5 Ways to Tell a Quality Rug from a Cheap One


Rugs play a vital role in our homes. They provide comfort, and add to the aesthetics of the space. They can also tie into cultural and historic elements, and they’re incredibly popular ways to define use spaces. Given all of that, it’s only natural that some unscrupulous companies would attempt to masquerade their cheap rugs as quality rugs. How can you tell the difference between them and avoid being taken for a ride?

The Rug’s Shape

One dead giveaway that a rug is of inferior quality and should be avoided is if it is out of shape. For instance, if you lay a rectangular rug on the floor and find that one side is longer than the other, it’s a sign that the rug was made very quickly, and for very little money. High quality rugs maintain their size to shape ratio very well, even handmade ones.

Edge Issues

Another thing to look for is a problem with the edges of the rug. This might require that you lay the rug flat on the floor, but that should not be a problem with the right rug retailer. Lay the rug out flat, and make sure that all edges meet the floor. If you notice edges that curl up, or that do not lie flat on the floor, then you’re buying an inferior rug.

Wording Used

In some instances, it can be hard to get up close and personal with a rug. Maybe the store is crowded, or perhaps there isn’t enough space in the showroom to roll the rug out in the first place. In this instance, look at the wording used to describe the rug. Does the information say “hand-tufted”, if so, this is actually a machine made rug, not a handmade item. Flat-weave rugs are also made by machines. If you’re interested in a handmade rug, look for wording like “handmade” or “hand knotted”. With that being said, some machine made rugs can be very durable and quite beautiful, so consider all of your options.

Knots per Square Inch

The gold standard when it comes to determining rug quality is the number of knots per square inch. Generally speaking, the higher the number of knots per square inch, the better. Fewer knots per square inch leads to a rougher feel to the rug, as well as reduced definition of the rug’s imagery. However, understand that even with handmade rugs, the number of knots will vary depending on the maker’s skill, and the type of rug in question.


Price is a dead giveaway about rug quality. While you will find dealers that offer good prices on high quality rugs, they cannot match the cost dealers can offer on lower quality rugs. If you find a rug offered at basement-level pricing, chances are good that the quality of the rug is comparable.

Following these tips, you should find that it’s simpler to choose a high quality rug that will add beauty to your home for years to come.

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