We have come a long way since the days when yoga mats were only available in one style – PVC mats that were quite popular for their stickiness. The only choice you had back then was whether to pick a blue or red one. Things are quite different nowadays.
Today, yoga mats come in a wide range of styles, patterns, colors, and materials. Getting the best one that suits your needs can be challenging, especially if you are a new yogi.
The bottom line is you need a good mat that will help you maintain stability in your poses. You need a mat that is easy to transport and store, yet cushy and comfortable too. It is also worth it to have a mat that is environmentally friendly.
All these factors largely have to do with how the mat is constructed, its thickness, the materials it is made of, and the kind of surface texture it has. Here are some of the key factors you need to consider when shopping for the best yoga mat:
What Are Yoga Mats Made From?
A large majority of yoga mats are made of rubber or PVC materials, which give you a better grip especially when you are silently stuck in a Child’s Pose or going through the Warrior II motions.
PVC and rubber are sticky materials and therefore ideal for yogis who are likely to sweat while practicing.
Today, many types of yoga mats come coated with polyurethane. This type of mat is not for you if you prefer to avoid inhaling chemicals or simply don’t like smelly mats. However, polyurethane-coated mats provide the best grip when you are going through the sweatiest vinyasas.
For less vigorous practice, you can opt for mats made of natural materials such as Jute and other organic recycled materials. Such mats are generally more comfortable than rubber or PVC mats.
Thickness & Cushioning
Most yoga mats will fall into one of these categories:
The best way to test a mat’s cushioning and thickness is by doing a headstand on it for a moment. Poses such as Table and Downward Dog do not require much cushioning but if you are going to spend a significant amount of time with your body weight resting on the crown of your head, then get a mat with some padding.
If you do plenty of inversions, a ¼ inch thick mat will be ideal for you. A little cushioning helps you to maintain better balance as you sink into comfortable flows.
For new Yogis, we recommend starting with a 1/8th inch mat because it gives you a good amount of support without being overly bulky.
Which is the Best Texture For You?
It is hard to describe the right texture you should aim for in a yoga mat. While some people prefer a little bumpiness or raised patterns on their yoga mats for extra grip, others simply want a smooth mat that gives them an easy gliding experience.
Mats made of rubber, PVC, or those coated with polyurethane come without added texture and are quite smooth, while those made of Jute or cotton have more texture and greater traction.
Keep in mind the fact that mats with tactile patterns are not as easy to clean as smooth mats because dirt and sweat tend to get stuck in their crevices and grooves.
What Color & Design Suits You?
In as much as we may want to focus primarily on the functional value of a yoga mat, it doesn’t hurt to express a little bit of your personal style and taste in your choice of a good mat.
There are many unique designs, patterns, and colors to choose from. A mat with a color and design that suits your taste adds fun and creativity to your yoga practice.
Best Yoga Mats to Consider
Based on the factors discussed above, and a few more, we have compiled a list of the best yoga mats on the market today. The mats reviewed below come in varying types and prices to help you find one that suits your style and budget.
Jiva Non-Slip Yoga Mat
- It comes with thick memory foam with a ¼ inch thickness that ensures you never get aching knees and elbows again. The thick memory foam also gives you the right bones and joints support that helps in your alignment.
- It provides a strong non-slip grip from its waffle weave texture.
- It is eco-friendly and does not contain heavy metal, rubber, or latex that affects those with allergies and high sensitivity.
- It comes with a free travel bag and carrying strap that makes it easy to take to the gym or yoga class.
- If you are not satisfied by the mat in any way, you get a full refund.
One great thing about the Jiva Non-slip yoga mat is its perfect grip. You can practice all the yoga poses on this mat without worrying about slipping on all types of floors. The ¼ inch thick foam provides the best cushioning you could ever want in a yoga mat.
- It is a nice and soft mat
- Wide coverage
- Great thickness
- Sticks well to any type of floor
- It has a faint smell when you first open it, but it fades away quickly
- It is non-slip but tends to shift a bit with a lot of movement
BalanceFrom GoYoga All Purpose High Density Yoga Mat
- 71x24 inches. It is ideal for people of all body sizes and shapes.
- Made of high-density foam material.
- Its ½ inch thickness comfortably cushions your spine, hips, elbows, and knees while practicing on hard floors.
- Double-sided non-slip surfaces.
- Excellent slip resistance.
- It has an exceptional resilience that enables you to maintain your balance in all poses.
- Two-year warranty from BlanceFrom.
This is a non-slip yoga mat with a free strap that makes it easy to carry it from your car to your yoga studio. It is made using high-quality materials to ensure comfort and durability. It is very affordable and in fact one of the best options for the budget-minded person.
- Comes with a great warranty from BalanceFrom
- Easy to roll and unroll
- Includes a free carrying strap
- You’ll need to air out the smell of synthetic materials before using the mat
- Its thick design makes it difficult for some users to balance
Yoga Accessories Extra Thick Deluxe Yoga Mat
- At ¼ inch, it is an extra thick yoga mat.
- Only weighs 3.6 pounds.
- Doesn't contain phthalate inks or dyes.
- No latex or heavy metals.
- 74 inches long and 24 inches wide.
- Comes with a lifetime warranty.
The ¼ inch extra thick deluxe mat from Yoga Accessories comes with extra thickness, length, and width. It can be used by people of all sizes and shapes. It is comfortable and provides great cushioning
- Very durable
- Provides perfect cushioning
- Comes in a wide range of colors to suit your personal taste
- Can imprint your a custom logo or artwork
- Some users have claimed it has a chemical smell a few days after purchasing it but the smell can easily be aired out before you start using it.
- It's a bit bulky
HemingWeigh ½ Inch Extra Thick Yoga Mat
- Extra thick high-density yoga mat.
- Large enough at 71 inches by 24 inches to accommodate people of different sizes and shapes.
- Comes with a double-sided non-slip surface design.
- Has thick foam pad design that cushions knees, hips, and elbows even on hard floors.
- It comes with a two-year warranty.
The HemingWeigh is a good yoga mat with plenty to offer. It rolls and unrolls easily. Its memory foam construction is soft and comfortable yet firm enough to provide you with reliable stability. You’ll have no worries or concerns about slipping when practicing on this mat.
- Grips the floor firmly to avoid injuries
- Comes with a self-strapping system for easy transportation
- Easy to clean
- The moisture-resistant surface gets a little bit slick if you sweat a lot. Better keep a towel nearby.
Gaiam Print Premium Yoga Mat
- It is a very lightweight yoga mat.
- Made of durable materials.
- Extra thick to provide additional cushioning.
- Textured non-slip surface that provides excellent traction.
- It is a 6P-free PVC mat which means it doesn’t contain Phthalates and other compounds.
- Large enough at 68 inches by 24 inches.
The Gaiam Print Premium Yoga Mat is an environmentally friendly product that is free from the 6 P Phthalates compounds. It is lightweight, durable, and quite comfortable to practice your yoga poses on. It features a textured non-slip surface that helps to prevent injuries.
- It comes in calming colors and prints
- Extra cushion
- No chemical smell because it's 6P-free
- It gets a bit slippery for those with sweaty palms
- The length may be a bit limiting for tall yogis
Your goal when looking for a yoga mat is to purchase a mat that is suitable for your practice, lifestyle, and more importantly your budget. Let us know which mat you chose from our top picks.