4 Best Rubber Mulch Options TESTED & Ranked: Multi-Use Mulch

best rubber mulch reviews

A mulched ground cover brings a fresh, clean look to your outdoor spaces, and is enormously useful to help your garden thrive. 

A good mulch bed can control weeds, protect your plant roots from freezing weather, enrich the soil, and help your yard retain moisture. 

On top of that, rubber mulch offers many advantages over a traditional wooden mulch such as retaining its color better, being more durable, and requiring less maintenance than wood chips – and you don’t have to worry about pesky splinters! 

To help you take your garden, patio, or other outdoor space to the next level, we tried dozens of the best rubber mulch options for home and commercial use, and compiled our 4 favorites here, plus an additional 2 honorable mentions. 

*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclaimer for additional details.

Our Picks

  Product Details    
Playsafer Rubber Mulch Nuggets Best Overall: Playsafer Rubber Mulch Nuggets A heavy-duty but comfortable and long-lasting mulch option perfect for all-around use. Check Price
Rubberific Premium Shredded Rubber Mulch Runner-up: Rubberific Premium Shredded Rubber Mulch This shredded mulch has a very natural look and is perfect for versatile use and more subtle looks. Check Price
Zyppio Black Rubber Mulch Border Best Rollout: Zyppio Black Rubber Mulch Border Easy to trim and adjust for landscaping. Check Price
NuPlay Rubber Mulch Nugget Best for Landscaping: NuPlay Rubber Mulch Nugget Sturdy and natural looking, this mulch can stand up to the toughest use. Check Price

How We Chose the Best Rubber Mulch Options

Rubber Mulch for Playground
Rubber mulch has a variety of uses and can be placed in garden beds, throughout your landscaping, and on playgrounds like this.

Color Retention 

One of rubber mulch’s selling points is how clean and polished it makes your landscaping look.

The color is consistent, bold, and clean, so you want to make sure that it doesn’t fade or discolor with exposure to the sun and rain.

Durability

Rubber mulch has to stand up to foot traffic, weeding, the elements, and more. There’s nothing worse than spending top dollar on mulch for your yard, and finding that it crumbles into gravel within a year. 

We evaluated our rubber mulch options to see how well they stood up to weather and use. 

Additionally, some rubber mulches release a strong smell as they break down with use, so we evaluated them based on how much smell they release, as well as how quickly the larger chunks break down into smaller pieces. 

Safety

One drawback of rubber mulch is that it’s synthetic, and therefore has the potential to break down into small pieces, blow away, and leak chemicals into your soil. 

Additionally, the mulch can be painful to walk on, as it’s not as soft as wooden mulch (though you at least don’t have to worry about splinters).

We also evaluated them based on their environmental and safety certifications

Best Rubber Mulch Reviewed

1. Best Overall: Playsafer Rubber Mulch Nugget

Playsafer Rubber Mulch Nuggets

Product Ratings

Color Retention5/5
Durability5/5
Safety5/5
Affordability4/5

Material: Recycled rubber tires | Recommended landscaping depth: 2 – 3”

What We Liked

  • Meets environmental and health safety standards of IPEMA, SPSC, ASTM, and ADA
  • 99% metal-free
  • Long-lasting color
  • Quick-dry, does not freeze in cold weather
  • Many color and quantity options 

What We Didn’t Like

  • Strong rubber smell for first week 

This rubber mulch from Playsafer is durable, versatile, and is one of the better rubber mulch options available for playgrounds. 

This soft, thick layer of rubber mulch provides a clean and safe environment for all outdoor activities, and comes in various color and size choices.

This was our top pick for the best rubber mulch in terms of function, but we also loved the quality of materials. The rubber chips are made of recycled vehicle tires, and are 99% metal-free. 

This brand also is up to the safety standards of IPEMA, SPSC, ASTM, and the ADA, so your kids can play on this rubber mulch without worrying about any health issues.

One reason the Playsafer rubber mulch is such an ideal choice for playgrounds is that it can dry quickly, and can’t freeze even in cold weather conditions. 

This ensures that the rubber lasts longer before deteriorating from freezing and thawing, but since it doesn’t retain moisture, it also inhibits the growth of moss and fungi, providing a further protection against health problems. 

The Playsafer rubber mulch is easy to spread thanks to its portable 40lb bag (1.55 cubic ft) packaging. It also comes in 400 (16 cubic ft), 1,000 (39 cubic ft), and 2,000-pound (77 cubic ft) options for larger areas.

Since rubber mulch will not decompose or compress, you don’t need to reapply it regularly. It comes with a 12-year manufacturer guarantee against the color fading. 

Read our related article on the Best Mulch for Playgrounds. If you’re looking for a mulch that’s specifically for play areas, this guide is for you!

See Price on Amazon

2. Runner-up: Rubberific Premium Shredded Rubber Mulch

Rubberific Premium Shredded Rubber Mulch

Product Ratings

Color Retention5/5
Durability4/5
Safety4/5
Affordability4/5

Material: Shredded rubber tires | Recommended landscaping depth: 1 – 2”

What We Liked

  • Soft, thin, and lightweight
  • 12-year color guarantee
  • Non-toxic material is IPEMA certified
  • Multiple color options 

What We Didn’t Like

  • Smaller pieces blow away easily
  • Can be difficult to clean

Made of finely shredded vehicle tires, this Rubberific item offers a soft, lightweight cover for your flower beds and garden. 

This product comes with a natural look, and a 12-year color guarantee so that you can maintain a vibrant look for your outdoor landscape with no worry.

