Best Yoga Mat For Beginners Reviewed For 2020

Last Updated: March 17, 2020

For a beginner, it might be difficult to decide which yoga mat to get since there are so many to choose from.  The good thing about it, though, is that the best yoga mats for beginners are easily available for those who are wanting to start their yoga journey. There might just be a few key nuances you need to sort out first in regards to your body type. 

I started doing yoga just two years ago from home and by following some videos on YouTube. Since I was just starting out and not sure whether yoga suits me, I decided to get a cheap mat without doing much research from the local Decathlon store. Actually, at first, I just used a towel but my knees were throbbing! (I have pretty bad knees!).

Big mistake getting it from Decathlon. I ended up loving yoga but because the mat I bought was made of cheap material, it ripped easily from me sweating. I also had a problem doing more advanced poses because it kept on slipping on my apartment’s laminated hardwood floor.

While a cheaper mat may seem like an ideal option for beginners, keep in mind that it might be difficult to do yoga poses with a mat that easily slips – a common feature of mats that come in a more affordable price point.  When doing yoga, it is very important that the mat you use provides good support for your joints and does not budge in between poses. 

Best Yoga Mat for Beginners Compared and Reviewed

#1 - Gaiam Yoga Mat - Premium 6mm

Gaiam yoga mat features several beautiful designs on both sides of the mat, making your yoga session just a little bit more interesting and fun. The designs make these mats look like luxurious tapestries. Also, the color combinations look calm and soothing, nothing too wild and loud that can distract anyone from focusing on yoga.

Personally, my favorite is the Turquoise Lotus design because of its cool color.

Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, the Gaiam yoga mat is lightweight but thick and pleasing for beginners whose balance might not be solid yet. The mat also features a non-slip traction surface that sticks well on most surfaces. This mat is also PVC and phthalate-free, making it safe for long use. In addition, people on the tall side will not have a difficult time using this yoga mat as it is long enough to fit almost all sizes.

Apart from these features, beginners can also benefit from the free downloadable yoga guide that comes for free with every purchase.

However, this mat does have a strong chemical odor upon opening. The scent can be off-putting to some people and might be distracting when using the mat in a yoga studio. To get rid of the smell, Gaiam suggests to let the mat air out for at least a few days before using it. Deodorizer sprays that can also be purchased from Gaiam can also remove the smell. Washing with mild soap and water can also do the trick.

This yoga mat may not be the best to use if you are practicing hot yoga because of its thickness. A thinner mat is recommended more for sweaty and vigorous practice. If you are like me who really sweats profusely, especially during hot yoga, sweat stains on the yoga mat can be unsightly. For this mat, stains are quite difficult to remove and can be semi-permanent. For this reason whilst I think the mats are amazing it’s probably not for me!

What do other people say about the Gaiam Yoga Mat?

“This is such a great mat! I love the elephant print and it really reflects my personality. There is just a weird plastic smell when I first opened the package so I decided to air it out over the weekend before I used it. The odor was somewhat minimized but I can still smell it a bit especially when I’m doing a face-down pose. But its thickness makes up for the smell. Good value for money, too!” -Margarita C.

PROS

  • Thick
  • Weather-resistant
  • Non-slip
  • Reversible design
  • Free yoga guide included

CONS

  • Sweat stains are semi-permanent

#2 - YOGALAND Premium Yoga Mat with Carrier Strap

Yogaland yoga mats can be considered to be on the expensive side compared to other more affordable brands, but it is because of their quality. It’s lightweight but thick enough to provide ample support and does not slip on most surfaces, making it easier to transition from one pose to the next. In addition, this mat also comes with a sturdy strap that makes it ideal for studio or gym use, and even for traveling.

The Yogaland Premium Mat has six bright attractive colors to choose from and is waterproof, as well. It is also made of non-toxic materials that are safe for you and the environment. Another great thing about this mat is its 30-day money-back guarantee just in case you decide that it’s not for you.

A word of caution, though. The mat might be a little slippery when new. But this is understandable, as some mats need to be broken in a bit. Another thing is that it also easily attracts dust, hair, and other small dirt particles. But a lint roller can easily remove them on the mat. Furthermore, since it’s water-proof, the mat is also easy to clean.

What have others said about the YOGALAND Premium Yoga Mat?

