Carpets and hard flooring both show wear in work spaces with rolling office chairs. Rather than spending money fixing or replacing flooring in these high-use areas, investing in the best chair mat is a cost-effective way to protect your floors and enhance your home office. The best chair mat inhibits damage from chair wheels and creates a barrier for dirt and moisture—they’re easy to clean, too.
Keep reading to learn why the following picks are among the best chair mat options available and some shopping considerations to consider.
- BEST OVERALL: MuArts Crystal Clear 1/5” Thick 47” x 40” Chair Mat
- BEST BUDGET: Mind Reader OFFCMAT-CLR 36” x 48” Clear Carpet Mat
- UPGRADE PICK: Lorell Tempered Glass Chair Mat
- BEST FOR CARPETS: Gorilla Grip Polycarbonate Studded Chair Mat
- BEST FOR SMALL SPACES: Evolve 36″ x 48″ Clear Office Chair Mat
- BEST FOR LARGE SPACES: Amazon Basics Polycarbonate Chair Mat – Hard Floors
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Chair Mat
Office chair mats are built with studs on the bottom suitable for different piles, or flat bottoms to remain flush with hardwood floors. There are other features to consider like type, size, thickness, and other special features. Make sure to keep these points in mind when choosing the best chair mat for carpet in your home or office.
Chair mats come in a variety of different materials and styles, each suited to different flooring types. Here’s how the options stack up for carpeted or hardwood flooring and different chair types.
- Tempered glass mats are extremely durable. Most are capable of withstanding over 1,000 pounds of pressure. This type of mat is also smooth enough for sliding office chairs to glide smoothly and can be used on either carpeted or hard flooring.
- Plexiglass is another heavy-duty material for chair mats as they can withstand hundreds to thousands of pounds of pressure and can be used on both hard and carpeted floors. However, these options are heavy so they can be tricky to bring into an office building or home office and may leave a dented area in the fibers of your carpet or area rug when removed.
- Polypropylene is a sturdy crack- and abrasion-resistant plastic material that is suitable for low-pile carpets or hard flooring. While select options come with cleats or studs to keep it in place, the majority of these mats will stay in place on hard floors.
- Polycarbonate is a flexible, durable material that is suitable for low-pile carpeted surfaces and usually comes in a variety of clear colorways. Many are built with small studs on the bottom to keep the mat in place as you roll around on your desk chair. Since the majority of these chair mats are transparent, they blend in well with any patterns on the carpet.
- Polyethylene chair mats are usually clear and are suitable for use on hard floors. Many are scratch- and chip-resistant and the smooth, gripped surface allows for easy rolling on your office chair. Plus, many options have a lip built-in to protect your flooring.
- PVC/plastic chair mats are usually used on hard floors as well as low-pile carpeting. Most options last for a long time, have built-in lips to protect your flooring, and resists scratching and dents.
Before you buy a chair mat, consider the flooring type in your office space. As a rule of thumb, select a mat that has a low-friction textured surface to offer controlled rolling. If a top layer is too smooth, it doesn’t grip the wheels and may cause users to roll off the mat.
Typically, there are different types of mats for carpet and hard flooring. A key difference is the underside and whether or not the mat has cleats. These cleats grip and secure the chair mat to carpeted floors. Mats for hard surfaces generally have a flat backing or very small grips.
Carpet chair mats have more thickness options to account for the carpet pile height. Choosing a mat tailored to a particular carpet’s pile height ensures a stable and rigid platform for an office chair. Below are some of the floor types that chair mats can accommodate and how they can work in your office.
Dimensions and Shape
Chair mats come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The larger the desk or table, the larger the mat must be to adequately protect the carpet underneath. For a standard desk and chair setup, a 36-inch-deep by 48-inch-wide mat is usually sufficient. Smaller desks can go with downsized versions, while a table might require something a bit wider.
Many of the best chair mats for carpet surfaces also feature an extended lip that sits underneath the desk. This lip will typically protect the carpet underneath an office desk from the front-most wheel of an office chair.
How well your chair mat keeps its shape and holds up to frequent use will have a lot to do with mat thickness. Generally speaking, the best mats are between 3 and 5 millimeters thick, as this thickness provides enough strength and rigidity to resist pressure caused by four desk chair legs or five wheels.
There are thinner mats, but they are best suited for hardwood surfaces as they may sink or bunch underneath a wheel on carpeting, making it challenging to roll. They’ll protect the carpet, but might be frustrating to use.
Mats for hard surfaces like hardwood floors, tile, and vinyl floors are smooth underneath so they can lay completely flat. That’s not the case for carpet mats.
