Looking for the best exercise mat? We spent countless hours stretching and sweating to help you make the best choice and meet all your needs. We researched twenty different mats and found the best nine to put through the wringer. We tested each mat extensively and considered important factors such as comfort, durability, and traction. We know how difficult it can be to find the perfect mat, so we've done the heavy lifting for you. Now you can rest easy and just focus on your next workout.If you are looking for a mat specifically for yoga, see our best yoga mat review.
The 5 Best Exercise Mats of 2023
Our Top Picks
Our choice for the best exercise mat goes to the HemingWeigh Extra Thick Foam Exercise Mat. It is comfortable, made with durable foam, and offers great traction, an important factor to consider when comparing products. The mat is light, compact, and has a separate securing strap that is easy to unroll and handle. The HemingWeigh mat is made with an anti-skid design. The front of the mat has a fine texture offering non-slip resistance, and the back has a lined texture offering better grip on the floor. It is made with 5/8 inch thick closed-cell foam making it waterproof and easy to wipe after a sweaty workout. The foam is firm enough to support your wrists while doing planks yet still offers the comfort you need for floor exercises and gentle stretching. The material is durable and showed little wear after repeated use and abuse.
Our only issue with the mat is its chemical smell when taken out of the box, which dissipated after a couple of weeks. It also takes time to flatten out when unrolled, but that tends to be the case with most foam mats. The HemingWeigh mat is a great choice for someone looking for an excellent overall product.
The ProSource Fit Puzzle Exercise Mat is a great choice for use under gym equipment for high-intensity workouts or floor exercises. It has an interlocking puzzle-piece design and one of the larger mats we reviewed. It's made of high-density EVA foam and contains no toxic phthalates. The foam is highly textured, improves grip, and prevents slipping during workouts. It's not as cushioned as some of the other contenders we reviewed, but it is one of the most versatile mats and serves many uses. The mat is durable and showed no wear after repeated use. It uses waterproof material, making it easy to clean with soap and water.
The puzzle-piece design allowed some water to seep through the cracks to the floor below, but it was minimal. This mat would not be a good fit for use on carpet or grass and requires a flat surface to set up properly. The Prosource Fit Puzzle Mat is best used in a permanent space because its design takes more time to set up, take down, and store. It is perfect for those looking for an inexpensive, do-it-all mat.
The Retrospec Laguna Yoga Mat was our favorite mat for high-intensity yoga, where traction is key. Not only does the mat securely stick to the floor, but your hands and feet don't move at all while exercising, even when wet with sweat. The mat is thin (1/4 inch) and made with cruelty-free, PVC-free, and vegan materials, which are extremely durable and show little wear after repeated use.
Although we typically like stretching on a firm surface, some people might find its lack of padding problematic in sensitive areas of the body. There was also a strong chemical smell to the mat, but luckily, that eventually subsided after a couple of weeks of use. The mat unrolls easily, but we were left wanting a strap to secure it for storage. The Retrospec Laguna Yoga mat is the perfect choice for your next sweaty workout.
The BalanceFrom GoCloud All-Purpose 1-Inch Mat is the most comfortable and cushioned mat we tested. The 1-inch thick high-density foam material is soft and offers extreme support for stretching and floor exercises. We found that the foam resists squishing and sinking more than other brands. It has horizontal ridges to help with traction and a shock-absorbing consistency to prevent joint discomfort. The BalanceFrom Go Cloud is made from waterproof material, making it easy to wipe clean and wash with soap and water, and it comes with a securing strap to help with storage and transport.
Given that the mat is waterproof and made with high-density closed-cell foam, when wet, we found that our hands and feet would slip, making this mat better used for stretching and non-intense workouts where sweating is an outcome. This mat would also not be a good option for standing poses while practicing yoga as it would not offer a stable surface for balancing. However, this BalanceFrom GoCloud mat is your answer for stretching and floor exercises where comfort is key.
