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We’ve accumulated years of combined testing on standing desk mats among writers, editors, and coworkers, and all that work has made it easy to recommend the Imprint CumulusPro Commercial Couture Strata as a traditional flat mat for standing-desk use. Nearly everyone who tried an older version of the Commercial mat in our first round of testing in 2014 liked its feel the best, and so did our 2016 testers, who evaluated the Couture Strata version against the regular Commercial and a half-dozen new models. Like the regular Commercial mat, the Couture Strata comes with a 10-year warranty and doesn’t off-gas toxic chemicals.


We incidentally tested two mats that weren’t in our model list but happened to be at the coworking space: one that came free with a desk we tested for our standing desk guide, and the Crown Comfort King, a $30 top-selling anti-fatigue mat on Amazon. We also tested the Sky Solutions foam mat, which is popular on Amazon. After comparing these mats side by side with the others, we are confident that a solid, thick, durable mat—namely, any of the mats described earlier in this guide—is worth the extra money.


The SmartCells Anti-Fatigue Mat is different in construction from other standing mats, and you can feel it. Small, tubular rubber cells lift your feet off the ground and push back against your body weight. This mat is heavier and harder to move, and some testers did not like feeling the individual cells when shifting their weight. This model is not for most people, especially if you tend to work barefoot. But if you find that other mats give too much and let your feet slip into uncomfortable, muscle-straining positions, the resistance of the SmartCells mat may work better for you. One tester at the coworking space, out of a dozen regular standing workers, used the SmartCells mat for more than a month and stated a preference for it without knowing anything about its unique construction.


If you use your mat with bare feet and believe that an odor has accumulated, you can also hose the mat down in your backyard or in your sink. If your mat has developed a significant tear or split, however, you might want to avoid that area (and contact the maker, if the mat is still under warranty).


That the Couture Strata is not our top pick for standing-desk users is not a matter of its failings; we simply found that more testers used the Topo’s raised features, if given the choice. Still, a productive workspace is one that accommodates your most comfortable self, and if you want to stand on a flat surface—and pay about $30 less than for the Topo—the Imprint CumulusPro Commercial Couture Strata is the best flat mat we’ve found after years of testing. The Commercial has been our favorite for as long as we’ve had a standing desk mat recommendation.


If you prefer a firmer mat that’s still more supportive than the floor, the original SmartCells Anti-Fatigue Mat remains our pick. Its rubber support cells feel different than polyurethane—the effect is more buoyant than squishy, and you’ll want to wear shoes. This mat also holds its place on the floor more firmly than most polyurethane mats, in part because it’s much heavier.


Over the course of three months, everyone who used one of five standing desks at CoworkBuffalo—a coworking space in Buffalo, New York, that I co-own—used one of these mats. That’s at least a dozen pairs of feet on each mat. I rotated mats between desks every week, or immediately if someone disliked the feel of a mat. I stood for at least one day on every mat, took notes, and casually interviewed coworkers about their impressions. Most mats were fine to stand on for up to an hour, but people who regularly work while standing ended up zeroing in on the firmness, size, and style they preferred, and eventually everyone had a pick they liked the best.


April 29, 2015: Imprint has changed the formulation of its 20x30 CumulusPro mat, which is now called the CumulusPro Professional Grade. It has a firmer surface but a squishier core than our current recommendation, the 24x36 mat, which is now known as the CumulusPro Commercial Grade. We are testing the new Professional Grade mat, along with several other new mats from different manufacturers, and will update this guide soon. For now, our recommendation remains for the Imprint CumulusPro Commercial Grade.


The major flaw with Imprint mats is their confusing product-naming scheme. We previously recommended the CumulusPro Commercial Grade mat, without the “Couture Strata” distinction, but not the squishier and smaller CumulusPro Professional, or the Cumulus9 (which is meant for use as a lighter-duty kitchen mat, despite its popularity on Amazon in standing-desk search results).


The novel surface of the Ergodriven Topo provided the most comfort to the feet of standing workers in our tests. Its varied, raised terrain encourages movement, which matches up with the latest reasoning on healthy, ergonomically sound work habits. You can tuck it under a desk and bring it back out with one foot (on carpet or hard floors), eliminating the tedious chore you encounter with almost every other mat. It’s easy to clean, puncture resistant, and made from polyurethane, a relatively eco-friendly material that does not emit odors. And because it isn’t as wide and flat as standard anti-fatigue mats, it allows more room under your desk.


The writer and the editor of this review are 6 feet 2 inches and 6 feet 4 inches, respectively, and neither of us found the Topo too narrow for standing-desk work. At its flat portions, or on its outer edges near the bottom, most people’s feet will be about shoulder-width apart. The Topo is a little deeper but less wide than the flat mats we usually recommend; it’s about 29 inches at its widest, and 26 inches deep. Its being a bit smaller than a 24-by-36-inch mat means that, with some desks, the Topo can hide in a corner when you wheel your chair back under, and you’ll still have room for under-the-desk items such as a trash can or a desktop PC.


Most anti-fatigue mats are flat for good reasons, namely trip prevention, ease of storage, and the ability to accommodate different tasks at a workstation. If you prefer lots of room to pace, dance, or work at different stations around your desk, you’ll want to stick with a larger flat mat (such as the Imprint CumulusPro). The same holds true if you know, from lots of experience at your desk, that you have little desire to move your feet while working, or if you prefer a flat surface to move on.


Pretty much everyone who tested these mats, including two Wirecutter editors, was skeptical of the Topo’s design, but the benefits became evident within a few minutes of our standing on them. People tend to think they have ideal posture, and they don’t realize their bodies shift and adjust while they stand. The back edge and front corners of the Topo are higher than the side edges, and the mat has a teardrop-shaped mound in the middle that’s far squishier than the rest of the material. Without even thinking about it, you may end up standing on, pressing against, and heel-digging into all of those sections. “I didn’t know I had nervous legs, but I’m glad this mat taught me that,” one coworker said.


As noted above, a recent review of studies concerning sitting, standing, and moving around at work has dampened the enthusiasm for standing as a catch-all cure for the problems associated with sitting too much. But one idea still holds its value, however simple it may seem: Moving around is a good thing. The Topo mat encourages leg movement and fidgeting, which can be beneficial. More simply, if you feel as though your mat better tolerates your wandering feet, you’re more likely to stick to a standing rotation.


We prefer the look of the Couture Strata variant—its light texturing, especially in its gray version, makes it look a little nicer than the typical rubbery-black look of most anti-fatigue mats, including the regular Commercial. The standard Commercial mat is sometimes a little cheaper than the Couture Strata one and sometimes a bit pricier. If you don’t care whether the mat has a pretty top surface, get whichever one is cheaper at the time—they feel the same.


Cleaning your Ergodriven Topo or Imprint CumulusPro mat is easy, because you need only water and a cloth towel to get rid of most spills and stains. You can use a paper towel, but we found that paper tends to disintegrate and pill against the mats’ textures. Soap and water is fine for germ-laden spots. A Topo representative told us that Ergodriven tested household cleaners such as Lysol wipes and Windex spray, and neither harmed the mat, though using such cleaners is likely “overkill.” We recommend sticking with plain water.