Chair Mat Buyer’s Guide

Chair Mat Buyer’s Guide | Selecting the Best Chair MatChair Mat Buyer’s Guide | Selecting the Best Chair Mat

Chair Mat Buyer’s Guide

Did you know that the average person working an eight-hour desk job will move their chair around 300 times? Yet, you might be hesitant about whether an office chair mat is something you really need for your workspace. You will learn a lot about these convenient office accessories as well as how to choose the best one for you. In this buyer’s guide, we'll go over:

  • Choosing the best chair mat for your office
  • Why you should have a chair mat
  • The long-term advantages of having a chair mat
  • The best chair mat for each type of floor
  • What material to choose for your chair mats
  • The importance of office chair mat thickness
  • Whether to get a chair mat with spikes or not
  • What a chair mat lip is and why you might need one.
  • Standing desk mats and if you should get one
  • Other frequently asked questions about chair mats

What are Chair Mats?

You can never go wrong with investing in a high-quality office chair mat, whether you work from home or at a traditional office. Considering you might spend a lot of time at your desk, the continuous rolling movement can put a strain on your chair, floor and legs. If you have hard-surface flooring, your chair can scratch the floor. If your flooring is carpeted, this could strain your legs and cause leg and back problems. A chair mat, however, can be used as a simple workaround. These inexpensive office supplies not only make moving your chair around much easier, but they also protect your chair and floors from unnecessary wear and tear.

What Kinds of Chair Mats are There?

Office chair mats shield floors from scuffs, scratches, spilled liquids, and high traffic since they are made of strong, thick materials like PVC and vinyl. There is a chair mat option available whether the space is carpet or has a hard floor, and if you would like a colored or translucent chair mat. Some chair mats have studs, some have straight edges, and some are even antimicrobial. There are also mats specifically designed for occasional use or heavy use. The options available are actually quite vast. So choosing the best chair mat can sometimes be a bit of a struggle. We'll help you sort through the collection to get you the perfect option.

Why office chair mats are a good investment

  • Office chair mats can help with mobility and reduce leg strain from an ergonomic standpoint.
  • Can significantly simplify movement in your workspace; Compared to rolling a chair on a carpet, rolling one on a desk chair mat requires 80% less effort.
  • Chair mats shield floors from accidents, dings, scratches, and other blemishes.
  • Chairs moving on anti-static chair mats don't cause static shocks since they reduce static electricity. They are ideal for computer rooms since they are designed to protect delicate gear.
  • Some chair mats are an environmentally beneficial approach to safeguarding surfaces in homes and businesses. They are manufactured from recycled materials and renewable energy.

The Benefits of Using Chair Mats

  • If you don't use a chair mat on carpeted floors, static electricity is more likely to cause damage to your electronics or computer.
  • Many flooring manufacturers will void your warranty if you don't use a chair mat after installing new flooring.
  • A chair mat will prevent you from straining your back and legs unnecessarily.
  • The fibers on your carpet can be pulled up when you sit on a chair without a mat.
  • Your hard floors are more likely to be damaged by scuffs or scratches without a chair mat.

How do I Choose the Best Chair Mat?

In any situation, a chair mat can be used to protect the floor from damage. But sorting through the thousands of options can be a challenge. This section of our Buyer's Guide will walk you through the different features you should consider when making a buying decision.

Determine your Floor Type

The most important consideration when shopping for a chair mat is the type of floor you have: hard flooring or carpet. Within those, there are many different kinds of flooring that may work best with certain types of mats, but first, make sure you are filtering your options based on the kind of floor.

Chair Mats for Carpet Flooring

There are different kinds of carpets that will require a different kind of carpet chair mat. While all carpet chair mats will have spikes on the bottom for grip, the length and spikes will vary depending on the carpet you have. The most important consideration for carpets is called the "pile height". This refers to the "fluffiness" of the carpet or the length of the fibers. There are low-pile, medium-pile, and high-pile carpets. Sometimes commercial carpets even receive their own classification.

  • Low-pile carpets are dense and short, usually no taller than 3/8". These are what is typically found in commercial buildings and offices. Commercial carpets often fall into this category as well, however, are 1/4" or shorter.
  • Medium-pile carpets are right in the middle, usually with fibers up to 1/2" thick. They are common in households.
  • High-pile carpets are rare and include any carpet with fibers over 1/2" thick. Think faux fur and shag rugs.

 

Carpet Information Guide and how to measure carpet thickness. Carpet Information Guide and how to measure carpet thickness.

How to Measure Carpet Pile-Height

Measuring the pile height of your carpet is pretty simple and requires no special tools; all you need is a paperclip and a ruler. Follow these easy steps to figure out the height of your carpet:

  1. Open the outside curve of the paperclip to create a straight tool.
  2. Press the straight edge into the carpet until you hit the subflooring. Place your finger where the top of the carpet sits on the paperclip.
  3. Hold that measurement up to a ruler to determine how high your pile is.

As you can imagine, chair wheels sit deeper into the carpet the higher the pile. This makes it more difficult to roll your chair around and makes a chair mat a smart investment. When it comes to low-pile and commercial carpets, however, you may be looking at a mat in an effort to really protect the carpet from damage, rather than making it easier to roll around.

