Sit-Stand Smart Mat Review
- Lab tested
Every other anti-fatigue mat on the market is designed NOT to slide out from under your feet. Traction control is something that actually gets lab tested and certified by the National Floor Safety Institute among other agencies (see review). This mat design flies in the face of all that, positioned as a mat that is easy to move away with a simple foot gesture; it is specifically designed for people who are unable to bend over. Ironically, these are the same people who probably cannot afford the risk of slipping off their mat and potentially breaking a hip. As an anti-fatigue mat it is not the most comfortable that we have tested, not by a long shot. A hybrid sit-stand chair mat, albeit much more expensive, is generally a better solution for those who can afford it.
For people who have a condition that prevents them from bending over to move their standing desk mat out of the way when they want to sit.
|MSRP / List Price||$99|
Nitrile rubber and polypropylene
22 x 32 x 0.75 inches
|NEAT™ Certified by Mayo Clinic||
|Competition||Best Anti-Fatigue Standing Mat Reviews|
|Where to buy||
Smart Mat for Hard Surfaces on Amazon
Smart Mat for Carpet on Amazon
|Quality and Aesthetics|
|Positives||If you have a physical condition that prevents you from bending down to move your standing mat out of the way for sitting, this is one way to solve the problem without spending much more money on a large, hybrid sit-stand chair mat. Made in USA.|
|Negatives||Literally defeats the purpose of anti-traction bottom surface technology that all other standing mats boast about to varying degrees. Despite hyperbolic claims this is far from the most comfortable mat on the market. Only one color. Only one size.|
To Slip Away Easily Or Stay Put, That Is The Question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of having to bend over to move an anti-fatigue mat out of the way so you can sit again, or to take arms against having your standing mat accidentally slip out from under your feet should you approach it too carelessly.
The founders of OiC Innovations (which also made the now-defunct Desktop Elevator standing desk converter at one time) have swum against the tide to literally remove the traction control that other standing mat manufacturers not only design into their mats for safety, but literally put them through ANSI/NFSI B101.1-2009 or NFSI B101-B certification (American National Standards Institute / National Floor Safety Institute), to assure consumers they will not risk a hip fracture due to the mat slipping out from underneath their feet.
The creators of the Sit Stand Smart Mat believe that they have a better solution, and they patented it. Rather than being made of 100% polyurethane like most other standing mats we’ve reviewed in the lab over the years, which give mats a lot of inherent traction against slipping away from the user inadvertently, they literally glue a smooth, rounded “hockey puck” under the mat, near the front edge of it, so that you can easily move the mat around the floor simply by stepping on this puck and sliding it around with your leg.
The more common approach in the marketplace for solving the problem of having to bend over to move your mat out of the way is to use a mat large enough that you can actually roll your chair on it when you want to sit. You can read about these in our reviews of the EcoLast hybrid sit-stand chair mat and the EverMat hybrid sit-stand chair mat.
So let’s leave it at a philosophical question for each consumer to decide for themselves. But how does that Sit Stand Smart Mat perform as an anti-fatigue mat otherwise?
Hyperbolic Claims of Being “The Most Comfortable Mat Made”
Standing mats are an essential addition to any sit-to-stand workstation to reduce fatigue, spinal compression and reduction of “sit-reach flexibility” after standing for hours. Great standing desk mats like iMovR’s premium EcoLast mats, can literally triple the amount of time you can stand at your desk without experiencing foot or low back pain.
Standing desk mats have even been shown to improve users’ balance after months and years of regular use, by allowing greater stimulation of propriosceptor neurons in the bones of the feet. (You can learn more than you ever wanted to know on this subject by reading our deep dive into how WorkWhileWalking lab tests standing mats, including the results of independent standing mat materials testing at Texas A&M.)
You can make a mat out of a wide variety of materials but as studies have shown, nothing beats 100% polyurethane. It’s more expensive to make a mat out of this costly material versus using rubber, other foams or hybrid materials in a “sandwich” to reduce the selling price of an anti-fatigue mat, but the results simply aren’t the same. The unique formulation of each vendor’s mat is what defines the buoyancy, surface tension, stability (resistance to curling or warping of the edges), durability, and yes, anti-traction control on the underside of the mat.
Unlike the leading standing mats that are all made of 100% polyurethane (including hybrid sit-stand mats like the EcoLast and EverMat) OiC’s Sit Stand Smart Mat is made from nitrile rubber and polypropylene. The surface has a pattern of square ridges that are intended to keep feet cooler, but honestly we’ve never heard any complaints from readers (much less experienced ourselves) feet getting too hot standing on 100% polyurethane as the company’s marketing materials purport.
While we don’t claim to know everything there is to know about standing mat science, we’ve lab reviewed more of them, for more years than anyone else we know, so you can take our advice for what it’s worth. For $99 you can find much more effective, long-lasting, comfortable, durable and environmentally sensible standing mats than this so-called “smart mat.”
We couldn’t find much about the Smart Mat to warrant OiC’s exceptional marketing claims of it being the most comfortable mat on the market. If you read their marketing verbiage closely, however, they do qualify this claim for bare-footed or socked feet, but even without shoes there are well more comfortable mats on the market than this one, for certain.
As Many Choices as a Model-T Ford
This mat comes in one color, charcoal black. It comes in one size, 32″ x 22″, and a thickness of 3/4″. It comes in two varieties of traction control, one for hard floors and one for carpeting (where other mats work equally well on both and you don’t have to choose one over the other). But where popular mats like EcoLast come in literally hundreds of shapes, sizes and colors, OiC’s garage operation produces only one.
OK, maybe matching your home or office decor isn’t the most important thing to you, but avoiding a tripping hazard should be of utmost importance. The edges of the Smart Mat are not flat to the ground all the way around as they generally are on heavier, 100% polyurethane mats of unibody construction. The edges waver a little bit on the Smart Mat, and at the end of the day we have to be candid and caution against using this product strictly from a safety standpoint. We find the company’s market positioning ironic when other manufacturers focus on creating ultra-sticky bottoms, like the EcoLast “Dual Gripper” mats.
While we applaud any product made in the USA rather than China, we also recognize that OiC is a very small company that doesn’t exemplify the typical research and development, not to mention precision manufacturing reputation of American producers, like we see in the standing desk category as well as in standing mats.
The fact that this mat lacks a Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association or National Floor Safety Institute certification keeps us from truly recommending it, despite the manufacturer’s claim that if you step anywhere else on the mat other than directly on the puck it won’t move. Since the puck is hidden underneath there’s no way to reliably know where that sweet spot is, and someone who visits your desk without prior knowledge of this would have no clue about where not to step, it’s fundamentally unsafe from a traction control standpoint even if the edges did not have a tendency to curl.
If a hybrid sit-stand chair mat is not for you because of the cost or any other factor then there’s a way simpler solution than this treacherous Smart Mat, that you can also move around at least on hard surface floors with just your foot, and that’s the 18″x22″ EcoLast Portable Standing Mat. The smaller (18″x24″) Evermat Portable Mat is even slipperier underneath and can even be moved easily on some carpets. These are both manufactured with 100% polyurethane, offer longer warranties than OiC’s 5 year coverage, and are precision manufactured, state-of-the-art products for a lot less money than the Smart Mat.
Be sure to check out our comprehensive reviews of dozens of standing desk anti-fatigue mats for better options.