Like traditional carpet, carpet tiles can offer a comfortable, padded feel underfoot. But unlike conventional carpet, they’re DIY-friendly and low maintenance. If one tile becomes stained or damaged, it can be replaced without needing to replace all of the carpet. Plus, carpet tiles are often less than half the price of traditional carpeting.
Carpet tiles are offered in a range of colors, textures, and designs. Some are even water resistant or moisture resistant to meet the demands of moisture-prone spaces and busy households.
While carpet tile preferences can vary from user to user and from room to room, many of the best options are affordable, easy to install, easy to clean and repair, and provide a comfortable surface for walking.
Ahead, learn about the types of carpet tiles available, and find out why the following options are some of the best carpet tile options for today’s homes.
- BEST OVERALL: All American Carpet Tiles Victory 23.5 x 23.5
- RUNNER UP: 4urFloor Assorted Carpet Tile 24″ x 24″
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: YWSHUF Self Adhesive Carpet Tile, Easy to Peel
- BEST FOR PLAYROOM: We Sell Mats Thick Interlocking Foam Carpet Tiles
- BEST FOR BEDROOM: All American Carpet Tiles Wellington 23.5 x 23.5
- BEST FOR LIVING ROOM: Smart Squares in A Snap 18” x 18” Soft Carpet Tile
- BEST FOR BASEMENT: Achim Home Furnishings Nexus Burgundy Carpet Tile
- BEST FOR PETS: Serenity Home Peel and Stick 12×12 Carpet Tiles
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Carpet Tiles
From room type to installation method, there are many factors that can help decide which carpet tile is best for a particular situation. Below are some of the most important carpet tile characteristics and features to think about.
A room’s primary use and traffic level are essential factors in choosing carpet tiles because the materials that go into making a particular carpet tile will help determine where they’re best suited. Soft, luxurious tiles might feel oh-so-heavenly underfoot, but they might not be suitable in a basement if they’re prone to developing mold or mildew.
Some manufacturers gear their carpet tiles toward specific rooms that might become damp by using materials that resist moisture damage. These moisture-resistant carpet tiles can be suitable for kitchens, laundry rooms, and bathrooms. Other carpet tiles are better suited to bedrooms and family rooms where water and humidity aren’t issues.
Another crucial consideration when choosing carpet tiles is the carpet fibers. Fibers can offer the desired degree of softness, cushioning, and durability needed for different applications. Nylon, polyester, polypropylene, and natural fibers are commonly found in carpet tiles, and each has its benefits and considerations. Many carpet tiles made from synthetic fibers are recyclable.
- Nylon: Widely found in carpet tiles, nylon fibers create a durable surface that withstands spills and ground-in dirt without leaving permanent stains. Nylon is naturally mildew resistant, so it’s well suited to installation in a basement or a kitchen where moisture or spills are likely. Nylon fibers can either have a soft surface or a surface that’s stiff and scratchy. Cheaper nylon fibers are found in less-expensive carpet tiles, and they don’t hold up as well as higher-quality nylon fibers. Examine nylon carpet tiles to see if the fibers are firmly attached to the base and whether the surface is soft when rubbing a hand over it.
- Polyester: Comfortable and soft underfoot, polyester is mildew resistant, and it makes for a nice comfy floor surface. Polyester carpet fibers are well suited to bedrooms and family rooms where comfort is a factor, but they’re not quite as stain-resistant as nylon and polypropylene, so they might not be the best choice for kitchens or playrooms. High-end carpet tiles often feature polyester fibers.
- Polypropylene: Carpet tiles with polypropylene fibers are waterproof and resistant to stains and wear, so they’re helpful in homes with kids and pets, basements, and garages. However, they can tend to be a bit scratchy, so they’re probably not best for families who want to lounge on the floor. Polypropylene carpet tiles are made by looping the polypropylene fibers, which can trap crumbs and make it difficult to vacuum the tiles thoroughly. Depending on the type of backing, some carpet tile floors made from polypropylene will withstand carpet steam cleaning.
