The enjoyment of your yoga practice isn’t dependent on your mat. It definitely isn’t a requirement for practicing yoga. But it does help determine how happy you are transitioning from one pose to another, how stable you feel during your practice, and how centered your mind is. Unfortunately, not all yoga mats are created equal. A variety of materials can be used to construct a yoga mat such as rubber, neoprene, latex, and cotton.
Yoga mats also come in different sizes and thickness. And the prices can really vary. The massive variety of yoga mats in the market makes buying a the best yoga mat more of an ordeal than it should be. It’s an even bigger ordeal if you buy the wrong one. With that in mind, we decided to find the 12 best yoga mats to make your life easier.
- 1. Yoga Accessories 1/4″ Extra Thick Deluxe Yoga Mat
- 2. Manduka PRO Yoga Mat
- 3. Jade Harmony Professional Mat
- 4. Manduka Eko Yoga Mat
- 5. Aurorae Premium Classic
- 6. Liforme Yoga Mat
- 7. Hugger Mugger Para Rubber
- 8. PrAna Revolutionary Sticky Mat
- 9. Gaiam Sol Studio Select Dry-Grip Yoga Mat
- 10. YOGO Mat Ultralight
- 11. Jade Travel Yoga Mat
- 12. PrAna E.C.O
- How to Choose the Best Yoga Mat
1. Yoga Accessories 1/4″ Extra Thick Deluxe Yoga Mat
This is the best yoga mat for beginners for several reasons. It’s sold at a very low price so you don’t have to invest a ton of money if you’re not sure you want to stick it out for the long haul. Even yogis who only practice occasionally might prefer to keep their spending at a minimum.
- extra cushioning provided by the 1/4 inch thick PVC foam
- very roomy at 74 inches (6 inches longer than most budget mats)
- comes in 29 different colors
- Sensitive knees may still feel the hard floor beneath the mat
- The mat does have a bit of a chemical smell initially
- It can be a bit slippery during the first few uses.
2. Manduka PRO Yoga Mat
There’s a lot to love about the Manduka Pro Yoga Mat. It has a lifetime guarantee, made with eco-certified safe PVC, comes in two sizes (71 inches long and 85 inches long), and is the best yoga mat for bad knees due to the cushioning it provides.
- Provides extra support for your joints
- Perfect for yogis with latex allergies
- Easy to keep clean
- Very heavy
- Very expensive especially for beginners or occasional practitioners
- Still slippery for some yogis even after “breaking it in.
3. Jade Harmony Professional Mat
The Jade Harmony Professional Yoga Mat has an open-cell construction, easily absorbing moisture to prevent you from slipping which makes it the best yoga mat for hot yoga. Even at your sweatiest, you’ll still get a fantastic grip so you can focus on your pose instead of worrying about falling.
- Slip-resistant surface
- Provides good support for your knees
- Made from 100% natural rubber
- Needs to be cleaned a lot since it absorbs your sweat
- A bit on the heavy side
- Strongly smells like rubber for a while
4. Manduka Eko Yoga Mat
If you want a Manduka but prefer an eco-friendly option, then this is the yoga mat you are looking for. Manduka is well-known for producing long-lasting yoga mats. Some yogis have been using theirs for more than a decade! With the Manduka Eko, you get a mat made from biodegradable, non-Amazon harvested tree rubber and non-toxic foaming agents. Aside from being eco-friendly, the mat has two layers that provide you with both cushion and traction. The top surface has a closed-cell structure and a Sea Grass texture, providing grippiness without absorbing sweat. The bottom layer is open-cell in construction and thicker to provide that extra cushioning. Yogis can reverse their mat to get the traction and feel that they need.
- Very durable
- Excellent support/cushioning for your knees
- Really strong rubber smell
- Heavy mat
- Does not have the lifetime guarantee of the Manduka PRO
5. Aurorae Premium Classic
The Aurorae Premium Classic is best yoga mat for under $50 for several reasons. Made from Polymer Environmental Resin, this mat has no phthalates, latex, silicone, or rubber. It does not give off a strong odor. It is 72 inches long so it can fit most yogis. And it comes with a rosin bag that yogis can apply to reduce slippage.
