Slipmats can change the sound of a record and vibe of a gathering. They come in a variety of materials and styles. But, a good-looking slipmat doesn’t always mean a high-quality one. With so many options out there, it can be hard to choose a good slipmat. So, what are the best slipmats for DJs in 2020?
The best slipmats have an ideal weight and thickness to allow ease of scratching and spinning. They are also affordable and have an aesthetic to match the needs and personality of their owner.
Read on to find out more about these slipmats and other top options. If you want to view any of the recommended products over at Amazon (or wherever they are being sold), click on the title, image or both 🙂 Also, be aware that any pricing mentioned are those at the time of writing, and may have changed by the time you read this review.
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What Are Slipmats and Why Are They Important?
Slipmats are the same shape and size as a 12-inch record. They sit between the record and the deck platter—the part of the turntable which rotates. Slipmats were invented by Grandmaster Flash to improve the sound of vinyl and to move them without causing too much friction.
Depending on the materials used in a slipmat, they reduce static, cracks, and pops often caused by the buildup of dust and static charge from the spinning record. This typically results in increased tone, bass depth, and clarity of the record.
Slipmats are also important for the timing of record play. This is because they help the deck platter to continue turning under a stopped record so that there isn’t a lag in getting the record up to full speed.
Slipmats aren’t the same as the rubber mats that usually come with your turntables. The rubber mats are there to prevent the record and needle from skipping. Trying to scratch on a rubber mat will cause damage to the underside of your record. So, when you first use your turntable, remove the rubber mat and place the slipmat on top of the deck platter.
What Makes a Good Slipmat?
A good slipmat must decouple the record from vibrations entering it from the turntable’s body or tonearm and transmit resonance out of the record itself.
There are several factors that make a good slipmat, including:
A good slipmat must be the right thickness.
- If a slipmat is too thin, it can drag the table’s speed down and provide inadequate absorption of vibrations and noises.
- If a slipmat is too rigid or thick, the stiffness of the pad can lift the record, creating skips and bounces during your set.
Adding a piece of plastic under the mat helps the record slide just a bit more easily, regardless of thickness. Some companies have even started crafting mats made with a built-in plastic on the underside and synthetic material on top with little to no resistance. The downside to plastic, though, is that it can create an annoying whooshing sound.
Thickness and weight typically go hand in hand. The thicker the slipmat, the heavier it is, in most cases.
If the slipmat is too heavy, it will drag on the deck platter and cause it to turn a lot slower. A slipmat that is two ounces is considered lightweight, while one that is 16 ounces is considered standard weight. Most lightweight slipmats are made of felt, cork, or synthetic plastic materials, while heavier slipmats are made with rubber or leather.
Sometimes, the tradeoff with thickness and weight is the durability of the slipmat. That is, thin slipmats may not last as long as the thicker, heavier ones. But, this depends on the brand and quality of materials used in the construction of the slipmat.
When there is no record on the deck platter, you and your audience will see the slipmat.
Image is an important part of showcasing a DJ’s personality. So, the aesthetic or print on the slipmat may be an important factor to consider. There are slipmats available with all sorts of logos, designs, colors, and photos. So, whether you’re a minimalist, a supporter of a certain brand, or have a very specific theme in mind, you’re bound to find a slipmat that suits you.
The only thing to watch out for in terms of aesthetics is cheap slipmats with prints all over. Depending on what they use to print onto slipmats, it may stick to the record, causing it to drag while spinning. Or, the image may wear off and look unpleasant.
The cost of a slipmat is important because you may have a certain budget. DJ equipment, such as turntables, headphones, and microphones, are already expensive and may be hurting your bank account. Fortunately, the price of slipmats ranges greatly to fit every budget. There are slipmats which cost just a few dollars and some which cost close to $100. The average price is about $15 to $30, though.
It’s up to you to decide if the investment is worth it, based on the characteristics you’re looking for in a slipmat. Hopefully, this article will outline the features of the best slipmats, so you can have an easier time choosing what to spend your money on.
What Are the Best Slipmats in 2020?
