Low Vs Medium Vs High Pile Carpet
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Low vs. Medium vs. High Pile Carpet – Learn The Difference

Low vs. medium vs. high pile carpet, what type will you opt for? Indeed, choosing carpet is not only about its material, design; it is also about its pile. But what is the quality of these pile heights? Will it best suit you, your family, and even your cute fur babies?

In this article, I will tackle the whole idea about the low, medium, and high pile carpets, showing you the difference through their characteristics to make the right decision.

After all, all you want is a beautiful, durable, and warm floor covering, right? So keep rolling down the page to find out.

Pile Carpet
Low, medium, or high pile carpet, what is better for your family and kids?

What Are Carpet Piles?

In short, carpet piles are the fiber loops that are attached to a carpet backing. It refers to the thickness (or the height) of the pile carpet. Plus, the origin of the term ‘pile’ is from ‘pilus’ in Latin, which means hair (1).

Based on that, people classify them into 3 particular classes: Low, Medium, and High, which are also the main topics in this post.

The feature of each height will provide a different softness, looseness, or tightness that can meet various inquiries. So if you want to know whether low, medium, or high pile carpet fits your preference, the next part will give you the answer you are looking for.

Low, Medium, and High Pile Carpet – What To Consider

First of all, remember that the pile carpet’s height (or length) excludes the carpet backing. It is just the soft fibers that you can see on the surface. In choosing the appropriate height, you need to consider 6 factors thoroughly.

Now, let’s check the following table for quick information about these 3 fibers’ carpet lengths.

FeaturesLow Pile CarpetMedium Pile CarpetHigh Pile Carpet
  • Shorter than 1/4 inch
  • 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch
  • 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch
  • Shorter and tighter loops with denser and flatter texture
  • Smoother surface
  • Not too soft
  • Softer and more comfortable than low ones
  • Incredibly soft with a plush and looser appearance
Cleaning and Maintenance
  • Easy
  • Relatively easy
  • Difficult
Convenience and Safety
  • Easy to shift stuff/furniture on them
  • Will not leave dents when placing heavy furniture
  • Suitable for an allergic person
  • Suitable for an allergic person
  • Great insulation and soundproof
  • Safer for kids, particularly when they fall
Best Used In
  • High-traffic areas (e.g., living, kitchen, or playroom)
  • Moderate-traffic areas (e.g., living room, kitchen, or bedroom)
  • Low-traffic areas (e.g., office, reading/working room, guest room, or bedroom)
  • Affordable
  • Affordable
  • Expensive

1. Length

There are 3 main length ranges to determine which one is low, medium, or high pile of carpeting. And they are:

  • Low pile carpet: less than 1/4 inch
  • Medium pile carpet: from 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch
  • And High pile carpet: from 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch

In reality, you can also find some pile carpet that is longer than 3/4 inches, often called shag.

Plus, some manufacturers only list the pile height into 2 main groups: low and high, so if you want to ensure the number, you can use the tape to measure it. Just do not forget to exclude the carpet backing.

What is the fundamental criterion that makes a high pile carpet? You can see this video to know more:

Watch this video: What Is High Pile Carpet?
Carpet High Pile
High pile carpets have the thickest fibers, making them higher than the other 2.

2. Texture

Low pile carpets have shorter and tighter loops, making their texture look denser and flatter than the other 2 types. Short fibers also make their surface look smoother. However, their softness is not too good. You can even feel a little bit coarse when barefoot walking on them.

Medium pile carpets, which are the middle types, can share the advantages of low and high pile carpets. Their fibers are not as tight as low ones, making them softer and more comfortable to walk on. They also have a luxurious look like the high pile carpet.

As the name suggests, if you are looking for a long-fiber floor covering which can offer you super softness underfoot, a high pile carpet is the one. They have a plush and looser appearance that can boost the luxury of your room by their full and fluffy look.

3. Cleaning And Maintenance

It is clear to see that low pile carpets are much easier to clean than long types, thanks to their flatter surface with short and tight fibers. That’s why hair, tough dirt, debris, etc., can barely stick on them.

Or even if there are some, you still can use a vacuum to suck and clean these objects quickly. So suppose you want a low-maintenance carpet or are too busy to clean them regularly, choose a low pile sort.

Though not as easy as the low-pile, the cleaning part for medium pile carpet is still manageable. They do not have long fibers, and their density is dense enough to ensure there is not too much dirt that can be trapped on them.

