The Never Ending Feud: Nylon vs Polyester

In the world of carpet there are two fibers leading the industry, nylon and polyester. Nylon and polyester the most popular synthetic fibers in the marketplace, but the race to the top spot is truly too close to call. Determining the best fiber and carpet for your space all depends on you, your style, and your budget. To assist you on your journey to a new soft surface space, the team here at Carpet & Wood Floor Liquidators put our heads together and found a way to share our collective knowledge with the world.


Nylon fiber dates back to 1935 when it was invented by Wallace Carothers as an alternative to silk. The fiber was used exclusively for military parachutes and tents before it’s public release post World War II. Since then, it has held a strong reputation of durability and incredible softness.

Polyester made its public debut only a few years later in 1940, but didn’t come into fashion until the 1950’s. It was known for being a rougher fiber but the refinement of manufacturing facilities has drastically improved the feel of polyester; now polyester can rival both cotton and nylon when comparing softness.

When comparing the feel of a nylon and polyester carpet, it is important to compare two similar samples. Both nylon and polyester carpets come in a wide array of grades and qualities, a high quality polyester carpet could be softer than a low quality nylon. To get an accurate comparison, consider carpets that are the same face weight, have the same stain treatment, and have similar ratings.


When it comes to durability, nylon takes the lead over polyester. Nylon can stretch farther and is highly resilient. Nylon can also bounce back after being compressed by furniture for extended periods of time. If you move your furniture around, you won’t have to worry about indentation for too long.

Polyester, on the other hand, may need a hand to fluff it back up after being compressed by furniture. Though it is not as resilient as nylon, polyester is more resistant to pilling. Pilling occurs when fibers pull loose from their binding and roll into small clumps, you may have noticed some pilling on old sweaters and t-shirts as well as carpets.


One feature built into both nylon and polyester carpets is that they are naturally hydrophobic, keeping water and stains at bay. This feature does not mean that either fiber is impervious to water, in fact, nylon absorbs some liquid, making stains harder to remove from nylon as opposed to polyester carpets.

To combat stains, many nylon and polyester carpets are solution-dyed and treated for stains. Solution-dying carpet fiber is a revolutionary way to add color and protection to carpets. In traditional fiber dying the fiber is made and then submerged long enough for the fibers to absorb the dye color. Solution-dyed carpets have the liquid dye introduced while they are being produced so the dye soak in to even the inner-most fibers. This dying method keeps the carpet looking better for longer, even as life’s everyday occurrences start to wear on the fibers.


Finally, we come to what may be the single most important deciding factor when choosing a new soft surface floor for your space, the cost. Speaking generally, nylon is more expensive to produce and is thus more expensive to the end user than polyester. Cost, like feel, can vary according to the quality of the carpet made. A well made polyester carpet with extensive stain treatments could be more expensive than a lower quality nylon carpet. It is important to compare prices of similar quality polyester and nylon carpet options. If you are looking for the softness and durability of nylon but do not want to pay top of the line prices there are countless, cost effective polyester carpets on the market.

Is carpet ecofriendly?

Want new floors, but don’t want to create waste? Carpet is still a good choice for you. Polyester is known for its environmental benefits. Polyester can be recycled and used for plastic bottles, plastic bottles can also be recycled back into carpets.

Manufacturers and processors of nylon have spent a great deal of time and energy researching ways to make nylon carpets more sustainable, and many nylon fibers are now recyclable. Each year, more and more nylon carpets are made from recycled material. Old nylon carpets are even able to be recycled back into new ones. If you would like to find a recycled carpet, you will just need to look for the “rPET” specification.


So there you have it, a comprehensive comparison of nylon and polyester carpeting options. As you can see there is no right answer when it comes to which carpet to choose, the only answer is what is right for you. If you still need assistance when shopping for carpeting do not hesitate to reach out to your sales representative. They will be able to help you further on your personal carpet journey.