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Here Are 7 of the Best Rug Pads for Every Floor Type

Plus expert advice on how to choose the right one for your rug

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Rug Pad USA

For some, the search for the best rug pad comes on the heels of refinishing your stunning hardwood floors. For others, it’s because your flatweave is bunching in ways that are driving you to the brink of insanity. Whatever the case, one thing is clear: You need a rug pad that’s going to be sturdy, soft and durable enough to keep everything where it needs to be (without staining or scratching your floors). So below, we’ve rounded up seven of the best rug pads—from ultra-plush memory foam models to dual-surface options that will fit every floor type—plus expert advice on how to choose the right one for your rug.

The Best Rug Pads at a Glance

Meet The Expert

Will McDonald is the Co-founder and CEO of Rug Pad USA, which is a direct-to-consumer rug pad manufacturer headquartered in Connecticut.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Rug Pad?

According to McDonald, “If you’re asking, ‘Do I really need a rug pad?’—the answer is yesArea rugs without a pad often slip around and bunch up. They may also stain and strip your flooring.” To that end, he also outlines five key benefits of adding one to your home:

  • Protects your floor surface: “Dirt and debris will accumulate over time underneath your area rug. These materials are erosive. That means that they wear away at the floor surface due to friction. A rug pad prevents this grime from contacting the floor. That means little bits of dirt and other waste materials can’t scratch, blemish and otherwise damage the floor.”
  • Provides cushioning: “One of the main reasons for having an area rug is to improve the ‘underfoot experience,’ [but] a rug without a pad can result in sliding, bunching, knotting and wrinkling. A cushioned rug pad, however, provides a grip to hold the rug in place. It also makes for an even softer landing for your footsteps, providing a plush and giving surface for walking or sitting.”
  • Prevents slipping: “A non-slip rug pad will keep your rug anchored to the floor and spread out across its placement area. In other words, the rug will stay where you want it to stay. An area rug that bunches, knots and slides is annoying and unpleasant. It can also result in falls and other mishaps. Using a rug pad will ensure the rug behaves itself, helping you to maintain a safe and highly walkable floor surface.”
  • Protects your rug: “A rug pad provides a solid foundation for your rug. That means that the rug isn’t in direct contact with the floor, where it would rub against the flooring and wear away over time. The everyday friction caused by a rug without a pad will gradually degrade the rug. Furthermore, the rug will be pressed against the floor without airflow, resulting in the trapping of abrasive dirt, harmful allergens and other damaging debris.”
  • Facilitates airflow: “Rug pads are designed to promote airflow between the floor and the rug. The pad’s material and design allow it to ‘breathe.’ This prevents the rug from pressing down flush to the floor, where it can trap dirt, allergens and moisture. Proper airflow facilitated by a rug pad allows for particles of dust and dirt to be easily captured while vacuuming. This helps to maintain a clean home while protecting the flooring under the rug.”

What Are the Downsides Associated with Rug Pads?

“You’ve heard the horror stories,” McDonald says. “You’ve seen the pictures. Cheap plastic rug pads seeping chemicals into gorgeous hardwood floors and causing countless dollars of damage. Non-slip rug pads sticking to the floor boards, leaving visible marks and discoloration behind. PVC-backed plastic rug pads, emitting VOCs that ruin the indoor air quality and can cause numerous breathing issues.” However, he notes: “The rug pads that cause floor damage are usually imported plastic rug pads, and they are everywhere in the market, usually offered at appealing price points. But the actual cost of using these pads can be steep, as they can ruin the finish on your valuable wood floors.” Here’s some more info about the cons of using a cheap rug pad:

  • Health hazards from toxic chemicals: “The main problem with most imported plastic pads is that they are coated with adhesives to enhance grip, which can destroy your floors. These pads contain a combination of toxic chemicals which can ‘off-gas’ and stain floors. Even worse, they can fill your home with toxins…Some cheap rug pads also use synthetic latex, which contains styrene, a known carcinogen. Think: inhaling toxic, cancerous particles every day.”
  • Adhesive coating sticks to floors (and itself): “Another issue with a cheap imported plastic rug pad is that manufacturers make them with adhesive coating to enhance their non-slip grip. Unfortunately, these pads just end up literally sticking to your floors rather than gripping them. Furthermore, due to this adhesive process, the pad usually ends up sticking to itself, creating lumps under your rugs and not actually functioning to keep your rugs in place.”

