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Best exercise mats 2023: Upgrade your home workouts with these gym and yoga mats

Enjoy a more comfortable workout with these top exercise mats, including yoga mats

If you’re going to be working out at home, you need an exercise mat. This protects you from the floor, which can be cold and hard, and also protects the floor from you, catching sweat and cushioning blows from weights dropped inadvertently.

Below, you will find a range of mats to suit all purposes, whether you’re looking for heavy-duty padding to complete a home gym full of big weights and cardio machines, or a lightweight, portable mat. First, let’s take a look at what you need to know when buying an exercise mat.

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Best exercise mats: At a glance

How to choose the best exercise mat for you

What kind of mat do you need?

If you’re planning on using the mat for bodyweight exercises in your home workouts, a thin, lightweight mat will serve you well. If you’re going to be using free weights, it’s worth having something thicker to protect the floor from the weights – and if you’re going to be putting the mat under cardio machines like a treadmill, you will need an even chunkier mat to bear that weight safely.

For most people a simple mat you can roll up and pack away after use is the best option, but if you have a home gym then you might want to get interlocking mat pieces to sit in place permanently to cover the entire floor.

If you’re primarily buying an exercise mat for yoga, you will probably want a larger mat with a grippy surface so you don’t come unstuck during poses, especially if you have sweaty hot yoga in mind.

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How large and thick should your mat be?

Thicker mats will be more comfortable and protect your floor more effectively, but they’re heavier and less portable. If you want to roll up your mat and carry it with you, a thinner mat is better. The minimum thickness is around 4mm, but generally anything up to 10mm can be rolled up easily. Beyond that you’re largely looking at chunky, cushioned mats that are designed to stay in place most of the time.

When it comes to surface size, most mats are around 60-70cm wide, but the length can vary a lot, especially when it comes to yoga mats. Smaller mats are around 170cm long, which makes them more portable but might be too short for taller users, who’ll want a mat that’s over 180cm long.

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What other features should you look for?

The material from which the mat is made is another key feature, with PVC being the most common since it’s comfortable, durable and easy to clean. Other common materials include TPE and rubber, and many brands now make a point of using environmentally-friendly materials in their mats, like sustainably sourced rubber or jute.

A non-slip surface is generally useful, and it’s also handy if the underside of your mat grips the floor well so it doesn’t move around during your workout.

Portability is also important and many mats will have integrated straps to hold them in a roll and can be used to carry them over your shoulder. Some thicker options can be folded rather than rolled, and while these aren’t as easily transported as a small roll, it does allow you to use a thicker mat outside or at the gym if you prefer.

Another feature you can look for on yoga mats is a pattern that helps you align your limbs during poses. Even if it’s just a straight line down the length of the mat, this can be very useful for getting your feet into the right position during a warrior two pose, for example.

How much do you have to spend?

A solid budget exercise mat will cost between £5 and £10, and the sweet spot for mats that provide a good range of features without costing the earth is between £20 and £40. Beyond that price point, you will find very heavy duty mats for protecting floors, as well as more feature-rich yoga mats made from eco-friendly materials.

READ NEXT: The best yoga mat to buy

The best exercise mats you can buy in 2023

1. Opti Basic 4mm Mat: Best budget exercise mat

Price when reviewed: £10 | Check price at Argos

This lightweight mat is a great option for workouts, yoga and Pilates, being large enough for most people, at 173 x 61cm, if lacking a little in thickness at just 4mm. If you prefer a more cushioned feel then we have thicker mats below, but on anything but the hardest floors this mat will be enough, and that thin design means it rolls up into a compact bundle to carry in a bag.

Key features – Size: 173 x 61cm; Thickness: 40mm; Material: PVC

Check price at Argos

2. Adidas Training Mat: Best portable exercise mat

Price when reviewed: £34 | Check price at Amazon

Considering how large and thick this mat is, the fact it rolls up so neatly is impressive. The mat surface is 183cm long and 61cm wide, which is big enough to accommodate even taller users, and it’s 10mm thick, so has enough cushioning for workouts on any surface.

When you roll it up, the mat’s integrated shoulder strap makes it easy to carry, too. The underside has a ridged texture to increase grip so the mat won’t move around beneath you during workouts, and the wipe-down surface means that it’s simple to keep clean even after sweaty sessions.

