Most Durable Carpet in the World

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“What is the most durable carpet I can buy?”

I usually avoid questions like this (I tell you why at the beginning of this article).

But as many times as I’ve been asked this, I feel like I have to answer.

So I will in this article (hint: if you want to go directly to the answer, it’s at the conclusion on the bottom of the page, but I think it’s a good idea to read the whole article).

Why I usually don’t answer questions like “what is the most durable [insert floor here]”

This is an important section to read because sometimes giving people a “most durable” or “best” floor suggestion leads them to buying the wrong floor.

And for a site that boasts I give flooring advice without a sales pitch, that’s the last thing I want.

The problem with these recommendations the “most durable” or “best” carpet can be different depending on what the shopper needs.

For example, the best carpet for someone who has a dog that pees on the carpet often might be completely different than a retired couple.

Or the most durable carpet might be different for a commercial office building than it is for a home with toddlers.

With that in mind, I think I can still give you what you want here. I’ll break down the most durable carpet with a few assumptions: you’re a homeowner, and I’m not taking price into consideration (meaning if one carpet costs you $5,000 and would last you 10 years and another carpet costs you $3,000 and lasts you 9 years, I’m still recommending the $5k carpet)

Alright, now let’s breakdown each part of the most durable carpet:

The breakdown of the most durable carpet

This section will cover each decision I made when choosing the most durable carpet.

I think it’s important to read because it will help you see if you can make a substitution anywhere.

But if you really don’t care, you can skip straight to the most durable carpet in the conclusion without the details

Carpet fiber

Of the major carpet fibers, the only debate for most durable is between nylon and wool (and maybe, Smartstrand). Both are very strong fibers; they show resilience to the stress of constantly being walked upon. This resilience helps them prevent premature aging that many carpets in high-traffic areas experience.

So what separates nylon from wool? While wool carpets are very durable, they also require special care. Wool absorbs water, so it can be prone to mildew if there are a lot of spills or any water damage. Wool carpets also can fade in sunlight and require special cleaning agents because many of the go-to cleaners are too harsh for the natural fiber. Probably the biggest factor separating nylon and wool is that wool carpets do not resist abrasion as well as nylon. In other words, claws of animals or rotating vacuum brushes can damage the carpet.

There is a catch with nylon: it isn’t naturally stain resistant. In fact, it has poor stain resistance if it’s not treated. On the other hand, it is one of the best against stains when it does have a good factor treatment.

How do you know if yours has stain protection? Some carpets will say they have a stain treatment. Another rule of thumb is pretty much all of the brand names nylons will come with stain resistance (DuPont, Mohawk, Shaw, etc). You can read more about branded vs generic nylon here.

Further reading: comparison of all carpet materials

Face weight and Density

Face weight and carpet density give you information on the amount of carpet fiber per square inch.

This plays an important role in durability for two reasons:

The first is that denser carpets look less aged from the start. Compare it to looking down at a forest from above. A lot of trees will make for a beautiful green scenery. If there aren’t many trees (not very dense), you will see directly to the dirt. Similarly, carpets with really low face weight just look worn even when they’re new.

The second (and maybe more important) reason is that more carpet fibers = more strength. Imagine instead of carpet fibers you have people. These people are holding up a big 1,000lb metal plate. If you have four people spread under the plate, they are probably going to collapse. If you have 10 people under the plate, they’ll hold up for a long time. Same thing with carpet: more carpet fibers means the carpet keeps its upright position for longer, and carpets that are matted down look old.

For the most durable carpet, go with a face weight of over 60oz and a density of over 2500.

Be aware that face weight can be deceiving. Density is more standardized, so it is best to go by the density when you can.

Further reading: carpet face weight

Twist level

Twist level is one of the most overlooked factors that contribute to carpets durability. Some retailers won’t even list the twist level in the specifications and won’t be quick to answer when you ask the twist level of a carpet. However, overlooking the twist level can be costly. For cut pile carpets (carpet that don’t have loops like Berber), the tightness of the twists holds the carpet together.

For maximum durability, look for a carpet with 7 or more twists per inch.

Further reading: carpet specifications

Carpet style

Every carpet style can make a durable carpet. After all, ‘style’ inherently refers to how a carpet looks or is designed. However, some carpet styles naturally have certain advantages or disadvantages due to how they are constructed. A relevant example is frieze carpet which is a tightly curled or wavy carpet style—it gets its waviness from a high number of tight twists, usually 7 to 9 per inch. This makes frieze carpets the best choice for those seeking durability. And as stated in the previous section, sometimes it’s difficult to find information on a carpet’s twist level, but with frieze, the twist level is covered.

Further reading: comparison of all carpet styles.

