Vinyl record aficionados know that quality is in the fine-tuned details.
If you’re a self-proclaimed, audiophile, you’re probably invested in buying the best parts and accessories to complete your overall setup.
Not all turntables require mats, but if yours does, you’ve probably noticed there’s a dizzying amount of variety on the market.
Top 5 Turntable Mats (Summary)
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For more detailed and complete product reviews on benefits and features, keep reading.
It’s hard to pin down the difference between cork mats and rubber ones.
You may also struggle to know what thickness to purchase.
Here’s the breakdown on turntable mats, their benefits, what types are available, how to pick one, how to use it, and how to clean it.
Benefits of Using a Turntable Mats
Depending on what turntable mat you select, it can help to dampen vibrations, reduce auxiliary noise, help avoid static, boost the resonance of the base, eliminate unwanted adhesions, drastically improve the clarity, and improve the overall sound quality (just to name a few possible features!).
Apart from the listening experience, a good turntable mat is fashionable.
When no music is playing, it’s the focal point of the record player, so it’s an added bonus if your mat features an appealing design.
These designs can get quite fancy, and really add a flare to your setup.
Turntable Mats vs Slipmats
Turntable mats are often confused with slipmats.
While a novice may mistake a slipmat for a turntable mat, there are several defining differences.
When it comes to home record systems, slipmats are sufficient for those willing to settle.
They’ll do the job, but they aren’t an ideal part of the perfect vinyl setup. Slipmats, unlike turntable mats, are sometimes sold in pairs.
They are designed with the needs of DJs in mind so that a record can be cued and scratched, something that’s unnecessary for the average music listener.
In contrast, turntable mat is a suitable product for those looking to perfect their record player sound quality and create the ultimate music-listening experience.
For that reason, they are what will be covered in this guide.
Depending on which type of turntable mat design, type, and material you select, you can seriously improve the sound quality of your records.
For those seeking the ultimate listening experience, selecting the perfect turntable mat can be a bit tedious.
Turntable mats are most commonly constructed out of rubber, leather, felt or acrylic.
Each material has its own pros and cons, and which one you prefer will depend solely on your taste and your budget.
Rubber is perhaps the most popular choice.
It’s super effective at dampening vibrations, which is one of the main functions of a turntable mat.
Additionally, the gripping properties rubber is known to make it extra adhesive which reduces slippage.
Rubber mats are known to hold records in place firmer than any of the other mat materials.
They’re also exponentially easier to clean than any of the other types of turntable mats, making them a popular choice for those wanting a low-maintenance, durable product.
Leather turntable mats, like leather upholstery or leather clothing, are exceedingly fashionable.
Their ability to reduce noise and static in addition to their classy look and feel make them a tough competitor for the position of the Cadillac of the turntable mat world.
They’re also a staple for bass lovers, as they boost the overall beat and sharpen clarity to a fine point.
Overall, leather mats are sure to provide a clean, clear sound, and a classically sleek look.
Plus, their style just might match the decor of your tatami room.
Felt is soft and gentle on the surface of your records. However, they are much more difficult to clean.
The same properties that make felt a gentler option for a turntable mat, also make it a less durable option.
Felt is a bit delicate and rips more easily than rubber, leather, or even cork mats.
While you can commonly find turntable mats constructed of felt, they often serve better as DJ slipmats.
Lastly, a felt mat can build up a static charge from spinning friction. So be careful when you touch it after using it – you may be in for a shock!
Cork is a lighter, airy option that projects audio louder than other mats. It also dampens the resonance and helps to prevent slippage.
The aerated holes open up the overall sound of the record, leading to a fuller, more robust quality.
Additionally, cork turntable mats are non-stick in a gentle way. This makes them ideal for especially delicate records.
Lastly, it can be noted that although cork mats are frequently the most affordable option, they also can tend to be too thick and prone to the creation of static.
Turntable mats made out of acrylic cause the sound to reportedly be less “splashy”.
