10 Best Yoga, Pilates, & Exercise Mats for 2020

When you think of equipment for at-home workouts, dumbbells, kettlebells, and resistance bands probably jump to mind. But investing in the best yoga mats or other kinds of exercise mats can make a big difference in the enjoyment of your workout.

“The most important thing that you should think about when it comes to your mat is this: ‘Is this going to add or take away from my workout?’ Picking out a mat seems so minor, but for a mat-based workout, it really is so important,” Kara Duval, a Pilates instructor in Boston, tells SELF. “I know firsthand that some mats can be downright annoying!”

So, what makes a good exercise mat? First, think of its purpose: You use a mat for yoga, Pilates, or strength training because they provide a non-slip surface for moves that need stability, explains Holly Perkins, C.S.C.S., creator of The GLUTES Project. “They also cushion you against the floor, making exercises more comfortable.”

That’s why thickness is vital, but that doesn’t mean thicker is always better. While it certainly depends on what feels comfortable for you, what you are using it for also plays a role, too. For instance, a thick, cushiony yoga mat may feel great for easy moves when you’re sitting or laying down, but too much cushioning may actually make you feel less stable, especially on standing moves where you need to feel more grounded, says Duval. That means it may not be the best choice for strength training that requires lots of stability, like squats and deadlifts.

Then, think of portability. If you’re looking for an exercise mat you can carry with you—even if it’s just into the backyard for some outdoor yoga—or need to stow it under your bed, you may want to choose one that fits in a yoga strap or rolls up easy. If you intend to keep it parked on the floor, like as a permanent part of your home gym floor, you can have a little more wiggle room on size and stiffness, says Perkins.

Especially in these stressful times, it can also be helpful to think outside its functionality for just a minute, too, and choose a mat that just brings a smile to your face. “Find yourself a fun color or pattern, so that you’re actually excited to roll out your mat,” says Duval.

Need some inspiration? Take a look at these picks for the best yoga mats and other exercise mats, as chosen by fitness pros and instructors.

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