If you’re new to yoga, your options for mats, apparel, and accessories can feel overwhelming. There are various products available on the market today, each one boasting of its own unique features. How can you decipher which one out of a broad selection is the best yoga mat for you?
Below you’ll discover our list of qualities to look for as you’re shopping around to help you choose the right match. Up first, is our list of the best yoga mats of 2018.
Best Yoga Mat 2018: Reviews
Here we’ve put together quick reviews of all of the best yoga mat options on the market. you’ve find the best yoga mat for beginners, the best travel yoga mat, and the most affordable choices. We’ve tried to include a variety of types, thicknesses, and features to best fit your needs.
You’ll notice that we’ve given awards to all of the our choices for best yoga mat, in order to highlight how they made the list.
After you check out our recommended products in our review section, we’ve also put together a buyers guide that will go through the various features and things to look for before you make your final choice.
Best Affordable Yoga Mat
BalanceFrom GoYoga’s mats are a great option for someone that wants to give yoga a try, but can’t afford the high prices of name brand yoga mats. It’s one of the best affordable yoga mats around, that are also great for stretching and warm up activities. It’s length and width are standard, and it comes with a carrying strap to make transportation easy. It is a tad on the thinner size, but BalanceFrom also makes a thicker version of this mat if you are looking for something with more padding.
Best Thick Yoga Mat
If you’re looking for a thick mat for yoga and other types of exercise, look no further. Sivan Health makes great options for working out and staying balanced in all aspects of your life. On that note, it is important to keep in mind that balance on a thick yoga mat can actually be a little more difficult. However, this option as the best thick yoga mat can be easier on joints, knees, and ankles.
Best Patterned Yoga Mats
Yoga isn’t a practice that’s focused on style, or being flashy by any means. However, patterned yoga mats can be a great way to help yourself focus and express yourself. We love the patterned yoga mats from Gaiam, as they are simple and tasteful, but come in a large variety of colors. They are textured, for a nice grip during difficult poses, and are thinner to help promote better balance and control. The materials used are also free of many harmful substances found in other brands.
Most Durable Yoga Mat
Manduka makes amazing yoga mats, in our article about hot yoga, we feature quite a few of their mats including the Manduka PRO. It is the most durable yoga mat around, and will last you a lifetime! Even though it’s dense, the PRO is still made with non-toxic and safe materials. The coloring and surface will not wear away even after repeated use and cleaning.
Best Yoga Mat for Beginners
Aside from being a great price, this alignment yoga mat is the best yoga mat for beginners because it can show you where you need to position your hands and feet for optimum alignment. This can be especially helpful for beginners who are practicing at home using a video or voice guided yoga. The length is also extra -long, coming in at 72″ long and a couple of inches wider than standard yoga mats. Alignment yoga mats are extremely helpful, but we still recommend taking some classes to help get poses and weight distribution correct.
Best Non Slip Yoga Mat
Another great option for beginners, is our vote for best non slip yoga mat. The YOGALAND premium non slip mat is a great option for any level of yogis. You can use this mat with a clear conscience, as it is eco-friendly certified, containing no harmful chemicals or materials.
Best Jute Yoga Mat
Jute yoga mats, while less common, are an excellent more environmentally friendly choice for practicing yoga. It’s two sided, with PVC on the bottom, and both are easily used. It’s latex and rubber free, and the jute is still soft and comfortable enough for regular use.
Best Cork Yoga Mat
Finding a quality cork yoga mat can be as difficult as jute, as it is not the most common material. However, cork is a great and comfortable material that comes from a natural resource and is fully recyclable. It’s not only non slip, it is also waterproof, which makes cork yoga mats the perfect option for individuals who like to practice outdoors. Gurus makes it in two styles, Root- with a rubber bottom, and Sprout- with a TPE latex free bottom.
Best Travel Yoga Mat
Surprise, another Manduka yoga mat made our list. This time because of how small and easy to pack it is. The SuperLite is the best travel yoga mat, as it is thin, folds up, and weighs under 1 pound. It’s made from biodegradable, ethically harvested natural tree rubber. Even though this is a thin mat, it will still provide you plenty of comfort while practicing yoga on the go.