“So with all these negatives, why should you use a rug pad? Simple: Not all rug pads are created equal,” McDonald summarizes. Below, he’s provided a breakdown of the top two materials to look for in a rug pad, plus tips on how to install it.

Does Every Rug Need One?

The short answer is *yes.* And thanks to McDonald, we have a quick overview of materials you should look for in a rug pad:

  • Natural rubber is the best option overall—especially for hardwood floors: “It’s a sustainable and eco-friendly material that can be used with all types of carpets and rugs—[and] it’s superior in terms of non-slip grip, eco-friendliness and floor safety and protection (particularly for hardwood floors and poly finishes that are prone to staining),” says McDonald. He also adds: “Natural rubber pads are far more eco-friendly than plastic pads, where the rubber used by reputable manufacturers is derived from white sap from the Hevea brasiliensis tree…it’s 100 percent natural, and free from harmful chemicals or plasticizers and won’t cause off-gassing that can stain/damage floors.”
  • Felt rug pads are also ideal for larger rugs or flatweaves: “For large area rugs that do not require a non-slip grip, 100 percent felt rug pads provide that extra layer of comfort and support that non-slip rug pads do not. This is because larger rugs and carpets, like 8x10 and 9x12 rugs, tend to be anchored down by their own weight or by furniture on top of them—so they don’t require a rubber backing,” McDonald says. That’s where felt pads come in, which are ultra-soft and totally safe on all natural and synthetic floor surfaces (including wood floors). That said, you can also use a felt/rubber blend for the best of both worlds: “The two materials create a durable and long-lasting pad that will extend the life of your rug and floors. Plus, felt and rubber pads are ideal for flat-weave rugs because the needle-punched felt surface naturally clings to the bottom of rugs to anchor it to the pad’s surface.”

Which Side of the Rug Pad Goes Down?

Per McDonald, here’s how to install your rug pad the right way down (or up), based on your rug type:

  • Jute rug pad: In most cases, a rug pad made from jute has a rubberized bottom that works to stop slipping…hence, why a jute rug pad should be installed with this rubber backing facing down towards the floor.
  • Felt rug pad: A felt rug pad often has a stiff side and a soft side. So, to provide your hardwood floor or carpeted area with the best protection, it's best to face your felt rug pad soft side down.
  • Carpet rug pad: A carpet pad will have a rubber side and a softer side. To face a carpet pad the right way, simply lay the pad so the rubber side is up and the softer side is down.
  • Rubber rug pad: Most of the time, a rubber rug pad or natural rubber rug pad will have an obvious soft side and a side covered by a rug gripper pattern. And you guessed it; the soft side goes down towards the floor and the rug gripper pattern goes upwards to hold the rug in place.
  • PVC rug pad: You want to treat PVC rug pads like rubber rug pads: Determine which side is soft and which side has the rug gripper pattern, then face it accordingly; soft side down, pattern side up.
  • Memory foam rug pad: A memory foam rug pad will sometimes have an obvious side that goes down (but sometimes not). For instance, some memory foam rug padding has a felt pad or rubber pad that lines its underside. If this is the case, then face this side towards the floor. Otherwise, memory foam rug pads are simply constructed all the way through with memory foam. If you find your rug pad is 100 percent foam, it doesn't have an up or downside. You can install it any way you like.

How We Chose the Best Rug Pads

After scouring through the best-selling rug pads on the market, we selected our picks based on whether they use felt and/or natural rubber materials, adhesive corners, at least 0.25-inches of cushion and that they’re free from harmful toxins (i.e., not imported plastic).

