The 8 Best Yoga Mats of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
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Whether you’re doing downward dog or quick stretch session, you’ll need a yoga mat to support you — these options are tester-approved.
If you're sliding while doing a plank, have aching joints from a lack of padding, or a sprinkling of shedding is dusting up the place, it might be time to reevaluate your yoga mat. The right yoga mat can turn a so-so yoga session into a kick-ass one, whether it's Pilates, yoga, or intense ab exercises. Plus, yoga mats protect your joints from rough surfaces by acting as a buffer (and using a mat is more hygienic than working out on a germ-ridden floor).
With so many yoga mats on the market (this specific category is estimated to reach $17.32 billion in revenue by 2025) varying in materials, thicknesses, and textures, it can easily become overwhelming to choose the right one, says Sabrina Washington, a yoga instructor at CorePower Yoga in Fair Oaks, California. She suggests that before investing in a mat, think about the type of class you are taking. “Knowing more about the type of session and selecting the appropriate mat is key to a successful practice and not getting frustrated due to slipping or trouble balancing.”
For example, is your yoga class in a heated room where you’ll sweat a lot and risk slipping? Is it dynamic with lots of movement? Will poses be held for a long time, or is the flow mainly ground-based and restorative? If you don’t know what to expect in class, you can check the studio’s website for a class description or ask an instructor before signing up, Washington suggests.
To help narrow down the selection, we tested 19 yoga mats over a 4-week period, paying attention to thickness, ease of cleaning, ease of rolling up and carrying, and other factors. The winners made it to our round-up of top picks for best yoga mats.
Best Overall: lululemon The Workout Mat 6mm
Why We Like It: It’s long enough for taller people to comfortably work out and has a raised design that gives good texture and makes it grippy.
It's Worth Noting: It’s less portable than some other mats as it’s on the heavier side.
Lululemon’s The Workout Mat is the standout winner for its versatility and suitability for taller people. At 71” long, it offers plenty of space for poses such as downward-facing dog and plank. If you’re searching for a mat that performs during low-impact workouts and yoga, yet doesn’t falter during a HIIT session either, this is the one for you.
The top layer is made from robust recycled polyvinyl butyral, a resin used in windshields and other protective glass (which helps give this mat its texture). It’s raised in texture for a grippy yet pleasant feel during transitions, even when challenged with slick hands. We found the grip to be head and shoulders above the rest, including the Lululemon 3mm mat.
At 6mm thick, the mat provides ample cushioning for workouts, especially Pilates and barre. During our testing sessions, the mat provided the right amount of squish and support for pressure points and joints. The mat also held up whether we were barefoot for a more stable connection to the ground for stability, or wearing sneakers for strength-based workouts. We found it a versatile choice, especially for people who like to mix and match your workouts.
Keep in mind, at 6mm, the mat is heavier than the 3 to 5mm versions, and we ran into portability issues. Sturdiness comes with extra weight, 4.4 pounds to be exact, so be prepared for that extra load when traveling from A to B.
Price at time of publish: $98
Thickness: 6mm | Material: Recycled PVB and TPE | Length: 71 inches | Width: 26 inches | Colors: 2 options
Best Budget: Aeromat Elite Yoga Pilates Mat
Why We Like It: The mat is very cushy and supportive.
It's Worth Noting: There’s a very slight rubber smell.
If you’ve never owned a yoga mat, why not test the waters first with a more affordable option? Aeromat Elite offers high-performance features at a cheaper price than what you might consider a splurge buy, such as the Jade Yoga XW Fusion (more on this later!).
The mat is on the thicker side (6mm) and remains cushioned while sitting which is why it's best for restorative yoga — a vast improvement on cheap, run-of-the-mill copies. This support bolstered our joints during exercises, especially those that require deeper stability. Aside from a slight rubbery smell and sticky feel, we found no downsides. Its textured surface provides a very secure grip to stop you from sliding around when sweat threatens to derail your workout. Plus, the built-in mesh offers anti-stretch resistance so you can bend and flex into a variety of poses without hesitation.
Portability-wise, the lightweight mat is easy to roll and has a strap to wrap around alongside a shoulder strap to sling over on your travels which we found makes for easy and breezy transport.
Price at time of publish: $28.99
Thickness: 6mm | Material: PVC (free of latex or phthalates) | Length: 72 inches | Width: 24 inches | Colors: 8 with harness, 4 without
Best Splurge: Jade Yoga XW Fusion Yoga Mat
Why We Like It: Pro: Thick cushioning gives plenty of support to joints.
