Off Topic: Ditch the plastic chairmat...replace it with the last chair mat you'll ever own.

Disclaimer:  I'm not a salesman or representative for any company that makes or sells chair mats.  Don't try to contact me for any reason to tell how much you don't like "my" product, because they're not MY products.  It's sad I have to write this, but I wrote a review of a keychain picture viewer and got slammed by people emailing me saying "your product sucks, I want my money back"...I'd like to avoid that by hopefully setting the expectation up front that I have no affiliation with the product I'm reviewing here.  I'm just a guy excited about something I bought and want to tell other people.

My home office wasn't designed as an office, it was designed as living space, with high-pile carpet.  It's comfortable, it's good looking, but it's also death to chair mats (I've seen them called chairmats, chair mats, floor mats or just mats).  I've had just about every kind of plastic chair mat under my office chair as you can buy, but the number one problem I has is no matter how thick and durable, my weight and the high-pile carpet will ultimately cause plastic/polycarbonate chair mats to crack, curl, chip and otherwise become useless or outright painful.  I knew I could make the problem go away if I used a solid steel plate, but I didn't figure my wife would go for that, so I started looking around.

When I looked around, I noticed some nice wooden ones.  Some were hard oak parquet, some were solid bamboo, all were expensive.  I saw them in the $150-250 range.  I was tired of paying $10-50 for plastic ones every 14 months, so I decided I was going to buy one that was going to last me and if I had to pay that much, I probably would.  The problem I saw with the wooden ones was the reviews I saw from actual owners.  Sure, there are plenty of people who love them, but people who are heavy (250+) and are on high-pile carpet all pretty much said the same thing...after a while, the wood would start flaking off.  Like it was cracking and chipping and looking horrible in the same amount of time that my plastic ones were.  So I dug deeper.

Then I saw some reviews of glass floor mats.  People loved them, the articles made them SOUND sturdy, and best of all, there's nothing to flake off or crack.  My first thought, of course, was that it's glass...and I'm 250Lbs, game over.  But I read the specs and they can hold like 24,000 pounds of static weight per square inch.  Even if I've fallen into my chair and I can't get up, I won't come close to exerting 24,000lbs/  So, I talked to my wife about it, I prayed about it (after all, it's God's money, I'm just a manager.  I've got to give an account for what I've done with it) and I felt like it was something that would pay off in the long run, especially if I don't have to buy any more plastic chair mats.  It's been more than a month now, and I can honestly say a glass chair mat is one of the best purchases I've ever made!

I dug around and I settled on buying one from   I can't exactly say why, other than the people on the phone gave me more confidence in them because they really knew their stuff and would stand behind their product.  They sell three "models" of their chairmats:  The classic, the Executive and the Chairman.  The classic and the executive are identical, except the executive has a beveled/tapered edge so that instead of having a straight, 1/4" thick edge that the wheels can roll off and get stuck on when you try to roll back on, it has a kind of sloping edge like a ramp that let's you roll right back on.  The chairman model is beveled like the executive, but it has a finely textured top surface that makes it kind of opaque.  I'm told it's not like a frosting as if it were sand-blasted, it's actually a scored surface that's a little more aggressive.  The point of it, from what I understand, is that it makes it ideal for situations where you have a map or a picture or something underneath the mat so that it's easier to see and it also reduces the shine on the top surface if you're not keen on a glassy, shiny surface.

I figured that I wouldn't need to spend the extra $35 for the beveled edge of the Executive model, so I ordered the $199 Classic 44x50.  They have the executive model in stock at all times because that's what people buy most of the time, so it's usually a lot quicker to get the executive model (according to the company) because they have to manufacture the classic model on-demand when you order it.  That can take many more days.  To my surprise, they sent me the executive model anyway with the beveled edge for no extra charge.  Not something I thought I wanted, but now that I have it, I'm SOOO glad I do.  The beveled edge of the executive model is like $35 more but now that I SEE what it really means, I'm all for it.  The reason I didn't want it was because I figured I'd just have a big enough mat that I wouldn't be rolling off it anyway.  But in reality, I find myself falling off it a lot more than I ever would have thought, and if I would have gotten the classic model, falling off that edge with the hard, straight edge, plus sinking deep into that carpet would have made me have to pick up the chair every time.  My advice, spring for the Executive model if you've got $35 or so.

When the mat was delivered, it came FedEx came on what looked like a little white passenger van, but it was FedEx (which cost $35, by the way, bringing my total to $234 delivered).  In the box was my receipt and a pair of work gloves with the little black rubber dots on it for handling the awkward mat with more grip.  Nice touch.  The instructions say to completely wipe down both the top and the bottom.  You don't want any specks of sand or grit to be on the surface or your chair wheels could grind it into the surface and scratch it.  The mat itself, isn't actually as heavy or as thick as I thought it would be.  It's 1/4" thick, which isn't very thick, but the glass is so strong that it doesn't need to be any thicker.  But it is big, and can chip if you smack the edge on anything hard, so it's important to get help and keep it from smacking on anything.  Once it's in place, it really looks nice.  I figured it'd make the carpet look all matted and gross, but it's actually much more attractive than I ever would have thought.  You almost can't tell it's there unless you get a glare from an open window or something just right.  And it's sturdy.  I don't feel it flex or bend or give me any reason to fear it's not going to hold up to my 250+ pounds.  Sure, I wouldn't want to drop my computer case on it from the desktop, but one of my kids did drop a whole suitcase full of plastic blocks on it which scared the crap out of me it was so loud, but it just bounced off. So really, about the only thing I feel you really have to watch is walking on it with dirty shoes or moving the chair around on it with little bits of sand on it.  You can really hear the grinding sound when you do that.  I'm sure it sounds like it's doing much more damage to the glass than it actually is, but I wouldn't want to risk hacking it up by being a little loose with the grit.

Now normally, my plastic chair mats move all over the room all day long.  I don't know how or why, I just know that as I move about my normal day, I have to keep moving the mat back several times per day.  With the glass mat, it still moves just a touch, but instead of several times per day, I have to re-adjust it once every 3-4 days, and even then, it's only 1-2 inches moved, not whole feet.  I like that.  

So what am I saying?  I'm saying that a glass chair mat is wicked awesome. It rolls smooth, it's durable, it doesn't hardly move, it looks great and it should be the last chair mat I'll ever buy.  So although $234 is a lot more than I wanted to spend, if it's the only one I ever buy, then I can stop spending $15 or more per year and it saves me money and headache.  My advice is to ditch the plastic/polycarbonate chairmat, avoid the wooden ones that will ultimately wear, chip and fade, and get yourself a glass chairmat!

Number2 (John Nelson) 
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Published Saturday, January 23, 2010 6:09 AM by jnelson


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