Carpet Face Weight & Other Critical Specifications – Buy The Right Carpet

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What could be more exciting than learning about carpet specifications? About everything?… Okay, fair enough. But stick with me. If you plan on buying carpet, this is important. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go into detail on how carpets are made.

I’ll cover the exact face weight, density, twist level and durability rating you need for your home. We’ll also discuss which specifications are most important when buying carpet, and the specifications that can mislead you into a bad purchase.

In the end, carpet with better specs will typically cost more… But don’t worry, as carpet flooring is usually NOT very expensive, unless you go with some real fancy carpets.

On average, even a well-built carpet will cast $2.50 to $3.50 per sq. ft. installed.

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Solving the durability puzzle

Let’s start by making an important clarification – this article is about the specifications that impact your carpet durability.

There are important parts of the durability puzzle that are not specifications. Those can be found on other Carpet Captain pages like this one comparing carpet fiber types and this one on padding.

Carpet Durability Puzzle

Captain navigation warning! If you’re buying carpet and want to know everything that will determine how long it lasts, you need to start with the Captain’s Carpet Buying Guide. It’s a complete resource on buying carpet from planning to installation day.

So the next question is… What specifications are important to carpet durability? Here’s a list…

  • Face weight
  • Total weight
  • Density rating
  • Wear rating
  • PAR rating
  • Twist level

By the way, if you want help making these decisions, a good installer will often help you pick your carpet based on their experience. Finding a great installer can be a lot of work, but HomeAdvisor is a company that will do the work for you. Click here to enter a form with your zip code to get free quotes from pre-qualified installers in your area.
I’ll cover the pros and cons of each specification. You’ll learn how certain specs can be used againstyou. And I’ll give you ranges that indicate poor, acceptable, and best durability.
Let’s start with the most common carpet specification.

Face weight

Face weight is the most common specification you’ll find to determine a carpet’s durability. Face weight is the weight (in ounces) per square yard of carpet. This is a good but not perfect measure of “how much” carpet you have.
What do I mean by “how much” carpet you have? Face weight measures how much the fiber/yarn of the carpet weighs. Think of it like weighing t-shirts that are all the same size. The more they weight, the thicker and more durable the t-shirt is going to be. The only difference being durability matters much more in carpet. People aren’t walking on your t-shirts all day.
Earlier I said face weight is a good but not perfect measurement. That’s because it can be misleading.
How so?
It doesn’t take into account how “tall” the carpet is. The height of the carpet fibers will increase the face weight, but it doesn’t improve the durability (if anything, it leads to carpet breaking down sooner).
Here’s an example…
Let’s say you’re looking at two carpets. One is named ‘The Durable Carpet’ and one is called ‘The Misleading Carpet.’ You look at the face weight of each. ‘The Misleading Carpet’ has a 40 oz face weight, and ‘The Durable Carpet’ has a 35oz face weight. ‘The Misleading Carpet’ is the more durable carpet right?
And I think you can see where I’m going with this. You look into it more and ‘The Misleading Carpet’ fibers are twice as tall as ‘The Durable Carpet.’ That artificially inflated the face weight of ‘The Misleading Carpet.’ It turns out, ‘The Durable Carpet’ is the denser, more durable carpet. It just had a lower face weight because its strands are shorter.
So let’s get to the ultimate question…

What face weight carpet should I buy?

You want at least a 35 ounce face weight carpet for maximum durability. Depending on other features of your carpet, a lower or higher face weight may be required. Factors that may affect the minimum face weight needed are how often the room is used, the carpet’s twist level, and the carpet’s density.
Guidelines for face weight:

Durability Carpet Years Face Weight
Poor Less than 7 Less than 30 oz
Acceptable 7 to 12 30 to 40 oz
Best 12+ Over 40 oz

Total weight

A carpet’s total weight is the face weight + weight of the backing. Backing is heavy compared to the carpet fiber, so total weights are much higher than face weights. The weight of the back also doesn’t mean much as far as durability. Yes, a heavier backing may be better made, but it’s not accurate enough to judge a carpet.

What total weight carpet should I buy?

Trick question. Total weight is too misleading to give you recommended values.

Captain’s warning! Don’t get scammed by a money-hungry salesman. A salesman may tell you the “weight” of the carpet but use the total weight instead of face weight. Why? Because it can make a poorly made carpet sound good. Watch out for a pitch like this: “This is a great 80 oz carpet.” Anytime the salesman doesn’t specifically say “face weight,” ask him to clarify.

Density rating

Captain’s math lesson:
[density rating] = [face weight] *36 / [pile height in inches]
Don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz. The equation isn’t important, but breaking it down reveals a couple important takeaways about density rating. The most important takeaway is density rating eliminates the flaw of face weight: the longer/higher pile the carpet, the lower the density rating.
The second takeaway is density rating is a much higher number than face weight, so face weight and density rating can’t be compared directly. If you want to go through the work, you can convert face weight to density by multiplying the face weight by 36 and then dividing by the pile height. You should be able to find the pile height in the carpet information. If you can’t find it, you can measure it yourself (base of the carpet to the top of the carpet fiber).

What density carpet do I need?

You want a carpet density with a density of 2,900+ for good durability, and I’d be cautious with anything less than 2,500 in moderate traffic rooms.Density is the best specification to determine durability. But remember that there are other factors that impact durability. Depending on these other factors and how much traffic your carpet will get, the density rating you need can vary.

Here are ranges for carpet density:

Durability Carpet Years Density Rating
Poor Less than 7 Less than 2,100
Acceptable 7 to 12 2,100 to 3,100
Best 12+ Greater than 3,100
Commercial Good quality 5,000+

Wear rating/Durability rating

Wear rating is a subjective measure of how long the carpet will last. It’s determined by the carpet manufacturer, and it’s usually a 1-5 rating system. Since the rating is created by the same company selling the carpet, it’s in your best interest to not put too much stock in it.

The problem with the rating is the manufacturer can give a bias toward anything they want to sell. If they have a “new and improved” stain protection that gives them added profits, they’ll likely give carpets with the new stain protection the best grade whether it works well or not.

The most important reason to throw this rating out the window is you can make a better “wear rating” of your own. Your knowledge from this page and our carpet buying guide gives you the best picture of how well a carpet will hold up.

PAR Rating

PAR rating is somewhat of a mystery, but I included here because I get questions on it. Most internet sources say it is a rating created by the carpet manufacturer Shaw. I reached out to Shaw, and they stated PAR is not a rating they use. I contacted Mohawk (the only carpets I have seen use a PAR rating), and they were able to give me an explanation.

They didn’t go into specifics but said it based on an industry standard test using a mechanical drum (basically beating the carpet with a machine to see how much it wears). I put this is the same category as “density rating” (see above). It gives you some useful information, but there are better ways to determine how durable your carpet is.

Twist Level

Twist level is the number of twists in one-inch strand of carpet. Higher twists result in a more durable carpet. Lower twists can lead to the carpet unraveling. This can make a carpet look old fast.
As an analogy, think of braided hair.

Twist the braid once or twice, and it’s going to be loose and fall apart. If it’s tightly twisted, it will hold together throughout the day (I have a feeling I somehow blew my cover that I don’t know much about braiding hair in this last paragraph, but hopefully the analogy still made sense).

Many shoppers overlook twist level. It may not be as important as the density rating, but it still can have a major impact on how long your carpet lasts. No matter how high a carpet’s face weight, it will look terrible in a few years if it has a poor twist level.

You should find the twist level listed in the carpet information. If it isn’t listed, you can calculate it. Here’s how:
Twist level = [# of twists] / [inches of carpet]
Here’s how to use this equation… Start by counting the number of twists in a strand of the carpet. Let’s say you count 3 twists. Next, measure the height of the strand of carpet. Let’s say it measures to be half an inch. Your equation is 3 divided by 0.5, which equals a twist level of 6.

Captain’s warning! Twist level is not necessarily the number of twists in a carpet. In example, if a salesman shows you a carpet with 2” strands and tells you it has 8 twists, this may sound excellent at first, but then you realize the twist level would be 4 (there are 4 twists per inch).

How many twists do I need in my carpet?

Look for carpet with a twist level of 5 or more. The higher the twist level, the better. Four or fewer twists can lead to poor performance. Sometimes the twist level won’t be listed. If it’s a frieze carpet, you can assume it has a high twist level. If it’s not frieze, you can try to calculate the twist level (see the equation above).

