Are you wanting the best anti-fatigue mat, but don’t want to spend too much? That is definitely my situation!
Recent Increase in Home Offices
Like much of America, at least the ones who were fortunate enough to keep their job during the COVID craziness, I am now working from home full time. Before the pandemic I was able to work from home a few days a week, but it wasn’t enough for me to give much thought to my home office.
Before the pandemic, I spent 2 days a week in a downtown office where my employer bought us nice standing desks. For the other 3 days a week, my office was a La-z-boy recliner in my living room. This was a sweet set-up! That is, until Covid-19 closed the schools and my living room became my six-year-old daughter’s stomping grounds. (I mean that quite literally!) Off to the basement I went to set up my home office.
Even before the pandemic hit, I was starting to realize that too much time in the La-z-boy was going to put me in an early grave (check out what the Mayo Clinic says about sitting too much ). Out of this concern, I have implemented a couple make-shift standing desk ideas from placing a cardboard box on an old army surplus desk in our basement, to putting a half-built speaker box on my work bench to lay my laptop on. The good news from standing all day is, I can definitely tell that my cardio-vascular system feels better, but now my knees are killing me! Talk about a catch-22!
I need an anti-fatigue mat! So I thought I would take you on my journey to finding the best anti-fatigue mat under $40. While my goal is to find a mat for my standing desk, this would also be helpful for a kitchen, “she-shed”, workshop, or garage.
Evaluating 6 Anti-Fatigue Mats
Based on popularity and customer reviews on Amazon and other sites, I ordered six anti-fatigue mats to compare: AmazonBasics, ComfiLife, Imprint CumulusPRO, Kangaroo, Royal, and Sky Mat .
After waiting my 2 days, the unboxing day has finally come. (I love Amazon Prime!)
The first thing I notice is that all 6 of the mats shipped flat, not rolled up or folded. This is helpful to lessen the possibility of edges curling up or causing the surfaces to crack. The next thing I notice is that all 6 of the mats I ordered are made in China. (Surprise, surprise!) Anyway, back to the matter at hand.
All of the mats I will be looking at are .75 inch thick and their dimensions are around 2 foot x 3 foot.
What Do Others Say?
The “Bird’s Eye View” of my Review
What About Smell?
I do not like it when I go into some of the dollar stores and smell all of the cheap plastic. Then, even after a brief trip, I end up smelling like that cheap plastic for the next hour. Sound familiar (or should I say… smell familiar)?
Nevertheless, I didn’t notice much of a smell from any of the mats after unboxing. The Kangaroo mat only had a slight smell, but it was not very noticeable. I don’t believe you would have to worry about an offensive off-gassing smell from any of them.
Comfort: How Squishy Is It?
In rank from squishy to firm, this is how I would rank them:
- Imprint CumulusPRO
- Sky Mat
Personally, I want the mat to be squishy, but not so squishy that my foot bottoms out if I stand on one foot.
Based on this criteria, Royal and AmazonBasics were too firm. On the other hand, the Kangaroo was too squishy, my foot sank through to the floor beneath. (Though keep in mind, I’m 6’4” and weight about 245lbs. A person who weighs 150lbs might be just fine with the Kangaroo.) The Sky Mat was a little different for me, when I stood putting equal pressure on both feet, it seemed to be firmer than the Kangaroo, ComfiLife, and Imprint. However, when I stood with more pressure on one foot, barefoot, I pretty much bottomed out.
The Imprint, ComfiLife, and Kangaroo seem to do the best at hugging the contours of my bare foot. The Sky Mat and Royal are fair with hugging the contours. But the AmazonBasics is not a hugger (perhaps some sensitivity training is in order).
Looking for this “Goldilocks” combination of squishy, yet supportive, I thought that the Imprint and ComfiLife did the best job. The ComfiLife mat seemed to be a little spongier, while the Imprint seemed more controlled; this was most noticeable when wearing shoes. The difference would be personal taste, but I don’t think you would go wrong with either of these in this category.
All of the mats had decent initial build quality, but a couple of them were clearly better. On most of these mats there appear to be 3 layers: a cleanable top layer, a foam core, and a non-slip base. However, on 4 of the mats, where the top layer meets up with the non-slip base, you could see some foam exposed, like they had sliced off the edges after assembling it. The mats with this issue were the Sky Mat, Kangaroo, Royal, and AmazonBasics. However, the Imprint and ComfiLife had a carefully sealed seam, with no exposed foam.
