Yoga’s benefits to both mind and body are well documented, and for a lot of us, our yoga practice has become part of our daily or weekly routine.
Like all exercise, however, you need to make sure you’ve got the right equipment for the job.
Unfortunately, with all the different features, materials and technology, choosing a yoga mat can be a daunting task.
In this buyers guide we take a deep dive into the world of yoga mats to help you find the best one for your needs.
Our top pick: Liforme Original Yoga Mat
Liforme mats are expensive, but they’re also some of the most popular amongst yoga enthusiasts and instructors around the globe.
Aside from being super high quality, the defining feature of Liforme mats is the AlignForMe alignment system on the top of the mat, which provides helpful reference points for alignment in certain postures.
This mat is constructed mostly from sustainably sourced, natural rubber, in combination with a specially engineered eco-polyurethane. Liforme claims these mats are biodegradable in 1-5 years in normal landfill conditions.
A heat-bonding process is utilised in the construction meaning no toxic glues are required for binding the layers together.
Providing some of the best grip on the market, the Liforme Mat is perfectly suitable for hot yoga and those who sweat a lot. It also comes with a high quality carry bag.
- AlignForMe alignment system
- Great grip
- Carry bag included
Yoga Design Lab Combo Mat
The Yoga Design Lab brand was conceived by Canadian Chad Turner while on a yoga holiday in Bali.
Looking around a room full of boring, mass-produced mats, he had a dream of creating beautiful yoga mats that were also highly functional and eco-friendly.
Since then, the brand has taken the yoga world by storm and they now produce some of the best mats on the market.
The Combo Mat is one of their most popular products and has been receiving rave reviews from all who get the chance to try it. It utilises a microfibre top surface (made from recycled plastic bottles) to provide towel-like grip, even when wet, making it perfect for hot yoga.
The mid and lower layers of the mat are made from eco-friendly, biodegradable, recyclable, 100% natural tree rubber. Not only is this great for the environment but it means you don’t get the nasty toxic smell that many mats come with. It is completely free from silicone, toxic glue, and phthalates.
At 3.5mm thick, the Combo Mat is about middle-of-the road in terms of thickness. It has enough cushioning for all types of practice, while at 1.8kg in weight it’s still very portable (thanks also to the handy carry strap included).
If you’re after a beautifully designed, high-quality mat that will support you when you sweat, it’s hard to look past The Yoga Design Lab Combo Mat.
- Super grippy when wet
- Carry strap included
- Some people may want more cushioning
- Dry grip could be better
Lululemon The Reversible Mat
Another super popular mat, The Reversible Mat from Lululemon is thick and comfortable.
However, where it really stands out from the crowd is its performance when wet. If your primary concern is avoiding slipping during hot yoga then this mat should be one of your top contenders.
Constructed using a combination of polyurethane, rubber, and latex, Lululemon has designed this mat for maximum grip and comfort.
Being reversible, you have the option of using the smooth surface, more suitable for gentle routines, or the more textured surface where extra grip is required.
The 5mm mat weighs in at 2.5kg, making it not particularly portable. If you’re looking for a more lightweight option, check out the 3mm version.
- Very sticky
- Surface soaks up sweat meaning less slipping
- Comfortable yet supportive
- Smells, particularly when new
- Not as durable as other options
Gaiam Premium Yoga Mat
The premium yoga mat from Gaiam presents a reliable, affordable, lightweight option suitable for beginner and advanced yogis alike.
These mats are made from PVC and are therefore very durable, and at around 5mm in thickness they provide ample cushioning and support.
However the key differentiator here is the weight – coming in at just 1.4kg, the Gaiam is a great option for those concerned with weight and portability.
- More affordable than other options
- PVC not degradable
Manduka Pro Yoga Mat
The world’s most popular high-end yoga mat, trusted by yoga studios and teachers around the globe – it’s hard to go wrong with the Manduka Pro.
This is a super solid mat, made of ultra-dense PVC, meaning it looks and feels tough and never wears out. In fact, Manduka stand by their PRO series with a lifetime guarantee. The density of the material, however, also means these mats weigh in on the heavier side (3.4kg).
One other point worth noting with the Manduka Pro is that it can take a long time to “break in” and become sticky. This naturally happens over time, or you can speed up the process by applying salt, as described here. However, if you sweat a lot in your practice you should be prepared to be slipping around a bit until the break in process is complete.
- Solid, dense
- Very durable
- Takes a while to break in
- Can be slippery when wet
Jade Harmony Yoga Mat
One of the most popular mats on the market, this mat from Jade is an great all-round option.
The Harmony is grippy, comfortable, and durable. At 4.8mm and 2.3kg, it is fairly middle-of-the-road in terms of thickness and weight, but still more portable than several of the other mats discussed here.
Being made from rubber, with zero added PVC or synthetic rubber, the Harmony mat is natural and eco-friendly. To top it off Jade plants a tree for every mat sold (with over 1 million trees being planted so far!).