How to Choose the Best Yoga Mat for Your Needs
Whether you’re a beginner yogi or someone who is simply looking for a better mat to replace your old one, you never want to compromise on quality. What you purchase will have a direct impact on your yoga experience, as it influences your stability, comfort, and performance.
As you consider your options, make sure you run your mats through this checklist:
Choosing a Material
Often, mats are produced through a blend of materials, but you can narrow most of them down into a handful of options:
You’ll want to pay attention to what is used to create the mat you purchase, as each material has its own pros and cons. The most common material used is vinyl, which is sturdy and made to last. However, the synthetic finish does leave a sticky surface. Jute and cotton are firmer than vinyl, so it doesn’t give way quite like the synthetic variety. They are also eco-friendly.
Rubber mats can be made of either recycled or natural material, but you will need to avoid these mats if you are allergic to latex. So which is best out of these options? In order to determine the answer to this question, you must dig deeper and understand the advantages and disadvantages of texture, stickiness, and mat thickness.
Finding Balance with the Texture
If you’ve ever done yoga with sweaty palms, you know that texture plays a pivotal role in the quality of your mat. Without a strong texture, yogis find themselves slipping and sliding, which can compromise the structural integrity of their pose. Mats come with different levels of texture, depending on your personal preference.
Vinyl mats with their sticky surface are perfect for stability and typically come with a softly textured surface for sensitive hands. Rubber, cotton, and jute mats have a natural tactile texture that is good for providing stability, but rougher than vinyl.
However, keep in mind that the material used doesn’t guarantee a specific level of texture. The level of texture is determined not only by the type of material but also how the mat is made or woven. The best non-slip yoga mat will be the one that feels best to you while preventing your hands and feet from sliding across the mat.
How Comfortable are You with Stickiness?
Mat stickiness is a common feature in vinyl mats and one that some people find preferable.
The difference between stickiness and texture is that stickiness relies on suction in order to prevent movement whereas texture alone relies on traction. If you don’t like rough surfaces, then a sticky mat is a great alternative.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that vinyl mats only keep their sticky surface if they are maintained well. You’ll want to clean your mat after every use to avoid sliding on your mat. Also, make sure you wash your yoga mat properly. Using the wrong cleaning solution can lead to a damaged surface.
Finding a Thick Enough Mat for Comfort
Just like the tale of the three bears, yogis find themselves on a quest for a mat thickness that is “just right” for comfort. If a mat is too thick, you may lose your balance. If it’s too thin, you run the risk of pain and discomfort.
Yoga mats vary from anywhere between 1/16 of an inch thick to 1/4 of an inch thick. The key is finding a mat within this range that is comfortable, but still gives you a stable connection with the floor.
If you’re looking for the best yoga mat for beginners, it really depends upon the individual’s level of health and comfort. If your joints are stiff or you have difficulty kneeling on hard surfaces, a softer mat would prove best. However, be careful not to select a mat that is so soft, it compromises your balance. You should always feel connected with the ground below your mat.
Prioritize Your Preferences in Order to Fit Your Budget
Lastly, make it a point to understand your priorities while shopping for your next yoga mat. If you’re on a budget, narrow down your selection based on what is most important:
- Texture and Grip
- Eco-Friendliness of the Material
Why Does it Matter?
Why does the level of eco-friendliness matter? To most yogis, yoga isn’t just a form of exercise. It is a part of a lifestyle dedicated to non-violence toward man and nature. While vinyl mats may last for years, eventually they end up collecting dirt in a trash dump. Their synthetic materials do not break down like natural fibers, so they become another eyesore in a mounting landfill.
This is why eco-friendly mats have become so popular among users. However, it isn’t taboo to use a vinyl mat. If this style suits you best, we encourage you to select it.
Function Comes First
Also, always prioritize function over design. At the end of the day, your health and comfort determine the quality of a yoga session. A bland mat with good grip and a comfortable thickness is better than a beautiful mat with an aesthetic design that doesn’t suit your needs. When it comes to price ranges, vinyl mats are almost always the cheapest, while eco-friendly options with a raised texture will fall on the more expensive side.