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Manduka eKO Review

Great mat that works well for a variety of non-heated styles.
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Price:  $88 List | $74.62 at Amazon
Pros:  Great traction when dry, comfortable and stable
Cons:  A little heavy, not durable
Manufacturer:   Manduka
By Bo Outland & Cam McKenzie Ring  ⋅  Oct 14, 2019
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 17
  • Comfort & Stability - 15% 9
  • Portability - 10% 4
  • Durability - 15% 7
  • Traction Dry - 20% 8
  • Traction Wet - 20% 8
  • Ease of Care - 20% 7

Our Verdict

The Manduka eKO is a great mat if you practice yoga in a non-heated room and you want a mat that is firm enough for vinyasa, but soft enough for Yin. This mat is different from its counterpart mat the Manduka Pro in that is has a separate top layer that resists wear and keeps water out of the inner mat. However, we found that the pattern of the top wore away quickly and frayed on the sides when toting the mat to and from class. The top also decreases the traction when wet, especially compared to other rubber mats. This mat is one of the heaviest mats we tried weighing in at 5lbs. 14oz., but because of that, it does roll up easily and lays on the floor flat.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Manduka eKO
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $74.62 at Amazon$139.99 at Amazon$68 List$59.95 at Amazon$48 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
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77
Star Rating
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Pros Great traction when dry, comfortable and stableEasy to clean, lightweight, tons of traction dry or wetGreat wet and dry traction, stable and comfortableGreat traction when wet, easy to care for when doing hot yogaInexpensive, high-quality
Cons A little heavy, not durableExpensiveHeavy, strong odor, easily scratchedNot as much cushion as a regular 5mm mat, somewhat slippery when dryThin
Bottom Line Great mat that works well for a variety of non-heated styles.This mat combines rubber and cork for a truly grippy mat dry or wet.This is a great mat for people with sweaty palms.Great for hot yoga or people who like to use a towel over their mat.A great option not only for travelers, but for someone looking for an inexpensive high-quality mat.
Rating Categories Manduka eKO Yoloha Native Cork Lululemon The Reversible Mat Aurorae Synergy Lululemon Reversible (Un)
Comfort & Stability (15%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
5
10
0
5
Portability (10%)
10
0
4
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
8
Durability (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
6
Traction Dry (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
9
Traction Wet (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
Ease Of Care (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
Specs Manduka eKO Yoloha Native Cork Lululemon The... Aurorae Synergy Lululemon...
Materials Natural rubber Cork and recycled rubber Polyurethane, Rubber, Latex Bottom: Polymer Environmental Resin, Top: Microfiber towel Polyurethane
Measured Weight 5 lbs 15 oz 3 lbs 3.8 oz 5 lbs 7 oz 3 lbs 10 oz 2 lbs 3 oz
Length 71 in 72 in 71 in 72 in 71 in
Width 26 in 26 in 26 in 24 in 26 in
Thickness 5 mm 5 mm 5 mm 5 mm 1.5 mm

Our Analysis and Test Results

While the Manduka eKO has been an award winner in the past, new yoga mats in our fleet have surpassed its performance.

It's taken a while to see any impact on this mat  but after over 100 classes there are now a few holes and some wear showing. We are actually very impressed  as other mats we've had have literally disintegrated with the same amount of use.
It's taken a while to see any impact on this mat, but after over 100 classes there are now a few holes and some wear showing. We are actually very impressed, as other mats we've had have literally disintegrated with the same amount of use.

The Manduka eKO is a 5mm mat made from biodegradable non-Amazon harvested rubber. The standard size of this mat is 71" long by 26" wide, and it also comes in a 79" extended version. This is a two-layer rubber mat — the bottom layer is the typical open-cell" construction, and the top layer is a sealed-cell one for increases durability and impermeability.

While Manduka states that this mat is 99 percent latex-free, if you have a latex allergy, you'll still want to avoid all rubber mat products as they contain small amounts of natural latex that could still trigger a reaction.


Performance Comparison


Weighing 5lbs and 15oz the Manduka eKO is anything but portable.
Weighing 5lbs and 15oz the Manduka eKO is anything but portable.

Ease of Care


The bonus to the smooth top layer of this mat is that it is easy to clean. While this mat does attract lint, dirt, and animal hairs like moths to a flame, we found that simply wiping the mat off is easy. Manduka recommends cleaning this mat with a 50/50 mixture of water and apple cider vinegar. They also advise against soaking this mat in a tub or putting it in a washing machine.

When transporting this mat, it was easily scrapped, and the sides became frayed. If you decided to get this mat, we suggest using a mat bag for longevity.

Frayed side of the "durable" Manduka top.
Frayed side of the "durable" Manduka top.

