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Yoga Mat Reviews

By: Saundra Latham on November 18, 2016

Editor's note:
Big names Manduka and Jade still dominate our report on the best yoga mats, earning raves for great traction, comfort and durability; whether your yoga is hot or not. Jade also makes a great travel mat, while Yogitoes is once again a top pick if you need a full-size yoga towel.

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 the hefty price because it can outlast just about any other yoga mat, reviewers say, even with daily use. This extra-thick mat has excellent dry traction and is especially good for advanced moves or anyone who needs a bit of extra cushioning. Reviewers say it's also easy to keep clean. The PRO is 2 inches wider than most mats and is available with extra length, making it ideal for any yogi who wants more room.

Buy for $108.00
YogaAccessories Extra Thick Deluxe Yoga Mat
Runners Up
Specs that Matter Size: 74" x 24" Thickness: ¼" Material: PVC

Best cheap yoga mat

Perfect for beginners or occasional practitioners who just don't want to spend a ton, the YogaAccessories Extra Thick Deluxe Yoga Mat provides a little extra cushioning and support than most buyers might expect for the price, reviewers say. At 74 inches, it also offers a few inches extra length over many pricier mats. Experts commend it for helping users stay a little more stable than a typical budget yoga mat, and it's available in more than two dozen vibrant colors.

Buy for $17.99
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 reviewers say that isn't the case with the Jade Travel Yoga Mat. A versatile option that provides enough stability even for hot yoga, the mat is still thin enough to roll up tightly for travel. The super-absorbent natural rubber surface also makes it an eco-friendly choice. The mat comes in two lengths, so yogis can decide whether to keep things as light as possible or opt for some extra room.

Buy for $59.95
Jade Harmony Professional 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 Professional Yoga Mat's excellent traction, reviewers say. 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 with both extra length and width, the Harmony Professional is ideal for anyone who wants to nab a little more breathing room in a crowded studio.

Buy for $77.98
Yogitoes Skidless Premium Mat-Size Towel
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Size: 68 x 24 inches Thickness: n/a Material: Microfiber

Best yoga towel

Slip-resistant silicone nubs help the Yogitoes Skidless Premium Mat-Size Towel keep a strong grip on your mat during hot yoga, reviewers say. The absorbent microfiber also sucks up sweat and provides extra comfort. Experts say the towel still performs well after several trips through the washer and dryer. At just a bit over 1 pound, the Skidless can stand alone in a pinch as a travel yoga mat, and more than 50 colors and patterns mean the pickiest yogi can find a towel they like.

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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 elbows 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

Increasingly popular hot yoga classes are held in rooms that may be as hot as 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 can be laid on top of your yoga mat to spare it from absorbing sweat, and they also provide a little more comfort and cushioning. 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 Best Yoga Mat Review"
"The Best Yoga Mat"
"The Best Yoga Mat"

There are several quality expert reviews and roundups of the best yoga mats. For our picks, we emphasized reviews that involved comparative first-hand testing by professional yoga instructors. These included helpful guides from OutdoorGearLab.com, TheSweethome.com, and Reviews.com. Of course, we also examined owners' reviews at sources such as Amazon.com and Gaiam.com 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.

The best yoga mats

Experienced yogis say it's hard to beat the Manduka PRO Yoga Mat (Est. $110) 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, it might not be the best choice -- experts with OutdoorGearLab.com say it needs a break-in period to gain more traction, and even then, wet traction falls short of other yoga mats.

The PRO is made of PVC, or polyvinyl chloride. PVC has a bad rap in some 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 PRO will last for years. Manduka backs the mat with a lifetime guarantee.

The PRO is 1/4 inch thick, which is on the heftier side for a yoga mat. Reviewers say this extra thickness makes for a very comfortable and stable surface, regardless of where they're practicing. The extra cushioning comes with one major drawback: The mat weighs 7 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. There are about a dozen colors, including the venerable black version.

If you simply can't envision schlepping a 7-pound yoga mat, Manduka offers another well-reviewed option that's easier to tote: the Manduka PROlite (Est. $75). Reviewers say it's a good pick for most practices because it's durable, supportive and doesn't bunch up. Again, experts caution that there are much better, stickier mats out there for hot yoga.

Reviewers praise the Manduka PROlite's longevity and lack of odor. The mat's closed-cell surface is also easy to keep clean because it doesn't absorb sweat or other moisture. Like the PRO, the PROlite is made of PVC. Manduka backs the PROlite with 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. Though the mat is much lighter than the PRO, it still weighs 4 pounds. That's middle of the road for a yoga mat, so, while it's not impossible to travel with, there are still lighter options if you'll be on the go. The PROlite is 24 inches wide and 71 inches long. For about $14 more, you can buy a 79-inch version. There are about a dozen colors, including vibrant shades of purple, orange, and green.

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. $21), which testers with TheSweethome.com praise for feeling "grippier than anything in its price range." Users give it mixed reviews for stability: Some are pleased with stickiness, while others say they aren't impressed.

The YogaAccessories mat is also made with PVC. Its 1/4-inch thickness makes it a bit more 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. 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. The mat is 24 by 74 inches and comes in more than two dozen colors.

Travel mats are easier to take on the go

If you've ever dreamed of performing your downward dogs 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 of 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 also 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 the mat too bulky. It 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. The 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 five color choices: black, midnight blue, olive, purple and teal.

Yogis who prioritize portability above all else should check out the YOGO Mat Ultralight (Est. $70) which has attracted some buzz for its non-slip surface and truly compact fold. While pricier than the Jade Travel Yoga Mat, some YOGO reviewers say the price jump is worth it because this mat folds down to the size of a newspaper.

Like the Jade travel mat, the YOGO is made with biodegradable tree rubber, and the company plants a tree for every sale, which should make it a good pick for any eco-minded buyer. The rubber also means no slipping: Brandon Quittem of TheYogaNomads.com says "it's by far the stickiest travel mat on the market," and several owners report going through their entire yoga practice without sliding around. Odor is minimal, reviewers say.

The YOGO Mat Ultralight is a mere 1/16 inch thick, half as thick as the Jade travel mat, and a few reviewers caution that it may not be supportive enough on a hard surface for some. However, the thinness does help it fold so compactly, and integrated buckles keep it packed up tight in luggage or even a large purse. At 2.6 pounds, it also weighs less than the Jade. It's 24 by 68 inches and comes in three colors: gray, purple and green.

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