Comprehensive Guide to Yoga Mat Reviews

The Best Yoga Mat Reviews 2017: A Comprehensive Guide

Because of the overall saturation of yoga mats pouring onto the market today, it can be hard to find one that best suits your particular purposes. With all kinds available today, ranging from a horde of varying prices, and quality dependent on the manufacturer, it’s almost impossible to buy one that you will immediately find to your liking.

Most of the time, if you’re a yogi who has just decided to take his/her practice to a new level with a brand new mat, you’ll realize that it’s hard to decide with so many options available. After a time, though, once you’ve made a purchase, there is a distinct possibility that not everything about it will be to your liking; either it’s too slippery once it accumulates enough sweat, or the stability it offers lacks in some of the more difficult poses you do.

Maybe the material is too thin for you, and you feel pain in your joints while using it, or maybe its smell is unbearable to the point that you stop using it altogether.

To save yourself the trouble of having to waste money by buying into mats that don’t exactly fulfill all that you want in your idea of a perfect yoga mat, then it’s worth reading reviews of some of the best that have been compiled here for this specific purpose. These yoga mats have been chosen because of their overall functionality in direct correlation to their cost efficiency; in short terms, you get exactly what you’re paying for, free of any disappointments or regrets.

A small disclaimer for yourself, though, before you read on. It’s worth noting that since each yoga practitioner practices different kinds of yoga, and the intensity of their activities vary, and since we as people have different desires that don’t always match the majority of buyers, it would actually be in your best interests to buy the best one for you, not the best available according to what reviewers and buyers say.

Reviews mostly act as guides to help you figure out how each product holds up to a person’s preference, and at the end of the day, you could end up being satisfied with a yoga mat that others have virtually called crap. In retrospect, reviews are very useful as they give you an idea of how well the supposed features work, and how they hold up in real life use; in no way are they 100% surefire facts that make the product so just because the reviewer said so.

Consider everything carefully in order to be a smart buyer in your own right, and enjoy your practice with he confidence that you’ve made the correct choice for yourself.

Criteria to consider in choosing the best possible yoga mat for your purposes

There are several criteria that you should consider in buying a proper yoga mat. It can meet different purposes that suit you best, and can be expanded if you want to be really specific.

Most manufacturers offer different kinds, with varying features included in each one, so you can easily find one that has all the features you want if you know where and what to look for. To help you with that search, here are a few criteria that should give you a general idea of what to expect in buying the best yoga mat for you:

Yoga practice

The most important thing for you to note when finding the best yoga mat for your purposes is to answer the question of what kind of yoga you are going to be practicing with it. If you’re, let’s say, a beginner, you’d want something that has good traction that is touted better than stability, seeing as you will be doing less complicated poses at first.

Flow/Vinyasa yoga practitioners need good traction for both wet and dry surfaces because of the added movement, while restorative or yin yoga classes call for more cushioning for overall comfort because of the additional seating and lying positions. Hot yoga classes call for closed-cell mats that keep the moisture from seeping into the mat and giving off foul odors. The list for other types of yoga goes on.

Materials used

Different materials are used in the construction of different mats, and the results vary with some being inclined towards better stability, some for better grip, or some for better moisture absorption. Finding the right balance for your specific needs is integral to figuring out the perfect mat construction for you, so do your research on the materials so you can make informed choices.

Usually, the manufacturers tout clean and green living through their utilization of eco-friendly materials that help the environment, so it’s also worth noting those kinds of philosophies that yoga itself promotes.

Dry technology

No matter what kind of yoga you’re into, the one thing constant with all of them is that you are sure to sweat. To combat the effects brought about by excessive sweat on the mat, like loss of traction and slip-resistance, most mats offer some sort of way to combat it, either by wicking moisture away with a non-permeable material, or absorbing it and distributing it throughout other parts of the mat to displace it.

The technology the mat uses in keeping itself dry and slip-resistant is very important for your safety; a slippery mat can cause very serious injuries especially in more complex poses

Weight

A balanced weight is usually the best option for almost all mats. A lighter mat can offer extreme portability but poor stability, while a heavier one will offer the opposite.

On the other hand, a mat that weighs just right will fulfill both of those needs, although if you prefer stability or portability you can choose any of the former.

Thickness

Thicker mats offer better comfort at the cost of stability in standing poses, while thinner mats can be bad for your joints for the price of having incredible stability.

