With so many different materials, sizes, and brands to choose from, picking the right yoga mat for your needs can be a real challenge. Luckily for you, I’ve been researching and reviewing all the mats available on the market right now and I’ve put together this helpful guide to share my findings with you.
Table Of Contents
Quick Buyers Guide
Here is a quick rundown of the essential things to consider when purchasing a yoga mat.
- Material – The material of the mat makes a big difference to overall performance and how sustainable it is. Some popular yoga mat materials include:
- PVC – Affordable, lightweight, and durable. But also very unsustainable.
- TPE – Affordable, well-cushioned, latex-free, more sustainable than PVC.
- Natural Rubber – Expensive, durable, sustainable, and well-cushioned.
- Cork – Become more absorbent with moisture, sustainable, antimicrobial, heavy, expensive.
You should also consider whether it has an open-cell or closed-cell design. Open-cell has air pockets that provide bounce and absorb moisture from sweaty hands, whereas closed-cell does not have air pockets, these are firmer and easier to clean but can get slippy when wet.
2. Thickness – Yoga mats range from 2mm up to 8mm or more. Aim for 4-5mm as standard. If you want additional cushion for your knees, you can go for a thicker one. Thinner mats are designed to be lighter and more portable for carrying to class or taking on vacation.
3. Alignment Lines – You may notice that some mats have patterns on them. These aren’t just to make it look good, they are alignment lines. If you’re a beginner, the main benefit of alignment lines is to ensure you achieve the correct posture in class and when practicing at home too.
See my full guide to choosing a yoga mat for more details on the things to look out for.
Best Yoga Mats 2021
The best yoga mats on the market right now in 2021 are:
Keep reading for my full review of each mat where I spell out the pros and cons to consider.
At the end of this article is a full comparison table with the side-by-side specs for each yoga mat to help with your choice.
Best Overall: Liforme Original
If you’re looking for an all-around great yoga mat, the Liforme Original is my top pick. It’s especially good for beginners thanks to their ‘Alignforme’ alignment system which features markings on the top to help with your positioning during yoga poses.
Whilst there are other mats with alignment lines on the market, this one outdoes them all with end-to-end lines, reverse points, a central line for keeping balanced width ways, and 45° liens to keep your heels aligned. If you want a simpler look, there’s a paired back design too called the Liforme Evolve range.
The mat is made from a natural rubber base which is a sustainable material and very durable. It has a polyurethane surface, although this is not durable, it can absorb some moisture which helps it retain a good grip when your hands are sweaty.
The mat is very soft as the polyurethane has small air pockets which give it a little bounce. It’s a very standard thickness at 4.2mm which is suitable for both home use and taking to classes, although it is fairly heavy so carrying by hand might be uncomfortable if you travel a long distance. It’s one of the widest mats on the market at 68cm (27”) and has an above-average length too.
Overall, this is an excellent mat, the only downside is the price as it’s also the most expensive mat. If you’ve watched the travel couple and yoga enthusiasts Boho Beautiful on YouTube, you’ll know that they are also big fans of this mat.
Runner Up: Manduka Pro Lite
In a close runner-up spot is the Manduka Pro Lite. These mats have a different feel to the Liforme as they are much firmer which is perfect for balance during standing poses.
The hero feature of the mat is its durability which is why it’s often chosen by professional yogis for use in their classes. The mat will last many years and Manduka are so confident of this that they offer a lifetime guarantee where they will replace it even if it gets worn for 10 years after purchase.
The Pro series is useful for all situations, it’s even suitable as an outdoor yoga mat since it’s easy to clean and won’t be impacted by UV from the sun like many of the others will.
The standard Manduka Pro is quite heavy which isn’t ideal if you’ll be using it for classes. I tend to recommend the Lite version which is 4.7mm thick instead of 6mm. This is also the yoga mat used by Adriene from the popular YouTube channel Yoga with Adriene.
In terms of performance, this is one of the best yoga mats on the market, however, the reason I put it in the runner-up spot comes down to sustainability. It’s made from PVC which comes from non-renewable sources and is neither recyclable nor biodegradable.
Manduka have a broad selection of yoga mats for different requirements, rather than including them all in the list, here’s a quick summary:
- Manduka Pro – Their signature mat with high performance and durability
- Manduka eKO – A more eco-friendly pick with sustainable materials
- Manduka GRP – Has an open-cell surface that stays grippy when wet (very similar to the Liforme above)
- Manduka X – An affordable mat that can be used for both yoga and as a home workout mat.
Eco-Friendly Pick: Jade Harmony
‘Doing no harm’ is a key part of yoga philosophy, written into Yama, one of the eight limbs of yoga in the original Yoga Sutra. As a yogi, one of the simplest ways you can ensure you’re not doing any harm is by making sustainable choices when purchasing products, not least your yoga mat,
I reviewed all of the yoga mats on the market to find the most eco-friendly mats and my top pick was the Jade Harmony.
It ticks all the boxes you’d want from a sustainable product, it comes from renewable sources, it’s long-lasting, recyclable, biodegradable, made in the USA (low carbon footprint), plus Jade Yoga will plant a tree for every mat sold.
