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Whether you're a total newcomer to yoga or a long-time enthusiast, having the right yoga mat can make or break your practice. No matter if you prefer hot yoga, Bikram yogaHatha yoga, Iyengar yoga or other types of yoga, you'll want something durable with a good grip, because no one wants to slip and slide in sweat, lose their balance and bruise their knees 15 minutes into the yoga class. Then there are comfort factors, like mat density -- some people excel with a thinner mat, others want a thicker mat.

The sheer number of options for yoga mats can be overwhelming -- there are more than 30,000 results for "yoga mat" on Amazon -- but this tested roundup can guide your next yoga mat purchase, regardless of whether your heading off to a yoga class or moving through yoga pose after yoga pose on your living room floor. We'll update it as we review more products.

Read moreBest at-home fitness equipment in 2020

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Manduka yoga mats

Angela Lang/CNET

What to consider when buying a yoga mat

Depending on your needs, you could just scoop up a standard yoga mat at TJ Maxx for $10, or you might need to spend a little more on something with more features, such as a non-slip yoga mat with an extra grippy surface.

Consider what types of activities you'll be using your new yoga mat for and where you'll take your mat. Also take into account your height (do you need a long yoga mat?) and any other bodily considerations (such as pain in your knees or back).

Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself when choosing a good yoga mat:

Will you be using it indoors, outdoors, or both? Pretty much any mat will do for indoor yoga, but if you plan on working out outside, you'll want something sturdier and more durable.

Will you use it for hot yoga? If you're using it for hot yoga, look for a mat made from a no-slip grip material so you won't slide around as you sweat. You'll want something that's extra grippy or has a non-slip surface, without making it sticky

Do you need to take it on an airplane or other small space? Look for thinner mats that roll up or fold into a compact size so you can easily pack them in a small yoga mat bag or luggage.

Do you need extra cushion or length? Standard mats run between an eighth of an inch and a quarter of an inch. You may need something thicker, like a half-inch mat if you need cushion for your knees, hands or back. Lengthwise, the standard is 68 inches, so taller people would benefit from a longer mat if they want their whole body including their feet to fit on the mat.

What's your budget? Cheaper mats are best for beginners who aren't sure if they'll stick to a yoga practice and people who don't practice regularly. If you practice several days a week, a high-quality mat will save you more money in the long run, since you won't have to replace your mat so often.

B Yoga

Allow the 4mm B Mat Everyday by B Yoga to be your go-to, do-everything yoga mat. At 4mm thick, it offers adequate cushion and support. The all-natural rubber surface is slightly textured and grippy. And at 4mm thick and 4.1 pounds, it's not too bulky to cart around. 

There is one disclaimer you absolutely need to know about: This mat does not smell nice when you take it out of the box. In fact, I had to hang the B Mat up on my back porch for an entire day before I could use it, because the smell was so strong. It's just the smell of rubber, and it wears off once you give the mat a chance to air out. 

Other than the initial eye-crossing odor, there's nothing not to love about the 4mm B Mat Everyday from B Yoga. I tried the B Mat out for restorative yoga, vinyasa yoga, outdoor yoga and makeshift hot yoga (outdoors in midday Louisiana heat), and it performed just dandy for all of them. 

I also used the B Mat during CrossFit-style workouts that included floor work, such as sit-ups, leg raises, planks and hip bridges. The mat served me well during those workouts, too.

The B Mat is on the more expensive side for yoga mats, but I think it's a worthwhile investment for people who know they'll use it many times per week for years to come. If you're interested in a yoga practice but aren't sure if you'll actually stick to it, I recommend starting with a more budget-friendly mat (such as the BalanceFrom GoYoga mat detailed later in this list) and graduating to the B Mat or something similar when you decide you're in it for the long haul. 

Manduka

Manduka mats aren't known for being budget-friendly. Quite the opposite actually: Manduka yoga mats are some of the most expensive on the market. To me, yoga mats are like leggings -- why pay over $100 when you can pay $40 or less? 

But this is one of those instances where "you get what you pay for" is annoyingly true. Let me tell you, after actually trying the Manduka Pro 6mm mat for weeks, I would recommend it to anyone who practices yoga several times a week and has the funds to buy it. 

The Pro 6mm mat is thicker than the average mat (most are 4mm), so it automatically feels cushier and more supportive. Despite its thickness, it doesn't feel at all unstable. If anything, I felt that the extra 2mm made me feel more stable in single-leg poses like tree pose or eagle pose. I love the texture, which reminds me of a cross-woven scarf.

Many people who've bought this mat have complained that the Manduka Pro doesn't come ready to use -- that it needs to be broken in -- but I didn't feel that way. The packaging includes instructions on how to break in your Pro mat with a salt scrub, so I guess that's what you're supposed to do, but I never had any issues without that step. 

The Manduka Pro 6mm mat is also slightly larger than most of the other mats I tested, which may contribute to the price. For reference, the Manduka Pro is 71 inches by 26 inches, whereas the Gaiam Sol Dry-Grip (listed below) is 64 inches by 24 inches.

The Manduka Pro isn't not as long as the Yoga Direct Extra Long Mat (listed below), but it's also not marketed specifically as a mat for tall people, so the larger size was a fun surprise.

