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When shopping for wall-to-wall carpeting, keep in mind that you're looking for quality carpet and reliable installation service. We spent hours researching the top carpet retailers, from big-box stores to independent retail shops and online-only vendors.
Our favorites include Empire Today, with its "See It In Your Room" virtual tool, Abbey Carpet & Floor, a retailer with hundreds of locally-owned showrooms, and Costco, which offers members a large inventory and competitive pricing.
Here are the top places to shop for carpeting.
"With more than 400 types of carpet and various brands to choose from, this retailer offers quick installation and a range of prices to fit your budget."
"Choose from more than 2,000 different styles of carpet with options including plush, shag, textures, patterns, and loop."
"Offering their own line of carpeting along with other popular brands, this retailer can come to your home to show you options and measure your space."
"You can choose to visit a locally owned showroom or make an in-home appointment to see their in-house collections and other popular offerings."
"This cooperative has 1,000 of stores throughout the country but also has many helpful online features including prices per square foot listed and interactive tools."
"With an emphasis on customer service, this retailer has an impressive list of brands, and will help you find local installers."
"Costco members can call to request a quote for carpet installation, with costs that are typically reasonable, and occasional promotions."
One of the perks of using a store like Home Depot is speed: In many cases, you can have your carpet installed in a week's time, and in some cases, just 72 hours.
There are more than 2,200 Home Depot stores nationwide, so if you're hoping to scout samples in person, you'll likely be able to find one near you. But their website is the best place to start your search, and you'll find more than 400 types of carpet. The brands carried include Home Decorators Collection, LifeProof (including one that's designed for pet owners), TrafficMaster, Shaw, and Natural Harmony.
Prices range from just 65 cents per square foot (that's for a basic TrafficMaster style) and go up to about $1.50 per square foot (for a textured Home Decorators Collection option that comes with a 15-year warranty). Keep an eye out for promotions, too: They offer deals such as free installation if you purchase a style that cost at least $1.25 per square foot and spent $699 or more. Note that Home Depot contracts with local installers, so you'll be dealing with both the company's customer service as well as the independent contractors who are hired to do the work.
Like Home Depot, Lowe's has about 2,000 stores around the country, and you'll find the purchasing process to be similar, with independent contractors dispatched for installation. There are currently more than 2,000 different styles available, with options such as shag, Berber, and needle bond (which often has intricately woven designs).
Lowe's carries mainly Stainmaster, but also offers a few alternatives, including Joy, Shaw, and Royalty Carpet Mills. Prices range from about 71 cents per square foot (for a Berber loop style that would suit an office) and cap out around $2.52 per square foot for a lush-looking Stainmaster carpet that's designed to resist pet stains and easily release their hair during vacuuming. If you can't make it to a store, you can order sample squares online for $1 each.
Empire Today has its own line of carpet called Home Fresh, which is designed to be both hypoallergenic and good at resisting odors, and they also carry other popular brands such as Shaw, Karastan, and Bigelow. (Note that there's no full list of brands on the website, but you can get a sense of what they carry by looking at the documents on the warranty page.)
Something that's important to know about Empire: There are no stores or showrooms. Instead, you can book an in-person appointment either online or by phone, and a representative will come to your home, measure, show you dozens of samples, and discuss options. In some cases, installation can happen as quickly as the day after the consultation.
One of the coolest features on Empire's website is the "See It in Your Room" tool: You can upload a photo of your home and select a flooring type to get an idea of how it will look in the space. One downside to Empire is that you can't see prices online, instead, you must contact the company directly to learn more.
Abbey Carpet & Floor
Focused only on flooring and window treatments, Abbey has been in business since 1958 and has around 800 locally-owned showrooms nationwide, although you can also opt for an in-home appointment. Abbey's list of brands includes their own in-house collections designed with companies such as Alexander Smith and Softique, as well as well-known names such as Karastan, Mohawk, and J Mish.
It's worth noting that all of the exclusive collections are made in the United States and offer lifetime warranties, although as is typical, stains caused by things like dye, lipstick, and bleach are excluded. Like Empire Today, there's a fun room visualizer tool; this one also includes pre-loaded spaces such as "Bright Living Room" that are handy if you don't feel like uploading your own photo. As with Empire, prices are not listed online: Instead, you can enter your zip code to be connected to the nearest showroom, which can then send a price quote.