Captain’s steps you should do next:

I’d put this in my top 3 articles for carpet shoppers to read (more on the other two below):
If I could only pick two specifications from this article to buy my carpet with, I’d go with density and twist level. If you don’t have density, face weight is a good substitute.

Now that you know the face weight you need (or density), twist level, and to avoid misleading numbers like face weight, you can move to the next steps:

  1. Your carpet material will have the biggest impact on your carpet durability. Click that link to see a breakdown of the different materials and their pros and cons.
  2. Also, even a great carpet can be ruined by a poor quality padding. This guide will cover everything you need to know about carpet padding.
  3. If you wanthelp finding a pre-qualified installer (installers can also make or break a carpet purchase)get a free quote from 3 installers in your area byclicking here(note: I get a small commision that helps support the site).

Any questions on face weight or the other carpet specifications? Let me know in the comments below.

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193 thoughts on “Carpet Face Weight & Other Critical Specifications – Buy The Right Carpet”

  1. Aimee Nardini

    Hi- Great content on your site here! We are seriously considering this carpet (which is not inexpensive) for all of our bedrooms. After reading this article, I’m now concerned it’s a poor choice due to low density. SO many variables I never knew about in carpet selection! Thanks a million for any thoughts you can provide.

  2. We made the wrong decision and got polyester carpet in our family room, it is crushing in certain spots in less than a year! Should I put rugs on top or does this cause more damage to the carpet?

  3. Hello, I am looking at two different carpets and would love some input. First, I am considering Shaw’s Bellera Soothing Surround carpet. It is made of High Performance P.E.T, has the Lifeguard Blue waterproof backing, and has a face weight of 43.9, density of 6322, a twist of 5.2, and durability rating of 3.5. All these numbers sound good to me, but the carpet only has a 10-yr. warranty. I do have stairs, but other than that, the carpet will be upstairs where we no longer have kids and our cat hangs out but our dog is not allowed. The upstairs carpet will not get a lot of wear. My hang up is the 10-yr. warranty. I found another carpet at Lowe’s, Stainmaster Pembroke which is made of SuperiaSD solution-dyed BCF nylon 6,6 fiber and has a face weight of 40, density of 3224, and a twist of 5.5 x 5.5. This carpet has a combination lifetime/25-yr. warranty. I have a couple skylights in the upstairs area where the carpet will be so fading is a concern. I also want to avoid matting. I don’t think stains will be a huge concern upstairs; however, of course stain-resistance is important. Do you have an opinion regarding these two carpets? Thank you!

  4. Johnny Builes

    Hello, trying to choose between two nylon carpets to replace construction grade nylon carpet from 1999. The two choices are the following

    Option 1: Stainmaster Artistry collection(made by Shaw?) density 3829, twist 7.70, face weight 58.5oz, and 100% stain master Luxerell BCF Nylon. Durability rating 4.0

    Option 2: Shaw Elemental Mix III E9566. 100% Anso BCF Nylon, face weight 57.5oz, twist 5.75, tufts 8.0 per in, finished pile thickness 0.76in, and gauge 3/16in. Durability rating 4.0.

    The Installer will be using 7/16 8lb pad.

    Thank you for your time.

  5. All other things being equal and both being Nylon, which option would be better – option A of 5,121 & 28oz or option B of 8,165 & 22oz? Thanks.

  6. We’re replacing family room carpeting as well as stairs and upper level hallway and master bedroom. For the master bedroom I’m looking at Masland Harbor Town, Face weight 45 oz, Gauge 5/32, Pile .625″, Fiber 100% EnVision BCF Nylon 6,6, density 2592. I was hoping I could use the same for the stairs, but concerned about the lower density than what the dealer recommended: Masland Patriot, which is Face weight 55 oz, Gauge 1/12, Pile .5″, Fiber 100% StainMaster Luxerell BCF Nylon 6,6, density 3790. Is it worth the almost double price to go with the Patriot on the stairs? I’d like it to last the 20+ years that our current carpet has lasted.

    We’re also looking at Karastan Mosaic for the family room, however I can’t find any information whatsoever on Karastan carpeting other than Fiber (Karastan Kashmere BCF Nylon with Scotchguard protector) and warranty (generally Lifetime Limited Mfg Defect, Stain & Soil Resistance, Anti-Static and Pet Urine Resistance Warranty, plus 25 year Limited Abrasive Wear, Texture Retention and Fade Resistance) and pile of .625″. Any suggestions on where to get Karastan info to make a more informed decision? Or is the Masland Harbor Town a better choice for the family room than the Karastan?

    1. Carpet Captain


      If you want carpet to last at least 20 years, I recommend going with higher density. The Masland Patriot has good overall specs. Have a look at our guide on Carpet Durability for more information.

      If more information isn’t available on Karastan Mosaic, I’d go with the Masland Harbor Town for the family room. Is there a way you can check with your dealer?

      The Carpet Captain

  7. Hello! Thanks for all the great information. I’m looking at wool loop carpets. Some of the ones with big chunky loops are described as being more felted than twisted. Can you comment about that in terms of durability? Is it a problem or okay? Thanks

  8. I have relied on your site for a lot of my carpet buying decisions, and I really appreciate the detail you provide. Thank you!

    1. Carpet Captain

      Hi, what size pets do you have? There is no easy answer to your question because on the one hand, you want durable carpet that can withstand wear and tear, and resist stains (nylon!). On the other hand, you want cheaper carpet because your carpet is going to take a beating, so you don’t want to use as much money on carpet that will be replaced sooner.

      It depends on your pets. With bigger pets, you get more wear and tear and will want a more durable carpet. With smaller pets, you might opt for a cheaper carpet. I go into more detail in my article Best Carpet for Pets.

  9. Thinking of buying Exquisite Accent by Stainmaster from Lowes. Its nylon. height of 1/2 inch and has a density rating of 3758. The pad they are offering is Stainmaster Elite Duraplush Foam 0.5 thick. Is this a good foam or should I up grade?

  10. We’re recarpeting our upstairs bedrooms, hallway, stairs and living room. All get a decent amount of traffic with two teenagers and a 90 lb. labrador retriever. We really like the color on one Shaw carpet, but not sure if it’s high enough quality to wear well over the next 15+ years. It’s the Elemental Mix II line, and the specs are: Face Weight – 57.5 oz/yd², Finished Pile Thickness 0.76 in, Gauge 3/16 in, Tufts 8.0 per inch, Density 2724 oz/yd³, and Twist Information 5.75.

    1. Carpet Captain


      The face weight is hefty, but it sounds like the density and twist level are on point. From the information you gave us, it sounds like your carpet should hold up well if properly installed.

  11. sorry, more info… first one bonaza II density 2975, pile hgt .065, twist 6.25, face weight weight 56.2
    2nd…karma II…density 27989, faceweight 50.2 no twist or pile hgt

    1. Carpet Captain

      Hmmmm, it seems quite unusual to me that density would be in the five digits, it usually doesn’t go that high. Also, why no twist or pile height given on that second option?

  12. I am looking at lifeproof (shaw). some shoe a density in 5 digits. how do I compare this? One shows density of 2975. The other (also shaw) as 27975. Love your helpful website

  13. I have a question about secondary backing. Does the Size of the squares (PIC) matter? I looked at several places that carried the same brand of carpet and noticed the color came in several “styles”. AKA qualities.
    I chose a carpet based off of a sample one retailer cut from a roll in their warehouse. It had tiny squares on the backing and felt very thick and high quality.
    They came and installed and after they left I looked at one of the scrap pieces and noticed that the backing is different than my sample. What was installed has much bigger squares and bends a lot easier. I can’t tell if the thickness of the carpet is the same. To me if feels like it is not as dense but maybe I am just imagining that.
    I have had some people tell me the size of the squares on the secondary backing doesn’t and others tell me it does. Does it affect wear or the carpet?
    Did they do a bait and switch? Did they order a lower quality carpet with cheaper backing?

  14. Hey, 1st thank you so much for all the time you put into doing these websites!! Such great information! Sorry, I posted this question on another site – this one is probably better.
    I am looking for some new carpet for my upstairs (3 bedrooms & a living room type loft). We have 2 Labradors & a 16 year old son. I really like Mohawk’s Smartstrand carpets. For durability sake, which numbers would say are more important?
    Carpet A density is 2696 & pile weight is 56oz, twist/inch 6.5 (75/25 blend – same blend for all)
    Carpet B density is 2567 & pile weight is 56oz, twist/inch 7.0
    Carpet C density is 2362 & pile weight is 42oz, twist/inch 6.0
    Or, would the durability of each be about the same?
    Also, I’m not sold on the padding but considering the Healthier Choice green in the master bdrm & the rebond on the stairs & hallway & other rooms
    Thanks for your help!!