This means the bass comes through tighter and more clearly, making for a sharper overall beat.
Because acrylic is a similar material and consistency to the record itself, it’s said to reduce overall vibrations.
It makes for a clearer playback because the reduced vibrations allow the player’s needle to make better contact with the surface of the record.
What To Consider When Buying The Best Turntable Mat
Now that you know the options for materials, it’s time to consider the other components of a turntable mat that can make it the perfect addition to your setup.
Here are some things to think about when shopping around.
After material, perhaps the most important characteristic of a slipmat is the thickness.
Thickness varies. Which mat you select will depend on your record player and how it’s constructed, as well as what kind of sound you prefer.
Some players have adjustable arms, which make the thickness of the slipmat simply a matter of feel and functionality.
However, if the arm of your rig is not adjustable, you may be forced to be a bit pickier about the overall thickness of your mat.
The density of the mat should place the stylus and arm of the record player are hitting the record at the correct angle.
The arm should fall level with the mat. To make this happen, you’ll need to select one of the following thicknesses:
- Thin (around 1.5mm)
- Medium (1.5-2mm)
- Thick (anything over 3 mm to around 4mm)
Sure, your first edition Abbey Road album is going to sound just as nice playing on a turntable mat that’s plain and black as it would on an artistically designed, eye-catching mat, but it’s not going to look nearly as fashionable.
When your record player isn’t in use, the mat will be visible.
While the primary purpose of a record player, its parts, and all of its accessories is primarily functional, that doesn’t mean it can’t be artistic or attractive as well.
In fact, as much as your record player and records are is a functional collection for listening and enjoying, it’s also a dynamic contribution to your decor.
It’s no wonder that design and print matters.
Though it may not be the priority, some pick a print that appeals to the eye and fits with the home’s decor.
Manifested often as a “fluttering” noise, record slippage can be prevented by selecting a turntable mat with a decent grip.
Naturally, one of the most adhesive materials when it comes to mats is rubber.
Felt, on the other hand, falls on the opposite end of the spectrum and is much more likely to slip.
For some audiophiles, when it comes to their vinyl rig, money is no object. Nothing but the best will do.
Meanwhile, other record aficionados may be working with a much tighter budget.
When turntable mats can cost anywhere from around $30 to a whopping $350, there’s a lot of range in price and quality.
The good news is that there’s probably an appropriate mat on the market for you, regardless of what your budget is.
Who knows, you might be looking to save on your turntable mat and use the leftover money to accessorize your office with one of these best bamboo chair mat or durable glass chair mats, so you can sit back and relax while the record spins.
11 Best Turntable Mats With Pros and Cons
Made to improve your audio experience, Jake’s Turntable Mats is a premium product. You can rest assured that it’ll significantly reduce dust and static issues you might be experiencing.
It’s made of deer hide thus it’s soft to touch and amazing to use. The hide is top notch quality and you can be sure that it’s durable. The resonance from metallic turntable platters is lessened, while the bass response is enhanced, which means your records will sound better.
The mat is double sided with one side leather and the other suede. This means this item is actually a two in one mat that fits perfectly on any 12″ platter.
Each mat is individually cut to fit. When you buy it, you’re getting the un-measurable quality that’ll improve your work experience.
- Significantly reduces dust and static
- Enhances the bass response and improves sound
- High-quality deer hide is soft but durable
- Slightly pricier
Turntable Toys Mat is thoughtfully designed with the fine grain cork that effectively helps to dampen natural noise and vibrations.
Furthermore, it also improves traction, which helps to ensure that you get improved sound quality.
This item is also made to eliminate hums, platter rumbling and ringing to give the finest and cleanest audios. As if that isn’t enough, it also eliminates or reduces static issues that cause noise and early stylus and vinyl wear.
When it comes to eliminating static electricity to improve audio, this turntable mat is a game changer. If you like, you can order to have your mat custom made to fit your platter perfectly.
