Reviews You Can Rely On

Kulae Elite Hot Hybrid Review

Good mat for Bikram-style classes but not much else
kulae elite hot hybrid yoga mat review
Credit: Kulae
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $78 List
Manufacturer:   Kulae
By Cam McKenzie Ring ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 26, 2019
  • Comfort & Stability - 15% 4.0
  • Portability - 10% 8.0
  • Durability - 15% 8.0
  • Traction Dry - 20% 7.0
  • Traction Wet - 20% 8.0
  • Ease of Care - 20% 9.0

Our Verdict

The Kulae Elite Hot Hybrid is a great mat for hot yoga enthusiasts who don't want or need too much cushion underfoot. The total thickness of the mat is 4mm, which is perfect for standing poses and practicing on a carpeted floor, but when it came to floor poses and/or wood floors, we were left wanting more cushion underneath us. The Aurorae Synergy, our Top Pick for Hot Yoga, provided that with 5mm of cushion, and our hipbones and sacrum thanked us for it. The towel layer of this mat floats independently of the backing, which resulted in some weird bunching when practicing a Vinyasa style of hot yoga. If you're only into the Bikram series and always practice on a carpeted surface, then this mat might do you just fine — but for those who like to mix it up with increasingly popular hot Vinyasa classes, this Aurorae Synergy is a better bet.
Easy to clean
Decent traction for a "towel
" eliminates issue of towel bunching
Not a lot of cushion
Not as versatile for other styles of yoga
Product Revised

Since our test period, Kulae tweaked the Elite Hot Hybrid mat slightly — it's now 5mm thick. The version we tested was 4mm. All other dimensions and materials remain the same.

September 2019

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Kulae Elite Hot Hybrid combines a mat and a towel. It is made of ECO PER (Polymer Environmental Resin), microfiber, and bamboo carbon. It weighs 2 lbs 11 oz, and measures 72" by 24" with a 4mm overall thickness. This mat is 100% biodegradable and free from what the manufacturer calls the "6 most toxic phthalates: DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP, and DNOP." To learn more about phthalates and yoga mat construction, check out our Buying Advice article.

Performance Comparison

kulae elite hot hybrid yoga mat review - getting low in the first part of awkward pose. the thin cushioning...
Getting low in the first part of Awkward Pose. The thin cushioning makes standing poses easier, but this mat is not that comfortable to lie down on.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Traction Dry

From a pure "slippery" perspective, this mat does not have the best dry traction. The upper towel surface does not have the same "stick" factor as our Editors' Choice winner, the Yoloha, or another top favorite, the Jade Harmony. We felt reasonably secure doing a series of vinyasas on this mat in a non-heated room, though we'd still prefer a traditional sticky mat over this one for a "flow" style class. This mat was made with the Bikram style of yoga in mind. If you practice Bikram or similar style classes, then you know that there are no Down Dog poses or vinyasas in that practice, and your mat or towel does little but cushion your joints and absorb your sweat.

kulae elite hot hybrid yoga mat review - the dry traction on this towel/mat is not quite as good as on a...
The dry traction on this towel/mat is not quite as good as on a sticky mat alone, causing some minor slipping in poses like Downward Facing Dog.
Credit: Kenny Barker

Traction Wet

When this mat gets wet, the traction improves a little bit. This was not the case with some of the traditional mats that we tested, like the Prana Revolution and Manduka PRO, which became slick when wet. This improved traction is a nice benefit of the microfiber top. All this to say that as your hands get sweaty with exertion or your sweat begins to accumulate on the mat, you won't have to worry about slipping and potentially jarring yourself. The top towel layer does move around a bit when wet though, and as such we preferred the bonded Aurorae Synergy's traction over this one.

kulae elite hot hybrid yoga mat review - this mat's traction improves when wet, and the ridges on the...
This mat's traction improves when wet, and the ridges on the microfiber towel provide some additional resistance.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

The one weird thing about using a mat/towel combo for Bikram-style classes is Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose), the only time you are "allowed" to use your towel for traction while holding your heels and curving your spine forward. This towel is so thick that it makes this move harder. You could bring a separate hand towel into class to use instead, though we can't guarantee you won't get yelled at for doing so!

kulae elite hot hybrid yoga mat review - using a towel/mat hybrid in sasangasana (rabbit pose) is a little...
Using a towel/mat hybrid in Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose) is a little awkward, one of the downsides to this style of mat.
Credit: Kenny Barker

