How to Buy a Chair Mat? (The Ultimate Guide)

Your office chair and desk are a part and parcel of your work life. That’s why a lot of people spend a lot of time and money in order to get the best office furniture that they can find.  

But, we are here to tell you that you shouldn’t stop there. In order to maximize your productivity you should go the extra mile and invest in a chair mat. It will make sure you can maneuver your office chair easily and without causing damage to the floor. 

How to buy a chair mat? To purchase a chair mat, you need to make sure that it’s the right size for your work area. Apart from that, you also need to consider what type of floor you have, the shape of the chair mat you require, the price of the chair mat etc. 

As you can see, there is a lot to consider here. But, there’s no need to worry. We are here to provide you with all the useful information you need in order to choose the perfect chair mat for your workspace. 

So, without any further ado, let’s jump right in!

Chair Mats:  

A chair mat refers to an ergonomic tool that protects the floor from scuffs, scratches, indentations and other types of marks. Chair mats are primarily used to protect the rugs, carpets and flooring from getting damaged by the chair’s caster wheels.  

Furthermore, chair mats also make it easy for you to move your chair around your workspace. It reduces the effort required to roll your chair by 80%. 

Different Types of Chair Mats 

Chair mats are specially designed for protecting the flooring or carpeting from the rolling caster wheels of chairs. As you move around the room on your chair’s casters. 

Whenever you’re moving around with your chair, you’re inadvertently causing little scuffs and scratches to form on your floors. The best way to protect your floors and carpets from such wear and tear, you need to have a chair mat on your workspace. 

In order to choose the best chair mat, you have to know about the different types of chair mats that are available in the market. The type of the chair mat differs depending on the type of the flooring. Here’s a list of different kinds of chair mats:

1. Anchor Chair Mats 

Anchor chair mat refers to a type of high-performance chair mat that’s engineered for being used on carpets. They feature gripper backings and non-slip, textured surfaces that secures the mat in place so that the chair can move easily over it. 

Typically, these mats are made of vinyl and they are easy to clean as well. These mats come in three different thicknesses and those are ⅛”, 3/16” and ¼”.

2. Anti-Static Chair Mats 

Anti-static mats are similar to the anchor mats and they come with the added benefit of protection from static buildup. Just like anchor chair mats, these mats provide excellent grip due to textured, non-slip surface. 

The anti-static feature comes in handy when you’re working with electronic devices, for instance, fixing your computer. 

These mats are quite durable and they are ideal for protecting your carpets from wear and tear. 

3. Chair Mat for Hard Surfaces 

Office is a busy place to be in and it involves a lot of hustle and bustle. That’s why office floors are more likely to get damaged and scratched by rolling chairs. 

That is especially true, if the office floor is a hard surface. Rolling chairs can easily put dents and scratches on hard surfaces.

The chair mat made for hard surfaces is made out of heavy duty vinyl that can easily absorb the pressure caused by the casters. And it provides a smooth low-friction surface for the chair to move. 

How Do I Choose a Chair Mat? 

While shopping for a chair mat, you need to consider the fact that there are a lot of factors to consider before making a purchasing decision. 

For instance, the material should be ideal for the type of floor you have, the dimensions need to be compatible with your chair’s dimensions. And you also need to consider antistatic and antimicrobial properties of the chair mat.

Here is a list of features that need to carefully examined before choosing a chair mat:

Decide on the Dimension & Sizes:

As you’re already aware, chair mats come in different shapes and sizes. And choosing the dimensions of your chair mat is a pretty straightforward process. You just need to match the chair mat’s size with the size of your desk. 

Typically, a standard office chair will require a chair mat with a length of 36” and a width of 48”. There are a lot of chair mat models out there that feature an extended part at the front. This part sits underneath the desk.  

Some Examples of Office Chair mat Sizes To Help You Choose:

Chair MatsAvailable Dimensions
OFM ESS Collection Chair Mat36″ x 48″
Amazon Basics Polycarbonate Office Chair Mat1. 35″ x 47″2. 47″ x 51″3. 47″ x 59″
MuArts Heavy Duty Hard Chair Mat1. 35″ x 47″2. 40″ x 47″

Choose The Appropriate Material:

Chair mats are made of various different kinds of materials. Those materials include polycarbonate, glass, PVC, bamboo & rubber.

Before choosing the suitable material for yourself look into the following factors:

1. Durability: (Glass Chair Mats are More Durable)

Undoubtedly, glass chair mats are more durable than polycarbonate, PVC, vinyl or bamboo chair mats. Glass chair mats are made of tempered glass which is 5 times stronger than normal glass.

That’s why glass chair mats don’t break easily. In general, glass chair mats last 10 -15 years whereas other types of chair mats last 3-4 years.

Polycarbonate chair mats are tougher than regular plastic and PVC chair mats. They usually last longer than PVC and bamboo chair mats but they are not as durable as glass chair mats.

2. Price:

If you consider the price then polycarbonate, bamboo, rubber and regular plastic chair mats are way cheaper than the glass chair mats.

You can find good quality polycarbonate chair mats for 50-60 bucks or even cheaper. But to buy a good quality chair mat, you have to spend at least 100 bucks.

There are several popular chair mat brands like vitrazza who sell glass chair mats for over $200. So, if you are tight on budget, a glass chair mat is a bad idea.

3. Looks: (Glass and Polycarbonate Chair mats Have better Looks)

Design and looks are very personal and which chair mat material looks good to me might not seem good to others.

However, in my personal opinion, glass chair mats look way more premium than other types of chair mats.

Usual Plastic chair mats look dull to me. Also, they collect lots of scratches over time from rolling office chairs.

On the other hand, Polycarbonate chair mats collect less scratch and look better than regular plastic and bamboo chair mats because of their transparent look. But surely glass chair mats look better in every way.

