Sick of rug slippage? We researched dozens of top-rated solutions before choosing the 9 best rug pads on the market for side-by-side testing. Each one was put to the test under rugs of all sizes and types, from rag and jute mats to shag and Persian carpets. We ran, skidded, jumped, and danced on them. Up against everything from the dog to the vacuum cleaner, we challenged them all to stay put and provide cushion for our on-floor activities. Whether you're after something plush or need an inexpensive option, we've found the best rug pad for you.Related: Best Area Rug of 2021
Best Rug Pads of 2021
Approved Floor Types: All hard floors, including radiant heat flooring
If you're looking for impressive grip in a rug pad, we'd point you first and foremost to the Durahold Plus Felt and Rubber. This mat's rubber underside grips the floor impressively well with its unique hexagon pattern, and its felt top has a rough texture that grabs onto the bottom of your rug. Its 1/4 inch thickness provides a bit of cushion underfoot. The Durahold Plus comes in various shapes and sizes and can also be trimmed for a custom fit with a sturdy pair of scissors. The natural rubber of this mat is very unlikely to damage your beautiful hardwood floors, and it's even rated safe for radiant heat flooring.
The Durahold Plus is quite dense and solid, which means it can be a challenge to trim — you'll want to use strong, stiff scissors. Additionally, if you're looking to add some serious cushioning under your rug, this isn't the model you're looking for, as it only comes in one thickness (1/4"). However, if serious staying power is what you're after, or lots of variety when it comes to size and shape, this felt and rubber option is one of our absolute favorites.
Approved Floor Types: All hard flooring
The Mohawk Home Dual Surface is a felt and rubber pad that holds fast to the floor for less of a ding to your wallet than the competition. The underside is textured and sticks well just about any floor — this model is compatible with all types of hard flooring. It's available in several different thicknesses and a multitude of sizes and shapes, so you can find the right option for any rug in your house. A bonus: this mat's felt is made with recycled materials in an endeavor to reduce environmental impact.
However, there are some downsides. The surface of the felt isn't as textured as some others, and it doesn't stick as well to rugs with smoother backs (i.e., plasticized bottomed rugs). We didn't have any issue with natural fiber and woven rugs sliding around, though. However, it was a bummer to realize that though the pad was advertised at 1/4 inch thick, it actually measured at 1/8 inch, which detracts from its cushioning. The flip side is that it's easier to fit under doors or vacuum over edges. Grievances aside, for a large area rug, we love the performance of the Mohawk Home Dual Surface, and the price is right, to boot.
Approved Floor Types: All hard floors, including radiant heat flooring
The RugPadUSA Dual Surface Cushioning felt and rubber rug pad is another excellent contender. A slightly smaller, checkered pattern adorns the bottom of the natural rubber, noticeably adding grip strength to this mat. The textured felt top solidly holds most rugs in place even when the dog takes strong and vocal offense at the package delivery employee. We tested the 1/4 inch version, but RugPadUSA offers various thicknesses and types of pads, including 1/8 inch (lower edge height for vacuuming) and 7/16 inch (more cushion for lounging on the floor). Importantly, this rug pad is rated for all hard surface flooring, designed to protect both your floor and your rug. It works over radiant flooring as well, and with a boatload of available size and shape options, you can easily fit almost any rug size or order a custom option for something really unique.
You may want to order that custom size, too, as trimming this thick mat with your kitchen scissors can be a serious test of hand strength and patience. When it comes to performance, however, our only complaint is that the felt surface is textured in a way that can allow smaller rugs with smoother undersides to slip on top of it. Our 2' x 4' shag rug could still move slightly on the RugPadUSA Dual Surface, but rougher-bottomed rugs, natural-fiber rugs, and large area rugs didn't have this issue. Still, we think this is a superb rug pad for just about any situation, and we're big fans of the almost absurd number of sizing options available.
