Yoga mat is a valuable workout investment – be it for a beginner or an avid practitioner.
But most of the people believe that – all yoga mats are same. That’s not true at all.
To debunk this myth, we interviewed several yoga and fitness experts to understand – what makes a yoga mat great or ideal choice.
We also surveyed the reviews of thousands of customers on Amazon to know their experiences with yoga mats.
And finally, we understood that the secret of an ideal yoga mat is the ‘Material’ used for making it.
Weird as it sounds, the right material provides perfect comfort and stability required for the flow.
In India, the top four materials used by most of the yoga mat practitioners are
- PVC (Poly-Vinyl Chloride)
- NBR (Nitrile-Butadiene Rubber)
- EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate)
- TPE (Thermal Plastic Elastomer)
The names of these materials may look scientific and a bit complex. But they are specially developed with different compounds for different types of yoga practitioners.
In this article, we will test each material for its strengths and weaknesses. And we have also shortlisted some of the best-selling yoga mat sources for all these materials as well.
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How We Tested?
We purchased different products for each of these materials and tested them for comfort, stability and durability and ease of transportation by using each of them for a couple of months. For regular asanas to heavy workout, we tried several workout sessions to test them.
Based on their experience and insights, we have provided detail review of their experience with these four materials below for your reference.
1. PVC (Poly-Vinyl Chloride) Material Yoga Mat
This is the most affordable and budget-friendly material among all the four mat options. They are light in weight and travel-friendly as well.
When we talk about its comfort or support, it isn’t great because the cushioning of this materials is very poor. To test the cushioning, we pressed our finger against the yoga mat. And you can see, the finger is almost touching the floor. Even while performing some yoga asanas, our knees almost felt the floor and they also made deep intends or marks on the yoga mat.
When it comes to surface of this material, it was harsh and also experienced some knee pain.
Initially, when use it for 10 to 15 minutes, we felt comfortable with the yoga mat. But when we used for a longer duration (around 30 to 45 minutes), we experienced pain in the knees.
The durability of this mat is poor as the texture becomes rough and starts flaking after using it for couple of months.
The PVC yoga mats are available in Amazon in the price range between Rs. 700 to Rs. 1200.
As per our research, the two brands providing reliable PVC yoga mats are –
2. NBR (Nitrile-Butadiene Rubber) Yoga Mat
This material is referred to as synthetic foam. It is our favourite material because of the cushioning it provides while doing the work out on it.
To test its performance, we pressed our finger on the NBR yoga mat. Compared to PVC material, it provided better cushioning. To help you understand, we provided the below results of our testing process. You can clearly see the cushioning effect and comfort level it provides.
So, NBR yoga mat is perfect for people who want to workout for longer hours because of the cushioning, support and comfort it provides.
However, when we talk about the drawbacks, ithas a serious stability problem which can be an issue for people who perform faster workouts. While doing the workout or certain asanas, it becomes a little unstable and moves a lot.
If you sweat a lot during exercises or workout sessions, then this mat may not be suitable for you. Because it becomes slippery which weakens your grip.
When it comes to durability, this material is quite average. After using it for few months, you can see some rough patches and cracks on the mat.
NBR material yoga mat is provided by several brands in Amazon. And its price range varies from Rs. 400 to Rs. 2000.
The best NBR yoga mats from top brands are
3. EVA Material Yoga Mat
This material is quite hard and tough. When you touch it, you will feel its texture similar to plastic material. However, the important advantage of this material is that it can handle wear and tear perfectly. Unlike other materials, it will not crack or flake. You can happily use it for at least couple of years without any issues.
As the mat is so hard, it lacks cushioning. As you can see, when you press the material between the fingers, it doesn’t conform.
So, this yoga mat is not suitable for beginners as they may experience some knee pain.
However, it is the perfect option for people who workout at home or have home gym. Because this mat can easily handle the weight of a dumbbell or any other weights you are using.
And if you are an advanced yoga practitioner, it can provide superior stability with a firm grip.
When it comes to drawbacks of EVA material yoga mat, some people have experienced plastic smell after working out on it.
If you want to purchase an EVA material yoga mat, you can get them for best prices on Amazon. Their price ranges between Rs. 400 to Rs. 600.
The best EVA yoga mats from top brands are
4. TPE (Thermal Plastic Elastomer) Yoga Mat
As per our testing, this is the best yoga material in the market right now. We recommend this yoga mat to anybody from beginners to advanced learners. Because this material provides a combination of great balance, stability and comfort.
To help you understand, we tested the material by pressing hard against it and in-between the fingers to analyse it comfort, contouring and support.
When it comes to durability, it lasts quite long. And moreover, most of the member of our research team have been using it for several months to a year, but it looks as good as new. In addition to that, even the colours haven’t faded.
Also, while working on this yoga mat, it provides great cushioning to knees and it is very stable as well.
The only drawback of this material is the price. It is a little bit expensive as it come in the price range between Rs. 1000 to Rs. 2000. Whereas the other material yoga mats come between Rs. 400 to Rs. 1000.
If you want to purchase the best TPC material yoga mat, then we recommended considering the below models from top brands.
- Strauss TPE Yoga Mat (Under Rs.1000)
- AmazonBasics TPE Yoga Mat (Under Rs.1500)
- Boldfit TPE Yoga Mat (Trendy Designs)
Comparison of Four Different Materials Used for Yoga Mats
In our comparison, we mainly focused on three important factors that include cushioning, stability and durability.
As you can see in the table mentioned below, PVC has performed poor and average in these three tests.
When it comes to NBR, it provided great cushioning but lacked in stability and it is average in terms of durability.
Next EVA, it performed good in stability and great in durability. But it lacks with proper cushioning. So, it is only suitable for advanced practitioners.
And finally, TPE, it performed excellent in every test – be it cushioning, stability or durability. So, in our conclusion, it is the best material and investing even it costs a little more than the others. Because it will be your best yoga buddy for many years to come.
Quick Insight on Yoga Mat Materials:
To help you make a quick decision, we have provided a quick insight on the four different yoga mat materials.
- PVC material yoga mat – most affordable but not durable.
- NBR material yoga mat – most comfortable but not stability.
- EVA material yoga mat – most stable but no proper cushioning.
- TPE material yoga mat – Excellent in all factor – So it’s a WINNER.
A Few Takeaways Before Leaving…
Below are the top brands providing reliable quality yoga mats in all four materials. You can choose any brand among them without any worries. But Boldfit mats are a bit pricier as they provide good colours and textures.
You can find the links for the best yoga mats from these brands above in each material review.
If you require any assistance while doing yoga practice, then you can check out mats the come with alignment marking. These alignments make you work out better.
Apart from the materials mentioned in this article, you can also find yoga mats in other options like cotton, jute and cork. However, they are not popular in India among the yoga practitioners.
If you have any questions or doubts on yoga mat materials, you can write to us in the comment section below. You can also comment us your favourite yoga mat choice.