As touched upon earlier, the best chair mat for carpet will have studs underneath. These studs act like little cleats, holding the mat securely in place. The studs keep the mat from scooting around as you adjust your chair. They’re absolutely necessary for getting the best results out of your chair mat on a textured surface.
There are a few other features you might find appealing, making one product more suitable for your needs over another.
- Some chair mats are antistatic, which could be helpful for reducing the odds of shocking a laptop or keyboard from energy built up while rolling.
- Nonslip textures on the top of the chair mat can be a big help as well, offering a more ergonomic grip for pushing an office chair out from under a desk.
- You might even find chair mats for carpet that are antimicrobial, meaning they’ll reduce the chance of mold or mildew growing underneath. If your office or home has a humidity problem, this might be an appealing feature.
Our Top Picks
The best chair mat provides a safe rolling surface, properly grips the floor, and protects floors for years without curling or cracking. Selecting the right chair mat depends on the type of floor you have and your preference for color and size.
The MuArts chair mat lends peace of mind when it comes to floor protection due to its heavy, sturdy design. A thickness of 0.2 inches makes it sturdier than other chair mats, and a weight of 16 pounds resists curling or folding so it stays completely flat and in place. Users can easily wheel across the mat to get around their work space without sinking into the material. Constructed of nonbreakable, nontoxic plexiglass, this chair mat holds up to 1,400 pounds.
Measuring 47 inches by 40 inches, this chair mat fits a standard work space quite well. As for appearance, it’s clear enough that you can see your flooring or carpet pattern through the mat, making it blend into your home or office space.
- Type: Plexiglass
- Compatible Floors: Carpet and hard floors
- Size: 47 inches by 40 inches
- Sturdy, thick construction
- Holds up to 1,400 pounds
- Clear design
- Suitable for standard office spaces and chairs
- Heavyweight design
- Edges may chip
Chair mats don’t have to cost a fortune. Mind Reader’s crack-resistant chair mat allows users to roll smoothly between tasks without fear of damaging expensive flooring. Made for hard floors or low-pile carpets, this chair mat has molded cleats and studs to hold the mat in place without causing damage. These grips ensure the mat stays secure on firm flooring and clings to any carpet, preventing slips.
The mat’s material is thick and wear-resistant, long-life polypropylene that comes in three color options, so users can choose the color that best matches their style. The top surface of the mat keeps users safe with a textured surface for smooth and controlled rolling. At 48 inches by 36 inches by 0.1 inches, this chair mat compares to others in the market for size at a lesser price.
- Type: Polypropylene
- Compatible Floors: Low-pile carpet and hard floors
- Size: 48 by 36 by 0.1 inches
- Molded cleats and studs built-in; stays in place
- Thick and wear-resistant
- Comes in 3 colorways
- May take some time to unroll flatly; may require blow drying or weights
Lorell’s tempered-glass chair mat gives users the support they need with a sophisticated and sleek appearance. Unlike other materials (such as plastic), glass doesn’t wear out over time—this is a mat that keeps its luster long term.
This mat is 36 inches by 46 inches by 0.25 inches but also comes in two larger sizes to fit most desk spaces. Able to support up to 1,000 pounds, this delicate-appearing chair mat is tougher than it seems. The one downside of this mat is that metal can damage it; swap out any metal chair casters for plastic ones, and this mat performs remarkably well.
The scratch-resistant surface of the mat keeps it extra smooth for easy rolling, and it’s easy to clean with a simple and quick wipe. Unlike other mats that are meant for carpet or hard floors, this clear glass chair mat works on any floor, including high-pile carpet, low-pile carpet, hardwood, vinyl, marble, and more.
- Type: Tempered glass
- Compatible Floors: High-, medium-, and low-pile carpet and hard floors
- Size: 36 by 46 by 0.25 inches
- Comes in multiple sizes
- Scratch-resistant surface
- Easy to clean
- Suitable for use on many floor types
- Metal may damage the surface
Those looking to protect the carpets underneath their desk chair or other furniture should give this Gorilla Grip studded chair mat a look. This sturdy piece of polycarbonate plastic comes in two sizes, including 36 inches by 48 inches and 29 inches by 47 inches, offering coverage for a variety of chairs. Both sizes come with or without a lip for a bit of extra protection if desired.
The Gorilla Grip chair mat contains 3 millimeters of material. It will resist sinking from wheels or chair legs, with no curling or bending. It has durable studs underneath to grip onto most surfaces without slipping.