Approved Floor Types: Hardwood, polyurethane finishes, stone, tile, concrete, laminate, vinyl
If you're less worried about slippage and more concerned with adding some comfort to your thin, worn-out rug, the RugPadUSA Cloud Comfort is the rug pad for you. This memory foam pad comes in several thicknesses to upgrade your handwoven mat or child's area rug. Standing on this pad feels plush and decadent, cradling your feet. It's the perfect pad for the floor in front of the TV, both in comfort and sound dampening qualities. And, like all the pads they sell, this one comes in an astonishing array of shapes and sizes.
However, this isn't the best option for rugs that need extra help to stop from sliding around underfoot. It offers minimal slippage protection, and it's not intended for keeping coverings in place. It's also quite thick, making it difficult to fit under some doors. Additionally, its thickness and lack of a strong grip can make it challenging to vacuum over, with tall edges and an inability to stop movement. But if you're looking to add a little extra comfort across a big space, we highly recommend the impressive level of cushion the Cloud Comfort provides.
Approved Floor Types: Hard surfaces; NOT for carpet, vinyl, lacquer, acrylic, natural stone, porous, or refinished surfaces
The Veken Non-Slip Gripper is the simple, classic option most of us conjure up images of when we think of a rug pad. Though we tested several of these basic, minimal designs, the Veken is our favorite. Its checkered pattern of alternating squares offers the tiniest amount of cushion under your rug and provides an even, flat base to hold everything in place. Smaller rugs can still slip on the top of this minimal mat, but if you're willing, taping the rug and pad together can eliminate that issue. This type of pad is also effortless to cut with a standard set of scissors and is useful for much more than just rug holding. From jar opening to securing couch cushions, the Veken provides a non-slip grip for a range of household products.
There are several obvious downsides to this pad, such as a lack of cushioning and less grip than beefier options. However, the biggest downfall is that it — along with all the other similar-styled pads we tested — comes with an extensive list of flooring it can't be used on, from stone to carpet to refinished floors. Tons of online reports confirm that using this pad on restricted surfaces can very easily lead to a ruined floor. But if your floor fits the bill and you just need something simple and inexpensive, the Veken Non-Slip Gripper will certainly help.
Approved Floor Types: NOT for carpet, vinyl, lacquer, acrylic, natural stone, porous, or refinished surfaces
Gorilla Grip offers several types of rug pads, and this felt and rubber option is among them. It's similar in many ways to other felt and rubber pads we tested, but with one big difference: it's NOT approved for use on many types of hard floors, including vinyl, lacquer, acrylic, natural stone, porous surfaces, and refinished floors. If any of those describe your floor, this pad may stain or even adhere to it, causing permanent damage. With so many restrictions, we recommend asking your floor installer or sealant manufacturer if this pad is safe to use before taking a gamble with it.
However, if your flooring is on the list of approved surfaces, the Gorilla Grip Original Felt and Rubber provides solid stability. It's a bit softer and more flexible than other felt and rubber options and gives a good grip both to the floor and the bottom of your rug. It's offered in 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch thicknesses to add a modest level of cushion, and we love that the felt is made of recycled materials. If you've got the right surface for it, this rug pad is a pretty solid choice — just be sure to read the fine print.
Approved Floor Types: Hardwood only; NOT for carpet, vinyl, lacquer, acrylic, natural stone, porous, or refinished surfaces
This thin, webbing-like rug pad is an interesting design that works better than we expected based on its looks. The Gorilla Grip Original has thick intersections of material that compress with every step, helping to increase the surface area holding your rug in place. However, the smaller the rug, the more it has to work, so for tiny rugs, this may not be your ideal companion. That said, it is offered in a ton of different sizes and shapes and can easily be trimmed at home to fit wherever you want. Like the Veken Non-Slip Gripper, the Gorilla Grip Original also advertises several uses beyond rug security, including lining drawers and holding mattresses in place.
