I kept seeing blue mats on hardware hacker’s workstations. I inquired as to what they were, and found out they are ElectroStatic Discharge (ESD) protection mats. Once I found out what they were and what they did, I decided to get my own.
- 5’ x 2’ mat - $94.60
- Grounding snap with 2 banana plug ports - $12.40
- Wrist strap - $14.21
- Banana plug - $14.44
How I Figured out What to Buy
Once I decided I wanted to get and ESD setup, I had no idea where to start. At first, I tried going through Amazon product listings. I cross-referenced some of the products with forum and blog posts. The results were not promising. There were posts of «Don’t buy the cheap stuff». The problem is I didn’t know what constituted cheap.
Eventually I came across this document put out by Desco: Installation and Maintenance of ESD Mats
One thing that was univerally posted was that 3M made good stuff, but they sold the ESD branch of their company to Desco, and through some relationship I never bothered to track down, SCS and Desco are the same company. It appears that Desco and SCS are the brand names in the ESD industry. After that, I pretty much used the Desco document as a guide on what to buy.
Anecdotally, I know of very few people that have lost electronic components to ESD. Even if actually having a part damaged by electrostatic discharge is rare, I figure if it saves me a few hours of work once, plus whatever part I was working on, it’s probably worth it.