Now that all the most basic criteria have all been covered, here are some of the best yoga mats out there on the market today, each reviewed substantially to help you make that informed choice in the end.

Jade Harmony Professional 3/16-Inch Yoga Mat

Features

  • Manufactured with all-natural and renewable rubber from the Far East; free from any synthetic rubbers and materials; open-cell rubber construction ensures a non-slip surface, both for you and the floor
  • Incredible slip-resistance technology derived from natural rubber
  • 3/16” thick, perfect for a variety of purposes; rolls easily and without much constraint; weighs only up to 8 lbs. for easier storage and carrying for all purposes

Advantages

One of the best reviewed mats on the market today, Jade Yoga’s Harmony Professional is manufactured with all natural and renewable rubber obtained from trees in the Far East. The mat touts itself as being free from all kinds of synthetic rubbers and materials that can be potentially harmful to the environment.

It uses an open-cell rubber construction for incredible slip-resistance on any type of floor and under any circumstances. In addition to its commitment to the environment, Jade Yoga also takes pride in its commitment to social empowerment through portions of the earnings going as proceeds going to causes such as ovarian and breast cancer, and autism as well.

Disadvantages

Because of the mat’s open-cell construction, it is quick to absorb moisture than other mats on the market. Although this is effective in keeping its slip-resistance to optimum levels, the amount of moisture absorbed can cause bacteria to grow within the mat and produce the foul odors commonly associated with yoga mats.

Properly caring for the mat can help stop the growth of these bacteria, at the cost of more frequent washing for the mat.

Conclusion

The Jade Harmony Professional earned so many good reviews because it is a great mat in and of itself. However, if you are a heavy sweater or if the yoga you’re into gives off more sweat, an open-celled mat might not be the best choice. For the Harmony Professional’s cost, though, it’s perfectly cost-efficient.

The Combo Yoga Mat by Yoga Design Lab

Features

  • Measures a mere 70” x 24” x 3.5mm; weighs only 4.1 lbs. for additional convenience
  • Comes with its very own durable carrying strap so you can carry it around almost anywhere, also factoring in its light weight
  • Zero odors; all mats have been tested to be free of toxic smells found in other mats, even during and after heavy use
  • Silicon, toxic glue and phthalate-free; eco-friendly and made only with biodegradable and 100% recyclable natural tree rubber; colors achieved with water-based inks; machine-washable

Advantages

Yoga Design Lab’s very own innovation, the two-in-one product Combo Yoga Mat, is made with a unique, two-fold technology that melds the comfort found in microfibers and sits it atop a natural rubber base that offers superior grip and stability. As a result, the Combo Yoga Mat is like two products for the price and space of one: a towel that provides your body comfort and keeps you relatively dry, and a rubber yoga mat that can stick onto most surfaces to provide you with exceptional stability.

The mat is also free of silicon, toxic glue or any other phthalates that can be harmful to you and the environment, making it eco-friendly with the use of 100% natural tree rubber that is fully biodegradable as well.

Disadvantages

The Combo Yoga Mat can get pretty heavy once it soaks up enough moisture, even more than other mats because of the microfiber part of this mat. It basically doubles as a towel, which is also moisture absorbent. Tearing can also be possible when washing if you are not careful with the cleaning agents you use.

Conclusion

The Combo Yoga Mat by Yoga Design Lab is a great two-in-one item for yogis everywhere, provided you can handle the additional weight that comes from the sweat it absorbs. In terms of cost-efficiency, though, it is a practical buy that will save you the trouble of buying a towel for your yoga sessions.

Manduka eKO Lite 4mm Natural Rubber Wet-Grip Yoga Mat

Features

  • Free from PVC and any other harmful plasticizers; 99 percent latex-free
  • Developed over a span of four years by well-regarded yoga teachers
  • Measures only 68” x 24” x 4 mm; the mat itself weighs in at only 4.5 lbs.

Advantages

The Manduka eKO Lite is a mat specialized for heavy sweating most commonly associated with hot yoga. If you find that you’re a heavy sweater under any type of yoga that you practice, this can also be the perfect yoga mat for you.

The eKO Lite is made from fully biodegradable and non-Amazon harvested natural tree rubber that is processed with non-toxic foaming agents during the softening process. It also uses non-AZO coloring dye materials for its vast array of colors.

The eKO Lite consists of three separate layers that act as a single unit in providing you one of the best mat experiences you’ll ever have: a sealed-cell top layer which wicks moisture instead of absorbing it; a middle layer made with stretch-resistant scrim to bind the whole thing together durably without any use of toxic glue; and a thick bottom layer that provides a lightweight cushion for the added comfort and stability.