If you are looking for a mat with a comfortable but firm surface, then the BalanceFrom 2-Inch Tri fold mat is a perfect choice. It's made from 2-inch thick foam and covered with heavy-duty, durable material to protect the mat from wear and tear. The foam is more firm than the BalanceFrom GoCloud, making it a good option for ankle support while jumping or wrist support while doing your favorite yoga workout. The mat has three sections that fold up and allows the mat to be stored nicely. The mat is the most durable of all the exercise mats we tested in large part to its thick and waterproof cover. The cover didn't show any wear after repeated rubbing and use, and the foam showed no signs of indentation after leaving heavy objects like weights on the mat. The mat has Velcro along the sides, allowing you to attach other BalanceFrom Tri Fold mats and create a large workout space.
It's not a great option for travel, as it is rather large but great for home use. Since the mat is waterproof, it doesn't offer much traction when sweating, but as long as you have a towel nearby and can dry it off, the mat quickly regains its stickiness. The cover is also slightly larger than the foam itself, causing the extra fabric to bunch. It's not enough to cause you to trip, but something to consider. It's a great choice for at-home use and can stand up to lots of use.
The Stamina Fold-to-Fit mat is the best choice for use under exercise equipment. It folds along a series of six seams measuring 12 inches to fit the needs of your gym. It is the largest mat we reviewed and measures seven feet long by three feet wide. The closed-cell foam material of the mat has a slight texture making it grip shoes and equipment well. The material is very durable and seems extremely difficult to tear. It is also waterproof, making it easy to wipe off and clean with soap and water.
Like the ProSource Fit Puzzle mat, this mat is best used in a permanent location, although it is much easier than the former to set up, take down and store. The mat is the heaviest of all we reviewed and weighs seven pounds despite being only ¼ inch thick. This mat is a great option for your home gym and will give you the durability and versatility you need for your next workout.
The Sunny Health and Fitness Folding mat is the lightest mat we reviewed. It has a tri-fold design and is a great mid-price option for someone looking for the utmost comfort. The foam is 2 inches thick and extremely soft, making it great for stretching and floor exercises. A cool feature of this mat is the removable cover. The covers are durable, waterproof nylon, which can be easily taken off for spot cleaning and washing.
One of the flaws we found with this mat is how soft the foam is. When a large amount of pressure is applied over a small mat section, the foam caves in, and your body is almost touching the ground. This mat would not be a good choice for exercises like plank, where you need wrist support, but it is great for stretching and floor exercises.
If you are looking for a great inexpensive mat, the Gaiam Essentials Thick Yoga mat is the one for you. It is the cheapest mat we reviewed but still has many nice features. The product excels for all fitness routines where additional cushion and support are appreciated. It's 2/5 inches thick, which offers enough support to protect your joints but still is firm enough to support you in standing poses. It is made with non-toxic and 6P-free materials.
The foam dented easily and was damaged from the securing strap being fastened tightly. When buying a cheaper mat, you tend to lose the longevity you might desire, and we noticed this with the Gaiam Essentials mat, but overall this is still a great mat for those on a budget.
Style: Floor Mat | Waterproof: Yes
A great all-around mat that we would recommend for anyone is the ProSource Extra Thick Yoga and Pilates mat. It's 1/2 inches thick, which means it is comfortable for floor exercises and offers good stability for standing poses and plyometrics. It's made with high-density, closed-cell foam that is waterproof and resists slipping with its ribbed design. The mat is affordable and a great option for someone looking for a mat that is versatile.
Out of the box, the ProSource mat had a chemical smell that eventually subsided with a few yoga sessions and mat wipe-downs. After some serious testing, we did notice the mat material began to deteriorate and dent easily. This is a theme with all of the inexpensive foam mats we tested. Overall, it's a great budget-friendly choice for those looking for a great do-it-all mat.
Why You Should Trust Us
We bring years of expertise on exercise and workout equipment. Our main tester Whitney Clark has been doing yoga for 15 years and has spent hundreds of hours on exercise mats. She knows how important it is to find the perfect match and which qualities to look for depending on the type of workout you are doing.
To test the products, we spent hours researching the best contenders of 2020 before narrowing down our top choices. We incorporated them into our daily exercise regime. We stretched on them, did high-intensity workouts, and did hours of yoga practice. We looked at their ability to withstand wear and tear and how well they performed when wet from a sweaty workout. We took the time to test how the mats respond to heavy use and how easy they are to clean and maintain.
