Best yoga mats | Live Science

The best yoga mats can take you from a vinyasa flow at a group class to a downward dog in your living room and a sun salutation on the beach on vacation. Yoga is well known for being a complete workout that is as good for the mind as it is for the body. Daily practice is one of the best ways to strengthen bones and avoid osteoporosis, according to Harvard Medical School

There’s something about having your own mat, too. Obviously, in the Covid-19 era, it’s a must-have, but yoga teacher Ro Grogan says it could even help you get better at poses. She says: “Having your own mat will help you build a deeper connection with your practice. Your brain will get used to seeing it and remember what is about to occur. You can take it with you to different classes and having your own mat is the first step to creating a home practice.” 

What the experts say

“Having your own mat will help you build a deeper connection with your practice. Your brain will get used to seeing it and remember what is about to occur. You can take it with you to different classes and having your own mat is the first step to creating a home practice.” Ro Grogan, yoga teacher. 

But knowing how to choose one of the best yoga mats can be a daunting task when there are tons available to buy, especially as Black Friday yoga mat deals start to crop up. First, start by asking yourself: what type of yoga do I love the most? If you like dynamic yoga, then a thin mat will serve you in good stead, while one with good cushioning (at least 6mm) is a good choice for back work, meditation and Hatha flows.

Yoga teacher Ro Grogan told Live Science that shoppers should take into account a few key things when buying their yoga mat. These include thickness, material and durability.

"Anything too thick and you won't be able to balance,” says Grogan. “Anything too slippery and you'll struggle to grip. When it comes to durability, you want something that's going to last as long as you do."

Grogan reveals that buying a high quality yoga mat over a cheaper one gives you “time to really focus on your practice, rather than worrying about slipping." Another consideration is will you be carrying your mat with you to the studio? If so, look out for the best yoga mats for travel, which weigh less than 2kg ideally. And if you are a fan of hot yoga, then rubber or textured mats will keep you in place during poses.

If like us, you are a fan of home workouts and often listen to classes with ear pods on so you can really concentrate, then check out our article about the best running headphones. And forget about spending hours online looking for the best yoga mats, as we’ve already done that and you can read all about your options here…

Best yoga mats

The best yoga mat for all types of yoga

Size: : 26” x 71”
Thickness: : 5mm
Weight: : 2.38kg / 5.24lbs
Materials: : Polyurethane and rubber
Colors: : Green twill/rainforest green, black/tiger, black/white/dark red, true navy/sonic pink, chalky rose/pink mist
Reasons to buy
+Multi-purpose design +Resilient and scratch-proof (rubber side) +Non-slip 
Reasons to avoid
-Very squishy -Heavy (5lbs) so not easy to travel with -Contains latex 

For once you can believe the hype: the Lululemon Reversible 5mm Yoga Mat is worth every cent. 

What the users say

On the whole, user reviews on this mat are positive with many people claiming it the ‘best mat they’ve ever used’. One Lululemon reviewer said that it was “the ultimate mat. Quality unbeatable. Versatile from yoga to HIIT and this mat will last you, so value for money”. However. one Lululemon user wasn’t happy with the color of the mat compared with the website image, comparing it to “a piece of ham”.

Well made, durable and with excellent traction in both wet and dry conditions, it’s the yoga mat that keeps on giving.

It’s springy enough to move around on with great cushioning to support bones and joints. Its thin polyurethane layer and ‘sweat-wicking’ natural rubber base, does a good job at absorbing moisture and the antimicrobial additive in the mat prevents bacteria from building up.

It’s a bit smelly when you first open it, and tends to scratch easily. It’s also a little on the heavy side at 2.38kg but that doesn’t matter if you’re driving to class or you usually workout from home. Plus, the 5mm thickness means you get the support where you need it most.

• Read the full Lululemon Reversible 5mm Mat review

The best yoga mat for balance

Size: : 72” x 24”
Thickness: : 4mm
Weight: : 2kg / 4.4lbs
Materials: : Natural latex
Colors: : Slate, mountain green, marina green, nerine pink, cornflower blue
Reasons to buy
+Non-slip +Excellent grip +Eco friendly 
Reasons to avoid
-Marks easily -Avoid if allergic to latex  -Quite heavy 

The Sweaty Betty Super Grip Yoga Mat lives up to its name on the grip front and provides excellent support and stability for all types of yoga. 