You can use a regular vacuum with motorized brush rollers to clean and maintain this type of carpet. Avoid using the machine with automatic height adjustment.

In contrast, a long pile carpet would be more challenging to clean. They can accumulate higher levels of allergens than the other two. Also, their long fibers can be stuck in the vacuum cleaner, which will take more time and effort to get rid of dirt, debris, stains, etc.

Long pile carpets also require better maintenance by using the appropriate vacuum. The suitable ones could be a height adjustment appliance with a power nozzle tool. But do not worry, you can easily find various best vacuum cleaners for high pile carpet on the market.

Maintain Carpet
Do not have too much time to clean and maintain carpet? Short pile ones could be your favorite.

4. Convenience and Safety

Speaking of convenience, low pile carpets allow you to move your stuff or furniture on them easier, which you can hardly do the same on high sorts.

Moreover, when you place heavy stuff on shorter-fiber carpets (like low and medium ones), the chance of leaving dents is fewer or barely noticeable. People also have proven that the higher pile density (like low and medium-pile carpet), the lower deformation of carpet (2).

And if you are an allergic person, low or medium-pile carpets are your better choice as they will not hold too many allergens on their surface.

Sounds like high piles carpet is not too ideal for convenience and safety aspects? Actually, these high types are still a good choice for your kids when they fall on the carpet, thanks to the long fibers.

And if you need good insulation and soundproof, the winner is high pile carpet since they can keep the heat well and isolate the sound.

Long Length Fiber Carpet
If you put your children’s safety on the top priority, long-length fiber carpet can offer them good protection.

5. Best Used In

Based on the distinctive features and cleanability of these 3 types of height, you can determine where they should belong.

With low types, it would be better to install them in the high traffic areas, for example, living, kitchen, or playroom of your kids because you can easily clean them.

With medium pile carpet, as they have the perks of short fibers, they can handle the moderate foot traffic with no problem. So you can still use it in the living room, kitchen, or even bedrooms as they can offer the relative softness as the high-height sort.

However, it is not recommended to put high pile carpet on heavy traffic areas. They are best placed in the office, reading or working room, guest room, and bedroom to enhance comfort, warmth, and coziness. They make your room look more luxurious as well.

This detailed instruction will show you why lower pile carpets should be used in high-traffic rooms.

Watch this video: How To Choose Carpet For Every Room In Your Home

6. Cost

Obviously, shorter fibers mean a lower price, so you can consider using low to medium pile carpets if your budget is tight.

High pile carpet, in contrast, is more expensive because it needs more fiber and more complex manufacturing. Some people in middle-class households think they cannot afford these floor coverings.

High Pile Floor
However, a fluffy, luxurious look of high pile floor covering will cost you more.

Pros and Cons Of Low, Medium, And High Pile Carpet

To better grasp, let me sum up some key points of these 3 objects’ pros and cons when choosing the most suitable carpet pile.

Pluses and Minuses of Low Pile Carpet

If you want to buy a low pile carpet, here are some advantages and disadvantages to ensure you are making the right choice.


  • Perfect for busy bee and allergy suffers
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Easy to move furniture and stuff
  • Suitable for high-traffic spaces
  • Higher durability
  • Friendly-budget


  • Lack comfort, warmth, coziness, and aesthetic
  • Lack softness as you might feel coarser underfoot
  • Not good at insulation

Pluses and Minuses of Medium Pile Carpet

The medium type has characteristics of both low and high pile carpets. Thus, depending on their heights closer to low or high types, they will have similar pros and cons as such. Below are general pros and cons that you can note.


  • Can provide the softness
  • Easier to clean and maintain compared to high pile carpets
  • Good for medium foot-traffic level


  • More prone to accumulate debris, hair, dirt, etc., than low pile carpets
  • Cannot be cleaned by an automatic height adjustment vacuum

Pluses and Minuses of High Pile Carpet

Similarly, longer-fiber carpets also have their distinctive advantages and drawbacks that cannot satisfy all people, which are:


  • Can protect your kids from falling pain
  • Offer the most luxurious and ‘family’ feeling
  • Increase the coziness, comfort, and warmth of your room
  • Can dampen noise
  • Good soundproof


  • Easily damaged by hard furniture or high-foot traffic areas
  • Not suitable for stairs
  • Difficult to move furniture or stuff on it
  • Collect allergen, debris, dust, etc., which is not good for allergic people
  • Harder to clean and maintenance than shorter-fiber pile carpets

Type Of Carpet Piles With Specific Pile Height

Carpet piles can be grouped into 3 main types: Cut Pile, Loop Pile, and a combination of Cut and Loop Pile. These types can be made from various fiber materials like natural (e.g., wool) or synthetic (e.g., polyester, nylon, acrylic, triexta, etc.).

