The Best Cheap Yoga Mats to Help You Kickstart Your Workout

Whether you’re just starting out with yoga and don’t want to spend too much on a yoga mat or you’re simply on a budget, you might be looking for some of the best cheap yoga mats out there. The process can be daunting. There are literally thousands of choices. How do you know which one is the best for you? How do you figure it out? What factors do you need to consider in the choosing process? We've completed this research for you. Read on to learn how to easily choose your new yoga mat.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Yoga Mat

Choosing the best budget yoga mat for you depends on a plethora of factors. You’d want to consider your individual needs. What’s important to you during your practice? Here’s a list that can help you along the way.

Material

Yoga mats today are made from a variety of materials ranging from fully synthetic to all natural. The material of your mat will determine the characteristics of it and will impact your practice thus the significance of the choice you make.

PVC is traditionally the most common material for manufacturing yoga mats. It is highly durable and offers great grip and cushioning. However it is not recyclable or biodegradable, and there’s a concern that it contains chemical substances that may affect health, so considering that and if eco-friendliness is your priority you might want to avoid it and opt for a more natural option such as natural rubber, jute or cotton.

You can find synthetic blends that claim to be more eco-conscious and also offer high durability and grip. Quite common are TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomers) a PVC-free plastic rubber mix that is recyclable and PU (Polyurethane) a plastic based recyclable material. Another option is NBR,(Nitrile butadiene rubber) a man-made rubber that is typically used for manufacturing thick well-padded mats that can be a good choice for you if you need the extra support.

Natural mats come from a variety of sources, such as Natural rubber, Cotton, Jute, Hemp, or Cork; They are sustainable, eco-friendly, biodegradable and recyclable and are usually less durable than synthetic mats.
Be aware that if you have a latex allergy, it’s better to stay away from rubber mats to avoid irritation.
You can often find mats that join or blend two materials attempting to gain the best of both worlds. Natural rubber mats are usually more cushioned while jute and cork often combined on top another softer material as mat base for better comfort. Cotton yoga mats are more of yoga rugs and can be used on top of another yoga mat to provide better support.

Hygiene

Having a clean mat should be in your priority because with all the sweat your mat can become breeding for bacteria and germs. You’d probably want a yoga mat that can be easily cleaned and requires relatively low maintenance
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Synthetic and rubber yoga mats can be manufactured using open/closed cell construction. Closed-cell mats are considered easier to clean. They are impermeable to liquids, so they allow sweat and other toxins to drip right off. Open-cell mats, on the other hand, are porous by nature so sweet can be quickly absorbed in them which makes them harder to thoroughly clean.

Other natural materials such as jute, cork, and hemp have antibacterial properties which can make them favorable choices in maintaining your mat clean.

Size and Portability

The standard mat size is 68“ long and 24” wide which usually fits most needs. Still, different manufacturers offer a variety of sizes
If you’re 6 feet or taller, you’ll probably want to consider a longer mat to provide better coverage. It can also suit you better if you’re more advanced in your practice and need the space to deepen the poses and really stretch.
Width mostly remains at 24”. However, a wider mat can provide you with a broader base for poses such as four-limbed-staff-pose (Chaturanga Dandasana) and can probably better fit you if you have broad shoulders.
Go ahead and try the mat in poses like the downward-facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) or corpse pose (Savasana) to get a better feel whether your whole body fits on it and whether the coverage is sufficient for you.
If you do go for the non-standard mat size remember to check it still fits in your yoga bag.
The weight of your mat becomes especially significant when you’re on the go, need to travel light and keep practicing or when you carry it walking a distance. Finding a more lightweight mat to ease portability means you’ll have to do some compromising on comfort and size.

Grip

Grip, traction, stickiness it all comes down to two qualities of the mat: allowing you to feel stable while holding poses, without sliding out of position, and avoid having your mat slip on a smooth floor. The bottom line is the same – grip is essential, if you slip, you don’t enjoy the full advantage of the practice not to mention it can lead to injury
Material and texture play a significant role when it comes to a solid grip. Texture can range from smooth to rough and usually less smooth surface, with ridges, will better prevent slipping when perspiring.
As for the material, if you tend to sweat or attend intensive classes such a hot yoga, the natural material mats (cork, jute, cotton) or the open-cell sweat absorbing mats can offer a steadier grip. If after all considered, your grip is still not optimal you can try a yoga towel.

