If you are considering purchasing a glass chair mat, you are not alone. In recent years, glass chair mats have become increasingly popular and have taken share from their plastic counterparts. Their allure includes durability, comfort, and visual appeal.
Glass chair mats are a modern alternative to polycarbonate and vinyl office chair mats. If you have not considered a glass mat before I encourage you to review this article to learn more about them.
This page takes a deep dive into glass office chair mats. Continue reading as you research the various decision points to support your purchase.
Table of Contents
Glass Chair Mat Comparison Table
|Price||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon|
|Weight Limit||1,000 pounds||1,000 pounds||1,000 pounds||1,000 pounds|
|Dimensions||36” x 36” up to 60” x 60”||36” x 48” up to 60” x 60”||36” x 48” up to 60” x 60”||36" x 48" & 40” x 53"|
|Distinguishing Features||Low cost||Standard, higher-end mat||Higher-end mat with most see-through clarity||Less expensive than higher-end brands|
|Warranty||5-year limited warranty||"Forever Guarantee”||"Forever Guarantee”||10-year limited warranty|
|Market Opinions||Customer Reviews on Amazon||Customer Reviews on Amazon||Customer Reviews on Amazon||Customer Reviews on Amazon|
Case for Buying a Glass Chair Mat
When purchasing an office chair mat, by default most folks think of a plastic mat because that is what they have always known. It is not until recently glass chair mats have become popular.
Glass mats are suitable for all floor types including carpet, hardwood, and tile floors. The primary requirement is they lay on a surface that is completely flat. They do not easily slide on any floor type.
There are three primary characteristics that set glass chair mats apart from their plastic counterparts.
- Durability – most are rated at holding 1,000 pounds
- Comfort – they are solid and allow your chair to glide effortlessly
- Style – they are very modern looking and show off the beauty of your floor
Let’s take a deeper dive into each of these characteristics.
Glass Chair Mats Are Durable
Glass chair mats are extremely durable. Many glass mats are rated at holding 1,000 pounds or more. Each mat will come with its own weight rating. They are dent resistant and are not prone to cracking, folding, or discoloration like plastic mats. Glass mats lay perfectly flat on the floor no matter how much you use them.
If you are wondering how a glass mat can hold so much weight, it is because they are manufactured with tempered glass. This is the same type of glass found in car windows.
Tempered glass is a regular piece of glass that is heated and cooled rapidly through a process called “quenching.” The glass is about five times stronger after the process.
A typical glass mat’s useful life is years beyond that of a standard plastic or vinyl chair mat. Their typical useful life is considered 12 years, however, you may find it to be a permanent solution.
For comparison purposes, a plastic mat usually only lasts 3 years with regular use.
Consider a glass mat an investment in your workspace that will not need to be replaced every few years.
Glass Chair Mats Are Comfortable
The second reason people buy glass chair mats is they are a dream to sit on. The surface of the mat is perfectly smooth. Your office chair will roll across the mat like it is gliding on air.
Glass mats are solid as a rock. It feels like your chair is on a perfectly flat hardwood floor without the bumps.
Chairs sitting on plastic or vinyl mats tend to sink down a bit, especially on plush carpet. This causes some tension when rolling. You will not experience this on a glass mat since they are so heavy and firm.
If you spend a significant amount of time at your desk it is worth being comfortable.
Glass Office Chair Mats Are Classy
Finally, people buy glass chair mats because they look great! They are a classy upgrade from standard plastic or vinyl chair mats.
When your friends or work collogues enter your office space, one of the first things they are going to notice is the awesome mat your chair is sitting on. That may not be the case with a regular plastic mat, but glass mats are different. Not a lot of people have them. It’s an office accessory that is really going to stand out because folks are not used to seeing them.
Most are crystal clear and allow you to see the floor underneath. If you have a nice floor, why hide it with a cloudy plastic mat? Allow the beauty of your floor to shine through.
