A yoga mat is a yogi’s best friend. If you need one piece of equipment to practice with comfort and safety, it’s this. (And maybe a yoga block.) The right mat for you depends on your level of experience, your body’s needs, and where and how much you plan to practice. But all good yoga mats combine cushion, grip, and stability.
To find the best yoga mat, I researched the most popular options and chatted with a seasoned yoga instructor. Then, I practiced for over a month on different surfaces, incorporating a variety of routines, props, and poses. Due to its excellent mix of grip, cushion, and style, the Lululemon’s The Mat (once called “the reversible” mat) ($94) emerged as the best option for most people. The Heathyoga mat ($40), with its impressive slip resistance and stability, is our best budget pick. But all bodies are different, and what’s right for one person might not be right for you. Good news: Almost all the mats we tried have features that make them worth recommending, depending on what you’re looking for. In other words, read the whole thing!
Or, you can just see the TL;DR on how the best yoga mats stacked up:
- Lululemon The Mat 5mm (Top Pick)
- Heathyoga Yoga Mat (Budget Pick)
- Manduka PRO
- Liforme Original
- Jade Harmony
- Alo Warrior
- Gaiam Premium
Is a Yoga Mat Worth It?
Whether you set out to “leave everything on the mat” with a sweaty vinyasa sesh or relax with some light restorative stretching, a mat should allow you to practice yoga in a way that works best for you. It’s the literal landing pad that allows you to center yourself, turn inwards, and focus.
People require different things from their mats. Most people want one mat to do it all, from different styles of yoga to other activities like Pilates and HIIT workouts, taking it from home to the studio to outdoors. Beginners need ample cushioning, while yogis who attend heated classes might prioritize grip. Some health-conscious practitioners might be looking for an all-natural mat, while others just want something that won’t break the bank.
Yoga mats can range from $20 to $200. But a pricey mat isn’t necessarily better than a conservatively priced one. “If you’re just starting out and don’t even know if you like yoga yet, don’t buy an overly expensive mat,” says Heather Elson, a certified yoga instructor based in Southern Ontario, Canada, with 15 years of teaching experience. “But avoid super squishy thick mats because they’re really hard to balance on, especially if you’re new.”
Yoga Mats We Love
Lululemon The Mat 5mm
- Thickness: 5mm
- Material: Polyurethane top layer; natural rubber base
- Dimensions: 71 inches x 26 inches
- Weight: 5 pounds 14.6 ounces
- Excellent grip and stability
- Textured rubber side difficult to clean
Everyone on the internet seems to love this Lululemon mat. Now I know why: In tests, it shone with its all-around versatility, excelling in every category I considered. With two sides, the mat has excellent grip, is both stable and cushiony, and is easy to maintain. This well-balanced mix of features will serve most people well no matter where they are in their yoga journey.
My experience corresponds with the 1,200+ 5-star reviews on the brand’s website, many of which point to the mat’s longevity. “It’s super durable, the grip is amazing and I love that it’s reversible,” one reviewer writes. “The color also lasts a long time.”
The mat’s polyurethane top layer soaks in moisture while you sweat through a plank, and it has a smooth but tacky texture that helps hold you in place. It also has a stylish swirling pattern that hides sweat stains well, so your body prints won’t be as noticeable after a hot session. If you find yourself slipping on the smoother patterned surface, you can flip it over to the stickier rubber side for even more grip. ( University of Michigan Health “Allergy to Natural Rubber (Latex)” View Source , so people with latex allergies should avoid this product.) I preferred the feel of the top side, but I appreciated the bottom layer’s functionality. I used both cork and foam blocks on this mat during the testing period and felt safely supported with both.
The Mat has sufficient cushion to lay on comfortably. It’s also dense and stable enough to not trip you up while twisting or transitioning between poses, which can be the case with some thick and spongy mats. With a thickness of 5mm and weight of a little over 5 pounds, it’s a little cumbersome to lug around but totally doable, especially if you have a mat strap or bag. The mat is also available in a 3mm version ($78) which offers the same dimensions, slightly less cushion, and knocks off about a pound and a half of heft. The (Un)Mat ($78) is even more travel-friendly at just over 2 pounds but is significantly less cushioned at 1.5mm. If you’ve got the space in your home or you’re tall, the Big mat ($124) is two inches wider and 13 inches longer(!) than the standard version.