Thickness

With mat thickness, it mainly comes down to comfort vs. balance. Too thin and your knees, wrists, and joints may suffer from lack of support facing the hard ground.Too thick and it might disrupt your sense of balance in standing poses when you need to feel more grounded, or get in the way of your flow from pose to pose. You’d also want to pay attention to density to make sure your yoga mat isn’t too spongy as it also might compromise your balance.
The standard yoga mat is ⅛” which may not be enough when you’re a beginner, still building your strength, or if you need better cushioning. If this is the case consider a thicker mat; Medium thickness of ⅙” can provide a bit more padding, and if it’s still not supportive enough for you, try thicker mats until you find your match.
The mat thickness will impact its portability both weight and corpulence wise, so if you plan to take it on travels or walk distance to class, you may want to stick to the thinner choice.

Type of Yoga You Practice

There are many types of yoga. The one you’ll be practicing should also be considered as some yoga types may require specific attributes from your yoga mat. Naturally, if you’re just starting out your yoga journey, you might not know yet what’s your favorite yoga type but if you do know you can benefit from factoring it in your decision.

Generally speaking, especially as you’re on a budget most yoga mats will address the central needs of your basic yoga practice. Still, for a better match, you’d want to be aware of some highlights.
If your practice is rapid, grip and traction are crucial as you’ll be moving around intensively and don’t want to stop each time to fix your position or the mats location. You also may need some cushioning to avoid injury. However, If you prefer more relaxed yoga such as restorative yoga, you’ll aim for better comfort and padding.
For hot yoga, your mat should provide excellent grip even under sweltering conditions so that would probably be your primary focus if this is your preferred practice.

Our Recommended Best Affordable Yoga Mats

The Clever Yoga Non-Slip Yoga Mat offers a great affordable option for versatile practice. Made of eco-friendly, durable TPE with closed-cell construction that repels sweat and makes it easy to clean after a session.

It’s larger than the standard yoga mat in both width and length so it can fit any body type. Still, it’s lightweight enough so you can easily carry it to your daily workout.

With a focus on stability, it’s designed to stay put and allow you to hold your poses with its textured top and bottom surfaces.

If you have problems with your knees, elbows, or hips, this mat can be a great option for you as it’s cushioned for better comfort and support.Choose the color of your preference from the variety of colors it offers.

Pros

  • Eco-friendly and free of toxins to protect the environment and your health. It’s made of recyclable, biodegradable TPE
  • Highly durable material to hold up intensive workouts
  • ¼” (6 mm) thick to comfortably protect your joints
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    With 72” long and 25” wide it can fit you even if you’re tall
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    Low maintenance with easy to clean closed-cell construction
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    ‘No questions asked’ return policy so you’re covered if you’re not satisfied with the product

Cons

  • Might become slippery and compromise your grip in hot yoga sessions or if you tend to perspire
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    Was reported to have issues staying flat after it has been stored in a rolled-up position

Another solidly affordable yoga mat is the durable Healthyyoga mat. This mat is manufactured from eco-friendly, recyclable TPE that is odorless.

The highlight of this mat is the body alignment system that’s designed to help you be accurate in your positions and adjust them according to the markings.

It is well cushioned and supportive of ¼”  thickness and is larger than the standard mat size so it can fit almost anyone. You don’t need to worry about your sweat absorbing in the mat thanks to the closed-cell construction that requires minimal maintenance. A simple wipe-down or a gentle wash will do.

The top and bottom surfaces have raised texture to guarantee your stable grip and prevent the mat from sliding around on a smooth floor.

Pros

  • Features a body alignment system to ensure optimal alignment during poses
  • Made from eco-friendly and durable TPE
  • Comfortable and supportive ¼” thickness without sacrificing your balance
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    Closed-cell surface prevents moisture from penetrating the mat and ease your mat cleaning process
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    The textured surfaces keep your grip stable and secure while in positions and when transitioning between them
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    Quite lightweight at 2.8 pounds so you can easily carry it around
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    Velcro strap and Carrying strap included

Cons

  • It was reported to have a slight odor after you open it. Let it air out for a few days to avoid this issue
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    It may wrinkle and bend easily
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    The nature of the waterproof surface may result in lesser grip under very sweaty conditions

This Gaiam mat stands out with its beautiful colorful prints for you to choose and allows you to focus on some gorgeous designs during your Downward-Facing Dog.

