Mind, Body, And Wallet: The Best Budget Yoga Mats And Sets For Your Practice

Namaste away from overpriced mats thanks to these budget-friendly yoga mat recommendations from yoga instructor and life coach Keri Kugler.

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August 5, 2018
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Looking for a new yoga mat (or maybe even your very first mat) can be an overwhelming experience. There are so many to choose from! I remember when I first started my yoga practice I wanted a mat of my own that I could easily carry with me but that wasn’t too pricey since I wasn’t sure if yoga was something I was going to fall in love with right away.

Whether you’re not quite ready to commit to a higher-priced option or you need to leave wiggle room in your budget for something else, I’m here to help you pick a mat you can afford and enjoy.

The Criteria I Considered When Testing Budget Yoga Mats and Sets

When you’re first starting out your practice it’s completely understandable to not want to break the bank with the purchase of an expensive yoga mat. I do, however, think that it’s a good idea to purchase a mat you can call your own—and maybe one that you’re excited to roll out will help keep you committed to your practice.

My top suggestion for anyone looking to purchase their first yoga mat or seeking a budget-friendly mat or set is to look at thickness, stickiness, and weight. Try to find a mat that provides enough support for your joints and is comfortable in seated poses, has enough grip to help you feel stable during Downward Dog and other inversions, and is easy for you to carry to and from the studio (or wherever your practice may take you).

budget yoga mats

As I mentioned during my review of best yoga mats for everyday use, keep in mind that this is just a summary of my experience with these mats, so the process of finding your ideal yoga mat could be different depending on your preferences and needs. I am simply sharing my honest thoughts in the hopes of helping you find a mat that fits your flow.

Clever Yoga BetterGrip Mat

Mat Dimensions: 72” L × 25¼” W × 6 mm | 2 lb

I tested this yoga mat at a studio class and in my home. Upon initial inspection, this reversible mat felt to be the most durable out of the three I considered. The material is eco-friendly and made from 100 percent recycled materials. It’s also free from latex, PVC, and the potentially toxic materials that are found in many budget-friendly mats.

Pros

The 6 mm thickness of the Clever Yoga BetterGrip Mat provided great support and protection for my joints. I found the extra cushioning to be beneficial when I was doing anything seated or on my back. When you’re practicing in a studio, the wood or cement floors can be tough, especially when you’re doing anything on your hands and/or knees. Luckily this mat provided enough cushion that I could go through my flow without having to prop up on a blanket during class.

budget yoga mats clever yoga

Out of the three mats I reviewed, this one is the longest and widest. I am 5′7″ and prefer a mat that’s on the longer side so my head and feet aren’t hanging off the ends. This is a common request from taller yogis who want to be free from distractions during class. I could see it being a bit too long for someone who is shorter but don’t see that being an issue that would cause them to lose focus. For me, the more surface area the better!

Cons

The thing that I found a little challenging while practicing with the Clever Yoga BetterGrip Mat was some of the balancing poses. Mats with any extra thickness make it more difficult to stand on one leg while trying to keep your focus. I have found that the thinner mats work better for these types of poses so this is definitely something to keep in mind.

This mat is truly reversible, just as Clever Yoga claims, and both sides provide a fairly good grip. The biggest downside, however, is that there is a sticky film on both sides of the mat.

Although there was no foul odor, even just touching the mat to roll and unroll left that sticky film on my hands and feet. I’m talking very sticky—and it’s hard to get off, too. I also noticed that my hands and feet left visible stains on the mat. The stains came off after I cleaned the mat but were apparent after each use.

Considerations

This yoga mat was easy to roll up but did take some time to keep its shape on the floor once it was unrolled. I followed the directions on the packaging and wiped it down with a wet cloth. I would not suggest using any kind of cleaner that contains essential oils or vinegar. If you’re sticking to a wet cloth cleaning method you should be safe to clean this mat after every practice.

Overall I would consider this to be a decent option for a first-time purchase or someone newer to yoga. It’s extremely lightweight and rolls up easily. There were no accessories included with the purchase of this mat, so I would recommend buying a strap or yoga bag to carry it in.

Get it from Amazon here

Gaiam 2-Color Yoga Mat

Mat Dimensions: 68” L × 24” W × 3 mm | 2.2 lb

The Gaiam 2-Color Mat is a great budget-friendly option for anyone looking to practice at home on a carpeted space or at a studio that has padded floors. It is 3 mm thick and therefore does not provide a lot of cushion or support. I used it at home in my personal yoga space, which is fully carpeted, and had no issues being on my hands and knees.

