How Much Does that Cheap Plastic Desk Chair Mat REALLY Cost?

How Much Does that Cheap Plastic Desk Chair Mat REALLY Cost?

When we set up an office space, components like the desk, computer, and chair usually take priority. One of the last items most people consider tends to be the floor mat.

Now, many believe a chair mat’s primary function is to protect the flooring beneath – whether it's hardwood floors, carpeted floors, tile, etc. A cheap plastic mat may suffice initially, but not for long. 

These floor mats are cheap and widely available. While this option may seem obvious, there are many unknown costs of going this route with your office setup. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for when you buy an office chair mat.

Compared to tempered glass chair mats, bamboo, or vinyl, plastic chair mats usually provide the least amount of benefits. In this article, we’re going to discuss the real costs of buying a cheap plastic desk chair mat – and provide a better alternative.

Immediate Costs of a Plastic Desk Chair Mat

Retail Price

You can generally find a plastic desk chair mat for anywhere from $20 - $75. The size, shape, and quality of plastic chair mats can vary, but most will provide a similar result.

Of all of the chair mat materials – including glass, bamboo, and vinyl – plastic is the cheapest.


Perhaps the biggest advantage of plastic desk chair mats is you can find them almost anywhere. An office supply store should have these items in stock. You can also find them online fairly easily.


The quality and durability of a plastic desk chair mat is the biggest flaw.

Poor durability is the biggest drawback of a plastic desk chair mat.  They tend to crack, warp, or break under continuous stress.

Constant chair movement, combined with the weight of the person using the chair – puts a great deal of pressure on the mat, which can easily lead to rapid wear and tear. Additionally, sunlight or temperature fluctuations can cause the material to degrade faster.

If your office is being used full-time, the plastic desk chair mat will likely deteriorate within a few months.  

Hidden Costs of a Plastic Desk Chair Mat

Ergonomic Issues

One of the biggest hidden costs of a plastic desk chair mat is its poor ergonomics. As the product wears, it will create an uneven surface for office chairs. Additionally, cracks and ruts will develop – which will restrict movement and can lead to bad posture and chronic pain.

Over time, these issues put a strain on your muscles and joints, contributing to more serious problems in the neck, back, and wrists.

Durability and Longevity

The subpar durability of plastic chair mats is what makes the biggest impact on the wallet.

The thin construction and low-quality plastic generally results in cracking, splitting, or denting within just a few months or less. This damage can quickly become more pronounced, leading to an uneven surface that’s both unattractive and fails to protect the floor. As a result, most people end up replacing the mats several times throughout the year.

In other words, the upfront costs are low, but the long-term expenses of constantly replacing the plastic desk chair mat will add up.  


Visually speaking, a cheap plastic desk chair mat has a subliminal message.

Cheap office components send a message that you do not value quality. A customer may see this and assume the work you do is also cheap. While this may not be a big issue in a home office, corporate offices need to present an image that says they value employees and do not cut corners.

Plastic chair mats can have the opposite effect.

Environmental Impact

The cost of a cheap plastic chair mat goes beyond your office – and your wallet.

The environmental impact of plastic desk chair mats is a big concern for the planet – especially those made from non-recyclable or low-quality plastics.

First of all, the production process involves petroleum-based materials and energy-intensive manufacturing, contributing to carbon emissions. When you discard a degraded plastic desk chair mat, the non-biodegradable materials will linger in landfills for decades. This problem is exacerbated by having to frequently replace the chair mat.

Glass Desk Chair Mat: The Smarter Alternative

Of all the office chair mat materials, tempered glass is by far the best. They provide an ergonomic solution that can protect all floor types - low pile carpet, hardwood floor, and so on. 

This is due to their superior durability, aesthetics, and environmental friendliness.

Glass chair mats are resistant to cracking, scratching, and denting. The result is a smooth and consistent surface that ensures easy chair movement – and no ergonomic roadblocks.

In terms of aesthetics, the sleek and transparent appearance complements any office décor – and sends a strong message you value quality in your business.

Unlike cheap plastic options, glass mats will not degrade over time (with recommended use). While the upfront costs are higher, you will never have to replace it. This minimizes your financial strain as well as strain on the environment.

The combination of durability, aesthetics, and sustainability makes glass mats a significantly better choice than plastic in the long run.

Make the Right Choice for Your Office

A plastic desk chair mat may seem like a smart idea in the short term, but the costs will add up over time – in addition to many collateral problems. Purchasing a tempered glass chair mat is a one-time investment for your office space. You’ll protect your floor, chair, and avoid strain on your body.

At Clearly Innovative, we have a catalog of high-quality beveled glass chair mats. These models are available in square, rectangular, and tabbed variations. Browse our selection today!

Browse our selection today.

For any questions about glass chair mats, get in touch with our team – we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.