- Reduces natural noise and vibrations
- Improves traction and sound quality
- Eliminates static issues
- May not fit perfectly, although it can be custom made
Designed to give you the best when it comes to sound quality, Hudson Hi-Fi Acrylic Turntable Mat is clear with a reflecting green edge and has enhanced dynamics.
It guarantees a tighter bass response, well-developed mid-range and sound that’s less splashy.
Basically, it gives a significant improvement in the sound quality and absorbs vibration energy enabling the stylus to make improved contact with the grooves on a record, therefore, it offers a better playback experience.
It’s designed with a 0.5mm record label recess at the center that ensures the record lays flat on the mat. It’s also perfect for the standard 12″ turntable platter.
- Tight bass response and improved sound quality
- Better playback experience
- Record label recess ensures the record lays flat
- Each platter mat gives a different sound level depending on the turntable it lays
Designed in Portugal, Taz Studio Turntable Mat offers you 100% best quality cork. It’s made to offer cutting-edge service thanks to its 4mm thickness.
This item ensures the highest audio quality. Besides, it’s made in a way that vibration and movement are neutralized with other audio aspects kept constant.
While other turntable mats are industry-made, this one is handmade and measures 13 by 12 by 0.4 inches and weighs only 4 oz.
It’s, therefore, extremely light in weight, but still large enough for use.
- Doesn’t tamper with audio and studio sounds
- Guards against vibration
- Reduces unnecessary ambiance
- Can be too small for some users
Hudson Hi-Fi Premium Swiss Leather is made from nicely-crafted leather, the type that’s found only in the US.
You’ll love the distinct sound characteristics that come with this mat. The beauty about this product is that it has the ability to reduce, if not completely remove, the static load which comes from the surrounding noises.
It does this by dampening resonance that emanates from most metal turntable platters, making it ideal for use.
Another reason why you’ll love it is that it’s ideally functional on all available turntables. You don’t have to worry as long the turntable has 12 inches.
- Doesn’t attract any dirt at all
- Improves the quality and clarity of the sound
- Removes the static load from the surrounding noise
- Spindle hole isn’t exactly in a good position
Although there are many reasons why you’ll love Martelli Enterprises Turntable Mat, one stands out. This turntable and ironing pad comes with unique ball bearings that allow it to have a smooth turn.
The other thing is that although it was originally made for quilters, you can actually use it for other purposes. For instance, many people use it for scrapbooking as well as crafting.
It’s made in such a way that the color of the tabletop-ironing surface comes in different colors. You can use the entire mat as an ironing pad too.
Remember that the turntable has a well-orchestrated 30-piece ball bearing, all made from genuine stainless steel. The 3-piece set makes this turntable the most distinctive mat in the market because with this capability comes its versatility as well.
- Has stainless steel ball bearings that allow it to have a smooth turn
- Requires less energy to work on it
- Easy to create and cut even the most complex and special shapes
- Too pricey
You’ll definitely love Hudson Hi-Fi Silicone Mat because of its versatility. The audiophile turntable is built with the ability to fit all record players that have an element of LP vinyl in it.
This version is a true replacement of the traditional OEM, rubber and felt turntable platter mats. To achieve the intended optimal playback, this item is made with the latest sophisticated technology.
The latest tech incorporates RIAA specifications, label recess and non-slip grooves. All these are ideal specifications that ensure the record’s perfect position on top of the mat.
This product is compatible with existing turntables and just some of the high-end brands it fits include Fluance, Pro-Ject, Music Hall and Rega.
- Extremely soft and absorbent
- Excellent when it comes to flexibility
- Has a perfect position on most platters
- Smell may be messy in the beginning
If you really want to upgrade your turntable experience, opt for Electrohome Turntable Mat. The beauty of this product is that it’s flat with 12-inches, it leaves a non-scratch surface and is built with highly durable silicone rubber.
