The best exercise mats for your home workouts, recommended by personal trainers
When it comes to exercise mats, we’re spoilt for choice. We spoke to fitness experts to eliminate the guesswork and get their take on what to look out for and what to avoid when finding the best exercise mat for you. We've also answered some of your other most commonly asked questions.
In recent years, home workouts have revolutionised the way the world approaches fitness. More and more of us are passing on the aggressive music and awkward interactions of the gym and are instead opting to get a sweat on in the comfort of our own bedrooms and living rooms.
At-home workouts require at-home equipment, from dumbbells to resistance bands and exercise mats, the right kit can help you progress and keep your exercise routine varied. When looking to buy an exercise mat, there’s a lot to think about. The right exercise mat will reduce pressure on joints, aid balance and be tailored to your needs to support you in reaching your fitness goals.
If you’re in the market for an exercise mat (and I mean, why else would you be here?), you’ll know you’re pretty spoilt for choice. Well, at The Recommended, we’ve done our homework. We spoke to two leading fitness experts to get their take on what to look out for and what to avoid when looking for the best exercise mat for you. You can read their expert advice in full at the bottom of this page.
We've also put together a handy buyer's guide, answering some of the most commonly asked questions, to help you find the very best mat for you and your needs. And once you've snapped up your brand new exercise mat, check out our guide on full-body workouts to do at home to get into action and put it to the test.
The best exercise mats at a glance:
- Best overall exercise mat: Lululemon The Workout Mat 6mm, £88 at Lululemon
- Best multipurpose exercise mat: Maximo Exercise Mat, from £10.99 at Amazon
- Best sturdy exercise mat: John Lewis 10mm Exercise Mat, £25 at John Lewis
- Best thick exercise mat: XN8 Padded Exercise Mat, £19.99 at Amazon
- Best exercise mat for travel: Navaris Exercise Mat, £17.99 at Amazon
- Best non-slip exercise mat: KK Exercise Mat, £19.95 at Amazon
- Best sweat-proof exercise mat: Pro Fitness 10mm Exercise Mat, £30 at Argos
- Best exercise mat for kids: Yogi-me Mat, £29.99 at Amazon
- Best large exercise mat: Karma Fitness Large Exercise Mat, £69 at Amazon
- Best sustainable exercise mat: FABLE 4mm Pro Grip Mat, £73 at Fable Yoga
The best exercise mats
Best overall exercise mat: Lululemon The Workout Mat 6mm
A perfect all-rounder, Lululemon’s 6mm mat provides supportive cushioning and a textured grip to help you find balance in your exercise routine.
Made with recycled PVB, the workout mat is sweat-proof and keeps the moisture out, and is finished with a raised textural design on the top for added grip. This exercise mat prioritises hygiene and longevity, and its wipe-clean material allows for easy maintenance.
Best multipurpose exercise mat: Maximo Exercise Mat
Portable and lightweight, this exercise mat is a real all-rounder. Whether it's hot yoga or weight training, this mat covers all bases with extra-thick materials and a non-slip surface.
Equipped with Louisa’s recommendation of a non-slip surface and Tom’s considerations of portability, the Maximo Exercise Mat is both versatile and practical. Providing comfort and support with extra thick materials, this exercise mat is water-resistant and easily wiped clean, helping keep both your form and your mat fresh.
Best sturdy exercise mat: John Lewis 10mm Exercise Mat
For a complete workout
John Lewis' exercise mat is ideal for all sorts of exercise, from boot camp training to ab crunches and Pilates. With a 10mm thickness and a non-slip surface, it provides superior stability and support during your workouts.
Made from 100% NBR, the exercise mat is water and sweat-resistant, easy to clean lightweight to take on the go with you. It's packed with plenty of cushioning for a comfortable experience, offering added support to the joints, and available to use for various forms of exercise.
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Best thick exercise mat: XN8 Padded Exercise Mat
For optimal support
When it comes to comfort, the XN8 Padded Exercise Mat more than lives up to our expert’s standards. Made with 15mm thick, quality NBR foam, this exercise mat adds protective cushioning to any surface.
Created with a non-slip surface, this exercise mat helps you keep your balance while reducing stress on joints. Compact and lightweight, this mat can be used on a multitude of surfaces, and its wipe-clean surface keeps maintenance simple.
