Best Turntable Mats for Better Sound and Less Static

Here are the best turntable mat materials you need to know about!

Finding the best turntable mat materials is one of the most underrated things you can do to enhance the sound and performance of your vinyl setup.  So let’s find out what turntable mat is the best fit for your record player.

Understanding Turntable Mat Materials

One of the easiest turntable upgrades you can make is to the record player mat.  Doing so can result in a noticeable improvement in sound performance. 

The best turntable mats that will make a significant difference in improved sound and removing unwanted vibrations are:

  • Felt Mats
  • Cork Mats
  • Rubber Mats (or Silicone Mats)
  • Leather Mats
  • Acrylic Platters

Felt Turntable Mats

Felt turntable mat with checkered design
You can view a variety of felt mats on Turntable Lab

Price: Affordable
Maintenance: I recommend keeping a felt mat inside of a turntable dust cover at all times.  Getting dust removed from a felt mat is difficult to do, so keep your felt mat away from the exposure of air, if possible.

FeatureFelt Mats
MaterialFelt Material
Surface TextureSoft and Plush
Sound SignatureWarm and Mellow
Anti-StaticYes
Vibration DampeningModerate
DurabilityModerate
Aesthetic AppealSimple
PriceAffordable

Felt mats, a staple in entry-level and mid-range turntables, boast a modest thickness of around 2mm. 

While budget-friendly, they do pose static challenges, attracting dust and airborne particles.  Due to this, I recommend keeping your felt mat inside a dust cover at all times.  

Spiral design on turntable mat.
Felt mats can come with unique patterns on the surface

With that said, felt mats offer a warm and smooth sound signature, ideal for listeners who prefer a more laid-back and mellow listening experience.

The soft surface of felt mats help dampen vibrations, resulting in reduced noise. However, felt mats can stick to the surface of your records due to static cling, creating an annoyance while playing albums.

Despite these drawbacks, felt mats exhibit versatility, often featuring captivating designs, colors and patterns that add a touch of visual appeal to your setup.

You can buy felt turntable mats on Amazon
You can buy felt turntable mats on Turntable Lab

Cork Turntable Mats

Enjoy cork turntable mats, as they are some of the best ones on the market.
Cork mats are natural and quite effective

Price: Affordable

FeatureCork Mats
MaterialCork Material
Surface TextureNatural and Textured
Sound SignatureBalanced and Natural
Anti-StaticYes
Vibration DampeningHigh
DurabilityHigh
Aesthetic AppealNatural
PriceAffordable

Addressing static concerns, cork mats provide anti static electricity protection for your records. 

Their thicker composition ensures adherence to a metal platter rather than a record (unlike felt mats), promising smoother playback and improved sound quality by dampening unwanted resonance.

Cork and rubber turntable mats are some of the best mats you can buy.
You can view a variety of cork mats on Turntable Lab

A cork mat also has natural texture that provides a firm grip for the turntable owner. Additionally, cork mats are environmentally friendly and sustainable, making them a popular choice among audiophiles conscious of their carbon footprint.

It’s worth noting that hybrid cork and rubber mats are a great option too.   These dual layer mats offer the best of both worlds.  Although acrylic platters are my favorite turntable mat, the next best affordable choice is cork (or a cork-rubber hybrid).

You can buy cork turntable mats on Amazon
You can buy cork turntable mats on Turntable Lab 

Rubber Turntable Mats

Here are what some rubber turntable mats look like.
Rubber mats are simple, affordable, and effective

Price: Moderately Affordable

FeatureRubber Mats
MaterialRubber Material
Surface TextureDense and Smooth
Sound SignatureNatural and Controlled
Anti-StaticYes
Vibration DampeningModerate
DurabilityHigh
Aesthetic AppealFunctional
PriceModerately Affordable

Favored by Technics, rubber mats (or silicone mats) go beyond aesthetics, delivering a deep, full tone by isolating records from unwanted platter micro-vibrations. 

Adored for their effectiveness in dampening vibrations, holding records securely, and ease of cleaning, rubber mats are a top choice for audiophiles seeking high-fidelity playback.

You can buy rubber turntable mats on Amazon
You can buy rubber turntable mats on Turntable Lab

You can also get rubber and silicone mats from Hudson Hi-Fi, as well.

Leather Turntable Mats

Leather turntable mats have some major advantages.
You can view a variety of leather turntable mats on Turntable Lab

Price: Premium

FeatureLeather Mats
MaterialLeather Material
Surface TextureSmooth
Sound SignatureSubtle Warmth
Anti-StaticYes
Vibration DampeningModerate
DurabilityHigh
Aesthetic AppealLuxurious
PricePremium

Crafted from soft suede leather, these mats, typically 2mm-3mm thick, stand out for their ability to dampen resonance.

