When exercising at home, at the gym, in a yoga studio, or on the road, having a reliable exercise mat can help make fitness feasible for those with crowded schedules. Exercise mats can be the foundation you use when raising your heart rate during pilates or calm it during meditation.

The differences between different exercise mats can be nuanced, but choosing the one most suited to your preferences can significantly improve the experience. So let’s take a deep breath, relax our shoulders, and find the right exercise mat for you.

best exercise mats

Editor’s Pick

BalanceFrom GoYoga All-Purpose Mat

Pros:

  • Moisture resistant helps fend off odor.
  • Lightweight may allow for easier travel.
  • On the more affordable end of the market.

Cons:

  • May retain dents and scuffs.
  • The cushioning might hinder balance for those with less ankle mobility.
BalanceFrom GoYoga All-Purpose Mat
BalanceFrom GoYoga All-Purpose Mat
BalanceFrom GoYoga All-Purpose Mat

The BalanceFrom GoYoga All-Purpose Yoga Mat is 71 inches long, 24 inches wide, and a ½ inch thick. It includes a carrying strap and is slip resistant on both sides. There are over a half dozen color options available.

Contender

Spoga Premium High Density Exercise Mat

Pros:

  • Flat top may be more comfortable for those who exercise barefoot.
  • The skin of the foam is easily cleaned with just soap and water.
  • Added support may be more comfortable for those recovering from knee or ankle injury (always check with your physician when uncertain).

Cons:

  • Not suitable for uneven surfaces.
  • Sides of the mat may peel over time.
Spoga Premium High Density Exercise Mat
Spoga Premium High Density Exercise Mat
Spoga Premium High Density Exercise Mat

The Spoga Premium High Density Exercise Yoga Mat is over a ½ inch thick of Comfort Foam. It is lightly ribbed on the bottom for better traction and has a smooth top for added stability during exercise. It is available in eight colors and includes a carry strap for easier travel.

Great for Yoga

TOPLUS Yoga Mat

Pros:

  • Layered foam can allow for more durability in a variety of temperatures.
  • Dot texture might offer better traction on hardwood floors.
  • Made of material that is free of PVC, toxic plasticizers, or harmful dyes.

Cons:

  • Thinner and less supportive than padded mats.
  • Prone to retaining curled shape at the ends when unfurled.
TOPLUS Yoga Mat
TOPLUS Yoga Mat
TOPLUS Yoga Mat

The TOPLUS Yoga Mat is a ¼ inch thick and is made of high resilience tpe material. It employs double-sided non-slip texturing and is waterproof. It measures 72 inches long and 24 inches wide with a weight of just over two pounds.

Best for Support

Sivan Health and Fitness Extra Thick Comfort Foam Mat

Pros:

  • Memory foam offers added support for ankle and knee joints.
  • Non-slip ridges are designed on both sides to help maintain traction while still being comfortable for those exercising barefoot.
  • Unlikely to sustain tears.

Cons:

  • Weighs less than many competitors to allow for easier travel.
  • May retain odors from sweat and require more frequent cleaning.
  • On the pricier end of the market.
Sivan Health and Fitness Extra Thick Comfort Foam Mat
Sivan Health and Fitness Extra Thick Comfort Foam Mat
Sivan Health and Fitness Extra Thick Comfort Foam Mat

The Sivan Health and Fitness Extra Thick Comfort Foam Mat is a ½ inch thick and made of memory foam. It measures 71 inches long and 24 inches wide. It is water resistant, includes a carrying strap, and is available in eight different colors.

Best Bundle

Clever Yoga Set Kit 7-Piece

Pros:

  • Uneven texture on top can give better traction to improve balance.
  • The blocks are bevel-edged for safety, towels incorporate microfibers for efficient cleaning mid-training, and the whole set is color and design coordinated.
  • The carrying bag can make traveling easier than options that only offer a carry strap.

Cons:

  • The mat needs to be folded tightly every time to fit in the carrying bag.
  • More expensive than non-set options.
Clever Yoga Set Kit 7-Piece
Clever Yoga Set Kit 7-Piece
Clever Yoga Set Kit 7-Piece

The Clever Yoga Set Kit 7-Piece consists of a yoga mat, a yoga mat towel, two yoga blocks, a hand towel, a mat strap, and a carrying case. The mat measures 72 inches by 25 inches and is a ¼ inch thick. The set is available in five color options.

Methodology

Thickness

Probably the biggest varying factor between exercise mats is how thick they are. The thickness is usually indicative of how much padding it has; thicker has more padding, thinner has less. The thicker end of the spectrum is ½ inch to ¾ inch while the thinner options are around ¼ inch.

Most mats intended specifically for yoga will be on the thinner side while more general exercise mats will be thicker to offer more comfort and support. The correct thickness for you will depend on how much support you want for your joints and the type of floor the mat will be used on. Exercising on carpets, such as a living room or hotel room, will likely not need the additional padding. Whereas training on a hardwood floor might be better for the thicker options. 

Texture

The texture on these mats are primarily judged on two things: safety and appearance. Functionally, a texture or ribbing should keep the mat from slipping on the floor and your feet from slipping on the mat (assuming it is textured on both sides). If a mat fails to meet a solid standard of slip resistance then it opens the window for accidents when exercising that could be avoided.

The appearance is less important than safety but with so many mat options on the market, appearance can be a difference maker. This will come down to subjectivity, of course, but depending on the type of exercise that the mat is intended for, certain kinds of designs may be preferable to others. For example, if the mat is intended for yoga or meditation, a more subtle design may lead to less distraction.

Length

For the most part, mats will fall in a range of 68 to 72 inches. Longer or shorter is not necessarily better than the other aside from accommodating height. An informed choice on what would best suit your needs will likely depend on where the mat will be used for exercise. Wherever you plan to train, try to be sure that the mat will be able to unfurl fully and that you will have enough space to maneuver from position to position on it.

Wrapping Up

A good exercise mat should help improve your fitness and flexibility, not be an obstacle. Being educated on the subtle differences between mats and which types are more suitable for you can give you an easier time when shopping. Remember to look for an option that will match your needs and not general needs, and finding the right choice should be quick and easy.