It’s not hard to see why yoga has exploded in popularity over the past few years. Who wouldn’t want to get into shape, improve their flexibility and posture, and lower their stress level?
Beginners also love that yoga is a budget-friendly exercise program. While you might want to spring for some classes or outfits, all you really need is a yoga mat to get started, and we think the YOGALAND Premium Yoga Mat with Carrier Straps is a the best yoga mat for most of us.
If you’re looking for a good balance of thickness, cushion, washable design, and size, then the YOGALAND meets the needs of the average person. If you have specific yoga requirements or preferences, scroll through our Top 5 Yoga Mat Roundup to find the best yoga mat for you.
The ultimate trade-off among yoga mats is between thickness and traction, and we thought the YOGALAND struck a great balance with its ¼”-thick, eco-friendly, reversable mat in a size large enough for most. Crucially, it’s waterproof, so it’s super easy to clean off after each use without needed specific cleaning products.
Top 5 Yoga Mats
|NAME||LENGTH AND WIDTH||THICKNESS||PRICE|
|YOGALAND Premium Yoga Mat with Carrier Straps||72” x 24”||¼”||Check Price|
|Sivan Health and Fitness ½ Inch Yoga Mat.||71” X 24”||½”||Check Price|
|Liforme The YOGA Mat||72.8” X 26.8”||0.16”||Check Price|
|Clever Yoga Set||72” X 25 ¼”||¼”||Check Price|
|Crown Sporting Goods Yoga Cloud Extra-Thick Mat.||72” X 24”||1”||Check Price|
1. The Best Overall Yoga Mat
The great thing about this yoga mat is that it meets the needs of beginners and experienced yogis, young and old alike. The YOGALAND is double-sided, and each side is coated with an anti-slip material that grips both to the floor and to bare feet for safe exercising.
Safety is crucial when practicing yoga (or any other exercise or sport for that matter!) and so we liked that the non-slip coating is paired with an eco-friendly construction that doesn’t contain PVC, latex, or silicone, which is great for anyone who has allergies, does yoga with or around kids, or is just worried about harmful plastics fumes.
The YOGALAND mat is ¼ inch thick, which is usually enough to cushion joints without being so squishy that you lose your balance. If you need an extra-thick mat for highly fragile bones, this might not be quite enough thickness for you, but it’s fine for the average user.
This mat is also easy to keep hygienic, since it’s waterproof and can be washed with soap and water and left to air-dry, making it great if you sweat a lot. Always make sure that your yoga mat is 100% dry before you use it again, however.
Size-wise, the 72-inch mat is probably long enough for even tall people, though the 24-inch length might be a little tight if you’re very tall. The strap is a convenient addition, though it may take a while to straighten out the slight edge curve from the factory packaging.
Overall, this is a great yoga mat that meets all the average user’s needs at a very reasonable price.
Pros and Cons
- Latex, PVC, and Silicone-Free
- Slight Edge Curl
- Might be Too Narrow for the Very Tall
2. Best Thicker Yoga Mat
Sivan Health and Fitness
While a thinner mat is usually the preference for it’s barely-there-feel, some of us need a bit more squishiness. If you need a little more cushion for yoga, we recommend the Sivan Health and Fitness ½ Inch Yoga Mat. The added density is great if you have joint pain or excessive soreness after yoga.
The Sivan mat resolves some of the slippage that tends to accompany thicker mats with ridges that run the vertical length of the mat. These ridges grip both the floor and your feet and hands and work together with the non-slip coating to prevent accidents.
The extra cushion is also nice is you like to fold your mat up into a pillow or seat-like shape during your workouts, and the NBR foam springs back quickly after indents.
The size of the Sivan mat is enough for most people, at 71 inches long and 24 inches wide. The foam can handle heavier weight loads too, without flattening out.
Although this mat has a slight smell when you first take it out of the package, it fades after an hour or so, leaving no lingering chemical scent.
It’s not the lightest-weight mat we reviewed, at a little under two pounds, but the included carrying strap does a good job of distributing the weight well.
Overall, if you have back or joint pain or just want a cushier yoga mat, this is a great pick.
Pros and Cons
- 1/2 -inch thick foam & Long
- Foam Springs Back
- Good for those with Joint and Back Pain
- Included Carrying Strap
- Slight Smell Out of Package
3. Best Yoga Mat Upgrade Pick
Liforme The YOGA Mat
If you’re serious about your yoga, we loved the Liforme Yoga Mat. This yoga mat takes the musts of yoga and takes them up a notch – extra grip, extra width and length, and extra grip.
The Liforme adds a bit more cushion to the standard 1/4 -inch mats, at 0.16” thickness, which absorbs more pressure, but it doesn’t affect the non-slip surface. The main sell point of this mat is it’s extra grippiness, which is key if you sweat a lot or practice hot yoga.
Some of the extra grip comes from the weight, which helps the mat stay securely in place. This is great for an intense yoga session but might not be the best for you if you want something lightweight.
