Thursday , October 18 2018

Best Office Desk Pad Buyers Guide

Looking for the best office desk pad to buy?  If so, you came to the right place.

Desk pads are a great way to spice up your work-space and protect your desk from everyday use.  They are one of those staple office accessories that serve a purpose and add a little bit of style at the same time.

This article contains a significant amount of product research on the best office desk pads available.  Pros and cons of each desk pad are provided in bullet point format.

This article is broken down into three main sections which include the following.

  • Office Desk pad reviews
  • Considerations when buying a desk cover
  • Frequently asked questions when buying a office desk cover

You may find the buyer’s guide at the end helpful if you are looking for an overview of desk pads in general.

Satechi Mate & Mat Review

The “Satechi Mate & Mat” is my top pick for the best desk pad.  If you are looking for a quality desk mat at a reasonable price, this one is as good as it gets.

The Satechi Mate & Mat is a high quality, modern looking desk pad.  There are a variety of different colors available.  You can choose the color that best matches your personality and office decor.

Available colors include the following:

  • Black
  • Cream White
  • Green
  • Lime
  • Orange
  • Soft Pink

This Satechi desk mat measures 24” x 14”.  The surface area is large enough to fit both your keyboard and mouse.  It is also large enough to fit a laptop and mouse.

This mat is made of synthetic leather, which is commonly referred to as faux leather.  With that said, it has a slightly rigid texture and is similar to a genuine leather desk mat.

It also serves the purpose of a writing pad with its firm yet smooth surface.  The mat is dense enough to prevent your pen or pencil from puncturing the paper.  At the same time, its surface features allow seamless writing at a consistent flow.  It is like writing on a leather desk mat.

The backing is a material that I can best describe as microfiber or felt-like.  Since it is soft, there is little worry about it scratching your desk.

If you tend to eat and drink at your desk, cleanup is easy.  The material does not absorb liquid.  Liquid can be absorbed with a rag.  Crumbs can simply be wiped off.

The mat is shipped flat in a cardboard wrapping.  Since it is not rolled up for shipping, there is no wait time for it to be flattened out.  You can start using it immediately.

The following video by Satechi is a good overview of the mat.  The video will give you an even better idea of what you can expect to receive.

Pros:

  • Quality.  This is one of the highest quality desk mats you will find in this price range.
  • Durability.  Durability goes hand in hand with the quality.  Cheaper mats tend to fray around the edges after several months of use.  This one holds up well to everyday wear and tear.
  • Texture.  The texture is similar to a genuine leather desk mat.  It is slightly rigid and prevents your keyboard from sliding around.
  • Variety of colors.  There are six different colors to choose from.  You have the option of picking the color that works best for you.
  • Easy to clean.  Just wipe it off with a damp cloth.  It is stain resistant.

Cons:

  • Faux leather.  It is made of a synthetic leather.  Even though it is not the real thing, it looks great, has the same texture, and for the price it is hard to beat.
  • Logo on the pad.  The company’s logo is in the bottom right corner.  If there was one thing I could change about this office desk pad, it would be to remove the advertising.
  • Non-slip backing could be better.  For the most part, the mat stays in place on your desk.  However, since the back is a felt-like material, expect to readjust it from time to time.

Desktex Desk Mat Review

The Desktex desk mat is the best clear desk mat I have found.

The Desktex mat is made by Floortex, a leading manufacturer of office chair floor mats.

Since the mat is clear, you can place photos, a calendar, charts, graphs, notes, and other documents under the mat and they will be viewable.

There are several versions and sizes of this mat.  The version you select will determine its strength, transparency, and anti-slip properties.  On the product page, be sure to select the configuration you need before clicking “Add to Cart.”

You can purchase this mat in three different materials:  polycarbonate, PVC, and PET.

  • Polycarbonate.  This is the toughest and most clear of the three.  It can withstand temperatures of up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit.  This is important if you are using a laptop.  Laptops can get hot.
  • PVC.  PVC is basically vinyl.  This version can withstand temperatures of up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit.  It is suitable for a mouse, keyboard, and general protection of the desk’s surface.  PVC is typically cheaper than polycarbonate and is often considered “entry level.”
  • PET.  This material is made of 100% recycled bottles and other plastics.  The version with PET material is lower quality and is not as clear as the polycarbonate and PVC versions.  It is the lowest quality of the three.

In addition to the different construction materials, the mat also comes in different styles.  The styles available include the following.

  • Anti-slip.  The anti-slip backing prevents the mat from sliding around on your desk.  The tradeoff is it’s slightly less transparent than the version with the smooth backing.  Don’t get me wrong; it is still clear, just a bit more opaque.
  • Smooth backing.  This is the option that offers the most transparency.  It is the clearest mat and easiest to see through.  However, without the anti-slip feature, expect to readjust the mat on your desk more often.
  • Anti-static.  The anti-static desk mat helps keep dust out of laptops and tablets.