The 30 Best Statement Rugs of 2023


Best Overall

1. Mohawk Home Non-Slip Rug Pad Gripper

Mohawk Home

  • Best For: hardwood, laminate, marble/tile, stone and carpet
  • Size Range: from 2' 2" x 10' to TK
  • Why We Love It: durable blended felt fibers and non-slip latex backing, plush cushioning with multiple thickness options, non-slip grip for secure rug placement, Green Label Plus Certification for low chemical emissions, insulating and sound absorbing

After seeing this rug pad’s 4.6-star rating with over 23,900 5-star reviews, we had to know what all the hype was about. First and foremost, it has a dual-surface design that’s intended to “meet the needs of busy households,” per the brand, with plush cushioning, a non-slip grip, insulation, sound absorption and unprecedented floor protection. It’s compatible with all floor types—from hardwood to tile to vinyl—and it’s constructed with durable blended felt fibers and a non-slip latex backing, offering the perfect combination of support and stability. To that end, it’s also available in multiple size and cushion options, where the ¼-inch thickness has a low-profile feel while the ½-inch thickness feels ultra-plush on the feet (or you could go with the ⅜-inch, which falls somewhere in between).

One reviewer writes, “Sticks well to the bottom of the rug, adds a good amount of cushion under the rug and the latex bottom prevents sliding on my wood floor. I have to put a lot of effort in to move the rug pad and it barely slides when my 100-pound dog flops down on the rug from one side.” Another customer writes, “A must-have for anyone with hard floors. I have bought a few now in different sizes and can easily cut with a blade knife to fit different rugs. Does not damage my laminate floors [either].” The cherry on top? It’s backed with a Green Label Plus Certification from The Carpet & Rug Institute, which means it’s free from harmful chemicals and safe for the environment (and your home, for that matter).

Best Budget

2. Wayfair Basics Bouffard Rug Pad

Wayfair

  • Best For: hardwood, marble/tile, concrete, vinyl, carpet and linoleum/laminate
  • Size Range: from 2’ x 4’ to 10’ x 13’
  • Why We Love It: pricing starts at $15, felt and latex rubber construction, ¼-inch cushion thickness, can be cut down to the ideal size, prevents scratches and abrasions on most floor types, doesn’t bunch or wrinkle, sound-absorbent

Featuring a plush, ¼-inch-thick felt cushion, this pad has an undeniably soft underfoot feel with excellent sound absorption, insulation and sturdiness for high-traffic areas. The latex rubber backing ensures a non-slip grip, preventing bunching and wrinkles, and the durable felt material safeguards against scratches, scrapes, punctures and other abrasion wears. It’s also compatible with virtually any floor type—including hardwood, marble, tile, vinyl, carpet, linoleum/laminate, concrete and stone—and has a lining that’ll protect from discoloration caused by the backing of the area rug.

Take it from one reviewer, who has three of these pads in her home: “This rug pad is great for hardwood floors. Doesn't slide or leave marks on the floor…Very easy to cut down to size with ordinary scissors. I bought an 8 x 10 to cut into smaller sizes for all my entry rugs, kitchen rugs, laundry room, etc.” She also mentions, “You want the pad to be a few inches smaller than the rug all the way around so that the edges of your area rug lay flat. Flip it with the felt side down and you can use it for placing an area rug over carpet.” Oh, and did we mention that it’s only $34 for a 5’ x 7’ pad?

Best Dual-Surface

3. RugPadUSA Dual Surface Rug Pad

RugPadUSA

  • Best For: hardwood, laminate, marble/tile, stone and carpet
  • Size Range: from 1'10" x 2'10" to 12' x 15'
  • Why We Love It: made from natural rubber and 100 percent recycled felt, multiple size and height options, adds cushion and soundproofing with a strong grip, free from toxins and needle punches to prevent moisture build-up

With a 4.6-star rating and over 8,900 reviews, it makes sense why people are raving over this rug pad. It has ultra-strong gripping power—preventing slipping, sliding and wrinkling, even in high-traffic areas—and is equipped with a natural rubber backing that keeps rugs firmly anchored in place. The 22 ounces of felt and 14 ounces of natural rubber also offer a durable cushion blend, while the pad’s extra-thick construction (available in a ¼-, ⅛-, ⅜- or ½-inch height) is manufactured with heat-pressed felt, so it adds cushion, soundproofing and insulation without excess bulk.

