5 Best Exercise Mat for Your Home Workouts (Review for 2020)

5 Best Exercise Mat for Your Home Workouts (Review for 2020)

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Everyone knows that daily exercise is one of the best habits for lifelong health. Regular exercise protects your heart and body from deterioration and disease, and boosts energy and concentration. But not everyone has a schedule that allows them to regularly visit the gym, so having an at-home exercise routine is a great way to save time, improve health, and make sure that you get in some exercise every single day.

To help make a home workout more comfortable and enjoyable, it's best to get an exercise mat. Whether your routine is yoga, strength training, gymnastics, or you simply need a mat to protect your floors at home from an exercise machine, here are our top recommendations for the best exercise mat for healthier habits in the year ahead.

Quick Picks

Not every exercise mat is the right choice for every person, or for every workout. For a quick look at our favorites for the best exercise mats for 2020, here's a summary.

Best Exercise Mat for Hot YogaBest Exercise Mat for Hot YogaIUGA Pro Non Slip Yoga MatCLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best Exercise Mat for Fitness and SportsBest Exercise Mat for Fitness and SportsBalanceFrom 2” Thick Tri-Fold Folding Exercise MatCLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best Exercise Mat for Floor ProtectionBest Exercise Mat for Floor ProtectionBalanceFrom GoFit High Density Equipment MatCLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best Exercise Mat for People with SensitivitiesBest Exercise Mat for People with SensitivitiesRepose Eco-Friendly Yoga MatCLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Editor's PickEditor's PickGaiam Premium Print Extra Thick Reversible Yoga MatCLICK HERE FOR PRICE

Best Exercise Mats for 2020: Reviews

Best Exercise Mat for Hot Yoga: IUGA Pro Non Slip Yoga Mat

Yoga mats are different from other exercise mats, because they need to be “sticky,” especially when a workout gets sweaty. A good yoga mat lets your feet and hands grip the mat and provide strong stability, allowing you to hold poses and concentrate on your body and breath, without being distracted by the surface of the mat.

Our top pick for a non-slip yoga mat is the IUGA Pro Non Slip Yoga Mat. It's a generous size, at 72 x 26 inches, and 5mm thick for excellent cushioning. It weighs 2.5 pounds, comes in a choice of 5 colors with an attractive meteor surface pattern, and includes a carrying strap for portability.

This yoga mat has a textured bottom layer made of TPE for cushioning, with a specially designed pattern that prevents slipping on any surface. The top layer is made of moisture-absorbing PU that wicks away sweat and prevents sliding, while remaining breathable and resisting odors. After an initial airing-out, this yoga mat does not have a chemical smell or harsh odors, and it's remarkably durable.

PROS

  • High quality construction
  • Large size and good thickness
  • Non-skid bottom layer, non-slip top layer
  • Sticky enough to practice hot yoga with bare feet and hands
  • Attractive design
  • No odor

CONS

  • May squeak on some flooring surfaces
  • Surface may discolor over time

Best Exercise Mat for Fitness and Sports: BalanceFrom 2” Thick Tri-Fold Folding Exercise Mat

Fitness mats are thicker and more cushioned than yoga mats, and are designed to absorb impact. A good fitness mat protects your joints and spine from the intensity of a fitness workout. If your at-home workout involves jumping, burpees, crunches, or other exercises that put more stress on the skeleton, a fitness mat might be the best choice for you.

Our favorite exercise mat for high-impact activities is the BalanceFrom 2” Thick Tri-Fold Folding Exercise Mat. This mat is 6 feet long and 2 feet wide, and an impressive 2 inches thick. It has a foldable, tri-panel design with built in handles that let you easily take it anywhere, or fold it out of the way when not in use. It weighs 5 pounds, and comes in 4 colors.

This exercise mat is designed for intense fitness workouts like MMA, gymnastics, and aerobics. The core is made of high density EPE foam that absorbs and diffuses impact without losing stability. The surface is made of durable, puncture-resistant vinyl that resists moisture. This vinyl surface makes it easy to clean with just soap and water. It's also backed by a 2 year warranty.

PROS

  • Easy storage and transportation
  • Super thick foam absorbs impact without losing stability
  • Easy to clean
  • Generous size

CONS

  • Too slippery to use for yoga, but may work for extra cushioning for Pilates

Best Exercise Mat for Floor Protection: BalanceFrom GoFit High Density Equipment Mat

One of the biggest drawbacks to at-home workouts is that treadmills, ellipticals, weight benches, stationary bicycles and the like can damage your floors and carpets over time. In shared living spaces, these machines can also produce vibrations that disturb others.

But people of all ages can get serious benefits from using equipment as simple and safe as a stationary exercise. For serious at-home workouts that will preserve your quality of life at home, a floor protecting mat is a great addition to your fitness routine.

