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Yoga Mat Reviews

By: Lisa Maloney on May 23, 2018

Editor's note:
Manduka and Jade keep their top spots in our yoga mat rankings, thanks to superior traction and comfort. Lulumon makes a terrific runner up that is also a good value. We also name some top yoga towels, and a unique mat/towel combination that is a great yoga mat for travel, too.

Manduka PRO Yoga Mat Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Size: 71" x 26" Thickness: ¼" Material: PVC

Best yoga mat

The Manduka PRO is worth its hefty price because it can outlast just about any other yoga mat on the market. This extra-thick mat offers lots of dense, stable cushioning, won't bunch up, and has excellent dry traction. It's especially good for doing advanced moves or protecting your knees, elbows and spine from the floor. It's also easy to keep clean. The PRO is 2 inches wider than most mats and is available in an extra-long version for tall yogis.

Buy for $99.98
YogaAccessories Extra Thick Deluxe Yoga Mat
Also Consider
Specs that Matter Size: 74" x 24" Thickness: ¼" Material: PVC

Best cheap yoga mat

Perfect for beginners or occasional practitioners who don't want to invest a lot of money, the YogaAccessories Extra Thick Deluxe Yoga Mat provides a great balance of benefit (especially cushioning and support) with an affordable price. At 74 inches long, it's also a little longer than many pricier mats. Experts commend the YogaAccessories mat for offering much better stability than a typical budget mat, and it's available in more than two dozen vibrant colors.

Buy for $20.95
Jade Travel Yoga Mat Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Size: 68" x 24" Thickness: 1/8" Material: Natural rubber

Best travel yoga mat

Some travel yoga mats sacrifice performance in the name of portability, but that isn't the case with the Jade Travel Yoga Mat. This mat is thin enough to roll up tightly for travel, but grippy enough for most practices and stable enough for challenging poses. It's also eco-friendly, with a super-absorbent natural rubber surface, and Jade plants a tree for every mat it sells. The Jade Travel Yoga Mat is available in two lengths.

Buy for $59.92
Jade Harmony Yoga Mat
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Size: 68" x 24" Thickness: 3/16" Material: Natural rubber

Best hot yoga mat

The sweatiest hot yoga classes are still no match for the Jade Harmony Yoga Mat's excellent traction. The mat's open-cell surface locks away moisture to prevent slipping, and the natural rubber material makes this a greener option for anyone who wants to avoid PVC or other synthetic materials. Available in both extra-long and extra-wide versions, the Harmony Professional is ideal for anyone who wants to nab a little more breathing room in a crowded studio.

Buy for $79.95
Yoga Rat Hot Yoga Towel
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Size: 68" x 24" or 72" x 26" Thickness: N/A Material: Microfiber

Best yoga towel

The Yoga Rat Hot Yoga Towel has just two jobs -- absorbing sweat and providing extra traction on a yoga mat during sweaty hot yoga sessions -- and excels at both tasks. Users say this towel feels thicker and stays in place better than most of the competition, even without extra nubs to grip your mat. That lack of nubs means you can also use the Pack Rat as a multi-purpose towel, and it's small and light enough to be very portable.

Buy for $19.99

Types of Yoga Mats

Yoga Mats

Yoga mats provide a slip-resistant surface for all styles of yoga. They also provide a bit of cushioning between your limbs and unforgiving studio floors or uneven outdoor terrain. It can take some time to figure out what kind of yoga mat works best for you, but experts often recommend thicker mats for anyone who needs a bit more cushioning or enjoys practices such as Yin or restorative yoga that move slowly between each pose. A thinner mat might be a better choice for advanced moves that require a lot of stability and a solid connection with the ground, as in an Ashtanga or hybrid yoga-cardio class. Ultimately, however, it's personal preference: The best mat for you is the one that lets you focus on yoga, not whether your hands are slipping or your knees are aching.

Travel Yoga Mats

A major perk of yoga is that you can continue your practice wherever you go. Travel yoga mats usually weigh a few pounds at most, and they typically roll up more tightly than bigger mats. Certain travel mats are even foldable so you can stash them in a suitcase more easily. Typically, these mats are on the thinner side -- something to consider if you generally enjoy a thicker mat. Some also have a smaller surface area.

Hot Yoga Mats

Hot yoga classes are held in rooms that may be as hotter than 100 degrees, so buckets of sweat are a foregone conclusion. Experts say you'll need a very sticky mat to keep from sliding around during these sessions. Mats with the best grip are often made of natural rubber and have an open-cell surface. This means they absorb your sweat instead of repelling it, leaving less moisture to make the mat slippery. Others are made from synthetic materials such as PVC that have a special moisture-wicking coating.