The mat had a noticeable rubbery smell when it first arrived. By the time I got around to practicing with it a few days later, it had all but dissipated. Cleaning instructions couldn’t be simpler to follow: wipe down with a damp cloth. The rubber side was slightly more difficult to clean than the smooth side, as dirt (and pet hair) was harder to wipe off. But I think that’s an acceptable tradeoff for an otherwise stellar mat.
Heathyoga Yoga Mat
- Thickness: 6.3mm
- Material: TPE
- Dimensions: 72 inches x 26 inches
- Weight: 2 pounds 3 ounces
- Great all-around mat for beginners and intermediates of all styles
- Not as durable or grippy as some premium mats
Getting acquainted with yoga and want an affordable and comfortable mat? This Heathyoga offering will do the trick. With a nice mix of slip resistance, cushion, and stability, it also features alignment lines and comes with a strap. This is why we think it offers the best value for beginner and intermediate yogis.
This mat has a 4.6-star rating across 8,700 mostly-positive Amazon reviews. “I’ve been using this for about six months and I’m really happy with it,” writes one user. “It’s comfortable and very non-slip even when sweaty. The roll-up and carry straps are handy and the markings on the mat are really useful for checking alignment in poses.”
This mat is made of thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) foam, a kind of plastic that the brand touts as an eco-friendly PVC alternative. At 6.3 mm thick, it’s soft without being so squishy that it throws off balance. The tire-tread grip on the bottom keeps it in place on hard floors, and the lightly-textured top surface has decent dry and wet grip.
It’s not quite as grippy and suitable for hot yoga as the Lululemon or Lifeforme mats, but it far outperformed the Gaiam Premium mat with sweaty hands and feet. It has decent moisture absorption, but some reviewers note that dirt and oils tend to get embedded over time—even with frequent cleaning.
The Heathyoga mat is 2 inches wider and 4 inches longer than the Gaiam Premium mat, providing more room to splay out. Given that it’s a thicker mat, it’s a little bulky to pack up, but light enough at just over 2 pounds that it’s possible. This mat comes with its own strap, which is nothing fancy—basically a long tied-off shoelace you can fit over both ends of your rolled-up mat. Still, it does the trick of allowing you to transport the mat wherever you need it to go.
The alignment lines—markings that show where your hands, feet, and core are supposed to be in certain poses—are a nice touch. They won’t be suitable for all body shapes and sizes, but they provide a marker you can use to learn body positioning.
Heathyoga recommends using a damp cloth and mild detergent to clean when needed. The mat didn’t pick up too much pet hair and dirt during its time on my floor, and wiping it down was straightforward . In the month I’ve used it, I haven’t noticed any material flaking off, but its material doesn’t seem as abrasion-resistant as the Lululemon or Manduka mats. If you have pets or small children running around, they’ll probably put a few scratches on the mat—mine did, anyway. Although the TPE didn’t have a strong odor, it had a noticeable smell right out of the packaging that took a few days to air out.
Other Yoga Mats Worth Considering
Manduka PRO Mat
- Thickness: 6mm
- Material: PVC
- Dimensions: 71 inches x 26 inches
- Weight: 7 pounds 1.2 ounces
- Ultra-durable, stable mat
- Loved by pros
- Slick until broken in
The Manduka PRO is the most heavy-duty yoga mat on this list, and one of the most comfortable. A worthy addition to a home studio, it’s thick and cushioned without being spongy, providing a stable base that’s easy on the joints and doesn’t bunch up with movement. It weighs in at around seven pounds, making it one of the heaviest and challenging-to-transport mats on this list. The PRO also requires extensive breaking in to develop its grip. But once it does, it should outlast all other yoga mats out there.
Elson purchased the Manduka PRO the year she completed her yoga teacher training 15 years ago. She says it’s still going strong. “I love it,” she says. “It’s durable AF.” Other yogis seem to agree. The PRO mat has 4.7 stars out of the more than 6,000 reviews on Amazon and 4.53 stars out of 1,500-plus reviews on Manduka’s site.