The Hudson Hi-Fi Swiss Leather Turntable Mat is an upgrade from felt and cork mats. Since it’s made of leather, it attracts less dust than felt mats. It also improves the sound of records by reducing static and it doesn’t cause additional static the way that felt does. It has a sleek, classy look, as well. You can get it on Amazon for $31.50.
Serato Official Butter Rugs Slipmat are ultra-thin mats constructed of a thin, synthetic material fused onto a thin plastic layer. This reduces friction to allow for flawless scratching, juggling, and mixing. They come in both black or white, so you can choose which one fits your mood. At $29.00 per pair, you can’t go wrong.
Similar to the Serato Official Butter Rugs Slipmat, Thud Rumble Frosted Butter Rugs are also made of a thin, synthetic material fused onto a plastic layer. They’re lightweight and super smooth, producing little friction while offering the grip you need for scratching and back-cueing. On top of that, they look pretty cool with their iconic, graffiti-style logo. They can be yours for about $29. You can also get an amazing, custom glow-in-the-dark version!
The Ortofon SM-17 is made out of a strong, smooth material that provides durability. They’re extra thin and weigh just under four ounces. The slipmat also has a unique matte surface to keep dust and other particles away. One of the best features of this slipmat is the vibrant, limited-edition graphics, which will make you the coolest DJ in town. The price to pay for such a label? About $42.
The Corkery Decoupled Cork N Rubber Turntable Mat is unique because it combines cork and rubber. So, it provides the best of both worlds. It dampens resonances effectively while avoiding static and keeping dust away. This results in improved clarity. It’s slightly smaller than a standard record and has a recessed center to allow records to stay flat on the mat. It costs just $18.49.
The Sicmats Obey Slipmat is made from medium thickness felt and is ultra-smooth to relieve scratching and back-cueing. It comes as a pair and features the fresh red, black, and cream Obey logo. It costs just $20.
If you prefer the minimalist look, the Stokyo Dr. Suzuki Mix Edition slipmat is the perfect option for you since it has a plain white or blue design. It features a diameter slightly shorter than the record, which prevents it from sticking to the vinyl when switching records. It’s also noticeably thicker and engineered to resist shock and agitation. These sturdy anti-static mats also minimize the noise made when controlling the record for smoother mixes and performance.
If you’re a fan of Pacman, you’ll love the Technics Slipmat 60651 Tecman with its Pacman design. It looks amazing and is made from the strongest felt. Technics slipmats are also resistant to dust. So, it won’t scuff or scratch your treasured records. You can purchase it on Amazon for $26.99.
Perhaps one of the best-looking slipmats, the Aztec DJ Turntable Slipmat Glow, showcases a trippy design that glows under black light. It’s ideal for scratching, as it’s made from medium density polyester fibers. It’s also affordable at $14.50.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Taz Studio Turntable Slipmat is its psychedelic graphic design. It looks super cool on any turntable. It’s made of cork to improve sound quality by reducing static and providing a better grip. Reviewers say you’ll definitely get your money’s worth with the $29.99 price tag.
The Premium Leather Deer Hide Turntable Mat is soft, durable, and made of organic leather. It helps to decrease resonance and control static by attracting less dust to provide high-quality sound. It’s a great alternative to cork slipmats and is a steal at $24.89.
At ⅛ inch thick, the Record-Happy Turntable Slipmat Anti-Static Cork Mat enhances your records’ sound by dampening resonance and reducing static, as with other cork slipmats. It also provides a firm grip to the record and platter to diminish distortion. One unique feature of the mat is that it has an indentation in the center, providing even contact with the record surface.
The bonus is that it has a cool, retro-modern look. You’ll be pleased to know that you can get all of these features for just $14.87.
The Acrylic Turntable Mat Greenlit is made of acrylic, which dampens the sound and reduces vibrations. It’s anti-static and also has a protective layer to avoid any scratches to the record. It also tends to have a tighter bass in comparison to other mats. It also looks classy, with its clear green reflecting edge.
