Grovemade Desk Pad Review

Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is a relatively small company you can’t help but root for. I mean, if you go and look at this company’s about page (one of the best I’ve ever seen), it’s like reading the story of some goddamn special family dedicated to making awesome products. The company’s name is Grovemade, and its selection of products runs a wide gamut of categories. Amidst their product selection is a lineup of Desk Pads suitable for nearly any use and material preference. 

Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is a relatively small company you can’t help but root for. I mean, if you go and look at this company’s about page (one of the best I’ve ever seen), it’s like reading the story of some goddamn special family dedicated to making awesome products. The company’s name is Grovemade, and its selection of products runs a wide gamut of categories. Amidst their product selection is a lineup of Desk Pads suitable for nearly any use and material preference. 

In this article, we will do a hands-on review of one of their desk mats and put it to a long-term test. In particular, we got our hands on the Naturally Simple version, which is primarily made of natural linoleum, linseed oil, natural pine rosin, wood flour and calcium carbonate. But aside from a laundry list of materials used in constructing this desk pad, you came here wanting to know whether the Grovemade Desk Pad is worth buying for your workspace and desk setup. Let’s get started. 

Desk Pad Options

Grovemade currently sells its Desk Pad in three primary materials: premium leather, merino wool, and “Naturally Simple” linoleum. Your choice of which material you ultimately choose for your Grovemade will come down to asking yourself the following questions:

What look are you trying to achieve for your desk / workspace? 

The Premium Leather option is available in black and natural tan colour, while the Wool Felt desk pad is available in a dark or light grey. The Naturally Simple linoleum version is available in black or gorgeous light navy. Keep in mind that the leather option will have its patina age over time like any other leather product, and thus, the look and feel of your desk mat will change.

How soft do you want your desk pad to feel? 

If you’re looking for the ultimate softness, you should probably opt for the Merino Wool version. Still, if you want something relatively hard, your best bet is probably the Naturally Simple linoleum version.

Desktop protection 

While each of the three versions will likely do the same adequate job of protecting your workspace, you’ll also want to consider cost as each of these desk mat materials varies in cost.

Grip

Depending on your desired level of grip, your material choice will have a big impact. In order of more grippy to less grippy, here’s how I’d categorize Grovemade’s three desktop pad options: 1) Merino Wool, 2) Premium Leather, 3) Naturally Simple linoleum.

Ability to Clean

There’s no question that the Merino Wool option is probably the hardest to clean, while the Naturally Simple linoleum is perhaps the easiest.

Ability to Use an Optical Mouse

If you’re an optical mouse user at your desk and plan on having your desk pad across the width of your workspace, you probably should opt for either the Premium Leather or Naturally Simple version of this desk pad.

Sizing 

Thankfully sizing won’t have an impact on your material design choice, as each pad is available in the same range of sizes: Small – 11″ x 24.75″, Medium – 38″ x 11.5″, Medium Plus – 15.75″ x 38″, Large: 26″ x 38.5″. XL – 26.5″ x 49″.

Material and Build Quality

While each of these desk pads is designed from different materials, my experience with the Linoleum version leads me to believe that Grovemade has taken a great deal of care with their material choices and build-quality across the various material options of this product.

The leather version features a naturally tanned leather layer that is laminated to a natural cork backing, while the Merino Wool version is simply a layer of 3mm thick Merino wool felt. The Natural linoleum version is made from a layer of, well, Natural linoleum that is laminated to a bottom layer of cork.

My experience with the Natural linoleum version is that practically everything about it exudes a premium look and feel. I do not doubt that the materials used are of a quality, befitting the price point of these desk pads.

In Practical Use

Arriving in a rolled-up and compact form, the Desk Mat comes nicely packaged and is sealed with a thin paper to keep it rolled up for transport. I have to appreciate this small detail as Grovemade has gone out of its way to make you feel like you’re actually opening something brand new by breaking that paper seal.

Once you’ve unrolled it, it takes a day or two for the pad to settle into its flat shape. If you want to speed up the process, I’d suggest placing a few heavy books across the surface of the pad and letting it sit while it forms into place.

I’ve been using the Grovemade Desk Pad (Linoleum version) for about three months now. In that time, it has provided a level of comfort and organization to my desktop that I deeply appreciate. The slightly padded surface has provided merciful respite to my palms which are often resting on the desk for many hours per day, while the sleek look of the pad has brought a level of aesthetic appeal that I never thought a desk mat could bring.

Admittedly I’ve spilled a few things on it during the last few months, including a glass of Coke and a mug of black tea. Each time I’ve been able to easily and quickly clean the mat, it still looks practically new despite three months of daily use.

While I don’t use an optical mouse regularly, I have tried two different optical mice on the mat, including Apple’s Magic Mouse and both worked without any noticeable issues.

I also absolutely love the Grovemade Desk Pad as a writing surface. It has just the right amount of subtle toothiness (jaggedness) to allow you to plop down a single sheet of paper and start writing without any worries that you’ll leave any indentations on the paper or run into any grooves that will distort your pen strokes.

Aside from the comfort, added grip, and overall aesthetic, maybe my favourite thing about the Grovemade Desk Pad is that it simply stays in place. There’s no unintentional movement, and that just makes for a sublime working experience. Finally, and I’m not sure how the company achieved this, but whatever material science went into producing the natural linoleum surface has resulted in this material being crazy fingerprint-resistant. Trust me, I’ve tried leaving fingerprints on this thing, and unless you’ve just eaten a giant bag of greasy potato chips, you’ll have a hard time leaving your prints on it.

How it Compares to Other Desk Pads

While there is no shortage of desk mats and pads available on the market made of an enormous variety of materials and at varying pricing points, there are a few points of primary differentiation that Grovemade can lay claim to:

  • More size options than most other desk mats, even from manufacturers such as Satechi, Dacasso, Nordik, and Pad & Quill. 
  • Varied material options.
  • The leather option is real leather, not faux leather, as most other manufacturers use. 
  • Thicker than a lot of desk pads.
  • Multiple layers, including a cork bottom to help with stability and comfort.
  • Not self-healing or for cutting on.
  • Makes for a great writing surface. 
  • Not ideal for gaming mice. 

Conclusion

With a superior level of craftsmanship throughout every aspect of this product, it’s no wonder that the Grovemade Desk Pad appears on many of the web’s “Best Desk Pads” lists. It’s not cheap, but it’s well worth the cost. I anticipate that I’ll be using this desk mat under my iPad, Apple keyboard and Apple trackpad for years to come. 


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