The Best Flooring Options for Your Home Gym in 2022

best floors for home gym
The Best Home Gym Floors For Your WorkoutsCourtesy of Retailer

IF THE pandemic taught us anything (in addition to how to wash our hands obsessively), a home training space is not just a luxury for the rich and famous anymore. It's a legit way of life. And creating a fully-stocked at-home gym is still a priority for many. But there's one essential, yet often overlooked piece of equipment you need right under your feet: a good gym-friendly floor.

Depending on your current setup, you may just be using a yoga mat or whatever flooring is in your home. Technically, that works. But, trust us, there's a better way. If you want to elevate your at-home gym space, investing in a new floor can seriously up your training game.

Besides looking cool, the right fitness-friendly flooring can also help protect your joints and prevent injuries from slips and falls. Plus, it can increase stability, reduce body impact, and boost plyometric power. And if you're worried about the damage your dumbbells, barbells, and other equipment may be doing to your floors, installing some fitness flooring will do the trick.

Finding the right flooring option for your home gym comes down to how you workout, how much you're willing to spend, and how much floor space you need to cover. From rubber and foam to cork and turf, here are the best flooring options for your at-home workouts.

Read more: Best Black Friday Fitness Deals

There is a reason that heavy-duty rubber flooring is used in most commercial and next-level home gyms. The material is strong, sturdy, and resilient, making it ideal for any type of exercise or equipment. This ⅜-inch version is plenty thick for most home gyms, but other thicknesses are available if you want to dial in your preferred level of flooring. Either way, it’s designed to go right over your carpet, hardwoods, or most other surfaces, with each piece interlocking like a jigsaw puzzle. That means, unlike traditional flooring, “installation” is quick and painless (unlike trying to pull up your pant legs on leg day).

We especially like that the jigsaw-style installation means you can make this work in an odd-shaped room, and it’s also simple to move or remove entirely if you need to. In addition to solid black, this model is also available in a handful of other colors, so you can dress up your home gym space beyond the sterile, industrial “boxing gym” look. These are a little heavier and pricier than most, but for a commercial-grade product in your home, they’re hard to beat.

What do buyers say? “Very high quality - commercial grade. Definitely the best that money can buy,” said one Amazon reviewer.

Foam is hands-down the most comfortable option for floor-based workouts like yoga and Pilates (or for your final resting place after death by burpees). Excellent shock-resistance makes foam great for HIIT workouts too. Yes4All’s Wood Grain Floor Mats are reasonably durable and non-slip for a safer, more sure-footed workout. The interlocking tiles are also extremely easy to install and remove. In most cases, either can be done in about five minutes, making them ultra-portable too. We also like that this model is available in a wide variety of “wood grains.”

On the downside, it lacks the same support for heavy weights or beefy home gym equipment as heavy-duty rubber gym flooring options. Power racks and weight benches can leave dents in foam mats over time and cause premature wear. But for cheap, easy-to-install gym flooring that can double as a play area in between doing supersets and being super dad, it doesn't get better than foam tiles. Plus, at roughly $1 per square foot, this model is a great value.

What do buyers say? “Thick interlocking squares. Easy to join together. Easy to wipe down and to disassemble if needed,” said one Amazon reviewer.

Vinyl is a practical choice for flooring because it can stand up to the abuse of a home gym yet still be comfortable and chic for a living space. Greatmats’ StayLock Floor Tiles are waterproof and resistant to mold, and mildew—all of which make it perfect for basement installations. Vinyl can even handle harsh cleaning chemicals to wipe up all your blood, sweat, and tears. This is another jigsaw-puzzle-style model with a dead-simple installation as pieces interlock together in seconds. That also makes it portable and easy to remove too. Plus, because it doesn’t require an underlayment, it installs cleanly over carpeting, hardwoods, and cement floors.

On the other hand, it’s not as durable as heavy-duty rubber. The material can puncture and tear easily, so save the samurai sword workouts for the dojo. It also lacks the same cushiony “give” of foam floor pads, so it’s not ideal for floor-based workouts like yoga and Pilates. Vinyl flooring may also pose a health risk from off-gassing and VOC emissions, which is a factor to consider before purchase. If you have a well-ventilated space and need a decent, easy-to-install budget flooring option for your home gym, this is your man.

Believe it or not, carpet is probably the most popular flooring option for home gyms. It’s no surprise when you consider how much better the low-key style looks compared to rubber and foam. It’s a far more home-decor-friendly option. Plus, models like Nisorpa’s Heavy Duty Carpet Squares are also soft on the joints, easy to maintain, and provide excellent soundproofing. That last feature is important for homes with kids or WFH adults who don’t want to listen to clanging barbells and weight plates from the other side of the house. This model features a commercial-grade build that’s plenty durable and easy to install (it can even be cut to fit). Carpet also provides good traction and stability for cardio workouts, and it will hold up against your weight training.

On the downside, it offers minimal shock absorption, so it’s not great for floor-based exercises. Frequent cleaning is also recommended as the fibers are more prone to trapping bacteria, spills, and odors. Unlike foam and rubber, carpet tiles can also stretch over time. Still, at around $2 per square foot, it’s a decent option if you’re looking for the most decorative home gym flooring.

What do buyers say? “This product wildly exceeded my expectations! They are very durable. Easy to vacuum and clean,” said one Amazon reviewer.

