If you’ve ever tried to downward dog and found yourself slipping all over the place, you’ll know why finding the right yoga mat is vital. Beginner yogis may think that all mats are equal, but that’s really not the case.
To help you pick the ideal mat for you, Live Science has tested a variety of the best yoga mats across a range of price points.
Yoga is a great way to improve your physical and mental well-being. A wide ranging review of recent research published in the European Journal of Integrative Medicine in 2019 suggested that yoga could prove a useful tool for recovery for heart-failure patients when combined with drug therapy. Another meta-analysis found that yoga could cut the risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic-related illnesses in regular practitioners.
A full body exercise, yoga can also extend your flexibility, increase muscle, burn calories, reduce blood pressure and improve your posture and bone density. If that’s not enough to convince you to start practicing yoga, we've put together a helpful list of the 8 benefits of yoga.
Choosing the right yoga mat can make all the difference to your practice and the improvements to your physical and mental health that it can bring over time. But even if they look fairly similar, yoga mats are absolutely not all the same. Yoga mats are available in a variety of sizes, shapes and thicknesses, and are made from a range of materials. Due to their differing weights, some mats are more portable than others. There is also a growing trend for eco-friendly or vegan materials, and some are even designed to be odorless!
That’s a lot of variables to consider, and, as some high end mats definitely come with a hefty price tag, making the wrong choice can end up being a rather expensive mistake. So, if you’re wondering where to start then look no further. We’ve put together a roundup of the best yoga mats to suit your style of practice, your budget and your amount of experience.
Best yoga mats
For once you can believe the hype: the Lululemon Reversible 5mm Yoga Mat is worth every cent.
On the whole, user reviews on this mat are positive with many people claiming it the ‘best mat they’ve ever used’. One Lululemon reviewer said that it was “the ultimate mat. Quality unbeatable. Versatile from yoga to HIIT and this mat will last you, so value for money”. However. one Lululemon user wasn’t happy with the color of the mat compared with the website image, comparing it to “a piece of ham”.
Well made, durable and with excellent traction in both wet and dry conditions, it’s the yoga mat that keeps on giving.
It’s springy enough to move around on with great cushioning to support bones and joints. Its thin polyurethane layer and ‘sweat-wicking’ natural rubber base, does a good job at absorbing moisture and the antimicrobial additive in the mat prevents bacteria from building up.
It’s a bit smelly when you first open it, and tends to scratch easily. It’s also a little on the heavy side at 2.38kg but that doesn’t matter if you’re driving to class or you usually workout from home. Plus, the 5mm thickness means you get the support where you need it most.
• Read the full Lululemon Reversible 5mm Mat review
The Sweaty Betty Super Grip Yoga Mat lives up to its name on the grip front and provides excellent support and stability for all types of yoga.
The Super Grip Yoga Mat gets lots of five star reviews on Sweaty Betty, with praise for the mat’s durability and support. Customers love the design and look of the mat, as well as the fact that it is biodegradable. Many reviewers had bought the mat multiple times, claiming it offered the perfect amount of grip and thickness. Negative reviews cite problems with the mat being too hard, losing its grip after a year and the logo peeling off.
Its sticky latex surface makes it durable enough to withstand a hot yoga session, and its non-slip nature makes it great for stability, meaning that you can stay in balance poses such as downward dog for longer.
Our one complaint is that due to its stickiness, this yoga mat is also somewhat of a dust and dirt magnet. It also picks up marks easily, but this is nothing that regular cleaning (and a carry bag for storage) can’t resolve.
Because this eco-friendly mat is made from natural latex (avoid if you have a latex allergy) you should expect a strong odor at first. However, this does wear off in time. We would note that this mat is a little thin for headstands, so you might need to add a towel to make it thicker.
• Read the full Sweaty Betty Super Grip Yoga Mat review
The Jade Yoga Travel Yoga Mat is perfect for travel as it’s thin, lightweight and compact.
The JadeYoga Travel Yoga Mat scores an impressive 4.6 stars out of 5 on Amazon, with 76% of reviews giving it the full five stars. Positive reviews praise the lightweight design and the fact it's thin and portable. Customers particularly liked the grip and support it offered. They also appreciated that it was made from renewable resources. Negative reviews cite problems with the mat being difficult to clean, as well as leaving hands and feet feeling greasy after a workout.
