Floor mats and liners are names that are often used interchangeably. Most people assume them to be the same thing.
But that is not the case. The two categories of products are different.
Here’s a simple way of looking at it. A floor liner is more of a tray. It sits on the footwell, with its edges raised and covering the sides so that it captures almost the whole floor.
Floor mats come in a more minimalistic design. They only cover the footwell, without covering the sides.
This is just the summary of the whole thing. Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty details of the liners vs floor mats plus the benefits of each.
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Difference Between Floor Mats and Liners
WeatherTech Floor Liners Main Features
- Has high edges/walls on every side of the footwell
- Protect your vehicle’s carpet and the entire interior
- Digitally-laser-measured and custom-made for a specific vehicle make and model
- Made of High-Density Tri-extruded (HDTE). (Except FloorLiner HP that is made of Thermoplastic Elastomer, TPE)
- Advanced surface channeling that carries and traps messes and dirt in the lower reservoir
- Factory-compatible retention system keeps the liner from shifting on the carpet
- Low-maintenance construction material that is easy to clean
WeatherTech Floor Mats Main Features
- Does not have raised edges / walls
- Custom-fit for specific vehicle make and model.
- Premium, latex-free Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) offer traction and weather-resistance
- Deeply sculpted channels trap messes and spills
- Anti-skid backside with texturing lines keep the floor mat from shifting around without causing damage to the car carpet
- Flexible TPE material is not affected by changes in temperature
- Specialized non-stick coating for much easier maintenance
WeatherTech Floor Liners
Liners are the more advanced floor protection option from WeatherTech, based on many aspects. The number one aspect is the construction and structure.
WeatherTech constructs its floor liners using High-Density Tri-Extruded material.
Compared to the rubber material, HDTE is more rigid, tougher and hence more durable.
HDTE is also very low-maintenance since it is dirt-resistant. You can clean it in less than five minutes. Simply hose it down with water then let it dry.
To keep them from shifting around underfoot, the floor liners are fit with retention systems that are compatible with the factory retention posts.
Floor liners are mostly designed for performance.
But the WeatherTech liners also look appealing and luxurious, a rare combination for rugged floor liners.
The floor liners are digitally laser-measured. This means, before manufacture, the specific dimensions of the vehicle footwell are taken.
The measurements are then used to make the floor liners. As a result, they fit perfectly, following the contours of the floorboard.
WeatherTech floor liners are available in four colors: is black, grey, tan, and cocoa (for some vehicles).
WeatherTech fits its floor liners with two main features to ensure they offer the best performance:
First, the liners have advanced channeling sculpted on the surface. These channels carry away the liquid and the other messes to a lower reservoir. They are then trapped there and prevented from moving around.
Second, while the messes are trapped, the floor liner’s raised edges ensure they are well contained on the mat. This prevents them from overflowing onto your carpet, even in the case of large messes and spills.
While the channeling is also there on floor mats, the raised edges are not. This gives the liners better performance.
WeatherTech Floor Liners are for you if you live in areas frequented by rain, snow or mud. It is also for anyone who wants maximum protection and good looks, regardless of the climate.
WeatherTech Floor Mats
While floor liners are more like trays, the car floor mats are like carpets, but with a rubber material. They focus on protecting the floorboard; majorly where the feet usually rest.
WeatherTech Floor Mats are designed for all-weather performance. Unlike the floor liners, they are more flexible and rubbery.
They are constructed using premium Thermoplastic Elastomer. One main advantage of the rubber material is that it is very pliable. This implies that it is not affected by temperature changes. It will neither shrink nor expand when it is too cold or too hot.
This makes it resistant to cracking or warping.
The material also offers better traction, as it is less slick and more rubbery.
Similar to the floor liners, the mats are also easy to clean. But, this is not because of the material, rather it is because of the coating. The mats have a specialized non-stick coating which makes them easy to clean.
Even better, the material is 100% recyclable.
When it comes to performance, there is only one main feature that distinguishes the two.
While the floor liners have high edges that go up all the sides of the footwell, the mats don’t.
But this is not to say a floor mat will not offer protection to your vehicle’s interior.
Just like the floor liners, they also have surface channels. But here is the catch. Since they do not have raised edges, their surface channels are more deeply sculpted. This compensates for the flat edges.
The sculpted channels carry messes away from the feet into a lower reservoir and trap them, preventing them from flowing to the carpet.
The ridges also scrape off mud, snow and the whole mess from the bottom of the shoes.
Floor mats also come in custom-fit designs. The difference is, since they do not necessarily take the exact shape of the footwell, they can fit various car and truck models and makes.
Because of this, they are not digitally laser-measured as the liners. WeatherTech Floor Mats are not vehicle specific. Instead, they are assigned the best possible fit for your vehicle model.
For instance, when you buy some front and rear sets, you will find the pieces are designed to be trimmed in order for it to be customized to fit your vehicle. You may not have wall to wall coverage with your mats, but rather “good coverage”.
Floor mats are best used in climates that are not frequented with a lot of snow, mud, or rain. Their edges are good enough to contain regular messes. But in case of large messes, that is, a lot of mud, snow, road salt or water, then the floor liners are recommended.
About FloorLiner HP
Besides the two categories, WeatherTech also has Floor Liner HP. This one is similar to the floor liners in every single way, except the material.
FloorLiner HP is constructed using Thermoplastic Elastomer; which is used on the floor mats.
Apart from its construction material, the FloorLiner HP has all the other features of a floor liner. It has a digitally laser-measured custom-fit design, high edges, retention posts, and advanced surface channeling.
This gives it the best of both worlds. It has the temperature resistance and excellent traction of a weather floor mat and top performance and protection of floor liners.
WeatherTech Floor Mats
All WeatherTech Floor Mats and Liners are manufactured with utmost precision and top-quality materials. This makes them all a good choice to protect your floor and retain your resale value.
But comparing the liners vs floor mats and deciding which one to go with among the five depends on your preference.
If you need the best coverage possible, go with a Floor Liner.
If you can get by with just “good” coverage and/or budget is more of a concern, go with a Floor Mat option.