- Type: Polycarbonate
- Compatible Floors: Low to medium-pile carpets
- Size: 36 inches by 48 inches and 29 inches by 47 inches
- Comes in multiple sizes
- No lip included; adds extra protection
- Resists sinking, curling, and bending
- Built-in studs; stays in place
- May be too large for some office spaces
- Sticker may be hard to remove
Some work spaces are smaller than others but still benefit from the protection of a chair mat. This chair mat from Evolve gives compact work spaces on a low-pile carpet the protection of PVC. Using a cleated backing for grip and sourced from recycled materials, this GREENGUARD-certified chair mat is practical and sustainable. With a rounded lip that tucks under the desk, it offers a practical and space-friendly design for standard wheeled chairs.
Whether for a dorm room, living room, or cubicle, this chair mat comes in 33-inch by 44-inch, 36-inch by 48-inch, and 45-inch by 60-inch sizes and blends in with most decor. A transparent floor guard that doesn’t draw attention makes it a practical addition to a work space without compromising style.
- Type: PVC plastic
- Compatible Floors: Low-pile carpets
- Size: 33 inches by 44 inches, 36 inches by 48 inches, and 45 inches by 60 inches
- Cleated backing; stays in place
- Sourced from recycled materials; GREENGUARD-certified
- Rounded lip built-in
- Clear construction blends in with any carpeted floor
- Not suitable for hard floors or medium- and high-pile carpets
- May take some time to flatten to the ground
When a standard-size chair mat just won’t do, upgrade to a larger size, such as this mat from Amazon Basics. With a smooth backing meant for all types of hard floors (including floors with under-floor heating), this chair mat provides an easy-glide rolling surface in an expanded size.
Measuring 47 inches by 79 inches, this mat is a great addition to the work or home office. Made of phthalate-free, nontoxic, 100 percent polycarbonate, this mat stays rigid and does not sink, curl, or indent—even under hard weights.
A lightly embossed top surface offers controlled chair movement but easy gliding from one end of the mat to the other. The material also makes it easy to wipe clean, keeping a new-looking chair mat for a long time. Since it’s clear, it incorporates easily into most office spaces, and it’s large enough to give all-around protection around a workstation and not just on one side of it.
- Type: Polycarbonate
- Compatible Floors: Hard floors
- Size: 47 inches by 79 inches
- Suitable for multiple types of hard flooring
- Phthalate-free, nontoxic construction
- Abrasion-, dent-, and scratch-resistant
- Easy to clean
- Not suitable for carpeted floors
Those looking for a durable option to protect their carpeted and hard flooring can depend on the MuArts chair mat’s sturdy plexiglass construction which can hold up to 1,400 pounds and suit most standard office spaces. Alternatively, for a budget-friendly option, the Mind Reader office chair is also a versatile pick as it’s polypropylene construction can be used on low-pile carpeting and hard floors. Plus, this thick, wear-resistant option has molded cleats and comes in 3 colorways.
How We Chose the Best Chair Mats
We researched the most sought-after chair mats in their respective categories and discovered that the best options are determined by their type, compatibility with multiple surfaces, size, and other special features included by select brands.
While searching for the best chair mats available, we found that the most popular types are plexiglass, polypropylene, tempered glass, polycarbonate, polyethylene, and PVC plastic. Each of these constructions provides ample durability to protect low-, medium-, and high-pile carpeting as well as vinyl, marble, and hardwood floors.
For those offices that have carpeted floors, some of these options have cleats or studs built-in on the undersurface to keep them in place and smooth surfaces for easy rolling. Most of our picks also come in multiple sizes for small and large offices.
Now that you’ve learned some of the important factors to consider when choosing the best chair mats, questions may still remain. Additional information about choosing and caring for your new mat appears below.
Q: What is the difference between a beveled-edge mat and straight-edge mat?
A beveled edge acts as a miniature ramp, allowing users to roll on and off of the mat easily. It’s a handy feature for thicker mats.
Q: Do chair mats ruin carpet and hardwood?
Chair mats have the potential to break down and damage the fibers in your carpeting if there is too much pressure put on it or the mat itself is heavy. As for hard flooring, some chair mats may trap dust and debris that can cause damage if the mat is slid across the floor.
Q: How do I choose a chair mat for carpet?
The first consideration is finding a mat designed for the pile of your carpet. The studs on the mat should fit with the pile height. Then, you’ll want to find a size that works for your space. There are other features to consider as well, such as antistatic and antimicrobial properties.
Q: How do I get a new chair mat to lay flat?
The best way to flatten a chair mat is to leave it outside in direct sunlight on a sunny day. Allow it to warm up and lay flat. Then, bring the mat inside and lay it flat until it cools and hardens completely.