The heartbeat of any carpet lies in the padding. It not only provides a soft cushioned feeling underfoot, but also is essential in protecting the carpet from abrasion, damage, and wear. There are many different padding types and styles, but they are far from being equal.
The density of a carpet pad is what determines how firm the pad will be. For example, a 6 pound pad will be softer, but will make the carpet wear faster in high traffic areas. A 10 pound pad will not give as much of a cushy feeling, but will make the carpet wear better. An 8 pound pad gives a nice balance to both cushioned feeling and longevity of your carpet.
Thickness also plays a role in the performance of the pad and carpet. A thicker pad does not make a better pad. Typically, residential carpets use a 7/16-inch pad. A thicker pad will make you run the risk of unsightly folds and wrinkles in both the carpet and the pad. A pad that is too thin will not give the desired cushioned feeling. Regardless of whether a pad is too thick or too thin, the longevity of the carpet will be decreased.