- Natural materials
- Lighter weight than other options
- Rubber smell can take a while to fade
- Natural materials means may not be as durable as other options
Manduka Eko Yoga Mat
An awesome yoga mat from industry leaders Manduka, the Eko ticks all the boxes in terms of performance, while being made with eco-friendly materials and processes.
While the original Manduka Pro uses non biodegradable PVC, the Eko is made from non-Amazon harvested natural tree rubber. They are also created using a toxic-free softening process.
Like the Pro, this mat is very dense, meaning it provides a good level of support and cushioning but without sacrificing performance and control.
Being rubber, the grip on the Eko is superior to the standard Pro mat, both when dry and wet.
- Comfortable and supportive
- New mat smell takes a while to fade
Yogangstar Home & Studio Mat
Australian brand Yogangstar has a mission of providing the best quality, natural and inspired yoga products and designs, and if you get the chance to try out one of their premium mats we think you’ll agree they’re doing a pretty good job of it.
When considering functionality, quality and design, the mats in their Home & Studio collection represent some of the most impressive products on the market.
A 100% natural rubber construction means no toxic chemicals, while also making them biodegradable and recyclable.
The upper layer is made from suede microfibre, which provides surprisingly good grip in both dry and wet conditions. Bonus – you no longer need to lay a towel on top of your mat for hot yoga!
The 4mm thickness combined with the microfibre upper of these mats provides a supportive and luxurious yoga experience – perfect both for beginner and advanced yogis. They’re also machine washable.
The premium, heavy duty nature of these mats does come at a small price, with them weighing in on the heavy side at 2.8kg (although still significantly lighter than the Manduka Pro).
They do, however, come with a lovely 100% natural cotton carry bag which will make transporting your mat that much easier. Features of the carry bag include a zippered side pocket, water bottle holder and carry strap.
For people looking for something a bit more transportable and lightweight, Yogangstar also has a travel mat range.
With a thickness of 1.5mm and weighing in at only 1.75kg, these mats mean you can take your practice with you wherever you go.
- Beautiful designs
- Supportive yet luxurious
- 100% organic natural rubber
- Biodegradable and recyclable
- Microfibre non-slip surface great for hot yoga
- Machine Washable
- Carry bag included
- Australian owned
- On the heavy side (2.8kg)
Choosing a Yoga Mat
There’s a huge range of brands, sizes, and materials to wrap your head around (not to mention colours and designs!) when searching for the best yoga mat to suit your needs.
Below we outline the key features you should be aware of when choosing your mat.
Naturally, there’s a trade-off here in terms of thickness vs weight.
If you’re after a general use mat that you plan on carrying to yoga class, you probably want to stay around the average thickness of 3-4mm.
However, if you’re more focused on practicing at home, or are looking for something with extra cushioning, you could look at thicker options, which are usually around 6mm.
If you have injuries or other concerns that mean you really need extra thickness we recommend looking into pilates mats, which are around 12mm.
At the other end of the scale, we have super lightweight travel yoga mats, which come in at around 1.5mm.
It helps if we break down stickyness or grip into Dry Grip and Wet Grip.
1. Dry Grip
Dry grip is important in any mat. It’s what stops your hands and feet slipping out from under you when the mat is dry and gives you the support and confidence you need to progress with your practice.
2. Wet Grip
The last thing you want is to be slipping and sliding around during your hot yoga session. If you sweat at all when you practice yoga then you should look for a mat that will remain grippy when wet.
Some people who struggle with slipping opt to cover their mat with a yoga towel that is designed to absorb sweat and improve grip.
There are three main materials used for yoga mat construction, as outlined below. Which one is best for you will come down to your personal preferences and budget.
1. PVC – The most common material for yoga mats, particularly at the cheaper end of the scale. Not eco-friendly (as does not degrade), but cheap, lightweight and sticky.
2. Rubber – Good eco-friendly option as is a natural material, biodegradable, and non-toxic. Also performs well in terms of stickyness. Heavier and more expensive than PVC and not as durable.
3. TPE – Man-made but biodegradable, sticky, lightweight and soft. However, can be expensive and not as durable as other options.
Some mats have a slightly different surface on either side, which you can utilise depending on your situation.
The harder side will often be slightly textured, providing added grip in dry conditions, while the softer side will be more absorbent, meaning it remains sticky when wet – perfect for hot yoga.
At the end of the day, all of these mats are great and you just need to choose one that best suits your specific needs.
If we could only choose one from this list, we’d go with the Liforme Mat.
If you’re looking to transport your mat frequently, we recommend investing in a good-quality yoga mat bag or sling. Manduka and Gaiam make some of the more popular options.
You’re also going to want to clean your mat frequently. Manduka makes mat clean sprays designed specifically for their different mats.
Otherwise, it’s easy enough to DIY with water, witch hazel or white vinegar, and some essential oils.