Cheap vs expensive carpet; what is the difference?

Are your current carpets looking a little past their best?

Nothing will reinvigorate a room quite like replacing an old carpet. But with so many options, how do you know which one is best?

It’s natural to automatically assume that a more expensive carpet is better, however it’s all about finding out which carpet is right for you, and the room that you are decorating. 

That won’t always be the most expensive carpet option. 

And, spending less doesn’t always mean lower quality. 

However, if you are not familiar with carpets then it can be hard to understand what you are actually paying more for. 

So, in this blog, we’ll look at the main differences between budget and expensive carpets to help you understand whether it’s worth paying a little more for your carpet, or whether you can save the money to spend elsewhere.

What’s the difference between cheap and expensive carpet?

Firstly we know that price is relative, what is expensive to you might not be to someone else and vice versa. So let’s try and define what we mean by cheap and expensive carpets. 

Industry wide average carpet prices are around £5 – £50/square metre.

When we are talking about cheap(er) these are usually between £5 – £20/square metres. Anything upwards of that would be considered a more expensive carpet. 

We know that won’t be everyone’s definition of cheap vs expensive, but it helps to define some parameters to give the cost context. 

That being said, there are a few differences between budget and expensive carpets. 

  1. Type of carpet
  2. Look & feel of the carpet
  3. Colours and patterns
  4. Carpet pile
  5. Lifetime

Of course, there are exceptions, however this will give you a general idea of the differences to help you decide which one might be right for your home. 

Cheap(er) (£5-£20)More expensive (£20+)
Type of carpetMan Made, Cheaper WoolWool & Better End Man Made (Nylon / Smart Strand)
Colour & PatternUsually plainMore varied colours/patterns and textures
Look & feelLower quality material and may not feel as luxurious to touchHigher quality material which generally lasts longer. More luxurious feel to it.
PileLesser more open pile resulting in a lighter weight carpet per square metreA more dense, close knit pile resulting in a heavier carpet per square metre
LifetimeLesser lifetime (depending on maintenance and care)Longer lifetime (depending on maintenance and care)

Related content: How much does carpet fitting cost?

#1 Type of Carpet: wool vs man-made

The cost of the carpet can vary greatly, depending on the material used to make the carpet and the quality of carpet that you decide to install.

There are two main types of materials for carpets:

  • Wool
  • Man-made (Polypropylene, Polyamide/Nylon and Polyester)

Woollen carpets tend to be more expensive. At Millers, a wool carpet will cost around £18-£50 per square metre. (although there are more expensive) 

They are extremely resilient to high volume foot traffic, are very durable, luxurious underfoot and are an excellent insulator. They also have an inbuilt resistance to soiling due to the natural oils of the wool.

Man-made carpets are usually on the lower end of the budget. At Millers a man-made carpet will usually cost around £10 – £25 per square metre, although, we do have some available from as low as £6.99 and as high as £40.00 per square metre.

They are best known for their stain resistance and easy cleanability making them an ideal choice for busy households with kids, pets and husbands who don’t take their shoes off at the door!

In conclusion, more expensive carpets are more likely to be made of wool, and cheaper carpets will be man-made materials. 

Related content: Wool vs man-made carpets: which is best?

#2 Colour, Texture and Pattern of the Carpet

Another factor that might affect the price of a carpet is the number of colours that it has woven into it, as well as how intricate the pattern and texture is.

Carpets that come in a wide range of colours, textures and patterns tend to be on the more expensive side of things.

Whereas, the cheaper carpet ranges will usually be limited in colours, and may not have the option of patterns.

In conclusion, more expensive carpets usually come in a wider, more broader range of colours and patterns than cheaper carpets. 

#3 Look and Feel of the Carpet

It’s not always possible to tell if something is high quality just by looking at it. 

But, with carpets it usually is…

If you asked a group of people to distinguish between a cheap(er) and expensive carpet, then most would be able to. The look and feel of a carpet usually varies with price (in part due to the type of carpet and the colour/pattern).

Expensive carpets look and feel more luxurious underfoot. The quality of the fibres and materials used is higher. They are and they will last longer and wear better.

In comparison a budget carpet will look and feel lower quality, and it will wear and need replaced sooner. 

In conclusion, a more expensive carpet will look and feel higher quality. 

#4 Carpet Pile: high vs low pile 

The fibres on a carpet are actually tiny loops that are woven into the back of the carpet. The loops are known as carpet pile, and the height and looseness, or tightness of these fibres affect the look and feel of them.

High pile carpets have longer fibres and loops. They tend to feel softer and cozier, however they will not last as long as a low pile carpet. They are great for rooms that perhaps have less traffic or for that room where you want that bit of luxury underfoot.

Low pile carpets have shorter, tighter loops. They are easier to clean and vacuum and less likely to stain, which makes them a better, more sensible option for high traffic areas, of homes with messy children (or husbands).

In conclusion, low pile carpets tend to be cheaper than their high pile counterparts. 

#5 Lifetime 

It’s hard to give an exact lifetime on a carpet, as it will depend on the individual circumstances of your home, and the room that the carpet is in. But if you take care of them, a carpet can last up to 15 years and sometimes beyond.

Of course, there are many factors that will affect this, including what type of carpet you go for (wool vs man-made) and whether you go for a high or low pile carpet and the traffic that it receives. 

Generally speaking, the elements that lead to a more expensive carpet eg. wool, quality fibres, will result in a more durable and longer lasting carpet. 

It’s up to you to decide whether this is necessary for the room you are installing the carpet in. Or whether you can get by with something on the lower end of the budget.

In conclusion, there are lots of elements of an expensive carpet that may help to preserve the overall lifetime of it. However, in order to ensure any carpet reaches its maximum lifetime you need to maintain and care for it properly.

Related content: 

In summary: Does the price of your carpet matter?

It’s hard to know whether spending more money on a carpet is worth it. 

It’s natural to assume that the more you spend on a carpet, the better it is going to be. But this won’t always be the case. 

What is important, is choosing a carpet that suits the circumstances of your household and make sure you have a good quality underlay. 

How much traffic will the carpet endure?

How many people are in your household?

These are important considerations when choosing the right carpet. If it’s an area of low traffic, a rarely used room, or somewhere that the carpet might be replaced frequently then you might be able to get away with a carpet on the lower end of the budget.

However, the best way to decide which carpet is right for you is to get a look and feel for them in person, by visiting one of our showrooms

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