After spending more than 20 hours researching bathroom rugs and mats, considering 49, and testing 17, we’ve found that the Lands’ End Supima Non-skid Bath Rug is our favorite. In our tests it hit the best balance between absorbing bathwater and drying quickly, and it’s made of better, longer-lasting materials than other rugs and mats we considered. It feels like a soft towel underfoot, and it offers a superior nonskid backing, plentiful color options, and a lifetime guarantee.
For this guide, we focused on affordable bath rugs and mats that come in a range of solid colors and sizes, with minimal to no pattern. We considered cotton and synthetic woven rugs, memory-foam mats, and wood mats. The Lands’ End rug outshone everything else we tested, largely because it’s made of higher-quality materials—long-staple cotton and a durable latex backing—but with preferences on a product like this being so subjective, we’ve also picked the best examples of all the rug types we considered.
The Momentum Home Modern Bath Premium Bathroom Rug with Non-slip Backing absorbs water as effectively as our main pick and dries a little more quickly, but between the synthetic fibers and the nonskid coating brushed on the back, we believe it’s likely to be less durable over the long term. The chenille-style fibers are plusher and thicker than those of our pick, which feels nice but can be an obstruction to a swinging bathroom door. This rug also costs less than our pick, but it’s more limited in color and size options, and the warranty is not as good.
The Varick Gallery McBride Embossed Memory Foam Bath Rug costs less and dries faster than our woven picks, and in our tests it avoided most of the problems common to memory-foam mats—it absorbed water without feeling too swampy, and it didn’t begin to deteriorate after several cleanings. It will almost definitely not last as long as our pick (and, subjectively, we think it just looks and feels cheaper), but if you simply need an inexpensive bath mat in the short term, this is the best one we found.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $40.
If you prefer a sleeker look and don’t expect much water absorption, the ToiletTree Products Bamboo Shower Floor and Bath Mat was the best wood option of the four we tested. Among the competition, it had the nicest sealant and felt the sturdiest, and at around $40 currently, it’s much less expensive than many of the wood mats we considered. As with other wood mats, you’ll need to regularly address water pooling under it.
We researched extensively to reach people who could lend us expertise specific to bath mats. As it turned out, we couldn’t find many experts who had much to say about them, so instead we turned to cleaning expert Jolie Kerr of Esquire’s “Ask a Clean Person,” as well as cleaning researchers Elaine Cella, Liz Eggert, and Mary Johnson of Procter & Gamble. Half the battle of keeping a great bath mat around is making sure it’s easy to clean and maintain. We also looked at hundreds of bath rugs at a wide range of online retailers, and we took customer reviews into account when choosing which models to test.
Aside from door mats, bath rugs and mats rank among the highest-traffic floor coverings in the home. They get wet—and if you have kids, they may be regularly soaked through. But they also have the important job of keeping you safe from slipping and falling on wet floors. In addition to the advice we received from cleaning experts, we used our common sense in deciding the most important criteria for a good bath rug or mat:
Because there are so many styles and preferences for different types of rugs and mats, we split our review into three categories: woven, memory foam, and wooden (bamboo or teak usually).
Woven rugs are probably the most universally appealing, since they’re comfortable underfoot, made to absorb well, and easy to clean. We wanted to test both cotton and synthetic versions, because they each have distinct advantages (and disadvantages). Cotton tends to absorb better but takes longer to dry. Synthetics, often made of polyesters or nylon, don’t absorb quite as well—synthetic fibers tend to repel moisture because of their hydrophobic tendencies—but dry much faster. At the higher quality levels, cotton can cost more and last longer. We considered rugs with a variety of pile heights (the length of the fibers that stick up) but tried to focus on those that were about an inch or less thick and looked like they’d fit under a door (although that’s pretty hard to determine just from specs and pictures online). Woven bath rugs can sometimes have a grandma-ish style; we avoided those, focusing on designs that looked more modern.
Memory foam appeals to some people because it gives underfoot and dries quickly. We found that the best memory-foam rugs are roughly ½ inch thick. If the foam is thicker than that, it feels swampy underfoot, whereas if it’s thinner you lose that pampering effect of stepping onto the foam. The foam itself is encased by fabric, usually polyester microfiber, which dries quickly and feels especially soft against the skin. We preferred foam rugs with rectangular embossing, which helped water stay pooled on the rug. (Designs with straight embossed lines tend to let water run off the sides of the rug.) A binding that securely attaches all the way around and doesn’t unravel or fray makes the rug more durable.