And now for something completely different … If you’re looking to train for outdoor sports, most rubber and foam floor mats aren’t going to cut it. Artificial turf is the way to go. It’s perfect for athletes who want to increase and maintain performance with less risk of injury. The unique surface allows you to add sled pulls and pushes into your strength training while providing optimal traction and resistance for sprints and conditioning. That’s why our go-to home gym flooring option for athletic training is Golden Moon’s Artificial Grass Turf Tile. It won’t dent or crack and is easier to maintain with only occasional brushing and cleaning. Plus, it means you always have a place to bring your outdoor training indoors. The best part though? No mowing.

It’s not perfect, however. For one, it’s more abrasive than most other options which can be a deal-breaker for those interested in floor exercises. If not cleaned properly, it can also increase the risk of MRSA or Staph infections. The most obvious difference, though, is the price. Most artificial turf tile flooring costs significantly more than rubber and foam options.

What do buyers say? “LOOKs and FEELs like real grass! Excellent purchase! Feels great to the barefoot,” said one Amazon reviewer.

Most home gym flooring looks like home gym flooring—it’s all about function over flash. But these wood-look tiles from IncStores can give your home gym a professional look and are suitable for almost any type of exercise. With a handful of grain patterns available, it’s easy to find one that matches your home décor. Plus, thanks to foam-backing, the wood is now more shock-absorbent and fitness-friendly. Don’t let the “Practice Dance” name fool you. This home gym flooring option is perfectly suited for most at-home fitness enthusiasts, provided you’re not setting up a power rack or dropping 500-pound barbells on it on the regular.

That’s because it can scratch and splinter under serious stress. The plastic surface can become slippery when wet too, like with excessive sweat or spilled energy drinks. Thanks to its good looks, it’s also among the most expensive flooring options too. But, for those into aerobic exercise, kickboxing, or dancing like nobody’s watching, a faux wood flooring option can be a stunning addition to any workout space.

What do buyers say? “Absolutely love it and exactly what I needed. This is perfect!” said one Amazon reviewer.

Unlike every other option in our roundup, cork is a green-friendly flooring made of renewable, fully biodegradable material, perfect for the eco exerciser. The flex design of Nicoline’s Sealed Cork Floor Tiles is ideal for high-intensity workouts and weight training. It’s a nearly perfect natural home gym flooring option as it’s resistant to shock, fire, mold, mites, and mildew. These glue-down tiles are recommended over a floating floor for supporting heavy loads. That means they’re more durable than most thinner options, however, they do require a more labor-intensive and permanent installation.

Cork flooring is very durable overall, but heavy equipment can leave dents over time and dragging equipment over it can tear or even destroy the surface. It’s also more prone to fading from direct sunlight—something to keep in mind when you’re trying to decide where to setup your home gym. While these tiles are mostly reasonably priced, cork flooring in general tends to be more expensive than rubber and plastic options.

How to Choose the Best Home Gym Flooring Option (for You)

As with shopping for any home flooring, there’s an almost infinite number of options when it comes to flooring options for your home gym too. You’ll find a sea of synthetics like rubber, foam, and wood-look plastic, plus natural options like compressed cork. Whatever type of home gym flooring you’re looking for, there’s a solution for you. Here are a few things to consider before you pull the trigger:

Materials

There are a handful of base synthetic materials to choose from for your home gym flooring. Namely: rubber, plastic, foam, or turf. Every synthetic option is typically from one of these materials and they each have their own pros and cons.

Rubber is extremely heavy-duty, easy to install, and washable, so it’s ideal for hardcore workouts. Plastic is the easiest to clean and install as it’s very lightweight, however, that means it’s also more prone to cracking than rubber. Foam is the best home gym flooring option when you want the most cushiony “give” for floor-based workouts (think yoga and Pilates), although it’s not water-resistant. Turf has its place too, especially for outdoor-like workouts. But, it’s typically very expensive and less than ideal for heavy weightlifting.

Exercise Types

The type of home gym flooring you choose will largely depend on your fitness routine. If you like intense and aerobic activities like weight training and jumping rope, foam or rubber is your man. As a base for beefy fitness equipment like treadmills, rowing machines, and exercise bikes, you’ll be better off with low-profile vinyl or carpet.

Soundproofing

Some materials offer more noise-dampening than others, which can be important if you’re typically clanging weights or jumping around a lot during your workouts. A thick rubber flooring option is the best way to minimize or even eliminate this. Depending on your setup, you might consider adding extra padding in the areas of your home gym where you’ll be lifting (and potentially dropping) heavy weights.

Budget

The good news is that there are plenty of flooring options (in almost any material) for every budget. Foam is almost always going to be the cheapest, while artificial turf or grass is likely to be the most expensive. Heavy-duty rubber flooring varies widely in price. To add to the confusion, most retailers list their flooring options differently—sometimes by the square foot, sometimes by the roll, and sometimes by the individual tile—so you may need to break out the calculator to make sure that you’re comparing apples to apples.

How We Selected the Best Home Gym Flooring

There’s an almost infinite number of flooring options for your home gym. From choosing the right material (should you go with synthetic or natural?), the type of tile (interlocking tiles or permanent), the thickness, the ease of installation—you get the picture—it's a challenge to find the right one. That’s why we did the heavy lifting (pun intended) to find the best home gym flooring options by comparing every feature, right down to the per-square-foot price. The list above represents our honest picks of the best home gym flooring options worth shopping this year.

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