  15. Thank you for all of the info – super helpful.
    We’re replacing carpet on stairs/bedrooms/family room. Our family has 5 small/medium pets and we also work from home – the stairs see lots of traffic. We’re replacing a builder grade frieze which has been in place 7 years and are looking at three different pile heights of the same plush carpet. How does pile height affect durability? If the shorter pile is more durable, what are your thoughts on using a shorter pile on stairs and a longer pile in rooms?

    Carpet Specs – Stainmaster PetProtect:
    1) Face Weight 75
    Pile Height .669
    Twist 6.4
    Density 4056
    2) Face Weight 60
    Pile Height .571
    Twist 6.4
    Density 3783
    3) Face Weight 46
    Pile Height .471
    Twist 6.4
    Density 3508

    Thank you!

    1. Pile height definitely matters, but it’s also taken into account in density (in other words, you can sometimes ignore it somewhat if you are looking at density). That said, I like short pile on stairs because it’s not only durable, but it shows fewer footprints and makes less carpet to trip on going upstairs 🙂

      1. Thank you! Since I have a teenager who makes a point of tripping on stuff…shorter pile it will be on the stairs!

  16. I’m considering 2 carpets. Both are at Lowe’s and are Stainmaster Pet Friendly. One is a frieze the other is considered a plush. I’m carpeting stairs, loft, master, and two other bedrooms (all are upstairs). No children. Two dogs that only go upstairs at night. I was leaning towards the frieze, because I have read they are very durable and might be better on stairs, but after reading your article, now I’m thinking the plush might be better. Could you tell me which one, in your opinion, would be best?
    Face Weight: 68.2
    Pile Height: .89
    Twists per inch: 6.05
    Density: 2958
    Fiber: Nylon
    Face Weight: 75
    Pile Height: .669
    Twists per inch: 6.4
    Density: 4036
    Fiber: Nylon, solution dyed
    Construction: Plush

    Thank you so much for the wonderful article. It was enlightening!

    1. And could you also recommend the best correct padding for me? I’m assuming if we purchase from Lowe’s and have them also install, they will sell me the padding also. Thanks so much!!

    2. #2 is probably slightly more durable (assuming the nylons are the same), but honestly both should be very similar so I’d go with what you like.

  17. We received a quote for a living room in dreamweaver east hampton.
    What is the pile height and twist level. I could not find thesesoecs
    It is supposed to be 50 oz?
    Thank you

  18. Carpet Captain,

    Thank you for all of this information. Very helpful. We are looking to replace carpet in living room, stairs, and all upstairs bedrooms and hallways. Visited with a company and the salesperson immediately recommend Dreamweaver Striking II or showstopper II. We are ok spending a little on the higher side for better quality carpet. What are your thoughts on those Dreamweaver styles? Thank You!

    1. I believe that’s polyester, so I’m not a huge fan. You can see why on my carpet materials comparison page, which is a good supplement with this page. The rest of the specs hopefully this page helps you decide, but let me know if any specific questions!

  19. Hi Captain, thank you for your informative website! We are looking to replace bedroom carpeting that was put in just a few years ago and has not held up well in the traffic lane (transited multiple times daily by two adults and one medium dog). Wish we had seen your website back then and knew to ask a few more questions!! The product we are replacing I now know is made of 100% Smartstrand which apparently is not nylon. It has a face wt of 25 oz, pile ht 0.35, density 2571, and tuft twist about 4, all according to manufacturer. Was that a bad choice to begin with?

    My top two choices for replacement are (a) an unbranded nylon, face wt 35.1 oz, pile ht 0.44, density 2872, tuft twist 5.46, durability rating 4.5, 10 yr warranty and (b) anso caress nylon, face wt 46.8 oz, pile ht 0.37, density 4554, tuft twist 6.36, durability rating 4, 25 yr warranty. they are both cut & loop and choice (a) is more attractive to me, but is it going to have the same problem with a worn traffic lane in just a couple years?

    i’m hoping this carpet-buying expedition will be my last one for at least 10-15 years! choice (b) appears to be a better carpet on some measures, but is it better enough to justify a 50-90% premium over choice (a)? i appreciate all the tips on understanding carpeting, i’m just having a little trouble melding it all together!

    1. Sorry for that bad experience–that carpet looks “okay” but the face weight and density aren’t great, and on top of that, nylon is a little better for overall durability in my opinion. Your options are a tough call, but B is definitely the better carpet. Normally I think A would be great in a bedroom, but your poor previous experience makes me lean more toward B (even though A would still be an upgrade over the old carpet).

  20. Hi Captain. We’re choosing between two carpets as well. It’s for an area that gets moderate+ traffic. Which would hold up better? The choices are:
    Anderson Tuftex Purrfection:
    STAINMASTER® PetProtect®
    100% Superiasd® Nylon 6,6 Fiber
    Loop Style
    Width: 12 ft
    Face Weight: 40.00 ounces

    or the less expensive:
    Anderson Tuftex Mera:
    100% Continuous Filament Nylon
    Loop Style
    Width: 12 ft
    Face Weight: 34.10 ounces

    I’m assuming the denser Purrfection but would like your opinion. We will have it installed with a 3/8″ rebond 8 lb pad. Does this sound about right?

    Thank you so much!

  21. Hi. I have a choice between two carpets. I would like to know which one would be most durable for moderate level foot traffic.

    Carpet 1 Anderson Tuftex ZZ033:
    Face weight – 46 oz
    Pile height – .61
    Twist level – 6.8
    Density – 2,754
    Fiber – Nylon

    Carpet 2 Anderson Tuftex ZZ034:
    Face weight – 56 oz
    Pile height – .69
    Twist level – 6.34
    Density – 2,953
    Fiber – Nylon

    Any help you can provide is appreciated!

    1. Carpet 2 (assuming the same stain protectant in each nylon), but it’s splitting hairs. I’d use whichever style and price you like best.

  22. Is there a noticeable difference when comparing 40 vs. 60 loop carpet in their appearance? I recently purchased carpet for a hallway and now, need to purchase bedroom carpet that will butt up to the hallway carpet. The color and type of carpet will be the same but considering the 40 loop carpet for the bedrooms that are rarely used. The hallway is 60 loop. Thank you!

    1. That should be a great carpet. Just make sure to match it with equally good padding and a good installer (if you need help finding an installer there’s a link at the bottom of the page for free estimates).

      1. Thanks for your feedback, Captain! It’s made our decision much easier and comfortable knowing that we’re getting a quality carpet this time around. Yes, we are going w/ Shaw’s flagship padding, Victorious, and we will go through a authorized Shaw dealer in our area.

  23. Carpet supplier provided me a option of 100% blended wool out of it 40% is from New Zealand and remaining is a mix of wool. Can you advice me in terms of durability for same.
    To add its for meeting room of 10-15 person and can expect medium traffic.

    1. Carpet Captain

      It should be a very durable carpet. Sunlight can negatively affect wool if there are large windows to this meeting room. Here’s a page on wool carpet if you want to read more.

  24. I would value your opinion on the specifications in the attached image for Mohawk’s crowd pleaser. There are only 2 adults who live in the house and work outside the home full time. They do have a 60 lb housebroken dog that is inside the house the majority of the day. After reading your article, the density seems low (as is the price at just over $9/yd2).

    1. Carpet Captain

      Agree the density is low, so it won’t be very resilient. That said, two adults aren’t going to create a ton of foot traffic. It’s cheap. I think you’d overall there’s a good chance you’ll be happy with it versus the alternative of paying twice+ as much for a carpet that will last longer but may be overkill for your situation. You could consider a higher density carpet in your most used rooms.

  25. I’m torn between Dixie Home Conqueror Envision Nylon And Shaw linenweave anso nylon. They only list a density (no face weight) 3074 and a PET rating of 5. The Shaw has a face weight of 39 and no density listed. It has a PET rating of 3.5. Moderate traffic pattern and stairs involved. No pets, no kids. I like the look of the Shaw better, and the Dixie is more expensive. I’ve heard good things about Dixie Home so I’m willing to pay more if it’s worth it. Also, the carpeting store we are using is recommending a 6 lb pad which I’m skeptical of.
    Thanks for any advice.

        1. Carpet Captain

          I didn’t exactly follow which specs were with which carpet, but it sounds like you’re on the right track. Both are good fiber carpets, and then you can just compare the other specs (using the tables on this page). If it’s relatively close, just go with the one you like better, especially since you don’t have significant traffic. 6lb is doable with your low traffic, but I’d go with 8 with that durable of a carpet.

