Looking for the best yoga mat? Read our in-depth yoga mat reviews, comparison charts and top picks for 2017 to help you make the right buying decision.
Yoga is regarded as the best form of exercise to relieve yourselves from stress and anxiety. If you are going to perform Yoga, you’ll need a yoga mat, and we are here with the top recommendations for you.
If you are serious about Yoga, then you’ll need a mat that is able to endure different forms, gives you enough traction (and grip) and is durable enough for daily use. And picking that perfect one out can prove to be a grueling experience. We at FitnessGuyd, have made that job easier for you, and have narrowed our search to the ‘Top 6’.
Best Mats for Hardcore Yogis
Manduka PRO Mat – If you are looking for an extra cushioning and need something that can handle the abuse, then this mat by Manduka will be the ultimate buy.
Jade Harmony Yoga Mat – The harmony hits the sweet spot between comfort and stability, and with its natural rubber construction, it is suitable for different forms of Yoga.
Best Yoga Mats for Beginners
Gaiam Print Premium – If you want to be the trendsetter in your Yoga Class, then Gaiam Mat is the most attractive option out there. It also has the best comfort among budget yoga mats.
Best Yoga Mats for 2017
In-Depth Yoga Mat Reviews for 2017
#1 Recommendation: Manduka PRO Mat
If are practice yoga daily, you probably want something durable. Well, the Manduka PRO with its lifetime guarantee might just be what you are looking for.
Manduka is one of the established brands in the Yoga industry, and their Pro Mat is critically acclaimed. First up, because of its synthetic construction, it is able to handle everything you throw at it.
Even after years of use, users were not able to see any sign of wear or tear. Long story short, even after the day of Armageddon, this mat will be there unfazed and unharmed.
Now, with great durability comes great comfort. At 6mm of thickness, it is the most comfortable yoga mat out there.
So if you are skinny and your bones and knees are what bear the major brunt during your yoga sessions, then that will be completely eliminated with Manduka Pro.
Like with all good things even the Manduka PRO Mat has its downsides (just the one actually).
And that’s its comparatively higher price. So if you’ve got budget constraints or are just a beginner looks elsewhere (sadly, the best things always come with a price tag).
On the flipside, its grip only gets better with use and it’s ultra-dense cushioning keeps you safe even during a slip
Also, the closed-cell surface makes cleaning the mat easy peasy. Convenience and comfort at its best, isn’t it? Well, that’s how you know you’ve had your money’s worth.
#2 Recommendation: Jade Harmony Professional Yoga Mat
If you are one who likes to experiment with multiple Yoga forms and are always trying out something new, then the Jade Harmony Professional is the perfect fit for you.
Made of natural rubber, traction and stability are taken care off. So if you into those extended Vinyasas, you don’t have to worry about slipping.
But if you are having one of those vigorous classes, and you are sweating a lot, then the Harmony has you covered. It does that because of the open-cell technology, so sweat (and even oil) is absorbed without having an impact on traction and grip.
At 3/16 inches of thickness, your knees and hips are supported well, and at the same time the mat is not ‘overly soft’. This again adds to the versatility, making the Jade Professional suitable for different forms of Yoga.
It is not the lightest mat out there, but we were able to roll it effortlessly (even after a vigorous session). Having said that, you are going to work muscles while carrying it to your class.
Coming to the downside, the biggest issue we have with Jade Harmony is the durability. The most impact is seen in the area where you rest your feet. Traction, however, remains intact. Secondly, rubber doesn’t handle sunlight that well, and if you don’t want to compromise on the grip, don’t leave it exposed to the sun.
#3 Recommendation: Gaiam Print Premium Yoga Mat (Budget Pick)
If you just about to start your Yoga journey, this mat by Giam has everything we look for in a beginners’ yoga mat.
Lets’ talk about comfort!
If you are just starting out the Number 1 priority has to be comforted. You don’t want your knees and joints to hurt. Well, Gaiam has you covered with 5mm thickness. It is more than enough for all forms of yoga and provides support on all floors.
Next, up we absolutely love the design. It has to be one of the trendiest mats out there and with over 15 options to choose from, you can pick the one that matches your style.
It is also lightweight and you can carry it to your class without breaking a sweat. (A carry bag is required). And yes, if you need assistance with your workouts, then Gaiam has a free video series that’ll get you started.
Coming to the downsides, the biggest issue we have is with traction. The grip with the surface is average and if you are going to change postures quickly you’ll have to deal with the occasional slip. If you are starting out with Vinyasas, then this won’t be a big problem.
Secondly, it is not that durable and you have to expect the usual deterioration. At this price point, you can’t really ask for a durable mat and once you get regular with Yoga, upgrading to Manduka or Jade Harmony mats is recommended.
Overall, from a strict beginner point of view, it hits all the right check marks. It is comfortable with ample cushioning, comes in a lightweight construction and you have a wide array of designs to choose from.
#4 Recommendation: Clever Yoga Liquid Balance Premium Mat (best hot yoga mat)
If you are into hot yoga, where you sweat a lot, then your probably place a towel over your mat, to keep the grip intact. Well, say goodbye to those days as the Liquid Balance has the best sweat absorption among yoga mats.
The combination of natural rubber and closed-cell construction absorbs all your sweat and this has absolutely zero effect on traction and grip. Even with regular use the quality stays intact and with a wipe down after your session, the mat will be good as new.
Coming to the comfort, at 2mm it has the standard yoga mat thickness, but our ‘hot yoga’ experts feel that the LiquidBalance is also wider and longer than standard yoga mats (72.8” x 26.8”) and would easily accommodate all forms of yoga.