This is definitely my new favorite mat. After my old yoga mat gave up on me, I decided to buy a new one and this mat is a really great choice. I don’t have the budget for an expensive mat, but I also don’t want to compromise quality and go with a cheap one. And so I think this mat is perfect. Just a little more expensive compared to affordable mats but is sturdy and of good quality. It also doesn’t have that new mat smell which is good.” – Mariz M

PROS

  • Odor-free
  • Non-slip
  • Lightweight
  • Free carrier strap

CONS

  • Easily attracts dust
  • Can be slippery especially when new

#3 - TOPLUS Yoga Mat - Classic

Another good option for yoga beginners is the TOPLUS yoga mat. This mat features a comfy 6mm thickness that’s perfect for those who are just starting out with yoga or have bad knees like me. It is also non-slip on both sides and sticks on most common floor surfaces.

The mat’s material is made of natural and non-toxic TPE, an innovative material that is more resistant to wear and tear compared to other synthetic materials. The material also claims to be biodegradable that slowly decomposes over time. Though this aspect of the mat is a major advantage for the environment, the mat’s quality decreases after a number of uses.

Bits and pieces of the mat come off, especially when you are a heavy sweater like me, or practices hot yoga. The ends tend to curl up and don’t lay flatten out anymore after months of consistent use.

However, if you don’t practice yoga frequently and are concerned about carbon footprints, then this mat might just be perfect for you since there are not a lot of biodegradable mats at affordable price points are out in the market.

The TOPLUS yoga mat also comes with a free carry strap, making it great for carrying to the studio as this is also lightweight. It is also odor-free and there’s no need for it to be aired out prior to use. The best part of this mat is that it has a warranty for one year and returns are hassle-free.

What other customers say about the TOPLUS Yoga Mat?

“As someone who practices a zero-waste lifestyle, this is a great mat for me. I love that it is biodegradable, very good for the environment. The thickness of the mat is just right for a beginner like me. I don’t sink into the mat and it also doesn’t budge when I do difficult poses. The bright color also perks me up whenever I practice yoga at home. When I have the time to work out in a gym or in a studio, there’s no problem carrying this mat with me, thanks to its free carry strap.” – Annika B.

PROS

  • Odor-free
  • Sticks on both sides
  • Covered by warranty for a year

CONS

  • Parts come off after using constantly
  • Not ideal for sweaty practice

#4 - BalanceFrom GoYoga All-Purpose Mat

The most affordable option on the list, the BalanceForm Go Yoga mat features an extra thick 12mm foam. Perfect for those who might be suffering from achy knees and joints, as well as for beginners in need of extra support. The mat comes with a two-year warranty, a great feature considering its price.

People who are on the tall side can also count on this mat to cover them from the head down to their toes, as it also extra long.

As mentioned earlier and something you might’ve seen in some of my other posts, I am a heavy sweater when doing any form of exercise. This mat is perfect for people like me since it is moisture-resistant. While the mat has a familiar rubber smell, it is not too strong and will be gone after a few uses.

Because the mat is thicker compared to other yoga mats, the BalanceForm Go Yoga mat is also perfect for other physical exercises, but it does tend to be bulky when rolled up. So it may not be ideal for those who will be carrying this outside the house.

The mat also makes a squeaky sound whenever you press down a little harder than usual and this might be problematic for those practicing in a studio.

Also, the mat also tends to move quite a lot during practice, so beginners might have a difficult time mastering poses. Though the material is thick, it loses its shape faster compared to sturdier mats.

How others have reviewed the BalanceForm Go Yoga Mat

“I am a college student and I don’t really have much budget to buy a more expensive yoga mat. I only practice yoga in my dorm room in between classes so I believe this mat is just perfect for me. I did notice that it lost its shape after a few uses and that it moved around a lot so I just use a towel on top.” – Romina M.

PROS

  • Extra thick
  • Extra-long
  • Affordable price point
  • Non-toxic

CONS

  • Bulky and not ideal for traveling
  • Has a squeaky sound that can be distracting

#5 - Gaiam Essentials Thick Yoga Mat

The thickest yoga mat in the Gaiam Essentials line, this yoga boasts of 10 mm inch thick foam, just a little less than BalanceForm Go Yoga mat. The two mats are also comparable in terms of price point being one of the most affordable extra-thick mats available in the market.