Finally, there are different shapes and dimensions.  It comes in circular and rectangular shapes with various dimensions.  Below is the lineup of options.

  • Circular – 8″ diameter
  • Circular – 12″ diameter
  • Rectangular – 12″ x 18″
  • Rectangular – 17″ x 22″
  • Rectangular – 19″ x 24″
  • Rectangular – 20″ x 36″
  • Rectangular – 29″ x 59″
  • Rectangular – 35″ x 71″

Overall, if you need a clear desk mat, the Desktex is a good option.

Pros:

  • Multiple material choices.  You can pick the material your mat is made of.  The options are polycarbonate, PVC, or PET.  The composition directly correlates to the strength of the mat and its transparency.
  • Multiple backings.  You can choose from either a smooth or anti-slip backing.
  • Sizes.  This mat comes in a variety of sizes that will fit most desks.

Cons:

  • Size may not be accurate.  The manufacturer, Floortex, notes that the actual size you receive may be +/- 10% of the quoted size.  In other words, the actual mat you receive may be 10% larger or smaller than what you expect it to be.  You may have to cut it for a custom fit.
  • Shipped rolled up.  With the polycarbonate mat, this should not be a problem since it is a very strong material and will snap back in place once unrolling.  However, with the PVC mat, it could take some time for it to lay completely flat.

Lorell Office Desk Pad Review

The Lorell desk pad is another great option if you are looking for a crystal-clear desk mat.

Lorell Desk Pads, 36 x 20 Inches, Matte
List Price: $24.39
Price: $24.33
You Save: $0.06
Price Disclaimer

When I say this mat is crystal clear, I mean it is crystal clear.  You will hardly know it is there.  It really allows the beauty of your desk’s wood to show through.

It is a rectangular shaped mat and measures 20” x 36”.

Since it is clear, you can put notes, photos, a calendar, and other documents underneath.  The mat is very transparent so you can see through it with no problem.

It is manufactured with high quality PVC, more commonly known as vinyl.  It is specifically made not to stick to your desk like other desk mats sometimes do.

The Lorell desk pad cross functions well as a writing pad.  Since it is thick and firm, it does not easily indent.  This makes it ideal to write on for an extended amount of time without wrist fatigue.

The mat is shipped flat in a large cardboard box.  Since it is not rolled up for shipping, there is no worry that it will not lay flat upon arrival.

Pros:

  • Crystal clear. The mat is very transparent.  It is almost like there is nothing there at all.
  • Thickness.  It is thicker than the average mat and does a great job protecting your desk surface.
  • Easy to clean.  Whether you spill a drink or accidentally mark on it, cleaning is not a problem.  You can use standard glass cleaner and a cloth to wipe it off.

Cons:

  • One size.  The desk mat only comes in a single size, 20” x 36”.  It would be great if the mat was offered in additional sizes.
  • Initially smells like plastic.  For about a week, it has a “new plastic” smell.  Some folks may want to consider keeping it in another room until the smell has dissipated.
  • Anchoring required.  It does not slip and slide all around your desk, but without some sort of anchoring (such as a monitor) it tends to slide a little bit.  The downside of it being so clear is that there are no “grippers” that attach to the desk surface.

ES Robbins Rectangle Desk Pad Review

The ES Robbins desk mat is another good option for those looking for a basic office desk pad.

This desk mat comes in clear and matte colors.  The clear mat is very clear.  The matte version is less reflective.

It comes in two sizes – 19” x 24” and 20” x 36”.

The top has a non-slip surface which ensures your keyboard or laptop will not slide around while you are working.

One of the key selling points for this mat is its thickness.  It is thicker than most other desk pads.  As a result, it cross-functions well as a writing pad.  It is firm enough for you not to puncture your paper while writing.

This desk pad is shipped flat.  Since it is not shipped rolled up in a tube, it lays flat and is ready for immediate use.

Finally, this one is made in the USA!  I like to support American made products as much as I can.

Pros:

  • Thick enough to write on.  A great option for this mat and the others reviewed in this article is the ability to use it as a writing pad.  Even with a single sheet of paper, your pen or pencil will not puncture the paper when writing.
  • No indentations.  This is a very durable and sturdy mat.  Writing a note on the mat does not leave indentations.
  • Ships flat.  Since it will arrive in a flat box, there is no need to worry about it not lying flat.  It is ready to use right out of the box.

Cons:

  • Quality.  The quality is not as good as the Desktex or Lorell mats.
  • Melts easily.  It does not withstand heat very well.  Be cautious when setting a hot cup of coffee on the mat.  It does not take a lot for the mat to develop a melted “ring” where the cup was sitting.