What the users say

The Super Grip Yoga Mat gets lots of five star reviews on Sweaty Betty, with praise for the mat’s durability and support. Customers love the design and look of the mat, as well as the fact that it is biodegradable. Many reviewers had bought the mat multiple times, claiming it offered the perfect amount of grip and thickness. Negative reviews cite problems with the mat being too hard, losing its grip after a year and the logo peeling off. 

Its sticky latex surface makes it durable enough to withstand a hot yoga session, and its non-slip nature makes it great for stability, meaning that you can stay in balance poses such as downward dog for longer.

Our one complaint is that due to its stickiness, this yoga mat is also somewhat of a dust and dirt magnet. It also picks up marks easily, but this is nothing that regular cleaning (and a carry bag for storage) can’t resolve.

Because this eco-friendly mat is made from natural latex (avoid if you have a latex allergy) you should expect a strong odor at first. However, this does wear off in time. We would note that this mat is a little thin for headstands, so you might need to add a towel to make it thicker.

• Read the full Sweaty Betty Super Grip Yoga Mat review

The best yoga mat for yogis on the go

Size: : 68” x 24”
Thickness: : 3mm
Weight: : 1.3kg / 2.8lbs
Materials: : Natural rubber
Colors: : Black, midnight blue, olive green, purple
Reasons to buy
+Great grip +Compact +Tree planted for every mat sold 
Reasons to avoid
-Quite thin -Rubbery smell lasts few weeks -Limited color choice 

The Jade Yoga Travel Yoga Mat is perfect for travel as it’s thin, lightweight and compact. 

What the users say

The JadeYoga Travel Yoga Mat scores an impressive 4.6 stars out of 5 on Amazon, with 76% of reviews giving it the full five stars. Positive reviews praise the lightweight design and the fact it's thin and portable. Customers particularly liked the grip and support it offered. They also appreciated that it was made from renewable resources. Negative reviews cite problems with the mat being difficult to clean, as well as leaving hands and feet feeling greasy after a workout. 

It easily folds down to the size of a yoga block, and has a textured design that gives it great grip. While this mat will take up very little space in your luggage or your closet at home, the downside is that its super thin profile means that there is zero padding in this travel mat. We would also recommend rolling the mat out after you unpack it to minimize creases.

This yoga mat is made from PVC-free natural rubber so expect a rubbery smell for the first few weeks (and avoid this product if you have a latex allergy). It has an open cell construction and is really sticky, which is ideal as it means that you won’t slip and slide during your yoga session.

We would note that the mat can be a little slippery when sweat-soaked, but it doesn’t tend to mark or stain which is a big bonus. Jade Yoga has a plant-based mat wash you can use for cleaning, but we found that regular sprays worked just as well (although avoid UV cleaners as these can damage the rubber). Overall a great value mat with good performance for travelling yogis.

Gaiam Premium 2-Color Yoga Mat

The best yoga mat for people on a budget

Size: : 68” x 24”
Thickness: : 6mm
Weight: : 2kg / 4.5lbs
Materials: : PVC
Colors: : Midnight blues, plum jam, granite storm, honeydew, icy frost
Reasons to buy
+ Sweat absorbent + Reversible + Latex-free 
Reasons to avoid
-Slippery -Short lifespan -Not suited to hot yoga 

The Gaiam Premium 2-Color Yoga Mat is reversible, so you can choose which side suits your yoga style or activity. 

What the users say

This mat scores 4.1 stars out of 5 on Target, with 59% of reviews giving it the full five stars. Positive reviews praise the price, cushioning and color choices as well as the thickness of the mat. Taller customers particularly liked the size and extended length. Users also appreciated the quality and thickness, while negative reviews cite problems with the grip lessening the sweatier the user got.

It comes in at under 50 bucks so it’s a solid budget-friendly option for people new to yoga. 

It’s a good size for taller people who need a bit more mat space, and has great cushioning to support joints and bones. That makes it a good choice for anyone using it for circuits or HIIT workouts, too. 

Our main complaints are that it tends to mark easily and the stickiness doesn't last very long. It’s sweat absorbent to an extent, but not compatible with hot yoga. The plus side is that it’s latex-free and comes with Gaiam’s lifetime guarantee.

