The Best Yoga Mats For Every Type Of Class

The Best Yoga Mats For Every Type Of Class

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Not all yoga mats are created equally. Key things to keep in mind when mat shopping are grip, thickness, material and size — not to mention your preferred workout. If you’re an advanced yogi who prefers feeling rooted to the floor, for example, you’re going to want a thinner mat. Recovering from an old knee injury? Opt for a mat with extra cushion to protect your pressure points; we’d recommend a thickness of at least 5 millimeters.

After researching top-rated and editor-favorite mats, we settled on a pool of nine that we rigorously tested with multiple at-home yoga workouts. The good news, other than the fact that we’ve never been so limber in our lives, is that we found a few clear standouts across key categories that we feel will cover most people’s needs:

Best yoga mat overall

Hands down our favorite feature of the mat is the fact that it’s dual-sided, with a smooth and sticky polyurethane-coated top side and a textured natural rubber bottom side that provides loads of traction. Beyond that, though, we also loved that the mat is slightly oversized and provides ample cushion given its 5-millimeter thickness.

Best non-slip yoga mat

While the ultra-slim, extremely foldable nature of the Manduka Eko Superlite Travel Yoga Mat is appealing in and of itself (especially for frequent travelers), it’s also our favorite zero-slip option, with great grip and complete floor stability. And as if that news weren’t good enough, the mat is also totally eco-friendly, made from biodegradable natural tree rubber.

Best thick yoga mat

The Gaiam’s Premium Yoga Mat was the best thick yoga mat, as the PVC (aka a synthetic rubber called polyvinyl chloride) mat boasts 6 millimeters of cushion and features a deep texture that ensures a non-slip surface. As one of the cheapest mats we tested, it also earned bonus points for being the best affordable yoga mat.

Best hot yoga mat

Regular hot yoga practitioners can definitely rely on the Manduka Pro Yoga Mat 6MM to withstand the sheer amount of sweat produced in one sweltering class. Ultra dense, the PVC mat’s weight works to cement it into your flooring, while it’s ultra-tacky top side features a state-of-the-art texture that results in a no-slip grip — yes, even when you’re dripping in sweat.

Best yoga mat for beginners

Beginners will set themselves up for success with the Liforme Original Yoga Mat thanks to its 12 alignment markers that show users exactly where they should be placing their hands and feet. Working as a navigational tool of sorts, the markers are especially helpful for beginners practicing at home without a live instructor present to correct their form.

Courtney Thompson/CNN

Lululemon Reversible Mat 5MM

Lululemon’s Reversible Mat topped our list for a lot of reasons, chief among them that the mat has two sides, making it the most versatile option we tested. After all, who doesn’t love a twofer? Users can choose between a smooth or textured mat (for one price!), and we found that regardless of which side you use, the mat provides superior stability — its hand and feet gripping is unmatched, and it never slipped when placed on hardwood or carpeted flooring.

The mat’s top layer is coated with polyurethane, which we found to be excellent at absorbing sweat, and it feels silky smooth under your hands and feet, with a sticky effect that’s great for sweatier workouts. The textured natural rubber base layer is definitely geared more toward low-sweat workouts but provides equally superior traction when in use.

We found the Reversible Mat’s 5 millimeters of cushioning ample enough to provide support to sensitive areas (i.e., weak wrists, hips, etc.), masking the hard floor underneath. It’s also slightly larger than the standard yoga mat (which typically measures 68 inches by 24 inches), coming in 3 inches longer and 2 inches wider than most — enough to provide you a bit more coverage without being too huge. That said, if you do want huge (84 inches by 28 inches), this exact mat comes in a much bigger format.

While the brand warns of an out-of-box odor, we detected a faint scent that had completely dissipated after just a few minutes. In terms of cleaning, the smooth side wipes down in one quick pass of a soapy cloth, while the textured side unsurprisingly took a bit longer, given its matte nature. One downside is that the mat doesn’t come with a bag or strap, and given its size and 5.24-pound weight, it’s a bit clunky to carry around solo. Lululemon sells a variety of accessories (like carrying straps), starting at $16.

Epitomizing the marriage of form and function, the dreamy design has the mesmerizing effect of a lava lamp with its tie dye-esque pattern that’s currently available in red/pink and black/white colorways. Point being: You’re going to look like a total pro with this mat, whether you’re rolling into a (socially distanced) class or home workouts. Last, but definitely not least, Lululemon’s got your back with this “Quality Promise” policy that ensures if the mat doesn’t perform to your expectations, the brand will take it back for the lifetime of the product.

Courtney Thompson/CNN

Manduka eKO Superlite Travel Yoga Mat

What we love most about the Manduka eKO Superlite Yoga and Pilates Travel Mat is that if you took away its portability selling points (more on those below!), it’s a superior nonslip mat. Here’s why: While it’s light enough to travel with, the mat still maintains enough weight to stick to the floor and stay put, whether it’s on hard surfaces or carpet — which is rare for a thinner, lightweight mat. But the mat’s chief asset is the excellent grip provided by its tightly woven surface. With a slightly dimpled appearance and a tacky texture, the mat provided tons of traction and stability during even our sweatiest workouts.

While traveling might not be part of our current agendas, it’s certainly something we’re all hoping for in the near future, and if you’re someone who loves to do yoga on the road — or someone who lives in a small space and simply wants a yoga mat that can be easily tucked away — look no further than this mat. Weighing only 2.2 pounds (most standard mats clock in around 5-plus pounds), the 1.5-millimeter-thick mat can be folded into a 10-inch-by-12-inch rectangle that can be neatly tucked into your tote, backpack or suitcase.