It easily folds down to the size of a yoga block, and has a textured design that gives it great grip. While this mat will take up very little space in your luggage or your closet at home, the downside is that its super thin profile means that there is zero padding in this travel mat. We would also recommend rolling the mat out after you unpack it to minimize creases.
This yoga mat is made from PVC-free natural rubber so expect a rubbery smell for the first few weeks (and avoid this product if you have a latex allergy). It has an open cell construction and is really sticky, which is ideal as it means that you won’t slip and slide during your yoga session.
We would note that the mat can be a little slippery when sweat-soaked, but it doesn’t tend to mark or stain which is a big bonus. Jade Yoga has a plant-based mat wash you can use for cleaning, but we found that regular sprays worked just as well (although avoid UV cleaners as these can damage the rubber). Overall a great value mat with good performance for travelling yogis.
The Gaiam Premium 2-Color Yoga Mat is reversible, so you can choose which side suits your yoga style or activity.
This mat scores 4.1 stars out of 5 on Target, with 59% of reviews giving it the full five stars. Positive reviews praise the price, cushioning and color choices as well as the thickness of the mat. Taller customers particularly liked the size and extended length. Users also appreciated the quality and thickness, while negative reviews cite problems with the grip lessening the sweatier the user got.
It comes in at under 50 bucks so it’s a solid budget-friendly option for people new to yoga.
It’s a good size for taller people who need a bit more mat space, and has great cushioning to support joints and bones. That makes it a good choice for anyone using it for circuits or HIIT workouts, too.
Our main complaints are that it tends to mark easily and the stickiness doesn't last very long. It’s sweat absorbent to an extent, but not compatible with hot yoga. The plus side is that it’s latex-free and comes with Gaiam’s lifetime guarantee.
Yoga wear brand Alo makes mats as beautiful as their clothes but does the Alo Yoga Warrior Mat deliver on performance?
This mat is often ranked top of ‘the best yoga mat’ lists with reviewers praising it for being high quality with a premium look and feel. Customers also appreciated that the Alo Yoga Warrior Mat has an incredible grip, is made from ethically sourced rubber and is extra long. Less favorable reviews said the mat was quite expensive, too heavy and picked up dirt easily.
We have to say that, despite being one of the most expensive out there, this is one of the best yoga mats you can buy. It looks and feels luxurious and is made with non-toxic ethically sourced rubber, which gives it an excellent grip.
It has an extended length (75” / 6.2ft) and the thickness (5mm) means that it’s super durable and comfortable. We found it extremely hard-working during our hot yoga sessions, as the moisture-wicking material helps it keep its grip.
This yoga mat comes in a bold array of colorways and has a matte finish that gives it a premium feel. An added bonus is that when you buy the Alo Yoga Warrior Mat you get a free 30-day trial of Alo Moves, which gives you access to unlimited yoga, fitness and meditation classes led by their pro instructors.
Skin-safe and OEKO-TEX certified (free from hazardous chemicals), the Manduka Pro Yoga Mat is a favourite of yoga teachers and called pro for good reason.
The Manduka pro scores 4.5 out of five stars on Amazon, with 86% of reviews giving the mat the full five stars. Customers raved about the padding and the fact that the yoga mat is heavy and stable, allowing people to feel secure when in balance poses. However some negative reviews claimed the mat was too slippy, with many people saying it was very hard to break in and not suitable for hot yoga.
Its ultra thick 6mm cushioning provides excellent support and stability, while it’s still firm enough underfoot for tree/balance poses. The dot pattern keeps the mat steady on any surface and the textured top layer means you can flow between moves without sticking to the mat.
Admittedly, this mat needs a bit of breaking in and it’s recommended to use a sea salt scrub to speed up the process. Each mat is handmade and is made from closed-cell material, which seals out moisture and bacteria, keeping mold and mildew at bay.
We love that it comes in two sizes – standard and extra long, so taller people can enjoy not hanging off the mat for once (but word to the wise: the bigger mat may take up valuable space in smaller yoga studios, which might prove unpopular!).
