Last updated: August 5, 2021

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Puzzle mats are very popular with young and old. They fit perfectly in every child's room or make sports dreams of their own fitness room at home come true.

Parents like to use puzzle mats as toys for their offspring. At the same time, they should motivate the child to learn through play and protect the floor. However, the advantages of puzzle mats do not end with their versatile and individual use. For our guide, we have compared different product variants and listed the most important purchase criteria for you.




Summary

  • Puzzle mats offer protection for the floor and the user. Their suspension in the foam allows falls to bounce off gently and prevents bruises.
  • Important purchase criteria are the area of application, material as well as thickness and quality of the foam mats. When buying, always look for quality seals and mats without harmful substances. The choice of design is entirely up to you.
  • Compared to alternatives, puzzle mats are very inexpensive and, with the right care and cleaning, can be used for years without any problems.

The Best Puzzle Mat: Our Choices

Here we have listed our favourite puzzle mats for you. Below you will find toy mats for babies as well as floor mats for sports and fitness. Our recommendations should help you to make your purchase decision easier.

Buying and evaluation criteria for puzzle mats

Before you buy your ideal puzzle mat, we have summarised some buying criteria for you to consider when buying. The criteria should enable you to better compare the different products and support you in your purchase decision. The following aspects will help you find your perfect puzzle mat:

Field of application

As already mentioned above, puzzle mats can be used in many different ways. That's why we recommend that you specify your desired puzzle mat right at the beginning of your search. Are you looking for a puzzle mat for babies and children or for sports and fitness? With the right preselection of the area of application, you will only receive results that are relevant to you. This way you can better compare your products.

Material

Most floor mats are made of EVA foam, which is also better known as foam rubber. EVA stands for ethylene vinyl acetate copolymer and is simply a foamed and hard plastic. The foam itself has no effect on health. Thus, it is unproblematic and harmless. However, one should make sure that no hazardous solvents were used in the production. Often puzzle mats can have a strong smell after unpacking, but this will soon disappear if they are aired out thoroughly.

Dimensions & thickness

Puzzle mats come in many different variations and sizes. Are you looking for a specific size? Then simply enter the desired dimensions of a single piece of puzzle mat in the search box, such as 15 x 15 cm. Sports mats in larger sets are available from 30 x 30 cm. In terms of thickness, we recommend puzzle mats from 1 cm. The thicker the mat, the more protection and cushioning it offers. However, the mat should not be too thick and soft, otherwise it will make it difficult to stand up.

Design & colours

Whether with numbers, animals or letters, everyone will find what they are looking for in the colourful and wide selection. When buying, you should make sure that the motifs appeal to and stimulate your child's interests. If your child likes to play with cars, then a puzzle mat with a street motif is perfect.

However, it is important that your mat does not contain any small parts that your baby could swallow. For adults, there are also plain and single-coloured puzzle mats to choose from. Grey and black puzzle mats are particularly popular.

Quality & Sustainability

Since your baby will spend a lot of time on the puzzle mat, quality is a crucial criterion. Pay particular attention to the ingredients and whether the floor mat is tear and slip resistant. Formamide or softeners, for example, have no place in a play mat.

Unfortunately, formamide has not yet been banned in the EU, but many manufacturers have already dispensed with this plasticiser. A puzzle mat without harmful substances can be recognised by the right quality seals and tests such as TÜV or Öko-Test.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about puzzle mats answered in detail

We have answered and summarised the most important questions about puzzle mats for you here. In this way, we guarantee you a better insight into the topic for before and after the purchase.

What is a puzzle mat?

A puzzle mat can be used as a toy mat or floor mat. Due to their puzzle-like edge, they can be flexibly adapted and laid to suit one's own spatial needs. Its main purpose is to protect the floor through many small springs in the material. In this way, a mat buffers unfortunate falls and your offspring can land gently and without bruises.

Colourful play mats fulfil a special learning effect for toddlers through different shapes and colours. Many puzzle mats, for example, have removable pieces. In addition, a mat is heat-insulating and protects against cold floors. Many home gyms also use puzzle mats as a base under the sports equipment.

Puzzlematten-1

Stylish floor mats in black make any sports room look modern and professional in no time.
(Image source: Jonas Fehre / Pixabay)

Puzzle mats should not be confused with roll-up mats for puzzles. These are not floor or foam mats, but rolls of fabric for puzzles. With these, puzzles can be placed on the mat and rolled up again without losing any pieces.

The advantages of a puzzle mat:

  • soft and gentle material
  • protects the floor and the children
  • quick to set up and take down
  • can be adapted to individual needs and laid individually
  • easy to clean
  • Educational toys for children

From what age are puzzle mats suitable?

Puzzle mats can be used individually for girls and boys of all ages. However, a baby cannot yet achieve a great learning effect and can quickly become overwhelmed with many small things. That is why many manufacturers recommend puzzle mats only from the age of three.

On the one hand, the risk of swallowing small parts is already lower from the age of three, and on the other hand, the child's coordination, motor skills and creativity can only be promoted better here. Of course, puzzle mats can still be used to protect babies from cold floors.

How do I clean a puzzle mat?

The big advantage of these mats is that they are easy to clean. Many foam mats can be cleaned very simply and easily. The most practical way to clean them is with a damp cloth and washing-up liquid. Many manufacturers state that their mats are even machine-washable or can be washed in the dishwasher.

Just always pay attention to the manufacturer's instructions. Nevertheless, you never have to worry about dirt and can take the mat into the garden or onto the terrace. With careful cleaning, puzzle mats can be used for several years without any problems.

How much does a puzzle mat cost?

The price depends on the desired quality, thickness and area of use. For example, if you have a large area to fill, you should expect higher costs. Floor mats can be divided into the following price categories:

Price range Product variant
Low-priced (10 - 20 €) Mostly puzzle mats for babies with a classic design and small surface area. Often without a seal of quality or untested.
Medium-priced (20 - 40 €) Mats in better quality in terms of thickness and free of harmful substances. Mostly TÜV tested and available in larger sets.
High-priced (from 45 €) Rather sports and fitness mats in large sizes. Ideal floor mats for sports equipment.

Conclusion

Whether for young or old, girl or boy, everyone can make individual use of puzzle mats. The main function of a floor mat is to protect the user. For toddlers, especially colourful puzzle mats with letters or similar motifs are conducive to learning and creativity. The choice of design for the puzzle mat is entirely up to your child's preferences.

An alternative to play mats would be play rugs, but these are less conducive to motor skills and are more difficult to clean. The safety of your child is paramount. Therefore, when buying, pay attention to the thickness and quality seals in order to avoid injuries and dangerous pollutants. Puzzle mats are also used in sports rooms. Compared to other floor coverings, puzzle mats are relatively inexpensive to buy and have great benefits. Thus, the price-performance ratio is top.

(Cover photo: Leeluu / Pixabay)

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