- Natural Fibers: While less common, some manufacturers offer carpet tiles made from wool or sisal. In general, natural-fiber carpet tiles are more expensive than synthetic fibers, but they are strong and eco-friendly.
Wool: Pricier than synthetic fibers, wool is strong, soft to the touch and offers an insulating effect. The downside is that stains are more difficult to remove from wool.
Sisal: Derived from the Agave genus of plants, sisal is a fine fiber that can be used to create natural carpeting. It’s strong enough to withstand high-traffic areas, but, like wool, it’s also pricier than synthetic options.
A thick, cushioned tile backing will give the whole floor a softer, more springy feel. A thin, rigid backing doesn’t offer much in the way of cushioning but may be better used in some areas of a home. Backing materials can vary in thickness from a mere 1/16 inch up to an average of 3/8 inch for the thicker rubber and polyurethane varieties. Except for PVC, the following synthetic fibers are all recyclable. Check the product description to determine whether specific carpet tiles are made from recyclable materials.
- PVC: Short for polyvinyl chloride, PVC is extremely durable, water-resistant, and affordable. It’s often found as the backing on less-expensive carpet tiles and will stand the test of time. It doesn’t offer much padding, however. PVC is related to plastic, but unlike regular plastic, it contains chlorine and cannot be recycled.
- Plastic: Similar to PVC in feel and also stain-resistant and water-resistant, plastic backing is usually thin and relatively stiff. However, it’s well suited to use in rooms where moisture is a factor.
Polyurethane: Some of the higher-end carpet tiles, designed for installation in the bedroom or the family room, come with cushioned polyurethane backing, which offers a nice padded feel underfoot. It’s a type of foam, but it may not be as moisture-resistant as PVC or plastic. Depending on the specific product, it can be up to 3/8 inch thick.
- Rubber: Soft and resilient, rubber tile backing offers both a measure of cushioning as well as durability. Carpet tiles with rubber backing are favorites in kitchens where the cushioning helps ease standing fatigue on legs and feet and rubber resists moisture damage. Like polyurethane, rubber backing may be as thick as 3/8 inch.
- Polypropylene: The same material used in some carpet fibers, polypropylene is tough, durable, and moisture resistant, but it doesn’t offer much in the way of padding.
Carpet tiles are available in various colors, designs, and textures to suit any room. A single smooth pattern can be used throughout a room, or ribbed tiles can be used to form a checkerboard look. This is a popular design because it creates a deliberate visual separation between the tiles, making the overall tile effect look more purposeful. Most come in square or rectangular shapes, but a few are available in other shapes like octagons.
While carpet tiles are offered in a range of colors, some carpet tile packs include different colors within the same pack, providing a fun and whimsical design to a floor. For the formal-minded, though, carpet tiles with the same pattern are often installed in a linear fashion, which unifies the room and offers a wall-to-wall effect.
Like wall-to-wall carpeting, carpet tiles are made with different fiber configurations that can change the surface’s look and feel.
- Cut pile: Among the lushest carpet types, cut pile features carpet yarn fibers cut flat at the top. The individual yarns look and feel soft and luxurious, making them well suited to bedrooms or family rooms.
- Cut pile plush: Like cut pile, the loops of cut pile plush are cut at the top to form single strands, but additional yarn is woven in to create a denser look and feel. It’s suitable for most rooms but especially used where family members spend time on the floor.
- Loop pile: In a loop-pile carpet, the yarns are looped, not cut, which gives the carpet a smooth, condensed look. Loop-pile carpet tiles are usually intended for basements, laundry rooms, and kitchens.
- Multilevel loop pile: Manufactured in the same manner as loop pile, the loops of multilevel loop pile have random heights. This gives the carpet a textured look and feel, and it’s suitable in most rooms, especially basements and kitchens.