Yoga Towels

If you have a mat that isn't very sticky or simply want extra traction, a yoga towel can be a valuable addition to your practice. Yoga towels are laid on top of your yoga mat to spare it from absorbing sweat, and they also provide a little more comfort and cushioning. Some yogis will use just a yoga towel while traveling, to save space. These towels are designed not to slip around, even during vigorous practice, and they can be tossed in the washer and dryer for easy cleaning.

Finding The Best Yoga Mats
Our Sources
"The 10 Best Yoga Mats"
"The Best Yoga Mat"
"The Best Yoga Mat"

In our research, we emphasized reviews that involved comparative first-hand testing by professional yoga instructors. These included helpful guides from OutdoorGearLab, Wirecutter and Reviews.com, along with input from yoga professionals posted to sites like SoMuchYoga, Ekhart Yoga, Yoga Nomads, Women's Health, Yoga Journal and ACE Fitness.

Of course, we also examined owner reviews at sources such as Amazon and Yoga Outlet (which also posts expert recommendations from a yoga instructor), to see how the mats stood up to day-to-day use. With all reviews, we paid particular attention to the mats' versatility, durability, ease of cleaning and portability, and whether some mats are better suited to certain styles of yoga.

The best yoga mats

Experienced yogis say it's hard to beat the Manduka PRO Yoga Mat (Est. $100 and up) for durability and comfort. The PRO is touted as a great choice for nearly all styles of yoga, but it's a particular standout for advanced students who need extra support while they're attempting tough moves.

Note that if you're a hot yoga student or tend to sweat a lot even in non-heated classes, this might not be the best mat for you. Although the staffers at OutdoorGearLab give this mat high marks for comfort and stability and ultimately award it a Top Pick award, they also warn that it needs a break-in period to gain more traction, and even then, the Manduka PRO's wet traction falls short of other yoga mats. We see some positive reports from users who followed the manufacturer's instructions for a sea salt scrub to improve the mat's traction, but reviews of the salt's efficacy are mixed at best, and not everyone has time for this sort of work-intensive maintenance.

The Manduka PRO is made of PVC, or polyvinyl chloride. PVC has a bad rap in some sectors of the yoga community because of environmental concerns that it isn't recyclable and can release a variety of risky chemicals. To blunt this criticism, Manduka uses an emissions-free manufacturing process. The mat is also certified safe for human contact by OEKO-TEX, an environmental certification agency in Europe for the textile industry. The mat receives high praise for durability, with reviewers saying the Manduka PRO will last for years without losing its dense, stable support. One caveat: experts with Ekhart Yoga note that with extended use, it may unravel around the edges. But Manduka backs the mat with a lifetime guarantee that most reviewers say they never need to use, although a few are disappointed to find out that once you follow the recommended sea-salt-scrub break-in process, it can't be returned.

The PRO is 1/4 inch thick, which is on the heftier side for a yoga mat. Some thick mats feel wobbly, but reviewers say the Manduka PRO offers a very comfortable and stable surface, regardless of where you practice. They also love that this mat doesn't stink at first like some mats do, and say it's easy to keep clean. The extra cushioning does come with one major drawback: The Manduka PRO weighs 7.5 pounds, which is quite heavy if you plan to carry your mat regularly.

The regular PRO is 26 inches wide and 71 inches long, but for about $20 more you can buy an 85-inch version. Note: The 85-inch version's weight goes up to 9.5 pounds. There are about a dozen colors, and for those with allergies this mat is latex-free.

If you simply can't envision schlepping a 7.5-pound yoga mat around, Manduka offers another well-reviewed option that's easier to tote: the 4 pound Manduka PROlite (Est. $60 and up). Reviewers say this is a good pick for most practices because it's durable, supportive and doesn't bunch up, and it's unusually well-cushioned for a mat of this thickness (just under 1/5-inch). Again, experts and many users caution that there are much better, stickier mats out there for hot yoga, and that even the recommend sea salt scrub doesn't always make the PROlite stickier.

Reviewers praise the Manduka PROlite's longevity and lack of odor, although there is one notable review from the experts at SoMuchYoga that leans the other way, saying the mat, although a favorite, tends to absorb odor unless it receives a time-consuming sea salt scrub-and-wash. This mat's closed-cell surface is generally easy to keep clean, but the same lack of absorption that makes it so easy to clean also means that its grippiness falters once you start to sweat. Like the PRO, the PROlite is made of PVC and backed by a lifetime guarantee.

