Top Anti-Static Treadmill Mats
Treadmill mats, also known generically as anti-static treadmill mats or equipment mats, come in a wide variety of sizes and materials. They can vary greatly in quality from cheap, thin, easily ripped PVC mats to thick, durable, 100% rubber mats made in America.
There are dozens of other treadmill mats and equipment mats offered in the marketplace—as one can clearly see on Amazon—but for now, we’ve focused our attention on the under-treadmill mats most commonly sold by treadmill desk manufacturers. These three products constitute the classic “good, better, best” array, in which you get exactly what you pay for. In this product category, cost is generally linear with material quality and size.
Do I Really Need a Treadmill Mat?
One of the most common questions we get about treadmill desks is whether it is necessary to purchase a treadmill mat for them. After all, you’ll only be walking on your office treadmill at a slow pace of 1 to 2 mph, not pounding on it at a full run. The quick answer is that, yes, it is still highly advisable, both for maintaining the good working condition of your treadmill and for protecting your floors from damage.
Under-treadmill anti-static mats serve a number of purposes. A proper mat will:
- Prevent damage to the floor
- Provide shock absorption for the user and the treadmill
- Reduce vibrations
- Reduce noise in the office (and especially to the tenants below you)
- Keep dust and dirt out of the treadmill belt, thus reducing friction and power consumption
- Reduce the frequency of cleaning and lubrication of the deck
- Extend the useful life of your treadmill’s most expensive components
- Come with a substantial full-performance warranty to ensure it performs these functions reliably (though the vast majority don’t offer any warranty at all, which is very telling)
A good quality mat will also be:
- Made of 100% recycled rubber
- At least 1/4″ thick
- Properly sized for the footprint of your treadmill
- Made in the USA
Dimension Considerations for Treadmill Compatibility
Most mats are designed for larger gym equipment like running treadmills (very long) or elliptical machines (very wide), so their dimensions tend to be overly large compared to the footprint of an office treadmill. Besides looking ugly, they create a trip hazard and can run into the legs of your height-adjustable desk.
An ideal office treadmill mat will keep all four feet off the ground while having a short “tail” at the back end of the treadmill to make it easy to clean all the dirt—typically brought in on the bottoms of your shoe—that rolls off the end of your treadmill. (Experienced treadmill desk users often keep a special pair of comfortable walking shoes next to their treadmill desk in order to avoid introducing dirt from the outside.)
Any of the standalone treadmill bases we have reviewed—including the iMovR ThermoTread GT, Lifespan Fitness TR800/TR1200/TR5000, Rebel Desk 1000, and TreadDesk—will fit atop the LifeSpan (35″ x 78″ x 2 mm), Nike (36″ x 78″ x 4 mm) or iMovR mats (32″ x 72″ x 6 mm). Of the three, the iMovR RightSize mat is the only one designed just for this purpose and will leave the minimum exposed rubber in view.
Why Thickness Matters
Most mats are far too thin, sold as disposable items to people buying gym equipment for their home, which tends to end up in the garage or attic after a couple of months. Mats that are only 2 mm or 4 mm thick won’t provide as much shock absorption and won’t be as durable as higher-quality mats that are 6 mm (1/4″) thick. Anything thinner will provide minimal protection from noise, vibration, and damage to the floor. Also bear in mind that if placing your treadmill workstation on carpeting, a thin mat will likely tear.
Thinner mats have a tendency to curl at the edges over time—causing an even greater trip hazard—or develop deep impressions from the feet of the treadmill. If a mat is thick but made of cheap, low-density material, it will offer a too-soft surface, which can impose torsional stress on the treadmill frame and lead to a host of mechanical problems and shortened equipment life. For these reasons, skimping on the quality of the mat under your treadmill is absolutely the wrong place to save $10 or $20.
Why Materials Matter
Beware of mats made of PVC (vinyl); these are the cheapest, but they’re not made to last, and their manufacturing process is much more harmful to the environment. Most PVC mats are made in China, where the EPA isn’t around to enforce environmental laws. A good treadmill mat will be made of 100% rubber. A better treadmill mat will be made of recycled rubber (typically from tires). The best mats, like the models from LifeSpan, Nike, and iMovR, are also made in America. That goes for quality as well as environmental sensibility. If you read the user reviews on cheap treadmill mats offered on Amazon, you’ll also frequently read about them releasing unpleasant odors.
Treadmill mats get dirty, but some can be ridiculously hard to clean, and dust and footprints are not something you want in your office. You want a mat that can be easily cleaned without special chemicals. Better yet, getting a mat that is perfectly sized to your treadmill will keep all but a tiny surface area from being exposed so you don’t have to hassle with keeping it looking nice.
At the end of the day, even though a mat made in the USA from 100% recycled rubber will cost more, it should last years, which will save money, time, hassle, landfill space, and a whole lot of pollution.
Treadmill Mat Review Comparison
Below, you’ll find abstracts of each product review. Click on the product name to read the full review.
Pros: Twice as thick as the LifeSpan Treadmill Mat. Made from recycled Nike shoes. Won’t compress or gouge like vinyl mats. Made in the USA.
Cons: At 4 mm of thickness, still thinner than ideal. A bit oversized for office treadmills, leaving a lot of exposed rubber and creating a potential trip hazard. Has colorful flecks in the rubber due to the recycled shoe material.
Pros: Made in the USA of “almost” 100% recycled rubber. One of the better mats in this price range as it is not made of noxious PVC material.
Cons: No warranty offered. At 2 mm, about one-third of the desired thickness. Oversized for an office treadmill, designed as a general exercise equipment mat to accommodate all of LifeSpan’s other cardio fitness products. Aesthetic issues due to large size. Can create a trip hazard zone around your treadmill.