I need to get some sort of ESD/safety mat (2 actually) for working at home to protect myself and equipment. I was wondering what to look for/avoid if I were to purchase a rubber mat from a rubber supplier.
Broadly, there are two different types of commonly used ESD bench mats:
- 2-layer nitrile rubber. These will not melt if solder drips on them, or even if you place a hot iron directly on them. Physically, they are very resistant to cuts and scratches. They have almost no give.
- 3-layer vinyl. These usually have a little give to them so are nice for mechanical assembly or packing workstations. Molten solder will damage them however, and they're not as physically tough.
ESD floor mats can be a little more diverse, you can usually get anti-fatigue, etc. depending on your budget.
Here's a nice video to compare the two: