Taking a Closer Look at Carpet Types

Choosing Carpet for Your Home: Taking a Closer Look at Carpet Types

When shopping for new carpet, the choices may seem a bit overwhelming. But the selection process is a lot less daunting when you consider that carpet is actually manufactured in only three basic styles: cut piles, loop piles, and a combination of both referred to as cut and loop piles.

To help you make the best selection for your home, the following table provides a general description as well as a few pros and cons of each carpet type. Keep in mind that the specific fiber, yarn twist, and density of each carpet type will also impact price, warranties, and performance. (Refer to Determining Carpet Performance.)

Carpet Type Pros/Cons

Cut Piles—includes Saxony, Textured Saxony, Frieze and Cable styles


Made from smooth cut piles, saxony carpet is most commonly referred to as plush carpet and is what often comes to mind when we think of traditional wall-to-wall carpet in the home. Thousands of perfectly even, straight, solid-colored strands of fiber give this carpet its thick, soft feel.


  • Thick and soft underfoot
  • Good for low-traffic areas
  • Offers a traditional, rich, velvety look that never goes out of style
  • Works well in casual and formal décors


  • Has less “personality” than other styles
  • Shows footprints and vacuum marks
  • Tends to wear much quicker than other carpet styles
  • Stains can show more easily on solids and light colors

Textured Saxony


This cut pile, also referred to as a textured plush, is typically made from slightly textured yarns, but instead of being straight, as in a standard saxony, the fibers are kinked or twisted in different directions and then steamed to create a permanent curl.


  • Thick and soft underfoot
  • More versatile and casual looking than saxonies
  • Hides footprints and vacuum marks better than saxony
  • Shows less wear and tear than saxony styles
  • Comes in solid or multi-colored styles
  • Textures can work well with most any décor


  • Less durable than other styles
  • Can show signs of wear quicker than some other carpet types



This cut pile offers a tighter “twist” than textured saxonies. The yarn actually curls over, creating a very durable product and a more informal look. Frieze carpets with very long piles are commonly referred to as a “shag” carpet.


  • Soft underfoot
  • Highly durable
  • Does a good job at hiding footprints, dirt, and vacuum streaks
  • Provides a distinct “trendy,” casual look


  • Typically costs more than saxony styles
  • Requires special care – avoid use of a vacuum with a harsh rolling brush
  • Doesn’t work as well with formal décors



This cut pile is constructed of thicker, longer yarns, giving it a chunkier, rugged look.


  • Cozy, comfortable, and luxurious underfoot
  • Offers a neutral backdrop to match most décors


  • Extremely long fibers make carpet more prone to crushing and matting, especially under heavy foot traffic
  • More prone to shedding
  • Can be harder to clean and vacuum than saxony styles

Loop Pile


Loop pile is how all carpet actually begins — uncut. Each uncut tuft is brought back into the backing, giving this carpet a knobby appearance. Loop pile can be made up of smooth, level loops (all the same height) or multi-level loops to form a pattern or add more texture (berber). Commonly used in commercial settings, loop carpets are typically made from less-expensive olefin or nylon fibers and often combine different color fibers to produce a multi-color effect.


  • More durable than cut piles
  • Looped design offers a cushiony feel underfoot, especially those made from wool and nylon fibers
  • Hides stains and traffic/vacuuming marks, especially multicolored styles
  • Offers a uniquely rustic look that works with many interior design schemes
  • Higher loops create a more luxurious and elegant appearance
  • Short and densely packed loops are easier to clean and can prevent dirt from filtering into carpet
  • Spill resistant – highly absorbent
  • Often less expensive than a cut pile carpet


  • Not as soft underfoot as a cut pile, especially if made from olefin or polyester
  • More susceptible to snagging and/or running; it is possible for things, such as pet claws, to get caught in the loop and pull the loops out
  • While stain-resistant, some stains can be difficult to clean, particularly oil-based stains
  • May require special care: Beater bar attachments should not be used when vacuuming berbers

Cut and Loop (also called cut and uncut or sculpted)


This style features a combination of both loops and cut pile yarns to create a patterned design. A big trend in the 70s and 80s, this carpet has experienced a rebound in popularity, with modern styles featuring geometric designs, pin dots, linear styles, animal prints, and more color combinations than ever.


  • Helps hide vacuum marks
  • Gives the floor a more interesting texture and visual appearance
  • Offered in a variety of colors, finishes, and designs


  • Typically more expensive than like-quality saxonies, friezes and berbers, due to the intricacy involved in creating patterns
  • Cut fibers often bend or flatten over top of the looped fibers, producing a worn-out look – an effect that is more likely in high-traffic areas

Learn More

To read more about carpet style options, see Choosing the Best Carpet for Each Room of Your Home.

Have more carpet questions? See the WFCA's carpet store locator to find highly trained carpet retailers in your area who can help you select the best carpet for your home.

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Date: June 4, 2016
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Very informative, made me take a closer look at what type of carpet to replace the existing one.
Date: May 24, 2016
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Date: May 10, 2016
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Useful information, thank you
Date: October 14, 2015
Page Rating: (5.0/5)
Simple, informative, and exactly what I needed to know. thank you
Date: June 29, 2015
Page Rating: (5.0/5)
Excellent useful information!! This helped me determine the type of carpet I will be looking for :) Thank you

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