It’s reinforced with polyesters and natural cotton for a cleaner and greener mat overall. The mat is free from PVC which can harm the ozone in sufficient quantities and any other types of harmful plasticizers.

Disadvantages

Because of its use of all-natural materials during the manufacturing process, even with the reinforcing and blending agents, the mat is not as slip-resistant as with other natural rubber yoga mats. This is because it sacrifices grip from more common blends to create a blend that’s as harmless as possible in all parts of the manufacturing process.

Conclusion

For yogis who are dead serious about being as green as they can be and can handle a bit less slip-resistance on their mats, the eKO Lite is a perfect choice because of its incredible construction that allows so much functionality in the safest and greenest way possible.

Gaiam Sol Dry-Grip Yoga Mat (5mm)

Features

  • Completely rubber free for a neutral smell; beneficial for those with latex sensitivities brought about by contact to rubber
  • Measurements of 68” x 24” x 5mm; the whole mat weighs in at just around 4.25 lbs., making it ideal to travel around with easily
  • Thicker 5mm thickness cushions and supports your joints, making it an ideal choice for older people and those with sensitive joint problems

Advantages

A mat that is touted as the ultimate hot yoga mat, the Sol Dry-Grip yoga mat is no lightweight when it comes to ridding itself of moisture. Using PVC backing instead of the natural rubber that is more commonplace in most yoga mats today, the trade-off is easily recognizable as the Sol Dry-Grip’s construction allows it to seal out moisture much more effectively.

The Sol Dry-Grip is also completely latex-free, which makes it the only choice for people who have latex sensitivities brought about by contact with rubber. The closed-cell construction also means that it is better at sealing out germs and other bacteria that can cause odors, while still maintaining high slip-resistance which makes it perfect not only for hot yoga practitioners but also for beginner yogis.

The 5mm thick mat can also cushion you better, which is great for joint problems in yoga practices.

Disadvantages

This is one of those products that usually have problems in terms of the materials and poor quality control rather than the construction itself. Most of these cases are isolated, however, so that can add to your peace of mind that this mat is perfect for most of your purposes, provided you don’t mind using synthetic PVC over natural tree rubber.

Conclusion

Yes, it uses PVC, and it might not be the most-eco-friendly choice, but don’t let that deter you from such a great yoga mat. Considering that for you to enjoy the benefits of yoga is the need for a mat that can support you and your poses, it would be wrong to count the Sol Dry-Grip out because of its technical smarts and overall innovation.

Mandala Atletica Premium Pilates Yoga Mat 1/4-Inch (6mm)

Features

  • Soaks up sweat while wicking away moisture for a perfectly capable, high-class, yet extremely affordable mat
  • Measures 71” x 24” x 6mm; one of the thickest mats on the market today, yet still lightweight enough for most purposes; thick premium mat comfortably cushions your body in various positions; your spine, knees, hips and elbows will know comfort like never before even on the hardest of surfaces

Advantages

Manufactured as the only yoga mat in a lineup mostly filled with women’s athletic clothing, the Mandala Atletica Premium is a great yoga mat for those looking for more cost-effective choices. The Mandala Atletica Premium is made with an eco-friendly, non-slip lightweight material that provides exceptional results when it comes to a three-fold mission: using nature-friendly materials to help the environment; keeping a non-slip highly durable quality to help out in even the most complicated poses; and the use of lightweight materials to fulfill a need for portability.

Like most proper yoga mats, the Mandala Atletica Premium wicks away moisture instead of absorbing it, allowing you to stay on top of the mat without danger or fear of slipping. The mat is also 6mm thick, which is great for overall comfort.

The Mandala Atletica Premium is not only great for yoga, but for a variety of other fitness activities as well, such as Pilates, stretching exercises and toning workouts.

Disadvantages           

The Mandala Atletica Premium uses a kind of material that is somewhat similar to memory foam. Because of this, there is bound to be less uniformity in the mat which may affect your stability, though this can be ignored by some people.

Conclusion

Proving that lesser-known brands can do quality and functionality as well as major ones, the Mandala Atletica Premium actually comes out on top when it comes to overall cost efficiency, provided that you can ignore the lack of documentation that will let you know just what exactly the mat is made of. Overall, though, it’s a good and proper starting yoga mat.