We held the wooden mats we tested to slightly different criteria. These mats don’t really absorb much (if any) water, so they aren’t the best for most bathrooms, but they are great for outdoor showers or bathrooms with central drainage. They also allow you to give your bathroom a clean, stylish look, and they can feel nice underfoot if you don’t like the soggy feeling of wet fabrics. A good wooden mat should feel sturdy, with rubber grips on the underside to keep it stable when you step onto it. We dismissed wood mats whose reviews frequently complained of splintering, cracking, color bleeding (from dyes, sometimes), and chipped finishes. We found that wood mats were generally made of of either bamboo or teak, but we didn’t strictly prefer one over the other; a main difference is that the bamboo mats have a finish, while the teak ones usually don’t. We capped prices at $50 for our woven and memory-foam rugs, but since wood is more expensive in general, we looked for wood mats under $100.
We dismissed any rugs or mats that lacked a nonskid backing. Rubberized backs are far safer than a slippery rug moving around your bathroom floor. For the woven and foam rugs, we preferred rugs with a thick latex or rubberized backing over rugs with a thin, painted-on coating; although a thick backing can make drying take longer, it’s less likely to come off in the wash. We looked for wood mats with nonskid nubs or feet.
We looked at more than 100 options from lower-priced stores such as Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, IKEA, JCPenney, Target, and Wayfair. We also checked out models from places like Crate and Barrel, Lands’ End, L.L.Bean, and Pier 1. What we discovered was that most stores sold very similar versions of the same thing, especially among the woven rugs. From our initial scan of a hundred-plus models, we made a list of 49 promising rugs and mats, and then tested the 17 with the best specs and owner ratings.
To test our candidates, we washed and dried all the woven and foam rugs three times to evaluate durability and simulate one or two months’ worth of washes. After two loads we were able to disqualify some based on long dry times or poor durability. Overall, we weren’t able to find a rug that dried in the dryer within 30 minutes, which Jolie Kerr had told us was her ideal criterion, but we also dried multiple rugs at once, which inevitably slowed the dry times. We disqualified rugs that didn’t hold up in the wash (if, say, the nonskid coating came off or the rug showed wear), those that didn’t dry quickly in the dryer, and those that felt unpleasant to stand on.
I took the most promising rugs and mats home for personal testing. These tests were definitely imperfect, but they did give me a good sense of how I liked the rugs and mats in my own bathroom. I noted how long the woven and memory-foam rugs took to dry between showers, and how they felt underfoot. I tested the wooden bath mats by repeatedly splashing water on them and seeing how well they dried. I also stepped on them repeatedly to simulate use and to test their steadiness.
We also attempted more scientific testing, a process that involved dumping measured amounts of water on the rugs, timing how long they took to dry out, and measuring the difference in weight after several hours to account for the water evaporation. In the end, though, we decided that these tests weren’t as revealing as real-world subjective impressions, and that there were too many variables among the rugs to consider the data all that reliable.
We recommend the Lands’ End Supima Non-skid Bath Rug for most bathrooms. In our tests, the high-quality cotton absorbed better than the material of other rugs, and we liked that the looped weave felt like a plush towel underfoot. The weave and the nonskid latex backing were more durable than those of other rugs we tried, standing up to our repeated washes without unraveling or otherwise falling apart. An all-around great bathroom rug, it comes in more colors and sizes than its competition, and it has a lifetime return guarantee.
In our home tests, this woven cotton rug felt (subjectively) nicer than its competitors. It’s made of 100 percent extra-long-staple Supima cotton, a breed that is particularly soft and durable (and is often used in high-quality cotton sheets). The cotton fibers felt more absorbent than the synthetic woven and memory-foam rugs we tested, which felt to us like water was simply pooling on the surface. (We tried to measure absorbency but decided there were too many variables to present the results as conclusive data.) Drying times were more concrete: Of the four 100-percent-cotton rugs we tested, the Lands’ End rug dried faster than the others in the dryer. It also dried fully between morning and evening showers in our home tests (something the L.L.Bean cotton rug, the other cotton rug I took home, didn’t do). It didn’t dry as quickly as the synthetic rugs, but those were also less absorbent.
The thick latex backing on the Lands’ End rug was the best we found. This mat was one of the few we tested with a separate nonskid layer attached to the towel-like cotton face; its competitors often had a nonskid coating applied to the rear side of the mat. It doesn’t slip around on the floor when it’s new, and we believe it will perform the same way indefinitely—its competitors’ coatings, over time and after several washings, are likely to deteriorate. That detail alone really sets this mat apart.
At ½ inch, the Lands’ End bath rug is thinner than many of the other rugs we tried. It probably won’t fit under a low-clearance door that sits ½ inch off the floor, but it should fit under a door with 1 inch of clearance. Most of the other rugs and mats we tried were much thicker and would catch on many bathroom doors.
