Carpet Pile Types Explained: Which Should You Choose?

By Samuel N •  Updated: 02/03/23 • 

Carpets are one of the main types of flooring that offers a cozy feeling that no other type of flooring can offer. When choosing a carpet for your home, you can consider different carpet fibers and types of construction. In this post, I’ll discuss the different carpet construction styles, which refer to different carpet piles.

Cut Pile Carpets

These are the carpets where the fibers are cut or sheared off at a specific height and then twisted into tufts. Cut pile carpets are popular in most homes because they are softer than loop pile carpets.

When choosing a cut pile carpet, consider the type of carpet fiber used, the density of the fibers on the carpet, and the amount of twist in the yarn. The higher the twist, the more resilient a carpet will be and thus be more durable and suitable for high-traffic areas. A denser twist will also help in hiding dirt.

There are four types of cut pile carpets. These include Saxony, frieze, twist, and velvet.


Saxony is what you should think of when you think of a cut pile carpet. It is the traditional cut pile carpet, and its fibers are dense, stand straight, and are cut to the same length. Saxony carpets have a soft texture and smoother appearance.

The disadvantage of Saxony carpets is the carpet fiber can easily be crushed, which leaves footprints, vacuum cleaners, and other impressions on its surface. Saxony carpets are also more expensive compared to other cut-pile carpets. A Saxony carpet is suitable for low-traffic areas. See the pros and cons of saxony carpets.


Frieze, sometimes known as California shag or modern shag carpet, is a high, tightly twisted, dense carpet. Because of the tight twists, frieze carpets hide footprints and other impressions on the carpet, making them suitable for high-traffic areas. Frieze carpets are also very durable and will hide dirt and wear.

The disadvantage of frieze carpets is they can sometimes be challenging to clean. This is because the long and twisted fibers mean stains and dirt run deeper. Read more about frieze carpets.


This is also called a plush pile or velour pile. Velvet pile carpets have shorter fibers than Saxony cut and are densely packed. They are smooth, soft, and have a luxurious finish. Velvet pile carpets were traditionally made with the best grade of sheep’s wool. However, these days you can find them made using synthetic materials like acrylic fiber.

The disadvantage of velvet pile carpets is they’ll show footprints and other surface marks, can easily fade and are prone to wearing down. Velvet pile carpets should be used in low-traffic settings, such as guest bedrooms or a formal lounge.

Loop Pile Carpets

Also called uncut pile, loop pile carpets have fibers that are not cut. Rather than forming tufts, like in cut pile carpets, loop carpets form loops that connect each fiber to the carpet backing twice.

Loop pile carpets are easier to clean, very durable, resistant to stains, and hardly show any surface marks. This makes them perfect for high-traffic areas, commercial applications, and busier homes.

While durable, loop pile carpets usually have a low profile and limited cushioning. There are two types of loop pile carpets: level loop pile carpets, such as Berber, and multi-level loop pile carpets.

Level Loop

In level loop pile carpets, the carpet loops are of the same height, which creates a uniform look. Level loop carpets are very durable and resistant to surface marks.

The higher the loops are in a level loop carpet, the more luxurious they look. A shorter loop carpet that is densely packed is easier to clean and offers a good blend between practicality and luxury. Level loop carpets are good for high-traffic areas such as hallways.

Berber carpets are the most popular type of level loop carpet. The name is inspired by the weaving style of the Berber people of North Africa. Berber-level looped carpets are popular because of their durability compared to other carpet styles. They are also cheaper, easier to clean and great for hiding soiling and stains. This is especially true for multi-colored or traditional-colored Berber carpets.

Multi Level Loop

Multi-level loop carpets are similar to loop-level carpets. However, the loop heights vary (two to three loop heights) to create different pattern and texture effects. These carpets are good for medium to high-traffic areas because they are harder to show surface marks and hide stains.

Multi-level loop carpets are also known as high-low loop piles, patterned textured loop piles, and textured loop piles.

Cut and Loop

As the name suggests, this type of carpet is made with a combination of cut and loop pile styles. Cut and loop pile creates different patterns, and the carpets come in a wide range of colors and designs. Because of its multi-level surface, surface marks and stains are easily hidden, which makes it good for moderate-traffic areas and busy homes.

The disadvantage of cut and loop carpet is the style can create a worn-out look. This is usually caused by the longer cut fibers falling over, the shorter ones.

Carpet Pile Height

Apart from the different carpet piles, a carpet can come in different pile heights. The pile height refers to the length of the strands of your carpet. Carpet pile heights can be categorized under three major categories, i.e., low pile, medium pile, and high pile.

Low Pile Carpets have short carpet fibers and usually look flat with a dense underfoot. The short strands of a low-pile carpet make cleaning and removing stains easier. A low-pile carpet is also good for high-traffic areas because it does not show wear and tear easily. Low-pile carpets are a popular option because of their modern and sleek appearance.

Medium pile carpets have longer fibers, which makes them softer and good for moderate foot traffic. However, they are much more prone to catching dirt, debris, and pet dander. The good news is they can also be cleaned easily using a vacuum cleaner. Medium-pile carpets are good for bedrooms and living rooms.

High-pile carpets are fluffy and plush that usually add some level of luxury. They are great for creating a cozy environment and reducing noise levels because of the long fiber strands. As the longest pile height, they will collect more dirt and debris, which can be hard to clean effectively.

What Type of Carpet is Best For Your Home?

Now that you know the different carpet piles and pile heights, I hope you can confidently choose a carpet style you love. There are different types of carpets for different rooms in your home. Make sure to choose the right one to ensure it lasts longer and serves your home.

Samuel N

Samuel N is the founder of Improve Floor and has been in the flooring industry since 2005. Since then, his mission has been to make flooring easier for everyone. He helps countless people with flooring installation, finishing, maintenance, and repairs each year.