          1. I was unclear, sorry about that. I’m relieved that I’m on the right track, I didn’t expect this to be stressful!
            Shaw Linenweave : 39 face weight twist 3.19 I think I figured out the density after reading your advice, which is 4141
            Dixie Home Conqueror: density 3074, twist 4.5 and that’s all I can find.

  26. Hello, I was wondering your opinion on the durability of a Nylon Stainmaster carpet with a density of 2880, pile height of 5/16, Faceweight of 52 oz, and twist of 5.5. Thank you for your time and hope you are staying safe!

    1. Carpet Captain

      Sounds like a good carpet. If I’m being picky, you might go higher on the density if you have very high traffic.

  27. Hello, what is your opinion on BCF PET Polyester carpet with a face weight of 43.9, twist level of 5.68, and density of 2395? Thank you! Your site is great!

    1. Carpet Captain

      It’d be an ‘okay’ carpet. Fine for a lower traffic area or if you plan on moving or replacing it within 10 years. The main limiting factor is the polyester. My guide on carpet materials will help.

      1. Thanks for the info. One more quick question for you: Is a nylon carpet with 1785 density and 4.7 twist level better than the BCF PET Polyester carpet with 2395 density and 5.68 twist level. I realize the polyester has better “numbers” but according to your website nylon beats polyester. So which carpet would you prefer and would last longer? Thank you!

        1. Carpet Captain

          That’s a tough call–pretty significant difference in density, which is very important, but I’d still give the slight edge to the nylon. Maybe find one that’s a little denser for the best of both worlds.

  28. Hello,
    I’m looking at Dream Weaver SP660.
    Face Weight = 60
    Thickness = .562
    Density = 3843
    Twist = 4.25
    I’m the only one in the house. No Pets. Carpet is for upstairs hall and bedrooms and stairs. Should I be extremely worried about the low twist number?

    1. Carpet Captain

      Since the other numbers are great and there’s not much foot traffic, I wouldn’t worry about it. Think it’ll still do well.

  29. Good evening. I’m looking to replace the crap kind the contractor put in this house. I was looking at Stain Master Pet Protect. I’ve reviewed your guide but I’m confused if this carpet I like is overpriced.
    Face weight is 53 oz.
    Density was approx 2,196
    Twist was 6
    By your guide the face weight and twist check the higher end but the density has me in a quandary. Please let me know your thoughts.

    Thanks so much for your help.

    1. Carpet Captain

      Usually face weight and density go hand-in-hand, but your case is a good example where the face weight is excellent but the density is average. I trust the density a little more for durability (because face weight can be thrown off by pile height), so I usually go by the density in these cases. So an average density but a high twist level, and the twist level can compensate for the lower density. Basically, I’d say this is a slightly above average carpet based on these factors.

  30. Hello. I’m on a tight budget for my carpet but need to get something installed in what will be a basement family room. I do have 2 small kids and the room will get a lot of use, so I want to make the most of my small budget. I know I’m not going to get an amazing quality carpet, but like anyone, I want to get the most bang for my buck. Where I am running into trouble is deciding how important the material should be over the other specs. I want to lean toward nylon, but an example I am looking at in my budget (a Stainmaster textured 100% nylon) has a face weight 34.1, pile 0.43, density 2855– not seeing information on twist. Meanwhile, in the polyester world, face weight 44.1, pile 0.505, density 3144, twist 6.2. I know nylon is supposed to be much better for durability, but will it still be in the face of these differences in other durability specs? I like your puzzle graphic and your information is very helpful, but I just can’t really make out how to apply it here. Any advice?

    1. Carpet Captain

      I think the puzzle will lead you to the right decision for the most part, but I see where this gets tough. A low-quality material but a much better face weight. I’d still go better material (nylon) at the lower face weight here.

  31. I’m looking to replace builders carpet after 4 years of use. I want durability, comfort, and a carpet that doesn’t mattdown 2 days after vaccuming

  32. I need advice and help choosing between 2 carpets. We are replacing a defective stainmaster carpet- twists came undone after cleaning. We are on a budget. Carpet 1 blows that budget but will it be worth it in the long run? Carpet 2 is much more budget friendly but its polyester and has a lower twist rating. Will it hold up ok due to high density and face weight. It is solution dyed. about $0.90 difference a sq ft between the two. Carpet will be in bedrooms used daily, no shoes.

    carpet 1 : nylon, face weight 44.8, pile .55, density 2932, twist 6.3
    carpet 2: solution dyed polyester, face weight 60, pile .59, density 4129, twist 5.5

    1. Good question. If I’m looking for durability in a higher traffic area, I avoid polyester. But you’re putting this carpet in a bedroom and make a good point on the faceweight. I think if there’s a big difference in cost, ‘carpet 2’ will be less durable but should be adequate in a bedroom (that’s not used as a playroom).

  33. We are having carpet replaced due to defect and don’t want to make the same mistake again. We have a Stainmaster carpet and thus have to replace with a Stainmaster product. any suggestions as to the best bet here for a living room that gets a lot of use and stairs and upstairs hallway? We were looking at :
    Dorado (a cut and loop)
    Pile: 100% Stainmaster Luxerell BCF nylon 6,6
    Staccato (a plush length of pile .5)
    Pile: 100% stainmaster SuperiaSD, BCF Nylon 6,6
    4626 Paula (plush a PetProtect length of pile .3125 or 5/16″)
    Pile 100% stainmaster Superia SD BCF Nylon 6,6
    We had a lot of cornrowing on the carpet that is being replaced(not because of the cornrowing but because of shedding) and I want to avoid that. It looked worse after 3 years than my old carpet of 19 years.

    Any help you could give would be helpful. Thank you

    1. Fiber seems good. I may have missed it but didn’t see the face weight or density–those are important. I’d also take a look at the twists.

  34. So glad I found this forum – this is so helpful! I’m trying to decide between two different nylons for our stairs, hallway and master. Heavy use. Shaw Take the Floor Accent Tonal I or Tonal II. Same sample board. Which is best – I or II?

    Tonal I –
    1st Quality
    Surface Type
    Cut Pile
    SoftBac Plat
    Stain Treat.
    Face Weight
    Total Weight
    Fiber Brand
    Fiber Content

    Tonal II
    1st Quality
    Surface Type
    Cut Pile
    Stain Treat.
    Face Weight
    Total Weight
    88.6 Oz.
    Fiber Brand
    Fiber Content

    Thank you so much!

    1. Quickly scanned it and looks like the main/only difference was the face weight was better on #2. So I’d go with that all else being equal. Let me know if there are any specific questions.

      1. You listed Tonal I and Tonal II. It looked like they were the same except Tonal II had a higher face weight but I skimmed through them so let me know if I missed anything you had questions on.

  35. This was VERY helpful in trying to decide which of the lesser expensive carpets was actually a better choice. The faceweight vs pile height related to density information really explained to me why i thought a particular lower faceweight carpet actually felt better to stand on than did the higher faceweight. thanks for the help!

  36. Thank you for all the info – I learned so much! I visited my local carpet store only to discover that the samples had ZERO info listed on them (aside from the price). The salesman said he would need to email Mohawk for info bc the company no longer provides specs to the stores. Do you know if this is accurate, or are specs still accessible for sellers? How would I go about trying to choose a sample if this has actually become the norm in my area?

    1. Carpet Captain

      You’ll need the info. Some stores don’t provide it but definitely can get access to it (after all, how would you know what you were buying? it’d be like someone selling you a car but you don’t know anything about its past reliability, horsepower, gas mileage, etc). To the same point, how do they know what they’re selling you? eg. how would they know which to recommend.

  37. This site is such an excellent resource; thank you! I live in Chicago in a six year old condo that has radiant heat under carpet in 4 bedrooms. I found what I’m pretty sure to be very similar to the carpet that the builder used – at Home Depot – and it is a low end loop BCF polyester with a 5 year warranty (which I don’t have). One of my sons lived here on and off and I was able to get his BR carpet PERFECTLY clean (using a phenom carpet cleaning company) until the last 6 months that he lived here, when he dropped ink. We are now planning to sell the condo. The other bedrooms have been used sporadically, and the master is clean except has a bleach drip (and I have a guy that can fix those, too!) and some weird wear/fuzz. So I could save a lot of money by putting in the same junky carpet and cleaning the other two rooms (but it is not attractive nor does it work well with either the wall colors or the bright white trim); or I could replace all with something better. It is a very nice condo and we want to be able to compete with the brand new construction. Any thoughts on carpet replacement for resale – and also – any comments on recarpeting over radiant heat?