Beyond feeling and looking great, this rug should outlast its competitors thanks to its high-quality, durable materials. After our testing, the cotton of the Lands’ End rug showed no signs of snagging or unraveling, and the latex backing remained fully intact—in comparison, competing rugs’ low-quality coated backs began disintegrating almost immediately in the wash. Those superior materials do add to the cost of this rug: At about $50 for the 20-by-33-inch size, it’s at least twice the price of our other picks. We’ll continue to test the rug to find out conclusively how well the extra investment translates into long-term value.
The Lands’ End bath mat is also versatile enough to work with any bathroom style, as it comes in 12 colors and four sizes, as well as in a contoured version that fits around the base of your toilet. Most competitors are available only in three or four colors and one or two sizes. With a smallest size of 16 by 23 inches and a largest size of 23 by 59 inches for this rug, people with the smallest or largest bathrooms should have no problems finding a version that suits them. The rectangular inset pattern lends this otherwise solid bath rug a nice contrast, as well.
Lands’ End offers a fantastic lifetime guarantee on all of its products, so you can return this rug at any time for a refund or exchange. And if you want to coordinate your bathroom rug and towels, the matching Supima Bath Towels were among the best we tested for our bath towel guide. Do note, though, that some Lands’ End customer reviews complain that the mat and towel colors sometimes don’t match exactly.
Besides the price, which we realize might be high for some people, the only real drawback of the Lands’ End Supima Non-skid Bath Rug is that in our tests it dried slower than some competitors, particularly the synthetic rugs. Depending on the humidity and circulation in your bathroom, though, this rug should have no problem drying at a similar pace to a medium-weight terrycloth bath towel. We suspect that this Lands’ End rug dries slower because of its cotton top and its thick latex backing, which probably retains moisture better than a thinner nonslip coating.
We didn’t notice many troubling patterns in the negative customer reviews for this mat. We saw one owner mentioning pilling, some others complaining of shrinkage (which did not happen to us), others giving mixed reviews on the fluffiness, and many commenters saying their older versions of this mat were softer than the current model.
The woven Momentum Home Modern Bath Premium Bathroom Rug with Non-slip Backing is a great option if you like rugs with a higher pile and a more luxurious feel underfoot. This mat is also slightly cheaper and made of polyester, so it dries slightly faster than our main pick. To us, however, this mat didn’t feel like it would be as durable over the long term, and it could lose its nonskid coating after prolonged use.
Although this mat doesn’t come in as wide an array of colors as the Lands’ End rug, it does give you four neutral tones to choose from and two sizes (17 by 24 inches and 21 by 34 inches). It’s also roughly half the price of our main pick (about $30 for the larger size at this writing). For that lower price, we do think you’ll sacrifice some long-term durability. In researching and testing for our guide to inexpensive area rugs, we found that synthetic fibers tend to smush and trap dirt more easily than natural fibers like cotton.
Our testers liked that this chenille rug had longer loops, which made it plusher than the Lands’ End rug. But again, the polyester may crush over the course of extensive use (although we’ll have to long-term test it to see). The higher pile—about 1½ inches high—probably won’t fit under a door that sits particularly close to the floor.
Another big difference between our two picks is that the Momentum Home rug has a thin, brushed-on nonskid backing, which we didn’t like as much as the latex of the Lands’ End rug. To its credit, in our tests the Momentum Home’s backing didn’t wash off after three laundry cycles, and it still felt stable underfoot after we got out of the shower—similar backings on competitors we tried were already disintegrating after a few washes. One benefit of this style of backing is that the mat has airflow from both sides (unlike the Lands’ End rug, with its rubberized backing), and that means the mat dries a bit more quickly in the open air and in a dryer. Over the long term, we suspect the coating won’t last as long as the backing on the Lands’ End rug, and we did read some Amazon reviews complaining about the backing’s tendency to slip (we’ll continue using the mat and update this guide if that happens to us). When you buy through Amazon, Momentum Home told us, the rug comes with a 30-day return policy, as long as “the product is in a new condition.”
If you don’t mind the feel of memory foam underfoot, or if you need a quick-drying rug, we recommend the Varick Gallery McBride Embossed Memory Foam Bath Rug. While we weren’t ecstatic with any of the memory-foam options we tested, this rug had the least-soggy feeling of the lot, and it dried faster than either of our woven picks.
The McBride avoided the worst water-absorption issues common to its memory-foam competitors. It absorbed water, but the swampy, wet-sponge feeling common to the thicker mats was less noticeable here. At about ½ inch thick, the McBride was among the thinnest mats we tried, yet unlike on other thin foam mats, water on this one didn’t bead up and run off onto the floor. Its rectangular embossed style did a better job of keeping water on the rug than the designs with straight lines that allowed water to simply flow off.