The PROlite is just 3/16 inch thick, but experts say it's still substantial enough for a variety of practices from gentle to more intense. It is 24 inches wide and 71 inches long or, for about $15 more, you can buy a 79-inch version. There are about a dozen colors to choose from, including vibrant shades of purple, orange, and green.

If you want an all-around mat that can do anything including hot yoga, Lululemon The Reversible Mat (Est. $70 and up) piles up an impressive collection of professional accolades, winning "All-Around MVP" after hands-on testing from Outside Online, second place in its category from OutdoorGearLab, and praise from a number of yoga experts, including testers with Yoga Journal.

"Why try to cram three mats in your closet when Lululemon's The Reversible Mat handles all poses with aplomb," writes Katie Arnold for Outside Online. The other pros unanimously praise this mat for its amazing wet and dry traction, saying it's also stable enough for you to stay grounded during challenging poses.

This mat's 5mm thickness -- about 1/5-inch -- is extra-comfortable on knees and elbows, although this mat is also available in a 3mm version (Est. $60 and up) which works out to just over 1/10 of an inch. The 3mm version weighs just under 3.9 pounds, compared to the 5mm mat's 5.24-pound weight.

Both mats have a base of textured natural rubber with a thin, smooth polyurethane coating on one side. Place the rubber side up for extra cushioning during gentle yoga practice, or flip the mat over for superb grip and absorption, no matter what. "Our testers' hands didn't budge -- no matter how hot and sweaty class got," write the editors of Yoga Journal. The mat also draws praise for its great durability from yoga instructor Claire Ewing, who was consulted as part of an article in Women's Health.

That natural rubber does produce a bit of a smell at first, although testers with SoMuchYoga say it'll fade in a few weeks, and following the manufacturer's recommendations to wash the mat in baking soda and water does help cut the smell. They also report that the mat's antimicrobial coating does a good job of preventing mildew and mold, but beware: This mat absorbs anything that touches it to the degree that if you use soap or detergent to wash it, you might be rinsing those out of the mat's pores for... basically forever.

That, and the initial rubber smell, are the only negatives we see reported on this mat, which measures 71 inches by an extra-wide 26 inches. It's hard to argue with so many expert accolades, it's only the relative lack of user reviews that keeps us from awarding this mat our top pick.

Beginners or those who only do yoga occasionally will probably be just fine with a basic mat, and one of the best on the market is the YogaAccessories Extra Thick Deluxe Yoga Mat (Est. $25), which testers with Wirecutter praise for feeling grippier and being a good 6 inches longer than most mats in its price range. It also gets a pick as "Best Beginner's Budget Mat" after hands-on testing from Outside Online.

Users give the YogaAccessories Extra Thick Deluxe Yoga Mat mixed reviews for stability: Some are pleased with its stickiness, while others say they aren't impressed; the Wirecutter editors draw the line at "particularly wobbly or sweaty yogis," who they say will appreciate stickier models; see our section on hot yoga for recommendations.

Like the Manduka mats we just covered, the YogaAccessories mat is also made with PVC, although testers with Wirecutter like that its inks and dyes are phthalate-free. Its 1/4-inch thickness makes it relatively forgiving for newbies who want extra cushioning if they slip, or for more advanced students who want a mat is thick enough for trickier moves, although it compresses more (read: it's squishier) than pricier mats.

Note that this is the same thickness of the Manduka PRO, but at 3.6 pounds, the YogaAccessories is half the weight. That bodes well for easier portability, but long-term durability is questionable: Several reviewers say the mat is prone to rips and tears and, while there is a limited lifetime warranty, it only covers manufacturer's issues such as peeling or fading. That's a potential issue for eco-conscious users who don't want to send a PVC product to a landfill. The mat is 24 by 74 inches and comes in more than two dozen colors.

If your focus is on slower, restorative practices like Yin yoga, the 1/4-inch-thick Aurorae Classic Yoga Mat (Est. $35) gets wonderful reviews for its comfort and supportiveness. The experts at Ekhart Yoga describe it as "lusciously thick without feeling unstable," although they also warn that it's probably not for those with sweaty hands or feet or those with a very active practice, which definitely rules hot yoga out. Most users agree, although they also say adding a yoga towel is all it takes to enjoy this mat's dense, supportive cushioning during hot classes.

