A good, quality yoga mat is an essential piece of fitness equipment. Not only is it essential for a safe and effective yoga practice, but it's also great to pull out for any core or bodyweight workout. But what makes a yoga mat truly effective? We reviewed many of the best yoga mats on the market to determine which ones give you the best bang for your buck.
A few factors really made the difference in a great yoga mat and one that didn't make the cut. Firstly, the mat needed to be thick and supportive enough to cushion knees and elbows without being too heavy to carry. It also needed a reliable, non-slip surface and strong grip to ensure it didn't move around during our practice. Finally, it needed to be reasonably easy to clean after we worked up a good sweat. After reviewing a variety of yoga mats, we're excited to share our top picks! Whether you're completely new to yoga or an experienced pro, you can't go wrong with one of these excellent options.
The generalist: best all-purpose mat
If you're only going to buy one yoga mat to meet all your needs, our standout pick was the Lululemon Reversible Mat 5mm. This mat maximizes your options with two functional sides — a polyurethane side for extra grip during a sweaty practice, and a textured rubber side for low-sweat practices and cushioning that stands the test of time. Antimicrobial properties prevent mold and mildew from ruining your mat. Just wipe it down with a wet cloth at the end of your practice and let it air dry.
Our taller reviewers liked that this was just a few inches longer and wider than a standard mat, making it easier to stretch out. Even with those adjustments, it still doesn't take up too much space in a class setting. We recommend a dark color or pattern. Lighter colors may stain or scuff. At $78, our reviewers felt the price was great for such a high-quality mat.
The budget buy: great for getting started
If you're new to yoga or trying to stick to a tight budget, the Gaiam Printed Yoga Mat 6mm is for you! At just $25, this mat fits into just about any budget. It's just right for beginners who aren't sure if they're going to stick with yoga. It's also a nice choice for those who just aren't ready to splurge on a nicer mat. Since it's made of PVC, our reviewers noticed that this mat was nice and lightweight, but still thick enough to cushion knees and elbows.
We also liked that it was made without some of the more harmful phthalates that are sometimes found in PVC mats. After washing, this mat maintained a good grip for the price. Although, reviewers noted that higher-priced mats such as Lululemon provided more grip, especially if they sweat during their practice. Overall, it's one of the best yoga mats we found in this price range. It's a great option if you're just getting started!
The pro: next-level yoga performance
If you're ready to invest in a high-quality yoga mat to move your performance to the next level, the Manduka PRO is a favorite for yogis and yoginis around the world. The unique, closed cell material prevents sweat from seeping into the mat, making it easy to wipe down when you're done. These mats are built to last a lifetime, and the price reflects that, at $145. However, many of our reviewers who are serious about yoga thought the mat was worth the price.
This mat takes a little more effort with a salt wash required to maximize the grip before use. But those willing to put in the time thought the grip and longevity of this mat were well worth the price. With an OEKO-TEX certification, our reviewers also felt good about their environmental impact when buying this mat. It's one of the best yoga mats for experienced practitioners looking to up their game.
The heavy-duty: sturdy grip for hot yoga
For sweaty practice, extra cushion, and an amazing grip, it's hard to beat a 100% rubber yoga mat. Our reviewers loved the Arise Mat from Lululemon, especially for hot yoga. This mat provides great grip even in the warmest environments. It quickly absorbs sweat, keeping the mat dry and ensuring the grip doesn't suffer, even in a lengthy class. Its FSC-certified rubber construction makes us feel great about its sustainability and safety. And, the cushion is great for sore joints or going deeper into a pose. You will notice the natural rubber smell at first. However, airing it out for a couple of days is all it takes to get rid of the smell. At $88, we thought the price was great for a mat that lasts a long time and prevents slippage in a hot yoga class or outdoor summer practice.
The traveler: support on the go
We struggled to find a good travel mat that provides enough grip without taking up too much precious packing space, but the Voyager from Jade Yoga was the hands-down favorite for our reviewers. Its ultra-thin construction packs easily into a carry-on, and the grip is amazing for a mat this thin! At $39.95, frequent travelers thought this was a great bargain. It's just 1/16 of an inch thick, so we do recommend a thicker mat for everyday practice. But if you're looking for the perfect mat to help you recover from jet lag or practice on your vacation, this is the one. Its eco-friendly design is great for yoga on the go.
A top-quality yoga mat can make a huge difference in any floor workout. Mats with a strong grip help you maintain good form and allow you to stretch deeper into poses. Good cushioning protects your joints for a healthy practice at any age. Whether you're just starting your fitness journey or you're an experienced yoga practitioner, these represent the best yoga mats on the market for 2021. Each one is a good value for the price, offering great choices for everyone. Get started with one of the best yoga mats and see the difference for yourself!