If the two fibers were in the ring, which one would take home the championship title?!?! This is typically the #1 question when it comes to selecting a synthetic carpet. Below, we will duke it out in hopes to help you choose the winner.
Nylon is the STRONGEST OF ALL CARPET FIBERS. It is known for its durability and resilience from compaction, making it an excellent choice for high-traffic areas. It is typically solution dyed meaning the color goes all the way through the fiber, like a carrot, so it is also very resistant to fading. These awesome features come at a cost making it a more expensive fiber but the lifespan you’ll get out of the carpet is about 10-15 years, which can ultimately make it a less expensive choice in the end. In most cases nylon carpet will run about $25 to $30 per square yard, including padding and installation. You will also generally find more color and design options with nylon because it’s easier to dye. One of the biggest drawbacks, besides the price, of nylon is that it DOESN’T naturally repel liquids and stains.
Polyester's claim to fame is its RESISTANCE TO STAINING. It is a hydrophobic fiber which means it generally repels liquid, whereas nylon absorbs it. This is great news for homes with pets and/or kids, or for more public areas where carpet is the flooring choice. "Poly" is considered less durable than nylon however because it ISN’T as resilient and will break down from foot traffic in less time than nylon. The upfront cost is typically less expensive (about $8 to $22 per square yard for the total project) than nylon, however you will experience a shorter life span (5-7 years) which could end up costing you more money in the long run. There are also less color and design options with polyester because it more difficult to dye than nylon.
It is important to know that both nylon and polyester carpets are available in a wide range of qualities, so a high-grade polyester carpet may outperform a low-grade nylon carpet. There also may be certain treatments done to both fibers, which would affect their overall performance. When comparing the two different carpets, make sure they are of equivalent quality.
Softness & Feel
Both nylon and polyester have styles available in soft fibers, without a noticeable difference in feel from one fiber type to the other. Softness and the overall feel of the carpet is going to be affected more from the gauge, yarn height, and twist density.
And the winner is...
As you can see, there isn’t a clear winner and it really depends on your priorities. If you want a carpet that packs a real punch when it comes to durability and longevity, then go with nylon. If budget is the main concern and longevity isn’t, then polyester might be your conquering hero.