    1. Carpet Captain

      Thanks for the compliments! Most people couldn’t tell a cheaper polyester from a nylon, and in fact, many times polyester is softer. For a replacement carpet in a nicer condo, I’d go with a dense polyester. In other words, don’t upgrade for the cost of nylon because you’re probably going to replace the carpet fairly frequently anyway, but I’d go high on face weight/density to give it a more luxurious feel. Carpet usually works over radiant heat, but carpet is a good insulator, so you might check your radiant heater manual or contact the company. You may want to choose a different pad than you would normally.

  38. Roberta Johnson

    After reading all the information I am confused. I need to replace my lower level carpet. My grandchildren are young and here everyday. Also, I have a large blonde golden ret dog. I need a carpet can hold up to spills and dirty feet. I live in Minnesota. Help

    1. Carpet Captain

      The most durable carpet in the world page might give you a more “exact” recommendation. But if you want to get an idea for yourself, maybe look at the image at the top of this page. It will give you how important different factors are. Then, you can see what range you should look for in durability in those areas lower in the page (I specifically list categories like bad, good, better). Also, make sure to check out the padding page and the carpet material page. These will have big impact on durability.

  39. Hello
    There isn’t much out there on carpet Home Depot is selling Lifeproof ?
    It is made by Mohawk .
    They don’t provide the twist .
    Do you think it’s possible mohawk would make a cheaper carpet exclusive for home depot with home depot knowing nobody is going to pursue warranties 20 yrs down the road and it ends up being a win win for Mohawk and Home Depot in sales ?
    The warranty max is 25 years retention ( have to have pro cleaned every year) but at least they are not afraid to give 25 yrs even though not many will take them up on it ; moved, missed a year on pro cleaning etc.
    All their carpets are made by Mohawk with warranties 5, 10,15 and 25..
    Any thoughts and what do you think of this one :


    1. Carpet Captain

      I think Lifeproof makes quality nylon, but I also agree that the warranty doesn’t mean much: manufacturers know people don’t claim them, and even if they do, there are usually plenty of loopholes out of it. That said, looks like it’d be a pretty durable carpet. I didn’t look in detail but noticed the face weight was a little lower but is compensated by a short pile height (so it ends up being a good density).

  40. Looking at Dream Weave carpet. One has a face weight of 45, 7 tufts per inch, density of 2592, twist of 5.0 turns per inch, finished pile thickness 20/32″ (not sure what that means). The second one has a face weight of 65, 8.3 tufts per inch, density of 3120, twist of 5.0 per inch, finished pile thickness 24/32″. Both have soil & stain shield and have same warranties and are 100% PureColor SD BCF Poly. This will be for living room that has a direct path from front door to rest of house and we have a large dog. From reading your article I am guessing the second one is best because of face weight and density? Thank you!

    1. Carpet Captain

      You’re right. Since they’re the same fiber, I’d go with the one that has the highest face weight and density.

      1. Thank you! I went to the store to see about getting area measured and price everything and as he was totaling he said “oh can’t forget the freight charge, that’s $100”. I’ve never paid freight on a carpet order before and am not now. Is that a new thing or just his thing?

        1. Carpet Captain

          Don’t think that’s common unless it’s an unusual circumstance, or say, you were buying carpet online and it was shipping directly to your home. I’m sure it’s a cost for the store, but in the end, it’s a similar situation to when I a store has “free” installation: really all that matters is the total final price.

    2. Which Dean Weaver are you looking at? I’m also looking at them. East Hampton or Jackson Hole 2. I have high traffic area coming in from garage and front room. This is tough decision.

  41. I am looking at Fabrica “nibbaba anew” it is a 100% stainmaster nylon luxuerll 6.6 . It is 51 oz. face weight, density is 3672 and twist is 4.5. Do you think this will wear well on stairs (very heavy traffic) and a family room?

    1. Carpet Captain

      Remember to match it with good padding, but looks like you picked a very durable carpet. And you’re right, stairs are brutal for carpets. If you wanted to be really picky, you could look for a higher twist level but really that should be a very good carpet.

          1. I went back to the carpet store and turns out the stairs are not covered for matting or crushing. It is covered for stains/soil…etc under the stainmaster warranty. I was told no carpet manufacturer covers stairs for matting or crushing. Is this true to your knowledge??

          2. Carpet Captain

            I haven’t heard that, but it also wouldn’t surprise me. Unfortunately, there’s almost always a loophole in warranties to get out of covering claims, so I more or less ignore warranties.

          3. We are replacing carpet that lasted 20 years and still looks pretty good. Upstairs is on year 28. Apparently, I am being told my carpet is incredibly dense/compact which is why stains never got through, we never had a wicking issue, it has lasted so long and everything cleans up with just water & a green machine (even cat throw-up!) The pile is about .51 inches so it does not feel prickly like the really short piles do. They don’t make anything like it anymore. I wish I could find something less expensive, but all we found that is close is Fabrica (not cheap!) St. Croix is the name. Yarn twist is also only a 4.5 which concerns me. The Face weight is 71 and pile height .53. which I guess makes the density about 4754. We can only afford to put it in 1 room – our high traffic TV room. I have come to realize to replicate what I have, I need a very densely packed carpet so the stains won’t go to the padding and wicking can’t happen. Could this be like what I have now or is the 4.5 twist count too low? If this Fabrica might work, what are your thoughts on the memory foam padding with it or should I stick with the same thing we have now 1/2″ and 8 oz padding (new of course!) Thanks.

          4. Carpet Captain

            The curse of having a great carpet is finding it again 😉 The lower twists is a little bit of a concern–it could fray at the ends over time. But with such a high face weight/density, I think you’ll be okay unless it is a very high traffic area. Plus, you’ll get the densely packed carpet you want. Just make sure if it’s nylon it’s stain protected. I think you should be good with the rebond.

          5. Thank you! Yes, it’s a very high traffic area so it sounds like the yarn twist will not hold up. You would think such a high-end carpet would have done more twists in their yarn especially when their website claims this is a “high twist” yarn. Although it is shorter in yarn height which takes away some of the plush feeling, what are your thoughts on Shaw’s Anderson Tuftex Perfect Choice with 53.6 face weight, .410 height, 4706.34 density and 5.57 twist. Stainmaster� LuxerellZ BCF Nylon / SM X-LIFE /Tuftex. My hope is to replicate what I have now – something that will hold up to very high traffic and spills that tend to stay towards the top of the carpet rather than going down to the pad. Thank you.

          6. Carpet Captain

            I’d make sure on the last carpet that it was twist level (twists per inch) and not the number of twists in the 0.5″ strand. If so, you’d double the number for the twist level, but I’d imagine they listed twists per inch. This carpet looks great as well–excellent density which it looks like is mainly what you’re looking for. The Stainmaster nylon should help resist stains as well.

  42. Thanks for the education on carpeting. I know Polyester isn’t as durable but supposedly the Shaw Bellera poly is a new product that came out middle last year. Endurance fiber. It was step tested 20,000 times . Suppose to look the same as it did new after 5 yrs of wear . Thats why I asked for the comparison. Thanks again for all your helpful information. As you can see I did pay attention to face weight and twist.

    1. Carpet Captain

      I overlooked the Bellera aspect, although I’m not sure what to think of it. It’s made with PET polyester, which I’ve never perform very well. Generally a carpet fiber is a carpet fiber, but I believe they claim they’ve found a new way to construct the polyester carpet that will be more durable. They’re backing their claim with a great warranty (although I don’t love warranties–manufacturers know people aren’t likely to cash in on them even if they have problems). Maybe as a learn more or with time (I think this line has only been around a year), I’ll be convinced they didn’t find an innovative way to make polyester durable. Thanks for bringing that up.

  43. I am looking at Shaw Ballera Polyester (extended wear- 5yr step test) and Mohawk SmartStrand Ultra (100% triexta). The Shaw (Poly) is 58.5 oz face weight & 5.58 twist. The Mohawk (triexta) is 60 oz. , 6.5 twist. Both are exact same price. $5 sq ft ,(includes; carpet , 8lb pad, remove & install , tax) . same .6 fiber height, Are these comparable in quality or apples to oranges. We like the coloring of the Shaw Ballera Poly, but not a deal breaker. Going in a tv / family room. Which is better? Thanks

    1. I like triexta over PET polyester, and it looks like the specifications are slightly better (pretty much the same) that you listed for the triexta, so I’d go with it based on durability.