Chair Mats for Hard Floors

If the floor is made of a hard material, such as tile, hardwood, laminate, or vinyl, use a mat with a smooth backing to stop movement and harm to the floor. These mats often have straight, as opposed to beveled (sloped), edges and are thinner.

A chair mat should be flat for hard surface flooring. The chair mat would be raised and uneven and uncomfortable to sit or walk on if it had spikes. To shield the flooring from the chair, there is a flat chair mat option.

This protection is necessary for hard surfaces like oak and laminate. If a chair damages them too badly, it can be refinished, but it takes a lot of time and money to do so. In order to prevent grit from entering below the chair mat and the slight motions caused by rolling on it from rubbing against the surface, it should be sealed in place or cleaned regularly.

Depending on how rough the tile is, a chair mat may or may not be necessary. You don't need a chair mat if it's generally flat, like the tile throughout many government buildings, as the tiles are durable enough on their own and don't need to be protected. A chair mat can assist prevent the chair from cracking a tile or slipping in the grout if it is more like tile with gaps.

What Size and Shape Chair Mat to Choose for Your Office

There are many sizes of chair mats that you can use at your workstation. There is no one size fits all answer when it comes to the best desk chair mat. The area your chair will roll across should be accommodated by the size and shape you pick. Chair mat dimensions should be taken from the spot where the chair will be used most frequently. Some users opt for larger sizes to better suit their needs or to shield the floor from other pieces of office furniture.

The layout of your office furniture will decide the shape of your chair mat. The two most common forms are a square or rectangle and a thicker T. The T-shaped chair mat has a cutout for the chair's wheels and a tab that can be slid under a desk, providing a comfortable surface for working in a chair. Other chair mats are available in different sizes and in unique shapes, or you can buy a large chair mat and cut it down to fit.

Shape plays no role in the chair mat's performance, but is just based on user preference. Before deciding on a chair mat shape, take into account the dimensions and layout of your office. Which way are you planning on rolling your chair? You might also purchase a sizable square mat to put under your desk as extra protection for both your desk and the floor, should your chair ever need to roll across it.

How to Choose a Chair Mat Material and Why It Matters

There are four to eight different materials that can be used to make chair mats. You should think about how the material feels, and how long it will last in addition to how it looks.

The most widely used and economical choice is PVC chair mats. These cloud-shaped plastic chair mats have become a standard in offices around the world. They are great for any company because of their low cost, high comfort, and extended durability. On the downside, they are easily damaged and dirty.

An additional option for use as an office chair mat is polycarbonate mats. The use of a translucent material makes things more aesthetically pleasing, as they disappear into the flooring in your workplace. However, because of how rigid they are, they shouldn't be used on high-pile carpets, as the weight of foot traffic could cause the mat to break. Polycarbonate chair mats can be used on both smooth floors and low-pile carpets.

Chair mats made of tempered glass are both attractive and durable, as they can withstand loads of up to one thousand pounds without breaking. Glass chair mats will retain their translucent beauty over time, despite being robust, easy to clean, and scratch-proof. While tempered glass chair mats are aesthetically pleasing, they are often more expensive than other options and work well in smaller office settings.

Benefits of Anti-Static Chair Mats

Anti-static chair mats are a smart choice for users who may have several computers, such as in a server room. They help prevent static electricity from reaching the devices, helping to defend against surges. While not super popular for standard offices, you will find anti-static chair mats in technical facilities with a lot of electrical equipment.

Chair Mat Selection: Aesthetics to Take Into Account

When searching for a chair mat for your workstation, you'll find a wide variety of styles from which to pick. While we don't recommend you sacrifice function for style, there are many chair mats that give you the best of both worlds.

Translucent or frosted designs dominate among chair mats. The best protection against the visibility of dirt and scratches is a frosted finish. It is possible to have tempered glass chair mats in either a clear or opaque style. These are your best option if you're trying to achieve a minimalist look in the workplace.

Those who would want a more vibrant option have the option of purchasing colored plastic or hardwood chair mats. You may put your own imprint on your home with these, as they come in a broad variety of wood grains and colorful colors.

Chair Mat Edges: Why They Matter

The type of edging on a chair mat is frequently overlooked when purchasing one. The chair mat edges can either be sloped (beveled) or straight. Slope-edged chair mats are usually put on carpets whereas straight-edged chair mats are normally for hard floors.

The most practical chair mats are those with beveled edges since they make it easy to roll from the carpet to the mat when doing so frequently. It is advised to use beveled edges on thicker mats.

Standing Desk Mats — No Chair, No Problem

Standing desks are a terrific method to increase productivity and general health at work. However, standing for a long time can be taxing on your knees and feet, especially if you're wearing your standard work shoes. This applies to those who don't sit at desks but yet have to stand while doing their jobs, such as chefs or those in the manufacturing industry. Fortunately, a standing desk mat can offer the assistance needed to ease some of the tension and produce a more secure, comfortable environment for working.

