Nylon vs. Polyester Carpet: What's the difference?

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Difference between Nylon Carpet and Polyester Carpet

In the world of carpet fibers, nylon and polyester are the two most common choices.  Both of these carpet fibers are synthetic, and can be woven into thin fibers to produce high quality carpet.  When you are choosing your wall-to-wall carpeting, it would definitely behoove you to take a close look at both the nylon and polyester versions before anything else.  You will quickly find that your carpet needs are satisfied quite well with these two popular fiber choices.  Most people do not even bother to look at other options.  Nylon and polyester are the leaders by a country mile.

Nylon Carpet
Polyester Carpet


Nylon is essentially a polymer that can be spun into plastic fibers.  When finished, it looks much like silk.  Nylon also has a silky feeling to it when you touch it.  You can reach varying levels of coarseness with nylon fibers.  This allows for a number of different appearances and textures with nylon.  Synthetic polyester fibers are manufactured from petroleum being spun into threads.  Polyester is popular in the production of carpet, as well as many other functional uses.  The polyester carpet is not generally as soft as nylon, but the difference is negligible. 


Polyester generally is less expensive than nylon in the carpet world, but this sometimes is not the case.  In today’s world, petroleum can vary wildly in price and that has a direct effect on the cost of polyester.  Generally speaking, polyester will be less expensive unless the cost of petroleum has shot through the roof.  Both are reasonable when compared to other carpet options on the market, and worth whatever the prices paid.


Nylon carpet fibers are among the toughest and most durable available.  They do not age quickly because they are so strong.  Many times when you purchase carpet, the areas that are commonly walked upon will take on a different color or appear flattened.  With nylon carpet fibers, you do not generally have to worry about this.  About the only problem with nylon is in the area of staining.  Nylon carpet fibers will stain rather easily if they are not given a stain resistant treatment.  They are not built to naturally resist staining.  Many carpet manufacturers offer stain resistance on their carpets anyway, but this does add to the cost of the base carpet.  If you go with a polyester carpet fiber, you do not have to worry about those up-charges.  That is another way you can save off the cost of carpet when you go with polyester.

Polyester carpet fibers are also fairly long-lasting, though not nearly as long-lasting as nylon.  They do tend to show traffic patterns more quickly, and they will begin to wear down over time.  What you lose with longevity, you gain with natural stain resistance.  Unlike nylon, polyester naturally repels stains.  The choice that you make is really based upon what you value in your carpet, as well as how long you intend to keep it before changing the decor of your home.

Similarities and Differences


  • more expensive
  • is a synthetic polymer
  • long-lasting
  • not naturally stain resistant


  • less expensive
  • is made from petroleum
  • less long-lasting
  • naturally stain resistant

Which carpet wears the best?
  • Nylon Carpet
  • Polyester Carpet

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