These days, most people have a wheeled office chair. While they make moving around easier, they can be a bit of a pain to roll around when you’ve got carpets. Even if you’ve got nice hardwood flooring, then you worry about damaging the floor.
To overcome these nuances, the simple solution is to buy an office chair mat. But with so many on the market, how do you choose the best chair mat for your floor?
We take a look at some of the top floor mats on the market and provide some useful information on how to choose the right mat for your flooring and needs.
Best Chair Mats of 2018: Our Top 4 Picks
Best Overall: Floortex Cleartex Ultimat
Runner Up: Evolve Modern Shape Mat
Best For Hard Floors: Ilyapa Office Chair Mat For Hardwood Floors
Best For High-Pile Carpet: Office Marshal Chair Mat With Lip
1. Floortex Cleartex Ultimat
The Floortex Cleartex Ultimat is a durable and robust mat that comes in a broad range of sizes, so you’re more likely to find something that suits your needs. You can use this mat on a hard surface or carpet flooring as its made from premium polycarbonate.
The material will not discolor, curl, or crack over time, as it’s not as susceptible as plastic mats to wear and tear, making it one of the most flexible and long-lasting mats on the market.
Another plus point is that there are no beveled edges on this mat. Instead, the edges are straight, meaning you can move around your workspace quickly and with ease. The rigid surface texture will keep the wheels in place when you need to sit still, so it will not slip and slide around or require constant readjustment.
The mat is Greenguard certified, meaning that there are no toxic emissions that will emanate from the mat.
One of the most robust and durable chair mats on the market, it will help prevent wear and tear on your floors from the chair wheels or chair casters. This high-quality transparent polycarbonate chair mat will not discolor, curl, or crack, and the chair mat will provide ergonomic benefits as it allows for smooth movement and reduced leg fatigue.
2. Evolve Modern Shape Mat
The majority of chair mats are designed using the same shape, since they were invented around fifty years ago when most people still had pedestal desks. Therefore, the mats have a rectangular lip with a narrow opening to provide protection. The revolutionary design of this mat breaks the mold, and you can tell the manufacturers thoroughly researched the design of today’s workspace furniture.
The Evolve Modern Shape mat is the only mat that has been designed with 5-star wheel based chair designs in mind, which are the most commonly used office chairs today, and with the various sizes available, it’s sure to suit any workspace.
The mat features a more modern and broader rectangular lip area that is wider and tapered, providing the users a more effective surface area. Additionally, the curved front lip was designed to accommodate the chair’s circular footprint.
The grips on the back of the chair offer excellent protection for different carpet types, including low to medium pile. The proprietary PVC plastic material gives users a superior performance as it was engineered to provide industry-leading clarity and performance.
This clear-colored chair mat made out of high-quality materials is a great choice for any office. The design will protect your hard or carpet floors with an excellent aesthetic and modern appearance.
Best For Hardwood Floors
3. Ilyapa Office Chair Mat
For users that have hardwood floors in their workspace, the Ilyapa Office Chair Mat is hard to beat in terms of protection, as it has been specially designed to protect hardwood floors.
The mat has been created with two different sides; one textured and one smooth. Some users prefer the textured side while others prefer the smooth, so it gives you the flexibility of which side you choose to use.
The chair mat by Ilyapa is scratch and slip resistant, and since it’s made out of clear plastic, it won’t disrupt the flow of your office, and you can still enjoy the look of your hardwood floors.
Another great thing about this mat is that it’s durable, anti-slip, resistant to scuffs, and super easy to clean. Additionally, its shipped in a flat box, so there’s no need to spend time flattening out the mat when you receive it; you can start using it straight away! One of the only cons we found was the lack of beveled edges, so you could have a hard time rolling on and off the mat.
The majority of mats are meant for use on carpeted floors, so the chair mat by Ilyapa is an excellent choice for anyone that has hardwood or other types of hard floorings such as vinyl, concrete, laminate, or tile. The mat is manufactured to be resistant to scuffs and scratches, and if something should happen to it, you’re backed by a lifetime warranty.
Best For High Pile Carpet
4. Office Marshal Chair Mat
This chair mat from Office Marshal is not intended for hard surface floors, but it’s one of your best choices for high pile carpeted floors. The studs at the bottom of the mat prevent it from slipping and damaging your carpet. The rigid and thick Polycarbonate plastic will protect your floor, while still being transparent so that you can see your carpet.
The material is also compatible with underfloor heating, sound absorbent, dirt resistant, odor free, and durable, and is a more affordable option than glass chair mats. Nonetheless, the edges are squared, making it a bit more difficult to roll on and off the mat.
The mat’s design allows your desk chair to freely roll around without any slipping, preventing leg and back fatigue. With normal use, the mat will not discolor, curl, scratch, crack, or break, and it can be easily cleaned.
This chair mat is highly recommended for thick carpet or high-pile carpet. The strong Polycarbonate material means that it won’t cup under pressure, as well as making it highly durable, and the grips under the surface will grip the chair castors and chair in a firm position, so there is no chance of slipping.
5. DoubleCheck Products Heavy Duty Carpet Chair Mat
The heavy-duty carpet chair mat by DoubleCheck Products has been manufactured with high-quality Polycarbonate, protecting your floor while guaranteeing that it will not curl, discolor, scratch, break, or crack under normal use. Since the material is also highly transparent, your carpet will not be hidden, and you can still enjoy the design.
