How To Use A Carpet Cutter Or Trimmer [A Complete Guide]

When you're delving into home renovations, doing the work yourself seems like a good choice. It brings down the cost, and you get to learn something new. But, there comes a situation where you might not know how to use a tool. More specifically, you might wonder how to use a carpet cutter or trimmer. We researched this to find the best techniques for these tools!

We will address how to use a loop pile carpet cutter. The process is simple. You will need a measuring tape, a straight edge, and the loop cutter itself. From here, follow these steps:

  1. Make your measurements.
  2. You will want to cut on a valley line to avoid damaging the carpet. Flip it over to see the ridges and valleys.
  3. Place the beginning of the cutter over the carpet. The blade should be between carpet rows of carpet loops. You can mark or place a straight edge to indicate where the cut will go. If you're using a straight edge, line the cutter up with it.
  4. Press down and push forward using your dominant hand.
  5. Check periodically to make sure you're cutting along just fine.

Now that you have the basic idea of using a loop pile carpet cutter, you might have second thoughts about using one. Maybe you need to explore your options. Are there other carpet cutters you can use? If you'd like to find out, keep reading ahead.

carpenter laying carpet, using cutter. How To Use A Carpet Cutter Or Trimmer [A Complete Guide]

What To Look For in a Carpet Cutter

First, we have to address what you should look for in a carpet cutter. There are specialized tools to consider. But, you can use alternatives that are not specialized in carpet cutting. Though, they all should have five things in common.

carpet being cut using a cutter on hand


You can use any sharp tool to cut a carpet. Though, that's a heavy emphasis on sharpness. If you use a cutter that is too dull, you'll end up with imprecise cuts. How well it can cut through carpet fibers and backing is crucial.


Carpet contains material that can give a lot of resistance while cutting. You will need something that won't break down. It needs to remain intact throughout the cutting process. This way, you won't go running for another cutter because the one you are using broke down.


If you want to make the job easier, look for tools specialized in carpet cutting. Some will have sophisticated designs to accommodate various situations. Additionally, since this is a DIY project, look for cutters that the professionals use.

Types of Carpet Cutters

Carpet Knife

The first option you have to cut carpets is a carpet knife. Some also refer to it as a utility knife. Both can be true.

Click here to see this cutter on Amazon.

But, carpet knives specialize more in cutting through pieces of tough fabrics. If you want the best results, look for a cutter that specializes in cutting carpets. Standard utility knives won't do the trick because they aim for versatility.

Electric Scissors

If you want quick and precise cuts, you might want to consider using an electrical tool. In this case, electric scissors come in handy.

Click here to see this electric scissor on Amazon.

Though, consider how much carpet you will need to cut. If it's a lot, electric scissors do have the potential to jam up.

Carpet Scissors

Scissors are another option you can consider using. Some scissors specialize in carpet cutting. They are angled to help you maintain better precision without having your hand get in the way.

Click here to see these scissors on Amazon.

Again, before choosing scissors, you have to consider the size of your project. If you are going to be cutting a lot, scissors might not be the best for long working hours.

Specialized Cutters

From here, you will find that there are specific tools to cut carpets. They are:

  • Cushion lock cutter
  • Row finder
  • Versa-cutter
  • Loop pile cutter
  • Cushion back cutter

A row finder is just as it sounds. It's a tool specifically for opening rows. The round notches of a row finder open rows in troublesome carpets. The pointy parts dig into the carpets row. Once inside, you can perform a seesaw motion to open the row.

After, you can use a seam cutter to finish the job. Cushion lock cutters have notches to help find rows. It's usually for carpets like Berbers, hydrashift, and commercial level loop.

Lastly, versa-cutters are versatile carpet cutters. It accepts different types of blades.

How To Use a Loop Pile Carpet Cutter

Click here to see this loop pile carpet cutter on Amazon.

Loop pile carpet cutters can look tricky to work. Some manufacturers have two variations of it. So, it might be a bit confusing how to use one.

Though, it's not a difficult process. To use a loop pile carpet cutter with the best results, follow these steps:

  1. Cut in the direction of the nap.
  2. You begin by starting at the starting point of the area you will cut.
  3. You will trim this side using the left side blade.
  4. After returning to the same starting point on the right side, continue using the left side blade.
  5. If you want to trim both edges close to the tufts, you will need to cut the left and right sides with their respective blade. Cut the right side of the seam with the right blade. For the left side, use the left blade to trim.

Loop Pile Cutter vs. Cushion Back Cutter

Click here to see this cushion back cutter on Amazon.

Now that you the various options of cutters you have, you might have noticed some similarities. More specifically, the loop pile cutter and the cushion back cutter look nearly identical. Can you use them for any carpets? Or, are they specialized for various situations?

You'd be correct to assume one works better for specific situations. For example, cushion back cutters result in better seams. On the other hand, loop pile cutters hold a base that helps cut over a pad or other material that protects the surface underneath.

Best Brands for Carpet Cutters

If you're worried about wasting money, you might want to know some of the reputable brands for cutting carpets. This way, you won't get a tool that can't finish the job. The following are a mix of brands that specialize in flooring and tools in general:

  • Crain
  • Roberts
  • OFLA
  • Milwaukee Tool
  • Stanley
  • DeWalt
  • Lenox

Some brands like Crain and Roberts are more specific for flooring jobs. The rest of the list are some reputable brands with utility knives that work well. In either case, you won't be disappointed by the performance of their tools.

Manual vs. Electric Carpet Cutters

Choosing between manual and electric carpet cutters is a hard decision. With electric carpet cutters, you have quick and precise cuts. On the other hand, manual cutters offer you better precision since it doesn't rely on a motor to cut.

Though, you lose precision over time because you will be doing a lot more labor. Therefore, for larger carpeting jobs, you should opt for an automatic electric carpet cutter. For smaller jobs, manual cutters like carpet knives, scissors, and specialized cutters will do well.

What’s a Carpet Shaver Tool, and Should You Use One?

Over time, you might notice small fluff balls along the carpet. In this situation, strands or ends of fiber became tangled. It typically occurs in areas that have heavy physical use, abrasions, vacuuming, and more. These small clusters are commonly known as pilling.

They're nothing more than an eyesore. You can remove pilling with a pair of scissors. However, scissors won't cut it when there's an area with lots of them. You would have to spend hours trying to get rid of it all. So, what can you do?

In this case, you might consider using a carpet shaver. Carpet shavers are used to remove old and tangled fibers. If you're carpets starting to show some wear and lots of pilling, you should consider using one! This way, you ensure the loose and tangled strands do not ruin the carpet further.

People in handyman jobs. The hand of a craftsman cuts a carpet with cutter. How To Use A Carpet Cutter Or Trimmer [A Complete Guide]

Final Takeaway

Doing projects yourself is an exciting experience. You'll come out more knowledgeable than you were before! But, you will need to learn how to use the tools you are using! We hope you found the information above insightful!

Before you go, do you have other carpet concerns? Would you like to know how to install carpet padding on a concrete floor? You can find out more by checking our post here.

Do you need to know how thick carpet padding should be? We have the answer! For more information, check out our post here. Until next time!

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