Alo Yoga Warrior Mat

The best yoga mat for luxury

Size: : 75” x 26”
Thickness:: 5mm
Weight: : 2.7kg / 6lbs
Materials: : Polyurethane leather and rubber
Colors: : Hot pink, smoky quartz, honeydew, highlighter, eclipse, white, black, jungle, dove grey
Reasons to buy
+Non-slip +Awesome grip  +Great for hot yoga 
Reasons to avoid
-Quite expensive -Very heavy -Picks up dirt easily 

Yoga wear brand Alo makes mats as beautiful as their clothes but does the Alo Yoga Warrior Mat deliver on performance? 

What the users say

This mat is often ranked top of ‘the best yoga mat’ lists with reviewers praising it for being high quality with a premium look and feel. Customers also appreciated that the Alo Yoga Warrior Mat has an incredible grip, is made from ethically sourced rubber and is extra long. Less favorable reviews said the mat was quite expensive, too heavy and picked up dirt easily. 

We have to say that, despite being one of the most expensive out there, this is one of the best yoga mats you can buy. It looks and feels luxurious and is made with non-toxic ethically sourced rubber, which gives it an excellent grip.

It has an extended length (75” / 6.2ft) and the thickness (5mm) means that it’s super durable and comfortable. We found it extremely hard-working during our hot yoga sessions, as the moisture-wicking material helps it keep its grip.

This yoga mat comes in a bold array of colorways and has a matte finish that gives it a premium feel. An added bonus is that when you buy the Alo Yoga Warrior Mat you get a free 30-day trial of Alo Moves, which gives you access to unlimited yoga, fitness and meditation classes led by their pro instructors.

Manduka Pro Yoga Mat

The best yoga mat for teachers

Size: : 71” x 26” standard length or 85” x 26” extra long
Thickness: : 6mm
Weight:: 3.4kg / 7.5lbs (standard length) 4.3kg / 9.6lbs (extra long)
Materials: : OKEO-TEX certified PVC
Colors: : Odyssey (blue), Maldive, black, black magic (purple), verve (red), midnight, surf, black sage (green)
Reasons to buy
+Handmade +Eco-friendly OKEO-TEX certified +Latex-free 
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey -Needs a lot of breaking in -Not easily portable 

Skin-safe and OEKO-TEX certified (free from hazardous chemicals), the Manduka Pro Yoga Mat is a favourite of yoga teachers and called pro for good reason.

What the users say

The Manduka pro scores 4.5 out of five stars on Amazon, with 86% of reviews giving the mat the full five stars. Customers raved about the padding and the fact that the yoga mat is heavy and stable, allowing people to feel secure when in balance poses. However some negative reviews claimed the mat was too slippy, with many people saying it was very hard to break in and not suitable for hot yoga.

Its ultra thick 6mm cushioning provides excellent support and stability, while it’s still firm enough underfoot for tree/balance poses. The dot pattern keeps the mat steady on any surface and the textured top layer means you can flow between moves without sticking to the mat.

Admittedly, this mat needs a bit of breaking in and it’s recommended to use a sea salt scrub to speed up the process. Each mat is handmade and is made from closed-cell material, which seals out moisture and bacteria, keeping mold and mildew at bay.

We love that it comes in two sizes – standard and extra long, so taller people can enjoy not hanging off the mat for once (but word to the wise: the bigger mat may take up valuable space in smaller yoga studios, which might prove unpopular!).

Heathyoga TPE Body Alignment System Yoga Mat

The best yoga mat for beginners

Size: : 72” x 26”
Thickness: : 6mm
Weight: : 1.2kg / 2.8lbs
Materials: : Thermoplastic elastomers
Colors: : Turquoise, grass green, charcoal, purple, pink, blue
Reasons to buy
+Firm grip +Good for hot yoga +Eco friendly 
Reasons to avoid
-Corners roll up -Quite thick -Keep away from extreme heat 

New to yoga? The Heathyoga TPE Body Alignment System Yoga Mat is a solid choice because it comes with marks for hands and feet placement. 

