The best chair mats for smooth rolling in 2024 | Popular Science

Let your office chair glide as effortlessly and efficiently as your cursor with the right chair mat.

A thick, durable, luxurious glass mat that’s tested to over 1,000 lbs. White Dining Chairs

The best chair mats for smooth rolling in 2024 | Popular Science

Chairs rolls smoothly on this mat regardless of floor type.

Made of PVC, this mat has an anti-slide coating and comes in three colors.

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It probably didn’t take long to figure out that you’re not rolling around as smoothly as you did in the office without a chair mat. And that’s likely because your flooring is different from the company’s. If you’re a part of the work-from-home crowd, you may still be adjusting to being responsible for supplying your own equipment and WFH accessories—even if the company is footing the bill. Besides the ability to glide smoothly, chair mats can also serve another purpose: They stop your office chair from damaging your floors. The best chair mats keep things running smoothly while working at home.

When compiling this list, I relied on my own experience with high-end chair mats that I’ve tested, combined with the opinions of colleagues and consumers. I evaluated such factors as material, weight, and size, along with durability and ease of movement. Also, understanding that budgets vary, I chose chair mats at various price points.

Ultimately, you’ll get the best use out of your chair mat if you choose one designed for your floor type. So, for example, if you purchase a mat with spikes intended for low-pile carpet and you have a high-pile carpet, the spikes may not be deep enough to keep the mat from moving around. If you get a mat with spikes and try to use it on a hardwood floor, the spikes may damage the floor. Looking through our recommendations will ensure that you find the right make and material to suit your needs.

Why it made the cut: About as perfect as a chair mat can get, the Vitrazza is beautiful, durable, and comes in various sizes. But it will cost you a pretty penny.

I’ve had the 48” x 48” Vitrazza Glass Chair Mat since 2018. During that time, I’ve used it on hardwood floors and in carpeted areas. I frequently roll my office chair on and off of it, and I’ve dropped my iPhone and several other items on the glass chair mat. And yet, there’s not a single scratch on it. Full disclosure: to save floor space, half of the mat is under my desk, and half is available to roll the chair around on. When I’m not paying attention, I sometimes roll off the mat. I would imagine that this practice could eventually affect the mat’s life span (especially since I have heavy 50- to 60-pound chairs with chrome parts, like the Humanscale Freedom and the Mavix M9), but I have yet to see or experience any degradation in quality.

The mat is made of ¼-inch thick glass, designed to hold up to 1,000 pounds, and includes an invisible shield impervious to fine scratches. The mat also has a slight or mini-bevel edge, which helps when rolling off it. The mat works well on any surface—partly because it ships with 12 Stabil-a dots, which are little bumpers that fit underneath the mat to keep it in place. There are hard surface bumpers for hard floors like hardwood, laminate, tile, stone, concrete, and luxury vinyl plank, as well as medium carpet bumpers and supersize bumpers designed for high-pile carpet. The mat is available in several sizes ranging from 36” x 36” to 46” x 60” and in a standard clear color/glass with a slight green tint, or a low-iron ultra-clear version without the green undertone.

Why it made the cut: Although it’s designed to be used on any floor type, this chair mat excels on hard floors.

I’ve had the Quartet Glass Mat since 2021, and it’s been on both hard floors and carpet. While I haven’t dropped my iPhone on it, I’ve accidentally dropped a few other items. It doesn’t have any cracks or show any signs of wearing out or losing its lustrous appearance. It’s been moved around quite a bit as I’m testing office desks and chairs. But regardless of the floor type, chairs move smoothly and easily on the mat. On hardwoods, it is particularly easy to glide from one side of the desk to the other and beyond.

The Quartet Glass mat is made of tempered glass and can support up to 1,000 pounds. This is particularly important since the glass mat is in what is essentially my storage room for a couple of months until I finish testing a few large items. As a result, I’m routinely placing other objects, like storage crates, on top of the mat while moving stuff around. However, it’s durable enough to withstand harsh usage and looks as good as it did on day one. The mat also ships with eight silicone pads, preventing it from slipping on hardwood floors.

Why it made the cut: The goldilocks of chair mats, it’s not plastic and it’s not glass, but it is capable of handling 1,200 pounds.

The MuArts Chair Mat is made from a “special material” that the company does not disclose—and normally, that would be enough for us to omit the item from this list. However, at the time of publication, over 20,000 Amazon consumers gave it an average 4.5/5 rating, so we’ll make an exception.