The smooth surface of leather mats helps reduce static and friction, resulting in a quieter playback experience. Leather mats also add a touch of elegance to your turntable setup, making them a popular choice among enthusiasts with discerning tastes.

The likes of the Pro-Ject Leather-It Platter Mat and Thorens Leather Record Mat showcase the pinnacle of leather mat quality. 

You can buy leather turntable mats on Amazon
You can buy leather turntable mats on Turntable Lab

Acrylic Mats or Platters

An acrylic platter on a Pro-Ject turntable


Price:
Premium
Maintenance:
I recommend wiping down your acrylic platter with a microfiber rag after each record you play.  This ensures that your next record always sits on a clean surface.

FeatureAcrylic Platters & Mats
MaterialAcrylic Material
Surface TextureSmooth
Sound SignatureDetailed and Precise
Anti-StaticYes
Vibration DampeningHigh
DurabilityHigh
Aesthetic AppealModern and Minimalist
PricePremium

Acrylic platters are known for their transparency and neutrality, allowing for a more detailed and precise sound reproduction. 

They provide wonderful surface contact with the record, minimizing unwanted vibrations and static. 

You can view more acrylic platters on Turntable Lab

Acrylic mats are favored by audiophiles who prioritize accuracy and resolution in their listening experience.

Consider the Pro-Ject Acryl-It Platter for a mat-free setup or acrylic mats for a cost-effective alternative to traditional options.

You can buy acrylic mats on Amazon
You can buy acrylic platters on Turntable Lab

Manufacturer Recommendations

According to leading turntable manufacturers and audio experts, the choice of turntable mat material depends on personal preference and system synergy. 

Fluance, for example, tends to use either felt, rubber, or acrylic turntable mats.

Some recommend cork mats for their natural sound reproduction and environmental benefits, while others prefer felt or rubber mats for their specific sonic characteristics and durability.

Considerations When Choosing Turntable Mats

Here is what you need to consider most when buying turntable mats
What to consider when buying turntable mats

Impact on Sound Quality

If you desire to attain the best possible sound quality, then you must consider the subjective nature of sound perception. 

Felt mats, for instance, may introduce warmth but could be prone to static, affecting vocal and instrument clarity. 

Cork mats provide anti-static benefits and enhance playback smoothness by dampening resonance.

Rubber mats excel in dampening vibrations but might alter the tonal balance. 

Leather mats, with their dampening capabilities, offer a smooth surface and refined audio experience. 

Acrylic mats or platters, by contrast, are the best of all of the turntable mats available.  They contribute stability without compromising any sound quality.

Durability and Maintenance

Beyond sound considerations, the longevity and maintenance requirements of each material play a crucial role, as well. 

Turntable Mats and Durability

Felt mats, though cost-effective, may wear faster and require more frequent cleaning due to static attraction. 

Rubber mats are durable and easy to clean, ensuring a longer lifespan. 

Cork mats offer durability and require minimal maintenance. 

Leather mats, while pricier, often justify the investment with their longevity and resistance to dust.

Acrylic mats are sturdy and easy to maintain.  These mats are minimalist in their design, yet never stick to your records.

Aesthetics

Balancing visual appeal with performance considerations is paramount. 

Felt mats offer a range of designs and patterns, adding a touch of customization to your setup. 

Rubber mats, while more utilitarian, contribute to a clean and professional aesthetic. 

Cork mats often boast a natural and earthy appearance, aligning well with various decor styles. 

Leather mats, with their supple textures, add a touch of sophistication to the turntable.  While a leather turntable mat may be a good choice for some, others will hate that it originates from deer hide (or deer skin).

Acrylic mats and platters provide a minimalist and modern aesthetic.

Compatibility with Turntable Platter

Understanding how each material interacts with different platter types is crucial, as well. 

Felt mats, being versatile, suit various platter materials but may require additional anti-static measures. 

Rubber mats, designed with specific details to ensure a flat record surface, accommodate a range of platters and offer excellent protection. 

Cork mats, with their adherence to the platter, enhance compatibility with diverse turntable setups. 

Leather mats, with their graded textures, provide a stable surface on different platter materials. 

Acrylic platters, designed to match specific turntables (like the Marantz TT-15S1) often blend in with a turntable (rather than stand out).

Wrapping It Up

While felt mats are budget-friendly, other options like rubber, cork, leather, or acrylic may require a higher investment. 

The long-term benefits and the impact on sound quality should guide your decision-making process. Try to strike a balance between your budget constraints and the desired audio and visual enhancements you want.

You can read more about Turntable Accessories here. If you need more help with record players in general, check out my Turntable category on this website.

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