You can feel the texture of this oddly-shaped pad under some thin rugs, like a rag rug. It's not terrible, but compared to all the other, smoother options we tested, it is noticeable. Its minimal design offers little in the way of floor protection, rug protection, added cushion, or sound dampening. It also comes with a long list of flooring types it absolutely can't be used on without pulling off stain, sticking to the floor, or leaving waffle-shaped debris. However, if you're on a budget and need a minimal layer (and have the right type of floor), this one is an alright option.
Approved Floor Types: Not specified
Despite looking nearly identical to the Veken Non-Slip Gripper, the LHFLIVE Non-Slip Gripper manages to be less grippy. It becomes even less sturdy as dust accumulates under a rug, to the point that we could barely even tell it was there. It offers the same minor cushion and smooth walking surface you'd expect from its alternating square pattern. A surprisingly low price makes this an enticing bargain, and you can easily cut one larger size to fit several small rugs (or other household surfaces).
However, we're skeptical of where we can use this rug pad. It offers no details on what types of flooring it's approved for. Considering its similar materials and appearance to those with a litany of restrictions, we're inclined to believe the LHFLIVE Non-Slip Gripper is probably only safe in similar conditions. It also comes in the least number of sizes of any we tested, forcing you instead to purchase one of half a dozen options and trim it yourself. Yet, with the many possibilities for using small scraps of this material, that may not be a deterrent. If you're set on this price, don't need a strong grip, and are willing to take the gamble with your floor's well-being, this just may work for you.
Approved Floor Types: Hard-surfaces; NOT for lacquered, acrylic, or porous floors
The Grip-It Ultra Stop is the most minimal rug pad we tested. This super basic crisscross patterned pad is light and practically invisible under rugs. It's a great option for rugs under doors and thin mats you don't want to change the feel of. It has decent holding power under heavier, larger carpets and is one of the least expensive options in this line-up.
Unfortunately, this minimal design lacks staying power under smaller rugs due to a low surface area. And, like so many others, it can't be used long-term on a ton of common flooring without potentially causing serious damage. Its thin webbing of PVC-coated polyester textile is also less conducive to other household uses, from securing couch cushions to kitchen cabinets. It's our least favorite option of all the models we put to the test but still may have a place in a house full of different types of rugs.
Why You Should Trust Us
This review is spearheaded by Senior Review Editor Maggie Brandenburg. As a woman with perpetually cold feet in a hardwood-floored home, Maggie keeps plenty of rugs around the house. Each rug needs a pad to stop her and her 80 pound, delivery person-despising dog from wiping out with every other step. Maggie tests rug pads, rugs, and a ton of other household products and outdoor gear. She has been testing and writing for GearLab since 2017.
We spent hours researching dozens of options before selecting and purchasing this line-up of the most promising options to test side-by-side. We employed numerous sizes and types of rugs on some super slick hardwood floors to see which pads excel where. We ran and skidded on them, vacuumed over edges, and placed them under doors to see how well they will stay put. We tested comfort by standing and laying on them under different types of rugs, measuring the thickness of each. When it comes to how and where these products are best used, we left no rug unturned in our testing.
Analysis and Test Results
To get a complete picture of how each rug pad performs, we tested them across four different mutually exclusive metrics. When combining their scores in each metric and weighting them according to overall performance, a clear hierarchy emerged. But we also recognize that everyone has their own reasons for purchasing such a product. Read on to learn which pads wowed us and what pitfalls to look out for.
One of the most common reasons many people want a pad under their rug in the first place is to stop it from moving around. We wanted to test how well each pad actually holds onto both the rugs and the floor. We placed them under a wide variety of rugs, from small 2' x 4' mats to giant 9' x 12' room-covering monsters. We also tested them under high-pile shag rugs, woven rugs, and low-profile Persians. We walked and ran on them and played fetch with the dog. And, of course, we busted out the vacuum to see how well each performs.
