What is the difference between nylon and polyester carpet fiber?

When looking for carpet, a lot of people naturally focus on carpet fiber and often assume that nylon is always better than polyester. However, carpet fiber is only one of the factors that you need to consider. Equally important are carpet construction factors like density, filament type and twist level. All these elements together determine how a carpet will perform and what it will cost. When shopping for carpet, it helps to have a general understanding of these factors to make the best decision.

Nylon - Durable, Resilient & Versatile

Nylon is more expensive than other synthetic carpet fibers and the most commonly used carpet fiber. It provides flexibility in creating a variety of carpet styles. From sumptuous plush to fashion-forward patterns to low-maintenance loop (Berber), nylon is the most versatile of all fibers. Its strengths include good resiliency, good yarn memory to hold twist, good stain resistance with stain treatment applied, good soil-hiding ability and good abrasion resistance. It is the strongest fiber, making it an excellent choice for heavy traffic areas, active households or commercial facilities.

Be aware that there can be considerable cost differences even between two similar-looking nylon products. Nylon, for example, may be branded or unbranded. As we mentioned, carpet construction greatly influences value, price and performance. You really can’t judge a carpet by appearance or fiber weight alone. As an example, Shaw’s Anso Nylon is a branded, premium nylon and comes with some of the strongest warranties in the industry, including Lifetime Stain and Soil Resistance (even pet urine stains!). Anso nylon carpets cost more, but you’re getting a premium nylon with excellent construction properties and the warranties reflect this. What you care about is that your carpet will look newer for longer.

If you are looking for value goods, unbranded nylons offer a considerable benefit for the money. These products may have fewer features and less robust warranties, but you’ll still get the inherent benefits of nylon (durability and resiliency) at a lower price.

Polyester - Exceptionally Stain & Fade-Resistant, Soft & Budget-Friendly

If you need stain-resistance, this is your carpet! Just to give you an example, we know a customer who spilled hair dye on her 6-month old polyester carpet. Although hair dye is on the list of stains that are NOT warranted, this customer got the stain out with laundry detergent and water. Now that’s impressive!

While not as inherently resilient as nylon, polyester carpets will perform well if constructed well and maintained. So, choose a polyester carpet with a higher pile and medium-high density to ensure maximum appearance retention and long-term wear. You can also refer to the durability ratings on the back of carpet samples to help you assess how a carpet will stand up to traffic.

Never considered polyester carpeting before? Check out Shaw’s New ClearTouch carpets, made of a new type of polyester called PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate). This new polyester “ups the ante” in terms of performance. ClearTouch carpets feature:

  • exceptional softness
  • natural and permanent stain resistance, including pet urine stains
  • improved strength and better abrasion resistance
  • excellent appearance retention and long-term wear
  • 25% recycled content from recycled soda and water bottles

The new PET polyester carpets pack in a lot of performance for the money! They are an excellent choice for children’s bedrooms & playrooms as well as for people who don’t want to put a lot money into their carpet. We highly recommend you choose a PET polyester with a higher pile and medium-high density to ensure maximum appearance retention and long-term wear.

Key Point

The type of carpet fiber you want really depends on your priorities and needs. A family room and hallway in an active household may require a better-grade nylon carpet. Some people simply like the peace of mind that nylon’s strong warranties provide. Rooms not frequently used don't need a high-performance nylon. A tightly twisted, medium density PET polyester carpet that is multicolored to help hide traffic and soil is enough for a tighter budget.

As with any large purchase, do your homework, read your warranties and be sure to communicate your needs and wants to your flooring specialist. Visit Creative Carpet & Flooring where our educated flooring consultants can help you make the best choice for your home and family.

Visit the Creative Carpet & Flooring Showroom Nearest You: