Exercise mats are one of the most popular, yet often underestimated pieces of workout equipment. They’re underestimated until they’re needed. And, sure as the sky is blue, at some point every single person who exercises regularly will need an exercise mat.
There are countless exercise mats out there with many costing less than a cup of coffee and a sandwich. But quality is of the utmost importance here. You need a mat that is thick, comfortable, and durable enough to withstand heavy impact on a regular basis. In addition, it should be easy to stow away when not in use.
Today we’re going to share our view on the best exercise mats currently available that possess all of these crucial characteristics.
We’ve taken the time to research and compare the top models currently on the market, providing you with a meticulously curated guide. Once we’ve covered each mat, we’ll speak a bit about why a good exercise mat is an essential item in your arsenal of exercise equipment.
Finally, we want to help you make the most educated decision possible and select the perfect mat for your needs. By the end, there will be no doubt which is the best exercise mat for you, as well as which ones you should steer clear of. We know you’re ready to have at it, so let’s get started!
Best Exercise Mat At a Glance
Best Exercise Mat Overall
This is a great minimalist option if you don’t need to protect your floors from large equipment or perform cardio-based workouts. Made of high-performance athletic foam and slip-resistant vinyl, the quality can’t be beat. The roll-up feature makes it easier than ever to transport or stow away.
Best Large Exercise Mat
If you need coverage in a large area for cardio, MMA, or protecting your floor from large equipment, the Gorilla Mats Exercise Mat has you covered. Workout with no restraints thanks to the large size. The high-density, non-slip performance top is not only tough by well-cushioned.
Best Budget Exercise Mat
For a well-made affordable option that you’ll be able to use for years to come, there’s the REP Exercise Mat. While it’s lightweight and compact enough to easily transport, it’s also thick enough to keep your body well-cushioned during various types of exercise. If you’re on a budget, this one can’t be beat.
The Best Exercise Mats
|Rogue Individual Mat||
|Gorilla Mats Exercise Mat||
|Rep Fitness REP Exercise Mat||
|BalanceFrom Puzzle Exercise Mat||
|TRX Training Mat||
|ProsourceFit Tri-Fold Exercise Mat||
|Rogue Individual Mat|
|Gorilla Mats Exercise Mat|
|Rep Fitness REP Exercise Mat|
|BalanceFrom Puzzle Exercise Mat|
|TRX Training Mat|
|ProsourceFit Tri-Fold Exercise Mat|
What really sets an exercise mat apart from the others is its level of quality. With that being said, if we could pick only one mat to use for the rest of our lives, it would be the Rogue Individual Mat. While it may be a bit pricier upfront than others of similar size, it’s the only mat you’ll ever need to buy and will pay for itself very quickly.>
At first glance, you can see how visually attractive the mat is. You can choose between either a sleek Black or an industrial Charcoal Gray. Each one has the slightest sheen to it, offering a type of metallic, heavy-duty aesthetic. To finish it off, you’ll find Rogue branding on the top and bottom of the mat.
Measuring 3 ft. x 6 ft. it’s not ideal for cardio workouts that require a lot of lateral movement, though it is perfect for most other exercises. Stretches, core exercises, weight training, foam roller use, and training with resistance bands all will be made much easier and more comfortable with this mat.
While not ideal, this mat can easily serve as a low-cost alternative to using a weight bench for exercises like the dumbbell press. If you’re tight on space, then this is very much your best option.
Composed of high-performance athletic foam, it offers the perfect amount of cushioning while still retaining its strength to support you and any gear you might incorporate into your workouts. A durable slip-resistant vinyl covers the mat, protecting your flooring, you, and your equipment from any damage that may be otherwise sustained from your routines.
Weighing a mere 4 pounds, the Rogue Individual Mat is already easy to transport, but when you combine it with the user-friendly roll-up feature, it’s a breeze to move and store. The design incorporates a series of foam strips attached to a single piece of material, so when you roll it up it doesn’t permanently change the shape of your mat.
- Very easy to transport and stow away
- Perfect for tight spaces
- Visually aesthetic
- Incredibly durable
The Not So Good
- Higher price tag than most
Exercise mats are meant to make your workouts more effective and enjoyable. If you’re looking to transform your home into a gym, the Gorilla Mats Exercise Mat will take it there instantly. You can use them for just about any kind of exercise routine, though we recommend them most for aerobics or explosive workouts such as p90x (and can be purchased in even bigger sizes).
This model also comes with a heftier price tag than most others on our guide, though we can assure you it’s more than worth it. Gorilla Mats is known for producing top-quality products made with professional-grade materials that function perfectly for athletes of all levels. Due to this, combined with their meticulous construction, they’ll easily outlast 99% of mats out there.
Coming in your choice of three solid colors, you can choose from either Black, Midnight Blue, or Silverback Gray. They’re not meant to necessarily be the stars of the show visually, though they do a good job of creating a cohesive look in a home gym.
You’ll notice that this mat is relatively thin, but due to the high-density material it’s made with, will still protect you, your joints, and equipment from the hard floor underneath. Your floors will also be kept safe, no matter if you’re dealing with carpet, concrete, tile, or hardwood flooring.
With a non-slip performance top you can jump, jog, dance, skid, slide, or flow with confidence knowing you’ll land on your feet. The brand’s signature circle-pattern bottom grips will also keep it in place, regardless of the kind of flooring you’ve placed it on.
If that weren’t enough, the eco-friendly mat comes with a microfiber towel, two Velcro straps for easy roll-up, and a 100% money-back guarantee if you’re not completely satisfied.
- Eco-friendly, durable construction
- Includes microfiber towel, two Velcro straps
- Comes in 3 different colors
- Non-slip top and bottom
The Not So Good
- A bit more expensive than most
Ok, you’re on the for a great exercise mat, but you’ve found yourself on a tight budget. Then check out the REP Exercise Mat – an incredibly durable, professional-grade product made to be used for anything from gymnastics to cardio to weightlifting.
When you first use the mat, you’ll notice that it’s like the ones you’ve probably used at commercial gyms. As those are made to be roughed up by countless gym members, you can rest assured that the REP will last you for years to come.
Providing the perfect size and almost-chunky thickness to protect you from the hard ground, you may actually look forward to stretching and working out with this mat. In fact, it offers an almost luxurious experience. The high density foam allows your body to sink in just slightly and offers while still offering adequate support for exercises like push-ups, handstands, squats, and more.
Covered in a heavy-duty vinyl, you’ll never have to worry about it ripping or puncturing. You can use it with or without shoes and it’ll hold up well either way. However, take note that this model isn’t quite as stable as the aforementioned mats and does tend to slip around a bit on flooring like hardwood.
Weighing just 1 lb., it’s incredibly easy to carry around. The included handle at the top of the mat aids in portability, but it doesn’t roll up, which can make it a bit awkward to transport. You should find storage to be simple by hanging it on the wall or stowing it under a bed.
Coming with a 30-day money-back guarantee, it’s not quite as generous as some others, but remember that it’s very inexpensive anyway. All in all, if you need a heavy-duty mat that is reliable, comfortable, and budget-friendly, REP is here to help.
- Nice and thick foam provides good cushioning
- Very affordable
- Comfortable and luxurious
- Absorbs shock well
The Not So Good
- Can’t be rolled up
- Only comes with a 30-day guarantee
Quite a bit different from the previous models, the BalanceFrom Puzzle Exercise Mat is ideal if you’re looking for a mat that won’t move about during use. This one is a puzzle mat, which consists of interlocking foam tiles (that go together like a jigsaw puzzle, hence the name). This style of mat offers a huge amount of flexibility as you can customize it by selecting the number and arrangement of the interlocking tiles.
Composed of EVA foam, the tiles are long-lasting and shock-absorbing while containing zero toxic phthalates which is a bonus for the environment and you. You can select between multiple thicknesses, depending on your needs, your flooring, and your routine: Either ½”, ¾” or 1”. No matter which one you select, count on them being perfectly spongy and comfortable. Choose from a few different colors: Standard Black, Blue, or Gray. Black is nice as it doesn’t show many scuffs, but Blue and Gray can add a bit of personality to your space.
Assembly is very simple and straightforward, and connecting and disassembling each piece is quick for easy storage. Each tile measures 24” x 24” and the package contains 6 tiles along with 12 end borders to give it a streamlined look.
If you’re going to keep your exercise mat in the one spot for a long time, cleanliness is crucial. With a water-resistant surface, maintaining a hygienic workout surface is no problem at all. You also don’t have to worry about sweat permeating the tiles, which can lead to unwanted bacteria growth. Another appealing characteristic of the BalanceFrom Puzzle Exercise Mat is that it’s noise-resistant, meaning it dampens loud noises from jumping, dropping weights, and other high energy activities.
While they are non-skid and textured, there are reports of the tiles occasionally coming apart slightly when performing high-impact workouts. Aside from that, the mat is a top performer that should be #1 on your list if you’re searching for a more permanent flooring solution for your home gym.
- Stays in place, even on slippery surfaces
- Very versatile – can customize space used
- Cushy and protective
The Not So Good
- Can occasionally come apart when performing high-impact workouts
TRX is already known around the globe for their wonderfully portable and effective suspension trainers, and their training mat is made with the same level of quality and innovation. Not only is it perfect for floor exercises, but ideal for high-impact plyometric workouts as well.
Despite the top caliber of construction and materials used, the TRX Training Mat is one of the most budget-friendly options out there. Count on it holding up against rough usage, even with shoes on. Lunges, burpees, planks, and more can be performed with no inhibitions and no worries about your exercise mat slipping or failing you.
Not only is this mat going to be the foundation of your home gym, but your workouts as well. You need something that can cushion you against hard training surfaces while simultaneously protecting your flooring from equipment. This model does all of that. It’s made of a soft, lush foam that feels wonderful to sit, stand, and lay on but remains dense enough that you won’t just sink through to the floor.
If you’re someone who varies where they exercise, then you also need a mat that’s portable enough to handle your on-the-go lifestyle. The lightweight mat is incredibly easy to roll up to take with you to your gym, office, park, or wherever you desire. The great thing about this is that even if it stays rolled up for extended periods of time, it will still lay flat when you’re ready to put it to use. However, you don’t have to keep it rolled up: It has top holes so that you can hang it on the wall of your home or garage gym as well!
All in all, it’s the perfect plyometric workout mat that you can take with you anywhere you go.
- Very lightweight and easy to transport
- Durable and soft foam construction
- Lays flat, even after being rolled up
The Not So Good
- Isn’t 100% slip-free on smooth surfaces
Last but certainly not least, we have this tri-fold exercise mat from ProsourceFit. As you can probably deduce by the name, it features a tri-fold design that makes it easy to pack up and take with you anywhere you need it. Whether you’re doing floor work, plyometrics, cardio, or martial arts, the Tri-Fold Exercise Mat will keep you protected like few others will.
When laid out completely, the ProsourceFit Tri-Fold Mat runs 6 feet long, though you can choose to keep it folded and use it for ab work, push-ups, and more. Dense, thick foam not only protects your knees, wrists, elbows, and back from impact, but also keeps delicate areas safe. This particular foam is known for retaining its shape throughout years of regular usage, and the vinyl surface resists tearing or stretching, meaning it looks good for longer.
This is one of the few mats out there that also fares well outdoors due to how durable it is. The smooth surface is easy to wipe clean, so you can spend less time with maintenance and more time on your workout.
Coming in either Black, Blue, Gray, or Pink, you have a pretty solid selection of colors to choose from, giving you the ability to express your own personality in your home gym. Once you’re finished with your routine, simply fold it back up to a compact size for storage. The double carry handles make this mat incredibly easy to take with you to the beach, park, office, gym, or anywhere else.
While it’s not the least expensive exercise mat out there, it’s still quite budget-friendly.
All-in-all, this good-quality, thickly padded mat is hard to compete with when it comes to providing a soft place to land or lay.
- Very thick padding provides excellent support
- Easy folding for storage and transport
- Very tough
- Works indoors and outdoors
The Not So Good
- Could be a bit grippier, especially on smooth surfaces like hardwood
Should You Get a Exercise Mat?
Ultimately, You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by adding an exercise mat into your life.
At a low cost, they help to protect your body and your floors while adding an incredible amount of comfort you wouldn’t otherwise have.
Facilitating virtually every type of workout routine, you can take your fitness to the next level just by adding a mat into the mix. For high impact/energy exercises or programs like p90X, a mat will absorb shock that would otherwise be directed to your ankles, knees, hips, and spine. This not only lowers the risk of discomfort but risk of injury as well.
If you want to be your fittest self, we highly recommend using an exercise mat. A high-quality mat will ensure you’re comfortable while working out, which is important because if you’re not, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll continue with your exercise routine over the long-run.
Aside from that, floor exercises are an essential part of any fitness program. If you aren’t using a high-quality mat, then you’re not going to give yourself the confidence and comfort you should during core, flexibility, and calisthenics training.
In addition to protecting yourself, a good exercise mat will also protect your floors. It’ll protect them from the impact of you jumping around, and / or from weights and other equipment you may be using. As it acts as a barrier to sweat, your floors and carpets will also remain clean and smell-free.
Choosing the Right Exercise Mat
Regularly and understandably confused with yoga mats, exercise mats are relatively short and thick enough to cushion your body through high-energy routines and lower impact exercises such as Russian twists or planks.
That said, there’s still a huge variety to be found. Selecting the right exercise mat can be challenging if you’re not entirely sure which characteristics you’ll need. While there are plenty of excellent mats out there, it won’t mean much if they don’t suit your requirements and preferences correctly. If you’re a bit unsure or just need some extra reassurance, then check out the following section.
We’ll go through each of the aspects you should take into consideration when selecting the perfect exercise mat for you.
First off, it’s a good idea to figure out the exact size of exercise mat you’ll realistically need. This means measuring and doing a bit of a dry run on a bare floor. If the mat you select isn’t large enough for the kind of routines you’re going to perform, you won’t be comfortable and the limitations it imposes will become increasingly frustrating.
It’s always better to go a bit bigger than you need rather than have your mat be too small. Ideally, you’ll want the exercise mat to be, at minimum, a few inches longer than your height. As far as width is concerned, opt for one at least 8-12 inches wider than the widest part of your body.
Thickness plays a huge part in the user experience of an exercise mat. If you’re going to be doing solely low-impact exercises or floor work, then you can probably get away with a model that’s a bit thinner. Half an inch is usually a good thickness in these cases. However, if you’ll be using it for plyometrics or high-intensity cardio workouts, consider going thicker, such as 1.5 inches or more.
This will vary based on how you’ll use your mat. Do you need something stationary to use as the “floor” of your home gym, providing protection from your equipment or large machines? Then go for something like a puzzle mat or even more heavy duty rubber flooring. If you need something versatile that you can take out and stow away at your convenience, then regular mats will be more appropriate.
What does your fitness lifestyle demand? Do you need a mat that you can bring with you to the park or perhaps store in your car? Then look for one with handles, straps, or one that can be folded/rolled up easily. If this isn’t of importance to you and you can leave it at home, then your options grow quite a bit.
Will you be wearing shoes while you use your exercise mat? Then you need a model that won’t rip or tear. Vinyl is one of the most commonly used materials for covering the mat as it’s very tough and will last for a long time. Others are a bit more vulnerable, though, and are more suited for low-impact routines and stretching.
Exercise Mats for Hardwood Floors
The best mats for hardwood floors are those that have a solid amount of grip and cushion. As these types of floors are so unforgiving, you’ll want a mat that can protect your bones and joints from discomfort and injury. Opt for density and a good amount of thickness in your exercise mat.