The one significant downside to this mat is the break-in time. The PRO’s PVC surface starts out slippery, something both the brand and lovers of this mat acknowledge. Manduka recommends a salt and sunshine bath to speed up the break-in process, but I chose to break in this mat through good old-fashioned practice. Online reviewers were right; I did slip. In Downward Dog, my hands and feet slowly moved further away from center as I hung out in the pose. When I spritzed my hands with water to mimic sweat, I all but fell flat on my face. Over time, the mat will becomes stickier, something that Elson attests to.
The Manduka PRO is certified OEKO-TEX “STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX” View Source , meaning it’s been verified to be free from harmful substances and toxic chemicals by an independent authority. It’s also latex-free and constructed with closed-cell technology. This makes it easier to clean and more resistant to moisture and bacteria. I tested the iconic black version, which hides pet hair, dirt, and sweat much better than light, bright colors. After practicing, I wiped my mat down with a damp cloth and some organic soap after use and let it air dry. Manduka cautions against home-based remedies for deep cleaning and suggests its Botanical Disinfecting Cleaner or Yoga Mat Wash and Refresh.
The PRO mat is available in two lengths: a standard-sized 71 inches ($129) and an extra-long 81 inches ($150); both are backed by Maduka’s limited lifetime guarantee. If you order a mat from Manduka, the brand will also collect your old mat from any brand for an extra $10. Depending on its condition, Manduka will then donate or downcycle the old mat.
Liforme Original Yoga Mat
- Thickness: 4.2mm
- Material: Polyurethane and natural rubber
- Dimensions: 72.8 inches x 26.8 inches
- Weight: 6 pounds 6.4 ounces
- Excellent grip and stability
- Made of biodegradable material
- May develop stains over time
The Liforme Original yoga mat is the priciest mat on this list, but a luxe upgrade if you’re looking for a well-rounded mix of grip, stability, and cushion. It might not seem like it, but there’s actually a lot of tech packed into this 4.2mm mat. From the layered materials to its alignment markings, everything about it is designed to support you as you grow in your practice.
The Original mat has a natural rubber base and a surface made of something the brand calls “eco-polyurethane,” which Liforme claims makes it biodegradable in landfill conditions. Liforme etches its alignment lines on the mat rather than printing with ink, and uses a process that binds the two layers together using heat instead of glue.
The Liforme mat has nearly 3,000 5-star reviews on the brand’s site. Its grip is by far the most praised feature. “This yoga mat is the best I have ever used,” writes a reviewer. “The grip is excellent. I don’t slip at all, even when I am super sweaty.”
Even with the mat soaked, my hands and feet held tight to the surface like a chameleon—and my effort showed, with hand and foot prints adorning it after a yoga session. That’s because a waterproof middle layer sits between the comfortable top and the slip-resistant bottom. This wicking layer prevents moisture from penetrating the natural rubber layer, drawing sweat up and out. This keeps the mat cleaner and allows it to dry faster. Per Liforme’s instructions, I washed it with a bit of mild soap and a damp cloth and let it air dry before rolling it up. Reviewers note that it can develop stains over time, so be cautious of practicing with creams or oils on your hands.
The Liforme is thinner than Lululemon’s mat, but just as comfortable to lie on. I felt well supported every time I practiced (or snoozed in Savasana). The texture of the bottom layer has a slight velcro-y vibe to it and doesn’t budge. It’s also slightly longer (72.8 inches) and wider (26.8 inches) than other standard mats. The extra wiggle room is nice without adding too much weight or bulk.
Liforme’s alignment system is more detailed than the guidelines on the Heathyoga mat, with 45-degree angles to help correct standing postures in addition to center and end lines. It’s particularly helpful to beginners for learning hand and foot positioning. Even if you don’t land exactly on the makers, you’ll be able to align evenly. It comes with a bag that makes it easy to store and easy to pack. At around six pounds (about a pound more than the manufacturer specs state), it’s also relatively travel friendly. Some reviewers note durability issues over time. We’re keeping an eye out for those as we continue to practice with this sleek yet pricey mat.
