The influence of the type of alumina used as catalyst support on the evolution, activity, and lifetime of the catalyst during water-assisted CVD growth (or ‘supergrowth') of single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) carpets has been studied. The catalyst consisted of a thin Fe film supported on alumina films deposited by different methods: atomic layer deposition (ALD), e-beam, and magnetron sputtering. In order to fully understand the influence of the type of alumina on SWNT carpet growth, crystalline alumina (c-cut sapphire) and annealed alumina deposited by e-beam were also used as catalyst supports. The activity and lifetime of Fe catalyst during SWNT carpet growth showed a strong dependence on the type of alumina used as support. Fe supported on sputtered alumina (sputtered/Fe) showed the highest catalytic activity and lifetime, which was closely followed by e-beam/Fe while Fe supported on sapphire (sapphire/Fe) showed the least catalytic activity and lifetime. AFM, XPS depth profile, variable angle spectroscopic ellipsometry (VASE) studies revealed that the catalyst evolution and the porosity of the different alumina supports correlate with the lifetime and activity of the catalysts.