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Two are the main concerns when working in the kitchen: one is keeping it as tidy as possible —if it is around you while you’re cooking, it has to be easy to clean—, the other is the long hours spent on your feet. That’s what this article is about: finding the best kitchen mat for your home, depending on your preferences and even your floor. Ready? Let’s go!
The Best Kitchen Mat: The Benefits of An Anti-fatigue Mat
Food service, mining, healthcare, welding. These are but a few of the industries in which workers have to be standing for long periods of time, and are therefore at risk of suffering joint pains and circulatory issues, which can lead to swollen legs, varicose veins, and even heart problems; pregnant women are particularly at risk.
It’s not all anecdotal, either: Professors George Havenith and Lucy Dorman, from Loughborough University in England, conducted a study named “The effect of COBA anti fatigue floor matting on worker comfort during standing work”, in which they sought to verify what difference, if any, there was between standing on a hard, unyielding surface and being on an anti-fatigue mat. To do this, they recruited 14 participants, who stood alternatively on concrete floor and on a mat, 90 minutes per day, for 5 days. With the help of infrared thermal imaging, body temperature sensors, and questionnaires issued after every session, the researchers found that standing without a mat caused stiff neck and shoulders, as well as pain in feet, legs and even in the back. Similar findings have been reported by OSHA and other parties, and so it’s no wonder that so many industries have brought these mats into their work areas. Here’s how an anti fatigue mat can help you in the kitchen:
The softer surface under your foot keeps you subtly shifting position, which helps make you less idle and improve blood flow.
As there is no stiffness nor pain, you feel more relaxed as you go on with your day. This also helps your posture: eventually you will find yourself standing taller, more comfortable.
Any vibration generated upon the mat’s surface (such as footsteps) is cushioned, which makes your activity a bit more silent.
Choosing Carefully: Here’s What To Consider
The appropriate choice will even allow two people to benefit from one mat at the same time. Space in the kitchen is also relevant.
If beveled, the mat will have a cleaner, sharper look, and it is also less likely to make you trip on it. A reinforced edge will not peel off so easily, and won’t curl up with use.
For an anti fatigue mat, the ideal range is between 3/8 and a full inch. A thicker mat might make you feel like you’re standing in a quagmire, or prop you up too high from your work station. A purely decorative mat is unlikely to pose an issue here.
Support is key if you’re going for anti fatigue: if too hard, it won’t feel very different from standing on the floor; if too soft, you might sink too much. The ideal balance is a feeling of cushioned stability. It is also important for your mat to return to position when you step out of it.
You may find them with exterior made in wool or leather. Synthetic leather can be a particularly ideal choice for the kitchen because it is not as expensive as the real deal, it is fairly durable, and it has better resistance against bacteria and mold. For anti fatigue, the inside is most commonly made of polyurethane or memory foam, with or without gel core. What the mat is made of will directly impact its weight, especially if it features a gel core; a more hefty mat might be harder to move around, but it will also be more steady wherever you put it.
Best Kitchen Mat For Standing:
For time-consuming tasks, such as dicing vegetables or rolling dough, nothing more comfortable than an anti fatigue mat. Furthermore, this one might be among the lowest-risk purchases for your consideration, as it is guaranteed for a lifetime: should there be any issue, you get a replacement or a refund. The cushion at the core is high-density foam, ¾” thick, and it will endure use without curling thanks to its beveled edges. 5 colors and 2 sizes are yours to choose from.
The surface is waterproof, rather easy to clean, and it also offers the somewhat rare perk of being anti-microbial; you don’t have to worry about any health hazards such as mold. The bottom is non-slip, as long as the floor underneath is dry.
- Suitable for multiple areas.
- Lifetime warranty.
- More sanitary.
- Not many colors or sizes to choose from.
Best Kitchen Mat For Hardwood Floor:
Stuffed with foam and ¾” thick, it will prop you up just enough, not too tall. Ribbed on top and grooved on the bottom, it is intended for being on surfaces that are smooth, clean and dry. You get a total of 16 colors and patterns to choose from, as well as several sizes.
It has received consistent praise for its grip, and it should have no trouble staying in place upon your floor, but caution should still be exercised: any water on top or under it should be wiped away immediately to avoid accidents.
- Wide variety of choices in size, color and pattern.
- Sometimes ships folded, which can cause creases.
- Bottom is difficult to clean.
Best Gel Mat For Your Kitchen:
While not among the most affordable, gel mats are renowned for their superb comfort: they provide steady support while also lessening the stress on your feet and legs, and due to their consistency they keep you constantly shifting position. This particular option features a 100% gel core, which makes it a good choice for testing this material’s feel.
This one is half an inch thick, which might help explain why it has earned positive reviews from cooks of all ages and skill levels, even from TV. The edges are beveled, the bottom is non-slip (with the usual advisory about water spills: dry off immediately), and the surface is easy to wipe clean. It comes in 3 sizes, with a remarkable 16-color selection that should easily have a match for most kitchen designs.
It should be noted that, due to the gel core, this mat weighs close to 11 lbs, remarkably above the average of 3 lbs for most other mats.
- Among the most comfortable options out there.
- Stain resistant.
- Aesthetically pleasing.
- Roughly 3 times more expensive than the average mat.
Best Kitchen Sink Mat:
The color and size selection is quite limited with this one, but you might decide it makes up for it with its filigreed surface, a rarity for its category. Because there are no grooves, it is particularly simple to clean. The materials involved in its manufacturing are especially chosen to make this mat odorless and free of phtalates and latex.
While it is not as thick as many other mats (a little under half an inch), its heavy-duty foam core has been widely considered to provide comfortable support. The bottom is non-slip, which carries the usual requirement of a dry surface: any water between the mat and the floor could lead to skidding.
- Decorated surface and neutral coloring are likely to provide an aesthetic boon.
- Ships rolled up; fully returns to normal shape a few hours after unrolling.
- Very narrow variation in sizes.
Best Cushioned Kitchen Mat:
If you’re worried about toxic components, this one might put you at ease, as it even complies with Prop 65 requirements. The surface at the top features a pebbled texture, and it is fairly easy to wipe or vacuum. The core is widely considered to provide a good balance between cushioned comfort and firm support. The backing is sturdy, but it is not as resistant to slipping as with other similar items. You can choose from 7 sizes and a total of 14 colors and patterns.
- Variety of sizes and coloring to fit any space.
- Core provides comfortable support.
- Prop 65 compliant.
- Prone to slipping around.
Aesthetics are important; so is comfort. And now, your kitchen can receive both!