In terms of cushioning, there isn’t much here, which is to be expected from a super-portable mat (and why it didn’t snag our overall winning spot). If you’re someone who loves a spongy mat with extra padding, this is not the option for you. But lots of advanced yogis prefer a thinner mat, as they provide greater stability, especially when practicing more active or focused poses.

Eco-friendly shoppers are sure to delight in just how sustainable this mat choice is. Completely free of toxic chemicals, dyes and latex, it’s made from sustainably harvested, non-Amazon tree rubber in a zero-waste manufacturing facility. Did we mention that it’s completely biodegradable too? Yes, really.

Moral of the story here is that if you’re looking for a zero-slip yoga mat option with incredible portability and a slew of feel-good, eco-friendly selling points, this is it. More great news: It’s under $50, and Manduka offers a lifetime guarantee.

Courtney Thompson/CNN

Gaiam Premium Yoga Mat

Chock-full of springy, PVC cushion, the rubber-free Gaiam Premium Yoga Mat is perfect for anyone looking for a little extra support for their elbows and knees during their weekly Cat Cow poses. Clocking in at 6 millimeters thick, the mat is twice as thick as most on the market, providing loads of joint protection. More about that thickness: Though it’s a whopping 6 millimeters, the mat feels more dense than spongelike, meaning we had zero problems finding stability, even with the extra cushion underfoot.

While the grip isn’t quite as firm as the Lululemon Reversible Mat, it is still among the strongest we tested, and definitely the best of the cheapish options. Featuring a surface full of tiny textured grooves, the mat has a tacky feel, offering up lots of springy traction, even during sweatier sessions. That said, if you’re someone who wants to feel completely cemented into your mat, the Lululemon Reversible is going to be a better choice.

Another major selling point? That price. Not everyone wants to spend a small fortune on a yoga mat…us included! If you want to get the most bang for your buck, this is the absolute best choice at this price point.

One of our favorite details about the Gaiam mat, however, is that it weighs only 3.4 pounds, making it ultra lightweight for a mat that is also ultra thick. While it doesn’t come with a strap or bag, it is a bit easier to transport because it’s lighter than most. Given its diminutive mass, however, we did find the mat took a few days to uncurl completely at the ends upon initial use.

Boasting a lifetime guarantee from Gaiam, the mat, which is free of latex and phthalates, is available in 30 colorways (the most of any mat on this list!), ranging from jewel-toned tribal patterns to sedate darker designs, and each comes with one free yoga class that can be downloaded from the Gaiam app.

Amazon

Manduka Pro Yoga Mat 6MM

One of the best overall mats we tested, the Manduka Pro Yoga Mat is just that — made for pros! Specifically, pros who love nothing more than a sweatier-than-thou workout. Even if you’re not a typically sweaty person, hot-yoga classes are held at temperatures ranging from 90 degrees Fahrenheit up to 108, with loads of humidity in there to boot. Point being: You’re going to be dripping, and you definitely want a no-slip mat that can withstand all that wetness. Enter: Manduka Pro Yoga Mat.

A beast in its own right, the 6-millimeter-thick mat is beloved by advanced yogis and instructors alike for its density and top and underside gripping, all of which were the reasons we felt it performed better than any other mat we tested during hot yoga. Clocking in at a whopping 7.5 pounds, the PVC mat’s sheer weight anchors it to the floor and ensures a stable workout. The Pro’s top-side texture comprises vertical and horizontal grooves that produced some of the best grip we experienced during testing, even when we had sweat dripping all over the place. The underside also has tons of grip, in the form of a rugged dot pattern that we found stayed put on both carpeted and hardwood floors.

The brand recommends breaking in the mat prior to your first use, which we did, by sprinkling the surface with salt and letting it sit in the sun for 24 hours, then wiping it down with a damp cloth — a process that is a little tedious when really you just want to get going with your workout. Another negative: Given it’s heavier-than-most weight, the mat’s portability can be a bear, and it doesn’t come with a strap or bag.

All in all, however, we found the Manduka Pro to be an excellent mat for both hot-yoga and regular yoga devotees and thus worthy of its steep price point. Not only is it backed by a lifetime warranty from Manduka, the mat is also Oeko-Tex certified and latex-free.

Amazon

Liforme Original Yoga Mat

The Liforme Original Yoga Mat is a great mat on its own, not to mention fancy — we love the smooth, almost silky top side and dense, 4.2-millimeter-thick natural rubber cushion. An investment, sure, but its alignment markers are a true highlight not found on most other mats. Giving cues to newbie and pro yogis alike, the subtle design of the mat works as a cheat sheet for beginners, making hand and foot placement much steadier (and easier!) during your yoga practices, especially for those of us who are getting our namaste on from home, without the positioning help from a live instructor.

Available in five happy colors (from a pretty pink to Kelly green), the mat features more than a dozen indicators (etched in a slightly darker shade of the mat’s color) from top to bottom, including end-to-end lines that keep hands and feet parallel lengthways, reverse points that keep your hands and feet even when on your back, central lines that keep you centered widthways and 45-degree lines that align your back heels when in standing postures. Having used these markers in our own workouts, we felt more confident as we glided through the motions, knowing that each of our poses was not only accurate but also safe, preventing any unwanted injuries that could occur when left to our own (somewhat uneducated) devices. Those lines also helped us to achieve optimal results and learn exactly where we should be on the mat and thus how our bodies should feel in those positions.

Beyond the mat’s built-in tutorial, we also totally appreciated its grip. Covered in an eco-polyurethane layer on the top side, the Liforme mat delivers a no-slip grip that lends itself to a very stab

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