That said, what really makes this a stand-out choice is the fact that it’s made from all-natural rubber and 100 percent recycled felt, so it has a non-abrasive construction that can protect any hard surface floor from scratching (including hardwood, laminate, stone): “Just installed beautiful hardwood floors (and we have two 70 pound goldendoodles who love to run and play),” writes one reviewer. “The new area rugs would go flying! These pads [have] been the perfect solution. Rugs stay completely in place while both padding and protecting our hardwood floors.” It’s also odorless, low in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), hypoallergenic and needle-punched to prevent moisture buildup: “It holds our rug firmly to the hardwood without leaving any residue or discoloration on the floor. The liner is also thick and comfortable, which is a plus,” another reviewer notes.

Most Adhesive

4. Durahold Felt and Rubber Rug Pad

Durahold

  • Best For: hardwood, tile, marble, stone, vinyl, linoleum, concrete and radiant heat floor
  • Size Range: from 2' x 8' to 10' x 14'
  • Why We Love It: 100 percent natural rubber thermal-set ridges in an exclusive chevron pattern has superior gripping power, backing features a hexagonal "tire tread" pattern to prevent lateral motion, patented needle-punched felt construction prevents decomposition and shredding

Need something that’ll stop your rug from slipping and sliding—without the excess cushioning? This guy is your answer. It’s basically rug pad meets carpet tape, with a low-profile (¼- inch) height that’s designed with thermal-set ridges in a chevron pattern to offer superior grip. The backing features a unique, hexagonal "tire tread" pattern made of 100 percent natural rubber (so it won’t bring harmful toxins into your home) and the design effectively prevents lateral motion in every direction. One Durahold customer backs this up, writing, “It does just what it says. I have a busy household with kids and a dog, and bought a crazy long cotton/jute runner for the kitchen…[Forget] those pathetic little plastic mesh pads that instantly curl into a ball under your rug. This non-slip pad really works. Bottom of the pad sticks to the floor. Top of the pad sticks to the carpet. Nothing moves, saving my floors and making life much easier for me. Also, I don't have to polish the floors all the time, because they're protected by the runner that now stays put.”

To that end, this pad is safe for use on all types of floors—even radiant heat floors—and it also has a patented needle-punched felt construction, which prevents decomposition and shredding. Even when damp, the pad promises to minimize odors and hold up over time (according to the brand).

  • Best For: hardwood, tile, stone and linoleum
  • Size Range: from 4’ x 6’ to 10’ to 14’
  • Why We Love It: feels like a memory foam mattress, .44-inch thickness, good for all floor types, waterproof, spill and stain resistant, excellent noise-reducing properties

Designed to be as plush as a memory foam mattress topper, this rug pad uses 100 percent viscoelastic memory foam to deliver exceptional support. The .44-inch thickness absorbs the impact of foot traffic while reducing strain on your joints and the sink-in feel can bring a top-quality mattress vibe to your living room. Plus, it’s finished with a waterproof construction, so the pad doubles as a reliable barrier against spills and liquid accidents (aka ideal for kids). One reviewer raves, “It has been perfect having this pad as my baby has learned to crawl and walk. [He] actually has some padding as he crawls, walks and inevitably falls (or has temper tantrums). It has saved us from a lot of unnecessary bonks resulting tears. Plus, this makes the floor comfortable enough that I can sit and lie to play on the ground. I love that this is made in the USA, free from harmful chemicals and comes with a ten-year warranty.”

Not to mention that it’s also exceptional at soundproofing: “I live in a seven-floor building on the seventh floor. My downstairs neighbors [kept] complaining about all the noise coming from my apartment. My 9-year-old daughter loves to run and is very heavy-footed. I got this padding in hopes to muffle some of the noise and it has,” another reviewer adds.