Comfort & Stability

The combined thickness of this mat/towel is 4mm, and we could feel the difference comfort wise between this mat and a cushier one like the Clever Yoga Better Grip. The plus side to a thinner mat is that it tends to be more stable and easier to balance on one leg on. The downside is that it makes prone backbends and Savasana more uncomfortable. When practicing on this mat in a carpeted room, there was enough padding that Danurasana (Bow Pose) was not too painful on our hip bones — but it was too thin to be comfortable on a wood floor.

kulae elite hot hybrid yoga mat review - this mat is not very thick or particularly comfortable on a wood...
This mat is not very thick or particularly comfortable on a wood floor, however, it is stable and doesn't jump all over the place while in use.
Credit: Kenny Barker


We have to admit we were pretty skeptical about the durability of this mat — not because it seems cheaply made but because we've seen what putting a regular mat in the washing machine does, and we know that we have to wash our towels after every hot yoga class. So we used it a few times, and it seemed fine, and then we used it a lot. One tester even completed a 30-day challenge with this mat (that's 30 classes in 30 days folks!), and it still seemed fine. There was no delamination of the backing and only minimal pilling on the upper towel. All told, we used and washed this mat over 40 times for this review, and it still looks and works great. All products have a lifetime, but we're happy to report that this one will withstand regular heavy use.

kulae elite hot hybrid yoga mat review - the bottom of the kulae after over 40 classes and washes. no...
The bottom of the Kulae after over 40 classes and washes. No scratches or gouges, cracking or flaking.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring


This mat is lightweight and rolls down compactly. Though it weighs a bit more than the Prana E.C.O. and Hugger Mugger Earth Element models, its final rolled diameter is smaller than those models, making it easier to tote around. This model gets bonus portability points because of what it replaces; you no longer have to tote around (and remember) your mat and towel. Our gargantuan yoga bag was noticeably lighter with this mat onboard vs. the heavyweight Manduka PRO.

kulae elite hot hybrid yoga mat review - mat/towel hybrids help de-clutter your yoga bag. the kulae (back...
Mat/towel hybrids help de-clutter your yoga bag. The Kulae (back, black) is slightly thinner and lighter than the Aurorae model (front, green), making it even that much easier to tote around.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Ease of Care

If you've practiced hot yoga regularly, you know that no amount a dragging your mat into the shower with you afterward or spraying it with a cleaning spray keeps the funk out for long. Gagging on the smell of your mat in between sets during the Backbending series does not help you maintain your sanity in the heat. The design of this mat helps eliminate the odor issue and makes the overall ease of care easier! The whole mat goes in the wash after class and then hangs to dry, ready for the next day. With repeat and thorough washing, the padding on the back of this mat does not seem to develop the "funk" that other hot yoga mats do. The one downside is you do have to remember to wash it after every use, and if you have a daily practice, you'll want to buy two if you don't plan on doing laundry every day.

kulae elite hot hybrid yoga mat review - if sweating it off and locking it out is your thing, then this mat...
If sweating it off and locking it out is your thing, then this mat is a game changer!
Credit: Kenny Barker


The Kulae Elite Hot Hybrid mat retails for slightly more than the Aurorae Synergy, which is another towel/mat combo in our review. We think that both are a decent value. Even when purchasing a TPE mat like the Prana E.C.O. ($55), a yoga towel will set you back at least another $30, making this combo mat a pretty good deal when it's all said and done.

kulae elite hot hybrid yoga mat review - 2 for 1 special! this towel on the top/mat on the bottom combo might...
2 for 1 special! This towel on the top/mat on the bottom combo might end up saving you money.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring


If we had any skepticism about this towel/mat combo when we first started this review, it was quickly erased once we started using it. The Kulae Elite Hot Hybrid has good traction relative to other towels, and it is lightweight and portable. It provides just enough cushion without impacting your balance, and it's a breeze to clean. If you practice any type of heated yoga or Pilates on a carpeted floor, switch to this mat, and your nostrils will thank you. If you need a little more padding though, then the Aurorae Synergy is a better choice.

Other Versions

Kulae has the following mats in their line: a non-toxic PVC Jivana mat (4mm) made with closed-cell technology to prevent bacteria and moisture from penetrating the surface of the mat; a 100% Biodegradable and 100% Recyclable tpECOmat (3mm), tpECOmat Plus (5mm), tpECOmat Ultra (8mm); and the EASYmat Travel (3mm). They also manufacture a microfiber zuSKa Premium Yoga Towel and a Hot Yoga Towel.

Cam McKenzie Ring
You Might Also Like

Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.

GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

Learn More