Investing in one of today's best yoga mats can make a huge difference to your Pilates or yoga practice. For a relatively simple product, the market is surprisingly
varied, with options in different materials and at different price points, which can make figuring out which is the best yoga mat a bit overwhelming. This guide is here to help – we've reviewed lots of mats and are here to walk you through your options and help you find the perfect one for your practice.
Key things to look for are slip-free grip (even if your hands and feet get sweaty), and enough padding to keep your joints happy, but not so much it upsets your stability. Beyond that, you'll want to look for something durable, eco-friendly, and, if you're going to need to tote it around, not too heavy weight. Compared to other fitness activities, yoga is pretty equipment-light, so investing in the best yoga mat you can afford can really make a big difference to your comfort and progress.
The best yoga mat right now is the Liforme yoga mat. It offers an impeccable balance of support, comfort and grip, as well as being eco-friendly. However, it's undeniably an investment, and will probably be overkill if you're not using it regularly. You'll be pleased to hear that this guide also includes a range of great value options at lower price points, for more casual yogis.
Once you've made your decision, head to our guide to how to clean a yoga mat for tips on keeping it looking (and smelling) like-new for longer. But for now, let's kick off our list of the best yoga mats around.
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The best yoga mat 2021
The best yoga mat right now is the Liforme Yoga Mat. Made from natural rubber with a unique eco-friendly polyurethane topper, it delivers outstanding grip straight out of the box, even when tackling the sweatiest hot yoga class. There are a series of marking on the top that are incredibly helpful in keeping you correctly aligned in your poses. They look a little abstract to begin with, but as you start your practice you'll quickly see when and where different body parts are meant to line up. These are marked out with a textured finish, so they won't rub off like printed markings, either. Compared to standard yoga mats, you're getting a bit of extra width and length to give you plenty of room to move through your poses. We think the thickness is ideal: enough to keep bony bits comfortably off the hand ground, but not so much as to send you wobbling around in balance poses.
So what are the down-sides? Well, it's at the top end of the market in terms of price. Like many rubber mats, it marks a bit with your sweat. And also because it's rubber, it's on the heavy side. A sturdy, zip-up carrier comes bundled in, which makes toting it around easier (and helps to justify that fairly hefty price tag a little more), but if you're going to be travelling around with your mat a lot, you might be better going for lighter PVC. Head to our Liforme Yoga Mat review for more.
if you're on a tight budget, Gaiam's yoga mats represent incredible value for money. The surface has a light, tacky feel that provides plenty of grip – this non-slip surface lasts incredibly well even over years of use. Although it is made from PVC, it's free from latex and phthalates, making it less harmful to the environment than some other PVC mats (if sustainability is very important to you, take a look at the Yogamatters Eco Rise further down the list). PVC mats have the benefit of being non-porous, which makes them much easier to wash. The spongy texture means they're lightweight, and they're also typically cheaper than other materials.
There's a wide range of designs, sizes and thicknesses to choose from, so you can pick the one that suits you, and the lifetime guarantee sets your mind at ease. In terms of bang for your buck, you'd struggle to do better. Head to our Gaiam yoga mat review for more info.
If you want the eco-friendly natural rubber of a top-end yoga mat that offers superb grip, in the wet or dry, but can't stretch to the cost of a Liforme, the next best thing is this Yogi Bare Paws yoga mat. Somehow the Yogi Bare gang have managed to offer much the same material as Lifeorm but at a far cheaper price. There are a few compromises: it's slightly smaller in size and thinner too, and the line markings aren't as useful but there are still a few that help with the basic moves. The grip is still there, though, and there's enough support from the thickness. We found this mat can tend to bunch a bit at times, meaning you need to smooth it out again between moves, but only a little – we're nit-picking. For the price this is one of the best yoga mats out there for grip.
Normally, you'd expect to pay a bit of a premium for an ethically produced eco-friendly product; not so with the Yogamatters Eco Rise Yoga Mat. It's made from sustainably harvested tree rubber, with no dyes, and is fully biodegradable at the end of its life, and still comes in at an incredibly competitive price. All that eco-friendliness isn't at the expense of performance either. The sturdy, compact structure offers more padding than you'd expect from the 3mm thickness, and the slightly textured cotton-blend mesh surface delivers incredible grip from the off. Do be aware though that – as with all rubber mats – the top surface will gradually wear away over time (it's basically like a giant eraser). We also found there was a slightly odd smell that lingers a bit. Don't let that put you off though, because this sustainably made yoga mat has plenty to offer.
Being surprisingly grippy, naturally sourced and biodegradable, cork is an excellent choice of yoga mat material. One of the best yoga mat made from cork we've found comes from With Every Atom'. This brand is focused around ethical practice, and all of its mats are vegan, and made from sustainably sourced, natural and recycled materials. Design-wise, With Every Atom goes a little funkier than your standard yoga brand too, throwing cool leopard and tiger-print options into the mix alongside bright natural rubber designs (although we would prefer if the logo was a little subtler and smaller).
Its cork yoga mat features a non-slip, cushioning natural rubber base with a sustainably-sourced premium cork topper (both are biodegradable). The cork is naturally grippy, and absorbs moisture without becoming slippy, even in the sweatiest class. The only slight down-side here was that we found it marked easily with sweat.
If you're on a very tight budget, the best yoga mat for you might be the Ekotex Eco Sticky mat. It's lightweight, provides good grip right from the start, and the generous 5mm depth is plenty of padding to keep your joints happy as you practice. It's made with Polymer Environmental Resin (PER), which makes it more eco-friendly than your average PVC yoga mat, and the packaging is zero-plastic too.
