Best desk pads of 2022
Updated Sep 2, 2022 1: 45 PM
If you’re careful, a good desk sans desk pad can last a lifetime. But sometimes you drop a heavy steel roleplaying die on the surface, or maybe an industrious kid gets curious about what their name would look like permanently etched in it. A good desk pad can both add color and organization to your desktop while protecting the surface from scuffs, dents, and chips—prolonging the life of the desk by years for just a few dollars. If you regularly use a computer at your desk—and, honestly, who doesn’t—a desk pad can also play the role of mouse pad, giving you a large scrollable surface. These are the best desk pads we’ve found to date.
- Best overall: Orbitkey Desk Mat
- Best multifunctional: Adir Self-Healing Reversible Cutting Mat
- Best gaming: Razer Goliathus Extended Chroma Gaming Mouse Pad
- Best clear: Artistic Krystal View antimicrobial desk pad
- Best smart: KeySmart TaskPad
- Best felt/wool: Oakywood Merion Wool and Cork Desk Pad
- Best budget: YSAGi Multifunctional Office Desk Pad
How we picked the best desk pads
Desk pads come in many sizes and are made from all kinds of materials. Realistically, it’s hard to say what’s “best” for any individual because so much of the choice comes down to personal taste. For our list of the best desk pads, we scoured Amazon and other retailers to look for unique desk pads that are well-designed, stylish, and made from quality materials. We can’t predict your taste, but we can offer up pieces that make sense for a wide range of technical and aesthetic sensibilities.
Things to consider before buying a desk pad
Every desk is a little bit different, so picking the perfect desk pad may require a little bit of forethought. If you’re using a small desk, you don’t want to get an XXXL pad that will cover the whole surface. An overly thick pad can mess with your desk’s ergonomics. Wool and felt desk pads look great, but you don’t want one if you have a habit of knocking over drinks or eating at your desk. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you look for a surface that speaks to you.
Measurements are key
This should go without saying, but your desk pad should fit on your desk with room to spare. Like a pair of pants, technically getting the desk on the pad is not good enough. You want it to “fit” well and look good.
Measure the space you want the pad to cover carefully, then pick one that’s a little smaller, if you can, to keep it from completely dominating your desk. An oversized desk pad creates more problems than it solves, taking up room you need for other things. It won’t matter if the mat has wireless charging, RGB lighting, or cable organizers if the desk pad gets in your way. If it’s too small, well, then you won’t have room for writing and typing and whatever else you plan to do in that space.
There are tons of different materials available for desk pads. Manufacturers use all kinds of stuff to make them, including linoleum, vinyl, leather, Polyurethane (PU) leather, merino wool, cork, cloth, and more. Some materials, like vinyl and PU leather, are chosen for durability, while merino wool, cork, and leather look and feel more luxurious.
Consider your habits before picking a specific desk pad material, especially with more niche and/or expensive options like wool, leather, or cloth. Do you want your desk pad to double as a mouse pad? If so, you should probably want to avoid materials that aren’t smooth, like wool. Be really honest with yourself: How often do you spill coffee on your desk? If the answer is more than “never,” then avoid pads made out of cloth or fiber. Gamers will specifically want to look for a low-friction surface with a very grippy base so they can mouse around freely during heated Fortnite sessions.
Can you write on it?
While we don’t spend as much time penning missives as we did half a century ago, most of us still pick up a pen from time to time to sign documents, write diaries, or jot down grocery lists and other daily notes. If your pad is thick and relatively squishy–think of the classic mouse pads that used to come with our computers–you may find it challenging to write sharp, legible lines. Consider how often you use your desk for handwriting, and whether you’d prefer to put papers on the pad, or directly on your desk.
Best desk pads of 2022: Reviews & Recommendations
From the hobbyist to the office worker to the gamer, there’s a desk pad on here for everyone. We went with both popular and non-traditional suggestions to make sure everyone can find something interesting and exciting to perfect their desk space.
Best overall: Orbitkey Desk Mat
Why it made the cut: Organization-minded design elements like a secret paper compartment and a cord organizer make the Orbitkey desk mat a useful choice.
- Minimum/Maximum sizes: 27 x 14.6 inches – 35.2 x 16.6 inches
- Thickness: 4.9mm
- Material: Vegan leather
- Styles: Black, Stone
- Elegant look
- Cable organizer/pen holder
- Secret paper compartment
While the Orbitkey desk mat seems a bit expensive at a glance, its smart design stands out compared to other pads, with features that make it worth a look. A long pen holder runs along the far edge of the pad, which also creates a path to hide cables that need to run under it. Beneath its vegan leather top and felt bottom, the pad has a compartment for storing papers, whether you just need to keep a receipt handy until you can expense it, or need to stash a secret treasure map that you need to keep safe. It looks basic but delivers much more functionality than most similarly simple desk pads.
Best multifunctional: Adir Self-Healing Reversible Cutting Mat
Why it made the cut: You can cut it without ruining it!
- Minimum/Maximum sizes: 12 x 18 inches – 24 x 36 inches
- Thickness: 3mm
- Material: Vinyl
- Styles: Dual-sided green/black
- Self-healing vinyl
- Lots of built-in visual tools for hobbyists
- Not Stylish. At all.
Most of the desk pads on this list are pretty stylish. This one, however, is purely utilitarian. Adir’s self-healing cutting mat is made for tinkerers and craftsmen–anyone whose desk serves as both a computing workstation and a workbench. The self-healing vinyl surface closes up as a blade cuts through it, protecting your desk and keeping the workspace smooth. It serves the most basic need of a desk pad, protecting your desk surface, better than any other pad on this list.