- Biodegradable, no phthalates, latex, silicone, or rubber
- Decent cushioning for the joints
- Do not want to apply rosin
- Does not hold well for hot yoga
- Thinner than the Jade Harmony mat
6. Liforme Yoga Mat
Hands down, the best yoga mat for Ashtanga and Iyengar yoga is the Liforme Yoga Mat. The material remains grippy even when you’re sweating buckets and the alignment system marking the surface of the mat helps you perfect all those poses. The mat is longer, wider, and thicker than many others in the market. And the manufacturer even throws in a really cool bag for the mat.
- Alignment system
- Very grippy even when practicing hot yoga
- Eco-friendly (made of non-toxic and body-friendly products, PVC-free)
- Hefty price ($140!!)
- Hefty weight
- Breaks down a bit faster than other mats in this price range
7. Hugger Mugger Para Rubber
The Hugger Mugger Para Rubber is an eco-friendly alternative to the Jade Harmony. It’s made out of natural rubber that’s soft and springy. It’s 1/4-inch thick so you get some extra cushioning and support. The mat is very sticky that slipping while transitioning between poses during Vinyasa or Ashtanga yoga won’t be a problem.
- Excellent grip
- Extra cushioning
- Heavy (6.5 lbs)
- Persistent, rubber smell
- For some yogis, transitioning is difficult
8. PrAna Revolutionary Sticky Mat
This is, by far, the best yoga mat for guys and gals who are above average in size and height. Even those who are 6 feet or taller will feel how roomy the space is on this mat compared to others. Aside from size, the PrAna Revolution Mat is firm but not spongy, made of 100% natural, non-Amazon rubber, and provides a really good grip.
- 100% natural rubber
- Huge size
- Very grippy even when the yogi is hot and sweaty
- Rubber smell
- Needs time to break it in.
9. Gaiam Sol Studio Select Dry-Grip Yoga Mat
The Gaiam Sol Dry Grip Yoga Mat is exactly what the name says. It provides an extremely dry grip even under “sweating buckets” conditions. As one yoga expert says, it’s dry like a desert. The material is latex-free, rubber free, and amazingly absorbent. It isn’t as thick or as long as most other mats. It also lacks texture on the surface but the slip-free feature is out of this world. We’d rank it as one of the best yoga mats for bikram yoga or hot vinyasa.
- Super absorbent material that will stay dry
- Latex-free for those with latex allergies
- Pretty light weight
- Smaller in size than other mats at 68”x24”
- Lacks cushioning
- No texture
10. YOGO Mat Ultralight
This is arguably one of the best yoga mats for travel. It’s at par with the Jade Travel Yoga Mat which we’ll get to later. The mat folds up nicely and can be tucked in your luggage or backpack for easy travel. The buckles and straps attached to the mat can be used for folding it and keeping it folded or hanging it while you wash the mat and leave it to dry. It definitely makes practicing yoga while on the go as easy as pie.
- Made of renewable tree rubber
- Super sticky
- Slightly expensive for a travel mat
- Thinner than other travel mats
- May not be suitable for hard floors
11. Jade Travel Yoga Mat
Jade is one of the best yoga mat brands in the market. So you know anything they come up with will be quality. Their travel mat definitely doesn’t disappoint… at least not by much. It’s made from all natural rubber, provides awesome stickiness, and has better padding than most travel mats. As an added bonus, it also comes in two sizes – 68” and 74” which makes it an excellent fit for most yogis. There are drawbacks, however. It’s very heavy for a travel mat – 3lbs and 3.8 lbs, respectively. It also has an open cell construction which means you’ll need to clean it regularly since it collects dust, sweat, and bacteria.
- Extra cushioning
- Awesome grip
- Comes in two sizes
- Heavier than most travel mats
- Some yogis may find it too sticky for vinyasa yoga
- Does not fold like the YOGO. Only rolls.