Compared with our Lands’ End and Momentum Home picks, this rug was quicker to dry in the open air. It also held up well during our testing, with a backing that stayed sticky even after three dryer cycles. The foam inside didn’t appear to become brittle or fall apart at all—some customer reviews have noted the foam beginning to break down, though, so that could be a problem to anticipate in long-term use.
Although this rug has some positive qualities, we can’t say it’s the best for most people. Yes, it’s only one-third the price of our pick, but it also feels cheap and looks cheap. We think that most people will prefer the Lands’ End rug, which offers better-quality cotton, a superior nonskid backing, and a manufacturer’s guarantee ensuring that it can see use for a longer time.
This rug is available in nine colors and two sizes (17 by 24 inches and 21 by 34 inches). Wayfair offers a 30-day return policy, but the mat must be in new condition in its original packaging. If you want to try this one out, just make sure to step on it with dry feet, and don’t take it for a full ride before attempting to return it.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $40.
Our favorite wooden bath mat is the ToiletTree Products Bamboo Shower Floor and Bath Mat. Among the wooden mats we tested, this mat had the nicest sealant and felt the sturdiest. It looks sleeker than a woven or memory-foam mat, and at around $40 currently, it’s much less expensive than many other wood mats we considered.
We liked the ToiletTree bamboo mat above other wood contenders because it offered the best combination of quality construction and affordability. It felt stable when we stood on it, whereas the other bamboo mat we tried (from Oceanstar) made creaking noises. It was smoother underfoot than a coarser mat from House of Teak, and its glossy finish seemed of a higher quality than that of another teak competitor (from Conair), which had a lot of bad reviews complaining that the mat stains bathroom floors.
The ToiletTree was the tallest wood mat we tested, sitting about 1½ inches off the floor (the others ranged from 0.7 inch to 1 inch). Like the other wood mats, the ToiletTree comes with grippy pads underneath the legs to keep it from slipping around on a wet bathroom floor.
We found that with regular use, some water fell through the slats of this mat, but not enough to make the giant sopping puddle we expected. Anyone choosing this type of mat should expect to regularly wipe up some water beneath it; in general, though, the wooden mats we tested left less standing water behind than we initially thought they would. The only competing wood mat that left less water was the Conair Pollenex Solid Teak Roll-Up Shower Mat—the entire underside of that mat sits on the ground and isn’t coated at all, so it’s able to absorb some water.
Judging from the reviews we’ve read, we would not recommend placing this wooden mat actually inside your shower (despite the “Shower Floor” part of this mat’s name). People who have kept this mat in their showers have reported extensive mold after only a few months. Outside of the shower, it should stand up just fine to regular everyday use. We’ll keep an eye on the ToiletTree mat to spot any long-term wear and to see if the finish wears off over time (as tends to happen with wood things that get wet). Because we tested these mats for only a relatively short period, it’s hard to say how the ToiletTree mat would hold up outside over many months, although the manufacturer does advertise it for outdoor use.
After speaking with Jolie Kerr and the cleaning experts at Procter & Gamble, I can almost definitively say that most people aren’t washing their bath mats nearly enough. While it may seem as if your bath mat is in a clean part of the house, it really isn’t. In addition to the near constant moisture, bath mats absorb numerous soils while they’re innocuously sitting on your bathroom floor. If you spray any aerosols, such as hairspray, nearby, those particles end up in your bath mat. Dead skin, kitty litter (if you have an indoor cat), bacteria, and urine spray will all end up in the fibers of your bath mat over the course of regular bathroom use.
Kerr told us that people who live alone can probably get away with washing their bath mats every other week, but if you have two or more people in your house, she recommends washing your bath mat weekly. It may seem like overkill, but once you start thinking about all the gunk that ends up on your bathroom floor, this argument becomes convincing.
Make sure to read the wash instructions on your bath mat. We washed all of our test models in a warm/cold cycle and dried them on low heat, with great results. Especially if you have a mat with a nonslip backing, dry your mat on low heat to prevent the backing from disintegrating. In most cases, hot water and laundry detergent should be enough to sanitize your bath mat during regular use, but if you have a fungus, such as athlete’s foot, or a mildew problem in your bathroom, bleach or vinegar can be good disinfecting alternatives.
For people with wooden mats, Kerr recommends wiping the mat down with a solution of water and white vinegar, which has disinfecting properties. While many people like to use bleach for disinfecting, it’s very strong, and vinegar should be able to do the job well enough.