So, if you are cautious about the looks of your office chair or home, glass material should be your first choice and polycarbonate can be your second choice.

Type of Floors:

You have to choose your chair mat after taking into account the type of the floor the mat will be used on. Most people look for chair mats either for use on hard floors or carpeted floors.

1. Hardwood Floors:

Hard floors such as tile, vinyl and hardwood have a smooth surface and the chair mat can easily lay flat on top of it. 

2. Carpeted Floors:

However, carpeted floors are not smooth and this rough surface makes it hard to find a suitable chair mat for it.

The chair mats designed for carpeted floors have studs under them. These studs provide support to the chair mat and secure it in place. This way the chair mat will not scoot over when you move the chair. 

Different Types of Carpets on The Basis of Thickness:

  • Low Pile
  • Medium Pile
  • High Pile

The measure of Low to Medium Pile carpet is 0.25 to 0.75 inches. After measuring the carpet pile, if your carpet thickness falls under 0.75 inches you can use a chair mat that is categorized as Low to Medium Pile carpet chair mat.

If your carpet pile thickness is more than 0.75 inches you will need a tempered glass chair mat to properly roll in your carpet. There are also chair mat for thick carpeted floor but tempered glass chair mat would be best option for high pile carpet.

How to Measure The Thickness of Your Carpeted Floor?

  • Take a paper clip or a Needle. If you use a paperclip, you have to strengthen one end.
  • Push the Sharp end through the Carpet. Make sure to reach the floor crossing the padding of the carpet.
  • Mark the upper end and Measure it with a ruler or measuring tape. The reading will show your carpet’s depth or thickness.

Here is a video to help you follow the process better:

Other Features To Consider:

Apart from the features that we have discussed so far, there are a few more features of a chair mat that might be appealing to you.

For instance, having an antistatic chair mat reduces the chances of getting shocked while dealing with electronic products like laptops and keyboards. 

There are also non-slip chair mats that provide a better grip so that you can easily move it around.

Furthermore, you might also find antimicrobial mats interesting as these mats prevent molds from growing underneath. 

Which Chair Mat Material Is Better For Carpeted Floor?

If you intend to use the chair mat on a carpeted surface, then we suggest you purchase a mat made out of polycarbonate.

The best part about this material is that it’s highly durable, thermoplastic, see-through, and easy to mold. And it does not buckle under the weight of the chair, thus, providing a flat surface. 

Which Chair Mat Material is Better for Hardwood Floors?

Most of the chair mats that you will find for hardwood floors are made out of Vinyl, Tempered Glass, Polycarbonate, PVC, and Low Pile Desk rug. However, the pricing of these chair mats varies from brand to brand.

You could use any of the chair mat material. However, I would suggest you use Polycarbonate or tempered glass chair mats as they are more durable. 

After reviewing some of the most top-rated chair mats for carpets and Hardwood Floors in the market, we have added three different chair mats in our recommended product list.

You can check our recommended Office chair mat by clicking here

Related Questions 

Why is There a Lip on Chair Mats? 

The lip of a chair mat refers to the extension or protrusion from the edge of the mat. The purpose of this “lip” is to protect the floor beneath the desk where the chair might roll if it’s scooted all the way inside. 

If you have a traditional desk (with drawers) and chair setup, then it would be best for you to buy a chair mat with a lip. 

Recommended Article: Chair Mat Lip Vs. No Lip: What’s The Difference?

Are chair mats worth it? 

A chair mat is used to protect the flooring from scuffs, scratches, spills, and indentations. The downforce of a chair is more than a  hundred times greater than an ordinary footstep. 

This immense stress causes carpet fibers to break down, thus shortening the lifespan of the carpet. 

That is why using a chair mat is unavoidable if you want to protect your flooring or carpets. A chair mat is undoubtedly a worthwhile investment. 

How do you measure a rug pile for a chair mat?

To measure the depth of carpeted floors, straighten a paperclip and push the end of it through your carpet and padding until it touches the sub-flooring. Place your fingers on the top edge of the carpet on the paper clip. 

After that, place it against a measuring tape to determine your carpet’s depth. It’s as simple as that. 

Will a chair mat ruin my carpet?

No! In fact, it will do the opposite of that. A chair that’s used on a carpeted floor will help it move smoothly and make you feel more comfortable. Having said that, you should remember the fact that a heavy chair mat can break down the fibers of your carpet. 

This will shorten your carpet’s lifespan exponentially. And so, you need to choose the chair mat carefully. 

Should you use a chair mat on hardwood floors?

The answer to this question is not a simple yes or no. Although some argue that chair mats are essential to keep hardwood floors protected from scratches and indentation, others are against it. 

The other side argues that despite seeming like a good idea at first, covering up the hardwood floor like that may cause damage to it. In our opinion, you should use a chair mat to protect your hardwood floor from scratches and scuffs. 

Final Thoughts  

No matter what type of floor you have, carpeted or hardwood, you should definitely invest in a chair mat that will allow you to glide over the surface without causing damage to it. 

Chair mats come in various sizes, shapes, thicknesses, materials and designs. There is a lot of ground to cover while shopping for a chair mat. 

But now you know exactly what to look for in order to find the perfect chair mat for your floor/carpet. 

We suggest you also consider some of the extra features of a chair mat to find the ideal match for your workspace. Those features include antistatic, transparency, antimicrobial, etc. 

Sifatul Shohan

Hi, I'm the co-owner of officechairtrends.com. A blogger and a freelance web developer.  As I work as developer, I have to work for prolonged hours at a desk that's where I developed back pain. I started researching on ergonomic chairs and gained knowledge throughout the process.  This is the site where I share everything I've learned about office chairs.