12. PrAna E.C.O
If you’re looking for an affordable, eco-friendly, latex-free yoga mat, then the PrAna E.C.O. is exactly what you need. It’s also lightweight, sticky, and very comfortable. And the designs are amazing.
- Better padding for joints
- Only comes in one size
- Retains marks from folding
- Strong smell when it’s new
Other mats we didn’t have a chance to review but are yogi favorites include the Manduka PROlite, the Kharma Khare, the Sivan Health and Fitness, and the Zen Active Non-Slip Yoga Mat.
How to Choose the Best Yoga Mat
As we mentioned earlier, your enjoyment of your yoga practice is not entirely dependent on the mat you are using. But it does affect it. And with the plethora of choices available today, choosing a yoga mat can be a stressful endeavor. To help you out, here are 6 important questions you’ll need to answer so you can find the right fit.
What’s Your Style?
No, we don’t mean your fashion style or design preference. This question refers to the type of yoga you practice. A yogi who practices hot yoga will require a mat that does not get slippery when wet such as the Gaiam Sol Dry Grip Yoga Mat or the Jade Harmony Professional Mat. If you practice Vinyasa or Ashtanga, you’ll need a mat that provides stability and excellent grip so you don’t slip and slide while transitioning between poses. Two really good fits for this type of practice are the Hugger Mugger Para Rubber and the Manduka Eko. Yogis who practice Iyengar yoga will appreciate the alignment system found on the Liforme Yoga Mat while those who practice Restorative yoga will want the extra cushioning provided by the Manduka PRO.
How Often Will You Use It?
Devout yogis will need a mat that’s extremely durable, able to withstand daily use such as the Manduka PRO which has a lifetime guarantee. Weekend warriors and beginners might not want to invest in an expensive mat, just one that will last the occasional use. The YogaAccessories 1/4″ Extra Thick Deluxe Yoga Mat or the Aurorae Premium Classic are good choices. For those who travel a lot and still want to practice yoga while on the go, the YOGO Mat Ultralight and the Jade Travel Yoga Mat are excellent choices.
How Sweaty Do You Get?
A slippery yoga mat is a dangerous thing. If you’re the type who sweats a lot, or you like to practice hot yoga or Ashtanga (which will cause you to sweat a lot), you will need a mat that absorbs a lot of moisture quickly like the Gaiam Sol Dry Grip. If you’d rather get a mat that is good at repelling sweat, the Manduka Eko is a good choice. On the other hand, if you don’t really sweat a lot or will be doing restorative yoga, you might want to look for a yoga mat that has texture to provide you sufficient traction.
What’s Your Budget?
Price is always a consideration whenever you buy a product… unless you have unlimited funds and really don’t care how much you spend. Really cheap mats can be found in big box stores like Walmart and Target. But they might distract you from your practice because they’re too slippery, lack cushioning, etc. Good quality yoga mats can range from $20 to over $100.
How Much Padding Do You Need?
While traction and grip are highly important to ensure you don’t slip and injure yourself, cushioning is also important especially if you’re a beginner or a yogi with sensitive knees/joints or an injury. Padding is also important if you’re practicing restorative or yin yoga. One yoga mat that delivers that extra cushioning is the Manduka PRO mat. It’s important to note that a thick mat will lessen your connection with the ground. So if you aren’t that sensitive, you might want to stick with a thinner mat or one that is denser.
Is there any way you can try it out?
The most important step to take when choosing a mat is to test it. While reviews and specs can give you a good idea of how good a fit a mat will be, it’s only when you try it out that you really learn the feel of the mat and find out what works for you. Borrow mats from friends, teachers, and the studio you take classes at.
The perfect yoga mat is the one that fits your needs best. It will ground you in your practice, provide you with stability, and enable you to practice yoga effortlessly. By knowing your style, your body, your preference, and the frequency of your practice, you’ll never have a problem choosing which yoga mat is right for you.