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Best yoga mats, according to experts — and how to pick them

Yoga experts say thickness, texture and grip are top considerations when buying a yoga mat.
The best yoga mats should inspire relaxation and rejuvenation. Shop these expert-recommended mats from Lululemon, Manduka, Liforme and more.
The best yoga mats should inspire relaxation and rejuvenation. Shop these expert-recommended mats from Lululemon, Manduka, Liforme and more.Kara Birnbaum / NBC

More than 35 million people in the United States practice yoga to release tension, improve their physical and mental strength or simply to feel happier, according to Statista. Given this, it's no wonder that yoga mats and yoga accessories have also grown in popularity. But with so many choices available — extra-padded, super-gripping, eco-friendly and more — you might have trouble deciding which mat to invest in.

SKIP AHEAD Best yoga mats

So to help you prepare to “om” with peace and joy during your next at-home or on-the-road yoga session, we talked to expert yoga teachers to find out exactly what you should look for in a yoga mat and which are the best ones to shop right now.

Top picks

Types of yoga mats — and how to shop for one

A yoga mat may not seem super complex, but there’s a lot to consider before buying one, said our experts, adding that most of it comes down to your yoga habits, personal preference, safety and comfort. They advised asking yourself the following questions: Do you perspire a lot or intend to practice hot or intense yoga? Do you suffer from joint pain? Do you prefer a more relaxed yoga style? Will you be practicing daily? Will you be traveling with your mat?

  • For slower-paced or relaxing yoga styles, foamier mats with extra padding and thickness might be more comfortable and also work best for anyone suffering from joint pain, said Gustavo Padron, a Texas-based teacher of yoga and meditation.
  • He also advised that yogis who tend to sweat a lot, or those practicing hot or intense yoga, should opt for sweat-proof mats, adding that vinyl mats, which are sweat-proof, have added durability.
  • Textured yoga mats with increased traction are beneficial for more intense, sweatier yoga sessions.
  • Yogis who practice daily should also consider investing in long-lasting, more durable mats.
  • According to New York City-based yoga, meditation and fitness instructor Kendra Thomas, those who like to practice yoga while traveling should invest in lightweight or foldable mats.

And when it comes to yoga mats, aesthetics do matter. Yoga is about calming and clearing the mind and body, and if you find the bright pink color of your mat irritating, you may not be able to relax. Both experts agreed that, aesthetically, your mat should be in line with who you are and what makes you happy to best inspire relaxation and rejuvenation. “A good yoga mat needs to be supportive, comfortable, durable, eco-friendly and cute,” Padron said.

Yoga mats can be very different from one another, and you’re not necessarily going to do the same kind of workout every time or even be in the same mindset from session to session.

“It might be best to invest in a couple,” she said. “Not only will this ensure that you have the right mat for the proper occasion, but it will extend the life of your yoga mats overall.”

Finally, while most mats can be wiped down with soap and water and hung to dry, some are machine-washable for simpler maintenance.

Best yoga mats in 2023

Since we don't test yoga mats ourselves, we asked our experts to recommend their favorites. Below are their top picks, along with some highly rated ones we selected based on their expert guidance.

JadeYoga Harmony Mat

Thomas said this mat is one of her top choices for its traction: “It’s one of my favorites for everyday use thanks to its non-slip texture.”

The mat is made from natural rubber for added traction, according to JadeYoga, and measures just under 0.2 inch thick and 68 inches long. This mat has an average rating of 4.7 stars from nearly 5,000 reviews on Amazon.

Select contributor Claire Tighe liked it so much she’s given it as a gift many times, and JadeYoga says it will plant a tree for every mat sold. “Jade will be my forever yoga mat brand as long as I’m practicing — by all signs still true after 15 years so far,” Tighe wrote.

Feetlu Yoga Mat

This certified eco-friendly two-toned yoga mat is flexible, tear-resistant and designed for long-lasting durability, says the brand. It has 10mm of extra-thick cushioning and extra gripping on both sides for intense workouts. It weighs 2.5 pounds and has a carrying strap for easy transport to and from your yoga sessions. The Feetlu has a 4.7-star average rating from over 700 reviews on Amazon.

Manduka Pro Travel Yoga Mat

This foldable, rollable yoga mat was designed for travel, weighing 2.5 pounds with a thickness of a little under 0.1 inch. The mat is latex-free and made from a closed-cell vinyl that blocks moisture and bacteria buildup, according to the company. “This is my go-to yoga mat,” said Anne Saimeri, a yoga teacher and yoga practitioner in Orleans, Massachusetts. “I have had the same purple Manduka Pro for 13 years now. No pills, no creases — a mat I use and teach with every day.” It has a special textured top layer that Manduka says provides traction without stickiness. The Manduka Pro has an average rating of 4.4 stars from more than 5,500 reviews on Google Shopping.

Alo Yoga Warrior Mat

Padron recommended the Alo Yoga Warrior Mat, pointing to its “sleek matte finish with just the right amount of cushion and a great grip.”

The anti-odor, moisture-wicking mat is made from 100-percent formaldehyde-free polyurethane leather and rubber that is easy to clean, according to the company – just wipe it down with soap and water. At 0.2 inch thick, 6 pounds and 74 inches, Alo’s Warrior mat is on the larger, heavier side, making it more suited to at-home practice. It has an average rating of 4.5 stars from over 1,000 reviews on the Alo website.

Liforme Original Yoga Mat

This mat has almost everything: It’s non-slip, eco-friendly, biodegradable, sweat-resistant and is 4.2mm thick for extra comfort. It also has a “warrior-like grip” and markers so you can align yourself to help prevent injury, says the brand. It comes in two lengths — 70 inches and 82 inches — and includes a bag for storage. The Liforme Original is 3.5 pounds and has a 4.7-star average rating from over 2,400 reviews on Amazon.

Lululemon Reversible (Un)Mat

A favorite of Thomas, who praised its reversibility, the Lululemon Reversible (Un)Mat weighs 2.3 pounds and is 0.06 inch thick. That mat is made from natural and synthetic rubber, polyurethane, polyester and nylon.

“Not only does this yoga mat have one side that is textured and perfect for those hot and sweaty yoga sessions, but it also has a smoother side that will provide you with enough traction for most classes while also feeling plush,” she said.

Gaiam Classic Solid Color Yoga Mat

Select writer Stephanie Mansour, herself a longtime yoga teacher, calls this her “go-to,” and owns several that she keeps at her apartment and relatives’ homes. It’s just under 0.2 inch thick and has a “sticky texture” to keep you stable. It’s the most affordable yoga mat on this list, at under $25 on the Gaiam website.

Plus, you get access to the Gaiam yoga library when you buy one of their mats.

Meet our experts

At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Gustavo Padron is a Texas-based teacher of yoga and meditation.
  • Kendra Thomas is a yoga, meditation and fitness instructor based in New York City.
  • Anne Saimeri is a yoga teacher and practitioner based in Orleans, Massachusetts.

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