Pros

This mat is lightweight and easy to carry around. Because of the 3 mm thickness it also stores easily in the car and at home without taking up a lot of space.

I was satisfied with the grip, especially seeing as this mat is priced below $25. I didn’t try any hot classes with this yoga mat, but it stayed in place pretty well through the transitions of my home and studio flows. It’s worth mentioning that I did notice a little sliding on the floor of the studio, which caused me to make some minor adjustments here and there.

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budget yoga mats gaiam

Just like the BalanceFrom mat (see below!), I found the Gaiam mat was easy to clean and didn’t require that I followed any specific care instructions. This mat wiped clean easily and dried quickly, making it convenient to pack up and go about my day post-practice.

Cons

Although my carpeted practice was pleasant, it’s when I took this mat to a studio class with hardwood floors that I began to have issues. I couldn’t do any poses that put a lot of weight on my wrists, knees, or ankles without needing a blanket for extra support. My Downward Dogs even got a little uncomfortable toward the end of my practice because of the lack of support related to the thinness of this mat.

Considerations

This was the least durable of the three mats I reviewed. I didn’t notice any flaking during the few classes I took, but the filling of this product is made from PVC—not the most durable if you plan on using it several times per week. I love the grip for the price, but I wouldn’t recommend this mat for long-term use. The quality just isn’t there and you might wind up having to buy another new mat sooner rather than later.

Get it from Target here

BalanceFrom GoYoga Eco-Friendly Mat

Mat Dimensions: 68” L × 24” W × 6.35 mm

The BalanceFrom Eco-Friendly Mat measures in at ¼ inch thick, which is about 6 mm. I compared the thickness side by side with the Clever Yoga BetterGrip mat and found them to match up almost perfectly. As I was practicing, however, I thought this mat felt much thinner than 6 mm.  

Pros

I took a heated and non-heated class and noticed that this mat wicked moisture pretty well during both practices. I was pleasantly surprised by how much grip this reversible yoga mat actually had on both sides.

In a non-heated class, I was able to stay in Downward Dog without any slipping or sliding. I also had zero trouble with the mat sliding on the studio floor. I did notice in the hot class I slid a bit more when I was really sweaty. Therefore, I’d recommend a yoga mat towel if you’re planning to do any intense, sweat-heavy classes with this mat.

Although the carrying strap provided wasn’t high quality, the weight of this mat made it easy to transport to and from class.

budget yoga mats eco friendly

I’m also happy to share that the cleaning process was a breeze, as both sides of the mat wiped clean very easily. There are no special care instructions provided for this yoga mat, so I used a water, vinegar, and essential oil blend cleaner and it worked perfectly. As an added bonus, this yoga mat dries fast, so I was able to quickly roll it up and head out.

Cons

Despite the thickness of this mat, I still felt the need to use a mat towel while I was in any pose that put weight on my knees.

Considerations

The one thing I noticed when I first opened this mat is that the card that came with the product says it’s “eco-friendly.” However, the card does not state what this budget-friendly mat is made of. I turned to their website to find more information, and to my surprise, I couldn’t find anything on their site that mentioned the words eco-friendly, nor could I see what the mat was actually made of.

When I reached out to BalanceFrom in regards to the eco-friendly claim their response was, “The mat is made of NBR. All our mats are eco-friendly, they all pass eco test.

Since NBR, or nitrile rubber, is a synthetic product, this may not be the mat for yogis set on getting a mat made of truly eco-friendly, sustainable materials.

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This product does come with a mat carrying strap and a two-year warranty. The strap is fairly short, so it handles more like a carrier than an actual yoga strap, and it isn’t high quality (but it did come off and go on with no real issues).

All that being said, out of the three mats in this category, I would pick this one as my go-to. The grip and support it offered my hands and knees were definitely superior to the other budget mats I tested.

Get it from Amazon here

Budget Yoga Sets Tested

Budget sets are a great investment if you’re wanting to start a home practice. It can be challenging to find time to get to a studio several times a week, and it can also be quite expensive to pay for classes regularly. If you’re on a budget but want to stay committed to your practice, finding a space in your home to bring your yoga practice to life is the perfect option. What you’ll want to invest in first, especially if you are a beginner, is a yoga set equipped with a mat and props.

