Choosing the right yoga mat for your practice is no easy task. There are many factors to consider when getting a yoga mat. I shall try make this decision easier by giving my reviews based on personal experiences.
Most important question: What’s the purpose of your mat?
If you’re new to yoga and simply want a mat so you can bring to outdoor or “bring your own mat” basis classes, you’re probably going to require a very different mat from someone who is taking their self practice very seriously and doing all sorts of arm balances and inversions at home daily.
- Home use
For those with consistent self-practice habits, your mat at home should be of good quality. It should be very durable so you won’t be distracted by chipping off mat material and must have the density to absorb impact well, giving your wrists less strain when you’re hanging upside down. It should also cushion your knees and basically, you should get the best mat you can, since weight and size won’t matter. You won’t be moving it around since it’s going to be at home.
- Manduka PRO/ Prolite – coconasana’s choice
- Manduka eKO/eKOlite
- Lululemon 3mm or 5mm
- Outdoor/ bring your own mat practice use
This one will be quite the opposite of home-use mats. You want it to be as lightweight as possible since you’re carrying it around, and it’s going to get dirty so you probably want something cheaper – so you won’t feel the heartache when it gets stained irreversibly. It has to have some decent cushioning, since you’ll only have this mat for your outdoor practice and nothing layered under. A bit of bulk wouldn’t hurt so long as the weight is light and it’s still portable. Mats less than 1kg in weight is ideal. This mat can also be used at home if you wish, of course.
- Manduka Live On 3mm
- Watsons TPE mat – coconasana’s choice
- Watsons PVC mat
- Travelling use
There’s a slight difference between this one and the outdoor mat. When travelling you need it to be as compact as possible because size matters and when travelling, you may be visiting studios and can place your mat over theirs so mats under this category can have no cushioning at all. You can use a very thin mat because all you need is the surface for better grip and personal hygiene.
- Lululemon un(mat)
- Manduka eKo superlite – coconasana’s choice
This is one of the best brands for yoga mats and many reputable yoga studios uses their mats. For consumers, they have mats in a wide variety of colours. The prices are on the high side but nothing too unreasonable. There’s no official price for Manduka in Singapore and it depends on the sellers so I will list the approximate.
PRO 6mm / Prolite 5mm – ~$125 – $200
The difference between the two, besides the thickness, is the width – Prolite is 2” narrower and thus lighter. The material is the same – closed-cell surface to keep moisture and sweat from seeping into the mat breeding bacteria, and high-density cushion. This material is most ideal for studio use because it is closed-cell thus more hygienic for sharing. They are 100% latex free. The mats are heavy at 1.8 – 3.4kg for the standard lenght. I do not recommend trying to bring these out. It’s too heavy and bulky! As a studio or home mat, it is one of the best. It even has lifetime guarantee. Most reputable yoga studio uses the PRO mat or a mat of similar material and technology (closed-cell).
However, this material may get stained, like when ink transfers, it may get absorbed into the mat and stay forever, visible if your mat is of a light colour. A dark colour mat will not face this problem. This mat will last very long and look almost as good as new and the surface is not prone to chipping.
Pros: Good surface grip, good cushioning, very durable, comes in many colours
Cons: Heavy, bulky, expensive
eKO 5mm / eKO lite 3mm, 4mm – ~$100
This is Manduka’s rubber mat but I do not understand the appeal of it. The eKO and eKOlite comes thinner than the PRO but weighs just as heavy, at 1.8kg, 2kg, and 3.2kg for 3mm, 4mm and 5mm standard length mats respectively. Perhaps it will appeal to people who care a lot about the environment. Since this is too heavy to bring around, I suggest getting only the 5mm if you need to have this, for home use, since 5mm of cushioning is more ideal than 3 or 4mm which is too thin.
Pros: Good surface grip, thinner, good density, eco friendly, many colours
eKO superlite travel mat
eKO superlite travel mat – ~$60
This 1.5mm thick, 1kg mat is foldable and ideal for packing into luggages. The surface is the same as other eKO rubber mats, so it has good grip. Remember that this has no cushion so it must be layered over another mat to use.
Pros: Good surface grip, foldable, many colours
Cons: No cushioning, heavy
LiveOn 3mm/ 5mm – ~$70 – $90
This mat is made from recyclable foam and is very light weight at 680g and 750g for 3mm and 5mm respectively , ideal for bringing out. The surface however, isn’t as grippy as the other series’. The cushioning is adequate so you won’t need another mat below and the quality is more resistant from chipping than mats from the “no brand” category below. For outdoor or bring your own mat classes, this mat will do its job very well without bringing you inconvenience from a heavier mat.