But with a longer weight and 2” inch thickness, the mat weighs close to 7 pounds. This makes it difficult to carry around and portability (or the lack of it) is the biggest issue with this.
If you are going to carry it to your yoga class then you can go for the travel mat option. It has the same dimensions and but is just 1mm thick and weighs close to 2 pounds. It also comes with a trendy travel bag.
Overall, you can’t get a better bang for your buck if you are into ‘hot yoga’. The grip stays consistent and the mat lasts for years.
#5 Recommendation: Manduka eKO Mat
If you like to experiment and practice different styles of yoga, then Manduka eKO is something you can consider. It is quite similar to Manduka Pro mat but has a better traction and grip.
It is made of natural rubber and the closed cell construction, absorbs sweat quite nicely. We had no slipping issues during ‘hot yoga’ sessions and there is no need of putting a towel over your mat.
It is also 5mm thick and provides sufficient cushioning for Yin style of Yoga. We also have no complaints with the length and width, but if you need something extra you can go for the extended 79” variant.
Finally, durability is top notch. You’ll be using this for years to come as the eKO is designed to handle the daily wear and tear.
Coming to the downsides, it has the standard rubbery smell and it will take about 2 weeks or so to completely get rid of it.
Overall, the eKO is quite versatile and it scores high scores in all the metrics.
#6 Recommendation: Aurorae Synergy Mat
If you are into ‘hot yoga’ you look for two features in your mat. It should have rock-solid traction when the mat is wet and the mat shouldn’t stink after your session.
Well, the Aurorae Synergy does exactly that. First off it is a hybrid and blends a Yoga towel with Polymer Environmental Resin (PER) mat.
So what’s the benefit?
Even after dropping a truckload of sweat you won’t encounter any slip. The grip between your hands and the mat is rock solid and to our surprise, the Synergy has better traction when it’s wet compared to when it’s dry.
It gives our top recommendation for hot yoga (Clever Yoga LiquidBalance) a run for its money in the area of traction.
After you are done with your session simply throw this into your washing machine, and it will come out fresh and squeaky clean. Gone are the days when you had to clean solutions and perfumes to stop your mat from stinking.
It is 5mm thick but that also includes the towel. It is sufficient for hot yoga, where you are constantly changing postures but for Yin style yoga, you will have to encounter slight discomfort.
Overall, we recommend this only for hot yoga sessions and if you are can work with slight discomfort once in a while, then you can go for Aurorae Synergy.
#7 Recommendation: Sivan Health and Fitness Mat
The Sivan Health and Fitness Yoga mat is another budget option that can be used for Yoga as well as other general exercises.
The best feature has to be the comfort. 5 mm of thickness provides enough support and if you are a beginner, this is exactly what you need. It weighs close to 2 pounds and comes with a strap, so portability is taken care of.
The traction, however, is average and we had to encounter multiple slip issues. It is not able to handle sweat (at all) and if you are going to have a vigorous session of hot yoga, place a towel over this.
The durability also is average, and it begins to crack up after 5-6 months of daily use. You can extend that with regular maintenance, but don’t expect it lost longer than a year.
Overall, at under 20 bucks, you get what you are paying for and if you need something for your camping trip, then you can go for it.
How to Choose the Perfect Yoga Mat?
Buying a yoga mat can seem to be a gruesome process, with so many factors to consider. To add to that there is no dearth of options, and you literally have to choose from hundreds of options.
We have developed a process that will up go about your search. We have also followed this same process while picking our recommendations. So here goes –
What kind of Yoga?
The primary step is to identify what kind of yoga you’ll be doing. You also need to consider your level. If you are an absolute beginner, then going for a budget option makes sense. You can pick something made out of PVC.
Such mats provide decent traction and comfort, but there is nothing fancy about them. Once you a get a hang out of the kind of yoga you are going to practice, you can upgrade to a better option.
If you are going to practice Vinyasas (yoga recommended even for athletes), you’ll need a mat with excellent grip and traction. Such mats are also durable compared to others.
However, if you are going to be versatile, then buying all-rubber mat is recommended. Natural rubber is also environment-friendly and can handle day to day use.
Finally, if you are going to perform ‘hot yoga’ then go for something that is able to absorb your sweat and are easy to clean.
The most basic (and common) forms of yoga mats are made of PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). They are cheap, lightweight and are recommended for beginners. On the flipside, they are full of toxins, which can be absorbed by your skin. Companies tend to claim that there are mats are ‘free from harmful compounds’ but we generally not recommend going for these.
Natural rubber mats, on the other hand, are friendly for your skin and don’t cause much harm to the environment either. With a textured finish, they also offer better grip to the user.
Finally, if you are looking for an all natural option, then go for jute or cotton yoga mats. They don’t have the best grip and are recommended for occasional yoga only.
The next factor you need to consider is where you are going to practice yoga. If you are going to practice it in your home, then the weight won’t be a major issue.
But if you are going to carry it around to your yoga class, go for a lightweight option. (Don’t forget to get a bag too).
You also need to consider the floor. If you are going to practice on hardwood, then consider a thinner mat but if you are a beginner, a thicker mat will prevent the risk of injuries.
Size and Maintenance
We have made sure that our recommendations are available in multiple sizes, so you can pick one that works according to your height and weight. Buying a larger (than required) mat will be difficult to carry around and will end up taking more space.
Also if you are going to practice hot yoga, then get something which is easy to clean.
That’s about it when it comes to buying a yoga mat. We have considered all the factors stated above and made our recommendations for different kinds and needs.