Despite all the claims of rug pads that they're protecting your floors, not all of them are made for just any floor. Less than half of the selection we tested are actually rated safe for all types of hard surface flooring. The others come with footnotes about all the types of flooring they can easily ruin, including many common surfaces such as porous material (like concrete), lacquer (used to seal many floors), and refinished flooring (like many hardwoods). And if you're hunting for a pad to hold your rug down over carpet, that's a whole other list of options.The bottom line is, don't assume a rug pad will protect your floor — many will ruin it. Read the fine print on the pad you choose and investigate your specific flooring. And if in doubt, we think it's well worth it to pay extra for an approved rug pad to avoid having to refinish or replace your floor!
The most impressive performers in this metric are the felt and rubber pads. With rough felt on top to grip the rug and textured rubber bottoms to hold fast to the floor, all four of the ones we tested have solid holding properties. However, not all of them are the same. The Durahold Plus Felt and Rubber impresses us the most, with its unique hexagonal patterned rubber bottom that has outstanding staying power. The RugPadUSA Dual Surface Cushioning is nearly as excellent, holding very well to both rug bottoms and hardwood flooring.
The Gorilla Grip Original Felt and Rubber performs solidly as well, but it's marginally less grippy to the undersides of some smooth-bottomed rugs. When it comes to other types of pads, the Veken Non-Slip Gripper provides a pretty solid grip, and with its thinner checkerboard pattern, it can extend farther to the edges of your rug. However, both of these pads are not recommended for use on many common flooring types, as they may cause damage. Grip is important, but so is the well-being of your floor.
If you're all about the grip and couldn't care less how a pad changes the feel of your rug, you can skip this section. But if you're looking to add some cushion, spring, and sound-dampening properties to your favorite floor covering, this is what it's all about. We measured the actual thickness of every contender and tested them side-by-side under the same rugs to tease apart minute differences in performance.
There are many materials rug pads can be made from that may meet your needs. It's helpful to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each type before choosing one for your home.
- PVC: One of the cheapest options, this type of pad is what you're picturing when you think of a waffle-patterned mat. Though they provide mass appeal because of how inexpensive they are, the chemicals in these pads pose problems for a wide array of common floor types, including staining, ruining the finish, and even adhering to the ground.
- Rubber: These thin pads provide excellent grip where others can't quite compete. Their extra stickiness and slim profile make them a great option for smaller rugs that aren't heavy enough to hold down a more cushioned, thicker (but less grippy) pad.
- Felt and Memory Foam: By themselves, felt and memory foam pads add cushion and increased sound-absorbing properties. However, they perform poorly when it comes to actually keeping rugs in place. They're best used under large, heavy rugs that may need added support but don't need help staying put.
- Felt and Rubber: By combining these two materials, you get a pad with cushion and grip. These are the ideal type of rug pad for most rugs, though they can be slightly more expensive.
- Vinyl and Polyester: These are great for keeping a rug in place on top of your carpet without ruining said carpet. However, they're not great for hard surface floors.
Hands down, our favorite option for underfoot feel is the RugPadUSA Cloud Comfort. This 1/4 inch thick memory foam pad is every bit as dreamy as you'd expect. Though this single-material make-up sacrifices some grip strength, under the rug where you stand to wash dishes or sit to play with your child, this comfort is paramount. This pad is luxurious and plush and comes in two thicknesses to help make you feel young again while lying on the floor to watch TV.
The Durahold Plus Felt and Rubber also offers a fair amount of felt to help cushion your carpet. Though part of its thickness is devoted to the rubber underside, we could feel a noticeable softening of any rug we placed this pad under. The RugPadUSA Dual Surface Cushioning and Gorilla Grip Original Felt and Rubber also offer modest cushioning and sound-dampening that we appreciate even more under large rugs in frequently-used living spaces.
A good pad should offer some level of protection to both your floor and the rug. As much as we wish this was a given for every option we tested, in reality, we found a huge range of protection levels. We considered each contender's material, recommended usage, and approved floor types. We assessed their thicknesses and evaluated floor protection. We scrutinized their abrasiveness against a wide range of rug types. And to be extremely thorough, we sifted through thousands of reviews online, searching for potential issues.
