You don’t need to invest a lot to get started with yoga: Our budget pick (for six years running) costs well under half what our other picks do and has held up surprisingly well in long-term testing. We have recommendations for all-rubber and non-rubber, latex-free mats, too. Our travel mat pick folds to fit neatly in a suitcase.
Your hands and feet won’t budge, and the 5 millimeters of natural rubber provide plenty of padding for knees. It’s available in a massive Big size too.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $80.
Lululemon’s The Reversible Mat 5mm scored high marks on all nine attributes our professional testers rated, including stickiness, weight, thickness, durability, and overall feel. Lululemon’s mat has two sides: a smooth, “sticky” polyurethane side that makes your hands and feet adhere to the mat, and a spongy, natural rubber “grippy” side that instead provides traction via a textured surface. This lets you dial in how much traction you need, whether you are doing hot yoga or restorative yoga, or are just someone who might sweat a lot. The 5-millimeter-thick natural rubber is supportive, so sensitive knees and elbows won’t sink through to the floor. It’s slightly oversize—3 inches longer and 2 inches wider than a standard mat—which gives you some breathing room but doesn’t take up tons of space in a cramped class or smaller room. If you need even more real estate, the Reversible (Big) Mat is literally the size of a door. These mats are on the heavy side, and the surface tends to show dust, dirt, and smudges that are hard to clean.
Made of natural rubber, the Harmony mat feels like it suctions to your fingers and toes, and is especially good for hot yoga. But being rubber, it has that telltale odor, especially when new.
The JadeYoga Harmony Mat is made from 100% rubber, and this offers some advantages, because it absorbs a lot of moisture and helps maintain traction in sweaty situations—possibly too much for some people, as it can be hard to pivot your feet or slide your hands when flowing from one pose to another. It’s slightly thinner than our top pick at 3/16 inch (4¾ millimeters) thick, but it still provides a spongy-yet-supportive feel under hand, foot, and knee. It comes in four sizes, including the XW (extra-wide) line, but know that the bigger size you choose, the heavier it gets—and rubber isn’t light to start with. This mat has a strong rubber smell, at least for a while, which not everyone loves, and rubber also contains latex. If you have a latex allergy, try our rubber-free recommendation below.
The PVC-made Performance Dry-Grip offers comparable stickiness, support, and cushioning to our two top picks, but without the latex.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $70.
If you have an allergy to latex or dislike the smell of rubber, consider the 5-millimeter-thick Gaiam Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat. It is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and has ample cushioning and firm support that pleased our joints and grounded our standing poses. The smooth top layer, meant to wick away moisture, kept our hands and feet locked in place while allowing freedom for transitions during a flow. The mat is relatively light at 4¼ pounds, roughly a pound lighter than our top pick—a consideration if you carry your mat often.
Not everyone wants to get all spendy for their yoga habit. Still, it’s prudent to have your own mat (rather than use a potentially germy one at the studio or gym), which is where a PVC foam cheapie is appealing. In a world where these foam mats are a dime a dozen, YogaAccessories has produced a low-cost option of value. Its PVC foam is a lofty ¼-inch (6.2 millimeters) thick, plus the mat is generously cut, extending 4 inches longer than the standard size, and available in 30 vivid colors.
This was the only travel mat we tested that folded small but still gave us excellent traction during our practice and didn’t move around on the floor. Expect to sacrifice some cushioning for that portability, though.
The thin, lightweight JadeYoga Voyager is the only travel mat we tested that folded compactly for packing, provided excellent traction during practice, and didn’t slip or shift on the floor. We found the traction of this mat to be as good as that offered by our rubber runner-up pick, also made by JadeYoga. This mat does have less cushioning than our other picks. But if you prefer a plusher feel, our yoga instructor testers found that the Voyager stayed as secure when used on carpet or atop another mat as it did on the floor.