Jade Harmony Yoga Mat
- Thickness: 4.78mm
- Material: Natural rubber
- Dimensions: 68 inches x 24 inches
- Weight: 4 pounds 9.1 ounces
- Low profile
- Absorbs moisture well
- Rubbery smell
- Challenging to clean
The Jade Harmony is the stickiest mat on this list. Its natural rubber composition keeps hands in place, dry or wet, which is especially beneficial during hot yoga and when struggling to hold a balanced position. However, that extra traction can be troublesome when trying to slide or pivot parts of your body. The mat is just so damn grippy! Other users notice it too—that grip is the standout feature among its nearly 4,800 reviews and rating of 4.7 stars.
The Harmony mat has a strong odor at first, like that of a new basketball. It aired out after a few days in a ventilated area, but it’s still not completely scent-free and probably never will be—something to keep in mind if you have a sensitive nose.
The Harmony is low-profile and slightly less comfortable to lie on than the Lululemon or Liforme mats, but equally stable in a balanced pose like Warrior III. It also soaks up moisture, which is great if you want to avoid using a towel during hot yoga, but means it takes longer to dry after sessions. The textured surface may wear down and become sleek over time, according to reviewers. This means it may not last as long as the Manduka Pro. It is, however, backed by Jade’s limited one-year warranty, and most reviewers note getting about two to three years of consistent use out of their mat.
One downside of the Jade Yoga mat is that it takes a little more effort to maintain. The rubber can degrade in direct sunlight and cleaning agents and essential oils may damage the material. I followed the brand’s instructions to wipe it down with a wet cloth after each use, and its textured surface made it tough to clean—an annoying post-workout chore. You may find yourself cleaning this mat a lot, too, as pet hair and dirt cling to it like a magnet. For deeper cleaning, Jade recommends using its plant-based mat wash.
Jade gets a few bonus points for its range of sizes. The standard 24-inch width is available in lengths of 68 inches ($85); 71 inches ($90); and 74 inches ($90). The Harmony mat is also available in an 80-inch extra-wide-and-long version ($114). Through the brand’s partnership with Trees for the Future, one tree is planted for every yoga mat sold.
Yoga Mats We Didn’t Love
Alo Warrior Mat
- Thickness: 5mm
- Material: Polyurethane top layer; natural rubber base
- Dimensions: 74 inches x 26 inches
- Weight: 7 pounds 12 ounces
- Stable and grippy
- Shows sweat and pressure markings
The Alo Warrior is a slick, luxe-looking yoga mat that I really wanted to love. Priced between the Lululemon and the Liforme mat, it has a similar composition—a polyurethane top layer and a rubber bottom layer. But it falls short in a couple of areas. While I found it to be sticky, stable, and adequately cushioned, it’s heavier than expected and prone to stains. The patterned Lululemon mat is also much better at hiding wear and tear than the Alo mat, is a little tackier on the top surface, and a more portable travel companion.
It has a 4.5-stars rating out of just over 1000 reviews on the Alo website. Most people seem to be pretty happy with their purchase in terms of comfort and support, but negative reviews point to an issue with the top layer of the mat bubbling or separating after limited use. (I did not personally experience this.)
The Warrior mat is moisture absorbent, has adequate wet grip, and air dries in a reasonable timeframe. Even on the dark green color, I left wet body prints all over the mat after a sweaty session. Although the moisture evaporates rather quickly, practicing with lotions or oils on your skin will definitely stain this mat. (User reviews confirm this). The top layer is also prone to marking. You’ll want to be careful if you wear jewelry or have pets who like to join you in your practice. That said, the slick surface makes cleaning it off easy with just a damp cloth.
The biggest disappointment of the Warrior mat is its weight. The brand lists it as “approximately 6 pounds” but my digital scale weighed it at 7 pounds, 11.6 ounces. It’s almost 2 pounds more than the Lululemon mat and 1 pound heavier than the Liforme. This is a big difference if you plan to lug it to and from the yoga studio.