Made with open-cell silicone foam and a black elastomer “donut,” Herbie’s Audio Lab Way Excellent II Turntable Mat absorbs vibration, eliminates unwanted platter micro-vibrations, reduces vinyl/stylus feedback and eliminates lateral slippage. It’s available in a variety of thicknesses and diameters to fit almost any turntable. Users claim that it grips the vinyl very well and achieves sonic perfection.
Although it’s a bit more pricey than many of the other slipmats on this list, it’s worth the price of $59.99.
Another slipmat from Technics makes the list, a testament to the brand’s high-quality products. The Technics Headshell has a tough felt surface, slightly glazed underside, and an image of a cartridge and needle. It’s $26.99 on Amazon.
The Turntable Lab Ed Hertz Slipmat is made of high-quality felt, which protects your records from scratches. Additionally, it won’t cause records to slip or stick, as it lies completely flat and provides good needle stability. It also has a hypnotic, spiral pattern that looks cool while spinning.
The Ortofon Serato S-120 Slipmat is made from a smooth but strong material and a unique matte surface, which makes it resistant to dust. It’s extra thin and has a sleek design, as well. It’s about $25.
The Electrohome Turntable Platter Mat is made of silicone rubber and has a recessed center to provide a flat, non-scratch surface. The silicone rubber also provides additional grip and reduced slippage. This slipmat does its job by decoupling micro-vibration, allowing for deep tones. Although it’s thin (2mm), it’s very durable, so you don’t need to worry about being cautious when handling it. You can purchase this slipmat for just under $20.
The Fluance Turntable Platter Mat is also made of durable silicone rubber. It has similar dampening and decoupling properties as the Electrohome Turntable Platter Mat and costs about the same, too. Users claim it improves the sound of records and sits flats on their deck platter.
If you’re truly willing to invest in your equipment, then you may want to consider getting the Martelli Enterprises Roundabout Set. It has a price tag of about $137.00, but that’s because it comes with three items: turntable base, the cutting mat, and table-top ironing pad. It also has 30-piece ball bearings that ensure a smooth turn. Most users who purchase it are pleased because it’s durable, smooth, and looks sleek.
The Pro-Ject Leather It Platter Mat eliminates unnecessary dust and static during playback. It also dampens resonance of metal platters, so you can enjoy the sound of your records. It looks sleek and costs about $60.
The Auditorium 23 Mat is made of a rubber/textile material, which attracts less dust than felt mats. It is also thicker than the standard mat and, therefore, less prone to lift when removing your record. Users claim that it increases the tone and bass depth of records. It’s a bit on the pricier end, at $95.
The Turntable Lab Spacemat Record Slipmat is made of felt, so it’s gentle on vinyl and less likely to scratch them. It’s great for light scratching, sampling, and mixing. It has a cool, starfield print that looks great when there’s no record spinning. This look complements space themes, as well as new-age, spiritual themes. It’s relatively lightweight, at 5.6 ounces, so it won’t drag on the turntable. The cost is $24.95 for the pair.
The Dove Afro Beauty Slipmat is constructed from woven polyester fibers, making them resistant to punctures, tearing, or stretching. They’re a good choice if you’re aggressive in your scratch techniques. They’re colorful and have a one-of-a-kind look. They’re only about $14.
If you’re in need of a good slipmat, but you’re on a tight budget, the TechPlay Anti Static Turntable Mat is your best bet at about $9. Made from felt, it’s easy to cut for smaller turntable sizes. Users say it does its job by drawing static away from the record.
Slipmats are important for DJs to manipulate a record on the turntable, without causing too much friction. They can also be used as decoration and as a showcase of one’s personality when a record isn’t on the turntable. There are many slipmats out there, but the best ones are the ones that are affordable, aesthetically pleasing, and the right thickness to allow for flawless scratching and mixing.
The best options for slipmats in 2020 are the Turntable Lab Spacemat Record Slipmat, Ortofon SM-17, and Corkery Decoupled Cork N Rubber Turntable Mat. These are gentle on vinyl, reduce static and dampen resonance to improve the sound of your record.