Glass Chair Mat Buying Options
When buying a glass chair mat, one of the main considerations is shipping. I would encourage you to buy from a retailer that offers free shipping if possible. The mats are very heavy weighing up to 50 pounds or more.
Additionally, since you cannot fold a glass mat, they must be shipped flat. This requires a huge box. The weight combined with the large dimensions of the box results in a potential high shipping charge. If you have to pay for the freight, that is going to be a large percentage of the purchase price.
Below are two of my favorite options, both of which are sold on Amazon. You will need to check the listing for each to see if free shipping is offered today.
Best Value Glass Office Chair Mat
My favorite lower-cost glass office mat is by Lorell. This mat can be purchased on Amazon. Do not let the price fool you. It is a high-quality glass mat that is comparable to its higher-end competitors.
It comes in three sizes – 36″, 50”, and 60”. While many custom sizes are not available, these options should meet the requirements of most buyers.
The mat is rated to hold 1,000 pounds. Even if I were 300+ pounds and sitting in a 75-pound chair, I would not worry about the mat cracking. It’s tempered glass and is very sturdy.
Overall, for the price, the Lorell mat is hard to beat. Judging by the customer reviews on Amazon, many other folks agree with that assessment.
Best High-End Glass Chair Mat
My favorite higher-end glass chair mat is the Chiaro by Vitrazza.
Vitrazza is a reputable company and an industry leader in the glass mat market. The first time I heard of Vitrazza was on the radio and that is actually what got me interested in researching glass office chair mats further.
Vitrazza glass office chair mats come in a variety of sizes ranging from 36” x 48” up to 60” x 60”. Their mats are made of ¼” thick tempered glass.
What really sets Vitrazza’s mats ahead of their competitors is the beauty of their mats and the coating they apply to prevent scratching.
As with the Lorell mat, I would encourage you to read the customer reviews on Amazon as you do your due diligence to determine which mat is best for you.
Luminoso vs. Chiaro
Vitrazza has two primary offerings – the Chiaro and Luminoso mat.
The Chiaro model is their standard option which is clearer than most glass mats but has a slight greenish tint due to the iron content in the glass. The best metaphor I can provide is a vintage drink bottle. The greenish tint in vintage bottles is due to the iron content in the glass.
The Luminoso mat is Vitrazza’s ultra-clear model that offers the most clarity. The clarity is accomplished by reducing the amount of iron content in the glass. The Vitrazza Luminoso is the clearest glass mat I have seen.
If you have a light-colored floor it is worth the extra money to purchase the Luminoso. If you have a darker floor, the greenish tint will not be noticeable and the cheaper Chiaro model should be sufficient.
It is important to note that almost all chair mats have some level of a greenish tint due to the iron content in the glass. In the case of the Luminoso, Vitrazza takes the extra step to remove much of the iron content. That is part of what makes the mat higher end, and a higher retail price point than the Chiaro model.
Vitrazza mats have slightly beveled edges. This gives them a nice polished look and prevents the mat from chipping.
If the edges were squared, that would introduce a risk of the mat chipping as you roll on and off with your chair. On the same note, if they were beveled super thin, there would be a risk of chipping under that scenario as well.
Vitrazza has found the ideal bevel that allows for an aesthetically pleasing look while helping keep your mat fully intact over the long term.
Warranty Offered by Vitrazza
Vitrazza offers what is described as a “Forever Warranty”. The warranty covers a broken mat caused by a “defect or design flaw” when placed on a flat floor. The warranty does not cover scratches. Below is a snippet from Vitrazza’s website regarding the warranty.
Are Glass Chair Mats Worth It?
