Everything you need to know about different types of car boot liners

 

There are many different types of boot liners, each with their own benefits. Below we look at some of the boot liner styles on offer to help you choose a product for your needs.

Type: custom-made vs universal vs manufacturer-made

Custom-made boot liners

Custom-made boot liners are designed to fit your car’s boot perfectly. They are often made by companies whose sole business is producing boot liners to fit specific cars. Hatchbag makes custom-made boot liners.

Quick summary

Pros

Cons

  • Fits your boot perfectly
  • Made from high-quality materials
  • Easy to fit
  • Stays secure
  • Accessories can provide extra protection for seats and bumpers
  • Can be more expensive than the alternatives

Material

Most universal boot liners are made of cheap rubber. This lower-quality material is more likely to suffer damage and won’t protect your boot as well as other materials.

Fitting

Universal boot liners come in three standard sizes: small, medium and large. As these sizes don’t take into account the shape or depth of a boot, they are unlikely to fit properly and will leave gaps if your boot has an unusual shape.

Some universal boot liners can be cut down to a size that fits better. However, they will still only cover the rectangular shape of a standard boot, and not any extra areas your boot may have.

Accessories

Universal boot liners are unlikely to come with any accessories, although you can buy separate accessories (such as dog bed mats) from other retailers. However, there’s no guarantee of quality or that the products will work with each other.

Price

Universal boot liners are the cheapest boot liner of the three.

Choose a universal boot liner if you:

  • are looking for something cheap and expendable
  • will only use (or will only last) the product a handful of times

Manufacturer-made boot liners

Car companies make boot liners to fit the vehicles they manufacture. You can often choose them as extras when you buy a car.

Quick summary

Pros

Cons

  • Often come at a discount if you buy the car
  • Designed to fit the boot perfectly
  • Made by a brand you can trust
  • Branded with the manufacturer’s logo
  • Often basic in design
  • Not the highest of quality
  • Can be hard to find replacements
  • Unlikely to include any accessories for added protection/comfort

Material

Boot liner materials can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer,  and can often depend on the prestige of the brand and car. The more expensive the car, the higher the quality of boot liner available.

Fitting

Because the car manufacturer produces its own boot liners, it can make them to fit. However, not all manufacturers treat boot liners as a priority—some develop liners that fit perfectly, others provide little more than a boot mat.

Accessories

Manufacturers may sell a range of accessories such as boot nets, dog guards and trays. However, you’ll likely find these products cheaper elsewhere as the manufacturers tend to mark up the price because they make it more convenient for you to buy them.

Price

Although prices vary, Manufacturer-made boot liners can be considered quite expensive considering it is unlikely to be a perfect fit.

Choose a manufacturer boot liner if you:

  • are buying a new car and the boot liner comes as a free extra
  • care a lot about branding

Material

Boot liners are made of either plastic, rubber or fabric.

Generic boot liners that you have to cut to size are normally made of standard PVC. Liners which are patterned on the top to make them non-slip are often made of rubber. Both of these materials are reasonably waterproof, hard-wearing and easy to clean, but they aren’t well suited to dogs as they don’t offer much comfort.

The Hatchbag boot liner is made of reinforced soft PVC. This means it’s waterproof and easy to clean but much more comfortable for a pet. The material itself generally offers better protection of the stuff you’re putting in your boot compared with flat rubber or standard PVC liners.

Rubber boot liners or rubber car mats

Some people call them rubber boot liners, others call them rubber mats. A rubber mat is probably the most suitable name because this kind of liner only sits on the floor of your boot and doesn’t protect the sides or “line” the boot in the same way most boot liners do.

That means there are some major disadvantages to choosing a rubber mat over a full boot liner. We always recommend you use a rubber mat as well as a custom made boot liner—that’s why we offer our own rubber mat.

A standard boot liner that covers the whole boot (not normally made of rubber)

Picture of a rubber mat (sometimes called rubber boot liner)

Rubber car mats—what protection do they offer and is rubber a good material?

Rubber car mats are designed to protect the floor of your boot. However, unlike other boot liner designs, they don’t protect the sides.

Rubber is a hard-wearing material that protects against acid, oil and other chemicals. It’s also waterproof and doesn’t fade in UV light.

Most rubber car mats come with a raised, patterned design to stop items slipping around in the boot and causing damage.

The main benefits:

  • Waterproof
  • Provide protection against oil, dirt and UV light
  • Easy to fit and remove
  • Easy to clean
  • Cheaper than other materials

Four different types of rubber mats: universal vs custom-made, flat or raised-edge?

Universal vs custom-made

 

Material

Waterproof?

Fitting

Price

Universal

Cheaper rubber

Yes, but poor fitting means liquid can get past

  • One-size-fits-all
  • Unlikely to fit perfectly

cheap to mid range

Custom-made

High-quality PVC

Yes.

Designed to fit perfectly

Approx. £100

For more information, visit the section: Custom-made vs universal vs manufacturer made boot liners

Flat or raised-edge rubber mats?

Flat rubber mats lie flat in your vehicle’s boot and provide an added layer of protection.

They are designed not to slip and will keep items secure. They also make cleaning small spillages in the boot quicker and easier.

Benefits:

  • Quick to clean
  • Anti-slip
  • Designed as an accessory

Raised-edge rubber car mats (also called trays) are designed to be your car’s sole boot liner or mat. Their edges are often curved upwards to create a tray shape which keeps any liquids and debris inside the mat.

