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How to choose car mats?

Mats are an absolutely necessary accessory for a car. Without them, the floor would get dirty, and the underside of the car would start to suffer from corrosion. Below, we will give you a complete answer to the question: “What are the best mats for a car?”. We will list the selection criteria that you should definitely take into account before making a purchase.

Car mats material 

At the moment, the two most popular materials for making car mats are textile and rubber. They differ from each other, and their properties influence many characteristics of the final product.

Textile car mats 

Textile is a synthetic material that is made from soft and flexible fibers. In the case of car mats, textile necessarily has a standard rubber base.

Textile mats, which we will talk about below, are divided into two types: ordinary and 3D. While the former is self-explanatory, the latter consists of volumetric products without cut-outs, consisting of three layers:

  • The top pile;
  • The middle layer, which performs the function of waterproofing, thermal insulation, as well as being responsible for giving the mat volume;
  • The bottom antiskid layer.

Textile mats are made using the innovative technology of computer modeling. They are gaining more and more popularity among progressive drivers, who actively follow the new technologies from the sphere of car accessories.

Textile car mats have numerous advantages. In particular, they are:

  • Easy to remove. A textile mat can be easily and quickly taken out of a car and put away. This favorably distinguishes such a product from other varieties of car mats, which are fixed in the cabin and therefore are difficult to dismantle.
  • They are equipped with an anti-slip coating. Every single textile mat is equipped with a special surface, which effectively resists sliding. This property is maintained even at high travel speeds and in sharp turns.
  • They do not emit any unpleasant odors. Even extreme outdoor or indoor humidity does not cause a stench. The smell comes from neither new nor old textile mats.
  • They are lightweight. Textile mats weigh very little. This advantage may seem insignificant to you now, but you will definitely appreciate it when you wash the floor of your car.

Of course, textile car mats also have their disadvantages. The main one is that they are not able to collect too much water. Particularly in winter, these products can leak due to the abundance of snow, which gets into the cabin with the driver and his passengers.

Moreover, it is worth noting that textile car mats do not dry out quickly. You will not be able to place them back in your car’s cabin a few hours after wet cleaning. This is not too critical, because you can use dry cleaning instead of wet cleaning. By the way, to make textile mats dry faster, it is best to put them in a warm room.

Another disadvantage of textile mats lies in their price. Such products do cost more than their many alternatives. However, mats made from other materials do not offer half of the benefits that textile mats do.

Rubber car mats

Rubber is the traditional material for making car mats. Rubber car mats have several outstanding advantages. Among them are the following:

  • Low price. Mats made of rubber cost less than many other products to protect the car floor from dirt. Of course, there are also relatively expensive car mats of this type, but their price is still at the average market level.
  • Ability to protect the interior from dirt and water. Rubber mats do a good job with their main task of keeping the floor of the car dry and clean. They prevent premature deterioration of the carpeting and keep the underside of the car from rusting.
  • Easy to clean. To clean the dirt off a rubber mat, you simply need to wash it with ordinary water from a bucket or a hose. The rubber product will quickly dry and resume its primary protective function.

Car mats made of rubber can be washed easily and quickly. Manufacturers of rubber mats equip their products with special notches and patterns, so that dirt from shoes is not spread around the cabin.

As far as disadvantages are concerned, mats made of rubber are very heavy. The weight of a set of these products can reach an impressive eight kilograms. This can cause inconvenience during the initial installation, the washing, and the subsequent replacement.

Unfortunately, not all people can tolerate the smell of rubber well. Due to high humidity and increased temperature, mats made of this material sometimes begin to smell bad. This happens at the beginning of the use of such products. However, the smell then goes away.

Leather car mats

Leather is not the most popular material for making car mats due to the presence of more affordable analogs on the market. However, there are still mats on sale, sewn from natural or eco-leather. Since there is virtually no difference between them, we will list below the advantages of car mats made from both varieties of this material.

So, leather car mats:

  • Look solid. In this category, no other type of mats can compete with leather products. They offer a luxurious look to even the most ordinary car interior, let alone expensive car makes and models. If aesthetics are important to you, do not spare money and go for leather car mats.
  • Are surprisingly durable. They withstand everything: feet scuffing, wear and tear caused by heels and pets’ sharp claws, and even serious mechanical damages. Leather carpets can be a long-term investment in your car.
  • Are unassuming to care for. To get the leather back to its presentable appearance, you just need to wipe it with a regular wet rag. Alongside that, you do not have to wipe off the dirt from the original floor, as the leather carpets will completely cover the factory trim. With leather mats, you will forget about dry cleaning the cabin for a long time.
  • Have good air permeability and equal water resistance. The former applies mainly to mats made of eco-leather – a high-tech material that has the ability to “breathe”. It is perfectly air and water-vapor permeable but does not allow the moisture to seep through.
  • Are non-slip. 3D leather car mats are clearly fixed to the floor of the car and do not slide while in use. This is beneficial not only in terms of protecting the floor from unwanted dirt but also in terms of comfort while driving.

Leather mats have one big disadvantage: their high cost. Naturally, products made from natural materials are cheaper than their eco-leather counterparts. At the same time, both variants still cost motorists more than others. However, if leather car mats were not so expensive, they would not possess a mass of inherent advantages such as, for example, premium appearance.

Types of Car Mats

Universal car mats

Universal mats are suitable for absolutely all cars of foreign and domestic brands. At least, so say their manufacturers. But universal mats have a few drawbacks:

  • They are supplied without sides. This does not apply to all universal mats, but only to most of them. Because of the lack of sides in late fall, snowy winter, and early spring, a lot of water leaks under such mats. Again, it becomes dirty and uncomfortable inside.
  • They are fixed very loosely or not at all. As a rule, universal mats have no special indentations, which would allow them to be securely fastened to the car floor. Because of this, they can slip on the floor surface and create additional inconvenience when moving.

Despite the above disadvantages, universal car mats also have their advantages.

Firstly, they are extremely easy to find. If you have an unusual car model, this will be a significant advantage for you.

Secondly, universal car mats are cheap. If your budget is extremely limited at the moment, the low price of universal mats will be a big success for you.

Thirdly, if you desire, the shape of universal mats can be adjusted to a particular car.

Model car mats

Model mats are also known as original mats. This is due to the fact that they are made using factory patterns. Model mats:

  • Look neat. They are cut out in full accordance with the floor configuration and fit a particular car model perfectly.
  • Match the interior as a whole. When designing a model car mat, the manufacturer necessarily takes into account the interior of the vehicle as a whole.
  • Are firmly fixed in place. Model mats have special indentations for this purpose. They completely exclude the risk that the product will not fit tightly to the floor or will start to move on it.

As such, model car mats have no disadvantages. Of course, some people are discouraged by the fact that they cost more than universal products.

The final verdict 

What are the best car mats? If you want to buy them once and not worry about replacement for many years, the choice should definitely be made in favor of expensive leather model products! If price, cleanliness, and easiness to clean are important for you in the first place, then rubber mats are the best choice.

Good luck on the road, drivers.

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