The best exercise mat for floor protection is the BalanceFrom GoFit High Density Equipment Mat. It comes in a large 6.5 x 3 feet size that fits under a wide range of equipment and machines. The high density material protects all kinds of floors and carpets from wear, without any color bleed or discoloration.

The PVC material also absorbs vibration and reduces noise. This mat prevents slipping, and has a moisture-resistant surface that is easy to clean. This mat is backed by a satisfaction guarantee and a 2-year warranty. It can also be used as an extra-large yoga mat.

PROS

  • Generous size
  • High density foam protects floors, while absorbing sound and vibration
  • Prevents slipping
  • Surface is easy to clean, and will not discolor or damage floors
  • Can also be used as a yoga mat

CONS

  • May not be very durable

Best Exercise Mat for People with Sensitivities: Repose Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat

Unfortunately, many modern exercise mats are made with latex, TPE, or other materials that can exacerbate sensitivities. While modern foams and rubbers have many advantages, it's great to have an exercise mat that is made of natural, environmentally-friendly materials.

Our top pick for a natural, eco-friendly exercise mat is the Repose Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat. It's 72 x 24 inches, and 4 mm thick, weighing just over 6 pounds. This yoga mat is made of cork, which provides gentle cushioning and a non-slip surface that actually improves grip with moisture, so you don't need a towel during sweaty workouts. Cork also naturally resists mildew and odor-causing bacteria. The natural rubber backing prevents slipping and ensures that the mat lays flat, while being moisture-resistant and easy to clean.

This yoga mat is made without glues, chemicals, or PVCs. The materials are responsibly sourced, and it's biodegradable and recyclable. The product and the packaging are made without plastics, and it comes with a free yoga mat strap for convenient transportation.

PROS

  • Non-toxic, organic, and sustainable
  • Naturally non-slip, non-skid, odor-resistant, and easy to clean
  • Absorbs moisture so no towel is required
  • No chemical odors
  • Comes with a carrying strap

CONS

  • Moisture improves grip on cork, so you may need to initially mist the mat or wipe with a damp towel

Editor's Pick: Gaiam Premium Print Extra Thick Reversible Yoga Mat

Gaiam yoga mats are among the best in the business, and people love them for their good looks, high quality, and durability. This Gaiam Premium Print Extra Thick Reversible Yoga Mat is a great choice for nearly any home workout or routine.

It's extra large, at 68 x 24 inches, and 6mm thick to provide excellent cushioning. It comes in a huge range of attractive, reversible prints to suit any taste or décor style, so it looks great at home or at the gym. The non-slip surface provides great grip on both sides, so it neither slips nor skids during your exercises. And it is non-toxic and free of PVC and other unhealthy chemicals, so it's both safe and comfortable.

This yoga mat is big, thick, attractive, and durable, and has gorgeous patterns on both sides, to reflect your mood and enhance your workouts. It even comes with a free downloadable yoga workout to help you get started building healthy habits.

You can even download the Gaiam Yoga Studio App for a free trial of over 25 hours of high-quality yoga classes and over 280 poses that will help you build healthy habits and keep your yoga workouts engaging over time. This app, the free lesson, a good yoga book, and a great yoga mat will help you make the most of a daily yoga practice. 

PROS

  • Large, thick yoga mat
  • Free of toxins and chemicals
  • Premium patterns on both sides
  • Non-slip surface on both sides
  • Comes with free yoga lesson and free trial of the Gaiam Yoga Studio App

CONS

  • May be too grippy for some non-yoga workouts like strength exercises or Pilates

How to Choose an Exercise Mat for Home Workouts

When choosing an exercise mat for use at home, the right choice depends greatly on your exercise habits and your body type. Here are some of the most important things to consider.

Size

Yoga mats typically need to be longer than other kinds of mats, because yoga poses extend the body. A standard yoga mat is 24 inches wide by 68 inches long, which is long enough for a person who is 5'8” to perform elongated poses without stepping off the mat. For taller people, a longer mat is usually preferred.

A Pilates mat, on the other hand, may be wider than the standard 24 inches, because pilates often has a broader range of motion. And for activities like gymnastics, a mat may need to be larger still.

Thickness

For people with delicate joints and pressure points, a thicker exercise mat is a better choice, because it provides more cushioning. Thicker mats are also a good choice for high impact activities. However, extra padding in an exercise mat may reduce support and stability.

A standard yoga mat is 1/8th of an inch thick. For yoga and pilates, advanced practitioners tend to prefer thin mats with very little cushioning, for a more stable connection with the ground. For sports and gymnastics, thicker mats offer more protection, and sports mats may be 2 inches thick or more.

Ultimately, the ideal mat thickness depends on how much protection and support you need for your workout.

Material

Exercise mats are made from a wide range of materials, and new materials are being used all the time. Here are some of the most common.