At 72.8” X 26.8”, this is longer and wider than most yoga mats, so it should accommodate larger yoga practitioners, even those who are extra-tall and have a wide stride or stance.
Though some with really touchy joints or back pain might still prefer the traditional foam-mat, we thought this provided enough firm pressure to cushion during yoga, and the non-slip features helps prevent injuries.
The understated gray mat has subtle position markings, which is a nice feature if you want to get more precise with your yoga form. It’s also PVC-free and made with eco-friendly processes, which is important if you want to help the environment or have allergic reactions to PVC.
Overall, if you’re looking for a lifetime yoga mat that will last you over the long haul, the Liforme Yoga Mat is a great pick.
Pros and Cons
- Extra-Long and Wide
- Etched Positioning Marks
- PVC-Free and Eco-Friendly
- Major Grip and Anti-Slip Design
- Non-Foam Cushion might be Too Hard for Some
4. Best Yoga Mat Starter Set
Clever Yoga Set Kit
If you’ve been practicing yoga for any length of time, you know that there are some accessories besides the mat that are really helpful to have as you get into more advanced poses. We really liked the Clever Yoga Set, which includes all the basics and has a carrying case that fits everything.
If you know you’re going to be purchasing mat towels, blocks, straps, and hand towels eventually, it’s not a bad idea to get a coherent set that’s easier to store and transport together, rather than risking damage by shoving everything together in a gym bag.
The Clever Yoga mat is ¼” thick and 72” long, which is pretty standard for yoga mats and will meet the needs of the average user. We liked the extra width, at 25 and ¼”, which is nice if you tend to place your hands and feet a little wider apart.
The mat does a good job staying put, thanks to non-slip coating. This mat is BPA, silicone, latex, and phalate-free, which is a nice feature if you have sensitivity to any of those materials.
The yoga blocks are a bit smaller than some, but that can be a plus if you have small hands. We liked the logic of the all-in-one kit, since what’s the point of bringing your own mat to class if you have to share yoga props with other people’s sweat on them?
Overall, this is the best pick for a beginner in yoga, especially if you’re giving it as a gift, since the blocks and strap are mostly props used until you can make the stretches without any help. The towels are something you need anyway, no matter what level of yoga proficiency you’ve reached.
Pros and Cons
- BPA, silicone, latex, and phalate-free
- Extra-Wide Mat
- 7-Piece Kit
- Great for Beginners
- Good Gift
- Not Best for those who like to Customize their Own Kit
5. Best Ultra-Thick Yoga Mat
If you’ve tried the standard half- and quarter-inch thick yoga mats and they just don’t provide enough cushion for you, we would recommend the Crown Sporting Goods Yoga Cloud Extra-Thick Mat. At a full one-inch thick, you won’t find a cushier yoga surface.
Keep in mind that with a mat this thick, you will sacrifice some of the firm pressure that is a normal part of yoga. It’s a great option, however, if you have health conditions like a bad back or knees that normally prevent you from practicing yoga.
At 72” long and 24” wide, it’s a standard-sized mat, aside from the thickness. It’s not waterproof, so just wipe it off with a dry or slightly damp towel when you’re done using it.
Once thing we liked about this extra-thick mat was its firmness. It’s not squishy like a mattress or cushion, so you can practice yoga on it without slipping on or sinking into the mat too much.
Because of the extra thickness, this is bulkier to store and transport than your average yoga mat. Keep in mind that it has a slight chemical odor, so it might not be the best pick for you if you are very sensitive to smells.
Overall, this yoga mat is a great pick for anyone who has joint or back conditions that demand a much thicker surface.
Pros and Cons
- 1” Thickness
- Firm Mat
- Great for Joint and Back Pain
- Not Waterproof
Why You Need a Yoga Mat
Yoga is full of debates over the “best” way to practice, and zillions of sub-fields and discussion threads can be found arguing the merits of hot versus dry, strength versus flexibility, and just about any distinction you can think of
Yoga mats are a hot topic for debate too, with opinions ranging from those who only practice on a natural surface like grass, sans-mat, to those who swear by their $300+ mat. Not to mention the growing popularity of practicing on a plain old rug.
Yoga mats were actually invented as a medical solution for a woman who couldn’t sweat in her hands and feet, thereby making it very hard for her to grip the floor during yoga practice.
So that’s what yoga mats are for: added grip. Needless to say, this is incredibly helpful if you’re just getting started out doing yoga or can’t access a natural surface, like sand or grass, that has a naturally good grip.
Some benefits to using a yoga mat:
- Protective Surface – if you’re outside and don’t want to be stuck by bits of sticks and stones while you practice, a mat is helpful.
- Cushioning – Your joints are precious, so you don’t want to put a lot of pressure on them if you’re standing on a less-than-ideal surface, like concrete. Yoga mats add a little bit of extra paddings to help prevent injury.
