Your best friend is hooked on yoga and begging you to give it a try. You’ve been thinking about it, but you’re on a budget. You don’t want to spend a lot on something you aren’t even sure if you’ll like. It could end up like all those protein drinks you bought and never drank. Instead they stare at you, accusatorily, from the pantry shelf every time you open the cupboard door. You don’t need a $100 yoga mat propped up in the corner to join them.
Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. We’ve compiled some great choices for the best yoga mats on a budget. You can wet your feet, meet Downward Facing Dog, reach up into a Volcano and cross the Bridge (you didn’t know yoga was going to be such an adventure, did you?) without breaking your pocketbook.
Things to Consider
Let me start out by saying there is no perfect mat – the best of the best, the Grand Poobah of yoga mats. Everyone is different. What you like, your best friend might not. Here are some things you might want to think about when buying.
A mat on a carpet might not need to be as sticky as one on a hard floor. Either way, you want a mat you can count on when you are in standing or stretching poses. Not a sliding board that will shoot you straight into the Yoga Studio Hall of Fame er…Shame.
Another important consideration is the density, thickness and weight of your yoga mat, particularly if you’re a beginner. Thickness typically ranges from 1/16 to 1/2 inch. A thicker pad will help cushion your body, which is important if you have trouble with your knees, hips or back.
It will also be gentler on your body as you are building strength and stamina. Be careful though. An extra thick mat for someone who hasn’t yet mastered their balance can be a falling hazard.
How dense the mat is refers to how much give it has, whether it’s firmer or softer. A firmer mat gives you more stability and better balance.
Density and thickness both affect the weight of the mat. How heavy a mat do you want to lug around?
What a yoga mat is made of impacts its texture, grip, density and how durable it is. If you have a latex allergy, you are going to want to make sure you pay attention to this. Steer clear of the natural rubber mats or any hybrid mats containing rubber. For those of you without this worry, natural rubber is a nice choice because, well – it’s natural.
No worrying about harsh chemicals against your skin. It’s also got a nice density like the last bed in Goldilocks and the Three Bears – not too hard, not too soft. Rubber mats have a great grip. Most have open cell technology, which means they absorb sweat and oils from your skin. On the downside, they can take a while to dry out and are a bit harder to clean.
There’s an ongoing debate that there isn’t any danger to you to use a PVC mat, as long as you don’t catch it on fire. You’ll have to make your own determination how you feel about their safety. Be aware that many budget yoga mats are made of PVC because it’s a pretty inexpensive material and is lightweight.
Cotton is another material you will find in yoga mats. The nice thing about these is they are biodegradable and easy to clean, but they don’t have the grip and padding that other mats do.
Other common natural materials are jute, hemp, bamboo and cork. Other popular synthetic materials are PER (polymer environmental resin), TPE (a synthetic rubber) and NBR Foam (another synthetic rubber).
Type of Yoga You’ll Be Doing
There are many different types of yoga. If the only type you’ve tried is pretty light or beginner, you probably wonder why we are talking about sweat. Let me introduce you to hot yoga, performed in a room between 87 to 104 degrees. There will definitely be some sweating going on in that sauna. If you’re not interested in that type of work-out or you sweat very little, a sweat absorbent yoga mat really isn’t a big deal to you.
Couple Other Things
Smell is also something you might want to consider. Personally I hate the smell of rubber. On the other hand, I have a friend who thinks the smell of new tires is the best smell in the world. Yeah, he’s weird.
You also might want to think about the ease of cleaning. Open cell mats, which are highly absorbent, are harder to clean. Closed cell mats will become slippery with sweat but are easier to clean.
Time to Shop
Now that you know a little about what to look for in buying a yoga mat, let’s talk about some of the top picks for yoga mats on a budget.
Ok so this is the priciest mat on the list, but you do indeed get what you pay for. For a few more dollars than the other mats on the list, you will get a truly great yoga mat. With a 4.6 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, the masses have spoken about their love for this Aurorae mat.
