In this article we will explore some important things to look for when choosing an exercise mat for yoga, pilates or other workouts.
How do you find the right yoga mat for your needs? Things to look for
Dimensions: Go for a mat that has the right dimensions. Most yoga mats are only 24” wide, so you might look for additional width. Most mats are 71” long – if you are 6 foot 5, this is not enough.
Thickness: Most yoga mats are 1/4′ or 1/3 inches thick. The “extra thick” ones are typically 1/2 inches. If you choose a thicker mat, if will provide more comfort and cushiness, but it also adds to the size of the mat and the weight. The thinner mats are also a bit easier to handle.
Portability / Carry strap: If you need to carry your yoga mat with you, a carry strap helps a lot. Most yoga mats these days comes with some sort of attachment strap that allows you to roll, store and carry it. Most will have a shoulder strap – make sure it is included with the product you purchase. Check out user reviews about how the strap works – some are annoying, other work like a charm.
Anti-slip: Mats will slip on hard floors unless they have an anti-slip surface. Look for yoga mats with this surface on both sides to ensure a good grip no matter how you turn it. This will prevent injuries and make your workout more secure. Also check out reviews by users, you can learn a lot about the grip of the products by reading what owners are reporting.
Anti-tear and durability: The mat durability is an important factor. Will it last? – or do you have to replace the mat every couple of months? Some will claim certain “anti-tear” material, which will prevent easy tearing of the fabric. But check out user reviews, especially pictures, where users often tell different stories about the durability. It can be hard to assess before you buy.
Ribbed, smooth or both: Notice whether the yoga mat has a smooth side or a ribbed one, or both.
How to clean: Look at the cleaning requirements for the mat you are purchasing? If you get the right mat, no special detergents are needed to clean it, and the surface is protected and does not get stained easily.
Warranty: A few mats comes with a 1 or 2-year factory warranty, this might matter to you if you use the mat a lot and want to be able to replace it in case of unusual tearing
Tip: Look at user reviews: In general, check out user reviews, also the bad ones. They will tell you alot about the product quality. There is a lot of different cheap mats out there with different names that are basically the same. Some still get awesome reviews though, other are not that durable. The expensive ones are not always worth it, so check out those reviews as well. Look at the posted pictures and the answered questions.