Anti-fatigue mats for standing desks allow you to stand for extended periods of time without losing productivity because they are comfortable and support your feet. These inexpensive chair mats contain vinyl, polyurethane, or rubber outer layers, with a thin layer of foam or gel sandwiched between them. It could make you hunch over, cause back pain, and put extra strain on your joints and feet. But standing for a long time can be much more bearable with the right standing desk mat.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I pick a chair mat for my office?

The first factor to take into account when choosing an office chair mat is the type of flooring you have: carpet or hard floor. Then you will choose the best size and shape for your space: do you want a rectangle or a lipped chair mat? Then you can consider the color and material.

What types of chair mats are available for offices?

Office chair mats come in a variety of styles, including anti-static, vinyl, rubber, glass, and anchor chair mats.

What kind of chair mat works best on hardwood floors?

Choosing a chair mat without spikes on the bottom is the most crucial factor to take into account when purchasing one for a hardwood floor. In the event of a rollover, lips on the edge may also be an option. Here are our top options for chair mats for hardwood floors.

What’s the best chair mat for the carpet?

A chair mat designed with spikes at the bottom to prevent sliding and a smooth top to facilitate easy chair movement would be ideal for use on carpeted floors. Low-pile carpets should use chair mats with shorter spikes, whereas high-pile carpets should use mats with larger spikes. Check out our Top Options.

What size mat for office chairs is most common?

A chair mat measuring 36 inches deep by 48 inches wide would typically be suitable for a typical desk and chair combination. Smaller workstations can use smaller chair mats, but a table would need something a little bigger.

Which brand of chair mat is the best?

Deflecto is the chair mat we prefer the most. They maintain flooring for years without curling or cracking, offer a secure rolling surface, and appropriately grasp the floor with their chair mats. To lessen your exposure to elements that could be harmful to the environment or your health, their entire collection of vinyl chair mats is created from renewable plant-based materials.

How thick should my chair mat be?

Varied types of flooring call for different chair mat thicknesses. A hard floor can be between 0.4” and 1” inches thick. For considerable anti-fatigue advantages and floor protection in the majority of settings, carpets should only be 1” thick.

Is using a chair mat on hard flooring necessary?

Using the right chair mat for hardwood floors will help preserve the quality and protect it from undesired scratches and scuffs. For your hard surfaces, make sure the chair mat you buy is spike-free.

Can a hard floor be damaged by an office chair?

The use of a rolling chair is damaging to your floor since it may easily damage carpets, tiles, and hardwoods. The surface wears away gradually as a result of repeated rolling. Chair mats are a worthwhile investment if you care about the condition of your floors.

What kind of material is ideal for a chair mat for an office?

Polycarbonate plastic is the ideal material for a chair mat that will be used on a thick carpet. Transparency, sturdiness, and malleability are the defining qualities of this thermoplastic substance. It maintains its flatness and perfectly flattens out when supported by the legs and wheels of a chair.

Polyethylene chair mats can be used on any hard floor and are usually clear. Many of these surfaces feature a smooth, textured surface that simplifies chair movement and is resistant to scratches and chipping. Several alternatives also come with an integrated lip that protects your floor from harm.

Chair mats made of PVC material are the most popular choice and the most affordable one. They’re comfortable to use, sturdy, and comfortable which makes them the most common chair mat found in offices worldwide. PVC chair mats are best for offices or workspaces that have hard flooring.

Can chair mats ruin carpeted floors?

They can if you match the incorrect chair mat with the improper carpet! The fibers of your carpet may become damaged if you utilize mats that are too heavy or have features that don't match the sort of carpet you have (such as a chair mat with medium-sized cleats for a low pile carpet).

Is it worth buying an office chair mat?

In a nutshell, office chair mats are beneficial. Chair mats may protect both your hard surfaces and your carpet from stains and other damage. Additionally, chair mats make it simpler to glide across the floor, which assists to minimize leg and lower back strain.

What does an office chair mat typically cost?

Even on a small budget, you can protect your flooring with long-lasting chair mats that cost less than $100. Mats for hard floors and carpets in the 36" x 48" size, suited for light to moderate use can be purchased in this price range, with or without lips. Office chair mats that are both larger tend to be more expensive.

How Can You Choose The Best Chair Mat For You?

You don't want to take the chance of spending money and time on the wrong chair mat. When determining which chair mat is best for you, take into account this buyer’s guide to help narrow down your options. Your workspace needs to be welcoming. In order to enhance your efficiency, you've spent several hours furnishing your office with furniture that compliments your working style. But don't stop there. Spend some extra time choosing an office chair mat that will provide you with years of stress-free movement while safeguarding your flooring.


At the end of the day, Chair Mats are a Great Buy

You don't want to take the chance of spending money and time on the wrong chair mat. When determining which chair mat is best for you, take into account this buyer’s guide to help narrow down your options. Your workspace needs to be welcoming. In order to enhance your efficiency, you've spent several hours furnishing your office with furniture that compliments your working style. But don't stop there. Spend some extra time choosing an office chair mat that will provide you with years of stress-free movement while safeguarding your flooring.

Not sure what type of chair mat will enhance your office space? Let the professionals help. Give us a call at (866) 537-2244.