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 2020
Best Rug Pads of 2020
Approved Floor Types: All hard floors, including radiant heat flooring
When it comes to serious staying power, the Durahold Plus Felt and Rubber is the cream of the crop. The unique hexagon pattern on the bottom side of the rubber helps it to hold strongly to the floor. The felt top is roughened and grips strongly to the bottom of rugs, from shag runners to rag area rugs. All this translates to an impressive grip on both the rug AND the floor, no matter where you put it. At 1/4 inch thick, it also adds a small amount of cushion underfoot. Perhaps most impressively, this 100% natural rubber-bottomed mat is guaranteed not to damage or stain any hard floor surface you put it on, from porous concrete to refinished hardwood. It's even rated safe for radiant-heat flooring! If that's not enough, it also comes in a huge range of sizes and shapes, including the option to order custom sizes, and can be trimmed with a stiff pair of scissors.
The thickness and sturdiness of the Durahold can be difficult to trim though, so expect to use a sturdy set of shears and some muscle power to get through all those layers. And if you really want to add serious cushion to your rugs, this may fall a bit short of your expectations and isn't currently offered in thicker sizes. But when it comes to serious staying power, sizing options, and the guarantee to NOT ruin the flooring underneath, we adore this felt and rubber option from Durahold.
Approved Floor Types: All hard floors, including radiant heat flooring
Coming in at a very close second place, 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 does a solid job holding 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 makes a plethora of other 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, and made 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 most 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 though, 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 offered.
Approved Floor Types: Hardwood, polyurethane finishes, stone, tile, concrete, laminate, vinyl
If you're less worried about slipping 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. RugPadUSA also guarantees this foam layer won't ruin your floors. And, like all the pads they sell, this one comes in an astonishing array of sizes and shapes.
However, this isn't the best option for rugs that need extra help to stop from sliding out from underfoot. It offers very little slippage protection, and it's not intended for keeping coverings in place. It's also quite thick, making it difficult to fit under certain 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: 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 serious difference: it's NOT approved for use on a ton of 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 good grip both to the floor and the bottom of your rug. It can be purchased in 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch thicknesses to add a modest level of cushion. We also love that the felt is made of recycled materials and it comes with a 10-year warranty and 20-year grip guarantee. 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: All hard flooring
The Mohawk Home Dual Surface is a felt and rubber pad that holds fast to the floor and costs less than most of the competition. With a textured underside, you can rest assured that this pad will stay put on the floor. On top of that, it works on any hard surface flooring, without some of the pesky restrictions that some others have. With several thicknesses and a plethora of sizes and shapes, you can easily fit just about any rug in your home. And in an effort to reduce environmental impact, they've used recycled materials to make the felt.
The roughened felt surface of this pad is a bit too uniform, detracting from available friction. This allows some rugs with smoother backs to slide around on top. We noticed this with several plasticized-feeling rug backings but had no problem with natural fiber and woven rugs staying put. We were, however, disappointed to measure this advertised 1/4 inch rug pad at just 1/8 inch. This obviously detracts from its cushion but ultimately makes it easier to fit under doors and vacuum over edges. Despite some minor shortcomings, for a large area rug or woven rug, we love how the Mohawk Home Dual Surface pad performs — and don't mind saving a few bucks.
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. While we tested several of these basic, minimal designs, the Veken is our favorite. Its even, checkered pattern of alternating squares offers the tiniest amount of cushion under your rug and provides a flat, even 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 eliminates that issue. This type of pad is also very easy to cut with a regular set of scissors and can be used 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 carpet to stone 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: Hardwood; 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 looks alone. 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. The smaller the rug, the more it has to work though, 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 its many uses beyond rug security, including lining drawers and holding mattresses in place.
Under thin rugs, like a rag rug, you can feel the texture of this oddly-shaped pad. 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, sound dampening, or added cushion. It also comes with a long list of flooring types it can't be used on without pulling off stain, sticking to the floor, or leaving waffle-shaped debris. However, if you have the right type of floor and want a minimal layer, this one is an alright option on a budget.
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. As dust accumulates under a rug, it becomes even less sturdy, to the point that we could barely even tell it was there. It does offer 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 it can easily be cut from one large 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 others we tested with a litany of restrictions, we're inclined to believe the LHFLIVE Non-Slip Gripper is probably only safe in the same 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 larger, heavier 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 longterm 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 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 this line-up of the most promising options to purchase and test side-by-side. We employed numerous types and sizes 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 lying on them under different types of rugs and measured the thickness of each one. When it comes to how and where these 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. By 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. To learn which pads wowed us — and pitfalls to look out for — read on.
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 woven rugs, high-pile shag 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 a unique hexagonal pattern on the bottom of the rubber that does an outstanding job staying put on the floor. 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 does a solid job as well but is 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 aren't approved for quite a number of common types of flooring and 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 huge number of common floor types, including ruining the finish, staining, and even adhering to the ground.
- Rubber: These thin pads provide excellent grip where others can't quite compete. Their slim profile and extra stickiness 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 do poorly when it comes to 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. They're not great for hard surface floors though.
Hands down, our favorite option 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 plush and luxurious 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 good 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 put 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 were 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 considered 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 typically stay in place very well by themselves, especially with furniture on top. 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 Durahold Plus Felt and Rubber and RugPadUSA Dual Surface Cushioning. Both these felt-topped, rubber-bottomed mats offer protection for both floors and rugs. Their felt holds rugs in place the best of all we tested, minimizing harmful abrasion that can shorten the life of your rug. They both have textured rubber undersides that hold fast to the floor and are thick enough to help guard against sharp objects that could poke through your rug. Additionally, they're two of only a few options in this line-up 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 floor and rug while also offering extra sound dampening properties. The Mohawk Home Dual Surface is also approved for all hard-surface flooring and offers solid protection. 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 vinyl, natural stone, refinished surfaces, lacquer, and porous floors. Putting the wrong type of pad between your rug and floor can not only fail to offer protection but can actually destroy the floor underneath. We recommend reading all labels and fine print carefully.
Having options to choose from can make a big difference, especially when you need to outfit an entire home's worth of rugs with pads. We scored each contender on several factors, including the number of sizes, shapes, and thicknesses they have available, their ability to be trimmed at home, and their versatility of use across types of rugs and flooring.
If your pad extends to the edge of your rug, it's likely to create a tripping hazard and make it more difficult to roll a vacuum onto it or open a door over 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 roughly 4'9" x 6'9". Most pads come in even sizes, but can be trimmed at home with a ruler and a pair of scissors — and in some cases, extra muscle power.
Both RugPadUSA pads we tested come in a huge array of sizes and shapes. The company also makes several other thicknesses and types of pads, offers custom sizing options, and guarantees their products to work on all hard floors and under any rug. They offer specialized recommendations to guide you in selecting the perfect pad for whatever specific rug and purpose you have in mind. And 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-around, including rubber pads for small rugs on hard floors and felt pads for holding rugs on carpet. All their products carry impressive guarantees not only to continue working for a long time but also to not ruin your floor below. They too can be purchased in a ton 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. Be sure you know what types of floor your pad is rated for before purchasing.
It's easy to think that the pad matters less than the rug. We get it, and largely, we agree. You won't be looking at your rug pad once its 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