Pros: Very light
Cons: Not the best grip
All Lululemon mats are reversible with 2 different surfaces – A special polyurethane surface with anti-bacterial properties on one side, and rubber on the other side. The first side will absorb water and will get grippier when you’re sweaty, making it ideal for hot yoga. The rubber side is good for non-hot practice.
However, the absorbent side is known to not look good after a few uses with it’s smooth surface being marked with blotches, so if you want your mat to look good for longer, get black.
As the surface is absorbent, this mat is not ideal for studio use, since the user’s sweat will get trapped in. Even if you mop or wipe the mats down, it will not dry quickly and won’t be ready for the next class. Basically these mats are only good for personal use, not for sharing. Moreover, they disfigure easily and it’ll look dirty and worn out within a few uses. This does not set good impressions for clients of yoga studios.
The Reversible Mat 3mm / 5mm – $95 and $112
The 3 and 5mm are both heavy at 1.8kg and 2.4kg so I suggest it only for home use. It is not ideal for studios use because it will not retain its aesthetic condition for long. 5mm is better because it has more cushioning.
Pros: Good surface grip, good cushioning
Cons: Disfigures VERY easily, very heavy, bulky, expensive
The Reversible (Un) Mat – $78
The 1.5mm un(mat) weighs around 1kg and is ideal for use as a travelling mat, due to the compact size, but because it has totally no cushioning at all, it is suitable only to be layered on top of a mat with cushion. The purpose of having it is for the surface. I repeat, you must layer it over another mat.
Pros: Good surface grip, compact
Cons: Disfigures VERY easily, no cushioning, heavy, expensive, not foldable
No brand – Watsons/ Guardian
These are ideal for people who are new to yoga and are unsure if yoga is going to be a long term thing and want something low cost but functional. Note that wear and tear will be visible with constant usage.
PVC mat – $8.90 – $12.90
Prices varies depending on store discounts but basically they’re about the same. It comes in many colours, are very light (<700g), comes with a carrier bag and is functional enough. The normal size is 6mm but they have a thicker 8mm version as well at Watsons. I find the 8mm one impractical because it is heavier and bulkier. This material is most prone to chipping amongst all mats reviewed here and the density is low so cushioning is rather poor.
Pros: Cheap, light
Cons: Not durable, not enough cushioning
TPE mat – $21.90 – $32.90
Again, price varies depending on store discount. TPE (thermal plastic elastomer) is biodegradable and is more eco-friendly than the PVC version. The material is also closed cell and will not breed bacteria. The mat is 5mm thick and the resistance is more than the PVC mat, making it’s cushioning better. It is very light at only 400g, making it very ideal for bringing out and it comes with a carrier strap. This mat is actually good enough to be used at home because the cushioning is adequate.
Many brands actually uses this kind of mat and charge higher after stamping their brand on it, but it’s basically the same quality.
Pros: Cheap, light, decent cushioning, eco friendly
Cons: Material may chip over time
- Touch the Toes
31 Arab Street, Second Floor, Singapore 199730
- Fit And Fab
252 North Bridge Road, #03-24 Raffles City Shopping Center, Singapore 179103
- ION Store
2 Orchard Turn, B1-11 ION Orchard, The Orchard Residences, Singapore 238801
- Takashimaya Store
#03-12B/13, 391B Orchard Rd, Ngee Ann City, Singapore 238874
- Duxton Store
79 Duxton Rd, Singapore 089538
3 thoughts on “Yoga Mat Comparison”
Love this comprehensive comparison of yoga mats =) I actually tried Manduka mats at a yoga event before. They provided it free for our use during the event, but I found it to be quite slippery and saw a couple of yogis struggling to hold downward dog. Could it be that it’s new? The mats I used at HOM yoga ( I believe they are manduka ) has good grip though.
Manduka mats are slippery when they’re new indeed! There’s this waxy layer which comes off after a few washes. HOM ‘s mats aren’t Manduka, they’re self manufactured from Germany I think and they only sell it at the studio. But the quality is on par with Manduka though I feel! And when HOM mats were new they had the same slippery layer too but went away after a week.
Thanks Melissa for replying. Now it makes sense =) Manduka mats come in beautiful colours though. Have a great weekend!