A comfortable, effective office chair doesn't do much when there's soft carpeted floors or sensitive hardwood floors below it.
Once you’ve picked out the perfect office chair, consider a chair mat to protect your floors. Before you can evaluate different chair mat qualities, you should first consider the benefits of having one.
Did you know that many manufacturers of flooring void their offered warranties if you don’t use a chair mat? This is because when you don’t use one, your rolling chair will damage the surface of your floor.
A chair mat will protect this flooring from scuffs, spills, and indentations, preserving the life of your floor. In addition, chair mats make it a lot easier to move around your office; rolling your chair over a chair mat takes 80 percent less work than rolling it over a carpeted surface. Plus, rolling over high pile carpet day in and day out can lead to leg strain and even back pain.
A carpet generates static electricity, and a chair mat with anti-static properties will prevent this static from reaching your electronic devices and computer, where it may cause damage or losing data. Below are some of the best chair mats available on the market today, followed by each of their unique features.
Features of Office Chair Mats
Carpet-friendly design. These chair mats have spikes or cleats on the underside of the mat, and this is how the chair mat anchors to the floor. It will not damage the carpeting and ensures a safe and stable position for your office chair.
Chair mat lip. This is a design found on rectangular chair mats that have an extension along one edge of the mat. You should place this extended edge closest to the work surface so you can slide your chair when you need to find a more comfortable position.
High clarity design. This refers to those clear mats that offer visibility of the floor underneath the mat.
Floor Mat Do’s and Don’ts
The following are a few office chair mat do’s and don’ts you should remember:
- Select a mat that can be anchored if you have carpeting and make sure it specifically designed for your carpet thickness
- For hard floors, make sure that the office chair mat has a smooth backing
- When you have a more traditional desk, and you have drawers on each side, then you should go for a chair mat with a lip
- If you have a corner workspace, a teardrop-shaped desk chair mat will provide you with much more flexibility
- Roll around in your chair as you would on a normal day to determine which office floor mat is best
- Consider any tables or drawers that you need to keep in easy reach
- Measure the floor space you have available for an office chair mat
- Plan ahead. Keep in mind any changes you plan to make in the near furniture. For example, is your flooring going to change, your office furniture getting switched out, or anything getting rearranged? This can all affect how effective your floor mat will be.
- Never distract from the overall look of your office. Don’t select a mat that will clash with your style or that will become an eyesore.
- Don’t use a mat with grips, spikes, or cleats on your hard surface floor
- Don’t forget to measure and find an appropriately sized and shaped office chair mat
- Don’t get a chair mat that will decrease your range of motion
Here are the top mats to protect your floors and keep your productivity at a high level.
The Best Office Chair Mats
These are our top favorite office chair mats for different budgets, uses, and floor types.
- Best Overall:
- Best Upgrade: Evolve Modern Shape Mat
- Heavy Duty: Heavy Duty Carpet Chair Mat
- Best for Hardwood: Office Chair Mat for Hardwood Floors
Office Marshal® Eco Office Chair Mat
The Office Marshal® Eco Office Chair Mat is sturdy and thick, crafted from long-lasting polypropylene. This chair mat is solid, yet flexible enough to prevent shattering and cracking. The polypropylene range offered by Office Marshall combines an affordable price with high-quality floor protection.
This chair mat offers an effective grip with a studded underside that keeps the product held in place on carpeted floors. This can be used on medium and low pile carpets with a maximum pile of 0.6 inches. The unique texture of this mat has a stable grip, an effortless roll, and lets you move easily across the floor while you work.
Along with this easy-rolling feature, it has sufficient grip to keep your chair from skidding out of control. When you can easily roll your chair between work tasks, it promotes a healthy, ergonomic posture while reducing leg fatigue.
The material used in this product is safe for your air and causes no off-gassing. The material is completely BPA-free, odorless, and free from PVC, phthalate, and other harmful toxins. This mat can be purchased with confidence since each mat is tested to meet ergonomic standards. Unlike many other companies, Office Marshal has superior customer service, correcting errors whenever possible.
The well-sized mat will come delivered in quality packaging and won’t crack, adequately protecting the carpet under it. Put the mat down and then forget it’s even there. It will hold up great for daily use. Keep in mind that if your office chair ends up rolling off the mat, you may have to lift it manually back onto the surface.