- Personal Space – If you’re taking a class, a yoga mat is a handy way to delineate your personal exercise space.
- Non-Slip Surface – Slipping and falling is one of the biggest risks associated with yoga, and so a portable, non-skid surface is the perfect solution for sweaty hands.
Can’t I Just Use the Mat at Class?
Short Answer – other people’s sweat = gross.
Long answer – most yoga classes actually require you to bring your own yoga mat. With the popularity of yoga steadily rising, most studios would have to place lower caps on their classes or raise the price to accommodate keeping yoga mats in stock for everyone.
While some studios do still provide yoga mats and of course disinfect them regularly, a small amount of sweat can usually work its way inside of a yoga mat. You don’t want this to work its way out onto the surface during your class.
All yoga classes depend upon you doing a certain amount of work at home, too. For this, you need your own mat, plus you’re far more likely to practice your poses if you have a dedicated space set up where all you have to do is unroll your mat to get going.
If you’re practicing hot yoga, you definitely want to get a yoga mat that is easily washable and as non-skid as possible.
Wondering what hot yoga is? It just means practicing yoga in a very hot room, so you get a cleansing effect like that of a sauna.
Since it’s so hot, everyone is more likely to sweat, and so safety and cleanliness is very important.
What Should I Look for in a Yoga Mat?
There are a few key elements to look for in the best yoga mat for you: thickness, length and width, firmness, and construction.
We’ll take these one at a time. First of all, thickness is the most immediately obvious quality in any yoga mat you try out.
Most yoga mats are at least ¼” thick, which provides enough cushion for the average person. Any thinner than that typically doesn’t provide enough shock absorption.
Some can run as thick as one-inch. These are typically best suited for people with injuries, joint or back pain, or for yoga for physical or occupational therapy.
For beginners, have a cushier surface helps you achieve yoga poses while you build up strength.
While there are lots of variations within that range, thickness typically is a compromise between pressure and cushion, and you need both of those to practice yoga effectively.
Pressure actually produces some of the health benefits of yoga, so you don’t want to be practicing your stretches on your comfy mattress. But lack of cushion can damage your joints over the long haul, so it’s best to try out a few mats to determine what thickness works well for you.
A certain amount of discomfort is normal when you’re just starting out with yoga, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve done any kind of structured exercise. Proper stretching beforehand, along with the right yoga mat, can help prevent some of the soreness you might feel.
Length and Width are the next most important features of your yoga mat. While most models are somewhere around seventy inches long and twenty-four inches wide –plenty of room for most of us — extra-tall people sometimes need a bigger mat.
There are also yoga mats designed to withstand extra weight without flattening out, so that’s something to look into if smushed yoga mats are a frequent problem for you.
You would think that firmness would go along with the thickness of the mat. On the contrary, the density of the material controls how firm the yoga mat is.
For example, you wouldn’t just want to use a strip of foam for your yoga mat, because there’s no firmness to that material. The highest-end yoga mats are extremely dense and firm to offer the ideal amount of resistance for different yoga poses.
Finally, yoga mats are constructed out of a wide variety of materials, both synthetic and natural. While some people do just fine with a synthetic mat, the chemicals its made out of can bother some people’s skin and even lungs.
If you worry about toxics, opt for a mat that is manufactured without PVC, latex, silicone, or BPA. Natural rubber mats or eco-friendly artificial products are a good bet.
What About Grip?
Yoga mats have two sides, and you need to be concerned with two main types of grip:
- The yoga mat’s grip on the floor
- Your hands’ and feet’s grip on the mat
Both are equally important, and it’s a safety issue. Slipping is a real problem with yoga, as you’re attempting tricky balancing exercises while often sweating a lot, plus no one should be practicing yoga on a mat that slides around the floor.
Grip is also important for your yoga form. You won’t achieve the perfect Bird of Paradise pose if your feet are constantly slipping around on your mat.
There are some yoga mats that require regular treatment with special solutions or salts to maintain their non-slip surface. While some yoga teachers have their favorites among these kinds of high-maintenance mats, we included the low-care models in our Top 5 Roundup.
It is important to regularly clean your yoga mat so it doesn’t lose its non-slip coating or get smelly. If you’re yoga mat starts to smell like a locker room floor, it’s probably the happy home of various bacteria.
Different materials require different kinds of care, from soap and water to dry toweling to air-drying, though most of them can’t be submerged in water without bad consequences. Make sure you check the instructions on your yoga mat to avoid damaging it.
Whether you’re a yoga newbie or an experienced teacher, the yoga mat is your most important piece of equipment. Choosing the right one, caring for it properly, and replacing when needed will ensure that your yoga practice is the best it can be.
While we liked the YOGALAND Premium Yoga Mat for its versatility, any of the yoga mats in our Top 5 Roundup would be a great one to start with.
Whichever yoga mat you choose, you’ve made an enormous step toward improving your overall health and well-being by making a commitment to yoga.