Because of its thickness, this mat is also great for other forms of exercise, not just yoga. It could be used for pilates and any floor exercise both at home and at the gym or studio, as the mat comes with a carry strap.

The thickness of the mat offers good support to the hands and feet when doing a variety of poses. This mat is also a bit longer compared to the first Gaiam mat in this list, making it suitable for more body types.

Similar to the Gaiam Premium Print yoga mat featured earlier in the list, this mat also has a strong chemical odor and it is advised to air it out for a few days or spraying with deodorizer prior to using it.

The thick Gaiam yoga mat is also made of non-toxic materials, similar to all the other options on this list. Furthermore, the mat comes with nine exciting colors to choose from.

However, for those who are struggling with balance, the thickness of the mat can be an issue. The mat may also not be suggested for sweaty regimen since thinner mats are more recommended. Additionally, the material of the mat may also not hold up for consistent use as it tends to crack easily.

How do others feel about the Gaia Essentials Thick Yoga Mat?

“I bought this mat because I want to use my own mat in the gym for hygienic purposes. I mostly use this mat whenever I do floor exercises and it’s really cushiony and comfortable to use. I also practice yoga from time to time and I have tried this mat for a couple of yoga classes, too. Overall I think it’s great.” – Mac O.

PROS

  • Good for its price range
  • Longer compared to other mats
  • Extra thick

CONS

  • Can be difficult for balancing because of its thickness
  • Has a strong chemical smell upon using

My Number One Pick

Things to Consider When Looking for the Best Yoga Mat for Beginners

As with any product that you’re looking to buy on the internet, there are always key features and nuances to look out for to make sure you’re making the right decision. When I was looking for the best yoga mat there was a lot of information online on how to find the best one. 

There seemed to be a lot of bias information depending on which product manufacturers website you landed on. After doing some extensive research below are the key things I think you need to look out for when looking for the best yoga mat for beginners.

Grip

The yoga mat grip is one of the most important aspects to look out for when you want to buy the best yoga mat for beginners. Having a good grip makes the mat sturdy. A mat that moves around while you transition from one pose to the other will very much affect your overall experience. Stickiness on both sides is important to create better traction between the mat and surface.

Thickness

The thickness of the material should also be a top priority for beginners. A good thick mat helps beginners to build strength and confidence. A well-padded mat can help novice yogis prevent injuries and have a more pleasant yoga journey. However, extra-thick mats tend to be bulkier when rolled up so you also must consider whether you plan to carry around your mat to work or to the studio.

Safety of the material

Most yoga mats are made of synthetic materials such as rubber. There are still a lot of yoga mats out there that are made of PVC, which is packed with harmful carcinogens that can be dangerous to your health. An excellent yoga mat should be made with safe and non-toxic materials that do not cause any harmful side effects in the long run.

Weight

A lightweight yoga mat is great not just for home use but for bringing it out to the studio, gym, or to the park as it is easy to carry. You wouldn’t want to lug around a heavy and bulky yoga mat around, right? The weight of the mat should also be considered especially if you plan to bring it with you when you travel.

Value for Money

Yoga mats come in various price points. Some are very expensive, while there are also a lot of cheap options. An expensive mat does not necessarily mean that it’s a better mat, and on the other hand, the more affordable choices have compromised quality. 

A good yoga mat for those new to yoga would be the one that offers the best value for money, a combination of affordability as well as quality. Ultimately you should look for the qualities that best represent your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions for Yoga Mats

Q: Does sweating on a yoga mat ruin the grip?

A: lot of mats have an absorbance capacity, if you see puddling and buildup of sweat just use a small towel to absorb it and wipe it away. A constant buildup of sweat can make the mat more slippery and ruin the grip.

Q: Do I need a thick yoga mat?

A: If you have poor knees or you are a beginner it is recommended you get a thick yoga mat until you build more strength towards yoga.

Conclusion

For me, my choice is the Gaiam Mat. This mat might be a little expensive compared to the other products on the list but its quality very well makes up for the extra dollars you would put out.

It offers just the right amount of thickness which makes it ideal for beginners. 

Although the mat tends to attract sweat stains, I’ve come to realize that this is just a normal part of most yoga mats and doesn’t bother me much at all.

Have you ever used any of the above mats? Or do you have your own suggestion? Why not let me know in the comments box below. Thanks for reading!

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