Nylon and polyester are two of the biggest players in the synthetic carpet fibre market. We are often asked by our customers which is better: nylon or polyester. The answer to that question is: it depends. There is no one specific answer. Each fibre type has certain advantages.
Of course, one of the biggest considerations in any carpet purchase is how durable the carpet will be. Most consumers want a carpet that will stand up to daily wear and tear, and still manage to look good for the next decade or so.
Nylon carpet fibre is well-known as being very durable. It has long been considered to be the most durable synthetic carpet fibre available (although some would say that PTT triexta is now a worthy contender for this title). The secret to nylon’s durability lies in its resiliency – its ability to literally “bounce back” from compaction.
It is important to note that both nylon and polyester carpets are available in a wide range of qualities, and so a high-grade polyester carpet will usually outperform a low-grade nylon carpet. As always, when comparing two different carpets, be sure that they are of equivalent quality (in other words, make sure you are comparing apples with apples).
When it comes to stain resistance, polyester comes out slightly ahead of nylon. Polyester is a hydrophobic fibre, which means that the fibre itself actually repels liquid. By contrast, nylon is very absorbent, so it soaks in liquid, and therefore soaks in spills.
All residential carpets on the market today feature some type of stain protection. Both polyester and nylon carpets are treated to help prevent spills from setting in and staining the fibres. To combat this OC only sell Nylons that have been treated to increase its stain resistance. These nylons are called solution-dyed, which means that the colour goes completely through the fibre instead of being just on the surface. Solution dyeing dramatically increases the stain resistance – and fade resistance – of nylon.
PET polyester is well-known for its environmental features, as it is made from recycled materials.
In recent years, much advancement has been made in improving the eco-friendliness of nylon fibre. Many nylon carpets are now recyclable at the end of their useful life, which helps to keep these carpets out of landfills, where the carpet sits indefinitely. In addition, an increasing number of nylon carpets are now made from recycled content – some nylon carpet can be recycled back into nylon carpet, creating a cradle-to-cradle cycle that has huge environmental benefits.
Softness can be a big factor in choosing a carpet, as it is often one of the main reasons people choose carpeting over hard-surface flooring types. Luckily, carpet today is softer than ever before, thanks to the production of carpet fibre in thinner, finer strands. Both nylon and polyester carpets have many styles available in soft fibres, without a noticeable difference in the feel from one fibre type to the other.
Another determining factor in selecting a carpet is the cost. Overall, nylon is the most expensive synthetic fibre to produce, so a nylon carpet usually costs quite a bit more than a comparable polyester carpet. Again, this is true only when comparing two carpets of equivalent quality; of course there will be options for lower-priced nylons and higher-priced polyesters. But generally speaking, nylon is the more expensive fibre.