Check Price at Amazon.
Best High-End Option
Evolve Modern Shape Mat
The Evolve Modern Shape chair mat is crafted specifically to fit with the modern five-star base office chairs and features a rectangular shape with a gripper backing. This will provide your low to medium pile carpeted floor with the protection you are seeking and is made with a proprietary formula to provide high-quality performance.
Made in the USA, this product sits flat, taking care of difficulties with creasing, warping, unrolling, or other damage risks. The mat is thick, covers a large surface area, and has an affordable price compared with other mats of similar quality.
Since the mat arrives flat-packed, it’s not as convenient to handle at first as mats that arrive rolled up, but this is temporary. The chair fits perfectly into any home den or office, helping your chair from getting stuck in the floor. This office desk chair mat has a clear look so that you can still see the floor through it, so it won’t stand out too much and interrupt the décor of the room.
Most chair mats follow the design that’s been used in the last 50 years ago, which was created when people still used pedestal desks. The rectangular lip of these mats had a narrow opening to accommodate the legs and offered extra protection to that space, so it wouldn’t get worn out from the wheels.
Within the last 50 years, as the typical office chair progressed from the three and four wheelbases to the improved five-wheel design and the old-fashioned pedestal desks progressed into open styles for the home and office, someone forgot to update chair mats.
But the Evolve Modern Shape Office Chair Mats has changed that paradigm with their product. Their chair mat results from vigorous research into modern furniture design as it relates to the office chairs of today.
Check Price at Amazon.
Best Heavy Duty Option
Heavy Duty Carpet Chair Mat
This brand double-marks their products in terms of safety, quality, durability, and pricing, which means they bring the best quality they can find. It’s the thickest product available right now, and measures at 1/8 inches, helping its corners stay flat against your floor so your chair wheels won’t sink.
The studded underside of the mat is designed for low to medium pile carpet. It can tend to move around a bit on a deeper pile carpet, but the overall thickness is a plus.
Here’s a link to some of the reviews at Amazon for more information.
One nice touch is the lip stretches beyond the mat’s main area to help protect the carpet underneath your work desk as well. It provides extra coverage when the chair is rolled up close to the desk.
The product is made from environmentally safe materials and is free from volatile toxic ingredients to preserve the integrity of your office air.
If you order this mat, it will arrive exactly as promised, replacing the thin, flimsy chair mats you’re used to. The 100 percent pure polycarbonate material is clear, so it won’t disrupt your office décor, and won’t discolor, scratch, or crack with use.
For those of us who are in their office chair eight hours a day, this isn’t an area that to skimp on. Chair damage can lead to irreversible, costly marks on carpeted flooring, meaning a desk mat is essential for your office. Replacing carpet is expensive, so don’t allow your office chair’s wheels to cause preventable wear and tear.
You can keep your floor fresh for much longer with this quality, heavy-duty desk mat. Just put it next to your table or desk and make gliding around in your chair easier while offering protection for your carpet.
Since this mat is made from non-breakable polycarbonate, the wheels of your office chair won’t create ruts in it, as the cheaper, flimsier mats develop quickly.
Check Price at Amazon.
Best for Hardwood Floors
Office Chair Mat for Hardwood Floors
Unlike other products, the 30x48 Office Chair Mat for Hardwood Floors, arrives already flat instead of rolled up. This helps you save time and also prevents the mat from damage. This item is unique in that it can protect hard flooring from all types of marks or scratches. It’s ideal for vinyl, concrete, laminate, and hardwood floors.
The design is intended to last with its durable, tough design. You won’t see any discoloration, curls, or cracks. The mat is scuff and slip-resistant because of its textured surface and will stay looking new over time.
The product comes with a 1-year warranty automatically, but you can register online to get a lifetime warranty for free.
If it gathers some dust or you spill coffee on it, it’s easy to clean with a damp and soapy sponge. For those renting a home that has hardwood floors, not damaging them is crucial. Although rugs help with this, the desk area cannot be neglected.
This mat is hardly noticeable after you lay it down, although light reflects off it at certain angles, so it will not compromise the attractive look of your wooden floors. The size is perfect, fitting right between your desk’s legs but still covering a big enough area so that your chair doesn’t leave it.