It's Worth Noting: Due to its bulkiness when rolled, it’s not the most portable and we found it hard to store.
Just like top athletes don’t skimp on the finest equipment, serious fitness-goers appreciate a top-notch mat when they see one. At 8mm thick, 80 inches long, and 28 inches wide and made from natural eco-friendly rubber, the Jade Yoga XW Fusion is an exemplary yoga mat offering a superior grip. Its thickness is ideal if you prefer enhanced cushioning, and the extra mat space is helpful for transitioning between movements.
The mat is a match if you appreciate quality and attention to detail. The textured small raised peaks provide excellent grip to prevent sliding, despite sweaty palms challenging your perfectly formed planks. We found this feature to be the secret sauce for improving our daily practice.
A few of those frills come with a price, as we found with some teeter-tottering during balance-focused exercises due to the thickness. It's more difficult than your average yoga mat to roll and transport because of extra weight and bulkiness and it didn't pack well in a yoga mat bag or strap. That hinders leisurely lugging around, although an add-on harness eases this process. Once rolled, it stays in place, so there's no need to fold it repeatedly. The natural rubber also had a lingering smell for two weeks, which eventually wore off.
If you don’t feel like you need the full 28” width, Jade also offers a 24” wide Yoga Fusion Mat.
Price at time of publish: $199.95
Thickness: 8mm | Material: Natural rubber | Length: 80 inches | Width: 28 inches | Colors: 3 options
Best for Beginners: Manduka Begin Yoga Mat
Why We Like It: It’s lightweight and very portable.
It's Worth Noting: At 5mm thick, it requires more cushioning for restorative work.
For exercise newcomers who want a simple yet functional yoga mat, the Manduka Begin has all the bells and whistles at a fraction of the cost. Bonus: it's free of chemical solvents and toxic glues and boasts eco-friendly manufacturing. And it’s not just for yoga, but Pilates and strength training too, which we tested over multiple 30 to 60 minute workouts.
Notably less thick than most of the yoga mats on this round-up, 5mm still provides enough cushioning on the joints for workouts like flow-style or power yoga. However, restorative exercises call for a tad more support.
The mat held up very well grip-wise when our hands were dry. Even though we didn't test it during a sweat-inducing session like hot yoga, its closed-cell surface should keep moisture out. One feature we especially liked was its ground sturdiness as the grip prevented sliding.
As it’s lightweight (at just 2.5 pounds), this mat is portable and simple to unroll and re-roll. It’s a must-buy for on-the-go workouts compared to heavyweight competitors like the Jade Yoga XW Fusion Yoga Mat. (Although you'll probably benefit from a harness or carrying case for longer distances.)
Price at time of publish: $58
Thickness: 5mm | Material: TPE | Length: 68 inches | Width: 24 inches | Colors: 4 options
Best Grip: Gaiam 6mm Premium Reversible Lunar Wave Yoga Mat
Why We Like It: The mat has great grip for all types of workout.
It's Worth Noting: It might be on the too-thin side to support the knees for some users.
The Gaiam Premium Reversible Lunar Wave is the perfect fit for those on the hunt for a superior grip. Made from PVC (which offers robustness), the two-sided mat has a sticky (latex-free) textured surface with tremendous non-slip grip during transitions, even when forehead dew sets in. Plus, it remains glued to the ground when dialing up the intensity. On the design front, the lunar print alone may sway you toward the checkout, and for the price, it feels more luxurious than expected.
At just over 3 pounds (and a standard size at 68 x 24 inches), it’s simple to fold as the material’s sturdiness helps keep its shape while rolling, while the texture helps it stick to itself. Carrying it is a cinch, even without a wrap or handle, and it pops nicely into a tote bag.
At 6mm thick, it provides ample cushioning and comfort for most workouts. However, we found that for exercises such as hip-opening poses, we lacked optimal knee support.
One thing to note is the whiff of mat smell when rolling it out the first time, which lingers for a few uses. Gaiam offers a ‘how to’ factsheet on how to naturally eliminate this.
Price at time of publish: $35
Thickness: 6mm | Material: PVC (latex-free) | Length: 68 inches | Width: 24 inches | Colors: One color
Best for Vinyasa: Bala Play Mat
Why We Like It: It’s very portable and offers a solid grip.
