excercise mat

Best Exercise Mats 2018

by Cole Matthews - Last Updated October 4, 2018

If you have ever done sit-ups or stretching on a cold, hard floor, then you already know the benefits of getting an exercise mat. After all, who doesn’t want to keep their back well protected and well padded? Problem is, there are so many exercise mats out there that it can get downright confusing. That’s why we’ve provided this list of best exercise mats that helps you identify the top players in the marketplace.

This article is going to break down the top 5 exercise mats. You’ll also get a buyers guide and exercise mat FAQ so you’ll know exactly what to look for.

Best Exercise Mat Why We Love It Our Rating
Square36 Large Mat One piece large mat, travel bag, storage straps  ★★★★★
Gorilla Large Mat Rectangular shape, workout towel  ★★★★
BalanceFrom Yoga Mat Lightweight, thick, easy clean  ★★★★
Best Choice Products Folding Mat Foldable compartments, thick, handles  ★★★★
Amazon Basics Exercise Mat Special grip surface, great price  ★★★★

Best Exercise Mat

Square36 Large Mat

Image of the Square36 Large Yoga Mat 6 Ft x 4 Ft (72 

The Square36 Large Mat is our overall favorite home exercise mat. It is a one piece mat that measures 72 x 72 inches. Here’s what makes it our top pick . . .

Size

The Square 36 large mat is one of the biggest high-quality single piece exercise mats that we could find. That means that you don’t have to worry about getting individual pieces that may come apart halfway through your workout. It is sold as a cardio exercise mat but can be used for everything from kettlebell training to skipping.

Handy Extras

Even though this exercise mat is quite large it can still be used as a travel exercise mat. For that purpose, it comes with a handy travel bag, along with to storage straps to keep the mat compact and together so you are carrying it with you.

Construction

The Square 36 large mat is made from premium nontoxic materials. The mat is 6 mm thick, which is not as thick as some on this list, but still sufficient to provide you with the padding that you need.

Gorilla Large Mat

Image of the Premium Extra Large Exercise Mat - 8' x 4' x 1/4 

The Gorilla Large Mat is another big one piece mat that impresses us. Here’s why . . .

Rectangular Shape

The rectangular shape of the large Gorilla mat makes it very handy to fit into your workout spaces. This is great if you are doing exercise in one direction. However, if you are moving around, you might want to go for a square mat such as the Square365.

Construction

This mat is made from nontoxic materials so you now that your health with not be compromised when you use it. It has a thickness of a quarter of an inch and features unique, circle pattern bottom grips that will stop the mat from sliding around.

Extras

The Gorilla mat comes with a pair of velcro straps to keep it compact when you are carrying it around and you even get a complimentary workout towel.

BalanceFrom Yoga Mat

Image of the BalanceFrom GoYoga All Purpose High Density Non-Slip Exercise Yoga Mat with Carrying Strap, 1/4 

The BalanceFrom Yoga Mat is the best travel yoga mat that we have encountered. Here’s what makes it special . . .

Lightweight

This yoga mat is lightweight, rolls easily and come with an adjustable Velcro strap that allows you to tightly secure the mat to carry it under your arm.

Thick

The Balance From Yoga Mat is a half inch thick, making it one of the best cushioned yoga mats out there. The high-density foam material will give you the protection that you need.

Easy Clean

This mat is very easy to clean thanks to its moisture resistant coating and quality construction materials. It can be washed very simply with water and soap.

Best Choice Products Folding Mat

Image of the Best Choice Products Folding 10' Exercise Gym Mat for Gymnastics, Aerobics, Yoga, Martial Arts - Pink 

Foldable Compartments

The Best Choice Products Folding Mat is a large folding mat that unfolds in large squares for a total measurement of 120 x 24 inches. It can be easily folded for transport. 

Handles

This mat provides you with carrying handles that make it very convenient for you to carry it around.

Thickness

The Best Choice Products Folding Mat provides you with more padding than most other exercise mats out there. It is filled with high-density EOE foam. This makes it very good for high-intensity cardio and plyometrics.

Velcro Edging

These mats feature Velcro edging on the sides to allow you to attach an infinite number of additional mats to them. This is a great feature for those who are into gymnastics, allowing you to extend the workout area for your floor practice work.

