Chair Mats: aren’t they just another unnecessary expense?
7 questions to help you decide
If you’re anything like me, you’d rather not spend money on something you don’t really need. You have to know why you need it, determine if it’s a true need or an artificial “need,” and if it’s something that you can continue to live happily without, even if everyone else considers it a necessity. Maybe you don’t relate to that and are already convinced I must be a stick-in-the-mud. Please keep reading anyway- you’ll still benefit from the information I’m going to share!
Because of this reluctancy of mine to part with hard-earned dollars, I’ve often wondered, what’s the big deal about chair mats? Why do I need one? Is it really necessary to have one, or does that fall in the category of products that “feel” helpful, whether they truly are or not, and therefore there is a market for them? (The popcorn bowl that filters out un-popped kernels comes to mind right now. Yes, it’s a fun concept, but is it really beneficial enough for me to give up the bucks for it? Nope. Besides, I like to eat the kernels occasionally, too.)
It may sound silly that I’ve questioned the necessity of chair mats, especially since I work for an office supply company that sells chair mats. But just because I work in the office doesn’t mean that I’m an expert on all the products we offer. After hearing so much about chair mats from colleagues and manufacturers, I wanted to know if there were any valid reasons truly good enough to get one. So, I started researching and began asking questions of those that I knew to be very experienced in this area. I discovered that a chair mat is not in the same category as the popcorn bowl that filters un-popped kernels and having one can actually save money in the long run!
Here are the questions I asked and the facts I learned:
Why do I need a chair mat?
Simply put… it preserves the flooring beneath your office chair. Obviously, with hardwood, vinyl, and laminate flooring this is a no-brainer. It’s easy to imagine scratches and dents on these surfaces due to rolling an office chair back and forth on them. But, this is also very important with carpeted areas. Rolling your office chair over a carpeted area over and over again can eventually wear holes in the carpeting… and replacing carpet is not cheap!
Also, having a chair mat will help to reduce strain on your feet and legs as you move around in your office chair day after day, which in turn, could possibly prevent doctor visits made necessary by years of repeated strain.
Will NOT using a chair mat void the warranty on my floors?
Yes, it could. Some flooring manufacturers will void their warranty if you don’t use a chair mat because they don’t consider any resulting damage to fall under “normal wear.”
How do I know what kind of chair mat to get?
Well, that depends on the type of floors you have. For non-carpeted areas, you’ll want a chair mat with a smooth back. If you have carpets, you’ll want a chair mat with little nubs or cleats on the back of it. There are also different grades of mats for different grades of carpeting, everything from commercial carpet to the thick, luxury high-pile stuff.
How long will my chair mat last?
If you get a good one, it can last you anywhere from 10-20 years. If you get an economy floor mat, those can last as little as a year before they start cracking, getting holes and showing considerable wear and tear. The best thing to do is invest in a really good chair mat that will last you for the duration of your career. You may spend a little extra at first, but it will save you money in the long run as it will keep you from either having to replace damaged flooring, or from having to continually repurchase economy mats. (Once you buy 3 or 4 cheap mats, you might as well have purchased one really nice one.)
How much can I expect to pay for a good chair mat?
A good chair mat is best thought of as an investment. The initial investment may cost more upfront, but it will in all likelihood prevent you from spending more money later. A really good and durable chair mat can cost anywhere from $180.00 to $250.00.
What’s the best kind chair mat to get?
We are really fond of the Deflecto brand we offer here at My Office, and we have two special favorites from them.
The first is the Execumat, their nicest and most durable mat. This mat is specifically for carpets and it’s the longest lasting. It’s the thickest chair mat Defelcto makes. It is great for all-day, everyday use and can handle heavy weight without cracking.
Our second favorite is the Rollamat. It’s not quite as thick as the Execumat, but still very durable. This lower price point chair mat is a great investment option for those who aren’t ready to go all in by investing in the higher grade Execumat at the moment.
What about the popular glass mats?
Glass chair mats certainly have a classy, luxurious look. They are durable and some can support up to 1000lbs. They are also at the highest price point. The only con to this type of chair mat is if something heavy is dropped on them, they can crack or even shatter. However, if you want the classier look, have the extra money to spend and are in an area where heavy, falling objects are not a potential concern, a glass chair mat can also be a great, long-lasting option.
Whether you’re currently working from home or you’re back in the office, getting a chair mat is certainly worth the investment to save your floors and your money. And, unlike the kernel-filtering popcorn bowl, you won’t find it in the back of your cabinet years later and wonder why you got it (at least, if you’re anything like me.)