  44. Hi-Great article! I am trying to decide between two carpets for our house. Some areas will have a moderate amount of foot traffic and some areas will be less (bedrooms). We have 4 older kids and 1 dog. To simplify, I want to choose just 1. Would you give your opinion on these? Both are Mohawk with Nanoloc stain resistance. (Carpet 1: Material: 50% Triexta 50% PET, Face Weight: 60 oz, Density: 3456, Pile height: 0.625, Tuft Twist: 5.75) (Carpet 2: Material: 65% Triexta, 35% PET, Face Weight: 55 oz, Density: 2735, Pile height: 0.725, Tuft Twist: 7.0). Specifically I am trying to determine if its better to have higher density with lower twist or lower density with higher twist. Thanks in advance!

    1. Both are important, and I think every case is different. If you have a carpet with 9 twists but average density vs 7 twists vs high density, I’d go with the lower twist carpet because the twists won’t be the weak point of the carpet, the density will. But if you have a 5 twist carpet with average density vs a 3 twist carpet with high density, I might go with the higher twist carpet because 3 twists would likely be the “weak point” of the carpet. I think I’d go with carpet 1 purely on twist and density. Carpet 2 has the better material (slightly) so you also have to factor that in. With it only being a slight difference, I still think I’d go with #1.

  45. Mary Lynn Crandall

    Hi, this information you provide is very helpful.
    I have some questions: one carpet we are looking at is Presidio, from Unique Carpets. It is a nylon loop carpet and has a twist rating of 5.25. The pile height is .5. There is a Density number of 46, which I don’t know what that means. The yarn weight is 45 oz. per sq. yard. Which number do I use to calculate the density rating? Also, we are replacing a carpet that has a very low pile of .34. I wonder if this carpet is going to create problems in the transitions to the bathrooms. We just had new flooring installed in the bathrooms, and they were adjusted for the current carpet height.
    Thank you so much for any help you can give!

    1. Looks to me like the density would be about 3240 for that carpet. That’s really good. If you look above in the “Density rating” section, you can see ranges and how to calculate density.

  46. Hello, Need your advise! Im looking at stain master carpet nylon 6,6 the face is 68 and density is 2528 the twist is 5.5 Is this durable enough for stairs and high traffic throughout the house or should I shop for more density carpet.

    1. That’s a really nice carpet, so it should be a good choice. Yes, you could go a little higher on the density, but I think you’d end up pretty happy with this one.

  47. My carpet has some type of stain resistant coating in the fibers of the carpet. The carpet is 4 years old. Although it’s supposedly in the actual fiber of the carpet, how long can it last? Four years ago I was told to wash the carpet with water only. Sounds weird after 4 years.

    1. Depends on the stain resistance. Some are “baked into” the carpet pores; these last for a very long time and through cleanings. Some are basically coatings put on the carpet after it is manufactured; these wear out quicker and can with professional cleaning etc. Similar treatments can be applied to the carpet after it is cleaned by a professional (eg Scotchguard)

    1. Polyester is definitely a step below nylon in durability, but as you pointed out, you’re a low-moderate foot traffic home. You don’t necessarily need the most durable. If you’re choosing a lower durability fiber (polyester), you’ll want at least “acceptable” level of quality on the important specs in this article (looking at the durability puzzle picture and the ranges in the article should help you choose between carpets). Good luck!

      1. It’s a 60 oz. carpet with a density of 2625 and 6.5 twists per inch. That would be “acceptable,” correct? I’m just trying to get the most for my money and not overbuy, but I don’t want something that will not last ether.

        1. That sounds like a pretty good carpet for your needs. And I think you’ve got the art of buying carpet down: there are times when you’re throwing your money away by “buying” extra durability you don’t need. The other advantage of your polyester (outside of cost) is it should have good stain resistance.

  48. You should really learn a few things about carpet before you try selling it. Face weight doesn’t mean a thing when it comes to durability. You can have 35oz of good fiber or 75oz of bad fiber and your 35oz carpet is still going to be more durable. 75% of the wear is how you maintain it. If you can clean up after yourself!

    1. 1. Agree to disagree–face weight is very important 2. I don’t sell carpet, just help people buy it 3. see the durability image above, I rank carpet fiber as more important to durability than face weight (although face weight still definitely matters) 4. agree maintenance matters a lot. but people still want durable carpet they don’t have to worry much about (or they wouldn’t be reading this article)

  49. We’re looking at a .81 inch pile height, 3200 density with a 73 ounce face weight to recarpet our house. It’s a Shaw Stainmaster Product with a softbac and 10 year warranty. Compared with a Anso Caress with a 1.01 inch pile hight 3000 density and 92 ounce face weight with a lifetime warranty…which carpet do you think will be most durable? Will these be prone to needing restretching? Is a half inch pad too thick for this carpet? I

    1. Both seem like good carpet from the details given. I give the first aq slight edge on durability but the second is going to be a more comfortable carpet. Shouldn’t need restretching if installed correctly, and 1/2″ pad is usually good but depends on installation specifics. Think you should be good to go, but I’d run it by the retailer and installer.

  50. Can you give me a quick opinion for 2 types of carpet I am looking to purchase. First, for living room and dining room, 75% triexta, 25% P.E.T., twist = 5.25, face weight = 53.9, density = 2590. Concerned about the 25% P.E.T. and looking for a good quality durable carpet that looks nice. I suspect it may be 25% P.E.T. to provide the coloring (brown, white mixture.) Second, for the remainder of house (patio, family room, bedroom, hallway, stairs) 100% triexta, twist = 5.5, face weight = 53.9, density = 2753. Are these good quality carpets, how long would you expect them to last with only 2 adults in the house? The first carpet mentioned is more expensive. Do you see any reason for this given the specs? Thank you. The information you provide is invaluable.

    1. The good thing in your situation is 2 adults generally aren’t too rough on carpet. So even an “average” durability carpet can last 10+ years. That said, these carpets should be at least average durability with the second being more durable than the first. They should be excellent on stain resistance but about average on foot traffic–if you spend a lot of time walking through your living room, the drawbacks (lack of resilience) of the PET may rear its ugly head.

  51. Cynthia L Jeremiah

    Your guidance has been extremely helpful. I am looking at a Smartstrand Sorona Silk, Model 70914, Lifetime Luxury. Textured cut pile, counted twist to be 6.5 to 7. Manufacture specs: Gauge 1/10, pile weight 63.70 oz, total weight 99.18 oz.. To be laid in living room which is the main room of home, (no rec room, no den) and hallway.. Access for ingress and egress at front door with laminate entry then step onto carpet, so all traffic flows from here into the rest of the house. No children, no pets. I am looking for 10 year wear and good resiliency in traffic areas. Is this a “smart” choice, or should I consider a more dense carpet.

    1. Seems like a pretty good choice. I didn’t see the density listed but face weight is good. Unless it’s a long pile height, density should be good too.

      1. Cynthia L Jeremiah

        Thank you for your prompt reply. The density was not given so I dug my nails in different carpets for comparison, and spread threads apart to see closeness of threads. The pile is low, maybe quarter to half inch. I found your website before I found the carpet. The salesperson did not want to get me the manufactures specifications until I said “I would give a deposit after I received the specs.” That was late Thursday, by Monday morning they were emailed. Patience and $ worked. Your guidance lead me away from MY emotional style choice to a more wear-worth style. Thank you so very much.

  52. Lowe’s store….. (not sure exact height)…..68oz….density like 4,100….twist 4.90…..polyester. Bad, good, great? It’s definitely affordable and feels quality. Just not sure about that TWIST….

  53. Hi Carpet Captain – thanks for sharing your insight. A few years ago my mom purchased this carpet & in my opinion paid good money. However it has now started to matt something terrible. Still feels decent walking on it but looking at it is turning into an eyesore. Now i’m carpet hunting; and though i don’t have any pets, i have 3 young children & a messy husband that some might consider to be worse. What factors do i need to consider to avoid this matting issue? I was thinking good padding but a lower end pile height.

    1. The first thing to consider is kicking out your messy husband (assuming you’d take the kids over him 🙂 ). Second thing is matting is most affected by the carpet material and the density. That second link will take you to a page that covers what all matters in durability, but for matting specifically, I think fiber type and density are 90% of it.

  54. My questions are: how do “gauge” (e.g., 1/10 or 1/8) and “stitches” (e.g., 11.60 or 11.83) play into durability and density? and is Yarn Twist 6.10 super good? Also, thank you so much for all of the detailed information on this site. And thanks for actually doing much more than just defining the terms (as other sites only do) — i.e., you provide real valuable advice!!

