Cut Pile Vs. Loop Pile: What’s the Difference?

Knowing the difference between cut pile and loop pile carpets helps make a better purchase decision. While both create great carpet textures and styles, they vary in many ways. Both have their perks and downsides.

Having insights on different carpeting styles makes your shopping experience easier.

Cut Pile Vs. Loop Pile

Carpet pile refers to the length and thickness of a carpet’s fibers. Carpet fibers are woven in tiny loops to the backing. On a carpeted surface, the fibers are either cut or looped. A carpet pile also determines a carpet’s thickness and density.

If the fibers are closely packed, the carpet has a thick pile. Your carpet’s pile influences its durability, comfort, appearance, and maintenance requirements.

What is a Cut Pile Carpet?

Fibers of a cut pile carpet are sheared, resulting in an upright pile. Cut pile carpets have a uniform height and smooth texture. They’re made from nylon, polyester, or wool. Cut pile carpets have different pile heights and feature a twist.

Shag-cut pile carpets have long fibers that are spaced. They’re durable and need little maintenance. Saxony is a popular cut-pile style, which features a long pile with a smooth surface. Other cut pile carpet styles include frieze, velvet, and plush carpets.


  • Softer than loop pile carpets: Cut pile carpets are comfortable underfoot. The cut fibers have a uniform texture, which makes them popular for residential use.
  • Easy maintenance: Cut pile carpets are easier to vacuum. A vacuum cleaner with a rotating beater bar loosens dirt on the carpet. Cut pile carpets need less attention than loop piles.
  • Conceals seams: Cut-piles have a high carpet density which conceals seams. Loop carpets, especially Berber types, are the most difficult to hide seams. Loose piles blend well, creating a uniform look in wall-to-wall applications.


  • Less durable than loop piles: Even though cut piles and loop piles are made from similar carpet fibers, they vary in durability. Loosely packed tufts brush and mat easily, which makes the carpet look old.

What is a Loop Pile Carpet?

Unlike cut piles, loop pile carpet fibers aren’t sheared. Instead, the pile consists of loops from the surface to the carpet backing. Manufacturers use varying lengths of loops to create different patterns and textures.

Like cut pile carpets, some loop piles have a twist. Twisting the yarn makes them durable in high-traffic areas. A popular loop pile style is Berber, which features a low pile with flecks of color. Loop piles are available in natural fibers like sisal and wool. They’re also made from nylon and olefin.


  • Lower cost: Loop pile carpets cost $0.5- $7.5 per square foot. They’re more cost-effective than cut piles which cost $0.6- $9 per square foot. Loop pile carpets need fewer replacements since they last longer.
  • Does not show footprints or vacuum marks: Loop piles bounce back once they’re stepped on. The pile doesn’t show vacuum marks, unlike plush carpets.
  • High resilience: Loop carpets withstand high foot traffic without crushing and matting. They’re popular in residential homes and offices as well. Tight loops with a twist last longer than other carpeting styles.
  • Hides stains and dirt: Loop piles hide dirt within the fibers. They’re stain-resistant and easier to get rid of spots on the surface.


  • Rough texture: While loop pile carpets offer great durability and performance, they lack softness. Loop carpets have a low pile with tight loops, which results in a textured surface. A textured surface may cause a rough underfoot, unlike cut pile carpets.

What’s a Cut-Loop Pile Carpet?

Cut-loop pile carpets are a blend of cut and looped fibers. Manufacturers combine different colors and patterns to create cut-and-loop carpets. Contemporary cut-loop carpets feature geometric, wavy, striped and cross-hatch patterns.

While cut-loop pile carpets have great designs, they tend to look worn out. As the cut fibers wear, they lay on the looped sections, creating a worn-out look. A cut-loop carpet is ideal for medium or low-traffic areas like bedrooms and TV rooms.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Where are cut pile carpets commonly used?

Cut-pile carpets are popular in residential flooring. They are soft and cozy, creating an informal and relaxing feel. They come in different pile heights and colors to suit every decor idea.

Which carpet pile is the most durable?

Looped carpets with a short pile are stain-resistant and hard-wearing. They handle high foot traffic and retain their original appearance over time. Loop piles also don’t show tracking as cut piles do.

What’s the ideal carpet pile height?

Long pile carpets are soft and dense, which makes them a popular choice. Medium and high pile carpets range between ¼-inch to ¾-inch. While low-pile carpets don’t feel soft, they’re more durable in high-traffic areas.

How do you check pile depth?

Isolate some fibers on your carpet’s pile. Use a small ruler or tape measure to check the distance from the carpet backing to the surface. It’s worth noting that a carpet’s pile height doesn’t include the backing.

When choosing between a cut pile or loop pile carpet, consider the texture, appearance, and durability. You should also consider the carpet material. Nylon and triexta are the most popular carpet fibers, each with perks and downsides. A good quality carpet lasts for years before replacement.