Carpet One is a cooperative with 1,000 stores around the country, and the company claims that this model helps them provide low prices but also serious buying power. What's refreshing about the website is that you can easily see prices and comparison shop: Simply choose a style and enter your zip code, and you'll be given the option to scout several stores in your area, each of which lists the price per square foot. Carpet One carries brands such as Resista, Innovia, Bigelow, Lees, and Tigressa.
The site also gives the shoppers the option to not only visualize different looks in a certain room, but also create online project boards that they can then share with local stores. If you're a fan of charitable giving, you'll also be happy to know that Carpet One has raised close to 1 million dollars for breast cancer charities and also supports the Tunnel Towers Foundation, an organization that builds high-tech smart homes for injured service members.
Based in Dalton, Georgia (fondly known as the "carpet capital of the world"), Carpet Express sells high-quality carpeting and flooring at a wholesale price. Although they're based in Georgia, where they have two store locations, the retailer ships to all 50 states and works with shoppers to help them find local installers. They carry an impressive list of brands, including Joy, Tuftex, Royal Dutch, and Shaw.
The website is easy to navigate and prices are clearly listed, ranging from basic "apartment grade" carpet for 65 cents per square foot, all the way up to luxurious wool or nylon options for about $5 per square foot. Samples can be mailed free of charge, and Carpet Express prides itself on strong customer service—the phones are open six days a week, and you're guaranteed to talk to a live person (though web chat is also available).
If you're already a Costco member, it's worth getting a quote for carpet installation. The company has partnered with Shaw Flooring for materials, and subcontracts carpet installation to local contractors.
Given that it's Costco, it's no surprise that the prices tend to be reasonable, though you'll need to contact them directly for styles and details, as no carpet options are listed online. You'll also have the chance to earn a 10 percent Costco Shop Card on Shaw flooring purchases that qualify, and sometimes offer promotions such as a $250 gift card for installations that cost more than $3,500.
What to Look for When Buying Carpet
When you're buying carpet, the most important consideration is the material. This encompasses everything from the thickness and style to the durability. You'll want to purchase carpet that's designed to resist stains and easily release debris and dirt when vacuuming.
Note that some stores have showrooms, and some don't. If seeing the carpet in-person is important to you, then you'll want to select a store that offers that option.
It's also a good idea to consider the price of the carpet before investing. You'll want to look at the costs of carpet (based on how much you need or the spacing and design of your room) and choose something that makes sense for your budget.
The other part of buying carpet is the installation. After you've figured out what material, where, and how much, you'll need to take a deep dive into installation (what it looks like, what it costs, how long it takes, etc.). If you're working with any type of deadline or turnaround, finding out the time it takes to install is crucial. If you're more flexible, this doesn't matter as much, but it's still a good idea to investigate and be sure there aren't hidden fees before making your purchase.
How do you clean carpet?
You can clean carpets with a carpet cleaner, of course, but if you're looking for something more DIY, you only need a few household ingredients. If you want to do more of a top-level clean, you can sprinkle baking soda and then vacuum it up. There are baking soda-based powders that have scents, too, to help freshen your space. Alternatively, you can also spot clean your carpet with a mixture of white vinegar (1/4 cup), water (2 cups), and one tablespoon of dish soap.
How do you install carpet?
Installing carpet can be rather challenging, so if you're not confident or experienced, we'd recommend hiring an expert to help you. Alternatively, you can DIY carpet installation in a few steps: measure the room, prepare your subfloor, install the tack strips and padding, measure and cut the carpet to fit, lay the carpet, secure the seams, anchor along the wall, stretch the carpet, and add the installation strips.
How long does carpet last?
A typical carpet lifespan is anywhere between 5-15 years. The length can depend on a myriad of factors, including wear and tear (pets, children, furniture, etc.), the size of your space, and any elements your carpet may be exposed to.
Why Trust The Spruce
This roundup was written by Lexi Dwyer, who has written many home decor stories for The Spruce. Topics she’s covered have included affordable furniture, rugs, hampers, and mattresses. Additional reporting was done by Marisa Donnelly, a writer and editor with over 12 years of experience. Her work has appeared in Huffington Post, Bustle, BossBabe, Thought Catalog, and more.