The Chair Mat Buying Guide

By Nicole Tinkham


Debating whether or not chair mats are necessary? For starters, chair mats protect various types of flooring that can become damaged from the casters on office chairs. This is not the only benefit of chair mats though. With ease of rolling, they also reduce RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) AND lower fatigue! Don’t think office workers roll around all that much? The average person moves their office chair more than 300 times in one work day! This proves that even the smallest movements can cause strain on the legs. Now that you’re anxious to go out and buy some chair mats, we must discuss the details!


The first thing you must think about is the flooring. There are chair mats designed specifically for hard flooring, low pile, standard pile, medium pile, and plush pile carpeting. See the chart below to determine which type of surface you have.

Hard Floor Low Pile Standard Pile Medium Pile Plush Pile
Wood, tile, vinyl, or linoleum floor. Carpet up to ¼” thick. Carpet up to 3/8” thick. *Can also be used with low pile carpets. Carpet up to ¾” thick. * Can also be used with low and standard pile carpets. Carpet over ¾” thick.
Measuring carpet thickness:
Straighten the end of a paper clip and press down into the carpet until you hit the floor. Using your fingers, grab the paper clip where it’s flush with the carpet. Use a ruler to measure the distance between your fingers and the end of the paper clip which will give you the carpet’s thickness.NOTE: You are also measuring the carpet’s padding.


Now that you’ve established the surface type, the next thing to look at is the size of the workspace. It’s a good idea to consider your rolling habits. Do you roll back and forth all around the area or do you stay in one general location? For venturing out of the workspace, consider a chair mat with beveled edges. This will allow you to roll off smoothly. Beware: don’t try to guestimate the size of your area. A chair mat too large will not work! If any furniture is placed on the chair mat (other than your office chair) you will end up with cracks. Measure the area by determining the furthest points. And don’t forget, it never hurts to measure twice!

Some of the most common sizes include:

Please note: there are many other sizes available. You can search by size on our website (refine your search in the left-hand column), or talk to Carole in the furniture department about your options.


Not all chair mats are square or rectangular and believe it or not, not all will work with your workspace configuration! First let’s talk about mat styles. There are rectangular, square, L-workstation (or bulb), contoured, and lip mats. See the image below to get a better understanding of these shapes.


Now let’s take a look at your workstation and see which mats will work for your area!


Other Considerations

  • Make sure to use plastic casters on your chair mat.
  • When unrolling your new mat, the edges will often times be curled. They should straighten out in about a day.

Recommended by the expert

Carole, our furniture expert, recommends Deflect-o chair mats. They are great quality and have a limited lifetime warranty.

If you need further assistance when purchasing a chair mat, feel free to give us a call (941-747-2995) or stop in and visit Carole!

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