New to yoga? The Heathyoga TPE Body Alignment System Yoga Mat is a solid choice because it comes with marks for hands and feet placement.
This yoga mat gets a lot of love of Amazon - 4.6 out of five stars and 77% of users gave it the full five stars. Reviewers praised the grip, cushioning and non-slip surface, while many also appreciated the alignment guide on the mat, which helped people get into the right positions. Negative reviews cited issues with the initial rubbery odor of the mat when you first open it. Some users claimed the mat lost its grip after a few months, too.
This is really helpful for newcomers to yoga, as you can work on correct technique and positioning with less risk of injury.
It’s slip resistant, easy to clean and stays nice and flat once it’s unrolled. It’s thick enough to do prolonged yin practice poses with comfort and has excellent grip, even in hot yoga classes. We love how durable it is, with just the right amount of cushioning for standing poses.
Longer and wider than standard yoga mats, the Heathyoga TPE Body Alignment System Yoga Mat comes with a free Velcro strap and carrying strap
Going on vacation? You need the Manduka Eko Superlite Yoga Mat in your life!
This lightweight travel mat gets an impressive 4.5 stars out of five on Amazon, with 76% giving it the full five stars. Customers love how portable and sticky it is. They also praised how foldable it was and the fact that it didn’t weigh much. Negative reviews state that because it’s thin, it can be uncomfortable on the knees. There were also lots of comments on the odor of the mat.
Easy to fold or roll, this eco-friendly, lightweight mat has superb grip and is versatile for all types of yoga practice.
As it’s a travel yoga mat, it’s very thin (1.5mm) but you can always put it on top of a thicker mat in a yoga studio. It has a tightly woven scrim that resists tearing or scratching, and a good grip considering how thin it is.
It’s made from sustainably harvester tree rubber (so expect a rubbery odor at first), without PVC or harmful dyes and is 99% latex free. It folds and rolls away easily into luggage and is a great investment for people who love traveling.
The Yogi Bare Paws Extreme Grip Yoga Mat is famous for its non-slip tech and made from eco-friendly natural rubber and PU, meaning you can stay in poses for longer.
This mat gets 4.8 out of five stars on Amazon, with 87% of reviewers giving it the full five stars. Customers liked that it had premium features, including the “perfect thickness’. It gets praise for being non-slip and a good size, particularly if you are tall. Reviewers also appreciated that it comes with alignment marks. Negative reviews cited problems with the grip lessening after a few months, that it showed up water and grease and had an initial rubbery odor.
From a simple downward dog to more dynamic moves such as crow and fallen star, this mat keeps you in place regardless of how much you’re sweating.
At 4mm thick, the Yogi Bare Paws Extreme Grip Yoga Mat is as good for vinyasa flow and hot yoga as it is for more strenuous HIIT and circuit workouts, but if you’re worried about your knees you might want a slighter thicker mat. We used it on wooden floorboards, and it stayed put. However, there was a bit of movement when used on carpet – but nothing compared with cheaper mats. That said, it did pick up a lot of fluff and dirt from the floor.
It’s easy to clean (warm water with lemon juice works well) and comes with laser etched alignment guides on the mat to help you get into position. It’s made from vegan-friendly rubber with water-based dyes, so won’t cost the earth.
The With Every Atom Cork Yoga Mat is extra large so it’s a great option for taller people.
This yoga mat gets lots of praise for how it looks and feels. One reviewer on TrustPilot said: “It’s the ultimate in yoga luxury.” Many users like that the eco-friendly mat was made from sustainable resources and had antibacterial properties. Negative reviews cited problems with the mat getting easily marked and stained, particularly with sweat.
It’s made from naturally grippy rubber and moisture wicking cork, so the grip actually improves the more you sweat. It’s a great choice for all styles of yoga, including Ashtanga, Hatha, hot yoga and other floor-based workouts.
It’s fairly lightweight and not too thick yet supportive and comfortable enough for daily practice. We love that the With Every Atom Cork Yoga Mat is vegan-friendly and made from sustainably sourced, natural and recycled materials.