Carpet color

You may think it’s trivial to include color as a factor of durability. And for those of you thinking this, in many ways you’re right; color does not truly affect the durability of the carpet. However, color does affect the appearance of the carpet as it ages, and ultimately this is what durability is all about.

So what color should you pick to prevent your carpet from showing its years of abuse? Light-colored carpets show any and all stains and dirt, so they are out of the question. Dark-colored carpets are the next option. The problems with dark carpets is they have to be vacuumed very regularly or will show lint and crumbs. The best choice for durability are marbled carpets. Usually a lighter gray color with a brown or other dark-neutral color mixed in. These carpets camouflage most aging changes (dirt and stains) that occur while owning the carpet.

Further reading: choosing carpet color

Captain’s tips on what to do next:

So there you have it. The most durable carpet is (drumroll)… a marble-colored, 2500+ density, 7+ twist level, brand name nylon frieze carpet.

This carpet should last most people over 15 years and may last much more than that. While this is the most durable, there are other very durable carpets on the market that don’t perfectly fit our description.

Here’s what you should consider reading next:

  1. If you want to know learn more about carpet durability, check out the breakdown of exactly what numbers to look for in 6 important carpet specifications including face weight for a durable carpet.
  2. If you want unbiased help from the start to finish of the carpet buying process, check out my free carpet buying guide.
  3. If you want helping finding an installer in your area, click here to get 3 free quotes from HomeAdvisor selected installers (note: this helps support this site with a small commission)

Any questions on durable carpet? Let me know in the comments below.

Average Cost To Install Carpet Flooring Price Range: $845 - $1,650
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39 thoughts on “Most Durable Carpet in the World”

  1. We have thoroughly devoured your recommendations on how to choose new carpet. We felt educated and started our search for a nylon carpet. We have hit a few roadblocks but still felt confident in what we have learned from you.
    Today we were shown a sample of Dream Weaver and we noticed it was not Nylon. I won’t bore you with the explanation given. I will just say we expressed dismay in having to rethink what we had taken as the ‘gospel according to Nylon.’ We were optimistic in the sales pitch. We came home and did some research and are thinking we may have dodged a bullet before commiting to installing Dream Weaver. Do you have an opinion on this companies product?

  2. Thank you for the great information. I installed new carpeting quickly before a move in 13 years ago, so did little research. Every time I vacuum, still, after all this time, the vacuum quickly fills with carpet fibers. What should I be looking for in future purchase to avoid that?

  3. Im looking to replace our carpet in our home. Our children are grown now but I have grandchildren that are at our house quite a bit. We live out on acreage and husband works on ranch, wears boots, in the elements. We are prone to spills. I’ve had a lady showing me Southwind Carpet soft solutions. I had never heard of them before. Do you know anything of them and how their carpets hold up? Specifically the soft solutions Prisms.

  4. Thank you for your straightforward, succinct advice! I’ve been researching this topic for awhile in preparation for replacing the cheap carpet in our new home but get more frustration than answers.

  5. I’m glad I ran across your article. Unfortunately, it has been after the fact once I realized we had poor quality carpet in a brand new house. We have lived here for less than 1 yr and it already looks like it needs stretched. It always looks matted, uneven and sometimes worse after vacuuming. In essence, I hate it. They offered two types and my husband didn’t want to invest in the more expensive one. I’m sure we will have to replace it in less than 10-15 years. My uncle use to own a carpet business years ago before he passed away and he laid beautiful carpet in my basement at my very first home. ????

    1. Carpet Captain

      Sad your uncle is still not around. Hope you get a carpet you like better second time around. In the meantime, it may not be too expensive (and worth the cost) to have an installer re-stretch it.

  6. Thank you so much for this extensive site. You’ve certainly covered everything we need to know about carpet! I’m in the market for durable nylon carpet. You recommend brand name as opposed to generic. I am running into some brand names I am not familiar with – Phoenix and Anderson Tuftex. Can you give me feedback on them? Or Should I just be concentrating on Shaw and Stainmaster?

    1. You’re right–I like brands with nylon because it lets you know it has good stain protection (you can read more about branded vs generic nylon here). I haven’t personally used either brand but quick research on Phenix and it looks like some of their carpets use Stainmaster which is a high-end stain protection. That’s the important part. The rest you can determine with carpet durability factors. Definitely doesn’t have to be Shaw, Mohawk, etc.

  7. Help!!! I am Mother’s of two human babies and one fur baby. I also have a husband who is a mechanic. We are looking at replacing our carpet and want to do it right. I feel like we have a high traffic house and need durable but soft carpet for my 10 month old baby and for ourselves to enjoy for awhile…whatever that is. I keep googling carpet and starting to go crossed eyed. I ended up at our local carpet store in Carson City, NV and found Dreamweaver 921 in Imperial Sable. I cannot find any information on it and after reading this I am not sure if this is the right fit for our family. I was hoping you would have more insight on this carpet/company. Thank you!