This mat is thinner and more pliable than others and may move slightly if placed on tile or another hard surface floor. The material is soft enough for easy handling but makes rolling over it easy. This mat may have more impressions than others after a while but is still a great addition to your office.
Check Price at Amazon.
Best Circular Option
Cleartex Circular General Purpose Floor Mat
The Cleartex Circular Floor Mat by Floortex is the ideal size at 36 inches in diameter. The beautiful, circular shape is unique, easy to both clean and use, resistant to scratches, and won’t deform over time. Use this to protect your floor and have confidence that it will not discolor, crack, or curl over time.
The mat is made of polycarbonate and can be used on any floor and will protect vinyl, stone, laminate, wood, and carpet. It lacks grippers on the underside, so may slide slightly when placed on the carpet.
It’s environmentally friendly, BPA-free, and 100% recyclable. Floortex offers a limited lifetime warranty.
These mats have a convenient size that will let your chair move easily and stays in place without sliding around due to the underside grips. The ideal desk mat can be put down and then forgotten about, and this product definitely fits the bill. It will hold up great, even with daily use, is simple to install, and fits any floor type.
To maintain this mat, just mop or clean with warm water. The mat is the ideal size, not too flimsy but not too thick. It has a subtle, frosted tint that won’t be too visible or obvious under your office chair.
With laminate added to office floors, wheel marks on the floor are a real concern, but this mat will stay in place without denting, can handle even heavyweights, and won’t move out of place.
If you have a wooden floor and heavy dining table set, there’s a risk for damaged floors. Putting this durable mat underneath your table will not only protect your floors from dents and scratches but help the table stay level.
The Cleartex comes in two sizes: 36 inches round, and 24 inches round. The smaller size is probably too small for use with an office chair but makes a great floor protector for an end table or potted plant. One thing to note, the manufacturer states that there can be a slight variation in size, so for example 36 inch may measure slightly less in diameter, 35.5 inches or so.
36 inch - Check Price at Amazon.
Things to Consider When Selecting a Floor Mat
There are several factors to consider when selecting the ideal chair mat for your needs.
Take into account the size of your workspace and the base of your chair. Ideally, select a mat that will cover the range of movement of your chair at your workstation.
There are several shapes to choose from round, rectangular and more. If you are fairly stationary at your desk, a round mat may work. If you roll around a lot, a larger rectangle mat may work better.
For hard floor surfaces like wood, tile, or vinyl, a smooth backed mat is the right choice. For carpet, select a mat with grippers – small dimples on the bottom which grab the carpet. Match the depth of your carpet to the gripper size.
Also, since carpet tends to be softer, choose a thicker sturdier mat, especially if the carpet has a higher pile. The added thickness of the mat helps support the chair and prevents indentations when remaining in one place for a long period of time. For deep pile carpet, a glass chair mat may provide more support.
Level of Use
High traffic areas with extended use require a thicker and more durable mat. A lightly used desk can get by with a thinner mat if you are on a budget. A thicker mat, even though slightly more expensive, it a better value if you spend a lot of time at your desk.
How to Keep your Chair Mat in Great Shape
When you make a purchase, you understandably want it to last as long as possible. In order to keep your chair mat in great shape, observe the following guidelines:
- How to Clean: When your chair mat looks like it needs cleaning, or an unfortunate spill occurs in your office, just dampen a cloth or sponge with mild soap to clean it. This shouldn’t need to be done very often for the average chair mat. You can also use a mop.
- Unroll Immediately: Most office chair mats will be shipped to the customer rolled up. As soon as yours arrives, unroll it right away and put it on the ground or on a table. Don’t be alarmed if it doesn’t lie perfectly flat immediately; it may take a couple of days to regain its original, flat shape, which it will then retain over time.
- Watch the Temperature: Your chair mat shouldn’t be used anywhere with cold or hot temperatures (below 60 F or above 95 F). These temperatures could cause the material to wear out faster or even crack. Keeping your mat in the average home or office environment should keep it looking great for a long while.
- Avoid Moisture: It’s best if you don’t use your office chair mat in a place where moisture is prevalent under the flooring material or carpet. In newer places, you should be fine, but double-check in older buildings.
You can’t go wrong choosing any of the floor mats on our list and, if cared for correctly, your product should last you a long time and help your floors stay looking great.