What is a Desk Mat and 9 Reasons Why They’re Worth It

A desk mat, also known as a desk pad, is essentially an oversized mouse pad. It covers a large area of your desk to protect your surface from scratches and spills and is also a comfortable surface for typing and using a mouse.

Desk mats come in a large variety of sizes. They can be huge and cover your entire desk, or just big enough to fit a mouse and keyboard. It is a very popular desk accessory with a ton of functionality to it. 

Wool and Felt Desk Mat Review (7)

In this article, we’re going to cover the specific benefits you get with a desk mat and why you should have one on your desk as well.

Key Takeaways

The three main benefits of a desk mat include desk protection, desk aesthetics boost, and added comfort. Fabric desk mats give your hard desk a soft touch instead and also function as a mousepad.

Because they come in a variety of sizes, you can choose the exact size that fits your desk goals. Want to protect your entire desk surface? You can get XXL mats. Only need a soft area for your keyboard and mouse? Those sizes are widely popular as well.

They come in many different material types such as leather, polyester, and even wool or felt. I personally would avoid wool desk mats.

What Is The Purpose Of A Computer Desk Pad?

Now that we know what desk mats are, what’s their purpose? There are actually a bunch of things ta desk mat does well.

Mainly though, the purpose of a desk pad is desk surface protection. Have you ever tried writing on paper while over a plain wood desk? If you write hard, you can actually see the words on your desk! The horror!

Though pads protect your desk, there are a ton of other reasons why you should use one. We cover a few of the major reasons below.  

Difference Between Desk Pads vs Mousepads

We have a dedicated article on how desk mats compare against mousepads here. Mousepads are smaller pads made specifically for your mouse. Because they only need to be as large as your mouse’s typical motion range, they aren’t very large.

Desk mats on the other hand are designed to at a minimum support your keyboard and mouse. This gives your desk a more symmetrical aesthetic as you have support on both peripherals instead of just one.

Hide Keyboard Mouse Wires (1)

Your keyboard doesn’t really benefit from the desk mat like a mouse would, but it does provide some wrist comfort and gives your peripheral a little “zone” on your desk.

If you just use a laptop and a mouse, a desk mat is still a perfect option for this application.

The largest desk mats can cover your entire desk and cost a bit more. Large ones are suited for gamers who need a huge range of mouse motion. Non-gamers also benefit from protecting their entire desk surface.

9 Reasons You Should Use A Desk Mat

If you’re wondering what the purpose of a desk mat is, and what the point of having one is, check out this list of benefits. After this list of benefits, you’ll know why many people use these in their desk setup.

1) Desktop Surface Protection

As we touched on earlier, desk protection is one of the major buying points for desk mats.

This doesn’t only protect your desk from writing. It protects your desk from anything else you place on top of it like mugs or even your keyboard and mouse.

Keyboards and computer mice can slowly mark up your table after a long time of use. This becomes a worry of the past with desk mats.  

Because desk mats can be pretty big, they can function as a coaster and protect your table from those hot beverages as well.

monitor light bar

You protect your table from random things as well. I sometimes leave my camera on my table which has a metal tripod plate on the bottom.

That metal plate would certainly dig into my desk due to the camera’s weight. I don’t have to worry about that anymore as I have a large desk mat.

If you spent a pretty penny on that desk, or you really like your tabletop and want it to last, a desk mat will help you out.

2) Desk Mat Aesthetics

I’ll admit, this was the main reason I got into desk pads. I wanted an aesthetic boost that added some contrast to my large wood desk. 

I also didn’t like how a mouse had a mousepad that looked pretty unbalanced with a bare keyboard to the left of it. A wide desk mat gives you a more symmetrical look.

I was pretty inspired to get a desk mat from browsing the subreddit r/workspaces. I’m addicted to seeing all the good-looking desk setups. They keep my desk inspiration going.

They are all user-submitted images of their own clean workspaces, and they never cease to inspire me. Here are some examples of desk mats being used that inspired me to buy my own.

Reddit Example 1

Reddit Example 2

Reddit Example 3

They all have a sweet desk pad. It’s such a simple accessory that adds so much to your desk’s look. 

I initially wanted a super fancy Grovemade Desk Pad, but the price was too steep for my taste. I’m sure it is a better product, but it was easier for me to justify an Amazon-priced one. Such as the one below:

Topographic Contour XL Gaming Desk Mat

This desk pad has an extended size of 11.8''X 31.5'' and is made of high-quality cloth material for smooth and precise mouse control. The durable stitched edges and non-slip rubber base ensure long-lasting use and stability. It's the perfect decorative and functional accessory for any desk.

Check Price on Amazon

3) Comfortable Fabric Texture To Desk

I love my wooden desk. It’s durable, will last forever if I take care of It, and I can always sand and re-finish it for a fresh look. Most desks are made with a nice hard work surface. 

If you spend a ton of time at your desk, the surface can sometimes be too hard for your hands to constantly be weighed against.  

e-reading desk lamp desk shot

Desk pads provide a nice soft fabric layer to your desk. Your desk doesn’t have to be this hard and unforgiving surface anymore. 

You can have a durable desk surface along with a soft and comfortable layer for a very low price.

4) Protects Your Computer Peripherals

Not only does a desk pad provide protection to your desk surface, but it also protects everything you place on it!