What the users say

This yoga mat gets a lot of love of Amazon - 4.6 out of five stars and 77% of users gave it the full five stars. Reviewers praised the grip, cushioning and non-slip surface, while many also appreciated the alignment guide on the mat, which helped people get into the right positions. Negative reviews cited issues with the initial rubbery odor of the mat when you first open it. Some users claimed the mat lost its grip after a few months, too.

This is really helpful for newcomers to yoga, as you can work on correct technique and positioning with less risk of injury.

It’s slip resistant, easy to clean and stays nice and flat once it’s unrolled. It’s thick enough to do prolonged yin practice poses with comfort and has excellent grip, even in hot yoga classes. We love how durable it is, with just the right amount of cushioning for standing poses. 

Longer and wider than standard yoga mats, the Heathyoga TPE Body Alignment System Yoga Mat comes with a free Velcro strap and carrying strap

Manduka eKO Superlite Yoga Mat

The best yoga mat for traveling

Size: : 71” x 24”
Thickness: : 1.5mm
Weight: : 1.8kg / 3.9lbs
Materials: : Tree rubber
Colors: : Lavender stripe, lavender marbled, gold, sea gold marbled, midnight (blue), Dresden blue marbled, acai (purple)
Reasons to buy
+ Lightweight + Eco-friendly + Easy to pack (roll or fold) 
Reasons to avoid
-Marks easily -Not totally latex free -Difficult to clean 

Going on vacation? You need the Manduka Eko Superlite Yoga Mat in your life! 

What the users say

This lightweight travel mat gets an impressive 4.5 stars out of five on Amazon, with 76% giving it the full five stars. Customers love how portable and sticky it is. They also praised how foldable it was and the fact that it didn’t weigh much. Negative reviews state that because it’s thin, it can be uncomfortable on the knees. There were also lots of comments on the odor of the mat.

Easy to fold or roll, this eco-friendly, lightweight mat has superb grip and is versatile for all types of yoga practice.

As it’s a travel yoga mat, it’s very thin (1.5mm) but you can always put it on top of a thicker mat in a yoga studio. It has a tightly woven scrim that resists tearing or scratching, and a good grip considering how thin it is.

It’s made from sustainably harvester tree rubber (so expect a rubbery odor at first), without PVC or harmful dyes and is 99% latex free. It folds and rolls away easily into luggage and is a great investment for people who love traveling.

Yogi Bare Paws Extreme Grip Yoga Mat

The best yoga mat for vegans

Size: : 70” x 25”
Thickness: : 4mm
Weight: : 2.5kg / 5.5lbs
aterials: : Natural rubber and PU
Colors: : Black, red, dark green, grey, blue
Reasons to buy
+Super smooth +Vegan +Superb grip 
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy -Not easily portable -Contains latex 

The Yogi Bare Paws Extreme Grip Yoga Mat is famous for its non-slip tech and made from eco-friendly natural rubber and PU, meaning you can stay in poses for longer.

What the users say

This mat gets 4.8 out of five stars on Amazon, with 87% of reviewers giving it the full five stars. Customers liked that it had premium features, including the “perfect thickness’. It gets praise for being non-slip and a good size, particularly if you are tall. Reviewers also appreciated that it comes with alignment marks. Negative reviews cited problems with the grip lessening after a few months, that it showed up water and grease and had an initial rubbery odor.

 From a simple downward dog to more dynamic moves such as crow and fallen star, this mat keeps you in place regardless of how much you’re sweating.

At 4mm thick, the Yogi Bare Paws Extreme Grip Yoga Mat is as good for vinyasa flow and hot yoga as it is for more strenuous HIIT and circuit workouts, but if you’re worried about your knees you might want a slighter thicker mat. We used it on wooden floorboards, and it stayed put. However, there was a bit of movement when used on carpet – but nothing compared with cheaper mats. That said, it did pick up a lot of fluff and dirt from the floor.

It’s easy to clean (warm water with lemon juice works well) and comes with laser etched alignment guides on the mat to help you get into position. It’s made from vegan-friendly rubber with water-based dyes, so won’t cost the earth.

With Every Atom Cork Yoga Mat

The best cork yoga mat

Size: : 72” x 25”
Thickness: : 4mm
Weight: : 2.25kg / 4.9lbs
Materials: : Natural rubber and cork
Colors: : Brown
Reasons to buy
+Durable +Eco-friendly +Naturally antimicrobial 
Reasons to avoid
-Bit thin for headstands -Not easily portable -Marks easily 

The With Every Atom Cork Yoga Mat is extra large so it’s a great option for taller people.

