What is a Standing Desk Mat?
A standing desk mat is a soft surface that you stand on while using your standing desk. They are generally made of durable foam and tend to have raised edges for your feet to rest on. It is a great compliment to a standing desk and often helps reduce some of the few negative effects of standing like joint soreness and fatigue.
Why Use One?
Many standing desk users find that anti-fatigue mats help them to stand more comfortably, and they encourage movement. You'll see in our top choices that some of the mats aren't flat, but have an uneven surface to help you stretch your calves or lean against. And since they are soft, you'll find yourself shifting more (remember that movement is a good thing). Some newer models even include a mobile footrest.
As the industry evolves, there are more options when it comes to making standing easier. We've evaluated many different types and brands to find the best standing desk mat for your needs.
While a mat for standing may seem simple, there are key criteria that we have learned make a mat better or worse at making standing sustainable, comfortable, and healthy. Here are the five main criteria we use to evaluate the best standing desk mats:
- Variety of Standing Positions - While the traditional mat we picture in our minds is flat, standing mats that have a variety of surfaces and angles give us many more options than standing flat-footed. Mats with these designs can make standing more fun and comfortable.
- Material Density - Although this can be dependent on your own preference and weight, you want your mat to strike a balance between comfortable and supportive. Finding a mat with the right density for you will be key.
- Quality - Mats will see extensive abuse. Mats that are especially cushy seem to have a tendency to tear or curl up over time. Quality also considers the warranty offered.
- Grip and Stability - The grip offered by the mat, both between the mat and the floor and between the mat and your feet is important to consider.
- Overall Value - As with all our product recommendations, everything we review is level set by value for money. If you have a standing desk, you've likely already made a significant investment and may be looking for a value-driven mat.
With these criteria in mind, we reviewed dozens of standing desk mats, some designed by standing desk companies, some not. We recommend 4 top standing desk mats for a variety of common use-cases that may apply to you.
Best Standing Desk Mats
"Best Mat for Stretching and Constant Movement"
Compare Standing Desk Mats
Key Considerations When Buying a Mat
- Remember that the thickness of your mat will change your height standing at your desk. This won't affect most people as most standing desks are adjustable, but if you're tall and you're at the max height for your standing desk, it could make your monitor and/or keyboard too low for you.
- Pay attention to the width and length of the standing mat that you're interested in, and make sure you have enough space for it.
- Don't use high heels when standing on the mat, and be careful with shoes with hard heels that could damage the mat. And I wouldn't risk placing a chair on the mat (except for the iMovR EcoLast). If you frequently switch from sitting to standing, find a mat that will easily slide under your desk (such as the Topo).
- If you walk away from your mat frequently, you may want to look at the flat mats so you don't trip over one of the contoured mats.
- Be careful about cheaper mats. You get what you pay for, and buying a $40 mat may end up costing you more in the long run if you end up throwing it away and buying a higher quality mat later. We tested cheaper mats, and there was a noticeable difference in quality, aesthetics, durability, and comfort.
Standing Mat Advice
- Give your body time to acclimate to your standing desk mat, especially if you're new to standing at your desk. They're also known as anti-fatigue mats, but many users find that they move a lot more when they're standing on them.
- Keep moving. When I started using a standing mat, I found myself shifting, stretching, doing squats, calf raises, and stretching. By the end of the day, I found myself more tired, especially my calves, but it was worth it as my productivity had gone up, my mood was better, my back felt better. When you stand, it's good to keep moving-being immobile isn't good whether you're sitting or standing. If you find yourself getting really tired, you can switch back to sitting. You'll read negative reviews that people still get tired while standing on their mats. When you're using your muscles, you're probably going to get tired. Changing positions will keep you from using the same muscles for too long.
- Stretch. There's a great article by Dan Kois in New York Magazine where he stood for a month - all day, every day, except when he slept. His calves were really sore, and someone suggested to him partway through the experiment that he should stretch, and he said that made a big difference. That's why I'm a fan of the contoured mats (such as our top pick, the Topo) or the Varidesk ActiveMat Rocker, which gives the deepest calf stretch. They're designed so you can stretch your calves throughout your day.
Standing Desk Mat Frequently Asked Questions
Here are our answers to the most frequently asked questions about standing desk mats.
Do you need a mat for a standing desk?
If you find your muscles getting fatigued while standing at your desk or that your joints are sore, a standing desk mat may help. They also help encourage movement, making your standing healthier.
What is the best floor mat for standing all day?
The best standing desk mat for comfort and for overall value is the Ergodriven Topo. It's light, has contoured edges, will work with shoes or bare feet, and is a reasonable price.
Do anti-fatigue mats really work?
Standing desk mats provide comfort and support. If you stand for long periods and find yourself getting fatigued, they will help you stand longer with less muscle soreness and joint fatigue.
How long should you stand at a standing desk?
Ergonomic experts recommend standing until you get fatigued and sitting for 20-30 minutes at a time. The ideal routine for most people is to change from sitting to standing throughout your workday.