Exercise Mats for Carpet
On carpet, if you’ll just be using your mat for stretching and low-intensity workouts, then you can get away with most folding/rolling mats, no matter the size and thickness. However, we recommend going with an interlocking home gym flooring/mat as it will cover more area and works better on soft material.
Exercise Mats for Sit Ups
During sit ups, you’ll notice that if you’re performing them on a hard surface, the vertebrae of your spine may hurt or become bruised. This is because your bodyweight places a lot of pressure on your spine as it’s rounded during the ‘crunching’ motion. To protect yourself, you want a mat that is thickly padded and made of a dense foam, such as the ProsourceFit Tri-Fold. Alternatively, you can go with a specially designed Ab Mat. These mats both protect your spine, and help to better engage all of your abdominal muscles.
Thick Exercise Mats
Once again, the ProsourceFit is the ideal option here. While there are a few different thick exercise mats on our guide, this model’s dense foam holds up incredibly well. It provides just the right balance between cushioning and support so you never sink to the floor but feel like you’re working out on a cushy cloud. You can also fold this up for an even thicker mat!
Non-Slip Exercise Mats
If grippiness is one of the main factors in your selection, then we highly recommend checking out the Gorilla Mats Exercise Mat. They’re known to be exceptionally well-made and feature a unique circular pattern on the bottom to keep it in place, even during the most intense workout routines and on the slipperiest of floors.
Interlocking Exercise Mats
These are some of the most versatile exercise mats out there as you can customize the configuration and size. They’re often not particularly thick but can really bring a home gym together nicely and offer some of the best protection for your flooring. The BalanceFrom Puzzle Mat is incredibly heavy-duty and can withstand weights being dropped on it and bodies jumping and running on it while maintaining its original shape and integrity.
Frequently Asked Questions About Exercise Mats
What’s the difference between an exercise mat and a yoga mat?
Exercise mats focus on durability and solid construction as most users will have their shoes on while using them. Yoga mats are made to be used barefoot and focus more on comfort. Exercise mats are typically heavier to prevent slipping and sliding and are oftentimes thicker. As most yoga poses require a strong connection between your body and the floor’s surface, thinner mats are favored.
How thick should an exercise mat be?
This can vary, depending on what you need the mat to do for you. If you’re going to be using your mat to protect your floor from equipment, then it may be half an inch thick or even thinner. You can also get away with a thinner mat if you’ll just be using it for low-impact exercises like crunches or stretching. However, professional exercise mats are going to be one or two inches thick, depending on the model. These are ideal if you’ll be doing a lot of plyometrics (jump squats, burpees, etc.) as they’ll be able to absorb shock that could damage your knees, ankles, or spine.
Do you need an exercise mat for a good workout?
This all depends on what kind of exercise you’ll be doing. For some, it’s not an absolute necessity – especially if they have carpet in their home. Let’s face it, though, most of us don’t like the idea of sweating and working out on our carpet.
Take a lower-impact exercise like the Russian Twist. If you’re performing these on hard indoor flooring or the floor of your garage, it’s going to feel like your bones are rubbing right against the cold, unforgiving surface. If you’re doing jump squats, your joints are definitely going to feel this after a while too. So, while it may not seem necessary at first, eventually your body is going to disagree. Exercise mats absorb shock, protect your floors, and protect you as well. Aside from that, using an exercise mat is much more hygienic, as you never know what could be lingering on your floors.
Well, there you have it: The 6 Best Exercise Mats.
We’ve researched diligently and listened to consumers’ opinions to bring you the top models on the market today while offering some insane budget options. We made sure to present a wide variety of mats to suit your needs perfectly, no matter what kind of athlete you are.
Regardless, you can count on these mats as an essential piece in your workouts, taking your fitness to new levels while protecting your body and your home. The only thing left now is to choose the one that catches your eye! Thanks for tuning in, and have fun!