They also have different ranges of heights and styles. Please check the following table for more information.

Shag Carpet
Shag is the typical carpet that features long-pile fibers.
Carpet PileStylesHeight
Cut Pile Carpet
Made from cutting yarn loops at the top to create the same-length fibers.
VelourLow to Medium
PlushMedium to High
Loop Pile Carpet
Made from full loops of fibers to create different styles, patterns, and loop heights
Berber/ Heather/ TweedLow
Sissal/ CordLow
Level LoopLow to Medium
Multi-Level LoopLow to Medium
A Mixture of Cut and Loop
Made from looped and cut fibers
Level Cut and LoopLow to Medium
Textured Cut and LoopLow to Medium

How do a cut pile and a loop pile carpet differ from each other? Here is the answer.

Watch this video: Cut Pile Carpet Vs Loop Carpet


Feel more confident when choosing low, medium, or high pile carpet yet? If not, the following are frequently asked questions relating to these fiber-length carpets that many people are also concerned about. I hope it helps you.

Is Low Pile Carpet Better Than High Ones?

Identifying which one is better totally based on your preference because both low and high pile carpets have advantages and disadvantages.

If your priority is low budget and easy to clean, low pile carpet is your best bet. If you want to make your house more cozy and luxurious, it would be better to choose high ones.

What Should I Do To Clean The High Pile Carpet?

You should dry bathe your long-fiber carpet type, like shag carpet/rug, for better results.  Sprinkle dry cleaning solution on the surface, allow it some time to absorb, and then clean it again by vacuum.

You can also apply steam cleaning methods in case your carpet/rug is too soiled.

What Pile Of Carpet Is The Best One?

With cut pile carpets, as they are made from straight fibers, they are much softer and look prettier than loop pile ones, which are created by a lot of fiber loops.

However, loop types have longer lifespans and can hide dirt very well. If you need something in balance, you can choose Cut and Loop pile carpet.

What Should I Do To Restore My Carpet Pile After Years Of Use?

There will be times that the piles on your carpet are crushed, especially when you install them in high-traffic areas. But you still can make it stand up again by using a damp cloth and steam iron.

Wet the cloth first, apply it on trampled areas, and place a hot iron on the cloth for a few seconds; then, the pile can be restored effectively.

Can I Vacuum The High Pile Carpet?

Of course, you can use a vacuum to clean it, but under some conditions. You should use a wet or dry vacuum and avoid using high-power machines as they might ruin the fibers of your carpet.

Final Verdict For The Right Carpet

Personally, I will list my priorities, goals, and lifestyle first. Then I will compare it with the features, qualities, properties, etc., of these types of carpets, analyzing their pros and cons before making any decision.

Everyone has different requirements and demands; therefore, there is no good or bad carpet, particularly when you choose them based on their fibers’ height.

Lastly, do you like this post? Please let me know your opinions in the comment section. And do not hesitate to share your own experience with these carpets. I appreciate your support.

Low Vs Medium Vs High Pile Carpet


  1. En.wikipedia.org. 2021. Pile (Textile) – Wikipedia. [Online]. Available at: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pile_(textile)>.
  2. Milašius, R., Dubinskaite, K., and Van Langenhove, L. 2008. ‘Influence of Pile Height and Density on the End-Use Properties of Carpets’. Fibers and Textiles in Eastern Europe, vol.16(3), pp.47-50.

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Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones

Home Cleaning Specialist

Expertise: In-depth Knowledge of Cleaning Agents and Their Uses, Advanced Home Sanitization, Techniques Expertise in Cleaning and Maintaining, Various Floor Types, Innovations in Home Cleaning Tools

School: American College of Home Economics

Kevin Jones is a seasoned home cleaning specialist with over a decade of experience in the industry. A stickler for cleanliness and organization, Kevin brings a systematic and innovative approach to home maintenance. His expertise ranges from traditional methods to modern cleaning technology, ensuring homes are not just clean but healthy environments too.

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