The price is very low, and that means you sacrifice some longevity, and if you need a mat that'll withstand very heavy use, you'd better off spending a bit more and going for a rubber mat with a polyurethane (or eco-alternative) top surface. That said, our reviewer was impressed with how much use they got out of it before it started to show signs of wear and tear. Head to our Eko Sticky Yoga Mat review for more info.
While a pretty design isn't the most important thing, it sure does help. If you're looking for something that stands out in your class, the best yoga mat for you might be from Willow Yoga. The attractive, floral designs are printed on a microfibre top layer that's strokable and soft to touch. This layer is absorbent and grips better the sweatier you get. While the grip is impressive when your hands and feet are a little clammy, we did find this mat could be slightly slippy right at the beginning of a practice (the company recommends misting the mat with water before you start).
Willow Yoga also has impressive eco-credentials. All the mats in the range are sustainably made using only eco-friendly, biodegradable materials, and are free from PVCs, silicone and phthalates. You can even pop it them the washing machine (without detergent) when they need it, too. A nice touch is that the mat comes with a carry strap included. The simple design, fashioned from a single piece of wide webbing tape, works an absolute treat and lets you show off the mat while you're on the go, too.
if you're looking for a yoga mat for travel, the Lululemon Reversible Mat is a great versatile, lightweight option. First up, you're getting two textures for the price of one: the smooth side will see you through even the sweatiest hot yoga class without a slip, while the textured side will work for calmer practices (although the grip is a little disappointing here, so you'll want to flip it over for anything adventurous). This mat is also nice and lightweight for a rubber. Admittedly, this is partly because it's just 3mm thick, but that'll still provide a nice cushioned layer – and you can go for the 5mm version if you want more padding.
Sustainability-wise, Lululemon gets half marks, mixing eco-friendly rubber with a polyurethane top layer that's not so good for the planet. The only other slight down-side is that we found that this mat became marked with sweat fairly quickly. Overall though, it's still a great all-rounder, and especially handy for those who want a mat to tote around. You'll find out more in our Lululemon Reversible Mat review.
While Manduka does use PVC materials (latex free though) it's process is OEKO-TEX certified meaning it's friendlier to the environment and comes with a lifetime guarantee. The 4.7mm of thickness this offers is supported by dimpled cushioning making it super comfortable while also stopping sweat absorption to keep it cleaner for longer. The grip could be better initially, but after a bit of use this improves. An initial processes of leaving this covered in sea salt for 24 hours is required for early-use grip – a bit of a faff but worth it. The weight and size is portable without compromising on comfort, making it ideal for taking to classes with hard floors.
Jade Yoga prides itself on creating eco-friendly yoga mats while also dishing out some very eye catching colours that don't scrimp on surface grip. The result is a real all-rounder which manages to offer enough grip and thickness to support a beginner or a pro yogi and everyone in between too. Three size options are available, making this adaptable to suit taller and shorter yogis alike. The price is really impressive for what you get and the portability makes this one of the best yoga mats for toting back and forth to classes.
How thick should your yoga mat be?
A good place to start on your hunt for the best yoga mat is comfort. A standard yoga mat thickness is 4mm, so that should be your starting point. If you're a bit more hardcore and/or are practicing on a softer surface, you might be able to drop to 3mm (you won't find mats much thinner than this).
If you have more sensitive joints, consider something thicker – you'll find mats up to around 8mm thick. However, there are a few things to know here. While you might think that thicker equals more comfortable, that's not always the case. If you go too thick, the more unstable surface can be tough on the wrists and ankles on longer yoga sessions, and you'll also likely end up wobbling around in balancing poses.
The material you choose makes a difference, too. We've found that spongy PVC mats don't provide as good a buffer against a hard floor as more solid rubber ones – so if you go for the latter, you should be able to get away with something thinner.
In short, if you're doing pilates and don't need to do much balancing, a thick, spongy mat might be the comfiest choice. For yogis, we'd recommend a thinner, more stable rubber mat for the best cushioning without affecting stability.
How to buy the best yoga mat for you
Aside from thickness, there are a few more elements to consider when finding the best yoga mat for you. Next up, think about grip. Finding a mat that'll cope well with sweaty palms and soles is key – especially if you do any hot yoga (here's how to choose a hot yoga mat). The better the grip, the more you can push your limits without the distraction of slipping on the mat yourself, or the mat slipping on the floor. While adding one of the best yoga towels can help, there are plenty of yoga mats that offer good grip on their own.
Size is another major consideration. You may want the biggest possible mat so you can stretch out without reaching the edge – and also mark a bit more precious territory in that yoga studio. But size does mean more to carry, so considering more portable options, especially if you're on the move a lot, is also a factor.
One of the most important facts in choosing the best yoga mat is the material it's made from, which has implications in terms of comfort, portability, and eco-friendliness. Yoga mats made from polymer plastic (PVC) with phthalates won't biodegrade, and will release toxins when in landfill. However, lots of yoga companies have started exploring eco-friendly alternatives. The result can sometimes mean a compromise in quality or a different smell, and may also mean a more gentle cleaning process is needed. All that has been considered in our testing process.
Foam mats tend to be more lightweight than rubber ones, which is important if you're going to be toting it around a lot. However, they often have a bobbly, textured surface that can wear and become damaged fairly easily, impacting its shelf life in the longer term. Many also need to be 'broken in' to improve grip.
One consideration you may not have thought was important is line markings. Lots of mats now offer these to help you align your hands and feet so you know you're symmetrical. This is ideal for those with an imbalance or anybody just starting out that wants to be sure they're progressing in the right direction immediately.
Finally, you'll want to set a budget. The best yoga mats can be pretty expensive, while at the other end of the scale, you can pick up a super-basic option for peanuts. It's often worth spending a bit more for a mat that'll last – after all, you don't need much kit for yoga. So, with all that in mind, here are the best yoga mats out there right now.