Need another excuse for Target run? We didn’t think so, but here’s one anyway: It turns out you can find what we think is the best budget-priced bath rug in its fluorescent-lit aisles (and, of course, on its website). The Made by Design Bath Rug, crafted from polyester with a latex backing, comes through in terms of comfort, moisture absorption, and non-slippage, plus its simple, tufted design means it’ll fit in on any bathroom floor. And with a thin border, it’s less prone to looking misshapen or not lying flat after some use. Looks-wise, it’s a solid dupe for Pottery Barn’s Textured Organic Bath Rug, except it’s significantly softer and a fraction of the price; it’s also not reversible, but more on that in a bit.
As we note in our review of Best Bath Towels, the weight of a towel, or bath mat in this case, is measured in GSM, or grams per square meter, which also indicates how dense its threads are. A higher GSM doesn’t always mean the towel is softer, more absorbent, or even physically thicker, but it does usually correspond with price (similar to how higher thread-count sheets are generally pricier). At 300–400 GSM, this rug is lightweight to medium-weight, making its price more than justifiable.
Beyond affordability, where this rug truly racks up the points is in its nonskid backing. We tried our darndest to slip and slide while atop it, but this thing wouldn’t budge, even after a machine-wash and a cycle in the dryer. (Note, however, that it’s probably best to wash on a cold cycle and air-dry for maximum longevity.) While, as some reviews note, the nonskid backing may start to wear away after frequent washes, for this price point, we still think it’s the best option money can buy.
An aside on reversible bath mats: We didn’t weigh reversibility very heavily during our research and testing phases, because we don’t think the advantages of this feature override a quality mat that ticks all the other boxes. By default a nonreversible mat can’t have a nonskid backing, something we think is important to consider — especially if you have children or elderly folks in your household who may need a more steady footing. Perhaps the main draw of a reversible mat is the idea that you can flip it over for the next person taking a shower, if someone is hopping in right after you’ve used it — or to hide an unsightly stain on one side. If reversibility is on your checklist, you might consider the Amazon Banded Bath Mat, a no-frills, towel-style bath rug that gets the job done. And if memory foam is more your speed, the Genteele Memory Foam Bath Mat is a perfectly fine option that won’t slide around on your tile floors. In general, we weren’t sold on memory foam as ideal material for a bath mat we could confidently suggest as the best, as it can be a detriment to dry time and leave your feet feelin’ kinda weird, but hey, to each their own.
Back to Made by Design, though. Furry friends frolicking about your home? Apparently cats love it too! It’s a good option for drying off pets after a bath or surprise rainstorm, as well as upcycling into a cat bed after you’ve had your fill of it. (Have you even seen the price of pet beds these days?) We also awarded points for its availability in a 24” x 17” size, dimensions that are surprisingly less common to come by, in addition to the more standard 34” x 20” bath mat. In six muted colors, it’s a great choice for tiny bathrooms, whether you’re living in a diminutive New York City apartment or a college dorm. And at $8, you won’t have to feel guilty about tossing it after a year — or semester — of use.