Analysis and Test Results
To properly test the exercise mats, we put each one through rigorous use to see how they compare to each other. We looked at important factors such as durability, traction, comfort, versatility, and maintenance/ease of cleaning. We wanted to see how much these products could take before we began to see signs of wear.
Typically when an exercise mat is more expensive, it comes down to the materials used in the mat. We found that the higher-density closed-cell foam costs more but gives you a longer-lasting mat. The cheaper products tend to wear down more easily, stretch out, and dent (for example, the Gaiam Essentials Mat and the ProSource Extra Thick Mat). Fortunately, most of the mats we tested are similar in pricing and held up relatively well to a high amount of use. Made from EVA foam and free from toxic phthalates, the ProsourceFit Puzzle exercise mat is the best budget option we found. It comes in different sizes, making it versatile, and it can be used to protect flooring or have a larger space for a workout.
When buying an exercise mat, traction is one of the most important things to look for. Although many of these products have different uses, having relatively good traction while working out in any capacity is crucial. We poured a cup of water on each mat to see how they would perform during a sweaty workout. The best mat was the Retrospec Laguna mat. Even with our hands and feet in a puddle of water, they wouldn't budge. Since the mat material feels more similar to that rubber than foam, your body sticks well to the surface and allows you to focus on form rather than worry about grabbing a towel. The HemingWeigh also performed quite well, and although the material is made from a waterproof foam, it provided the best traction as far as the cushioned mats are concerned. The HemingWeigh is designed with non-slip ridges to prevent slipping of hands and feet and stays secure to the floor surface below.
Exercise mats can't last forever, but you can at least try to buy one that will give you a run for your money. A closed cell mat has a much firmer feel than an open cell mat and will last you much longer. Not surprisingly, the most durable mats have a protective cover like the BalanceFrom Tri Fold. This was our top pick for durability, as it seems almost impossible to tear or show wear. The inside foam is also dense and firm, which adds to the product's longevity.
The Retrospec Laguna and the Stamina Fit to Fold are also good for durability as they are made of thin but dense anti-tear material.
Comfort is key in choosing a mat to stretch and do floor exercises. We found the BalanceFrom Go Cloud to be a dream for someone looking for pure comfort in an exercise mat. With high density and thick 1-inch foam, it comfortably cushions and protects your joints, elbows, and knees from hard surfaces. The foam is resilient and bounces back after placing heavy objects like weights on its surface.
After a sweaty workout, it's nice to wipe down your mat and clean it of all odors and bacteria. Most of the exercise mats we tested are waterproof. The easiest way to determine waterproof versus non-waterproof mats is to pay attention to the construction design. A closed-cell foam will provide waterproof protection in the mat, while an open-cell foam will not. We found The Sunny Health and Fitness Folding Mat to be easy to clean and unique in that you can take off the cover of the mat and give it a thorough wash.
Each panel has a zipper, and the foam removes easily. The cover is also made of durable nylon, which is waterproof and doesn't hold bacteria or odors. Beyond its waterproof design, a closed cell mat like the BalanceFrom Tri Folding mat or the ProSource Extra Thick Yoga and Pilates mat also can be easily wiped down without soaking up the moisture.
To test our mat's versatility, we used them in all different scenarios to see which is the best do-it-all mat. Our top pick was the ProSource Puzzle Fit mat. We liked how it can be used as protective flooring but also is a great choice for high-intensity workouts or if you need a large space to stretch. The Stamina Fit to Fold is also a great option, and we liked how it can fold along six different seams to fit perfectly under your bench seat or be fully extended to have a big space for jumping around. One of the smaller, more traditional mats that we liked was the Gaim Essentials Thick Mat. It is comfortable enough to stretch on but offers good stability for jumping and balancing. It rolls up and secures with a strap and would be a great cheap and versatile travel option.
Choosing an exercise mat can often be a challenging task. With so many products out there, it's hard to know which will meet all your needs. We took the time to review the nine best exercise mats out there and are confident that this will help guide you to find that perfect fit for your next workout.
— Whitney Clark
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