Of course, being sustainable is only half the battle, you still want a great product. The Harmony mat holds its own here too. The mats don’t need any breaking in and perform well from day one, although it does emit a bad smell for the first few days so you’ll probably want to air it.
Like the Liforme, it’s another open-cell mat so you’ll feel a slight bounce in it’s texture. The Jade Harmony provides excellent traction when both wet and dry, although it’s still no comparison to a cork yoga mat for hot or bikram yoga (more on this later).
For Extra Room: B-Mat Everyday from B-Yoga
If you’re tall or just want a bigger mat to stop people from getting too close during yoga classes, the B-Mat from B-Yoga is a great pick. It’s available in two sizes with the larger size measuring 126cm (85″) in length and 66cm (26”) which is the largest mat in this review.
Unlike previous rubber mats which tend to use natural rubber, the B-Mat is made from a blend of natural and synthetic rubber which gives it an edge in terms of durability. The mat stays grippy when your hands get sweaty as the textured surface helps distribute moisture across its surface.
The mat is available in a huge range of colors (find out what yoga mat color would suit you) and there’s also a slightly thicker B-Mat Strong 6mm version available if you prefer extra support for your knees during restorative or vinyasa yoga, and there’s a thinner B-Mat Traveler version that’s 2mm thick for easy transportation.
Compared to other mats here, the B-Mat comes in with a slightly below-average price tag which makes it great value for the above-average quality. It’s even the yoga mat preferred by Meghan Markle which is a strong vote of confidence.
For Classes: Yogi Bare Paws
If you want a mat that’s convenient for taking with you to regular yoga classes, I recommend the Paws mat from Yogi Bare. Similar to the Liforme mat, it has alignment lines that your teacher can use to give you better instructions and help you self-correct when away from the class.
However, this one is much lighter than the Liforme and more compact when rolled up. I’m also a big fan of the funky patterns on the mats if the way it looks is important to you, shown here is the Aztek pattern but there are also lunar and ocean patterns to choose from.
As well as the Paws mat which has ultra grip, Yogi Bare also have the Paws X which is a yoga mat designed for men due to being longer than usual, and the Teddy mat which is extra thin (2mm) and foldable making it best suited for travel. The Teddy is also very absorbent so it’s a great choice for hot yoga.
The mat is made from natural rubber and a polyurethane surface, at 2.5kg (5.5lbs) it’s a little on the heavier side which is fairly common for rubber mats. All of their mats are recyclable, biodegradable, and fully vegan too.
For Great Grip: Lululemon
My next choice comes from Lululemon and it’s their reversible mat. The selling point of this mat is that it’s reversible, with a super grippy polyurethane side and a more spongy and delicate rubber side.
This is great for durability as you can use it either way up depending upon your practice, however, in reality you’ll probably pick your favorite side and continue using that. The downside to the material is that the smooth side can be easily scratched, whether from the studio floor or from your nails.
Similar to Liforme and Yogi Bare Paws, the mat is also made from a natural rubber base with a polyurethane top so has many of the advantages that this brings such as the soft open cell surface and the fact that it remains grippy when wet which is ideal for an intense vinyasa or hot yoga class.
At 5mm thick, the mat is perfectly sized for both home and class use. It’s padded enough to provide protection for your knees, but it doesn’t feel too spongy under your feet during standing poses.
For Sweaty Hands: Alo Warrior
The Alo Warrior yoga mat is very similar to the Yogi Bare Paws mat I shared above. It’s made from a combination of a natural rubber base and a polyurethane surface for practicing yoga. As I mentioned earlier, this is an open-cell material which means that the small air pockets in the material can absorb sweat so that you can continue to grip the mat well when your hands are sweaty.
To make things better, it also has an antimicrobial bacteria-resistant layer than helps prevent bacteria and mold growth which again is great if you use the mat during hot yoga or more physically demanding types of yoga such as Ashtanga where sweating it more likely. However, these types of mat can absorb odors more easily so still need a good wipe down after practice.
The only real differences between this mat and the Yogi Bare Paws mat are that the Alo Warrior is slightly longer and slightly thicker which makes it great for taller yogis, although this means it’s slightly heavier too.
Alo have a dedicated home yoga platform called Alo Moves, all of the instructors use their Alo Warrior mat which is a testament to its quality. They are one of the few brands to have physical stores where you can go and see the products in person, if you live in California or New York, I’d recommend checking them out.
Best Cork Mat: Yoloha Original
This mat from Yoloha is slightly different because it’s made from cork rather than rubber or synthetic materials like the other mats.
Not only does cork function well when wet, its grip improves as it gets wet which is why it’s a very popular choice for hot yoga classes where the temperature is high so you sweat more than usual. The downside is that it can often be hard to maintain traction when the mat is bone dry so you may need to apply water before a yoga session.
Another popular reason for buying a cork mat is that it’s a natural material and it has antimicrobial properties. This means it repels bacteria by itself so it’s more hygienic. It also doesn’t absorb smells so it’s one of the easiest types of mat to keep clean.