Size: 72” L x 24” W
Weight: 3.8 pounds
Thickness: 1/4 inch
- Environmentally friendly – made of PER (polymer environmental resin), a material deemed to be safe, non-toxic and hypoallergenic.
- Odorless – because it’s made of PER, there’s no odor to this mat. It doesn’t emit any chemicals or gases.
- Two year warranty.
- Good grip – has good traction on its own but also comes with a free bag of rosin to maximize grip.
- Comes in 12 colors.
- Easy to clean – comes with detailed instructions.
- Made by a small, family-owned business – hooray for supporting small business!
- No carrying strap or case.
- A little pricier than others on the list.
- Some consumers complain the mat is slippery when first using. It comes with recommendations for breaking your mat in and avoiding this issue.
Next on the list of best yoga mats on a budget is a longstanding favorite of yoga studios and fitness centers. The Yoga Accessories Mat comes in an amazing 25 different color choices and is longer than most yoga mats on the market. If you are tall or just like lots of extra room, this is the mat for you.
Size: 74” L x 24” W
Weight: 3.6 pounds
Thickness: 1/4 inch
- Great grip – has a double-sided, non-slip texture so this mat holds onto the ground and holds onto you.
- Limited lifetime warranty – they guarantee their mats should be free from anything out of the ordinary occurring to them such as pilling or tearing. This does not include any normal wear and tear or misuse of the mats.
- Durable and tear resistant.
- Extra long mat.
- Gorgeous color choices.
- Made of PVC foam.
- No carrying case or straps.
- Chemical odor when you first open it, which fades with time, using a mat spray or washing it.
For yogis with arthritis or other joint/musculoskeletal issues, you’ll love this mat for the extra cushioning and comfort it provides at an amazing price. It’s made of NBR Foam, a type of synthetic rubber that acts like memory foam, protecting your knees and tender parts but still giving you the grip you need to balance.
Size: 71” L x 24” W
Weight: Less than 2 pounds
Thickness: 1/2 inch
- Great cushioning.
- Good grip – ribbed surface on one side, smooth on the other.
- Comes with an attached carrying strap.
- Very durable.
- More lightweight than all others on the list.
- Only comes in 7 plain color choices.
- Chemical odor that fades with time.
- Some users report difficulty balancing in standing poses due to thickness of mat and stretchiness of material.
Although not the highest rated yoga mat on our list, there’s something I just love about these mats. Holy moley – the color options! It comes in 27 absolutely gorgeous, colored prints. From lilies to oceans to mountains, I just feel shanti looking at them (that means “peace” for you yoga newbies). This mat is also a PVC mat but is free of six of the phthalates that give PVC a bad rap.
Size: 68″ L x 24″ W
Weight: 3 pounds
Thickness: 1/4 inch
- Have I mentioned the colors?!
- Comes with a bonus yoga workout download.
- Excellent traction.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Very strong chemical smell when opened. You’ll need to let it air out for a few days before using.
- No carrying strap or case.
- Shorter mat so not the best choice for tall yogis.
- Not as thick as some of the other budget options. If you need extra cushioning, this isn’t the mat for you.
We round out our list with another cushy yoga mat for those concerned about feeling that hard floor. The Prosource, like the Sivan mat, is made of NBR synthetic rubber. If you think this mat would be too thick for you, they also have one available in 1/4 inch.
Size: 71” L x 24” W
Weight: 2.55 pounds
Thickness: 1/2 inch or 1/4 inch
- Repels moisture – very easy to clean.
- Great padding to protect against sore knees, back, hips and wrists.
- Non-slip, ribbed design for good traction.
- Comes with a yoga mat sling for easy carrying.
- Only 8 color choices.
- Several consumers remarked about it stretching more than they would like while doing poses.
- Doesn’t seem as durable as other mats.
Best Yoga Mat On A Budget Wrap Up
Hopefully you feel more comfortable now about what to buy when it comes to budget yoga mats. Again keep in mind, you get what you pay for. If you decide you want to be a full-fledged yogi, you probably are going to want to invest in a more expensive, more durable mat like the ones made by Manduka or Jade. Until then, these are just about the best cheap yoga mats you can find. Namaste.