    1. Carpet Captain

      I get asked about Dreamweaver a lot–I think it’s a good company but nothing must-have about it. I’d check out the carpet buying guide, and in particular, the most recent comment on there and my response about my “favorite carpet brands”. It will give you a very quick summary on picking a durable carpet. Big vs small dog carpet page may also help. It gives two philosophies on buying carpet when your carpet is going to take a beating (which both human and fur babies can definitely do)!

  8. Hello! I’m in need of advice on a few carpet issues. We have seven 75×45 windows from our sitting room to dining room. What type and color carpeting should I look to purchase? Our dining room is full sun also. My second question is what type of carpeting is best for a kitchen AND a room where 4 litter boxes are kept? The cats don’t urinate on carpet but sometimes they track litter. Is indoor/outdoor carpeting good for both kitchen, dining room, and cat’s room. THANKS!!!

    1. I’d avoid wool. Even though it can be the most durable fiber, it can fade in the sun. The synthetics (nylon, polyester, Smartstrand) don’t fade as much. Smartstrand is the best for resisting discoloration. This would be beneficial for the sun, kitchen stains, and the occasional urine spot. You can actually use peroxide on Smartstrand without bleaching it (I’ve heard–I’d test it in a small area first!). I don’t always recommend Smartsrand, but think it might be a good fit in your case. You can read more about it here. And I’d suggest reading the entire carpet durability specifications for other factors in durability.

  9. Deciding between two nylon 6,6 carpets; one has density 2773 and pile height 0.59 and the second has density 2686 and pile height 0.81. As you can guess, the face weight of the second is actually higher and the cost is greater. The baffling part is that the manufacturer gives the second (less dense, higher pile) carpet a slightly higher PAR rating of 3.5 compared to 3 for the first carpet. I realize they are close, but am leaning strongly toward the first choice due to the slightly better density and much lower pile height. What is your opinion?

    1. Good catch, and that’s why I don’t like standard rating system. Assuming everything else is equal (I would make sure the nylon are comparable–similar stain resistance and all other specifications found here are the same), I agree and prefer the 1st options slightly.

      1. I do see that the 1st is 100% Stainmaster SuperiaSD BCF nylon 6,6 and the 2nd is 100% Stainmaster Luxerell BCF nylon 6,6. Big difference? Yarn Twist is listed on the 1st as
        6.0 x 6.0 (?? same as 6?) and 5.75 x 5.75 on the second.

        1. The SuperiaSD’s stain resistance is “baked into” the fiber during the heating process. It’s not supposed to be able to be washed off and resistant to fading from chemical cleaners. Luxurell I’m not quite as familiar with but believe has a soft feel, but I don’t think quite the stain resistance of the Superia.

  10. Decided to change our bedroom wall-to-wall. Only exposed walkways are flattened so after reading all your great info, we r going with a slightly tweed, taupe, wool rug. Thank you.

  11. Can you recommend a good Shaw carpet with 2500 plus density, frieze, nylon, 7+ twist? I am going to a carpet store in 2 days and want to be armed with the knowledge of what Shaw has to offer.

    1. Sounds like you’ve done your homework on what you want, which is great. As far as specific lines of Shaw carpet, I’d ask the retailer where you choose to shop. It’s going to be different everywhere, and they’ll be familiar with the product they carry. The line of carpet you choose isn’t important but the specs are (which you already figured out).

  12. Thank you!! Especially loved the color question! Buying a new house and this blog helped clarify my thoughts.

    1. Carpet Captain

      Thanks… yeah often people don’t think about color impacting durability 10 years down the road, but it can. Enjoy the new house!

  13. Thank you so much for putting such useful information out there that is simple and straight forward. This will really help us in our selection. We need a stair runner in a very high traffic stairs. We will certainly use this information in our selection.

    1. Berber’s controversially high on the list. High on the list because many people have stories of their Berber lasting 20+ years. It can be a long-lasting fiber because of its tight looped structure. “Controversially” because some people have trouble with Berber early in its life. This is usually from animal claws or vacuums snagging the loops. Look for a vacuum where you can turn the beater bar off.

  14. In another article you had, I saw you said pile height can make a difference in durability. Does it matter for this carpet?

    1. Pile height definitely can make a difference on durability–good observation. The shorter, the better. Think of how short commercial carpets are. That’s because their #1 priority is durability. The reason I exclude pile height here (although I may add a comment on it) is most of the time very short pile carpets don’t look great. I wanted this page to be the most durable carpet for a homeowner.

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