Traditional carpet installation requires attaching razor-sharp carpet strips along the walls and then stretching the carpet over the strips using professional tools and techniques. Carpet tile installations are completely DIY-friendly, although they install in a few different ways.
- Adhesive: Carpet tiles that install with adhesive require spreading a thin layer of the glue over a strip of the existing floor, waiting a few minutes until the glue becomes tacky, and then positioning the individual tiles. The directions on the adhesive may indicate that goggles and masks are recommended.
- Peel-and-stick: Similar to vinyl tiles, peel-and-stick carpet tiles are among the simplest to install. The user lays out the tile pattern on the floor, lifts each tile in turn, peels off the paper backing, and positions it on the subfloor. The adhesive on peel-and-stick tiles often remains sticky so the tiles can be pulled when one needs to be replaced without scraping residue from the floor.
- Floating: A floating carpet tile floor means that the tiles are not attached to the subflooring. Floating carpet tiles interlock on their sides—much like puzzle pieces. This is usually the better option for renters and those who like to frequently change interior decor.
Our Top Picks
To make the search for carpet tiles easier, here is a list of top picks based on different room and lifestyle needs. While the best carpet tiles for any specific room will vary and depend on budget, design, resilience, and stain resistance, any one of the following carpet tile options can be an optimal choice in most homes.
For a carpeted look in basements, laundry rooms, and kitchens, check out Victory Peel and Stick from All American Carpet Tiles. They come in 23.5-by-23.5-inch squares and install simply by peeling off the plastic film backing and pressing the tiles in place. These tiles feature a tightly looped pile made from 100 percent Olefin (another name for polypropylene).
All American Carpet Tiles are durable, and they’re treated to resist stains. They’re resistant to both mildew and water, making them useful for basements and kitchens or anywhere a tough, durable flooring is desired. The tiles come in a subdued stripe pattern in various color options, and each order contains nine tiles.
No need to spend a lot of money to take advantage of the versatility that comes with carpet tiles. The affordably priced 4urFloor Assorted Carpet Tiles feature peel-and-stick installation, and they come in a variety of colors for creating a whimsical or eclectic look. The buyer will receive 24 carpet squares per order, and each square measures 2 feet by 2 feet.
The tiles are randomly selected from an assortment of colors and textures so the user can mix and match the tiles to create a unique flooring look. Made from a variety of materials, each tile is simple to install and holds firmly in place. The variety of colors, patterns, and textures make the 4urFloor carpet tiles suitable for basements, bedrooms, and playrooms.
These peel-and-stick carpet tiles from YWSHUF cost a fraction of the price of many other options. Each box includes a dozen 12-by-12 easy-to-install tiles that are suitable for use in bedrooms, living rooms, offices, basements, or even garages.
Choose from four different color options based on the decor in the space, or mix and match to create fun patterns and designs. These tiles come in blue, black, gray, and gray-white. Each tile has a ribbed texture to add some dimension to the room. Regular vacuuming and spot cleaning will help these carpet tiles continue to look their best and extend their lifespan.
For easy installation and a bit of cushion, consider We Sell Mats Interlocking Foam Carpet Tiles that feature foam backing. The We Sell Mats tiles do not require glue, and they are not peel-and-stick tiles. Instead, they feature interlocking edges on all sides that fit together like puzzle pieces to form a layer of carpet that is easy to remove if necessary.
Each 2-by-2-foot tile comes with two straight and two interlocking borders, and tiles are available in sets of six per carton. The straight borders allow the user to create a clean line around the carpet’s edge, but they can be altered to install the tiles in the center of the floor. The tiles are waterproof and stain-resistant, and they’re durable enough to resist punctures from spiked high heels and other sharp items. They come in a wide variety of colors and are easy to disassemble and remove.
