As you begin your search for a chair mat, you will soon realize there are some expensive options out there. You may wonder, “why?”
Chair mats can be expensive because there is a high demand for chair mats and they can be made with expensive materials. Oftentimes there is also extensive research and testing that goes into the design. The cost depends on several factors: the materials used, their size, the brand, and special customization.
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What is a Chair Mat Made of?
Chair mats can be made from many materials including, vinyl, plush, plastic, glass, and wood.
The least expensive materials used for chair mats are vinyl and PVC. Vinyl and PVC chair mats are the most common and are the least expensive for the consumer to buy. However, there are some larger mats, thicker mats, or specially designed mats in vinyl or PVC that can be rather expensive.
Polycarbonate chair mats are typically priced in the midrange. Polycarbonate chair mats are typically more durable and last longer. As with vinyl and PVC, polycarbonate chair mats can reach the upper price range depending on size, design, and brand.
There are other materials used for chair mats which are usually more expensive than polycarbonate, vinyl, and PVC. Some common examples are glass and wood.
Tempered glass is becoming more popular and is considered a high-end chair mat. Many people like the sleek look and feel of the tempered glass material.
Real wood chair mats are also in-demand and fall in the higher-end market. Many people love the look, feel, and durability of real wood products. Wood chair mats come in many styles and colors for carpets and hard surfaces.
Are Expensive Office Chair Mats Worth it?
Expensive chair mats can be worth their price, so long as you find the right balance.
Chair mats are much like your desk or office chair. You will be using it often and for prolonged periods. The significant difference between the two is chair mats protect you and your floor.
Chair mats improve the ergonomics of your office space by allowing you to roll more easily and adjust your seating position to your desired comfort. This is especially true if your flooring is carpet.
Rolling your chair on a carpet can cause stress on your legs, feet, and back. This movement also causes fatigue because it is difficult to roll on a carpet as opposed to a chair mat designed for carpets.
Rolling your chair on a hard surface can cause problems as well. Some floors are too slippery or too rough. If they are too slippery it may be difficult to control your roll and if they are too rough it can cause the same issues that you would have on carpet.
Using a chair mat protects your body from stress and fatigue throughout your workday.
Chair mats also protect your floor from the wheels on the bottom of your chair.
On hardwood or vinyl floors, the wheels can cause scratches, scuffs, and dents. These can become progressively worse through prolonged use.
Office chairs used on carpets can cause tears, snags, and dents in your carpet. Using rolling chairs on your carpet is difficult and will cause damage if you are not using a chair mat.
With all of that in mind, are expensive chair mats worth the price? We believe that what is considered expensive varies from customer to customer. It depends on the value of the flooring you are trying to protect, your income, your reason for needing a chair mat, and any customized options you may need.
It is important to find the right chair mat for the surface you will be using it on. If you are only trying to protect your floor, then there are low to mid-range options to choose from. The same is true if you are only looking for ergonomic qualities in a chair mat.
If you are looking for both, along with a specific style, design, shape, material, or size, you may need to go for the higher price range to meet your needs.
Are Chair Mats Bad for Carpet?
No. Chair mats are good for carpets because they protect against the casters on rolling chairs, stains, and other damage.
The idea that chair mats are bad for carpet comes from the misunderstanding of which chair mat to choose for your carpet. There are distinctive designs for different carpet types. Thick carpets require longer “teeth” or “grips” on the bottom of the chair mat and thin carpets require shorter grips.
Should I use a Chair Mat on Hardwood Floors?
Yes, it is perfectly safe to use a chair mat on hardwood floors and there are many benefits. A chair mat designed for hardwood floors typically has rubber grips on the bottom as opposed to the teeth-like grips on chair mats for carpets.
Hardwood floors can be damaged by the casters on rolling chairs. The casters can cause scrapes, scuffs, and dents in hardwood floors which can become progressively worse through prolonged use. The right chair mat can protect your hardwood floors from this damage.
Using a chair mat on hardwood floors can also lessen the overall force on your legs and back which can cause fatigue and pain.
Can I Use a Rug as a Chair Mat?
Yes, however, this should only be a temporary fix.
A rug will supply some protection to your floor and is available in larger sizes, providing more coverage.
There are several problems with using a rug as a chair mat long-term.
- Rugs can be comparably priced or more expensive than a chair mat.
- Rugs are not shaped to fit under a desk (chair mat lip).
- Rugs are not designed with a grip on the bottom. This can cause the rug to move or roll leading to accidents (trips and falls) and inconveniences as you roll in or out of your desk space.
- Rugs can have the same drawbacks as rolling on a carpet and can be damaged just as easily.
Chair mats can be expensive due to their size, materials, and demand. Although some chair mats can be expensive, there are less expensive alternatives depending on the size and material used.
If you are looking for a basic chair mat to protect the floor and allow you to roll more easily, then you may be able to find one at a lower price. If you are looking for something specific like a large size, wood or glass, specific color or design, texture, or other options, you may need to spend more money.
Overall, the value of a chair mat is in the beholder. Only you can decide how much you are willing to spend on a chair mat that is perfect for you.
My name is Vance, and I am the owner of To Ergonomics. Our mission is to improve your workflow by helping you create a supportive and welcoming environment. We hope that you’ll find what you’re looking for while you’re here.