Best Carpet for the Money: Top 4 Features to Consider
What carpet has the best stain resistance? Carpet Captain explains the best features so you don’t have to stress over your spilled drink.
Two to three months ago, I wrote about the most durable carpet in the world. It was an answer to the many questions I get asked, “What should I buy if I want my carpet to last as long as possible?” The problem with buying the most durable carpet is that it’s often one of the most expensive carpets. After publishing that article, people asked for my recommendation of a long lasting carpet that took into consideration that they have a budget—not unlimited funds to spend on carpet.
I call this the best carpet value or the best carpet for the money. In other words, these people aren’t interested in having the very best (whether it’s most luxurious or most durable), they just want to have the longest lasting carpet for the least amount of money.
How I find the best carpet for the money
Here’s how I determined the most cost-effective carpet: I took the article I wrote on the most durable carpet, and then I factor in price by eliminating the “extras”. When you buy carpet, you’ll have options that range from lousy to overkill. Overkill is when you’re paying extra for features you really may not need. An example is a car with a huge V8 engine, it’s cool, but most people won’t ever use all that power. We want to look at the carpet the same way. I’ll break down the features described in the most durable carpet, and point out those things which are probably more than you need, so you can pick out a great carpet that’s not also the most expensive carpet.
1. Nylon is still the best fiber
For the most durable carpet, we recommended nylon. It’s a proven fiber that performs very well (assuming it’s well made: see some of our things that can go wrong with nylon). For the best value carpet, my recommendation is the same. The fiber you choose has a big impact on durability, so the only way I would recommend a cheaper fiber is if its performance is very similar to nylon. A newer type of polyester called Smartstrand carpet is very close to nylon in durability, but I still like nylon better because it’s been proven for many decades. Also, you’re unlikely to find Smartstrand saves you much (if any) money.
2. The best style for the money
The style of the carpet (shag, cut-pile, Berber, frieze, etc) is exactly that—style. It doesn’t directly relate to the carpet’s performance and durability. However, it can have an effect on the carpet. For instance, frieze carpet is defined by having a high twist level, which improves its durability, and Berber carpet’s loops make it susceptible to getting torn up by animal claws. So in this sense, the style does affect the durability. The point of my rambling here is you don’t need to worry much about style when you’re looking for the most durable carpet for the money. Since some styles are popular among homeowners, you might be best off going with a cut-pile carpet… cut pile is just a generic name for a carpet that doesn’t really have a style. A cut pile carpet won’t come with an added cost due to its popularity, but can be just as well constructed and durable as the trendier names.
3. The right twist level
You won’t need to go overboard here, but it is very important to make sure your carpet has an acceptable number of twists. If it doesn’t, a very good carpet may look worn out prematurely. Some frieze carpets may have 8 or more twists, which is great, but you don’t need that many. Make sure you get a carpet with 5 or more twists, and that should be good enough (remember from the carpet construction article: it’s not the number of twists that matter, it’s the amount per inch).
4. The perfect color
Color won’t affect the price of your carpet, so what I said for the most durable carpet stands: marbled colored carpets are best. You could go with a darker colored carpet, but be aware that they will show lint. If you want your carpet to last a long time, I recommend avoiding your urge of going for a solid light-colored carpet. Even with great stain resistance, it’s hard to keep these looking clean for many years. At the end of the day, you need to pick a carpet color you like, and that will look good in your home, just keep how it will look after a few years in mind.
Captain’s parting words!
I think this is an article that hits home with a lot of readers because most people want quality, but they also don’t want to overpay for luxury they don’t need.
Hopefully, this article gave you an idea of the line of paying for what you need versus overpaying (and of course, not paying enough and getting low-quality carpet).
As a smart value shopper, you might also like our article on best vacuum for the money to clean that best carpet for the money once you get it.