Key features – Size: 183 x 61cm; Thickness: 10mm; Material: NBR foam

3. Nyamba Fitness 140: Best exercise mat under £5

Price when reviewed: £4 | Check price at Decathlon Shorter people seeking a bargain will be well served by the Nyamba Fitness 140 mat, which has a small surface area at 140 x 50cm, but offers a decent amount of cushioning thanks to the 6.5mm thickness. The striped underside of the mat grips well on most surfaces, but the top side isn’t the best for providing traction during sweaty workouts, so you might benefit from covering it with a towel in that situation.

Key features – Size: 140 x 50cm; Thickness: 6.5mm; Material: Foamed polyethylene

Check price at Decathlon

4. JTX Floor Mat: Best exercise mat for cardio machines

Price when reveiwed: From £29 | Check price at JTX

JTX sells a range of excellent gym machines, so it makes sense that it also offers a range of excellent mats to place under those machines to protect your floors. Cardio equipment like treadmills and exercise bikes are heavy and the area around them tends to get sprayed with a lot of sweat, for obvious reasons, so buying a mat to go with your machine is a good idea.

The JTX Floor Mat comes in five sizes, ranging from the 120 x 80cm small mat up to the 250cm x 80cm extra extra large mat. JTX also gives info on which of its machines each size of mat is suitable for, and even if you don’t own JTX equipment you can roughly match up your machine to one on the list so you have a good idea which size mat to get.

Key features – Size: 120 x 80cm (small mat); Thickness: 6mm; Material: Rubber

Check price at JTX

5. Mirafit 6ft Folding Mat: Best folding exercise mat

Price when reviewed: £35 | Check price at Amazon

At 40mm thick, this is the spongiest mat on this list, making it useful for home gymnastics in particular, alongside the usual workouts and yoga. Rolling a 40mm thick mat would not be practical, so Mirafit has used a folding design to make the mat more portable.

It’s still a pretty hefty bit of kit when folded into three, at 60 x 60 x 12cm, but the integrated handles make it possible to carry with you fairly easily. The mat comes in blue, orange or pink, and the PVC material can be wiped down after workouts to keep it clean.

Key features – Size: 180 x 60cm; Thickness: 40mm; Material: PVC

6. JLL Fitness Rubber Gym Floor Tiles: Best interlocking mats

Price when reviewed: From £22 | Check price at JLL Fitness

These interlocking tiles are ideal for covering the floor of a home workout area, and while we rate the jigsaw design as the best for ensuring a secure fit, you can also get straight-edged tiles for the same price if you prefer.

The straight-edged tiles come in two thicknesses – 8mm or 15mm – so you can get an extra thick layer of protection if using heavy weights or hefty cardio machines, while the interlocking tiles only come in the 8mm thickness. The tiles are made from a heavy duty rubber that can handle years of workouts without wearing, and the waterproof surface can be wiped down.

Key features – Size: 100 x 100cm; Thickness: 8mm or 15mm; Material: Rubber

Check price at JLL Fitness

7. Yoga-Mad Warrior Plus Yoga Mat: Best yoga mat

Price when reviewed: £22 | Check price at Think Sport

If you’re seeking a dedicated yoga mat it’s worth heading to our detailed round-up for a range of options, but the best all-round pick is the Yoga-Mad Warrior Plus Yoga Mat, which offers everything you need to get into the flow of your practice at a great price.

The mat has a spacious surface area at 183 x 61cm, and the 6mm thickness offers enough comfort for even dynamic yoga flows. Despite being a little thicker and larger than many yoga mats, the Warrior Plus still only weighs 1.6kg and can be rolled up neatly to carry with you to a studio.

Key features – Size: 183 x 61cm; Thickness: 6mm; Material: PVC

Check price at Think Sport

8. Liforme Yoga Mat: Best yoga mat for grip

Price when reviewed: £115 | Check price at Amazon

If you’re willing to invest a little more in your yoga we highly recommend the Liforme mat. One of the main reasons it lives up to its price tag is the exceptional grip it provides, even when covered in sweat. That’s thanks to Liforme’s own eco-polyurethane top surface, which is also etched with an alignment guide to help you adopt the right positions during your yoga sessions.

The mat is PVC-free and naturally biodegradable in one to five years in normal landfill conditions, and most of the mat is made from sustainable rubber, so it hits all the right marks when it comes to being eco-friendly as well as practical. The larger size of the mat gives even taller yogis room to stretch, and it still rolls up into a compact bundle to carry with you, especially when stashed in the travel bag it comes with.

Key features – Size: 185 x 68cm; Thickness: 4.2mm; Material: Rubber base and eco-polyurethane

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