These mats only cover the bottom of your boot, meaning the walls and backs of the rear seats will still be exposed to any spillages or stains.

Benefits:

  • Cheap alternative to other boot mats
  • Quick to clean
  • Tray shape stops liquid spillages from leaking

How do rubber car mats compare to other kinds of boot liners?

No side protection

Rubber car mats often protect only the floor of the boot and not the walls. If you have messy fishing rods or prams with muddy wheels, they will probably stain the sides of the boot.

More likely to find debris underneath

Because rubber mats don’t protect the sides of the boot, mud, debris and spillages can get trapped underneath. This can cause damp, bad smells, stains and even mould.

Cheaper

The low price of rubber car mats and liners is the main reason people buy them. However, this doesn’t mean they provide good value.

Rubber mats can be made of lower-quality materials which will wear down quickly. Think about how often you’ll be using your mat—if it’s infrequently, consider a cheaper option. If you’re looking to use a rubber mat long-term, it’s worth paying that bit more for a higher-quality mat.

Unsuitable for pets

Rubber mats are very uncomfortable for pets. The rigid rubber of the liner can be painful to lie across and their fur can snag with each turn of the car.

Hatchbag rubber mat

The Hatchbag rubber mat is designed to sit on top of the Hatchbag boot mat as an added layer of protection, or be used on its own. It fits according to the exact make/model and year of the vehicle.

Its top surface is a penny/stud design that stops objects slipping but allows them to move across the surface without “snagging”. Its underside is textured to prevent any slipping between it and the boot mat.

Padded boot liners

Padded boot liners offer extra protection against scuffs or marks from carrying cumbersome objects such as fishing or climbing equipment.

If you transport a dog, padded covers add a level of comfort that other types of liner can’t provide.

Hatchbag offers a range of mats to add to the liner to make a pet’s journey more comfortable or provide more protection when carrying heavy loads.

High-sided boot liners

Some companies use the term “high-sided” to describe a boot liner that protects the sides of your boot as well as the floor. All of Hatchbag’s boot liners are high-sided.

Most high-sided boot liners aren’t tailored for particular vehicles and so won’t fit the boot as snugly as a custom-made option. This means the entire cover could come loose.

We always recommend choosing a custom-fit high-sided boot liner to make sure your car boot is properly protected.

Materials

Features to look for in a quality boot liner:

Waterproof

If you have a dog or carry wet or muddy outdoor equipment in your boot, you should definitely choose a waterproof boot liner.

The liner’s water-resistant materials prevent liquids from seeping into the fabric of your boot and causing stains and smells that, once absorbed, are very hard to get rid of.

Most boot liners are made of water-resistant materials, but the difference really comes from the liner’s shape. If a liner only covers the bottom of your boot, water can easily travel to the edges and damage the sides of your boot.

Anti-slip

Anti-slip mats stop items moving around during transportation and also provide something for dogs to grip onto.

Most liners described as anti-slip are low liners or tray liners and don’t offer the same full protection as a high-sided or custom-made boot liner. So, although they may allow your dog to grip the boot comfortably, the sides of your boot are vulnerable to stains and dirt.

Your best option is to choose a full, custom-made liner and buy an extra anti-slip mat.

At Hatchbag, we provide rubber mats that fit perfectly to our boot liners to prevent pets or heavy loads from slipping.

The top surface of the rubber mat has a stud design that stops items slipping but allows them to move without snagging. The underside is textured to avoid any slipping between the boot liner and the mat.

Heavy-duty

A heavy-duty, strong boot liner will protect both the load you put into your boot and the boot itself. If you regularly pack cumbersome or heavy items, you need a liner that can offer sufficient protection rather than one that will wear, rip or leave certain parts of your boot exposed.

At Hatchbag, we offer a rubber mat to supplement our boot liners and provide even better protection. The textured underside means it won’t slip when placed on the boot liner itself.

Easy to clean

If you use your boot a lot or have dogs, you’ll need a cover that’s easy to clean. Most rubber trays aren’t particularly easy to clean. You can wipe them down, but debris can get lodged in the pattern or ridges. For a proper clean, you may have to remove them entirely.

The Hatchbag boot liner is made of a non-absorbent, wipe-clean material, making it incredibly easy to clean after use. All you need is a damp cloth and you’re ready to go. Dirt comes off easily and liquid won’t soak in. Since the liners fit so snugly there’s very little risk of dirt or water getting underneath.

Pet-friendly

If you want to take your pet along with you on a journey, you’ll need to make sure they are comfortable and safe.

Look for features like odour protection and added comfort. Also make sure the boot liner is durable and of a high standard. Cheaper liners tend to break a lot more easily if put under any sort of stress, so by investing properly early on, you save money in the long run!

Easy to fit

A lot of boot liners have to be cut to size to fit. If you make a mistake trimming them, they might not fit properly or offer the protection you need.

Non-custom-made liners that don’t have to be cut to size often arrive rolled up and must be flattened for a considerable amount of time before you can put them in place. Even then they can still curl up.

Custom-made boot liners not only perfectly fit your boot, but are also nice and easy to install.

For more information on how to fit your Hatchbag boot liner, click here

Car manufacturers that we cover:

Find your car boot liner here

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Guide to car boot liner accessories and add-ons