Best exercise mat for travel: Navaris Exercise Mat
For use on the go
This exercise mat lets you work out wherever you are. Weighing just 2lb, this foldable exercise mat delivers convenience without compromising on quality.
Created with a non-slip, skid-resistant texture as well as a memory shape function, the Navaris Foldable Exercise Mat provides support and comfort during your workouts. This exercise mat champions convenience, is easy to clean and is extremely lightweight; this mat is ready wherever you are.
Best non-slip exercise mat: KK Exercise Mat
Strong and stable
Durable and of a professional grade, the KK Exercise Mat is made with innovative TPE materials.
This non-slip exercise mat isn't going anywhere. Our fitness expert Louisa told us how important grip is, and this mat has a lightly textured top and non-slip base for optimal stability. Durable and free from PVC, this mat comes with a convenient carry handle and wipe-clean material.
Best sweat-proof exercise mat: Pro Fitness 10mm Exercise Mat
This extra thick exercise mat from Pro Fitness promises to help you find balance, whether during your yoga, Pilates or core workout session. Designed with a 10mm thickness, it will provide a softer base for comfort and stability during your moves, with added shock absorbency.
The mat has an easy clean surface, is highly sweat-proof to stop you from slipping around, and is lightweight, so you can take it to your next studio session hassle-free.
Best exercise mat for kids: Yogi-me Mat
For your little work out buddy
With a 6mm thickness and made from tear-resistant material, the Yogi-me Mat provides a versatile base to help your little one burn off some energy. Lightweight and skid-resistant, this exercise mat is made to keep kids moving safely.
Made with soft, eco-friendly TPE, this exercise mat provides optimal cushioning for little joints. This non-toxic exercise mat prioritises durability, using screen-printing technology to create an engaging design, the Yogi-me Mat promises to hold up against wear and tear and will not fade with use.
Best large exercise mat: Karma Fitness Large Exercise Mat
This mat is 33% wider than standard exercise mats, letting you move without limits. Delivering on size without compromising on convenience, the Karma Fitness Mat comes with carry straps for ease of use.
If, like our expert Tom, size is important when finding the best exercise mat for you, this Karma Fitness mat has you covered. Extra-wide and 10mm thick, this durable exercise mat is ready for anything. Made with double-layered TPE material and a textured, non-slip top, this mat provides both stability and support.
Best sustainable exercise mat: FABLE 4mm Pro Grip Mat
Crafted using biodegradable natural tree rubber, the FABLE 4mm Pro Grip Mats come highly recommended by our expert Louisa.
Non-toxic and made without PVC, the Fable 4mm Pro Grip Mats are wider and longer than standard mats to help you get the most out of your workouts. The non-slip upper layer provides optimal grip while the natural, sustainably sourced materials work to bring comfort and support to your exercise routine.
What to look for when shopping for exercise mats: two fitness experts give their advice
Louisa Drake and Tom House are fitness experts with years of experience in the field. Through one-to-one training, bespoke programmes, group classes, and online sessions, Louisa and Tom have helped hundreds of people reach their fitness goals.
Our first expert is Louisa Drake, founder and creator of the Louisa Drake method, a unique fitness-fusion approach to working out. With over a decade of experience in the fitness industry, Louisa has drawn upon her fitness expertise and background as a professional dancer to train and acquire a star-studded client list, including Victoria Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow. Louisa launched her own studio in London two years ago and runs weekly sell-out fitness classes.
A qualified personal trainer and women’s health specialist, Tom House, founder of Tom House Fitness, runs a variety of fitness classes, one-to-one sessions, and online workouts from central London. Using his knowledge of women’s health, Tom creates tailored pre-natal and post-partum workout regimes as well as sessions aimed towards menopausal fitness. Tom favours outdoor workouts, removing often intimidating gym environments to help his clients become stronger, fitter, and above all, happier.
We put three questions to Louisa and Tom to understand precisely what you need to know when shopping for your next exercise mat.
What should you look for when buying an exercise mat?
When choosing an exercise mat, Louisa tells us to consider the surface you’ll be working out on; “comfort is very important, particularly if you plan to work out on unforgiving flooring like hardwood, concrete or tiles”. Louisa then went on to discuss the thickness of the mat “While the average yoga mat tends to be about 4-6mm thick, you might want to invest in a thicker mat for more padding. I'd recommend around 8mm plus for optimum comfort and support”.
