The right yoga mat can make or break your practice, no matter if you're a long-time enthusiast or a total newcomer to yoga practice. You'll want something durable with a good grip without being sticky. After all, no one wants slip and slide in sweat, dangle their feet off the edge during Savasana, or realize that their knees are bruising 15 minutes into the class.
The sheer amount of options for yoga mats can be overwhelming — there are more than 30,000 results for "yoga mat" on Amazon! — but this curated roundup can guide your next yoga mat purchase.
What to consider when buying a yoga mat
Depending on your needs, you could just scoop up a mat at TJ Maxx for $10, or you might need to spend a little more on something with more features, such as an extra grippy surface.
Consider what types of activities you'll be using your new yoga mat for and where you'll take your mat. Also take into account your height and any other bodily considerations (such as pain in your knees or back).
Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself when choosing a yoga mat:
Will you be using it indoors, outdoors, or both? Pretty much any mat will do for indoor yoga, but if you plan on working out outside, you'll want something sturdier and more durable.
Will you use it for hot yoga? If so, look for a mat with an extra grippy or non-slip surface.
Do you need to take it on an airplane or other small space? Look for thinner mats that roll up or fold into a compact size so you can easily pack them.
Do you need extra cushion or length? Standard mats run between an eighth of an inch and a quarter of an inch. You may need something thicker, like a half-inch mat if you need cushion for your knees, hands or back. Lengthwise, the standard is 68 inches, so taller people would benefit from a longer mat.
What's your budget? Cheaper mats are best for beginners who aren't sure if they'll stick to a yoga practice and people who don't practice regularly. If you practice several days a week, a high quality mat will save you more money in the long run, since you won't have to replace your mat so often.
Best yoga mat for travel
SKL Travel Yoga Mat
This 1/16-inch-thick mat folds into a 6.7-inch by 9.1-inch compact square and comes with a carrying case, making it super easy to slide into a backpack, carry-on bag, tote or even a briefcase. It only weighs 2.5 pounds, making it a great travel alternative to some heavier roll-up mats.
What buyers say: "Great material, really lightweight. Great for hiking or backpacking!" one buyer wrote. Another said, "Super compact and portable. I try to practice yoga every day so I got this mat for use when I travel. It's very soft and thin, and it folds up to fit in a compact little travel bag!"
Best yoga mat for people who slip a lot
Aurorae Synergy 2-in-1
Unlike other mats made of rubber or vinyl, this Aurorae mat has a microfiber surface that serves as a mat and towel in one product. It's a great option for people who sweat and slip a lot and usually lay towels over their mat. Oh, and it's washable too.
What buyers say: "I feel it's important that potential buyers know what a quality product this is — I've been so happy with it." This reviewer continues, "I have used this mat two to three times per week every week since August, 2013. I've washed it in my washing machine (delicate cycle) and hung it to dry every time I've used it… It has held up perfectly over the years, and still looks almost brand new."
Best yoga mat for achy joints
REEHUT High Density Yoga Mat
At a half-inch thick — compared to the quarter-inch or even eighth-inch thickness of most mats — the REEHUT High Density mat offers extra cushion and a grippy texture, making it comfortable but not unstable.
What buyers say: "Yay for gushy soft mat! My knees used to get black and blue from yoga. I actually walked across this mat on my knees to test it, too."
Best yoga mat for tall people
Yoga Direct Extra Long Yoga Mat
The standard length for yoga mats is about 68 inches, which means anyone over 5-foot-8-inches can't stretch out fully on a standard mat.
Taller people may also have trouble with wide-stance poses like warrior II and downward dog, so extra-long mats (which run between 72 and 85 inches) can help.
What buyers say: "I'm very happy with this yoga mat. I'm 5 foot 8 inches and rarely with extra length of this mat do I have to think about staying positioned on mat while practicing yoga like on shorter yoga mats," one reviewer wrote. "I can close my eyes during yoga and concentrate on yoga instead of constantly checking to see if I'm remaining within bounds of my mat."
Best yoga mat for outside workouts
Manduka PRO Yoga Mat
This mat is heavier than most (7.5 pounds versus the average 4 to 5 pounds), but that extra weight helps with durability and stability for practicing yoga outside and on uneven terrain.
Note that Manduka mats must be broken in or they'll remain slippery. Many people expedite the breaking-in process with a salt scrub. While that's arguably inconvenient, most buyers say that the breaking-in process is well worth the mat's quality and longevity.
What buyers say: "The last mat I'll ever need… It's comfortable but it's not at all soft or squishy, it's a very firm stable support."
Best yoga mat for eco-aware yogis
Jade Harmony Yoga Mat
Jade manufactures these mats with natural rubber tapped from rubber trees, which is an extremely renewable resource. They make the mats in the US and uphold compliance with all US environmental, labor and consumer protection laws. On top of that, for every mat sold, Jade plants a tree.
What buyers say: "Jade Yoga is my new go-to. This is a really great mat, well worth the hefty price tag. It is also very thin but surprisingly cushy."
Best yoga mat for budget shoppers
BalanceFrom GoYoga mat
Inexpensive and simple, this mat is great for beginners and anyone who's wary to front the cost of some more luxurious mats.
What buyers say: "Affordable, easy, perfect thickness."
One reviewer who was new to yoga praised the mat for being an easy choice for beginners, saying: "I was always interested in starting but wasn't sure what yoga mat to go with or even if I would stick with yoga, so was cost conscious. My first impression was that I was pleasantly surprised with the quality and thickness of this mat."
Bonus: Best overall
Gaiam Sol Dry-Grip Yoga Mat
What buyers say: "Best. Mat. Ever… The surface is very absorbent. The grip is amazing — way better than traditional mats – I am so secure in warrior 2. I am able to go through half my hot power yoga class without a yoga towel."
That same buyer came back two years later to update her review: "I have had this yoga mat for two years now!!! I went through TWO yoga teacher trainings using this every day for hours, and often allowing other students to use it. I practice on it every single day. I do restorative yoga, drip-heavy heated power yoga and Bikram, as well as occasionally an outdoor class. It remains immaculate, as though I bought it yesterday!"
Other buyers praise the sturdiness, grippiness and all-purpose abilities of this Gaiam mat, while others yet nod to its durability: No flaking or peeling after one year.
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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.