Cork is naturally antimicrobial and hypoallergenic, so it’s also low maintenance. It tends to mark easily, but is easy to clean. Plus, when you buy an Every Atom Cork Yoga Mat the brand plants a tree. The only downside is that this yoga mat only comes in one color.
Which yoga mat is best?
So, how do you decide on the best yoga mat for you? And what should you take into consideration when you are choosing a new yoga mat for your practice?
The first thing to think about is the style of yoga you’ll be doing. Are you a regular at Bikram yoga classes or another studio where they run sessions in heated spaces? If this is your preferred type of yoga then you’ll know it can be quite a sweaty experience, so you’ll be looking for a yoga mat with plenty of grip. Ideally your preferred mat will be made from a material with an antimicrobial layer or sweat-wicking properties too.
If your yoga studio is a bit of a distance from home or work then your ideal mat will be lightweight. This is also something to consider if you plan to take your yoga mat on holiday with you so that you can even experience the benefits of yoga while you’re away from home.
Although yoga mats tend to be quite long anyway, if you’re on the tall side you may find you need to opt for an extra-long yoga mat. Practicing on a mat that’s too short for you may prevent you from fully extending in some poses, which, given that many people practice yoga to fix their posture, would be pretty counterproductive. If you do need a longer mat, then it’s worth checking with your studio how much space they allocate per person so that you don’t end up with your mat creeping over the edge of someone else’s in an overcrowded class!
Mats are available in a variety of thicknesses, from as slender as 1/16-inch (1.5 mm) to a super-squishy 1/4-inch-thick (6.3 mm). Do bear in mind that thicker mats will be heavier so if you have to carry your mat to class you may want to opt for the middle path. Also, if you’re interested in yin yoga, or other slower, restorative styles, then a thicker mat may be a good option for you. This is because you’ll be spending extended periods sitting and lying down, so you want to be comfortable.
Your yoga mat should have a right amount of grip so that you can hold your balance poses without fear of slipping or getting stuck. If you can’t get enough of hot yoga, you’ll want a mat with plenty of grip to stop you from sliding around, whereas if you’re more into fast yoga styles, like Ashtanga or Rocket, then you may find a grippy mat actually interrupts the flow of your movements.
If you’re new to yoga, and have taken it up to improve your flexibility, you may find it helpful to buy a yoga mat with alignment marks etched into it to help you with technique and form.
Whatever style of mat you choose, make sure you opt for one that is well-designed and of a high quality. The most expensive mats run into three figures, but it’s perfectly possible to get a decent one for much less, so shop around to get the best yoga mat for your needs without breaking the bank.
Where is the best place to buy a yoga mat?
If you don’t know where to begin when choosing a yoga mat, the amount of choice available can be a little daunting. Invest in a premium model from a company like Lululemon or Sweaty Betty and you should notice the difference, but other less-pricey makes like Gaiam are also a safe bet.
Alo Yoga have built a loyal following for their durable yoga mats, which are designed to suit all practices. All these brands also sell premium yoga-specific workout clothes.
Places like Amazon, Best Buy, Target and Walmart often have big discounts on yoga mats, but watch out for amazing deals that seem too good to be true! Cheap yoga mats are often a false economy. They may be made of poor-quality materials that don’t last well, and might also not have much grip, leaving you at a greater risk of slipping and hurting yourself.
Read more: Six yoga myths debunked
Yoga tends to attract people with a green outlook, so if you want a mat that has a minimal impact on the planet then sustainable brands like Manduka, Heathyoga, With Every Atom and Yogi Bare Paws may be the right choice for you. Do bear in mind that, although many of these mats are made from natural rubber, they may still contain latex, which will make them unsuitable for people with latex allergies.
Yoga teacher Ro Grogan has a unique suggestion: "I really rate a cork mat from somewhere like Cork Space – it's sustainable, natural and grounding. Everyone is different, but you want a yoga mat that suits you visually. A bit like our clothes, your mat should spark joy."
If you’re a regular at a studio, or want to practice while on vacation, then look for a lightweight yoga mat. JadeYoga and Gaiam both offer high quality lightweight travel mats that are easy to fold and pack.
This article was updated on March 24, 2022, by Live Science contributor Rosee Woodland.
This article is for informational purposes only, and is not meant to offer medical advice.