Gaiam Premium Yoga Mat
- Thickness: 6mm
- Material: PVC (6P free: DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP and DNOP)
- Dimensions: 68 inches x 24 inches
- Weight: 3 pounds 5 ounces
- Slippery when wet
- Not very stable
With nearly 15,000 5-star Amazon reviews, I had to give Gaiam’s Premium yoga mat a try. Ultimately, I found that the Premium mat is an option for people who need a mat for various forms of exercise, like Pilates and ab circuits, with a bit of casual yoga on the side—not the main event. All in all, the Heathyoga mat is a better budget pick for the purpose of practicing yoga. Gaiam’s Premium mat is a decent option to use for stretching and general exercise because it’s thick and comfortable. It’s suitable for outdoor workouts because it’s durable and light enough to pack to the beach or campsite. However, it lacks grip when wet, and for yoga, this is a dealbreaker. If you work up even the slightest bit of sweat, it can send your hands and feet flying. For me, it’s just too slick to inspire confidence.
The Gaiam Premium comes in about 40 different patterns and has a bumpy textured surface that grips great when dry—almost too sticky, even—but provides very little traction when wet. The constant adjusting completely breaks flow, and it’s too soft and squishy to provide a stable foundation for balanced poses. It picks up dirt and debris quite easily, and isn’t as easy to wipe off as a smooth-surfaced mat. The off-gassing odor was pretty intense at first; the mat definitely needed a couple days of airing out before I could practice on it. If you want to take your mat outdoors and aren’t worried if it gets a little beat up, or want to roll out something cushy once a week, the Gaiam Premium mat is perfectly fine. But for a dedicated yoga mat that will progress with you, it’s better to invest your money elsewhere.
How We Got Here
Meet Your Guinea Pig
I’m Ebony Roberts, a product journalist covering fitness and outdoor gear. I’ve written in-depth reviews and buyers guides for Wirecutter, REI, Outside, Gear Patrol, Treeline Review, and now The Ness Well. Over the past five years, I’ve interviewed dozens of experts on topics related to health, fitness, and athletics. I’ve also been a guest on on podcasts like The Consummate Athlete. While I consider myself an intermediate yogi, I have practiced on and off for the better part of a decade. As part of my research, I also spoke with Heather Elson, a yoga instructor who’s been teaching since 2005 and currently practices out of her virtual studio in Hamilton, Ontario.
Our Testing Process
To find the best yoga mats, I spent eight hours reviewing dozens of the top-rated models across online retailers and trusted product review websites. This resulted in a shortlist of 13. I whittled the list down to the top seven mats, which Ness purchased for testing. When each mat arrived, I measured and weighed it to ensure it lined up with the brand’s stated specs. Then, over a month and a half, I practiced the same few routines with each mat. I also incorporated props like yoga blocks into the mix.
During and after each season, I took notes on each mat’s features, ranking it across the categories of comfort, stability, grip, portability, durability, and ease of care. I kept notes on how well I was able to do my routine and whether the mat helped or hindered my flow. I also took note of surface scratches, shape changes, material shedding, rolling edges and moisture retention. After every session, I wiped down the mats using the cleaning process recommended for each and assessed their ease of care, (noting hard-to-wipe texture, clinging dirt, and animal hair). You can read the full yoga mat test notes here.
The Yoga Mat Buying Guide
Anyone who practices yoga should get a mat—ideally, a great one. From new yogis to seasoned practitioners, a yoga mat adds comfort and safety as you work through your routine.
Yoga mats are also handy to have on hand for daily stretches. Some can double as a mat for other workouts, and I’ve even used them as a sleeping pad for camping.
Which features matter most when buying a yoga mat?
. The best yoga mats have an all-round mix of:
- Grip: Arguably the most important feature, a good yoga mat will prevent you from slipping around, especially when the sweat starts to drip. Dry grip (the grip you feel when your mat is dry) is easy to come by. Wet grip (the traction your mat provides when it’s drenched in moisture) is harder to achieve. If you sweat or plan to practice hot yoga, look for a mat that has both.
- Stability: A good yoga mat grounds you to the floor while providing solid support as you balance and twist. To find a stable mat, look for thin, dense cushioning that doesn’t feel squishy.
- Durability: A yoga mat’s lifespan depends on the material it’s made from and how hard you go on it. We kept an eye out for shedding material, separating layers, and early wear in spots that get a lot of hand and foot action.