    1. Carpet Captain

      Thanks Barbara! Good questions… both guage and stitches are indicators of density. Guage is the number of tufts running one inch in length. The denominator is the number, so in your example, one carpet has 10 tufts and is denser than the other with 8 tufts per inch. Stitches is similar but usually a length will be specified. The more stitches, the better. You can definitely use these to compare your carpets but I’d probably just stick to density if they give you that. The twist level is very good (assuming it’s per inch and not the total number on a longer strand). Good luck with the new carpet.

  55. Looking to purchase Masland Staccato Stainmaster Pet Protect carpet for MBR and closet and Guest Bedroom and closet. Per Masland the Face weight is 62 oz, Density 3105, Twist 6.0 and a Carpet height of .719. BCF Nylon 6.6. Would be using a Stainmaster Splendor DuraPlush Foam pad with breathable moisture barrier that is 1/2 inch. How would you rate overall quality and durability of the carpet and pad? Your comments would be greatly appreciated. Looking to buy this coming week. Thanks.


    1. Carpet Captain

      I like the carpet… it should last you a long time. If you don’t have a pet urine problem, I’d consider going with standard 8lb rebond pad. You can read more about foam and moisture barrier pad here. There are some comments there where I talk specifically about foam pad. Also, the 1/2″ usually isn’t a problem but some carpet warranties cap the height at 7/16″, so I’d confirm that isn’t an issue. Good luck on the carpet purchase.

  56. Thank you for publishing your carpet durability information. I have two samples of plush carpet that look similar but feel different. Supposedly they are the same carpet. Where can I get these samples professionally tested to tell whether they are in fact the same carpet? I live in San Diego, but the samples are small and can be mailed to the tester, if necessary.

    1. Carpet Captain

      Hmm.. that’s a tough one. You could call a “carpet inspector.” They generally look for flaws in carpet, but could likely investigate the samples for you. A few things you could do on your own: measure the height of strands, look how many twists are in a strand, measure a 1″ x 1″ square and see how many strands are in this section. If any of these don’t add up, this would highlight the problem. You can identify the material by burning fiber, but of course, I don’t recommend playing with fire. Here’s an example: . As for coatings/brands if it’s nylon, that will be a little difficult.

  57. Hi there. Your carpet buying guide is amazing and EXTREMELY helpful. I believe we have found the carpet we want; Nylon, 5.90 twist level, 51.70 face weight, 20 year wear, texture retention, soil, stain, and installation warranty. However, the carpet pad decision is getting confusing. They are recommending we use a Scotchgard (TM) urethane foam pad. I have read your pad article and can’t determine which pad type the Scotchgard (TM) falls under. I feel like we want to purchase a rebond pad, but don’t know if the Scotchgard (TM) one is rebond. I asked the sales rep and he says its “urethan/prime foam” one time and then calls it “bonded memory foam cushion” another time. According to your article on carpet pads, I want to steer clear of prime foam and memory foam. Please advise at your earliest convenience. Thank you.

    1. Carpet Captain

      Thanks Brooke! So prime foam, frothed foam, and rebond all have urethane. The difference is how they’re manufactured. It doesn’t sound like you’re looking at rebond but either prime foam, frothed, or memory. The difference is what is infused with the foam. The best is frothed foam which has nothing infused with the foam (no gas or gel). I believe Scotchguard does make high-quality frothed foam pads but not sure that’s what yours is (maybe you could get the model number?). If it is, I say go for it. If not, rebond would be best.

      1. Wow; thank you for the quick reply. I asked my salesmen if he could provide the model number or if the pad foam was infused with gas or gel and he just referred me to the website “Leggett & Platt (R) Flooring Products that shows Scotgard (TM) Premium” with all the specs. I can’t translate if this provides the answers I am looking for. Can you help? It does say “DuraPlush (R) foam technology adds superior cushioning and a rich fullness to your carpet. Condensed, pure urethane foam ensures durability and long-lasting beauty of carpet.” So, does “condensed pure urethane foam” mean not infused with gas or gel? This is a huge investment for us and don’t want to screw it up. Thanks again!

        1. Carpet Captain

          I agree that “pure urethane foam” sounds like frothed foam. It wouldn’t be pure if mixed with gas or gel. That said, you could still contact them via email or phone and verify. Let me know if you find out.

          1. Thanks again Carpet Captain! I did email L&P Flooring Products. The Product & Marketing Manager responded as follows: “Our Duraplush family of products are made from a proprietary foam technology. Essentially, the chemistry is the same as the typical polyurethane foam but it’s in the controlled rise and delivery mechanisms that allow us to achieve the most plush comfort and durability offered in a carpet cushion. It is not infused with gel or any other biproduct or filler. As far as how it is categorized, according to the Carpet Cushion Council, all pure foam products are placed into the Prime Urethane category.” The padding is actually the Scotchgard Premium product. This has been an eye-opening experience. I am so fortunate to have found your buying guide and can make my decision with confidence. We are going with this pad. Thanks again and hope this helps any potential and future carpet buyers. You may want to consider adding this to the padding portion of your guide. Thanks again!!

  58. This is for high traffic areas as well as other not so high traffic. Carpet pile height is .32/.28/.20”

    1. Carpet Captain

      In a short pile height like that, density trumps face weight, so you’re good there. Not familiar with the colorfastness rating, but it’s basically giving it a rating of 5 (out of what I’m not sure) on its ability not to lose color. Some carpet fibers can lose color, but it’s not something you have to worry about with most of today’s nylons.

  59. Hi,
    I’m looking at the 2319 ambiance carpet by Kraus. It only has a face weight of 30oz but seems to exceed in all other specifications. Density of 4000 and twist says 40.9/10cm. It says 100 percent BCF dreamscape nylon. And stain protection called REPEL-IT. What do you think of this carpet, given there’s only a face weight of 30?
    Also what does it mean when it says it has a colorfastness of 5.0?


  60. Hello, I was wondering which carpet you thought would hold up better in a high traffic area. They are both from the Shaw Anso Nylon line. The Platinum has Density of 3610, Face Weight of 53.6 , Twist of 6.7 and a pile height of .53 inch. The other is the Gold which has a Density of 3641, Face Weight of 43.9, Twist of 6.7 and pile height of .43 inch. One is slight more dense with a shorter pile height but less face weight. You had mentioned in your article that you prefer twist and density but in a response to a question, you said face weight and density is most important. Thank you for your time!

    1. Carpet Captain

      Density is a little more reliable than face weight but both are good measures. I like the twist level in both of these. When it comes down to it, they are near equivalents. I’d pick the carpet you like best as far as style. But if everything else is equal, go with the Gold.

    2. Hello,
      I truly find your article fascinating! Thank you for eduacating the public. The carpet store I just went to said no one wants to know any carpet specs any more so they stopped displaying them. Well, I sure do! I do have another carpet comapatison for you. It is between the Gold from my previous post- Density : 3641 , Face Weight : 43.9 , Twist : 6.7 and a pile height of 4.3 in. It is also And Nylon. The second is from Dream Weaver, sort of a Shaw product too, Density : 4067 , Face weight. : 60 ( The least in the series) , Twist : 5:5 and a pile height of .53 inch. It is a Solution Died BCF Nylon. Which, do you think would be more durable?
      Thank you,

        1. Carpet Captain

          You’re getting about 10% more density vs 20% more twists and a shorter pile. All the ratings are at good levels. Even though I weigh density a little higher, I’d still give the higher twist/lower pile carpet the edge. But the bigger question will probably be which nylon has the better stain protection (nylon itself doesn’t have stain protection built in).

          1. Thank you! The “Gold” Carpet has a R2X Stain resistance on it. The Dreamweaver is solution dyed and has a lifetime stain protection on it. This is what is said-. Rather than a Stainmaster treatment that is applied during the dyeing process, PetProtect’s stain resistance is built into SuperiaSD polymer and further enhanced during the heat setting process to effectively seal the dye sites on the fiber,” Nuckols explained, adding “PetProtect’s stain resistance is permanent and cannot be washed off.” I really wish it had a better twist on it or I’d be all over that carpet. Again, thank you!