One downside to this mulch, however, is that the smaller pieces require more work to clean than the nugget style of our winner. 

While this is fine for gardening, it is not the best choice for children’s playgrounds, as they need a high standard of cleanliness to prevent illness or injury while playing outside. 

This mulch also didn’t rate as highly for durability, as the smaller pieces blow away more easily. However, the variety of color options, natural look, and great versatility for gardening made this a great runner-up.

Read More: Best Weed Barriers for your flower and vegetable gardens. We found the best weed barriers to protect your plants!

See Price on Amazon

3. Best Rollout: Zyppio Black Rubber Mulch Border

Zyppio Black Rubber Mulch Border

Product Ratings

Color Retention5/5
Durability4/5
Safety4/5
Affordability5/5

Material: Recycled rubber | Recommended landscaping depth: N/A 

What We Liked

  • 15 heavy-duty plastic anchors to secure the mulch
  • Temperature-resistant
  • Highly customizable, and easy to cut-to-fit for your projects
  • Very natural look

What We Didn’t Like

  • Challenging to trim for corners

Zyppio roll-out rubber mulch is a multi-purpose item for every family with outdoor spaces. 

You can use this mulch item for better breathability and water penetration for your flower beds, make a clean outdoor playground for your children, or serve as a garden filler.

With a natural, stylish look, Zyppio rubber mulch is a tasteful add-on to any outdoor space. 

This rubber mulch comes in a roll, and is designed to be installed flat, making it a great trim for gardens and sidewalk edges, with the dimensions of 120 x 45 inches per roll. It’s easy to cut to an exact length you need for projects.

However, if you want it to fit any rounded corners, it’s a bit challenging and you’ll have to break out your high school geometry to make sure that your mulch tape fits right. 

Each mulch role comes with 15 sturdy plastic anchors to keep the mulches in place from windy or any intense weather conditions.

See Price on Amazon

4. Best for Landscaping: NuPlay Rubber Mulch Nugget

NuPlay Rubber Mulch Nugget

Product Ratings

Color Retention5/5
Durability5/5
Safety5/5
Affordability3/5

Material: Recycled rubber tires | Recommended landscaping depth: 2 – 3”

What We Liked

  • Color-last guarantee
  • 99.9% wire-free recycled rubber
  • ASTMF3012 tested
  • Discount when buying in bulk

What We Didn’t Like

  • Highest price point

NuPlay mulch nugget is highly recommended as the best rubber mulch for landscaping.

This rubber mulch comes in various color choices that bring a natural yet modern look to your space. The recommended depth for landscaping with this mulch is 2-3 inches.

If you have a big outdoor space, you can spare your budget by purchasing the ‘10 packs’ option instead of a single or 4 packs.

Likewise, the colors are guaranteed to remain their original shade for 12 years with no fade, no compress, and no original form loss. In this way, you don’t have to replace them with new mulch every year.

The material is made of 100% recycled rubber and also meets ASTM F3012 standard for loose-fill rubber for use as a playground.

That is, it’s safe for children, pets, and other animals. It also acts effectively as a weed barrier, and doesn’t attract insects and rodents like wooden mulch.

Further Reading: Looking to break new ground on your latest landscaping project? Check out the best tillers for breaking new ground!

See Price on Amazon

Comparison Chart

ProductBest OverallRunner-UpBest Roll-OutBest for Landscaping
Overall Rating5/54.25/54.5/54.5/5
Color Retention5/55/55/55/5
Durability5/54/54/55/5
Safety5/54/54/55/5
Affordability5/54/55/53/5

The Winner

Our clear favorite was the Playsafer Rubber Mulch Nuggets. This rubber mulch is durable enough for the toughest landscaping jobs, but soft enough to use in a children’s playground. 

It’s achieved a high level of safety certification for health and environmental risk, and won’t break the bank. 

What Should You Consider for Your Perfect Rubber Mulch?

Firmness

Depending on whether you’re using rubber mulch as a ground cover to prevent weeds, as the base for a playground, or as a more industrial landscaping choice in lieu of gravel, you will want a different stiffness of rubber. 

However, keep in mind that this also affects the durability and longevity of the mulch, so weight stiffness against durability when making your decision. 

Size

Smaller, shredded mulch has a slightly more natural look, and is a great choice for gardens. However, it’s also harder to clean, and may blow away more easily. 

On the other hand, while big and chunky mulch is sturdy, it can also have sharp edges that are uncomfortable in a playground or look awkward against a garden. 

Coloring

You put a lot of effort into your garden and landscaping, so a good brand of rubber mulch offers colors that can either blend into your garden’s color scheme or provide an appealing contrast. 

Watch this video on why rubber mulch may be the go-to choice:

Honorable Mentions

1. BlondWood Labs GroundSmart Rubber Mulch – Considered for Best Overall

This shred-style mulch in an appealing, natural red-cedar color was a great option on our list, and comes with a 12-year shape- and color-retention guarantee. 

However, the smaller style has a tendency to blow away, and so we preferred the Playsafer Rubber Mulch Nuggets for its better durability. 

2. Plow & Hearth 51522 Permanent Mulch Pathway – Considered for Best Roll-Out

This rollout mulch pathway is a practical solution for any gardener. We loved its non-slip design for winter use, and it’s built to be sturdy, and requires very minimal cleaning. 

It’s easy to cut to fit your project plans. However, it only features 6’ of material per roll, so it clocks in at a higher price point than its competitors for comparable features.

We preferred the more affordable Zyppio Black Rubber Mulch Border.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.