Best gaming: Razer Goliathus Extended Chroma Gaming mouse pad
Why it made the cut: This gigantic cloth mouse pad was designed for precision gaming performance.
- Minimum/Maximum sizes: 10 x 14 inches – 12 x 36 inches
- Thickness: 3 mm
- Material: Cloth
- Styles: Black, Mercury, Quartz, Halo Infinite
- Customizable RGB lighting
- Wide enough for a mouse and keyboard
- A few different styles
- Requires USB connection to light up
Razer is one of the biggest names in PC gaming hardware, with its own take on just about every peripheral. With the Goliathus Extended Chroma, Razer gives you an extremely wide mouse pad that gives you plenty of surface space made specifically for great mouse response. If you plug it into your PC, it also adds a bit of flash to your setup with customizable RGB lighting to match your gaming gear.
Best clear: Artistic Krystal View antimicrobial desk pad
Why it made the cut: Most desks are much dirtier than you realize. If that bothers you, an antimicrobial desk pad may help.
- Minimum/Maximum Sizes: 20 x 36 inches
- Thickness: 4mm
- Material: Vinyl
- Styles: Clear, frosted, black
- Clear surface lets you put notes and photos underneath
- Antimicrobial protection in the pad
- Not a great mouse pad
The Artistic Krystal View antimicrobial desk pad offers something a little different: It’s infused with Microban, an antimicrobial additive that helps it resist bacterial and fungal build-up. Most antimicrobial products are coated with it, so the protection wears off eventually. The Artistic pad has that protection built in, so you can wash the mat without worry. A clear mat also offers a nice opportunity for you to put the desk surface to use. You can slide notes, pictures, calendars, and things like that underneath to keep them in view without having them sliding around and getting in the way.
Best smart: KeySmart TaskPad
Why it made the cut: With so many wireless charging devices out there, having a charger built into your desk pad makes life easier.
- Minimum/Maximum Sizes: 16.54 x 35.43 inches
- Thickness: 2mm
- Material: PU Leather
- Styles: Black
- Nice size
- Built-in charger
- Cuts down on overall cable clutter
- Matte black look blends into any desk setup
- Slow charging
The KeySmart TaskPad is a bit pricey but offers some very convenient features. The PU Leather desk pad features a Qi wireless charging station on the left-hand side, which can charge up your iPhone 13, Pixel 6, Samsung Galaxy S22, or just about any other mid-range or premium smartphone, as well as any number of Qi-enabled earbuds, mice, watches, and other devices. Having a standard spot for your phone helps keep it from getting out of eyesight, and while the charger is slow, it’ll help keep you topped off throughout the day.
Best felt/wool: Oakywood Merino Wool and Cork Desk Mat
Why it made the cut: Oakywood’s wool and cork desk pad is perfect for glass and steel desktops and is especially eco-friendly.
- Minimum/Maximum Sizes: 24.4 x 11.8 inches – 35.5 x 11.8 inches
- Thickness: 3mm
- Material: Cork-backed felt
- Styles: Anthracite or Gray
- Non-slip cork backing
- Wool isn’t for everyone
Our desks are often cold, hard surfaces that can leave us with icy hands, and anything that can warm up your office environment is a good thing. While this pad should work perfectly fine on any desk surface, it feels especially well-suited to metal and glass desks, as well as cooler climates. The wool and cork pad puts a warm, soft barrier between you and a cold, hard desktop. Oakywood suggests cleaning the pad with a vacuum from time to time, but it seems like this pad will be especially prone to staining if you drink coffee, black tea, or other dark drinks like that.
Best budget: YSAGi Multifunctional Office Desk Pad
Why it made the cut: YSAGi offers tons of different color and size options for a bargain-bin price.
- Minimum/Maximum Sizes: 13.7 x 23.6 inches – 23.6 x 47.2 inches
- Thickness: 2mm
- Material: PU Leather
- Styles: 14 dual-sided color options
- Very affordable
- Lots of sizes and colors
- PU Leather is durable
- No non-skid feature
With so many YouTubers out there showing off their desk setups, creating a coordinated and stylish look for your office is more popular than ever. YSAGi’s dual-sided desk pad is a perfect way to add both color and aesthetic structure to your desk space. You can find a YSAGi desk pad to fit any style or desk arrangement: It comes in four different sizes and as many as 14 color combinations. (Not every color is available in every size, though.) There are a variety of options with a cork side, as well. No matter what you pick, it costs less than $15. That’s far less than we’d expect to pay for a good desk pad.
Q: Are wool desk pads good?
A wool desk pad can be a great way to keep your wrists from sticking to a glass desktop or cold steel surface. On the other hand, wool requires more work to clean and is easily ruined if it soaks up spilled liquids. If you go with a wool or felt pad, stick to drinking water at your desk.
Q: How thick should a desk pad be?
Generally speaking, you don’t want an overly thick desk pad. They’re usually just 2-4 mm thick. That’s enough to protect the desk, but not so much that it props up your wrists in an uncomfortable way.
Q: Does a desk pad make your keyboard sound better?
Using a desk pad should make a huge difference in how most keyboards sound. Your Macbook, for example, won’t sound much different on your desk surface versus a pad. If you’re using a mechanical keyboard on a hollow desk, though, it may reduce the resonance between the desk and keyboard at least a little bit.
Final thoughts on the best desk pads
It’s easier than ever to coordinate, warm up, class up, and protect your workspace. Even within the bounds of centralized online shopping, you can find a wide variety of sizes and materials to fit just about every workspace. This list just scratches the surface when it comes to ways to prevent scratching the surface of your desk, but these are some of the very best.
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.