Great Yoga Mats for $50 or Less

    Though yoga mats can cost over $100, our tests found mats that performed well at a much lower price

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    Gaiam Performance Cork Yoga Mat, Manduka Eko Superlite Travel Yoga Mat, and Hemingweigh 1 inch Thick Yoga Mat Photos: John Walsh/Consumer Reports

    Yoga mats can be surprisingly pricey. Particularly when you shop at yoga-focused stores like Lululemon, Liforme, or Alo, mats can run upward of $100.

    Though you can get a simple yoga mat for less than $20, it’s also possible to find good deals on high-quality mats. Yoga mats designed for travel (which generally means they’re thinner and more portable) or mats that can do double duty for a variety of exercises—not just yoga—tend to be a little less expensive than mats designed specifically for yoga. 

    There are trade-offs, of course. The travel yoga mats we’ve tested have less cushioning than other mats. That makes sense, because a mat made for travel should probably be thinner and lighter. And if you’re taking your mat with you to a yoga class, you can give yourself more cushioning by layering your mat on top of one offered by the studio. 

    If you prefer a more cushioned mat, there are deals to be found there too, especially if you’re open to an exercise mat—which can be used not only for yoga but also for many other types of floor exercises, such as crunches. 

    The downside there is that the more cushioned options, including the soft cushion mats and exercise mat we tested, tend to have less grip on their surfaces. “Grip is important for poses where your points of contact are not directly beneath your center of gravity—think downward dog as opposed to, say, lotus,” says Bernie Deitrick, who tests yoga mats at CR.

    If you’re using a cork-topped mat, you can help alleviate this by spritzing the mat with water before you practice or wetting your hands and feet. On other types of more slippery surfaces, there’s not much you can do to improve the grip on the top of the mat, but putting your mat down on a carpeted surface will at least reduce slippage against the ground, Deitrick says.

    Here are our takes on great yoga mats from our tests that currently retail for $50 or less.

    A Solid Choice for a Travel Mat

    Manduka Eko Superlite Travel Yoga Mat

    CR’s take: This mat dries quickly and has an excellent grip on the floor. Its dry top surface also offers excellent grip. It has minimal cushioning.

    An Affordable Cork Mat

    Gaiam Performance Cork Yoga Mat

    CR’s take: This mat is very quick to dry and offers a middling amount of cushioning. It has only a fair amount of grip on the floor and on its top surface.

    A Versatile Cushion Mat

    HemingWeigh 1 Inch Thick Yoga Mat

    CR’s take: This model is very quick to dry and offers a high level of cushioning. It offers a medium amount of grip both against the floor and against its top surface while dry. It comes with a carrying strap.

    A Folding Exercise Mat

    ProsourceFit Tri-Fold Folding Thick Exercise Mat

    CR’s take: This mat offers plenty of cushioning and dries quickly. But note that it provides only a fair amount of grip on the floor or on its top surface, so it might not be ideal for yoga. This mat folds into a 24-inch square for storage.

    Catherine Roberts

    As a science journalist, my goal is to empower consumers to make informed decisions about health products, practices, and treatments. I aim to investigate what works, what doesn't, and what may be causing actual harm when it comes to people's health. As a civilian, my passions include science fiction, running, Queens, and my cat. Follow me on Twitter: @catharob