Hands-on Gear Review

Gaiam Premium Sticky Review

Gaiam Premium Sticky
Price:  $30 List | $21.98 at Amazon
Pros:  Inexpensive, durable
Cons:  Poor traction both dry and wet, not very stable
Bottom line:  Inexpensive choice for beginner yogis or those looking for a mat to take outdoors/camping.
Editors' Rating:   
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Materials:  PVC
Weight (lbs):  3 lbs
Length (in):  68
Manufacturer:   Gaiam

Our Verdict

Gaiam is one of the biggest names in yoga accessory manufacturing, with arguably the widest distribution (they're in Walmart and Target stores, etc.). They're known for their colorfully printed and inexpensive yoga mats, but are they any good? We chose to test their more basic model, the Gaiam Premium Sticky mat, which is one you'd be most like to find and buy in these big-box retailers. While the price was right ($30), it just didn't measure up to the higher end mats in this review. If you're new to yoga and not sure you want to spend up to $100 on a mat, then, by all means, grab one of these mats. You can always use it down the road for outside classes, camping trips, or for other times when you don't want to use a more expensive mat. You can also check out the Clever Yoga Better Grip, which retails for only $25 and is more comfortable and stable than this one.



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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Cam McKenzie Ring

Last Updated:
Friday
October 28, 2016

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The Gaiam Premium Sticky mat is 5mm thick, 68" long and 24" wide. It's made with PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride), which is not the most eco-friendly material, but Gaiam asserts that it is manufactured without "the top six most harmful phthalates" and is also latex-free.

Performance Comparison


This mat is inexpensive and durable  but not very comfortable or stable.
This mat is inexpensive and durable, but not very comfortable or stable.

Traction Dry and Wet


This mat has poor wet and dry traction. Our hands slipped whether they were completely dry or slick with sweat when we tried to hold poses like Downward Facing Dog. PVC mats are notorious for not having great traction, and this one is no exception. We preferred the dry traction on our Editors' Choice winner, the Manduka eKO, and the wet traction on the Lululemon The Reversible Mat. Even the Gaiam Foldable yoga mat had better traction than this one, as it's surface really did have a "sticky" texture to it.

Even in dry conditions  our hands and feet slipped in this pose.
Even in dry conditions, our hands and feet slipped in this pose.

Comfort and Stability


We did not find this mat very comfortable or stable. Though it is 5mm thick, it did not feel as plush as the Manduka eKO nor nearly as stable. When jumping from Downward Dog to standing the mat moved with us, and it shifted around on the floor during our practice. For the ultimate in comfort and stability, the 6mm Manduka PRO is the way to go.

This mat is a little squishy underfoot  making standing poses more challenging  and it's not very heavy so it tends to shift around during use.
This mat is a little squishy underfoot, making standing poses more challenging, and it's not very heavy so it tends to shift around during use.

Durability


Like other PVC mats, this one will last for a long time. The material itself is slow to degrade, and it doesn't hold creases or flake off like a TPE mat does.

This mat is double sided  so if one side starts to wear out or get dirty you can switch to the other.
This mat is double sided, so if one side starts to wear out or get dirty you can switch to the other.

Portability


This mat scored high for portability. It is relatively lightweight (3 lbs) and rolls up compactly, and is a feather compared to the heavy and oversized Prana Revolution.

Ease of Care


Gaiam states that "yoga mats release a powerful but harmless odor when first unwrapped," and that is certainly true with this model. But while they say that the smell should dissipate within a few days, this was not the case for us. We've had it out for three months now, and it still has a very strong chemical odor. While most of the mats in this review have a detectable odor, this one is overpowering and much more unpleasant than the smell of the rubber mats that we tested. While this doesn't affect the ease of care for this mat, we thought we'd mention it here anyway. As for the ease of care, it is fairly easy as it doesn't absorb water or sweat and will be slower to take on a funky odor. You can even throw this mat in a front loading washing machine to get a deep clean.

Best Applications


This is a good mat for new yogis or those looking for a "beater" mat to take outside.

Value


There's no question that this is the most affordable mat in this review at only $30, but it also had the lowest overall score. If you're new to yoga and don't want to spend a lot of money on your mat in case you don't end up using it much, then this mat is a good option, but for dedicated yogis you'll want to invest in a better overall mat like the Manduka eKO or Jade Harmony Professional. On the flip side, this mat is almost $80 cheaper than the Manduka PRO, and it's hard to justify that price discrepancy.

The Gaiam mat (top) is almost $80 cheaper than the Manduka PRO (bottom)  which is a significant difference in price without a correspondingly big difference in performance.
The Gaiam mat (top) is almost $80 cheaper than the Manduka PRO (bottom), which is a significant difference in price without a correspondingly big difference in performance.

Conclusion


The Gaiam Sticky Premium mat is a low-cost entry-level mat. While we understand the need for a cheaper beginner mat on the market, it's not our first choice for practicing on, particularly when compared side-by-side to some great high-end mats, or the similarly priced Clever Yoga Better Grip.

Cam McKenzie Ring

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Most recent review: October 28, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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