For those with a gentler practice or in search of enough cushioning for tender knees and elbows, this mat is an unqualified hit even without the towel. It attracts thousands of positive user reviews for its cushioning (just enough for your hands and toes to sink in a bit), its density (it won't wobble or stretch beneath you), and small details like the moon-shaped focal point. Most users also confirm the manufacturer's no-odor claims -- those who do mention any odor say it's slight -- and they love dealing with a small, family-owned company.

Most users are very pleased with this mat's toughness and durability too, especially given the price; we see some posting that they've used this mat for years and it's still going strong. The Aurorae Classic Yoga Mat measures 72 inches by 24 inches -- plenty of space for most tall yogis -- comes in a dozen bright colors, and is free of phthalates, phenols, PAHS, latex, silicone and rubber.

The best travel yoga mats

If you've ever dreamed of doing sun salutations on a tropical beach, a travel mat might be just the ticket. These mats are typically lighter and thinner than the average mat, making them easier to squeeze into luggage or toss in a tote bag. 

Among travel mats, the Jade Travel Yoga Mat (Est. $60) offers the best blend of performance and portability. While it's heavier than some other travel options, reviewers say its easy-to-grip surface makes it ideal for any kind of yoga, including hot yoga.

Jade is noted in the yoga community for eco-friendly products, and the Jade Travel Mat is no exception. It's made of sustainably harvested, biodegradable natural rubber -- there are no PVCs or other synthetic materials. Jade yoga mats are also made in the U.S., and the company plants a tree for every mat it sells. However, as with many natural rubber mats there is a strong odor, especially at first. Reviewers note that the sticky open-cell surface can attract lint or other debris and stain easily, and warn that the mat shouldn't be stored in direct sunlight.

The Jade Travel Mat is 1/8-inch thick, which reviewers say provides enough support without making it too bulky. "Jade's thinnest mat is very sturdy," write the staff of Ekhart Yoga. "It does not gather during Sun Salutations and grounds you nicely in balancing poses." The mat's textured, grippy surface is also sticky enough for all but very heavy sweaters, although most users who want to use this mat for hot yoga end up adding a towel. Also, that sticky, grippy rubber tends to attract (and hold) dirt and dust.

The Jade Travel Mat can be rolled or folded for easier transport in luggage. However, it weighs a bit over 3 pounds, which some complain is still too heavy for a travel mat. This mat is 24 inches wide and comes in two lengths: 68 and 74 inches. The extra length will run you about $5 more. There are four color choices: black, midnight blue, olive and purple, and although users do say the mat marks easily, those marks are also easy to wipe off.

Another top option for travelers is the Khataland YoFoMat (Est. $35 and up). It can be rolled, but it also folds the most neatly of all the travel mats we've seen -- small enough to fit in the pocket of a carry-on suitcase -- and has embossed lines that guide you when you fold it up. Those lines are visible when the mat is laid open, but nobody seems to mind much, and some users find them helpful for maintaining alignment. The YoFoMat also comes with a lightweight travel case, although we see many reports that the case tears quickly or the zipper fails.

The Khataland YoFoMat weighs 2.7 pounds, and its 1/6-inch thickness is reasonable for a travel mat. It measures a 24 by 72 inches, and is also available in a 26-inch-wide version that weighs just under 5 pounds -- fairly hefty for a travel mat -- or in an extra-cushioned 1/4-inch-thick version that weighs in at a relatively reasonable 3.2 pounds, given its padding.

We see very mixed reviews about the Khataland YoFoMat's grippiness, though, which seem to be predicated on how much you do (or don't) sweat. If you know your hands or feet sweat or if you intend to use this mat for hot yoga, most users agree that you're going to need to add a towel.

Finally, if you're the type who likes to use a yoga towel in addition to a yoga mat, you might enjoy traveling with the Yoga Design Lab Combo Mat (Est. $70) combines the merits of a yoga towel and mat in one with a sweat-absorbing microfiber layer permanently bonded to a grippy rubber base.

At 4.1 pounds, this isn't the lightest travel mat out there -- but Yoga Nomads names it as "the ultimate travel companion" thanks to its two-in-one construction and a travel strap that makes it easy to carry around. The Yoga Design Lab Combo Mat measures 24 inches by 70 inches, and you can read more about nearly unbeatable grip for sweaty practices in our section on mats and towels for hot yoga. Just be warned that if you're doing a gentle practice that doesn't generate sweat, you may need to spritz this mat down to keep from sliding around.

Elsewhere In This Report
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Yoga Mats buying guide

What every best Yoga Mats has:

  • Adequate thickness for your preferred style of yoga.
  • Adequate length and width.
  • A durable, easy-to-clean material.

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