With this item, you can listen and clearly hear all your audio files as intended. There will be absolutely no foreign sounds that accompany the original audio.
In order to maintain and retain the integrity of the original record you’re playing, this item ensures the LPs lays completely flat thanks to the recessed center.
As long as the existing turntable spindle has a reasonable size of 12 inches, this rubber turntable mat will fit exactly the way you want it to.
- One of the lightest rubber turntable mats
- Has a nice fit on most turntables in the market
- Rubber feature tightens sound, especially bass
- Can be too thin for some users
Unlike its competitors, Fluance is built with the unique ability to sieve audio sound. The result is a clear sound just as the producer intended it.
This turntable platter mat is made in such a manner that it can isolate unwanted and distorting micro-vibration. The result is a clear sound that’s full of all the original voices and tones.
With the recessed center, you can rest assured that the LPs will lay flat on top of the turntable. This means playback feature will not be disturbed until you decide to turn off the music.
The rubber on this item together with the silicone component creates a durable scratch-free surface, which is ideal for quality recording.
- Built with a very durable silicone rubber
- Doesn’t distort the original sound
- Isolates unwanted and distorting micro-vibration
- May produce unwanted ringing on certain LPs
Hudson Hi-Fi Cartridge Alignment Mat is very simple to use with a single-sided alignment providing a diagram meant for cartridge alignment to guide the user.
It’s crafted from PVC composite that’s 12″ by 2 mm thick and allows you to draw your own tracking points in order to custom alignments, therefore giving you a chance to work it as you like.
The prints on the mat are UV treated to ensure longevity. This product comes with instructions to guide you through the use.
It’s also compatible with all turntables of some popular brands, such as Audio Technica, Linn, Music Hall, Avid, Project, VPI and Rega Jensen among others.
- PVC material allows you to custom draw your own tracking points
- Durable and versatile
- Compatible with almost all turntables
- Needs a high accuracy level when drawing tracking points
Pro-spin Turntable Mat for vinyl LP record players prides itself in its ability to reduce pop and static through smooth and professional dampening and natural absorption of vibrations. It, therefore, gives clean, crisp, clear and quality sound.
Having this product ensures that you’ll get the highest-quality listening experience because they’re crafted to suit vinyl LPs.
The thickness of 3mm helps to minimize rumble and humming noise and further prevent records from slipping.
This product is made to match better the LP surface groove which provides even better definitions in mid and lower frequencies. It also has top-notch precision and the vintage turntable look ensures that it matches any turntable whatsoever.
- Very thick to minimize rumble and humming
- Designed with anti-slip property
- Reduces pop and static and naturally absorbs vibrations
- Only compatible with vinyl LP record players
How To Clean a Turntable Mat
Cleaning method depends vastly from material to material. Leather mats can be gently wiped with a dry towel.
However, acrylic and rubber mats are by far the easiest to clean.
You can remove dust and debris from their surface by simply washing them in a sink with a mild detergent (much like you might wash or hose off a salon floor mat).
Felt and cork mats, however, are much more delicate. They require a dry cleaning method.
Most people opt to gingerly brush away any dust or even sometimes use a vacuum.
However, cleaning methods can be stressful especially on felt mats.
For that reason, it’s suggested that you always keep your record player cover on when it’s not in use, in order to minimize dust collection.
At the end of the day, no mat is innately superior. Everything is left up to the design of your record player, and your own individual taste.
Different turntable mats make for slightly varying sounds. Objectively, these sounds are not better or worse, they’re just different.
The only way to know which product you prefer is quite simply to take it for a spin, test it out, and listen for yourself.
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Photos from: VitalikRadko / depositphotos.com, Pepelaz / depositphotos.com.
- Top 5 Turntable Mats (Summary)
- Benefits of Using a Turntable Mats
- Turntable Mats vs Slipmats
- What To Consider When Buying The Best Turntable Mat
- 11 Best Turntable Mats With Pros and Cons
- How To Clean a Turntable Mat