Yogo

Full disclaimer: This yoga mat is probably not the right choice for people who have sensitive joints, but that's not surprising for a mat that rolls up into the size of a newspaper. At just 1mm thick and an impressively light 2.1 pounds, the Yogo Ultralight is built for travel.

I practiced on this mat in my living room (carpet), dining room (tile), outdoor deck (wood), and backyard (grass). I found that the Yogo Ultralight travel mat felt best on carpet or another semi-soft surface, like grass. It would probably also feel just fine on dirt, as long as it's not too hard-packed. Just remember to clean it after outdoor use for a long-lasting mat.

I might not use this mat on the beach because its rubber surface is rather sticky (good for sweaty hands, not so much for sand), but I would definitely take it with me for other types of vacations. And you can always use it in your hotel or condo, wherever in the world you are.

The buckles and carrying straps are insanely convenient, although you might not even need the straps because you can slip the folded mat into a carry-on, purse or backpack with ease. 

If you travel a lot but also have a home practice, the Yogo Ultralight can also serve as a yoga towel to add a bit of extra cushion and grippiness as a cover on your usual yoga mat. I laid it on top of a different mat that I had trouble gripping, and it made the practice much more comfortable. 

Gaiam

I had a Gaiam mat prior to testing several yoga mats for this article (the 4mm Gaiam reversible mat, which I snagged as a last-minute buy when my gym shut down due to COVID-19). I'm not a fan of the reversible mat because I always find myself slipping, and to be honest, I didn't have a lot of hope for the Gaiam Sol Dry-Grip mat. 

Consider me delighted: I love the Sol Dry-Grip mat. In weeks of practicing on it, I never slipped once, not even when I used it for sweaty outdoor workouts. 

I love the Gaiam Sol Dry-Grip mat for outdoor yoga (or any outdoor workout during which you need a mat) for three reasons: It's exceptionally grippy; it feels stable and sturdy even on lumpy ground; and it's not so expensive that you feel guilty about using it outside. 

Sure, a $70 yoga mat isn't exactly a budget item, but I find that this mat from Gaiam hits the sweet spot between the quality you need for a sturdy, grippy outdoor yoga mat and a price that won't make you wince when your mat touches dirt. 

What's more, the Sol Dry-Grip mat is easy to clean. Unlike most yoga mats, the surface isn't textured (which makes its tremendous grippiness all the more surprising), so a quick wipe down with a wet cloth will get rid of any grass, dirt or other particles your mat may pick up while outside. 

Yoga Direct

OK, this mat is huge! Standard yoga mats are 68 inches (5 and a half feet), and I guess I didn't realize how much longer an 84-inch yoga mat would look or feel. This is a great mat, but if you buy it, know that it feels pretty heavy and bulky compared to a standard yoga mat.

In terms of grip and cushion, the Yoga Direct Extra Long Mat felt standard to me. It wasn't anything super special, but I didn't have any real complaints. I did slip around a bit when I took this mat outside for a particularly sweaty flow, but it's not like I face-planted or anything. All of the other, not-as-sweaty flows I performed on this mat went fine. 

I adore that the Yoga Direct Extra Long Mat is a quarter-inch (6.35mm) thick — it doesn't feel like the company skimped on cushion for length. Compared to the standard of 4mm, this mat feels luxurious like the Manduka Pro. 

One thing I do want to note is that the Yoga Direct Extra Long Mat is still only 24 inches wide, so it's not any wider than a standard yoga mat. If you want a long and wide yoga mat, try Yoga Direct's Extra Long and Wide Mat, which is 84 inches long by 36 inches wide (an entire foot wider!). 

Crown Sporting Goods/Walmart

If you have achy joints, rolling around on a yoga mat that's just 4mm or 6mm thick may not feel too great. Less than a half-inch of cushion just won't cut it for bad knees. Turn to the Crown Sporting Goods Cloud Ultra-Thick mat if that's you. The name doesn't lie: It's the most cloud-like yoga mat I've ever had the pleasure of yoga-ing on. 

It's so comfy I almost fell asleep in savasana every time. 

Clocking in at a whole inch thick, this extra-cushioned yoga mat will support your knees, wrists and elbows with no problem. Using this mat, I never felt that my joints were pressing into the ground during any poses. 

At $50, it's not necessarily an inexpensive mat, but it's not exorbitant either -- and the high-density foam is truly worth it if you have achy joints or bones. The only downfall to a mat this thick is that it's tough to travel with, but it comes with a sling for easy carrying.

BalanceFrom

For beginners who are wary to front the cost of a more luxurious yoga mat, the BalanceFrom GoYoga mat is a nice entry point. At less than $20, it's a good purchase for people who aren't quite sure they're ready to commit to a consistent yoga practice. 

Despite the low price, the BalanceFrom GoYoga mat didn't feel noticeably cheap. The grip is decent: I noticed a bit of slipping on this mat, but not enough to where it was frustrating. It's a quarter-inch thick (6mm), so it's on the thicker side for average yoga mats yet still offers stable support. 

It definitely didn't offer an experience like the Manduka Pro, B Mat or Gaiam Sol mat did, but it wasn't awful. Like I said, it's a good way to test the waters for those new to yoga or any floor exercise. This mat also comes with a convenient strap for easy carrying, which is a nice addition for an inexpensive mat.

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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.