For example, when you move a mouse around with a million motions each day, it can eventually wear through your mouse sliding pads. 

With keyboards, desks can eat away at the rubber grips underneath and pack them with dirt. After a while, the rubber feet lose their grippyness. 

The protection goes both ways with a desk pad. With the associated cost of an Amazon-level desk pad, it is a no-brainer. Your desk, mouse, and keyboard probably cost a lot more. 

I want my mouse and keyboard to last as I shelled out for fancy ones like the Logitech MX series.

Give your peripherals a break with a desk mat, it’s an underrated reason you should be using one. 

5) Acts As A Mouse Pad

A desk mat is a direct replacement for a mousepad. You do not need both a mousepad and a desk mat. 

A desk mat typically is large enough to support a keyboard and a mouse at a minimum. Today’s mice are optical and can work well on almost any material type. 

In fact, they are so good that we had to publish these related articles:

Do You Really Need A Mousepad?

Household Items You Can Use As A Mousepad

desk mat with mouse and keyboard sitting on top.

So if you were planning to get a mousepad, before you buy, definitely consider a desk pad or desk mat first. You will get a ton more function for a few extra bucks.

6) Desk Mats Act Like A Thin Wrist Pad

Remember when we talked about desk pads being a nice and soft addition to your hard table top?

This also results in them functioning as a super thin wrist rest! I always notice how relaxed my wrists are when I’m typing on my desk at home vs my desk at work. 

You will definitely feel the difference between having your wrists on a hard table vs a soft desk mat if you are typing for long enough.

Gallaway Leather Desk Mat,Desk Writing Pad - Office Desk Pad, Large 36" x 17" Dark Brown, Desk Mats on Top of Desks, Gift Ready Elegant Computer Desk Mat Desk Cover Desk Pad Protector PU Lea...

They don’t provide the elevation that actual wrist pads offer. But they do have that soft interface that will keep your wrists happy. 

One less accessory to buy when you have a desk pad!

7) Move Everything Together

When everything is sitting on your desk pad, there is a tiny but useful benefit to that.  If you want to get all your stuff out of the way, you can just move the desk mat alone! 

Everything is sitting on the desk mat, so you don’t have to move your keyboard, mouse, pens, etc. All you have to do is move your desk pad. 

Best desks for tall people

This is super helpful when I need to make some quick space or want to clean. 

It’s all sitting on the desk pad, so the desk pad is the only thing you have to move around to move everything around.  

8) Customize Your Workspace

The last item on this list is related to the pad’s aesthetics. 

Desk pads offer you a great way to make your desk super unique. There is a seemingly unlimited number of variations for desk pads. 

There are different materials, sizes, and graphics that all contribute to the look of your workspace. Take a look at some nice options below:

Auhoahsil Large Mouse Pad, Full Desk XXL Extended Gaming Mouse Pad 35" X 15", Waterproof Desk Mat with Stitched Edge, Non-Slip Laptop Computer Keyboard Mousepad for Office & Home, Misty ...

There really are designs for everyone out there.

Auhoahsil Desk Pad, XXL Large Mouse Pad, Extended Gaming Mousepad, Cute Desk Mat for Women, Big Office Accessories Mouse Pad for Computer Keyboard and Laptop, 35.5 x 15.7 Inch, Green Leaves Red Flower

9) Desk Mats Are Affordable

One of my favorite parts about recommending desk mats is how cheap they are! You get all of these benefits for a super low price.

You can find desk mats as cheap as $8-$9 with Amazon’s two-day shipping. It really makes getting a desk mat a no-brainer.

Are Desk Mats Worth It?

So is a desk pad worth it?

Yes, desk mats are very worth it due to all the benefits that come with a pretty low price tag. They offer surface and peripheral protection, great aesthetics, and replace a few desk accessories.

The only time I would say it’s not worth it is if you go for a super high-end desk pad like one from Grovemade. We had to make a dedicated article on the best Grovemade Desk Shelf alternatives. Nobody needs a large natural leather desk mat for $400.

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All desk pads pretty much do the same thing. Of course, you get what you pay for but consider the following. 

Your expensive desk mat has to last much much longer than the cheap desk mat to make the price multiple actually make sense.

Here is an example of a cheap and expensive desk mat:

Extended Non-Slip Felt Desk Pad

This mouse pad is made o felt material, which is soft and comfortable, making it perfect for office and home use. It has a large size of 31" x 12", providing ample space for your laptop and desk accessories. The non-slip backing prevents it from sliding around.

Check Price on Amazon
Oakywood Felt and Cork Keyboard Desk Mat

This desk pad offers protection for your desk from spills and stains and helps you organize your workspace. It's made of durable, water-resistant Merino wool felt and a biodegradable cork base. The minimalist design is available in 3 stylish colors and is handcrafted.

Check Price on Amazon

At the time of writing, the cheaper one is $13, and the Oakywood one is $68. That’s 5x the cost. You really should hope it lasts 5 times as long for that purchase to make sense. 

Either way, you will be enjoying the fresh desk mat with all the benefits listed in this article.

All of these desk mats will arrive all curled up, so be sure to check out our guide on flattening your desk pad!

mousepad desk mat curled up in packaging on desk
Photo of author


I'm a big time workspace enthusiast who is constantly experimenting with my setup. Sharing along the way to help people make their own desk setups more functional and inviting, whether it be for productivity or play!

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