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Are Manduka yoga mats or Gaiam yoga mats best?

Whether you’re new to yoga or a seasoned yogi, finding the best yoga mat can feel overwhelming. However, Manduka and Gaiam are trusted brands that cater to all levels of yoga. 

Each brand offers high-quality mats in a variety of colors and designs, so there are plenty of options to choose from. But there’s more to picking a yoga mat than just appearance. Deciding which mat works for you will likely come down to cost, durability and even environmental impact. 

Manduka yoga mats

You can expect Manduka to create high-quality yoga mats and sustainable products. They manufacture their durable mats with the environment in mind. Manduka offers a variety of yoga mats, such as the PRO series, eKO series, GRP series and Foundation series. There is a mat for every yogi regardless of experience. 

The PRO series mats are the heaviest and most expensive Manduka yoga mats. The thickest is 6 mm, making it ideal for those who need more stability and cushioning. The eKO series mats are made from non-Amazonian tree rubber, are biodegradable and 99% latex-free. The GRP series mats are perfect for those who like to participate in hot yoga. Their open-cell design wicks away sweat and moisture, helping make your session a bit more bearable. Lastly, the Foundation series is for beginners, and although the mats come at a lower price, they maintain quality. 

Manduka yoga mat pros

Manduka dedicates itself to helping the environment in any way possible. All of their yoga mats are free of dyes, toxic chemicals and phthalates. Most of their mats have a closed-cell surface on the top, which makes them easy to clean with soap and water. Additionally, Manduka mats come in a variety of sizes, including longer options for taller yogis and smaller options for kids. 

The PRO series yoga mats come with a lifetime guarantee. The guarantee covers 10 years of regular use. If the mat doesn’t last under these conditions, Manduka will replace the mat for free. 

Manduka also makes yoga towels from plastic bottles and recycled poly yarn. Other recycled products include yoga blocks, straps and bolsters. Furthermore, they offer a sustainably sourced clothing line. If the environment is important to you, Manduka products are a great buy.

Manduka yoga mat cons

While Manduka offers phenomenal products, they come at a cost. Manduka mats range from $45-$240 or more. Pricing depends on size, material, thickness and availability. Another con for Manduka mats is how long it takes to break them in. This tends to be the case for most of their products — so much so that they created a video to show people how to “season” their mats.

Best Manduka yoga mats

Manduka PRO

Manduka PRO 

This yoga mat is highly recommended by yoga instructors. At 6 mm thick, it’s great for stability and joint protection. It is a heavier mat weighing 7.5 pounds. Additionally, the dot pattern on the bottom prevents sliding on different surfaces. 

Available at Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods


Manduka GRP Lite

Manduka GRP Lite

Lightweight yet heavy duty, this yoga mat is ideal for hot yoga sessions. At 4 mm thick and 3.7 pounds, it can easily be transferred between yoga classes. The core of the mat is charcoal-infused rubber that helps to absorb sweat and reduce odor.  

Available at Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods


Manduka Begin Mat

Manduka Begin Mat

This mat was made for beginners. It contains a center alignment stripe that helps with poses. The closed-cell design prevents sweat from getting into the mat and it’s reversible so yogis can practice on either side. 

Available at Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Gaiam yoga mats

Gaiam offers a great line of beginner-friendly yoga mats at affordable prices. Their mats come in plenty of styles, so it’s a breeze to find one that fits your style. They also use different materials like rubber, cork and jute. However, they also carry standard PVC yoga mats that don’t contain any of the top six phthalates. These mats are a great option for those who want to try yoga without paying a bundle. 

Gaiam offers a collection of yoga mats including Classic, Premium, Performance, Travel, Eco-Friendly and Reversible. The Premium collection ranges from 4-6 mm in thickness, while their Performance collection extends to 8 mm thick. All of their mats are latex-free as well. 

Gaiam yoga mat pros

These yoga mats range in thickness from 2-8 mm, so you can find a mat that fits your needs. Even their thicker mats are light enough to carry to and from yoga classes. Their prices range from $16-$100.   

Also, when you purchase a Gaiam yoga mat, you gain unlimited access to their online yoga class library. There are over 75 classes available for all skill levels and even include prenatal courses.  

In addition, they offer other quality products like yoga blocks to help with those challenging poses. 

Gaiam yoga mat cons

Gaiam yoga mats don’t always have the best quality compared to other brands. For example, some consumers reported the mats peel and fade over time, particularly if they’re used in the sun. Another drawback for Gaiam yoga mats is that they have a strong odor. Several consumers said the strong smell didn’t go away over time. 

Best Gaiam yoga mats

Gaiam Performance Dry Grip

Gaiam Performance Dry Grip

At just over 4 pounds and 5 mm thick, this latex-free yoga mat offers exceptional grip in hotter conditions. It’s an excellent choice for hot yoga. The extra sticky top layer helps to keep your hands and feet from slipping during tricky yoga poses. 

Available at Dick’s Sporting Goods


Gaiam Premium

Gaiam Premium

The premium Gaiam yoga mat is 6 mm thick and is both durable and lightweight. If you’re a beginner looking to try yoga without investing a ton of money, this yoga mat is a great place to start. 

Available at Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Should you get a Manduka or a Gaiam yoga mat?

Both Manduka and Gaiam yoga mats are great for different reasons. If you’re on a budget, new to yoga or want to try different mats without breaking the bank, Gaiam is a great choice. They offer a more stylish and personalized yoga mat. However, if you want to invest in your yoga interests and are conscious about the environment, Manduka is a great choice.

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Ashley Willis writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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