Choosing the thickness of your rug pad isn't just about comfort underfoot or opening doors over rugs. While those are important aspects to getting the right pad, they're not the only thing to think about. The size of your rug plays an important role in this choice. Small rugs generally weigh less, are harder to keep in place, and are generally best paired with thin rug pads, preferably made of rubber. Medium rugs can easily pose tripping hazards and are ideally used on top of felt and rubber pads to stay put, but can handle thicker mats underneath to add comfort. Large rugs usually stay in place very well by themselves, especially since they typically have furniture weighing them down. They are most comfortable with felt or memory foam pads underneath and can handle considerable thickness to reach your desired level of comfort.
The most protective pads we tested are the RugPadUSA Dual Surface Cushioning and Durahold Plus Felt and Rubber. Both these felt-topped, rubber-bottomed mats offer protection for both floors and rugs. Their felt holds rugs in place better than any other we tested, minimizing harmful abrasion that can shorten the life of your rug. Both pads have textured rubber undersides that hold fast to the floor and are thick enough to help protect against sharp objects that could poke through your rug. Additionally, they're one of the few options in this lineup that are approved on ALL types of hard surface flooring and won't leave stains or ruin the finishing of your floor.
The RugPadUSA Cloud Comfort is another model we tested that's approved for all hard flooring and is also impressively protective. Though it provides less grip, its thickness and dual smooth surfaces help protect both rug and floor while also offering extra sound dampening properties. The Mohawk Home Dual Surface also offers solid protection and is approved for all hard-surface flooring. Importantly, over half of the pads we tested are not approved for use on a ton of types of common floor surfaces, including things like natural stone, vinyl, lacquer, refinished surfaces, and porous floors. Putting the wrong type of pad between the floor and your rug can not only fail to offer protection but can actually destroy the floor underneath. We recommend reading all fine print and labels carefully.
When you need to outfit an entire home's worth of rugs with pads, having options to choose from can make a big difference. We scored each contender on several factors, including the number of sizes, shapes, and thicknesses they have available, their versatility of use across types of rugs and flooring, and their ability to be trimmed at home.
If your pad extends to the edge of your rug, it's likely to create a tripping hazard and make it more difficult to open a door over it or roll a vacuum onto it. However, if it's too far inside the margins of your rug, it can create an awkward artificial edge. In general, it's best to size your rug pad to leave room for a 1-2 inch gap around all sides. This means if your rug is 5' x 7', your rug pad should measure no smaller than roughly 4'9" x 6'9". Most pads come in even sizes, but many can be trimmed at home with a ruler and a pair of scissors — and in some cases, a bit of extra muscle power.
Both RugPadUSA pads we tested come in a huge array of shapes and sizes. The company also makes several other thicknesses and types of pads and offers custom sizing options. They offer specialized recommendations to guide you in selecting the perfect pad for whatever specific rug and purpose you have in mind. Finally, all their options can be trimmed at home with a good pair of scissors and some patience.
The Durahold Plus Felt and Rubber is one of many options available from Durahold. They also carry other types of pads that we did not test this go-round, including rubber pads for small rugs on hard floors and felt pads for holding rugs on carpet. They, too, can be purchased in a huge variety of standard size options and trimmed to fit at home, or you can order custom sizes.
While it is tempting to purchase an inexpensive pad after spending all that money on your lovely new rug, we strongly advise caution. Sure, you may not be looking for the thickness or staying power that the more expensive felt and rubber pads provide. However, we also doubt you're on board with the potentially damaging effects that so many under-rug "protection" pads — particularly the super cheap PVC options — bring to the table. Before purchasing, be sure you know what types of floor your pad is rated for.
It's easy to think that the pad matters less than the rug. We get it, and to an extent, we agree. You won't be looking at your rug pad once it's in place. However, the experience it provides can really make or break your rug (and floor!) — sometimes literally. We put every contender to the test to truly discover which ones can put you at ease and which may make you tear your hair out. Whatever your flooring situation and budget requirements, there's a rug pad out there for you.
— Maggie Brandenburg