Artistic Rhinolin II Desk Pad Review

The Artistic Rhinolin II desk pad has two great things going for it.  It has a very smooth writing surface and antimicrobial protection.

Unlike most of the other office desk pads reviewed in this article, this one was made to be primarily used as a writing surface.  You can use it with your keyboard or laptop, but it works exceptionally well as a writing pad.

The Artistic Rhinolin II comes in black with a matte finish.  It is offered in a few different sizes including the following.

  • 12″ x 17″
  • 17″ x 24″
  • 20″ x 36″
  • 24″ x 36″

The Artistic Rhinolin II has one of the smoothest writing surfaces out there.  The texture is firm and slightly cushioned.  It is not a hard plastic.  The surface is “self-healing” meaning that any indentations that are made while writing will quickly revert back to its original form.

Keep in mind this office desk pad was designed for writing.  The surface is ideal for that!

The Artistic desk pad features Microban antimicrobial technology.  The Microban protection helps prevent microbes including mold, mildew, and bacteria from multiplying.  This protection is actually built into the desk pad as it is manufactured.

What does this mean to you?  Since the Artistic Rhinolin helps prevent microbes, it will consistently stay cleaner than most other desk pads on the market.  The built in Microban technology provides around the clock protection for the life of the desk pad.

The Artistic Rhinolin II offers nearly the best anti-slip protection of any desk pad I have found.  The key to it staying in place can be credited to its foam-like backing.  This backing helps prevent the desk pad from sliding around and does a good job at encouraging it to stay in place.  Since it does not have an adhesive backing, you can pick it up and/or move it around when necessary.

Finally, it ships flat, not rolled up.  This helps ensure it will lay totally flat the same day you receive it.

Pros:

  • Works great as a writing pad.  This desk pad was designed to be a writing pad.  It has a firm, yet slightly cushioned surface that allows your pen or pencil to glide across the paper.
  • Antimicrobial protection.  It has built in Microban antimicrobial technology.  This technology helps prevent microbes from multiplying.  It helps keep your mat germ free between regular cleanings.
  • Anti-skid protection.  The base of the mat is a foam-like material.  As you are writing and putting a bit of pressure on the mat, the foam-like backing prevents the mat from moving around on your desk.

Cons:

  • Dimensions may vary.  As with most office desk pads, the pad you receive may vary slightly from the stated dimensions.  The pad you receive should be within 1” of the stated size.
  • Smudges easily.  You will notice fingerprints on the surface.
  • Does not handle heat well.  Do not put hot items on this desk pad.  This includes a cup of coffee or warm plate.  It may cause discoloration.

Why You Need a Office Desk Pad

If you are not using a desk pad in your office or home, you are missing out.

A desk pad is like a mouse pad that is big enough to fit your keyboard.  Depending on the size, some are large enough to fit your mouse, too.

They look professional and are an easy way to spice up your workspace.

Sometimes simple accessories like a desk mat enhances your environment, which in turn, can help make you more productive.

Desk pads have practical uses as well.  The most common uses include protecting your desk, preventing your keyboard from sliding around, and serving as a writing pad.

Desk Protection

A office desk mat will help protect your desk from everyday use.  This includes protection from scratches, spills, and everyday wear and tear.

You can use a desk mat for your keyboard for the same reason you use a mouse pad for your mouse.  That is to protect your desk from showing wear where your keyboard and mouse slide across your desk. Over time, using a keyboard on a bare desk surface will cause scuffs and/or discoloration where it sits.

Keep Your Keyboard from Sliding

Is your keyboard is sliding all around your desk?  If so, a desk mat is a simple solution to solve this problem.

Desk pads are slightly textured and will not allow your keyboard to slide as easily as it would on a smooth desk surface.

Most desk pads are designed not to slide.  Many models have a special backing that prevents the pad from sliding.

Writing Surface

Most desk pads can be substituted as a blotter to allow smoother writing.  The key is to buy one that is firm enough to prevent your pen from puncturing the paper.  At the same time, you need one that has a bit of softness that encourages a steady “flow” as you are writing.

There are desk pads, such as the Artistic Rhinolin II, that are designed specifically for writing.  If you are buying a desk pad for the purpose of writing, I recommend purchasing one where writing is its intended use.

A desk mat can greatly reduce writing fatigue.  If you have not tried writing on a desk pad, you will find that it is a much better experience than simply writing on a hard surface.  Your writing will take on a great flow as your pen glides across the paper.

What to Consider When Buying a Office Desk Pad

When buying a desk mat, there are several things you should consider.  I have listed out the primary considerations below and added context around each.