What’s Not So Great

This exercise mat is covered with PU leather. This makes for a strong, durable covering. However, it is not sweat absorbent. That is a good thing and a bad thing – bad in that it could leave the surface of the mat quite slippery.

Amazon Basics Exercise Mat

Image of the AmazonBasics Exercise Mat with EVA Foam Interlocking Tiles 

The Amazon Basics Exercise Mat is a 24 x 24 inches mat specifically designed for placing your exercise equipment on.  Here what we especially like about this one . . .

Construction

The Amazon Basics Exercise Mat is made from high-density EVA. They are a half inch thick and very durable. Each 24 x 24 inch mat is part of a six piece set that covers a total of 24 feet.

Special Grip Surface

The Amazon Basics Mat has a special grip surface that provides you with a great deal of traction. Even though this mat is designed to house your exercise equipment, it is versatile enough to also be used for any type of exercise.

Price

The Amazon Basics mat comes in at a great price point. You should be aware, however, that Amazon has a limit on how many of these you can buy.

What’s Not So Great

The slick coating on this mat may make it a bit slippery when you’re getting a serious sweat on.

Exercise Mat Buyer’s Guide

Image of the AmazonBasics 1/2-Inch Extra Thick Exercise Mat with Carrying Strap, Green 

We don’t think much about exercise mats and gym flooring – until we need to buy them. When we do, we can be surprised to discover that there is more to making the right choice than what meets the eye. Here are the essential points that you need to consider . . .

Basic Design

There are many choices when it comes to the type of exercise mat that you choose. The most popular are yoga mats, gymnastic mats, cardio mats, and gym equipment mats which are designed for going under your fitness gear that sits on the ground. If you want a lightweight, roll up mat that is highly portable, you should go for a yoga mat. But a yoga mat will provide you with the least amount of thickness and cushioning. A cardio mat is designed for higher impact training. Gymnastic mats are the most padded of all, designed to handle the rough and tumble of gymnastic floor training.

Shoe and Equipment Friendly

You should decide at the outset if you plan on training on your exercise mat with shoes on and if you will be storing exercise equipment on it. Some mats are not meant to be worked out on with shoes on. Others may not be slip resistant which could cause some problems.

If you are planning to sit a heavy piece of training equipment, such as a treadmill or exercise bike on your mat, you need to know that it is durable enough to cope with that load long-term. A gym mat that will be used for sitting at home workout equipment on should be at least a half inch thick.

Construction Materials

Generally, exercise mats that are made from natural materials such as plant rubber and recycled products are more durable and stronger than those made from synthetic materials. Natural materials are, naturally, more expensive than synthetic materials.

Size and Weight

If a single mat can cover your entire exercise space then that is probably going to be the preferred option. However, you may want to have another, smaller mat that is portable so you can take it with you when you train away from home. This mat should fold to a compact size to make it easy to travel with. If it has got carry handles, storage straps or a bag then it will be even easier to carry around with you.

Ease of Use

You want an exercise mat that is as simple to set up as possible. Yoga mats will usually simply roll out, which is ideal. Others may require connecting pieces together. Know what you’re getting before you commit.

Exercise Mat FAQ

Image of the Stalwart Foam Mat Floor Tiles, Interlocking EVA Foam Padding Soft Flooring for Exercising, Yoga, Camping, Kids, Babies, Playroom – 6 Pack 

Why should I invest in an exercise mat?

An exercise mat is a low-cost addition to your home fitness set up that will make your workouts a lot more comfortable and safe. The extra padding that you get from an exercise mat will allow you to focus on the target muscle when working out on the floor rather than the discomfort in your lower back. It will also give you more stability when working out.

Training on an exercise mat will also protect your floors and carpet from sweat and damage caused by dropping weights or other equipment. A good mat will also prevent your feet from slipping when you’re doing hard out cardio work as well as stopping you from getting carpet burn on your forearms when doing moves like mountain climbers.

Who could benefit from having a home exercise mat?

If you are someone who does plyometric training, calisthenics or cardio at home then you should definitely have an exercise mat between you and the floor. A mat will absorb a lot of the impact of your movement as well as protecting your home environment. A mat will make your workout far easier on your joint as well as keeping you more stable.

If you are into yoga and pilates, then you should also be working out on a mat. Finally, any weight training equipment or heavy cardio gear that you have at home should be sitting on an exercise mat that is at least half an inch thick.

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