Cork mats are always made with another material as the base, this one uses TPE which is lightweight so the mat only weighs 1.1kg (2.5lbs) despite being 6mm thick.
If you like the sound of cork, see my full guide to the best cork mats on the market for more picks.
Budget Pick: Gaiam
For those on a budget, I’ve got a great recommendation for you from Gaiam. Their PVC mat has a decent sticky surface and provides adequate support for your knees.
The biggest selling point is the price, it’s less than a quarter of the price of the Liforme mat in my number one spot so it’s ideal for those who are just trying out yoga and don’t want to make a big financial commitment.
Despite being a cheaper option, it is still used and recommended by some well-known faces, including Kassandra from Yoga With Kassandra.
Unlike the Manduka Pro Lite which was the other PVC mat on this list, the Gaiam mat isn’t as firm so you may find that you sink into it slightly during practice. It’s also worth pointing out that it does smell quite bad when you first receive it so you’ll need to air it out for a few days before use.
Although this is a good cheap mat, if you’ll be using it regularly and are a long-term yogi, you’ll benefit from investing more into a better mat that will last much longer and be better for your practice.
Super Lightweight: Ewedoos
My next pick comes from Ewedoos and is another very affordable choice. One thing I love about this mat is how lightweight it is. At 0.9kg (1.9lbs) it’s the lightest mat here by a long shot, this is because it’s a TPE mat which is a synthetic material that’s often touted as a more sustainable alternative to PVC since it is biodegradable and recyclable. However, keep in mind that it still comes from non-renewable sources.
TPE has some great properties that make it a popular choice in cheaper yoga mats since it is well padded and durable. At 6mm, the Ewedoos mat is among the thicker of those shared here, this is a fairly common size for TPE.
The newer mat (shown above) has a double layer which provides good cushion due to the extra air pockets. However, if you want the alignment lines, you’ll need to opt for the previous version which is cheaper but doesn’t have the dual layer material. See the older Ewedoos mat here.
Another benefit of using TPE is that it’s latex-free. Latex is present in most yoga mats since it naturally occurs in rubber, however, it can irritate the hands of some people. This is a great choice if you’re one of those people.
For Traditional Practice: Hugger Mugger Cotton Rug
My final choice isn’t actually a yoga mat, it’s a yoga rug. There’s a key difference between the two because a yoga rug is made from a material such as cotton or jute and doesn’t have a sticky surface that you’d traditionally associate with a yoga mat.
Practicing yoga on a rug rather than a mat is very different and takes some getting used to. Without the sticky surface to provide grip, you are instead reliant on the downward pressure you apply to your hands which come with practice. I’ll also mention how easy they are to clean, throw them in with the laundry and you’re good to go.
There are some notable benefits, first of all, it’s a much nice feel. Cotton feels more natural to your hands than PVC or rubber, this helps you feel closet to nature. Secondly, it’s more traditional since yoga rugs been used long before mats, originally introduced by Tirumalai Krishnamacharya in the early 20th century who was considered the ‘father of modern yoga’.
Yoga rugs are still commonly used in India and other countries where the sticky mat hasn’t taken hold of the market.
I’m a big fan of Hugger Mugger since their products are very durable and the brand is very eco-conscious. They favor sustainable materials for their range of home yoga equipment and they regularly donate a proportion of their profits to charities in India and around the world.
Here’s a full side-by-side comparison of each product shared above:
What Size Yoga Mat Should I Get?
When choosing a yoga mat, the general rule of thumb is that it should be 15cm (6”) longer than your height. This will allow you to remain fully and comfortably on the mat in savasana (corpse pose).
The width will generally increase relative to the length so as long as you get this correct, you should have enough room.
As for thickness, a quick guide would be:
- 2-3mm – Ideal for transporting to classes and for travel
- 4-5mm – Good all-around thickness
- 6mm+ – Provides extra support for your knees, but is also too heavy to carry around
However, thickness varies significantly according to the material of the mat, for example, NBR mats can be as thick as 16mm. Find out more about which size yoga mat to get in my full guide.
How Much Should You Pay for a Yoga Mat?
The average price of the yoga mats shared in this guide is $84 although they range from $25 up to $150. It is worth spending more on a good mat if you are a regular yogi as they will be more comfortable and will last longer.
Typically, mats in the range of $70-100 offer good value for money for most yogis.
Is There a Difference Between a Yoga Mat and an Exercise Mat?
Yes, there is a difference between a yoga mat and an exercise mat. A yoga mat has a textured, sticky surface to help grip during poses, they are also more firm. Whereas an exercise mat is designed to be thicker and softer to prevent injury during workouts.
You can use a yoga mat as an exercise mat for light exercise, but you shouldn’t use an exercise mat for yoga.
The YogaMad is founded by Candy, an avid yogini who is passionate about inspiring others to live their best lives while finding mind-body-soul balance. She has a background in business consulting but has left the corporate world in her quest to live out her dreams as a yoga nomad.