It's Worth Noting: Slightly thinner than what we prefer in a yoga mat.
When Vinyasa flows are a significant aspect of your workout, the 5mm thick Bala The Play Mat provides the right amount of thickness for stability. We found the sleek surface to have a smooth, non-sticky texture (read: you won’t have to peel yourself off) that gives you a strong latch — to keep you steady during a hot yoga session. That’s down to the FSC-certified natural rubber and a high-grade polyurethane top coat. This proved handy during strenuous workouts where switching from one exercise to the next required attention to form, rather than a struggle to stay in place.
At 5mm thick, it's not the most suitable mat for restorative work where joint-bearing exercises require more bounce back and a higher degree of cushioning. We had to roll it under our knees and wrists to avoid our joints digging into the ground. This is where the YogaAccessories 1/4" Extra Thick Deluxe steps in.
The curved top gives this mat a sleeker edge than the rest. Even with this design feature, it's effortless to fold and carry. We found it convenient for toting to and from classes, especially as it's lightweight.
Unlike many other mats we reviewed, there was no distinct smell straight from the packet, making this odor-free choice a winner when a strong mat smell might deter you from working out.
Price at time of publish: $99
Thickness: 5mm | Material: FSC™-certified natural rubber and a high grade polyurethane top-coat | Length: 71 ⅜ inches | Width: 26 ½ inches | Color: 5 options
Best Cushioning: YogaAccessories 1/4 Inch Thick High-Density Yoga Mat
Why We Like It: The extra cushion is welcome relief for painful or stiff joints.
It's Worth Noting: It’s slightly hard to transport by hand as it’s more cushioned than other mats we tested, but a shoulder strap will solve that.
The YogaAccessories 1/4" Extra Thick Deluxe is a welcome relief if creaky knees and achy wrists interfere with your workout. We found right away that comfort is at the core of this foam mat — it’s just the right amount of thickness that supports without your hands sinking into the material. The mat’s extra ¼ inch wasn’t pillowy, but rather just the right amount of cushioning — so you won’t totally sink into the mat. This proved vital during weight-bearing workouts such as power yoga and strength exercises, especially when kneeling.
Even when sweaty, the slightly textured surface was a no-slip zone. Hands and feet remained in place, even during planks, making for very efficient workouts during our testing period. If you’re tall, this mat is a good option as it's on the higher end of a standard-length mat at 72 inches (6 feet). At around 3.5 pounds, it’s a very portable mat, although we found that a shoulder strap made it considerably more compact and easier to carry.
We only had positives for this — even upon unboxing there was no chemical smell and it’s super simple to wipe clean with no visible dust gathering during workouts.
Price at time of publish: $35
Thickness: 6.35mm | Material: Foam | Length: 72 inches | Width: 24 inches | Colors: Over 20 options
Best for Hot Yoga: Jade Yoga Jade Voyager Mat
Why We Like It: It has an excellent grip for a smooth and steady workout.
It's Worth Noting: There’s a strong rubber smell that lingers, and the mat is very thin.
If hot yoga is on your weekly agenda, the Jade Yoga Voyager may fill a void in your practice, due to its non-slip surface that grips the floor with a rubber tread. Even with the heat cranked up, we remained glued in place. We tested it under some of the sweatiest of conditions — hot yoga, yoga sculpt, HIIT, and floor work (think push-ups and ab exercises). We can say with confidence it’s highly slip-free during extra sweaty exercises, even during long-hold positions like downward-facing dog.
The texture feels like the grips on Pilates and barre socks, although instead of dots, it’s the entire mat. It's sticky, but that’s what kept us from sliding. This makes it a top pick for standing balance exercises — we found our leg stands were a breeze.
If sustainability is a selling point, you’ll be happy to hear the mat is eco-friendly, made from recyclable materials (natural rubber, in this case), and Jade Yoga plants a tree for every mat purchased. It’s also one of the most portable mats we tested. Super lightweight and only 1.6mm thick, it rolls very thin, around 3 inches, and stays that way thanks to its grippy texture. Or, you can roll it into a cube with dimensions of 6” (W) x 4” (H) x 3” (D) and toss it into a suitcase for your travels.
Unfortunately, the mat has a very strong, lingering rubber smell that lasted two weeks. And the rubber attracts all types of dirt, hair, and fluff from the floor, which is difficult to wipe off due to its static and stickiness. Plus, its thinness is a no-go for stretching exercises as cushioning and support are lacking. It’s almost as if there’s no mat between the floor and your hips or backbones, which can benefit balance work, but not for lying down exercises.
