how to choose a rug pad

There are lots of different types of area rugs and types of rug pads out there, so finding the right rug pad for your home can feel like a delicate game of Jenga.

Must be non-slip! But also safe for hardwood floors! And also fit under the doorway!

I’ll walk you through everything you need to consider when buying a rug pad. That way, you can be sure that:

  • your rug pad will fit
  • your rug pad will not stain or ruin your flooring
  • and your rug pad will work well with your area rug

I’ll also introduce you to the best rug pads on the market, made with natural rubber and other materials that won’t ruin your floors.

Alright, let’s find you a rug pad match made in heaven.

Jump ahead:

What To Look For In A Rug Pad

There are a few things to know about rug pads before bringing one home. Here is everything to consider when shopping for a new rug pad.


Cushioned rug pads provide a luxurious comfort that is suitable for living spaces and bedrooms, under large rugs anchored by heavy furniture. Thicker pads do not fit under doorways, however, and don’t offer much non slip grip. A thick rug pad is not suited for high traffic areas, under doorways, or for grip.

There are some cases when you may not want cushioning and instead want something low profile to keep your area rug in place. If your area rug needs to fit underneath a doorway, then look for a thin rug pad made of natural rubber.

The Goldilocks of rug pads, the rug pad that’s not too thick and not too thin, is the felt and rubber rug pad. These are made with natural rubber backing and felt cushion on top. They work well under thin rugs and large rugs alike.

Read my rug pad thickness guide to know more.

Non-Slip Material

Most rug pads on the market contain synthetic materials like foam, PVC, and vinyl that can actually break down and damage the finish of your hardwood floors. A cheap rug pad will actually cost you more in the long run!

For most floor types, a natural rubber rug pad is a better choice since it has a natural non-slip grip that doesn’t damage laminate or wood floors.

Flooring Type

The most important consideration when choosing a rug pad for your area rug is actually the floor underneath it. Some types of materials can cause damage to your floors. Rubber, for example, can cause damage to vinyl flooring and PVC rug pads can damage hardwood floors.

Here are a few helpful tips for choosing a rug pad that is compatible with your floor type:

  • Hardwood flooring: Avoid cheap rubber pads. Opt for a natural rubber pad instead, or a felt and rubber rug pad with natural rubber backing.
  • Vinyl flooring: Avoid a rubber pad, it will damage vinyl flooring. Instead, choose felt rug pads or memory foam rug pads.
  • Stone or tile flooring: Natural rubber and felt rug pads work well with stone and tile flooring.

Take the quiz: Use our tool to find the right rug pad for your home. Go to the quiz now.

For Small Area Rugs And Runners (Smaller Than 4ft X 6ft)

Small area rugs typically need slip resistance and a low profile (aka lay flat). The best rug pads for the job are:

Best Non-Slip
9/10 Our Score

Super-Lock Natural

The thin profile makes it great for under thin rugs placed at doorways or high traffic areas.

Best Eco-Friendly
9/10 Our Score

Nature’s Grip

The thin profile is eco-friendly and safe for your floors.

High Traffic


 RugPro Ultra Low Profile Rug Pad – the perfect solution to keep your rugs in place and protect your floors. Made of durable natural rubber, this rug pad can withstand heavy foot traffic and keeps your rugs firmly in place without sticking or staining your floors.

For Medium Sized Area Rugs (Between 4ft X 6ft To 5ft X 9ft)

Medium sized rug pads can afford a bit more cushioning underfoot. There are a few types of rug pads, such as felt and rubber pads, that provide both extra cushion and non slip grip. The felt and rubber combo will also provide a bit more floor protection as it catches debris from the rug, which would otherwise fall through the rug fibers and damage the floor beneath.

These are the rug pads that we recommend for medium sized area rugs:

High Traffic


 RugPro Ultra Low Profile Rug Pad – the perfect solution to keep your rugs in place and protect your floors. Made of durable natural rubber, this rug pad can withstand heavy foot traffic and keeps your rugs firmly in place without sticking or staining your floors.

Best For Subtle Padding
9.4/10 Our Score

Contour Lock

This felt and rubber rug pad provides subtle cushioning and reliable gripping.


Best Natural Rubber Backing
10/10 Our Score

Superior Lock

This felt + rubber combo provides a non slip grip with added padding, is eco friendly, and won’t damage floors.

For Large Or Oversized Area Rugs (8ft X 10ft Or Larger)

Large rugs work well with memory foam rug pads, which provide more cushion than any other rug pads. If you’re not looking for the extreme cushion provided by memory foam pads, then thicker pads, in general, are recommended.

The weight of both the rug and any heavy furniture on the rug will keep the cushioned rug pads in place. These are the rug pads we recommend for large rugs:

Best For Luxury
8/10 Our Score


This 100% felt rug pad is safe for all flooring surfaces and is cozy underfoot.

Best Cushioning
9/10 Our Score

Cloud Comfort Memory Foam

This waterproof ultra-comfort memory foam rug pad comes in multiple thicknesses for your personal comfort.

Rug PadNon-SlipWaterproofCushionEco-FriendlyLow ProfileSafe For All Floor Types*
Dual Surface✔️✔️✔️
Super-Lock Natural✔️✔️✔️✔️
Cloud Comfort Memory Foam✔️✔️
Nature’s Grip✔️✔️✔️✔️
*Vinyl floors should never be paired with rubber because the materials will react with one another and cause damage

Common Questions

Now that you’ve found a good rug pad for your home, let’s get into the nitty gritty and answer a few pesky questions.

Should The Rug Pad Be The Same Size As The Rug?

No, the rug pad should be slightly smaller than the rug in order to properly grip the flooring without the edges of the pad rolling up. We recommend getting a rug pad that is approximately 1” smaller along the perimeter of your area rug. Read more: How To Size A Rug Pad

Which Rug Pad Thickness Is Best?

It depends on your needs. If you are looking for additional cushioning, a thicker rug pad may be better. For runners, thinner rug pads are usually better so it can fit in more confined spaces.

What Kind Of Rug Pad Is Best For Hardwood Floors?

The best kind of rug pad for hardwood floors is a non-slip, flat-weave rug pad made from natural rubber. Natural rubber is softer and more durable than other rug pad materials and won’t damage your floors.

Not sure which rug pad to get?

Take the quiz to get started!

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