Best Indoor/Outdoor

6. Symple Stuff Anson Rug Pad

Symple Stuff

  • Best For: hardwood, concrete, stone; marble, tile, laminate/linoleum
  • Size Range: from 2’ x 8’ to 9’ x 12’
  • Why We Love It: polymer-coated polyester and PVC backing makes it waterproof and ultra-durable, open-weave, mesh design ensures that the pad won't slip or slide, certified safe and antimicrobial, OEKO-TEX certified, machine-washable

Crafted with a polymer-coated polyester material, this indoor/outdoor pad features an open-weave, mesh design that offers multiple weatherproof benefits. It’s waterproof and ultra-durable, with a PVC backing that won’t slip or slide, and you won’t have to worry about harmful off-gassing because it’s OEKO-TEX certified and guaranteed safe for the environment. Plus, it’s naturally antimicrobial and prevents the growth of odor-causing bacteria, mold, and mildew (and it’s machine-washable, so you know it’ll hold up over time).

“This rug is on our outdoor deck which has no shade. It lays flat and has held up without issues during heavy rainfall and heat (almost 100F),” writes one reviewer. Plus, another adds, “The pad does the job it is supposed to do—the rug on top does not slip! The pad does outgas when you take it from the packaging. I put it on our deck for about an hour—after that, no odor.” That said, the brand notes that this pad is not intended for use on carpet, unfinished or recently finished floors, vinyl, lacquered, acrylic or porous surfaces.

Most Eco-Friendly

7. RugPadUSA Eco-Plush Rug Pad

RudPadUSA

  • Best For: hardwood, tile, stone and linoleum
  • Size Range: 4'10" x 6'10" to 12’ x 18’
  • Why We Love It: eco-friendly certifications include MBDC Cradle-to-Cradle, CRI Green Label and LEED, made from 100 percent recycled felt, ½-inch thickness for ultimate comfort, breathable and dirt-catching woven padding

Aside from the fact that this pad is equipped with a ½-inch thickness that feels like a dream underfoot, it also comes with numerous eco-friendly certifications, including MBDC Cradle-to-Cradle, CRI Green Label and LEED (so you know it’s 100 percent eco-friendly and toxin-free). Its dense, 40-ounce recycled felt composition delicately supports your rug without harming the floor, while the heat-pressed side creates a Velcro-like effect with the rug's backing, preventing bunching and preserving the rug's weave. Plus, it features solid woven padding, so it provides breathability and catches dirt and contaminants that may fall through your rug.

“This is a very soft and super plush rug pad that I highly recommend if you want maximum comfort for your feet when walking,” one reviewer raves. “And if you don’t want to worry about any possible chemical or rubber breakdown that occurs over time, [this one is it]…We use this pad for our rug in the living room and it has enhanced how comfortable and soft the rug feels when standing or walking around the room. It gets a lot of foot traffic, but given the weight of the furniture on the rug, it never slips.” That said, it’s worth mentioning that the brand notes: “The Eco-Plush ½-inch is not designed for non-slip applications. It is best suited for rugs that are anchored by furniture or heavy rugs that stay in place on their own. For non-slip needs, consider exploring a felt and rubber option.”

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Sydney Meister is PureWow’s Assistant Lifestyle Editor. Along with covering the latest interior design trends and home hacks, she writes about everything from relationships to travel, must-have wellness products and what's happening in the world of celebrity design. Before PureWow, Sydney worked for various interior designers across NYC—primarily as a content creator focusing on trend forecasting and reporting. She's a go-to resource when it comes to interior styling tips and product recs to keep your home looking au courant (hint: it's time to ditch the modern farmhouse look).

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Sydney Meister

Assistant Editor

Sydney Meister is PureWow's Assistant Editor, covering everything from interior design and dating trends (helloo, rizz) to relationship advice, weddings, real estate, parenting...
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