Would the exposed foam be an issue for longevity? It is difficult to tell, though I would think that any claim of being waterproof would be suspect.
As I read through some of the reviews on Amazon, a number of them mentioned some issues with the glued edges peeling back: AmazonBasics, ComfiLife, Royal, and Sky Mat. With as impressed as I was looking at the build quality of ComfiLife, I was surprised to see some Amazon reviewers mention these concerns. However, with 3,244 reviews and nearly a perfect 5 stars, you are bound to have a small percentage of issues. I would imagine that the other mats are in a similar situation. With thousands of very high reviews and a small percentage of negative reviews, there is a high probability that you would have many years of good service from any of these (though the AmazonBasics and, to a lesser degree, the Imprint are less time-tested, with regard to the number of reviews on Amazon).
Warranty and Extra Features
What about warranty? When you buy something, you just want it to work for a long time. You don’t want to deal with the hassle of hoping that a company has enough integrity to honor their warranty. Nevertheless, it is nice to know that there is a warranty in place, especially when it is a lifetime warranty. The mats that specifically said that they offer a lifetime warranty are the Imprint, ComfiLife, and Sky Mat. Likewise, Kangaroo offers a 10 year warranty, which is still very respectable.
Another nice feature, that I only noticed two of the mats having, is an anti-microbial surface. Those mats were Imprint and ComfiLife. If you are one that likes to walk around your house barefoot, this might be a helpful feature to make sure no odors accumulate over time.
With regard to build quality, I would say the winner is the Imprint CumulusPRO, with a very close runner up being the ComfiLife.
Slippin’ and Slidin’
One of my wife’s constant frustrations is how her mat in the kitchen moves around so much. All of the mats had some type of non-slip layer that meets the floor. The Imprint and ComfiLife had a non-slip layer that felt a little rubbery. However, the other 4 mats had a non-slip layer that looked more like a felt. My assumption when I first looked at them was that the rubbery material would have more traction. However, as my wife and I were moving them around on our wood floors, the only one that seemed to have above average grip was the Kangaroo. The rubbery backed ones didn’t do any better than the rest.
As for the foot’s traction on the top surface, the Imprint had the most traction, while the Kangaroo was the most slippery, with the AmazonBasics and Royal following close behind.
A Focus on Color
Another thing to consider is, not everyone is happy with only one or two choices of color. If you are one that loves color, but still would like to have some decent comfort, you’re in luck. Out of all the mats, the best for a combination of comfort and color selections would fall to the Kangaroo and Sky Mat. The Sky Mat has 9 color options. The Kangaroo mat has 18 color choices. Both of them have some options with patterns.
The ComfiLife would be in the honorable mention category, since they do have 4 color options. Also, Imprint (https://imprintmats.com/) has other models with a wider variety of color schemes.
Most all of these are nice mats, so with perhaps an exception or two, it is hard to go wrong. The primary ‘exception’ I am referring to is the AmazonBasics mat. If the price were around $20, to maybe $25, range I would much happier with it. It would have been an improvement over one that I bought from Sam’s Club a few years ago. However, at this price point, I felt like it was lacking.
The Royal and Sky Mat are a few steps above the AmazonBasics. However, both of them suffer from a tougher top layer that does not hug your foot. Though, the Royal at $29.99, which is the cheapest entry, is pretty respectable. Nevertheless, for just a few more dollars, I tend to think you can get a better mat.
In my top tier, I would place the Imprint CumulusPRO and ComfiLife and probably a notch or two below them I would include the Kangaroo mat for those who are smaller framed. The Imprint CumulusPRO and ComfiLife overall I felt were best. With some of the best cushioning, anti-microbial feature, and a lifetime warranty, it is hard to go wrong with these. If I had to choose between the two, I would have a slight leaning toward the Imprint CumulusPRO.
If you happen to purchase one of these, please post your impressions in the comments. I hope this has been helpful to you. Happy hunting!
Matthew Bogard is a Harding School of Theology graduate who earns a living in the IT field as a database administrator, but whose heart is in helping the church and expanding the kingdom of God. He and his wife of nearly 8 years, Zori Bogard, started out hoping to serve in overseas missions, but along the way, while attempting to grow a family, have shifted their focus to serving children in foster care.