Additionally, should you choose to go down the wooden-mat road, there is always the possibility of standing water collecting below your mat. We recommend wiping down the floor underneath your wooden mat every week or so. If your bathroom has a floor drain near or beneath a wood mat, even better.
While researching bath rugs, we came across a number of articles warning against washing memory foams. We washed and dried each of our four tested memory-foam rugs multiple times, and we had no issues with the foam becoming brittle or breaking down inside the rug. As with the models that have nonskid coatings, these rugs are likely to last longer if you use low heat in the dryer.
JCPenney Home Ultra Soft Quick-Dri Bath Rug: Beyond looking like something you might find in your grandparents’ bathroom, this rug felt weird under our feet both when it was wet and dry. It wasn’t soft or cushiony at all.
JCPenney Chenille Lines Bath Rug: Even though this rug felt great underfoot, we’re not sure it even came with the nonskid backing the company claims it has. After one test wash, it was slipping and sliding all over the place. It felt unsafe even for a young, relatively fit person like me.
Bed Bath & Beyond Super Sponge Bath Mat: This mat wasn’t quite as soft or squishy as others we tried, and it felt a bit more slippery on the floor when we home-tested it.
L.L.Bean Textured Cotton Bath Mat: We wanted to like this rug. It comes in a great weave, it’s very thin (perfect for low doors), and it feels like something adults would have in their houses. Unfortunately, it comes in only a single size (24 by 36), one that’s too big for many bathrooms. The nail in the coffin for this rug, though, was how long it took to dry in our dryer (it needed more than one cycle, often on high heat).
Bed Bath & Beyond Wamsutta Perfect Soft Micro Cotton Bath Rug: This rug wasn’t terrible, but it didn’t dry particularly quickly, and it felt icky when we stood on it in bare feet.
Amazon Pinzon 100% Cotton Looped Bath Rug with Non-Slip Backing: We had high hopes for this cotton looped nonskid rug, but ultimately it disappointed. After just one wash, the cotton upper shrank and started curling up. We couldn’t get it to lie flat no matter what we tried. Between that and its taking forever to dry, this rug had to go.
HygroSoft by Welspun Reversible Bath Rug: This rug was so thick, it took forever to dry in the dryer, and when we stepped on it with bare feet while it was damp, it felt terrible.
Bath Studio Palace Micro Plush Memory Foam Bath Mat: This was the worst bath mat we tested. After the first washing, the nonskid backing separated from the body of the mat and adhered to itself, so the mat came out of the dryer folded like a taco shell after each wash. The top seemed to shrink slightly, and the mat wouldn’t lie flat once we unfolded it.
Clara Clark Memory Foam Non Slip Latex Free Plush Microfiber Bathrug: This mat looked nice enough, but when its super-thick foam absorbed water, it felt like stepping into a wet sponge.
Magnificent Soft Non-Slip Memory Foam Bath Mat: This mat barely absorbed any water, and the vertical grooves prompted the water that remained on the surface to pill up and roll right off the mat onto the floor.
Conair Pollenex Solid Teak Roll-Up Shower Mat: This mat has a thin, low profile (about 0.7 inch) and lies flush to the ground. Since it’s not made of solid slats, it’s easy to roll up or move around. If you want a wooden mat that you can move around and hang up, and lies flat on the floor, this is the mat for you. Although we did like this mat, we ultimately disqualified it because of some negative reviews about color bleeding and stained floors; the problem seemed too serious for the mat’s positives to outweigh it.
House of Teak Shower Mat: If we had a beach house with an outdoor shower, this would be the bath mat for us. Unfortunately, it has a weird square shape, and we found the wood totally unfinished. If the unfinished surface had been a bit smoother, we may have been convinced, but it was rough and didn’t feel great underfoot.
Oceanstar FM1163 Bamboo Floor and Shower Mat: We were tempted by the low price of this bamboo mat, but we should’ve known that all too often low price means bad quality. When we stood on this mat for the first time, it emitted all sorts of creaky cracking sounds. We didn’t try that hard, but we really felt as if it could break at any moment.
We also researched dozens of other bath mats from Bed Bath & Beyond, Crate and Barrel, IKEA, JCPenney, L.L.Bean, Macy’s, Pier 1, Restoration Hardware, Target, Wayfair, and a handful of other, lesser-known brands. They tended to be very expensive “luxury” bath mats that cost more than what we thought most people wanted to pay. We passed on formally testing some of the cheaper models from IKEA, too, because we knew them to have poor nonskid qualities based on my personal use. At this time, we don’t recommend any other models from these brands.
Let's just order a pizza.