We can tell you that the mat is made of a hard material (maybe plexiglass), and it ships in a flat package instead of a tube. The mat can also be used on both hard floors and carpet. It doesn’t curl or roll up like plastic is prone to do. In fact, it’s 0.2 inches thick and weighs 14 pounds, and the company states that it can handle 1,200 pounds of pressure. We consider the mat to be a good alternative if you don’t want a plastic mat but don’t want to pay for a tempered glass option, either.

Why it made the cut: The cleats on the bottom of the mat help it cling to a low-pile carpet.

This plastic chair mat has cleats (or spikes) underneath, and the cleats help the mat grip the carpet to keep the mat from sliding around. This is important because one of the major complaints regarding plastic chair mats is that they won’t stay in place. The Dimex chair mat is designed for low pile carpet, not thick carpet, and not hard floors. So, how do you know if your carpet is low pile or not? The same way you check to see if your tires need replacing (besides looking at them).

Insert a dime into the carpet. A low pile carpet will only cover up to ¼ of the dime. However, a low-medium pile carpet will cover up to 3/8” of the dime. The mat, available in three sizes, is free from BPA and Phthalates and Greenguard certified.

Why it made the cut: No need to bust your budget for this PVC mat with an anti-slide coating and three available colors.

If you want a good, basic chair mat that won’t break the bank, the Kural Chair Mat can provide enough support to ensure your chair doesn’t damage the floor. It’s made of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) but does not produce irritating odors. That’s because it doesn’t contain harmful chemicals like Phthalate, Cadmium, tin, lead, and other toxins.

The mat has an anti-slide coating to keep it from moving around. However, it’s easy to glide the chair—even gaming chairs—around on the mat without any jerkiness. The chair mat is also designed to resist cracks, scratches, and discoloration—with normal usage. It’s available in three colors: clear, black, and grey. The mat is also available in four different sizes. It’s designed for hard floors, like hardwood and tile, but is not made for carpets.

Plastic chair mats are less expensive. However, these mats tend to be thin since they’re made of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), and they need to be replaced more often since they’re eventually susceptible to yellowing, as well as cracks and dents. In addition, the edges tend to curl.

Polycarbonate chair mats are made of plastic that’s stronger than PVC, so they tend to cost more. However, these mats are not as strong as tempered glass.

Tempered glass is more durable, so it doesn’t crack or break, and the edges don’t curl up. Also, it doesn’t turn yellow. But tempered glass is significantly more expensive.

However, the material is important for another reason. Plastic and PVC chair mats are lightweight, so they’re quite easy to move if you need to. On the other hand, both of my glass mats are over 50 pounds—in fact, one is 72 pounds—so I try not to move them unless I have to.

Chair mats cost more depending on the size—the larger the mat, the more it will cost. However, if you work from home, getting the right size mat for your desk is worth it. A mat that’s too small won’t be effective in protecting your floor from your ergonomic office chair wheels.

Sit in your chair and move around to determine how far you typically move around while at your desk. Mark the area using tape or placing objects at the border. Then measure the area to determine the proper size. However, you also want to decide if you’re going to place the mat vertically or horizontally—and if the mat isn’t being used in a dedicated office, but instead in a high-traffic area, make sure it doesn’t protrude so far that people walk across it.

No, not at all. Usually, you can simply wipe the chair mat with a cloth. If that doesn’t work, use a damp cloth. The top of tempered glass is easier to clean than other chair mat material. However, in my experience, when vacuuming around glass mats on hardwoods, a few strands of hair will sometimes get trapped underneath and need to be retrieved. However, I don’t encounter this problem when the glass mats are on the carpet.

It depends on what type of chair mat you purchase. Glass mats can be removed from the shipping package, placed on the floor, and used immediately. However, PVC and Polycarbonate mats are usually (but not always) shipped rolled up in a tube. After taking the mat out and unrolling it, lay it flat and then add weight (furniture or other heavy items) to the curling areas to help them flatten out. Depending on the mat, flattening out completely could take a few hours or a few days.

A chair mat can keep you from ruining your floor, whether a hard floor or carpet. A chair mat also makes it easier to move around to avoid awkward and jerky movements. And here’s an additional bonus: If you eat at your desk—and most of us WFH types do—a chair mat can catch dropped food and dripped beverages since it provides a protective barrier. For these reasons and more, one of our recommended chair mats will be an excellent addition to your workspace.

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

As a contributor to Popular Science’s reviews team, Terri Williams covers all things tech, from smart doorbells to webcams. She’s also provided research for Popular Science’s Best of What’s New awards.

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The best chair mats for smooth rolling in 2024 | Popular Science

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