Floor Liner Vs. Floor Mat: Which One is Best for Your Car?

You are lucky if your car has free pre-installed floor mats on top of the factory carpet to add protection. Nevertheless, the floor mats may wear out over time, move around, and dirt may stain the floor of your car.

It might be because some free factory mats or car floor mats that come in a package with a newly purchased car don’t fit the shape of your car floor. Thus, you need a floor liner or a floor mat with proper coverage if you want to level up the protection.

Despite their differences, people consistently use the terms’ floor liner’ and ‘floor mat’ interchangeably for car floor protection. There are many liners and mats designs on the market. Unfortunately, some companies don’t even use the proper term for their product, adding confusion to customers. This article breaks down the definition of each term, similarities, and differences to help you decide on the best protection for your vehicle.

Our Pick: Floor Liners

Floor liners have a distinctive feature from floor mats with high walls that extend to every inch of your car floor. Floor liners are also designed to custom fit each vehicle model precisely, so it gives better protection to your car floor.

About Floor Liners

Manufacturers usually make a floor liner from polymers, or some call it thermoplastic elastomer, synthetic rubber, or vinyl. They also made floor liners with high-density tri-extruded (HDTE) with surface friction.

These materials make the floor liners durable and give as much protection as possible to withstand anything, including resisting extreme temperatures.

Floor Liners

The critical point of a floor liner is that it is custom designed with high edges that fit perfectly every contour of your car floor area. Furthermore, it also has stain resistance capabilities. These high walls can trap liquids, limiting them from flowing to the carpet underneath, thus keeping your vehicle’s carpets dry.

One of the best floor liners on sale is the Husky Weatherbeater Floor Liner. Husky Liners constructed it with Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO), which is also a type of polymer. This floor liner offers complete coverage with a raised lip that fits perfectly into your car floor area.

The floor liners also cover the front and back seat with a precise fit for your pickup truck. Husky Liners has specially designed the high edges to trap liquids. Therefore, you can take the floor liners out to remove the water and wash it off. It’s handy if you have children spilling water or you want to protect your car floor from dirty wet boots.

On top of that, you can secure this floor liner firmly to your vehicle’s floor. There are sharp nibs underneath weather beater liners for secure placement and a button to install it properly. It also makes it easier to detach it whenever you want to clean it. A floor liner with a secure placement can prevent distractions to the control pedals, thus avoiding accidents.

About Floor Mats

The other option for your vehicle’s interior is a floor mat. Manufacturers use a few materials such as rubber, plastic, synthetic rubber, or aluminum to make floor mats. There is also a carpet-type floor mat, and it has a more soft-touch feel and shock-absorbing characteristics.

About Floor Mats

Floor mats have a flat bottom and cover your car floor’s flat surface. A good floor mat should have the exact fit to cover your car factory carpet properly. Thus, it’s essential to know different kinds of floor mats.

The Different Types of Floor Mats

There are three typical floor mats: universal mats, custom fit, and semi-custom floor mats. The differences between floor mats designs determine the protection level to your car interior.

All floor mat designs come in different materials such as carpet floor mats, rubber floor mats, and vinyl floor mats. Carpet floor mats are soft to touch, but they are not water-resistant to retain liquid.

The Different Types of Floor Mats

While rubber floor mats are rigid and stay in place, sometimes cleaning them is difficult. You may need a garden hose and a scrub brush to get rid of mud from a rubber mat. In comparison, vinyl floor mats usually have a rugged design that traps dirt and makes cleaning easier than other floor mats. It also has surface friction to avoid slipping while driving.

Universal Mats

The first design of the floor mat is a universal mat. Most of the time, many universal mats have fixed measurements with excess edges to let you trim according to your car design. You can’t request a specific size for universal mats as the manufacturer already stated the product details.

Custom-Fit Floor Mats and Semi-custom Floor Mats

The other types of floor mats are custom fit and semi-custom. Custom-fit floor mats were constructed for specific car models, and they were digitally laser measured to ensure they contour to your car’s every curve. In comparison, semi-custom floor mats are usually suitable for several vehicle models with similar car floor shapes.

It is almost similar to a universal mat, except it requires you to input your car model and year. It ensures you get the one that offers more complete coverage to your car floor. Some semi-custom floor mats also feature extra width for you to trim it off to the exact fit of your vehicle’s floor.

Similarities Between Floor Mats and Floor Liners

The notable similarity between floor liners and floor mats is that- both offer protection to your vehicle’s carpet. They usually have weather resistance features and can withstand pressure due to their durable materials.

Both floor mats and liners may have cups, compartments, deep grooves, or deep pockets. It is to trap water, dirt, mud, or melted snow when you are out running an errand during winter. There are also floor mats and liners with a smooth surface like fabric or carpet if you like the softer feel to your shoes.

Similarities Between Floor Mats and Floor Liners

Furthermore, you can easily detach floor liners and floor mats for more convenient use. The detachable design will come in handy when you need to clean up your mat and your vehicle’s interior.

When you’re looking for protection for your vehicle’s carpets, you want to look for the one that fits every curve of your car floor the best. Therefore, customizable floor liners and floor mats are a good choice, and both offer customizable designs as the exact shape of your car floor. As for floor mats, look for custom-fit mats instead of universal floor mats or semi-custom floor mats.

Differences Between Floor Mats and Floor Liners

Floor liners cover every inch of your car floor with perfect coverage to each line and curve. Not only that, floor liners have a wall-to-wall overlay with raised edges to prevent not a single dust from getting into your vehicle factory carpet. There are also custom liners available for a better fit and more complete coverage, depending on your needs.

On the contrary, floor mats are usually flat, with no raised edges. It covers most flat surfaces and sometimes does not cover the lump center at the back seat row. Depending on the floor mat type, some may give less protection, especially if the design and size don’t fit your car floor’s exact shape. It also may move around and distract your driving experience.

While for floor liners, we can guarantee that they will stay intact in their place. It is because they have a detailed custom fit design that covers your car floor from end to end. Additionally, floor liners have nibs underneath that help to secure the liner and keep it in its position at all times.

Floor mats are usually flexible as they are made of softer yet strong materials like rubber, thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), or carpet. It’s a different case with floor liners made of more rigid materials like polymer and high-density tri-extruded (HDTE). The hard materials offer high resistance and may last longer with proper care.

Even though floor liners usually have a higher price, it reflects their quality and protection. While floor mats have a variety of types with different prices, they are generally cheaper than floor liners. However, the price may go higher if you order custom-fit mats designed to the exact shape of your car floor.

How to Clean Floor Mats and Floor Liners

Over time, your floor mats and liners will become dirty and need cleaning. Therefore, you have to follow a proper cleaning method to sustain the quality of the mats and liners.

How to Clean Floor Mats and Floor Liners

The method varies depending on the materials of the mats and liners. For rubber mats and polymer car mats and liners, you have to use a garden hose or water spray gun to remove the dirt effectively.

While for carpet and fabric floor liners and mats, you need to shake off the dust first before washing them with water and detergent. Then, rinse them off and dry them thoroughly before using them again.


While there are differences between floor liners and floor mats, both bring the same objective: to offer protection. However, the notable features of floor liners with raised edges for more protection have made them better than floor mats.

Therefore, if you still have a problem deciding which one is the best for your vehicle, we recommend floor liners. Even though the price is higher, it gives perfect coverage to your car floor. In addition, all floor liners consist of durable materials, so your liners will not suffer damage easily.

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