Using the floor mat under your chair will not allow the wheels to sink and create indentations on your floor. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t place any heavy office furniture on top of the mat, as this could void the warranty, so be sure to measure the size before ordering, so it will fit under your workspace.
DoubleCheck products have hit the sweet spot in therms of safety, quality, and durability with this mat. The thickest mat in its class means lots of support and grip, and its toxic-free material will not curl, crack, or discolor. If you have thick carpet, this is a fantastic choice.
Office Chair Mat Benefits
The main reason for purchasing an office chair mat is protecting your floor, as most floor mats are relatively inexpensive and much cheaper than having to repair or replace your flooring.
Some of the top reasons to get an plastic office chair mat, or an office chair mat made out of other materials for your workspace, are the following:
- Cost of replacement or repair: Chairs with wheels can rip up your carpet and damage hardwood floors, leaving scratches and wearing the lacquer off the wood. Repairing a new hardwood floor or replacing carpet can be expensive, and a chair mat will not only protect your investment, but it will also avoid the warranty being voided.
- Cost of cleaning: Chair mats protect your carpet from soiling and spills. Most of them are made of plastic or polyurethane, making them a breeze to clean.
- Increased lifespan of your flooring: Chair mats can significantly improve your floor’s lifespan, as they decrease overall wear and tear and prevent damage.
- Mobility: Chair mats allow you to move more quickly and efficiently around your workspace, as they are rigid enough to prevent you from sliding around while also decreasing the effort of having to push a chair around.
- Health benefits: Chair mats decrease leg and back strain which can sometimes occur due to you moving your desk chair around your workspace, and reduce repetitive stress injuries fatigue as you don’t have to put too much effort into rolling around, therefore decreasing pressure on your musculoskeletal system.
- Reduction of static build-up: Chair mats can protect users from receiving an electrical shock from static build-up, while also protecting their computers. Anti-static chair mats scatter and reduce static electricity caused by the friction of the chair rolling around on a carpet.
How To Choose The Best Office Chair Mat
When purchasing an office chair mat, there are some factors that you need to take into consideration before taking the plunge.
Style and Shape
The style that you choose will depend on your floor type. While some chair floor mats are designed for both types of surfaces, others will only work with either hard floors or carpet floors.
For hard surface floors including vinyl, cement, tile, or hardwood, the best option is a chair mat with a smooth back, as grippers will damage your hard floors. On the other hand, when it comes to carpets, you need a chair mat with spikes or grippers, as they will prevent the mat from sliding around the floor.
When it comes to shape, you have multiple options including modern fan-shaped mats, contoured mats, or mats with a lip. The most common shape is rectangular, as they are very versatile and can be used in corner workstations, L-shaped workstations, U-shaped workstations, desks, and writing tables.
You just need to make sure that the chair mat you pick is large enough to cover your workspace, as well as covering enough surface area, so you are not continually rolling over the edges.
If you have a desk with a credenza set-up, a U-shaped workstation, a desk, or a writing table, you can also look for a lip chair mat. This shape will not work for you if your desk has an off-center leg opening, as most likely part of your desk would end up sitting on the mat, making it more prone to cracking.
The chair mat size will depend on the surface area you usually cover when moving your chair. A smaller mat could work if you normally stay at your desk, but if you are continually moving around, then look for a more extensive mat. To ensure the best fit, measure the size of the under desk area, your actual workspace area, and the base of you chair.
Placing furniture on top of your mat could cause it to break or crack, so it’s essential that you don’t buy a mat that’s too large. It’s better to have a smaller mat that slightly restricts your movement than voiding the warranty due to inappropriate use.
Different mats are designed for different floor types, so you need to choose the correct thickness based on the type of floor you have in your workspace. The thicker or taller the pile, the thicker chair mat you will require to avoid the chair and mat sinking too deeply into the carpet, or cracking or breaking, which will happen when the chair mat is too thin for the carpet thickness. You can go for a thinner mat if you are going to be using it on hard floors such as hardwood.
Another consideration when it comes to the thickness of the mat is the weight of the users, as anyone that weighs over 200 pounds will need a thicker chair mat, particularly if they are going to be using it for a period of eight or more hours a day. For heavier users, the recommended material is polycarbonate, as they are stronger than plastic and will not crack as easily.
Hard Surface or Carpet Floors
If you are planning on using your chair mat solely on hard surface floors, look for one that does not have anchor points or cleats. Instead, the mat should have a textured back and front which will keep the mat in place without damaging the floor. Commonly, these mats also have a straight edge and are thinner than a chair mat for carpet use.
For high-gloss finish floors (like some tile, linoleum, vinyl, or hardwood floors), pick a mat that has water-based anti-slip backing, as these floors tend to be more slippery than usual.
For use in carpet flooring, look for a mat with anchor points or cleats on the back, as well as beveled edges. The cleats will help ensure that the mat stays in place and your carpet doesn’t suffer any damage.
Chair mat edges are generally beveled or straight, with hard surface chair mats commonly having straight edges, and carpet mats having beveled edges. Some users find that having beveled edges makes it easier to roll off and on the mat, and straight edges could cause a tripping hazard.
Though most of our recommended chair mats are shipped in a flat box, some of them will ship rolled. This means that you will need to flatten it before use. The best way to do this is to lay your mat out in direct sunlight or place it close to a heat source, so it softens. You can also set heavy objects or books on the top and edges of the mat, making it as flat as possible. In most cases, mats will achieve their flat shape in a day.