Choosing the best garage floor mat for snow and winter weather is an important consideration when it comes to protecting your garage from the icy grip of winter. The proper mat will keep damaging road salts and deicing fluids away from your bare concrete. They also prevent slip fall accidents from water that can pool up and freeze overnight on your garage floor. Plus, they do a good job of helping to keep your garage floor clean.
*** Newly Updated fall 2021 ***
Manufacturers of winter snow mats and containment mats have made some improvements in the past years. As a result, we have updated this popular article to keep you informed with the latest information about the best winter mats for you to review.
Best containment mats for snow
If you live in a climate with large snow falls, then a containment mat would be the best choice by far. Unlike traditional garage floor mats, these mats are designed to hold gallons of water. They work well for those days when the bottom of your car resembles more a snow plow than your daily vehicle.
Snow, ice, and water are collected on the mat instead of your garage floor. They actually contain all the liquids that drop from the sides and bottom of your vehicle, hence the name.
After reviewing a variety of containment mats that are available, we have three different brands that we can recommend.
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Park Smart containment mat
The first is the Park Smart Clean Park containment mat. These were arguably the first containment mats made available to collect water and snow. Though the design has not changed much, they work well and are still popular. They provide the nicest and cleanest look of the various containment mats to choose from.
Park Smart mats are available in a variety of sizes from 3’x4’ on up to a very large 9’x22’. You can park something as small as a snow blower to as big as an SUV or large truck.
Made of polyvinyl, these mats come with plastic snap-in borders that contain the water and snow. You can remove the liquid with a wet vac, mop, or just unclip the edges near the garage door and squeegee the water and snow out to the driveway.
They are available in a standard 20 mil and heavy duty 50 mil thick polyvinyl. We recommend the thicker 50 mil mat as the best choice of the two.
The 20 mil mats have developed a reputation of not holding up nearly as well to repeated use. As a result, they need to be replaced much sooner.
You can find both the heavy duty 50 mil and 20 mil options here at Amazon.
Studded snow tires will usually puncture a containment mat after repeated use. However, there is an option to purchase 50 mil thick protector strips to protect the mat from studded tires. Just lay the additional strips within the mat to provide the extra protection from the studs.
One point we want to mention is that while these containment mats work fairly well, they don’t hold as much liquids as some of the newer designs that are available now. Also, some people have voiced frustration over having to clip the edges in for installation. This includes removing the edges for storage as well. There are quite a few sections to clip together depending on the size of the mat.
We feel that clipping and unclipping the edges is not that inconvenient if you are only installing and storing the mats once a year. However, there have been reports of the occasional edge that can break during this process.
Auto Floor Guard containment mat
Next on our list is the Auto Floor Guard containment mat. These were a fairly new introduction to the market more than a few years ago. They are still getting good reviews. In fact, the Auto Floor Guard used to be our favorite winter containment mat.
What makes these mats unique is the material used. They are made of a very durable PVC-coated Polyester Scrim fabric instead of vinyl plastic sheeting. It’s the same type of material that is used for tarps in the commercial trucking industry. As a result, it makes for a tough and flexible mat. Because it is made of a fabric and not plastic sheeting, it isn’t measured in mils of thickness like vinyl mats are.
The edges of the mat are constructed of 1.25” round high-density foam that is heat-sealed into the mat. This allows you to drive over the edges without damaging them. The tall round sides will retain gallons of water from snow and ice without fear of it spilling out onto the garage floor.
These mats are less expensive than the heavy-duty Park Smart mats and you don’t need to assemble any parts. You just roll it out, unfold it, and you are ready to go. They also roll up fairly easily to store away again for the next winter.
Auto Floor Guard has actually made some improvements to their mat over the years. The biggest change is that they are using a heavier Polyester Scrim fabric for increased durability and wear. We believe this is in response to better compete with the TruContain mat that we review below.
Along with the more durable fabric, they include a free squeegee head. Additionally, they have increased their limited warranty from 90 days to one year. Again this competes more directly with TruContain.
Lastly, they also include what they call their new Stay-Put-Corners. This is a large square piece of hook and loop Velcro. It is glued to each corner of the underside of the mat and the garage floor.
The idea of the Stay-Put-Corners is to keep the corners down to prevent the mat from bunching up if you turn the wheels of your vehicle sharply in place. While it’s a novel idea, the jury is still out on this in terms of how well it actually works.
All mats come in black and have three different sizes to choose from. Compact is 7’9”x16’, Midsize is 7’9”x18’, and SUV/Truck is 8’6”x20’.
One other feature that we like about the Auto Floor Guard mat is the ease of removing liquids and snow from it. It is easier than the Park Smart mat since you can squeegee water right over the rounded edges without having to unsnap anything. They are not recommended for studded snow tires, however.
TruContain Containment Mat
The TruContain Containment Mat was a brand new introduction a few years ago and is still considered the best value of all the containment mats that we have reviewed to date. There are a few reasons why we like this mat even more.
Based on the same design as the Auto Floor Guard containment mat, the TruContain mats were manufactured with a heavier Polyester Scrim fabric. We could actually feel the difference when we compared the two. Now that Auto Floor Guard has increased the weight of their material, the TruContain mats are now comparable in thickness
Not to be outdone, however, TruContain has now released an optional heavy-duty version of their already successful standard containment mat. Called the TruContain HD, this mat is manufactured with 33% heavier Polyester Scrim fabric than their standard mats.
