Whether you’re new to yoga or a seasoned pro, a good yoga mat is essential to productive practice. If your mat is uncomfortably hard or you’re constantly slipping out of your downward dog, you’re never going to convince yourself to actually go to the studio.
But did you know that having a great mat is useful beyond yoga? It’s fantastic for calisthenic exercises like pushups, situps, and planks, and a great place to sit and roll out your legs or back as you recover from other workouts.
That’s why we scoured the Internet for the best yoga mats to test. After hours of testing, the Lululemon Reversible Mat(available at Lululemon for $68.00) is our top-pick and my personal favorite.
While the other mats have a lot to offer, there are some clear differences in softness, slipperiness, and ease-of-use for both yoga and bodyweight exercises.
These are the best yoga mats we tested ranked, in order:
Lululemon Reversible Mat
AmazonBasics Extra Thick Exercise Mat
Alo Yoga Warrior Mat
BalanceForm GoYoga All-Purpose Exercise Yoga Mat
JadeYoga Harmony Mat
Manduka Pro Yoga and Pilates Mat
YogaAccessories High Density Delux Pilates & Yoga Mat
Gaiam Athletic Duramat
Aurorae Classic Premium Eco Safe Yoga Mat with Non Slip Rosin
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This mat really convinced me to up my yoga game. The surface may seem hard at first, but it actually has just the right amount of softness for comfort without any wobbling on my part. It also boasts a completely flat, non-stick surface. I can firmly plant my hands and feet on the mat without slipping while switching poses or trying to hold a plank. It’s easy to wipe down after a workout, too, though it does take some time to fully dry. And while it's a bit on the heavy side, it rolls small, which is great for portability.
The biggest downside is the steep price point. So, I'd recommend this mat for either experienced or passionate yoga-goers, especially those who are going to stick with the sport. If you do a lot of yoga or bodyweight workouts and want that “barely there but still comfortable” yoga mat feel, this is an awesome option.
When I first started yoga, I needed something soft enough to cushion my unaccustomed knees. This mat would've been absolutely perfect. It’s very soft, so you can't feel the ground biting you, which tends to happen with thinner mats. It’s also incredibly light and comes with its own carrying straps, which is perfect for bringing it to a yoga studio or park.
What really surprised me was its non-slip surface. Not once did I slip while using this mat. It's also the perfect price, too. In other words, there’s no guilt if you buy this mat, try yoga for a month, and decide it’s not the sport for you.
There are a couple of downsides to contend with, though. This mat will deform a bit, it has a strong smell right out of the box, and overall doesn’t seem like it will last as long as the harder, more durable mats. However, the smell dissipates after a day or two and a less-durable mat just means that if you do decide to stick with your yoga practice, you’ll have a wonderful mat until it’s time to upgrade.
I’m Bethany, a former college athlete who turned to yoga a few years ago as a lower-impact way to work out. Despite living near a yoga studio, I prefer to practice at home, where I kick start my days doing short body-weight workout and a brief sun salutation yoga routine.
Testing these mats was a little more intense than my morning routine. For each mat, I did a 20-minute yoga routine and a 20-minute calisthenics routine, twice. I kept both routines simple and focused on common moves such as Warrior II, III, II, downward facing dog, and my favorite sun salutation for yoga. I also did pushups, front and side planks, sit-ups, and leg lifts for calisthenics.
During these routines, I took copious notes. I noted if my hands and feet slipped, the floor was painful on my knees during low lunges or on my forearms during planks, if the mat deformed over the course of a workout, and whether it helped or hindered my routines. I also took stock of how easy it was to clean, if it was portable enough to take to a studio or gym, and if it seemed like it would last through years of use.
What You Should Know About Yoga Mats
There are a few things you should know about yoga mats before deciding which one to pick up. For instance, yoga mats are made from a few different materials. Most mats are made with PVC—polyvinyl chloride, a type of toxic plastic that is difficult to recycle. This material is sticky enough to stop you from slipping and soft enough to offer some cushion.
If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly option, there are mats on the market made with recycled rubber, cotton, bamboo, or jute (a woven vegetable fiber). Many of these mats will include a non-slip surface texture, but in my testing, many didn't keep me from slipping.
The size of your yoga mat matters as well, but only to a certain extent. A typical yoga mat is 68 inches long and 24 inches wide, though you can find some that are larger. However, unless you’re really tall, 68 inches is probably long enough for most people. Some of the mats we tested were longer than that, and I found that this mostly added to the carrying weight while not offering noticeable benefits for my yoga practice.
Other Yoga Mats We Tested
Alo Warrior Mat
This mat performs very well. It's the most non-stick mat of the bunch and it hit that sweet spot of “hard but not too hard.” That said, it never lies fully flat and I noticed some deformed spots where I’d placed my hands after using. Plus, everything on my floor sticks to it immediately.
Much like the AmazonBacis mat, you have to want a soft, squishy yoga mat to enjoy using this one. Personally, I really enjoyed using it as it offers a lot of comfort while also holding my feet firm. However, it deforms fairly quickly, and I don’t think it'll last very long before you needed to upgrade.
While this mat is very effective, as my feet didn’t slip and it’s certainly sturdy, it's not very comfortable. It's also tough to clean. My cleaning cloth kept rolling up in on itself in a way that just didn’t happen with the other mats. Overall, this is a fantastic mat for someone who isn't looking for much padding and just wants something to nail their hands and feet to the ground.
The Manduka Pro mat is nice at first, but it gets slippery and less comfortable as time goes on. When I started sweating, it was difficult for me to maintain a grip. It's not too heavy, so it's relatively portable, but it's not anything special to use.
Although I love the perfect softness and easy portability of this mat, it's just too slippery to be any higher on our list. I slipped the moment I started perspiring. Hilariously, it also makes funny noises when handling with sweaty hands.
The Gaiam Athletic Duramat is totally fine to use, but I find it's a little too hard and slippery for me to recommend. While durable, it’s hard to fall in love with an uncomfortable mat. I like that it's super long, but it's not very portable.
I want to love this mat, but it just didn’t perform as well as the others. It comes with a chalk-like rosin to keep you from slipping, but you have to keep reapplying it throughout your routines or risk sliding out of poses. It also contains complicated washing instructions, which feels like a lot to ask of someone, especially after they work out.
Bethany is a freelance contributor for Reviewed. An avid home baker and aspiring home cook, she reviews and writes mostly about kitchen gadgets (with the occasional fitness review thrown in). Her specialty might be fancy desserts, but she's never met a batch-cooked dinner recipe she didn't like.
Outside of her work for Reviewed, Bethany is a content creator working on clean energy and climate change at a regional non-profit and runs a tabletop game at her local comic book shop.
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