipped it I’d consider reading it).
Let’s get to what brought you here:
Below I’ll cover some important information about certain
Invista Stainmaster and petprotect
You may have not heard of Invista, but you’re almost guaranteed to hear of one of their main sub-brands Stainmaster. It’s one of those where you’ve heard the name so much, you think it’s good, but is it?
Short answer, yes. The longer answer is even with the sub-brand of Stainmaster, there are many different sub-sub-brands that have different qualities.
One of the biggest flaws of untreated nylon carpet is it has open “dye sites” naturally in the fiber. In other words, it is prone to being stained. So treatments have two options: repel stains with a “coated” treatment or use a treatment that fills the dye sites.
Stainmaster treatments fill the dye sites, so there’s no where for stains to penetrate.
Many Stainmaster lines of carpets fill these dye sites during the coloring of the carpet. The newer ones intercept the dye sites at a manufacturing level–basically, they can control how many dye sites are present. (source). This is found in one of Stainmaster’s newer brands SuperiorSD, which you’ll find in the PetProtect line (I know,
Shaw Rx2 Anso
Shaw is one of the biggest names in flooring, and Anso is a brand they purchased. Rx2 is a technology you’ll find in their carpets.
While the chemistry and application is different, you can read about Invista Stainmaster and learn a lot about Shaw Anso: both use technology to fill the dye sites of the nylon carpet.
Then, the question is which is better? I’ve seen flooring professionals debate this one both sides until they’re blue. I have an opinion on which I think might be better, but I’m going to keep it to myself for two reasons:
- It’s more of a guess from what I’ve heard, and I’m not super confident in which I think is better
- It’s such a close call that I think you can go with either and get the stain protection you need. Focusing on other aspects of carpeting than which of these two brands you’ll pick is more important.
Shaw Anso will have many sub-brands just like Stainmaster has. I may cover some of these in the future.
Mohawk, like Shaw, is one of the biggest names in flooring. Unlike Stainmaster and RX2/Anso, Smartstrand didn’t invent a new and improved stain protection. Instead, they started using a completely different material of fiber to compete with the big names in nylon.
This fiber is PTT polyester also known as
So what’s my take on Smartstarnd? Its stain resistance is excellent and likely the best. The durability (resistance to wear)is good but may not be quite as good as nylon, in my opinion. You can read more on my page dedicated to Smartstrand.
Shaw bellera line
This is an interesting carpet that I believe was introduced last year (2018). It’s interesting because it goes against what I’ve said I thought previously:
Manufacturers can’t really change the durability of a material of carpet.
In this case, Shaw is using PET polyester, which I consider to be a not very durable fiber, and claims to be manufacturing it in a unique way. A way that is making the fiber much more durable.
They back this with a nice warranty, so maybe there’s some truth behind their claims. Until I learn more or give the carpet more time to see how it performs, I don’t expect it to perform much better than typical PET polyester.
Dreamweaver is an interesting manufacturer because it was created by Bob Shaw. Name sound familiar? Yes, it’s the person who originally created Shaw carpets but later left the company.
Some say Bob Shaw left to create a better brand of carpets (more bang for your buck). I don’t know Mr. Shaw, but I assume it was more for business intentions than to be the hero of flooring shoppers everywhere.
With that in mind, I think Dreamweaver makes some great high-quality products but also has products on the lower-end of cheap nylons. In other words, they’re a brand that offers all ends of the spectrum. I think it’s definitely a brand worth comparing to others as you buy but just make sure to go through the carpet guide to know what you’re getting is a good product.
Captain’s parting words!
Carpet brand names are confusing, but
This is an ongoing guide. Basically, as I get questions, I may add to the page to cover other brands, sub-brands, and sub-sub-brands.
Feel free to let me know in the comments if you have any questions or other brands/topics you’d want me to cover.