This newer HD mat was first tested in the harsher winter climate of Canada. The width of the mats is approximately 9” wider than the standard as well. This was done in order to accommodate the width of almost any vehicle.
The heat welds for the high-density foam edging are very high quality also. TruContain elected to move the welds to the underside of the mat instead of the top. This produces a nicer look and does a better job of protecting the welds from the elements.
Besides the optional heavier Polyester Scrim fabric and better location of the welds, the TruContain mat also comes in a much more attractive dark grey color instead of black. As before, they include a free squeegee attachment with each mat shipped.
Finally, TruContain backs its mats with a 1-year warranty. This is all achieved at a similar price point as well. As a result, we feel TruContain is the best overall value for a winter containment mat.
You have four different sizes to choose from. They are 7’9”x16’, 7’9”x18’, 9’x20’, and 9’x22’.
The TruContain HD (heavy duty) containment mat is available in 8′.6″x18′, 8′.6″x20′ and 8′.6″x22′.
One other point to consider with this style of containment mat is that it is very easy to store for the winter. Just fold it lengthwise and roll it up like a large sleeping bag. It’s that simple.
Garage mats for light snow and rain
For those of you who get the occasional snowfall and don’t feel the need to contain such large amounts of water and debris, there are few more mats that are worth your consideration.
The first would be the Garage Grip™️ Carpet Mat. This is a commercial quality garage flooring carpet mat made from the same materials used for containing spills at oil and gas well sites. We did a review of the Garage Grip Carpet Mat and were fairly impressed by it.
Besides containing snow and water, the Garage Grip mat is anti-slip as well. You can squeegee or use a broom to push water and snow out the garage door.
In addition, the commercial materials and quality construction are designed to withstand 18 wheelers and heavy machinery. This means it is extremely durable and will last for years.
Available in a variety of sizes, you can price the Garage Grip Mat here.
Next is the Drymate Fabric Garage Floor Mat. These work well at absorbing liquids from snowmelt and provide for a soft anti-slip surface.
Made with waterproof, bonded backing, these mats will not let snowmelt, road salts, or deicing fluids reach your floor. The material is made of 50% recycled fabric that can hold up to 5 times its weight in liquids.
They are available in a variety of sizes for small utility vehicles, motorcycles, or ATV’s and two larger sizes for cars and trucks. You can purchase them here from Amazon.
DryMate mats can be cleaned with a vacuum once dry or use a wet vac on them when wet. You can also drag them onto your driveway and hose them down with soap and water if needed.
Lastly, there is the ribbed garage floor mat. Though technically not a containment mat for snow or water, the ribs work fairly well at holding moderate amounts of liquid if you have a level floor. They will also allow for natural drainage towards the garage door if your floor is slightly sloped.
They can be mopped dry or use a wet vac to remove water and debris. A squeegee does not work as well due to the raised ribs on the surface. A broom is a better choice.
Made of polyvinyl, they are available in a variety of sizes from 7.4’x14’ to 10’x24’ and come in a standard 55 mil or commercial 75 mil thickness. The ribs help to create an added non-slip benefit as well. You can find them here from Amazon.
Best outdoor mat
With all the talk about winter mats, we thought we would share you with what we think is one of the best outdoor mats available. Some of our family members have purchased these and have been thoroughly impressed.
Made of recycled materials, this mat does not have a rubberized or foam backing. You need not worry about it deteriorating or leaving imprints on your garage floor, entryway, or porch.
It is especially nice to use on an epoxy garage floor coating. The stiff bristles do a great job of cleaning the underside of your shoes from loose snow, mud, and other gunk. Debris from the bottom of your shoes falls through the slats and is neatly deposited on the floor. Just lift up the mat and sweep up or vacuum the debris away.
Though a bit pricey, this mat is designed to last for years. It may well be the best investment for a floor mat that you could make in the long run. You can price it here at Amazon.
Important Winter Containment Mat Tip
If you are protecting your bare concrete with a winter containment mat for your garage floor, then the one recommendation we have is to seal the concrete first. It will pay for itself the first winter.
The sealer will help protect your concrete from freeze-thaw. Freeze-thaw is the leading cause of pitting and spalling due to water and road salts. It’s easy to apply and is inexpensive as well.
A great product that we recommend is PS104 from Concrete Sealers USA. It’s a concrete densifier with siliconate sealer added.
Not only will it protect your concrete from winter damage, it will also harden the concrete surface. This will make cleanups easier and provide some stain resistance from spills and automotive fluids as well.
You can price PS104 here.
Just remember to be smart when choosing what the best winter garage floor mat is for you. If you deal with an abundance of snow then a containment mat is what you really need.
Our advice is to always purchase the heavy-duty or commercial grade mat if it’s an option and your budget allows for it. The few extra dollars is money well spent. We’ve heard more stories from people who purchased a cheap mat that didn’t make it through the winter, while others are on their third or fourth winter with the better mat.
If you only deal with light snowfalls or water that need containment, then the Garage Grip, DryMate fabric mat, or BLT ribbed mats may be a better choice.