The Differences Between Mats, Rugs, and Carpets

The Differences Between Mats, Rugs, and Carpets

Some people use the words “mat,” “rug,” and “carpet” interchangeably, while other people are not clear on exactly what the differences are—if any.

We’re going to explain the differences to you here…


Mats are typically the smallest of the three, although there are giant mats, too. Mats are manufactured for a specific purpose, depending on the application, but usually mats are supposed to clean the soles of shoes of pedestrian traffic and increase traction on the floor.

Commercial mats are designed to make a business safer by cutting down on slip, trip, and fall accidents, and these mats—like what we sell—are very sturdy and designed for hard use.

Entrance mats are designed to trap dirt, debris, and water or snow and ice and prevent all that junk from being tracked throughout the business premises. A mat will have a special bottom layer that helps the mat to stay in place, and the mat will be easy to clean, either in a commercial washing machine or with a hose.

One exception to the above would be a mat for a clean room, which is designed to trap dirt, but then you tear away and dispose of the top sheet rather than wash the whole mat.


Rugs are relatively small, and don’t go wall to wall. The word “rug” usually refers to a discrete piece of carpet with finished edges, typically used as a decorative accent. While there may be some overlap in size, rugs are usually larger than mats.

Rugs are not generally designed or manufactured to trap water or dirt, although they can increase traction. Rugs do not require any special installation and can be changed out easily.


Carpeting usually refers to wall-to-wall carpeting that is installed by professionals. Carpets come in rolls or in tiles, and commercial-grade carpeting will be manufactured to withstand heavy traffic and to be stain resistant.

Mats can be placed on top of carpeting, and rugs can be placed on top of carpeting (for a decorative accent).

Now you know the differences between mats, rugs, and carpeting. We specialize in commercial mats that make businesses safer!

Do you have other questions? It’s easy to contact us, and we’re happy to help you. You can always call us at (877) 333-1018 or email us at for more information or if you aren’t sure what you need.