Material

Desk pads are available in a variety of different materials.  The most common materials desk pads are made out of include plastic, leather, and faux leather.  Polycarbonate and PVC (vinyl) are the most common types of plastic mats.

Below is a quick reference chart that outlines the common desk pad materials and best use for each.

Desk Pad Material Best For Comments
Plastic General Use Includes Polycarbonate and PVC mats. Best option if you are looking for a clear, “see through” mat.
Faux Leather Writing Aside from genuine leather, these look the best in my opinion. Depending on the brand, they come in a variety of different colors.
Leather Writing Typically, the most expensive desk mats. Leather desk mats are the most professional looking.
Anti-static Laptops Helps keep dust out of your laptop.

Surface

If you plan to use your office desk pad for writing, your best bet is to purchase a leather or faux leather mat.  You will need a pad that is firm enough for the tip of your pen or pencil not to puncture your paper.  At the same time, you want one that has some level of softness which will allow for a smooth, consistent flow when writing.

Another consideration is your mouse.  If your mouse has a ball, then this is not as big of an issue.  Some laser mice do not work well with clear mats.  If you have a gaming mouse, consider a desk pad made specifically for gaming.

Color

The most common colors for office desk pads are clear, black and brown.

Plastic mats are typically clear (mostly used as office desk cover), although you can buy them in a matte color.  This depends on whether you want to be able to see through the mat or need one that is more opaque.

Clear desk pads are ideal to place a calendar, pictures, or notes under.  You can see right through the pad and the items underneath stay clean and in place.

Leather and faux leather desk pads are usually black or brown.  Many would agree they look more professional.  Most desk pads designed specifically for writing fall in this category.

Non-slip Backing

One of the primary reasons to buy a desk mat is to prevent your keyboard from slipping.  Make sure the desk mat you choose has a non-slip backing so the mat does not slide, too!

My favorite backing is the foam-like material found on the Artistic Rhinolin II.  It tends to “stick” to your desk when a light amount of pressure is applied.  An example is when your wrists are resting on it while typing on your keyboard.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  How much does a desk pad cost?

A:  I recommend purchasing desk mats from Amazon due to the convenience and great customer service they offer.  Since Amazon is a marketplace, prices change at any given time.  You will need to visit Amazon’s product page for each individual mat for the most current pricing.

Q:  How do I make my desk pad lay flat?

A:  Many mats ship flat so this should not be an issue.  If yours is curled up, use a blow dryer on the highest setting to blow over it back and forth.  After a few minutes, it will start to lay flat.

Q:  I ordered a plastic mat and it stinks!  It has that new plastic smell.  How do I get rid of it?

A:  It just takes time.  If the smell bothers you, put the mat in another room for about a week.  After it airs out, the smell should go away.

Q:  I’m looking for a strong plastic desk mat.  I see Desktex is offered in PVC and polycarbonate.  Which should I buy?

A:  If strength is a concern, definitely purchase the polycarbonate version.  It is many times more durable than PVC.

Q:  I am looking for a leather desk mat, but I see your top recommended mat is a faux leather material.  Is there a big difference?

A:  My top recommended mat is the Satechi Mate & Mat, and yes, it is faux leather.  With that said, the quality is second to none.  In my opinion it is comparable to a genuine leather mat in both quality and texture.  It retails at a much lower price than a leather mat, too.  I do not think you will be disappointed.

Q:  I have documents I would like to put under a clear mat including schedules, photos, and notes.  Are clear mats really clear?

A:  It depends.  Some of mats that are described as “clear” are actually cloudy or opaque.  If you want a crystal-clear mat, consider the Lorell desk mat.  It is like looking through a sheet of glass.

Q:  How do I clean a desk mat.

A:  The method of cleaning your desk mat depends on the material it is made out of.  If it is a plastic desk mat, including PVC (vinyl) and polycarbonate, you would simply spray it with your favorite glass cleaner and wipe it down.

To clean a faux leather mat, wring out a soapy rag and scrub.  Follow up by wiping the mat down with a damp, non-soapy rag to remove any remaining soap suds.

Q:  Will a laser mouse work on a clear desk pad?

A:  The short answer is some do and some don’t.  A quick Google search of your particular mouse should quickly tell you whether it will work on a clear mat.  If you have concerns, an alternative would be to purchase a matte or other colored desk pad.  In general, black desk pads work best with laser mice.

Final Thoughts

Wow, who knew there was so much to consider when purchasing a desk pad?

I hope you found this article informative and helped make your decision a little easier.  If you think others would find it helpful, be sure to share it on Facebook or your favorite social network.

And finally, I always love to hear from readers.  Please fill out the form on the contact us page if you would like to send a note.

Some Other Choices from Top Brands






Sources:

HowStuffWorks.com

Wikipedia.org

Amazon.com

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