Traction Dry


The Manduka eKO has decent dry traction. However, mats that use polyurethane on the top were better. We did a series of Sun Salutations side-by-side on each mat, and with both eKO and poly mats found ourselves sticking like glue. While some of our testers might have preferred one over the other, at the end of our testing, it was hard to distinguish between the two, particularly when compared to other mats that felt like ice-rinks.

Traction when dry is what the Manduka eKO is all about.
Traction when dry is what the Manduka eKO is all about.

The rubber on the Manduka eKO has a slightly tacky feel to it, and when you set your hands and set your feet and raise your rear to the sky in Downward Facing Dog, everything stays where it's supposed to stay. Manduka states that this mat was developed over four years by seasoned yoga teachers, and it shows, as they better than anyone know how important traction is for safe and enjoyable practice.

Traction Wet


Whether you practice in a heated room or not, as you build up your internal fire during your practice, your body will start to sweat. Where and how much varies from person to person, but for many of us, some of that sweat comes out of our palms. And as soon as it does, the real test of our mats begin.

With added water or a little sweat on our palms  this mat does get quite a bit slicker. The water didn't absorb into the mat as quickly as some other models  like the Lululemon The Reversible Mat  so if you do sweat a lot in class you might want to bring a small hand towel to wipe it off.
With added water or a little sweat on our palms, this mat does get quite a bit slicker. The water didn't absorb into the mat as quickly as some other models, like the Lululemon The Reversible Mat, so if you do sweat a lot in class you might want to bring a small hand towel to wipe it off.

Some of the mats in this review, like the Mika Mat, and Yoloha, became much slicker when wet. Unfortunately, the traction on the eKO does decrease when wet. There is some texturing on the upper, which helps, but as you start to sweat, you will notice a lack of traction. If you practice heated yoga, though, then you'll be better off with a towel over the top this mat or consider the Yoloha or the Lululemon Travel Mat for Hot Vinyasa-styles or Hot Pilates.

Comfort and Stability


We liked both the comfort and stability of this mat. Sometimes mats will sacrifice one for the other, but this model does indeed provide both. The 5mm thickness is not too squishy underfoot, and the heaviness of the mat makes it stay in place when moving around during your practice.

Some lighter mats, like the Clever Yoga Better Grip, tend to shift underfoot, particularly when making dynamic movements like jumping from Downward Facing Dog to standing. Not so with this mat — it stayed in place all the time, and we felt confident and secure while practicing challenging arm balances and inversions on it.

Durability


The top layer of this mat helped increase its durability when compared to other Manduka mats like the Manduka Pro. Over time we did notice that the topper, which is supposed to make the mat more durable, unfortunately frayed. This happened when traveling to and from the yoga studio with the mat. We like the feel and traction of some of the other rubber mats in this review, but have not been that impressed with their longevity, particularly around the feet; this mat was not any different. We noticed that over time, little holes popped up around the hands and feet, and the pattern on the mat (which helps with traction) faded away.

You can see the Manduka eKO starts to wear away after consistent use.
You can see the Manduka eKO starts to wear away after consistent use.

One thing to keep in mind is that like all other rubber mats, you should not leave this one in direct sunlight or a hot car for prolonged periods, as it will cause the material to break down.

Portability


Portability is a huge downfall for this mat as it weighs 5 lbs 15 oz, making this mat one the top four heaviest mats we tried. While all of these mats roll up easily and can fit in a mat bag, if you live in a city where you have to cart around your mat, is the extra weight really worth it? If you are looking for a lighter alternative that is still durable with tons of traction, we recommend the Yoloha Native Cork, which weighs 3lbs 8oz, and is extremely easy to carry around.

If you're taller than around 5'9, you'll probably want to order the long version of this mat (79") so that you are not constantly hanging off the edges. The longer version is slightly more expensive, as it is 99 dollars.

There's no question that the Jade mat (left) is much smaller and lighter than the eKO (right). This mat is available in 3 and 4 mm thickness though if you prefer a thinner and lighter mat.
There's no question that the Jade mat (left) is much smaller and lighter than the eKO (right). This mat is available in 3 and 4 mm thickness though if you prefer a thinner and lighter mat.

Value


This mat costs a big chunk more than the Lululemon The Reversible Mat and Lululemon Travel Mat. While these mats were all fairly similar in their performance, the Lululemon mats held up slightly better in our testing and are likely to last longer overall, which will end up saving you money in the long run.

Ashtanga  Vinyasa  Baptiste  Power Flow ... if you're practice involves any of those styles or lots of Sun Salutations and flows  this is the mat for you.
Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Baptiste, Power Flow ... if you're practice involves any of those styles or lots of Sun Salutations and flows, this is the mat for you.

Conclusion


In the last few years, we've now tested almost every mat from every major manufacturer. The Manduka eKO, while comfortable and stable, does not offer the best traction when wet - only when dry. We're disappointed in the eKO's performance, especially compared to others in our fleet.


Bo Outland & Cam McKenzie Ring