Price at time of publish: $43
Thickness: 1.6mm | Material: Natural rubber | Length: 68 inches | Width: 24 inches | Colors: 4 options
How We Tested
Before starting testing, we sought recommendations from the experts we consulted on the methodology who helped gather a list of the most highly rated yoga mats on the market. We also had guidance from Mandy Ingber, an expert yoga instructor who works with Jennifer Aniston, and leaned on our own team of fitness-obsessed editors for recommendations.
Our testers sized up 19 mats for three to five workouts a week over a four-week period. This included partaking in a variety of workouts (including yoga, Pilates, high-intensity interval training, and strength training) and ranking the mat out of 5 across categories of design, comfort, grip, and portability, considering other criteria of thickness, ease of folding, and weight. The scores were tallied up to determine the best of the bunch, and we landed 8 category winners. We also interviewed Sabrina Washington, a yoga instructor at CorePower Yoga in Fair Oaks, California, for further insight on yoga mats and how they can improve your practice.
What to Know About Yoga Mats
The right yoga mat makes all the difference in a successful yoga practice as the main focus of yoga should be on your breath and movement, and not worrying that your hands and feet are about to slip out, says Washington. “If there is one bit of advice I could emphasize above all others, resist the urge to buy a cheap yoga mat from a big box store or a discount store as it's comparable to hiking a mountain in flip-flops,” says Washington — i.e., not the most supportive.
Yoga mats are made from a variety of materials including PVC, rubber, foam, cork, cotton, jute (from the jute plant), and a rubber-like material known as Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE), says Washington. While PVC mats had the highest market share in 2019, those searching for a sustainable option are in luck as recyclable and eco-friendly options — cotton and jute included — are becoming more widely available.
While the standard length of a yoga mat lies somewhere between 68-72 inches, it’s also worth noting there are longer yoga mats for those on the taller side, says Washington, like the Jade Yoga XW Fusion Yoga Mat at 80 inches.
A 5mm mat is a popular thickness as it provides enough support for kneeling or seated poses. However, it doesn’t compromise stability when balancing on one foot, explains Washington. “One drawback is that thicker mats tend to be heavy," she explains. The Lululemon The Workout Mat 6mm is a prime example. For that reason, she suggests a less dense mat when you travel (1.5mm is ideal) and rolling it up under the knees during weight-bearing poses or exercises.
She cautions against using a thick foam mat in the range of 7mm-15mm as these are intended for floorwork rather than balance-focused exercises.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you clean a yoga mat?
Bacteria, dust, and debris from the floor can stick to your mat after every use, reducing that 'fresh out of the box' feel. But a quick post-workout clean will keep it looking pristine! Something as simple as a wipe-down with an anti-bacterial cloth may do the trick or, for more tips, check out what a yoga expert suggests to keep your mat squeaky clean.
Can you do yoga without a mat?
There's no exact rule, but it's better to add a protective layer between your body and the floor. Yoga mats can be thick and cushioned to buffer your joints or thin with a robust grip to save you from sliding around (especially on polished wooden floors!). It's also more hygienic to use your own mat because, let’s be honest, if you sweat during your workout, others probably are too. Some things are better kept separate!
What thickness of yoga mat is best?
As covered above, the right mat thickness for you is workout dependent. For example, sweat-inducing sessions like hot yoga and HIIT may benefit from a thinner mat (between 1.5-5mm); opt for something with an excellent grip to root you in place and prevent slips. The same applies to balance-focused exercises where you’ll want to feel contact with the ground for steady balance during stability work.
On the other hand, your joints will thank you for a thicker surface when stretching, practicing Pilates, or doing a round of abs — something 5mm and above. Rather than your knees pressing into the floor or your hip bones feeling the pinch, a pillowy cushion gives you all the support you need.
Why Trust Shape
Leoni Jesner is a contributing fitness, health, and lifestyle writer for Shape. As an ACE CPT and mat Pilates instructor, Leoni is well-acquainted with fitness and exercise. She has tested dozens of yoga mats during her trainer career and can spot the cream from the crop a mile away. For this roundup, she conducted an interview with a qualified yoga instructor and conducted extensive research based on in–house tested reviews and product data.
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Read the original article on Shape.