Who doesn’t love soft carpet? The feeling of sinking your bare toes into the lush pile is so luxurious. But when shopping for soft carpet, your tootsies will only tell you part of the story. What about staining? What about durability?
This guide will walk you through the information you need to choose the right soft carpet for your home … and your feet.
What makes carpet soft?
There are three aspects of carpet that affect softness. Yes, the information is a bit technical, but keep reading—I promise to make it painless!
Fiber Type: The most popular carpet on the market is made from one of three materials: polyester, nylon or triexta. All three fibers are soft underfoot, and generally speaking polyester tends to be a softer fiber than nylon, but if you’re interested in enhanced softness, triexta fibers labeled “Silk” offer the ultimate softness.
Strand Density: The density of the strands of fiber, known as the denier, also affects a carpet’s softness. Manufacturers have developed carpets made of finer nylon and triexta fibers to increase the softness. The problem is that thinner fibers tend to be less durable, so the trick is to devise yarns from fine fibers that can stand up to daily use in an active household.
Carpet Construction: The way the yarn is used to construct the carpet affects how soft the carpet feels under foot. There are dozens of terms to describe the different constructions, but we’ll focus on three general categories.
- You’ve probably heard of Berber, the name of a specific kind of carpet that has become a general term for any carpet made with looped yarn. Loop carpets do a great job of standing up in high traffic areas, but they don’t rate high on the softness scale.
- Shag carpets have risen in popularity in recent years. Their frieze or twist construction results in long, loose twisted yarns that feel springy underfoot, but not necessarily soft.
- Texture construction is currently the most popular for carpet. The crimped yarns are cut for a dense, deep pile that creates the softest construction on the market.
So which soft carpet option is best?
Ultimately, the decision about which soft carpet is best for your home comes down to a balance of softness versus durability, cleanability and budget.
Softness on a Budget
Polyester carpet made with a texture construction can offer wonderful softness at great prices, so if your budget is tight, this may be your best bet. And another bonus, polyester is inherently stain resistant.
However, be prepared for wear to show sooner than with other carpet fibers. Keep in mind that you will likely need to replace polyester carpet in fewer years than with nylon or triexta, and even sooner if you have an active home with pets or children.
Longer Lasting Softness
Nylon carpet designed for softness can give your toes the cushy feeling they crave, but if durability is higher on your list than softness, skip the lower denier options and look for longer warranties instead.
Nylon is not inherently stain resistant, however, so if you opt for nylon, look for carpet with added stain protection to improve cleanability.
Triexta carpets, like SmartStrand products, offer the ultimate in softness, cleanability and durability. For active households, especially with children or pets, triexta offers the most comprehensive solution.
Products labeled “Silk” are made from yarn that bundles hundreds of triexta strands for luxurious softness without sacrificing durability. And triexta fibers have permanent, built-in stain protection so they are easier to clean and keep clean.
Most carpet is soft. So when you go shopping, remember to factor in durability, stain resistance and budget to be sure you find the right soft carpet for your home.