The bathroom — a haven where you can relax and unwind from life’s stresses in your shower or tub. At least, that’s the idea.
Shockingly, over 230,000 people annually suffer accidents in this innocuous space. Of these, 17.3 percent arise from slipping in the shower (1). Even more concerning, this results in 70 deaths per year (2).
Thankfully, there’s a simple solution. The best shower mats can prevent unwanted falls and slips, allowing for a safer bathroom experience. In this article, we bring you the ultimate products on the market.
Why You Need the Best Shower Mat
Showering can create the perfect storm for accidents. One minute you’re lathering up your nether regions, the next, you’re flat on your back.
This can be due to the following factors:
- Soap and water: These two compounds, when combined, reduce friction. Add this to the shiny glazed floor of your bathtub or cubicle, and you have a surface akin to an ice-rink.
- Lack of support: If you do slip in the shower, there’s often little to grab to support yourself. Instead, you’re surrounded by wet tiles, glass doors or a shower curtain. None of which can prevent you from falling.
- Hard surfaces: Assuming you do slip, and there’s nothing to grasp, you’re going to fall. This means your body absorbs the full impact of the surrounding materials, such as walls, floor and taps.
But a shower mat can protect you. Research from BioMed Central explains that using a shower mat increases friction, heightens stability and lowers the risk of accidents (3).
This is naturally useful for all shower users. However, studies indicate that shower mats are particularly necessary for two sectors of the population. That is, the elderly and young children.
Worryingly, although only accounting for 8.5 percent of the US population, 30 percent of the accidents in the shower are experienced by children under five years old.
What to Look for in a Shower Mat
Here are some factors to consider when looking to increase safety in your shower:
Usually, shower mats are made from rubber, often containing silicone, latex or both. These materials have the benefits of being easily cleanable, flexible and bacteria resistant (4).
Still, some mats are latex-free. This is an important consideration since around 10 percent of the world’s population is allergic to this material (5).
There are a few examples on the market made from teak. Certain people may consider them a little more stylish than the standard rubber materials. While perhaps not providing as much grip as rubber, they’re incredibly resistant to rot (6).
Some showers are in their own stalls, while others are placed over tubs. So, first, measure the area to be covered to ensure that your chosen mat is sufficient.
They need to cover a substantial area of the floor area, without spilling over the sides. Overhanging mats may cause a tripping hazard, which is precisely what you’re trying to avoid.
Both rectangular and square shower mats exist for these two different applications.
Translucent or Opaque
While many mats are bacteria-resistant, there’s always the chance of mold appearing.
This growth is easily spotted on translucent shower mats and can provide a visible reminder to clean. Conversely, as they show dirt more easily, they can become unsightly faster than opaque versions.
Shower mats with a greater number of holes, and in a bigger size, promote faster drainage.
This can provide a safer showering experience as the water dissipates quickly and can prevent mold growth. Since, if there’s one thing mold loves, it’s moisture.
The Best Shower Mats of 2021
We want you to have the safest and most pleasurable showering experience possible. So, we’ve found the best shower mats currently available. We chose these products on their distinctive characteristics, user’s experiences and current expert opinions.
1. House of Teak Shower Mat
This shower mat, made from solid teak, offers a completely different experience to the traditional rubber or PVC products.
The wood is sourced from sustainable plantations — this may excite those who care about their environment.
We love that this is made from entirely natural materials. It’s unlikely to either cause allergy issues or leak harmful chemicals into the water system.
Why We Love It
Constructed From Solid Teak
If you want that spa feel in your shower, this could be a tempting product.
The solid teak slatting provides a classic and elegant shower base that perhaps even the most aesthetic rubber mats can’t equal. Instead of drainage holes, the wide spacing between the cross members ensures fast water expulsion.
Furthermore, the natural feel of the wood may promote a genuinely relaxed feeling.
Resistant to Mold, Mildew and Insects
As mentioned earlier, teak is considered the gold standard in wood rot prevention. The natural oils and resin it contains both repels insects and prevents mold growth.
This means that, unlike some shower mats, teak doesn’t have to be coated in a lab-synthesized anti-bacterial. Hence, this shower mat is of interest to those looking to keep chemical usage in their products to a minimum.
Suitable for Indoor and Outdoor Use
Not only does wood look great in your outside shower, but it also will last longer than a rubber or PVC version. Research shows that plastic and rubber rapidly degrade in sunlight due to exposure to ultraviolet light (7).
