The Best Yoga Mats for 2019: Reviews by Wirecutter | A New York Times Company

The Liforme Yoga Mat has generated a lot of buzz , thanks to its dual-layered polyurethane-and-rubber makeup and helpful alignment markings (so you know where to place hands and feet)—and for its high price. (The Liforme’s price is more than double that of our similarly fabricated top pick .) Both of our yoga-instructor testers really liked the mat for its stickiness in both hatha and hot yoga, its relatively lightweight construction, and the handy bag it comes in. They really had no complaints, though they pointed out that its less than 4.2 millimeter (3/16-inch) thickness might not be cushion enough for some users. Still, for all its “great presentation,” neither tester said they would pay the sticker price. The cork-and-rubber mat from Basically Perfect floated above a similar option from Gaia Guy . Both are great at absorbing sweat in hot yoga sessions, but our instructors found the Basically Perfect mat to be adequately sticky even when dry. Gaia Guy’s mat required some dampness (the instructions recommend a pre-practice spritz from a water bottle) to prevent slippage. Both are the same thickness as our top pick (5 millimeters), yet cork feels denser, making these mats less plush overall. We were interested in testing the Hugger Mugger Para Mat , which did well in a previous review, when we learned that a new XLXW version measuring 28 inches wide and 78 inches long was launching. Though our yogis enjoyed practicing on the extremely grippy, luxuriously thick (¼ inch/6.2 millimeter) natural rubber mat, they found it very heavy to haul around (8 pounds) and extremely pungent (our hot-yoga instructor described it as smelling like a tire factory, which even bothered her neighbor in class). The Kulae tpECOmat Ultra mat is made of similar TPE material to the Yoga Rat mat, but with an extra-plush 8 millimeter (5/16-inch) thickness. The hatha instructor and I were big fans of the lightweight yet densely cushioned material, which I particularly enjoyed in restorative yoga practice during long-held floor poses. Our hot yoga instructor found it slippery and commented that the material stretches a bit underfoot. We all agreed its thickness makes it a bit unwieldy to carry when rolled up, despite its only 4-pound weight. The all-rubber Prana Indigena got high marks from the hatha instructor, who praised the grip and thickness and raved that the mat “greatly improved his practice.” He noted, though, that it felt too heavy (at 6.1 pounds) to carry around, and that he’d prefer it for at-home practice. As soon as she got sweaty, the hot-yoga instructor slipped and slid on this mat, which she described as overly long—at 78 inches, or 6 to 10 inches longer than most mats—and smelling like burnt rubber. The Manduka Pro and the thinner ProLite polyurethane mats have legions of fans who praise them for their durability, which the company backs with a lifetime guarantee. The lingering problem in our testers’ minds: The surface requires extensive breaking in before it’s sticky. The company recognizes this issue, and suggests giving these mats a scrub with salt and water “to speed things up a little” while breaking them in. The dual-layer  Yoga Design Lab Combo Yoga Mat is a towel-fused rubber mat that’s designed specifically for hot yoga—you can even machine wash it. However, both yoga instructors struggled with its lack of stickiness when dry and wet. The Aurorae Yoga Classic Thick Yoga Mat , made of PER foam, also had divided results. The hatha instructor was generally impressed with its cushiony padding and stickiness, and particularly liked the included rosin bag, which helped him get his grip when his hands got sweaty. Our hot-yoga instructor agreed that the rosin helped, but only to a point—toward the end of class, she resorted to layering up with her yoga towel. HalfMoon Yoga’s Mighty Mat had fans among readers who commented on a previous version of this guide, so we gave it a go. Both yoga instructors were only mildly impressed by it, finding the mat difficult to unroll and the surface just okay for practice. In the words of our hot-yoga instructor: “Amazon makes yoga mats?” The AmazonBasics ¼-Inch Yoga and Exercise Mat with Carrying Strap didn’t really impress her (aside from the included carrying strap, which she appreciated) or the hatha instructor, who used “decent” and “generic” to describe it. Both found the PER material slippery whether dry or wet. Travel Mats The Lululemon The Reversible (Un) Mat Lightweight Travel  has the same smooth-but-grippy texture that our yoga instructors loved in the brand’s The Reversible Mat 5mm . At just 3 millimeters it’s significantly thinner, which makes it much lighter to carry but also far less cushioned. Unfortunately, it can’t be folded easily, making it not ideal for travel—its rolled length of 26 inches is too long to fit inside backpacks or carry-on suitcases. The natural rubber Manduka eKO SuperLite got great reviews from our instructors for its portability. Weighing just 2 pounds, it’s nearly as light as the JadeYoga Voyager, but it doesn’t fold down quite as compactly. Unfortunately, our yogis didn’t agree on the quality of its traction—it satisfied our hatha instructor but had the hot yoga instructor complaining about slippage from the get-go. Gaiam makes two nearly identical versions of its PVC travel mat, the Foldable 2mm and the On-The-Go , the latter of which has integrated carrying straps. Both fold down nicely and the straps seemed like a good idea—until we realized they are affixed to the mat and got in the way of practice. Our hot yoga instructor complained about the PVC being very slick, and “actually had to stop using [the mat] 20 minutes in.” The microfiber top surface of the Toplus 1/16 Inch Travel Yoga Mat has a nice feel, and the mat comes in a tidy plastic sleeve for storage. But our hatha instructor was not impressed with the traction; and though our hot yoga instructor thought it was decent on her trial run, she preferred the JadeYoga Voyager. The Khataland YoFoMat is bulky (it takes up twice the space of other mats), feels cheap (even though it isn’t), and is slick to the touch. Neither yoga instructor wanted to test it, and I agreed it wasn’t worth their time. We also considered YogaPaws , a set of padded gloves and socks that could easily be the most portable mat-replacement option for traveling yogis. Unfortunately, neither yoga instructor nor I much liked practicing in them. Even the thinner version feels thick under your hands and feet, and the socks have a tendency to shift around as you practice.