Cork

Cork is the thick, light bark of the cork tree, and it can be harvested sustainably without harming the tree. Cork is an unusual material because it is naturally lightweight and springy, and resist moisture and microbes. Cork has become a popular material in recent years and gives good grip for a yoga mat. Cork eventually dries and becomes crumbly over time.

Foam

Foam is an incredibly common material in exercise mats, and the foam is generally PU (polyurethane) foam. PU foam is a popular material because it is available in a wide range of densities for different purposes, so foam mats can range from soft to firm. It is an inexpensive material that may change color (but not degrade) when exposed to UV light, and may eventually crumble and break down in damp environments.

TPE

TPE is another popular material in exercise mats, because it has a springy resistance that is protective and resilient. TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) is a synthetic rubber, that is perhaps best known in the soles of athletic shoes, where it can be molded into a wide range of shapes while providing both padding and grip. TPE also resists temperature variations and moisture.

Rubber

Rubber is a natural material made from tree sap, that is known for its flexibility and elasticity. In exercise mats, rubber not only provides padding and resistance, but it can also provide grip for stability. People who are sensitive to latex are also sensitive to rubber.

Vinyl

Vinyl is a synthetic material, and one of the most produced plastics in the world. Vinyl and PVC are prized for being durable and easy to clean. Some people are sensitive to the compounds used in creating PVC.

Surface

Many exercise mats are layered, with multiple materials in the same mat. For example, a mat may have a padded material inside and a cover of a different material, or different materials on the top and bottom. Surface materials should provide grip (in the case of yoga mats) or slide (for Pilates workouts), and the best surfaces also manage moisture and are easy to clean.

Portability

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Exercise mats are made from a wide range of materials, and new materials are being used all the time.

Since our focus in this article is on exercise mats for use during home workouts, we aren't worrying much about portability. But for people who want an exercise mat that can be used at home or at the gym, portability may become a concern. If you want to keep your exercise gear with you to reinforce your workout habit, you may need to balance the size and thickness of your workout mat with the need for light weight and portability.

How to Care for an Exercise Mat

Unboxing

Most exercise mats have an unpleasant smell when first unpacked, especially if they are made from petroleum-based materials like PU and PVC. Even if they are made from natural materials, the packaging and storage process can leave a mat with an unpleasant odor. While this initial odor may not bother some people, it can be particularly noticeable for yoga workouts, since your face is so close to the mat during use. In order to dispel this odor, follow these steps:

  1. Immediately remove the mat from all packaging.
  2. Hang the mat (using clothespins at the corners, rather than folding it over) in a well-ventilated, warm area out of direct sunlight.
  3. Allow it to hang and air out for 2-3 days before use.

Clean and Dry After Use

Proper care for an exercise mat immediately after your workouts is incredibly important for preventing odor and the durability of your mat. Follow these steps after every workout:

  1. If the mat is sweaty, wipe it down with a clean, soft, absorbent towel.
  2. Hang it to dry before storing it. Never fold, roll, or store a damp yoga mat.
  3. If the mat is dirty, wash it down with a mild soap and water solution before hanging to dry
  4. If the mat has an odor, add some vinegar to a soap and water solution before cleaning the mat, or use a mat cleaning spray
  5. If the mat is losing grip or stickiness, sprinkle it with baking soda and then wipe it off with a dry cloth.

Storage

Between uses, store an exercise mat in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and excess humidity. UV rays and humidity can speak the deterioration of a wide range of materials. If you roll up a yoga or exercise mat, do not leave it rolled up in storage for too long, or it may become difficult to unroll. If possible, store the mat hung up or lay it flat.

Following these tips will allow your exercise mat to last as long as possible, even with a tough workout routine.

Our Favorite Exercise Mat for Home Workouts in 2020

There's a reason why so many at home workouts are based on yoga and Pilates routines. These kinds of workouts are friendly for every body type, require no special equipment, and have a huge range of health benefits, from strengthening and toning the body, to helping with weight loss and even boosting the metabolism.

For that reason, our top pick for the best exercise mat for at home workouts is the Gaiam Premium Print Extra Thick Reversible Yoga Mat. It's an excellent yoga mat, with high-quality, durable construction, and great grip to hold challenging poses. It's thick enough to be comfortable for beginners or people with delicate joints, without jeopardizing balance and stability.

And it is available in a huge range of gorgeous prints and colors to suit every style, with complementary patterns on both sides. Gaiam is one of the leading names in yoga, and this mat was designed by and for people who understand what a yoga mat should be. And we love that it comes with a free yoga lesson and trial version of their yoga app, so you can start building healthy habits right away.

Finally, this mat is big enough and versatile enough that it can be used as a general purpose exercise mat, even if yoga isn't your thing. Even if all you need is a mat to provide cushioning and stability for a strength workout, or to look fantastic under a treadmill, the Gaiam remains a fantastic choice.

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