What the users say

This yoga mat gets lots of praise for how it looks and feels. One reviewer on TrustPilot said: “It’s the ultimate in yoga luxury.” Many users like that the eco-friendly mat was made from sustainable resources and had antibacterial properties. Negative reviews cited problems with the mat getting easily marked and stained, particularly with sweat.

It’s made from naturally grippy rubber and moisture wicking cork, so the grip actually improves the more you sweat. It’s a great choice for all styles of yoga, including Ashtanga, Hatha, hot yoga and other floor-based workouts.

It’s fairly lightweight and not too thick yet supportive and comfortable enough for daily practice. We love that the With Every Atom Cork Yoga Mat is vegan-friendly and made from sustainably sourced, natural and recycled materials. 

Cork is naturally antimicrobial and hypoallergenic, so it’s also low maintenance. It tends to mark easily, but is easy to clean. Plus, when you buy an Every Atom Cork Yoga Mat the brand plants a tree. The only downside is that this yoga mat only comes in one color.

Which yoga mat is best?

So which is the best yoga mat for you? And what should you look for when you are deciding how to choose a yoga mat?

One of the first things to consider is what types of yoga you'll be doing. Are you going to be spending a lot of time sweating in a hot yoga class? If the answer is yes, then the best yoga mats for you to buy are ones that have an antimicrobial layer or sweat-wicking properties.

Meanwhile, if you prefer enjoying the benefits of yoga in a studio, then you’ll want a relatively lightweight one that you can transport to your classes. The same advice goes for people who like to do yoga on vacation – you should look for a portable travel yoga mat that folds easily into your luggage.

If you’re on the taller side, you might want to invest in an extra long yoga mat so you’re not hanging off the end – considering that many people practice yoga to fix posture, a yoga mat that doesn't suit your size might be counterintuitive! However, bear in mind that this might not win you any friends at your local yoga studio if you’re taking up extra space with an oversized mat!

Thicker mats are better for therapeutic practices so if restorative yoga is your favorite, then you’ll want to buy one that has more cushioning. For daily practice to improve your flexibility, make sure you opt for a well-designed, high quality mat. You can even buy yoga mats with alignment marks etched into them to help with technique and form.

The amount of grip your yoga mat has is also key – you’ll want to look for a mat with a good amount of traction in order to practice the balance poses without slipping. Meanwhile, price will also be a factor when deciding which yoga mat is best for you, so shop around to find something that meets your needs and budget.

Where is the best place to buy a yoga mat?

If you want to know where is the best place to buy a yoga mat, we’ve done the research for you. As you’d expect from the fitness giant, Lululemon is one of the most highly coveted brands - in fact, its Reversible Mat 5mm has achieved cult status as being one of the best yoga mats on the market.

Sweaty Betty and Alo Yoga also come up trumps, with excellent quality, hard working yoga mats to suit all practices. They have earned a trusted reputation for creating durable yoga mats that last a lifetime. Both companies also sell highly desirable, premium workout clothes. 

• Read more: Six yoga myths debunked

If you are looking to buy an eco-friendly mat, then keep your eyes out for sustainable brands Manduka, Heathyoga, With Every Atom and Yogi Bare Paws. Many of these mats are made with natural rubber, but they still contain some latex so these products aren’t suitable for anyone with allergies.

Yoga teacher Ro Grogan says, “I really rate a cork mat from somewhere like Cork Space – it’s sustainable, natural and grounding. Everyone is different, but you want a yoga mat that suits you visually. A bit like our clothes, your mat should spark joy.”

People who love to attend yoga classes or go on holiday with their mat should look to invest in a yoga mat from JadeYoga or Gaiam. Both brands make excellent lightweight travel mats that are easy to fold and pack.

You can pick up some amazing yoga mat deals and discounts from places like Amazon, Bestbuy, Target and Walmart, but be careful about paying too little and thinking you’ve found a bargain. Cheap yoga mats are cheap for a reason – they might save you money, but they will have a short lifespan and most likely provide poor grip, meaning you are at more risk of injury. This type of yoga mat is more suited to someone who does yoga very occasionally, rather than every day.

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