5 reasons you desperately need a desk mat [Setups] | Cult of Mac

5 reasons you desperately need a desk mat [Setups]


What's missing in the picture?
What's missing in the picture?
Photo: PantherPal@Reddit.com

You may already have a mouse pad in your computer setup, but what about a desk mat? Similar concepts in some ways, those two. But many folks may not even think of a desk mat as a necessary item in a computer setup. Or they may consider it an afterthought rather than any sort of priority.

But the humble desk mat, reminiscent of grandpa’s desk blotter, has its benefits. And that came up with today’s featured, desk-mat-free M1 MacBook Air setup.

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Top 5 benefits of the humble desk mat in a computer setup

Redditor PantherPal showcased the setup and made an admission in the title of his post: “Yes, I’m aware I don’t have a desk mat.”

Pal’s probably right somebody would probably snarkily point out whatever’s missing in the comments, so he beat them to the punch with its title.

But they commented anyway.

“By the way you don … But you already knew that; my bad … sorry,” said the first commenter. Someone else complained about being able to see too much desk. Another person just bellowed, “Infidel!”

Pal’s 2020 M1 MacBook Air sits on an Amazon Basics adjustable desk stand at the base of a 24-inch LG 24UD58-B 4K monitor. The UHD IPS display features 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution and a refresh rate of 60Hz.

He uses Apple’s Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2 — with a mouse pad — as input devices. His AirPods case and Apple Watch sit on a folding 2-in-1 charging pad. He also has a mug on a coaster.

But none of the above rests on a desk mat. So why would he want to add one?

  1. Protects your desk and what’s on it. A big desk mat takes up most of your desk space, creating a protective layer between the desk and the peripherals and accessories on it. In short, a desk mat helps prevent scratches and stains from spills. And the stable surface can help keep your accessories from sliding around.
  2. Increases comfort. While desk mats are not usually thick or plush, they add a slight, soft cushion that can increase comfort for your hands, forearms and elbows against the desk. They also tend not to feel too hot or too cold like some desktops can, like metal ones.
  3. Lets you skip the mouse pad (and coasters). Desk mats and mouse pads are often made of the same materials. If you have a desk mat, you don’t really need a mouse pad. That simplifies your setup a little bit. And you probably don’t need a coaster for your drink, either.
  4. Helps with organization and charging. Not every desk mat comes with extra benefits, but many do. Some desk mats will include space on the underside for storing paper, some provide wireless charging and some help channel cables. Here’s one that hides documents and includes a cable holder.
  5. Better acoustics. A desk mat can have sound-dampening qualities. It will tone down your clacky keyboard a bit. And it will decrease the degree to which music from speakers bounces off the desktop, which reduces overtones and helps with clarity.

And the list above doesn’t include other minor benefits. For example, a desk mat can improve the look of a setup, like if its color tracks with other colors or provides good contrast. Or how a desk mat will usually give you a flat, smooth surface for writing on paper. That’s can be helpful if your desktop has a rough, rustic wood surface or some texture to it.

Ready for a desk mat? You can find loads of them on Amazon.

Shop these items now:

Computer and stand:

Display and stand:

Input devices:


If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to info+setups@cultofmac.com. Please provide a detailed list of your equipment. Tell us what you like or dislike about your setup, and fill us in on any special touches, challenges and plans for new additions.


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