Car mats have two things in common with clothing. The first is that they both protect; the second is that some people are willing to pay more for the fancier branded options while some people don't care one iota.
This article is for those who aren't fussed about having the official factory car mats for their cars and want a cheaper set that will still do the job.
Official factory mats vs budget aftermarket mats
Just like more fashionable clothing, model-specific official floor mats from Ford or Volkswagen for example, will fit very well and certainly much better than budget universal options, or even many model-specific aftermarket options.
But when it comes to protection, it's a more level playing field. Both are a simple protective layer for your carpet. Period. You could make the case that floor mats that follow the shape of a footwell perfectly provide better protection than those that don't, but then you're embarking on an argument about floor mats and that is even weirder than eating a pizza with a spoon.
Budget floor mats: rubber or carpet?
We would recommend rubber floor mats because they are more durable, almost impossible to stain, can be cleaned with a hose or pressure washer, do a better job of protecting the carpet beneath, and can be trimmed to size. However, carpet mats are more aesthetically pleasing and still easy to clean with a vacuum cleaner.
The best budget car floor mats
JVL Linear Luxury Rubber Car Mat Set
This set of four rubber mats from UK-based company JVL tick all of the practical boxes. First and foremost in peoplesu2019 mind is value and this set of floor mats delivers on this, but they perform very well too.
They are heavy-duty and hard-wearing with a good tread that traps dirt and debris very well. Due to the fact you can trim these to size, they are a truly universal fit.
Safe Travel Universal Car Mats
Best carpet mats
If you do want carpet mats, we recommend this set. Itu2019s made in the UK and in a reasonably universal fit, though of course you canu2019t trim them to size, so make sure the 43 x 62cm (front pair) and 40.5 x 26.5cm (rear pair) dimensions are appropriate for your car.
The carpet isn't particularly thick but more importantly it’s durable with the heel pads being cleverly made from rubber. This set has good anti-slip backing too, so they won’t move too easily.
Xtremeauto Universal Rubber Car Mats
Best value rubber mats
That's right, the best budget option of the budget options. This set is a similar to the JVL mats and can also be trimmed to size. We think the tread pattern of the JVL mats is more effective at trapping dirt but other than that the differences are negligible.
Carsio Universal Car Floor Mats
Best value carpet mats
For the best value carpet mats we turn to Yorkshire, where these mats are made. Leeds, specifically. Carsiou2019s carpet floor mats are thicker than the Safe Travel mats (400g/m2) and about the same size (59 x 44 cm front, 39 x 26 cm rear).
They aren’t quite as durable, even with the double-thickness driver’s heel pad, but for the price they will last a reasonable amount of time.
Amazon Basics Heavy Duty All Weather Protection Floor Mats
Best full set
The rubber mats above cover all the footwells but protecting the carpet lining the boot is also important, which is where this set comes in. As with the other rubber mats here you can trim these to size and they offer durable and effective protection.
The only drawback is that you can get better value for money by buying the Sakura boot mat below and pairing it with the JVL rubber mats above. Dimensions: front 78.7 x 54 cm; rear 146 x 47.7 cm; boot liner 80 x 119.8 cm.
Sakura Black Rubber Boot Mat
Best boot liner
This is our favourite trim-to-size boot mat because itu2019s very effective and great value. Original, untrimmed size is 120 x 80cm.