  61. We want to make a rug out of the Tuftex Europa pattern carpet. It is a Stainmaster Luxerell BCF, 56 face weight, softbac platinum carpet. We have 3 boys, a Great Dane and it will be under our dining room table. The drawback is that it’s an open-concept area, so traffic to the kitchen and living room are accessed around the dining room area. We also access the backyard near this area. Hence, lots and lots of foot traffic on this rug. Is this a good alternative? We have a Pottery Barn wool rug, which only lasted 4 yrs. Don’t know if my Dyson then Riccar vacuums on beater bar setting ruined it, or if the tufted wool wasn’t the best quality, but I want my rug to last longer. Or have a custom rug made, using a cheaper, nylon version like the Europa that is beautiful and durable but easier and cheaper to replace in the long run.

    1. Carpet Captain

      I like the choice of a durable but not super expensive rug, and I think a nylon carpet with a decent face weight can do the job. Sounds like a crazy area in the house, so there probably isn’t much that will stand up forever, but a good quality nylon should resist looking worn in the first year or two. If you’re feeling crafty (or want to make the project even cheaper), I have an article on making your own rug out of carpet you could give a shot:

  62. I am trying to compare 2 carpets for a master bedroom and closet install that will include a short hallway, so am interested in durability. Both are nylon and the specs are as follows:

    Luxerell/Stainmaster Nylon
    Face Wt. 58.5 oz
    Height 0.55 in
    Density 3829
    Twist 7.7

    Permasoft Solution Dyed Nylon/Scotchgard
    Face Wt 60 oz
    Height 0.406 in
    Density 5320
    Twist 4.93

    Are the resilience and durability better in the carpet with lower density and higher twist?
    Or is it better to have the higher density and lower twist?
    Apparently in my price range, I cannot have both!

    Please do not ask me to consult with my carpet professional as I have been to 3 local stores and have received blank looks, “we don’t have that information,” and lots of double-talk.
    This has been a very frustrating process.
    Thank you for your very informative articles!

    1. Carpet Captain

      I favor face weight/density over twists, but here you have both carpets that are excellent in face weight/density. In your case, I’d give the slight edge to the first carpet.

      1. Thanks for the info!
        Adding to my carpet dilemma is the fact that carpet #1 has the better color for the space, but I actually prefer the short, dense pile and softness of carpet #2!
        Carpet nightmares! #firstworldproblems ????

  63. Temi Blackwell

    Hi. I’m looking at dream weaver frieze carpet. It’s height is 3/4″. 5.5 tpi. 2978 density. Face weight 67. It will be in bedrooms, living room and stairs. Also tufts per inch is 11. Gauge 1/8. 100% pure color solution dyed BCF. I would love to know your thoughts on this carpet.

    1. Carpet Captain

      It’s nylon? Sounds like a pretty good carpet from those specifications. Face weight, twists, and density all above-average. Don’t forget to match it with good pad.

  64. So we are building a modular home and the carpet options are “Go Softly carpet by Shaw” with a face weight of 31.1 oz. The 2nd option is “Everything nice carpet by Shaw with a face weight of 31.2 oz.
    The carpet will be in family room (surrounded by wood floor), 2 bedrooms and stairs to basement.
    What is your honest opinion on these choices?
    And thanks for this site, it is extremely helpful!

      1. It says its 100% nylon. Also has R2x soil and stain resistant technology. We literally pick the color and that is it. I can leave the carpet out but then i have to hire it to be installed once the house is complete and I dont want to do that unless its absolutely necessary. It looks nice….

        1. Carpet Captain

          The nylon with good stain protection definitely helps. Without knowing anything else, I’d say it’s a mid-level carpet. Good not great. Padding will matter too. Might be worth going with since it’ll just be down with your new build and your tastes in your home flooring may change 10 years down the road anyway. Enjoy the new house.

  65. HELP PLEASE!!!
    Thank you for such great info! We have a situation with carpet we had installed last yr. We asked to see their best & were shown a 70ounce face weight as “best”. I don’t have the carpet density/twist info unfortunately but living with the plush nice cushy feel it has & the fibers, 1/2” fiber with about 5-6 twists, it is very nice carpet. The color is Beige-tone. It is very durable, & a polyester. Unfortunately, the first install: they put a seam across the center of the family room, we had them replace it. The second install had 2 huge stripes parallel with a slider patio door they said would “relax” but never did. We had them come out to look & they agreed it was mfg flaw & would replace the entire carpet. Our first call was within the first year of the warranty period by the way.
    Ok, now… on the morning the third replacement job was to be done, their office called to say, “the roll off carpet we had for you was in a warehouse flood & is water damaged”. The problem is they don’t carry the same carpet any longer & it’s been discontinued by the manufacturer. They sent out a sales rep but they don’t carry carpet of the same faceweight or density. The highest is 63ounce with a lower density that I could feel when compared side by side. What they have is close but not as nice or as plush. Not sure how to proceed or just see an attorney or what….? We did select their so called best and it’s due to be installed in 2 days (on Wednesday) but after talking to them today & explaining my dissatisfaction with a lesser quality carpet, the final comment was “well think about it & we’ll call back tomorrow. I’m just NOT happy with their substandard option. Your expert help here would be beyond appreciated!!! Thank you! I wish I’d found your site long ago!

    1. Carpet Captain

      Was the second error within the warranty period? If so, yeah I would expect an equivalent quality carpet if they determined it to be a manufacturer defect. That said, it could be they don’t have the exact face weight and 63oz is still excellent. But as you’ve read, face weight doesn’t tell the whole story. If the carpet is shorter pile than the 63oz could actually be more durable. Hope it all works out.

  66. I am looking at a carpet that has a twist of 4 per one-quarter inch pile height. The face weight is 50%. Will this carpet hold up to very heavy foot traffic? Thanks, Jim

  67. Are the number of twists equally important in a berber carpet? I’m looking at a Stainmaster berber that has good density, nylon fibers, but it only has 2.5 twists. Should I avoid it? Thanks.

    1. I’d ignore the twist in the Berber, or at least only use it to compare Berber to Berber and don’t put as much stock in it as you would with a “cut pile” carpet. Looped carpets like Berber don’t have an exposed end. Since it’s looped back into the carpet, the twist level doesn’t have as big of an impact.

      1. Ok. Thanks for the insight. I ended up buying what I think is a pretty good Shaw berber with a face weight of something like 35 and solution dyed fibers. Maybe it will last.

  68. Thanks Gen. Good catch on every carpet not having a twist rating. I’ve noticed this trend too. Retailers likely leave it out because they don’t think many customers are aware of it. Ask the retailer if they can’t tell you it. If not, you may be able to determine it yourself by counting the twists and dividing what you get by the height of the carpet, ex. if you count 3 twists and measure 0.5inches, 3/.5=6 twist rating. If you’re looking at a Berber or looped carpet, the twist rating doesn’t matter much, so I wouldn’t worry about it.

  69. You rock, Capt! So little unbiased info out there but a plethora of crapola. Right now, I’m basing my short list of carpet contenders on PAR rating, density, fiber and face weight.
    Which leads to my question about twists… does every style of carpet have this rating? I’ve not seen this stat on each style I’ve considered and wonder why.

  70. Hi John – the density itself is a calculated number or rating that gives you a way to compare carpets, but it doesn’t tell you the number of carpet strands. For whatever it’s worth, the density calculation uses the face weight in the calculation, which is based on a square yard of carpet.

  71. Hi, thanks for info, really helpful. Can you tell me, when referring to carpet density, 1000-7000, does this mean the number of piles per square foot, or square yard?


  72. Thanks Brea… it’s appreciative people like you that give reason for the work I put in on the site. Often renters are difficult on carpet, you may want to consider going on the low end of all specifications so it won’t be costly to replace the carpet. If you feel your renters will take care of it, you may go on the high end so the carpet will hold up well, and you won’t have to replace it when selling.

  73. I am so appreciative of this information. God bless you! I own a home in another state that I am getting ready to rent through a realtor/property manager and I have to replace the carpet prior to renting. I hope to to be able to sell the home in a couple of years as the market recovers. With that said, what specs would recommend for my situation?

  74. No problem John.. and I agree–if you don’t know what you’re buying, you’re gambling that the retailer is 1. educated on the product and 2. wants to do what’s right for you even if that means less profit for them.

    1. SOS Carpet Caption. It took me 2 years to find a non toxic mattress. Now we need carpet in our bedroom and we don’t want the toxons in most carpet, but the 100% wool cut pile isn’t soft and plush. We think we will probably need to compromise and go 80% wool and 20% nylon. Do the density and twist still apply to wool/nylon blend? What companies have the best non toxic carpets that are good quality? The green carpets I’ve found aren’t thick and plush. I’ve talked to 4 reps and I’m more confused than ever.

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