A typical yoga set includes a mat, two blocks, a strap, and a long towel to place over your mat. Sometimes a smaller hand towel will be included as well. For your home practice what you really want to focus on is finding a yoga set with a quality mat, two blocks, and a strap. Here are two sets that include all the essentials:

Sivan Yoga Set

Mat Dimensions: 71” L × 24” W × ½” thick

Set Includes: Mat | Two Yoga Blocks | One 6’5” Yoga Strap | One 68” × 24” Yoga Mat Towel | One 30” × 20” Yoga Hand Towel

The Sivan Yoga Set includes everything a beginner yogi needs to get started: a mat, two blocks, a strap, and two towels (one hand towel and one yoga mat towel). The only thing not included was a bag. The items came boxed up and individually wrapped. If you’re wanting to travel with these items, I’d suggest getting a yoga bag big enough to fit everything included in this budget set.

Pros

Although the carrying strap wasn’t the best quality, it was fairly easy for me to get the Sivan mat in and out the strap. The mat also rolled up easily but took some time to lay flat on the floor.

budget yoga mat sets

The other items in this set were of decent quality. I prefer a thicker block, whereas these particular ones are smaller and thinner than those in the CelverYoga set I tested (see below!). I found the towels and strap to hold up well and definitely believe the items add value to this set.

Cons

The strap included in this set was designed to carry your mat more like a holder and is not long enough to actually fit over your shoulder for carrying, meaning I had to adjust it quite a bit during transport as I found the mat sliding around. This is something to consider if think or know you prefer to use a strap to carry your yoga mat.

One big thing to note about this set is the nature of the mat itself. It is extremely thick for a yoga mat. A mat of this thickness is great for fitness classes where you’re on your back and knees quite a bit. For a yoga class, though, it’s not ideal.

I did two home practices on this mat, one in my carpeted yoga space and the other in my office, which has hardwood flooring. I found it to be extremely difficult to practice with this mat on the carpet because of its thickness. Even on the hard floor, my hands would sink into the mat during Downward-Facing Dog. During my standing poses, I noticed my feet sinking, which made Vinyasa transitions and balance poses more challenging. Overall the extra thickness caused more of a distraction than anything.

Considerations

This would be a great mat and set for more fitness-based classes. I noticed the woman on the box was even wearing tennis shoes and was in more of a “workout” style position. I can’t speak to workout classes, but I would not recommend the mat included for a yoga practice unless you know you’ll do more restorative flows that involve mostly seated postures and stretching, in which case this budget set may be the perfect fit for you.

Get it from Amazon here

Clever Yoga Set

Mat Dimensions: 72” L × 25¼” W × 6 mm

Set Includes: Mat | Two Yoga Blocks | One 8’ Cotton Yoga Strap | One Yoga Mat Towel | One Yoga Hand Towel | One Carrying Bag

I was blown away by everything that was included in this set for the price tag. I also found the overall quality of the items included to be pretty impressive considering the affordable nature of this set, which truly has everything you need to get started. There’s even a quick video on their website that walks you through what you need to know about each piece of equipment.

Pros

The carrying bag was a great addition to this set. The other six items fit perfectly inside, which means they can be packed away and transported nicely. The bag features two little straps that hold the yoga blocks in place and a compartment on the outside that would be ideal for storing keys or other small items if you decide to travel with it.

budget yoga mat sets clever yoga

The blocks are thick and sturdy. The strap is durable and long enough for me to use in every pose. The two towels were moisture wicking and stayed in place with minimal sliding when I used the longer towel to lay over the mat during one of my home practices.

Cons

The yoga mat included in this set is the same as the Clever Yoga BetterGrip Mat that was reviewed in the budget-friendly mat section. As mentioned previously, this mat still had that sticky film but did not leave the same staining effect that I noticed on my hands and feet with the first Clever Yoga mat I tested. I did, however, notice a little more slip while in Downward-Facing Dog with the mat included in this set. That being said, I thought the quality of the remaining items was on point.

Considerations

Out of the two budget sets, I would pick the Clever Yoga set to be the winner in this category. The big difference I saw during my testing process was the quality in all of the products included. The Clever Yoga mat had better grip and was more suitable for an active yoga practice. The blocks were also thicker, and this budget set included a carrier that allowed me to travel easily to and from the studio and conveniently store my set at home.

I would absolutely agree that this set is worth the price tag. It has everything that a yogi wanting to practice from home will need!

Get it from Amazon here
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