Keep In Mind
May Not Suit Children or Seniors
The natural texture of teak provides a more stable footing than a smooth shower tray.
However, the lack of a heavily textured surface, as provided on most rubber versions, may be insufficient for children or the older generation. Furthermore, tiny fingers and toes could become trapped in the gaps between slats.
The manufacturer recommends adding rubber feet to the shower mat to prevent it from slipping. While it’s true these are obtainable from any hardware store, you’d expect a premium product to have this safety feature included.
|Size||19.75 x 19.75 inches|
|Allergen prevention||Natural wood|
|Color||Light and dark teak|
|Suction Cups||None — nine longitudinal gaps|
2. Tike Smart Extra-Long Anti-Bacterial Mat
With its overlong — 39-inch — size, this shower mat will cover the most extensive of baths. Not all of us are lucky enough to have a dedicated shower stall. Hence, this may prove to be the best shower mat for those with an over-the-tub showerhead.
Furthermore, the full range of colors means that it may appeal to those who like color-coordination in their bathroom accessories.
The majority of these shades are available in translucent versions, even the black hue.
Why We Love It
Extra-Long for Bathtub Showers
In certain circumstances, size is important. Not only is this shower mat designed to fit baths, but it’s longer than most tub versions, covering the entirety of the bath floor. This means that you aren’t restricted to particular entry and exit points when showering.
Additionally, this may be beneficial to those with small children who like to have a wander while playing in the water. It should reduce the chance of them slipping on an uncovered area.
Supplied in Curl-Free Packaging
Once you receive this shower mat, it’s ready for use. Thanks to its curl-free packaging, there’s no requirement to patiently wait while it slowly unravels into a flat shape.
This could prevent the temptation of prematurely using an uneven shower mat, which could increase the risk of slippage.
If you like some heft in your shower mats, this product could appeal. Its heavy-duty vinyl construction — weighing a mighty 1.75 pounds — means some serious durability. This may be an advantage to those with larger families where the shower mat is in frequent daily use.
Keep In Mind
Large Pimples May Lack Grip
For increased comfort, this shower mat has large, domed pimples theoretically to help foot-grip. However, some users find that, due to their size, they provide insufficient grip on the soles of the feet.
|Size||39 x 16 inches|
|Allergen prevention||Latex, BPA, phthalate and allergen-free|
|Color||Choice of 20 colors — translucent and opaque|
3. Vive Non-Skid PVC Washable Mat
If you’ve ever experienced water pooling on your shower mats, you know it’s an issue. This shower mat alleviates this problem with its impressive drainage features.
Excess water can increase the chance of slippage by reducing friction on the feet. After showering, standing water promotes mold, fungi and bacterial growth.
The heavily textured surface allows for stable and confident footing without invoking discomfort. And, should the mat become caked with soap and detritus buildup, it can be machine washed in cold water.
Why We Love It
Large Centre Holes for Efficient Drainage
In addition to the evenly spaced perforations throughout the shower mat, this product stands out with its four large center holes. These allow for more efficient drainage — possibly an attractive feature for those with power showers that deliver a high volume of water.
While available in three colors, each one is translucent. This can ensure you detect any unwanted growths before it becomes a problem. Better still, the clear version may suit those with a colored shower tray to avoid clashing.
Heavily Textured for Stability
Both manufacturers and users alike stress the firm grip provided beneath the feet. This makes the Vive mat a nice choice for those with poor balance, such as small children and seniors.
Keep In Mind
It Has a Strong Plastic Smell
Many customers remarked that, even after weeks of use, this shower mat retains a strong, plastic aroma. So if you’re sensitive to smell or have a particularly small bathroom, this may be a downside.
While the manufacturer assures us that it’s non-toxic, it remains more of an annoyance than a hazard.
|Size||20 x 20 inches|
|Color||Choice of blue, clear and gray — all translucent|
4. Gorilla Grip Antibacterial Square Bathroom Mat
This see-through, square shower mat could be ideal for you if you’re concerned about health, hygiene and intolerances.
Free from BPA (bisphenol A), latex and phthalate, it shouldn’t promote any allergic reactions while being kind to your health.
Additionally, it’s machine washable and has been treated to protect against bacterial and mildew growth.
Why We Love It
Excellent for Health and the Environment
Whatever goes down your plughole ends up in the water system. Research shows that some plastic softeners such as BPA and phthalate can damage the kidneys, testes, lungs and liver.