From an economic perspective, it depends on how long you expect to keep your glass mat. Glass office chair mats are considered “permanent” whereas plastic chair mats wear out over time. Let’s use a hypothetical scenario based on the following assumptions:
- Glass chair mat
- Purchase price of $200
- Comes with a lifetime guarantee
- Plastic chair mat
- Purchase price of $50
- Must be replaced every 3 years
Under this scenario, your breakeven period is 12 years. The calculation is ($200/$50)*3 = 12. If you expect to keep the same glass mat for more than 12 years, the upfront investment makes sense if you are only considering hard costs.
Style and comfort are separate from the economic component. Those components can be considered “soft benefits.” If you work in your office every day it is worth it to spend the extra money and have a mat that looks great and allows your chair to glide smoothly.
In most venues, the Lorell glass mat sells for far less than the $200 example illustrated above. My go-to place to buy an item like this is usually Amazon. Since the price can change from day to day, you can check the current price here.
Considerations When Buying a Glass Chair Mat
I prefer a glass chair mat over a plastic chair mat any day. After owning a glass mat, I believe the majority of other folks would feel the same way. Here are the primary considerations when purchasing a glass chair mat.
- Some glass mats are clearer than others. Glass naturally contains iron which gives it a green tint. If you are placing the mat on a white or light-colored floor, you may want to spend the extra money to get a very clear mat. If you have a dark floor it may not matter as much as the light green tint will not stand out as badly.
- Metal wheels cannot be used on the mat. As you may expect, metal wheels will scratch the glass. Depending on the type of chair you have, you may have to switch out the casters. We recommend using rubber wheels. For specific recommendations, see our page about rollerblade style office chair casters.
- Shipping cost. Unless you buy from a vendor that offers free shipping, it could cost you quite a bit to have it delivered. Additionally, if you have to send it back, that could cost you, too. Pro Tip: keep the box for a few days in case you need to send it back!
- Glass mats are heavy. Depending on the dimensions, a typical mat is going to weigh about 50 pounds. You may need some help getting it into your home or office after it’s delivered.
Common Questions About Glass Chair Mats
Are glass mats more expensive than plastic mats?
The cost of glass chair mats are largely dependent on the size, brand and overall quality. Lower end mats cost about $50 – $100 whereas higher-quality mats can cost $250+.
How long do glass chair mats last?
Many glass mats have a lifetime guarantee and are considered a permanent solution. While the upfront cost may be higher than plastic mats in some cases, consider the purchase an investment. Think about how many plastic mats you would have to purchase over the years after they wear out. Since glass mats last a lifetime, compare the total cost of all the plastic mats to the cost of one glass mat.
Do glass mats stay in place on carpet, or do they slide around?
The mats are designed to lay on carpet and hold their position well. As you might expect, heavier mats will stay in place better than lighter weight mats.
What type of office chair wheels (casters) are needed for glass mats?
Do not use metal wheels! Very few office chairs these days come standard with metal wheels. If you have metal wheels, switch them out for a set of plastic or rubber wheels. We recommend rollerblade style wheels.
Are glass chair mats easy to clean?
Yes, you clean the mat much like you would a window, glass tabletop, or any other glass surface. They are very low maintenance and easy to keep clean.
Will glass chair mats break or shatter?
They are made with tempered glass. Tempered glass is a process where a regular sheet of glass is heated up and cooled down quickly. The process increases the strength of the glass five times or more. Since most mats are rated to hold up to 1,000 pounds, it is not likely the mat will break as long as it lays completely flat.
If a glass chair mat breaks, can it cut you?
Since glass mats are made of tempered glass, they are unlikely to cause injury if broken. They will not shatter into sharp pieces like a glass bottle, for example. Instead, think of a car window after a wreck. The window breaks into small chunks and does not have sharp edges.
Although glass mats are becoming more and more popular, I would be willing to bet most folks know very few (if any) people that have one. When people think of chair mats, they think of the plastic ones that have been around forever.
As costs come down and more people realize a tempered glass mat is the best way to go, I am sure you will be hearing more about them over the next few years.
I recommend you give them a try. I do not think you will be disappointed!