Comparing carpet prices isn’t easy. Although carpets from several major manufacturers are sold at most stores, there are so many varieties sold it can be hard to find exactly the same style and grade on display at any two stores. Comparing prices becomes even harder because many retailers (especially large ones) change carpets’ style names from the manufacturers’ names, and some big chains (like Home Depot, Lowe’s) have exclusive rights to sell certain carpet styles.

Price comparisons are possible, though, if the manufacturer’s style name or number appears on the carpet label and you can find at least two stores that sell it. As long as you provide the correct style information, many stores will provide per-square-foot price quotes over the phone for carpet manufacturers they carry.

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Do some shopping. As the table below reveals, significant store-to-store price differences exist for the same products. Our undercover shoppers called area stores and asked each to provide price quotes for 810 square feet of the same carpet, pad, and installation services. We used these prices to compute the price comparison scores reported on our Ratings Tables. The price comparison scores show how each store’s prices compared to the average price quoted for the same job. For instance, if two stores quoted on the same jobs, and one store has a price comparison score of $110 while a second store has a score of $100, this means that the first shop’s quotes averaged 10 percent higher than the second store’s.

As the table below reveals, for each of the 12 carpet brands and styles we shopped, we found big price differences. For example, for one brand and style we received price quotes ranging from $3,240 to $12,636. For another, we were quoted prices ranging from $3,864 to $8,505.