It’s made of PVC that is free of the six most harmful phthalates and is also latex free, so you don’t need to worry if you’re allergic to it. The material is very durable and will hold up well even during vigorous sessions.

The majority of these printed mats are the standard size of 68” x 24” however, few come in a larger size of 78” x 26” and can better fit you if you’re tall.

It’s supportive of your joints with ⅕” thickness without compromising your balance and will make sure you hold your poses with its textured sticky surface.

Pros

  • The mat material is very durable
  • The sticky textured surface provides good grip
  • Variety of beautiful designs to choose the one you like best
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    With the purchase, you get a bonus downloadable full yoga workout
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    The mat unwraps well. It doesn't seem to have any issues with wrinkling up
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    Comes with a lifetime guarantee

Cons

  • Made from PVC that is not considered eco-friendly and can’t be recycled
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    Might become slippery under sweaty conditions
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    Most of the designed mats are the standard size which might not be enough for you if you need the extra space
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    Has a harmless odor when first opened and requires airing for few days

If you're looking for a very thick and comfortable mat, this Sivan mat is probably the one for you. It’s ½” thick which is very cushioned and is longer than the standard mat with its 71”. This mat is great if you're gracefully aging, or your joints are extra sensitive. It is a great choice for yogis of any shape, size, and age.

If you're an everyday practitioner, you’ll most likely enjoy this mat's durability. It’s made to last. It’s available in several colors you can choose from. The mat is quite thick but not too dense so it’s still lightweight and easy to carry around. The waterproof surface repels moist and makes keeping it clean an easy task.

Pros

  • Extra thick and cushioned for your ultimate comfort and support
  • The material is very durable
  • A great non-slip surface that sticks to the floor and keeps your mat steady
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    It’s longer than the standard mat with 71” so you can really stretch
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    You can quickly clean it with a simple wipe-down
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    It comes with a flexible  carrying strap for easy transport

Cons

  • The NBR material isn’t considered very eco-friendly
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    There’s a possible smell upon opening the mat. Let it air out to avoid this
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    The soft spongy foam might compromise your balance in standing poses
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    Some customers complain their hands and feet leave imprints on it due to the soft foam inside the mat

The Shantihi mat is another excellent affordable yoga mat you can choose. It’s made of eco-friendly recyclable, durable TPE that is non-toxic and free of latex so safe for you if you’re allergic. It's waterproof, so you don’t need to worry about it starting to smell after sweaty practice, and you can clean it in no time with a simple wipe-down. 

Both sides are textured to improve traction, and as it’s reversible, you can choose the side you prefer to match your practice. It's longer than the standard mat to fit most practitioners, and still carrying it around should not be an issue thanks to its less than 2 pounds weight.

Pros

  • The material Eco-friendly and highly durable
  • Odorless
  • It’s both thick enough for good support and firm for balance
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    Both sides of this reversible mat offer great grip and traction
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    It’s lightweight with less than 2 pounds for easy transfer
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    Offers a 100% money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied
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    Free Bonus ebook featuring stress-relieving poses is included

Cons

  • If you have animals, it seems to collect hair. Keep a lint roller handy
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    Might become less grippy under very sweaty conditions so you might need a yoga towel

Our Pick

Shantihi Yoga Mat

Hopefully, your search for your new yoga mat is made easier by this guide. Our choice of the five would be the Shantihi Yoga Mat. Many practitioners complain about their yoga mats and their smell. This mat is odorless. It's easy to clean, easy to store, simple to haul, and great for any yoga practice. The cushioning is moderately thick, but it still allows for easy transport. It is fantastic if you need a little support for your poses. 

The Shantihi yoga mat is non-slip. You can practice freely, without worrying about your mat moving. It is made from recyclable TPE and is one of the environmentally-friendly mats on the list.

Of course, it all depends on your needs. This is just a personal favorite. It covers all our bases. However, each mat on this list can function well for various reasons as each has its unique qualities.

Choosing a yoga mat can be somewhat challenging. Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what you might need. We wish you a most comfortable and successful yoga practice from now on, Namaste.