- Comfort: You want a mat that feels good against the skin, and one that provides ample cushioning for joint and hip support. Be careful of veering off into Pilates mat territory, though—too much cushion and you’ll lose stability. Thick, cushy mats can be prohibitive to yoga practice because the material tends to bunch up and may cause tripping.
- Portability: How easy a mat is to lug around will depend on size, thickness, weight, and how well it rolls up. If you plan to travel with your mat, you’ll need something fairly light that rolls down to a small size. There are foldable yoga mats intended for travel, but we didn’t check any of those out in this test.
- Ease of care: Yoga mats should be simple to clean and easy to store. Some materials might require special care, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But be cautious of a product that holds onto pet hair and odors—over time, they just get yucky.
- Material: We tested mats made of natural rubber, polyurethane, PVC, and TPE. Each composition has its own set benefits and drawbacks and mainly come down to personal preference. One thing to be aware of, however, is whether or not the material contains latex, and whether or not this will be a problem for you. University of Michigan Health “Allergy to Natural Rubber (Latex)” View Source , so anyone with a latex allergy should steer clear of these mats. Some people also have concerns about PVC’s Greenpeace “PVC: The Poison Plastic” View Source .
What is the best thickness for a yoga mat?
Yoga mats typically range between 1 and 7 millimeters. The big debate is whether to opt for a 3mm or a 5mm mat, and the answer depends on your body and the style of yoga you practice. Consider opting for 3mm if you’re experienced and do a lot of standing work. This way, the thickness won’t trip you up as you flow. Consider the 5mm or more if you need a little extra joint support and spend more time laying on your mat.
Is there a difference between an exercise mat and a yoga mat?
Exercise mats and yoga mats are not the same thing. (But, depending on the activity, they may be used interchangeably. Standard exercise mats like those used for HIIT workouts or Pilates are generally thicker and squishier than yoga mats. Yoga mats are designed for lower impact, allowing you to feel the ground beneath you. Exercise mats aim to add a shock-absorbing buffer between you and the floor that’s designed to spare joints from impact. Be careful about using too squishy a mat for yoga, Elson cautions. “Those thick Pilates mats make balancing poses really difficult because your foot isn’t grounded very well on the surface. They’re great for Pilates, but they’re not great for standing work.”
Should you buy a yoga mat with alignment lines?
Some yoga mats—like Liforme and Heathyoga—have alignment markings. These are spots on the mat that show how you’re supposed to line up in certain poses. These “can be helpful if you’re new to your practice, particularly if you’re practicing at home virtually right now,” says Elson. “But everyone’s body is different.” She advises using them as a guideline, but not feeling “married” to staying within the lines all the time.
She explains that if you’re in a lunge, for example, the wider apart from the midline you bring your feet (side to side), the more stability you have in your lunge. If you’re a brand new practitioner and the instruction is “align your feet on the midline,” that might not be ideal for you—and alignment markings may not help you out as much. In this case, it’s better to widen your stance.
Another alternative: Put some tape down on your mat in the spots where you feel most comfortable in your poses. This way, you can move them as your practice grows.
How to clean your yoga mat
Like all fitness gear, yoga mats need proper care and maintenance. This ensures they stay tidy and last as long as their optimal lifespan. Your mat-cleaning method depends on its material, but it’s a good idea to give your mat a quick wipe after every practice. Most mats will be fine with with just a bit of mild soap on a warm damp cloth, or you can use a store-bought mat cleaner.
You can deep clean every month-ish to inhibit bacterial growth and keep dirt and grime from breaking down the mat. It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure you don’t damage your mat during this process. Some manufacturers caution against the use of vinegar-based solutions and others warn against the use of essential oils; when in doubt, check your mat’s care instructions.
- Elson, Heather (Certified yoga teacher interviewed via phone by Ebony Roberts. January, 19, 2022)
- Natural rubber will trigger latex allergies: Allergy to Natural Rubber (Latex) (University of Michigan Health)
- Requirements for OEKO-TEX Certification: STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® (OEKO-TEX)
- PVC may contain harmful chemicals: PVC: The Poison Plastic (Greenpeace, August 2003)
- Cleaning yoga mats with mild soap or warm damp cloth: How to Clean Yoga Mats (REI)