Their absence in this shower mat means you can shower with a clean conscience (and body!)
Large Number of Suction Cups
With an immense 324 suction cups, this mat has tremendous adherence properties. Hence, ensuring that even in the soapiest of environments, slippage is unlikely.
Users remark that these cups don’t interfere with the whole feel of the mat under the feet. It’s not too lumpy to be uncomfortable. Yet, it has sufficient texture to provide a stable footing.
Plus, each suction cup is matched with a corresponding drainage hole. This prevents “puddling” of the water during use.
This is a true shower mat, not a bathmat compromise. So you won’t need to trim down a rectangular mat to either perfectly fit or look aesthetically pleasing in your shower cubicle.
Keep In Mind
Best Used on Perfectly Smooth Surfaces
The manufacturer stresses that you shouldn’t use this shower mat on tiles or textured surfaces. Some customers have explained that on heavily treaded shower trays, many of the suction cups fail to adhere. This can lead to “humping” of the mat in certain areas.
|Size||21 x 21 inches|
|Allergen prevention||Free from BPA, latex and phthalate|
|Color||Choice of 11 (translucent and opaque varieties)|
5. Vive Shower Stall Mat
This product is at the opposite end of the aesthetic scale to the teak varieties. Instead of shouting for attention, it’s much more reserved. This, therefore, may appeal to those who don’t want an obtrusive covering in their tray.
While having a textured surface, it’s understated, blending in with your existing shower furniture. Additionally, at 22 square inches, it’s a larger mat. This makes it suitable for those with bigger cubicles or looking for more surface area coverage.
Why We Love It
Sleek and Reserved Design
The idea behind this product is to be as unobtrusive as possible. The overtly-textured and pimpled surface, witnessed on many shower mats, is replaced by elegant curves. In many ways, it’s reminiscent of the embossed surface molded into shower trays and baths.
What’s more, it’s colored in a slightly off-white hue. Again, this is designed to blend into the natural tone of your bathroom fittings — as long as they’re white!
Large Center Drainage Hole
Fitting in with the sleek ethos is the drainage capability of this shower mat. The numerous holes seen in many mats make the surface obtrusive. This product has just one 6-inch drainage hole to cover the plug area.
Additionally, this ample space allows for easy drainage, even if your shower is operating at maximum flow.
With a 22 square-inch size, this is one of the largest shower mats in our reviews. This could appeal to those with a large stall, or those people wanting the maximum coverage.
Keep In Mind
Lack of Color Choice
While the subtle white tone may appeal to some tastes, it could be too reserved for others. If you’re looking for a statement piece in your bathroom, this isn’t it. Consider our teak option in the number one slot instead.
Only Available in Opaque
With no translucent option, it’s impossible to see when this shower mat requires cleaning — without removing it from the stall.
|Size||22 x 22 inches|
|Allergen prevention||None stated|
Detailed Comparison Chart
|Product||Best||Size||Weight||Material||Allergen prevention||Color||Suction Cups|
|House of Teak Shower Mat||Unique||19.75 x 19.75″||5.2 lbs||Solid teak||Natural wood||Light and dark teak||None|
|Tike Smart Extra-Long Anti-Bacterial Mat||Long Baths||39 x 16″||1.75 lbs||Vinyl||Latex, BPA, phthalate and allergen-free||20 colors||200|
|Vive Non-Skid PVC Washable Mat||Drainage||20 x 20″||1.3 lbs||PVC||Latex-free||Blue, clear and gray||164|
|Gorilla Grip Antibacterial Square Bathroom Mat||Health & Allergies||21 x 21″||1.3 lbs||Rubber||Free from BPA, latex and phthalate||11 colors||324|
|Vive Shower Stall Mat||Understated||22 x 22″||2 lbs||Rubber||None stated||White||200|
Don’t Slip Away Just Yet!
Showering is a great way not just to get clean but also to relax and wash the stresses of the day away. But, make sure you don’t become another accident statistic!
Using the best shower mats is one of the simplest and most budget-friendly ways to increase safety in the bathroom. In selecting your ideal product, take into account its material construction and size. You want it to be fit for purpose and provide adequate coverage for the ultimate in grip.
Equally, think about the environment. The wood products are the most natural and sustainable. But, if they don’t appeal, then go for those that are free from dangerous chemicals.