When it comes to exercise mats, it seems size really does matter. According to Tom, “They should be long enough for your head and torso”. Tom also tells us to consider our specific needs when choosing a mat; ask yourself, “Will you need to travel with it? Does it come with a carry case and handles?”. A good grip is also important to both of our experts, with Louisa telling us, “A mat with a good grip, stable and non-slip surface is ideal”.
What should you avoid when looking for an exercise mat?
When shopping for an exercise mat, our experts encouraged us to stay away from anything that doesn't cater to our specific needs. For example, if you plan to use heavy weights during your workouts, the standard 4-6mm thick mat may not be the best choice. Louisa suggests opting for a “thicker mat” as it ‘should be able to withstand weights being dropped on it without marking or denting and be noise-reducing”.
Tom tells us to avoid mats that ‘look like camping mats – you’ll slide off them, and they don’t age terribly well”.
Which is the best exercise mat?
Louisa has a few favourite mats that she uses for her own workouts, she tells us, “My favourites are from Fable Yoga as these have great grip, are slightly wider than usual yoga mats, and Lululemon's reversible 5mm mat is the perfect all-rounder”.
Exercise mat buyer's guide: top things you need to know
We've rounded up some of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to exercise mats and done our research to help answer them. Read on for all the top tips.
What can you use your exercise mat for?
An exercise mat is a great addition to your workout equipment as it can be used for a number of different activities. These include:
- Yoga and Pilates: Move from downward-facing dog into cobra pose, or do your Pilates Hundreds using an exercise mat as your comfortable base. Take a look at our guide to the easiest yoga poses for beginners to get you started. Or unsure which is best for you? Check out our guide to yoga vs Pilates.
- Fully body and HIIT workouts: Smash out push-ups, planks and lunges on your exercise mat during a full body or HIIT workout. We've got the ultimate guide to both with our full-body workouts at home: exercises and tips from a personal trainer and a beginner's guide to HIIT workouts.
- Meditation: Rest on your mat during meditation practices - check out our beginner’s guide to meditation for tips and tricks.
- Physio: Support your rehabilitation exercises with a comfortable surface.
What factors to consider when choosing an exercise mat
There are several factors to think about and look out for when deciding on which exercise mat to go for. Consider the following:
Material: Available in materials like PVC, rubber, or natural fibres, you can choose a material based on your preferences and exercise style. Look for a textured top which is anti-slip to prevent any slips or injuries when things get a little sweaty!
Thickness: Whether 5mm or 10mm, choose a thickness that suits your workout style and provides enough support and cushioning for your needs.
Durability: Ensure your exercise mat will withstand your workout frequency and intensity.
Portability: Need to take your mat on the go with you? Look for a mat which is lightweight and compact to carry around.
Price: Luckily, exercise mats come with all different price tags. Decide on your suitable budget and match it with a mat without compromising on quality.
How to clean your exercise mat
It's important to keep your exercise mat well looked after and clean to get the most out of your workout and also to keep it bacteria-free. Over time there can be a build-up of sweat and moisture, so cleaning it is a top priority in order to stop you from sliding around and picking up any unwanted germs.
In a nutshell, make sure to clean your mat after every workout you've used it for. Wipe it down using a damp cloth plus a mild solution of water and soap or a specifically designed cleaning product suitable for the mat's material. Rinse the mat thoroughly and lay it flat to dry.
For the ultimate advice on how to clean your exercise mat (and the big benefits of doing this), check out our guide on how to clean your yoga mat. Cleaning your exercise mat follows the same practice as a yoga mat, plus there are some top tips from a fitness pro.
If you would like to read more expert-recommended fitness round-ups, check out our Fitness page for a full list of recommendations, including the best resistance bands recommended by personal trainers and the best yoga mats recommended by yoga teachers.
Isobel Nutbrown is a Staff Writer at The Recommended and works with leading industry experts to help readers make informed decisions and shop smarter online.
Cordelia Aspinall is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media, working across brands including The Recommended, RadioTimes.com, MadeForMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. She has previously worked and written for digital publications including Condé Nast Traveller, The Evening Standard, Cosmopolitan, and several other lifestyle brands.