Enjoy the plush softness of All American Carpet Tiles Wellington Peel and Stick Carpet Tiles in bedrooms, hallways, or other living areas where plushness and comfort are desirable. The 23.5-by-23.5-inch carpet tiles come ready to install with peel-and-stick backing, and buyers receive nine tiles per carton.
The upper carpet fiber features soft polyester yarns in a cut-pile design, and the tiles come in a handful of attractive colors to coordinate with the style and decor of the space. Installation is a snap—just peel off the tape backing, align the tile, and press it down for a snug, firm hold. The tiles don’t feature a padded backing, but each carpeted tile has been treated to resist stains and ground-in soil.
These 18-inch square carpet tiles from Smart Squares can add both comfort and character to a living room, bedroom, or another space in a home. Each carpet tile offers a plush feel crafted using 100 percent PureColor Solution Dyed BCF Polyester. Homeowners and guests will also appreciate the attached 6-pound high-density polyurethane memory cushion. The memory foam offers the right amount of padding to keep individuals comfortable and eliminates the need for any additional carpeting padding.
These professional-looking carpet squares offer simple installation that home DIYers can manage with the peel-and-stick design. Plus, with the special technology utilized by the manufacturer when cutting the tiles, guests won’t be able to tell these tiles apart from wall-to-wall carpet. The PureColor fiber system used to craft these tiles makes them resistant to bleach, stains, and fading.
Achim Home Furnishings carpet tiles offer an ideal solution for basements and other areas in a home where moisture may be present since they are resistant to mold, mildew, and moisture. These carpet tiles are also resistant to staining and fading. Their 100 percent heavy-duty polyester construction means they’ll also offer durability to withstand heavy traffic.
Each carpet tile is a 12-inch square, and 12 tiles are included in each box. These burgundy tiles offer a ribbed texture for a fashionable look. The peel-and-stick design means most users can easily install these tiles on their own.
The Serenity Home Peel and Stick Carpet Tiles are stain resistant, fade resistant, mold resistant, mildew resistant, and moisture resistant. Muddy paws and pet accidents won’t stain, and the loop-pile fibers provide a durable, resilient surface, making these an optimal carpet choice for homes with pets.
Easy to install, these 12-by-12-inch carpet tiles come with a peel-off paper backing that allows the user to position the tile and press it firmly in place. Suitable for virtually any room, including home offices, basements, or even garage flooring, these carpet tiles feature looped polyester, and, unlike some carpet tiles, buyers can safely steam clean these. One order includes 12 tiles.
FAQs About Carpet Tiles
Carpet tiles can be affordable and DIY-friendly, and many are water resistant, making them suitable for homes with children and pets. For those shopping for carpet tiles for the first time, a few questions are to be expected. Here are answers to some popular questions.
Q. What is carpet tile made of?
The three most common materials in carpet tiles are nylon, polypropylene, and polyester. Some come with padded backing, but many do not.
Q. What are the benefits of carpet tiles?
Carpet tiles offer the look and feel of carpet for a fraction of the price. Plus, installation is DIY-friendly. Many carpet tiles also offer outdoor installation options for areas such as screened-in porches.
Q. Is it easy to install carpet tiles?
Installing carpet tiles is an easy DIY project. Most carpet tiles are peel-and-stick, making them a snap to install.
Q. How do I clean and maintain my carpet tiles?
Vacuum carpet tiles at least once a week and at least twice a week for high-traffic areas. Be sure to wipe up any spills and treat stains promptly. A few types of carpet tile will even withstand being cleaned with a carpet cleaner or steam cleaner.
Q. How long will my carpet tiles last?
The amount of wear and tear carpet tiles experience will be the ultimate decider of their useful life, but in general, polypropylene carpet tiles will last 5 to 7 years.
The best carpet tiles offer a comfortable, stylish, and easy-to-maintain-and-replace solution for indoor and outdoor spaces alike. Considering the characteristics of the space, installation methods, color, and carpet fibers and plushness can help you select the right carpet tiles for your home.