Yoga equipment buying guide
Yoga mat and accessories buying guide
By Jade Harding
Article 2 of 2
Our expert yoga mat and accessories buying guide will reveal everything you do – and don’t – need to practise yoga at home.
From buying the best yoga mat to picking the perfect yoga pants, our expert buying guide will help you put together the best yoga kit for your needs.
Yoga mats may seem pretty basic, but there are some important differences between them that might affect which yoga mat is best for you. And while you may be tempted to splash out on a selection of accessories, not every yogi needs a yoga ball or special yoga pillow when they're just starting out.
Keep reading for more advice on thick vs thin yoga mats, popular yoga mat brands and what yoga accessories you really need.
If taking up yoga seems a literal stretch too far, but you want to boost your fitness, head over to our guide on how to set up a home gym.
In this article:
- Choosing a yoga mat
- How much should you pay for a yoga mat?
- Where to buy yoga mats
- Five popular yoga mat brands
- Yoga clothes and accessories
Yoga mats are essentially pretty straightforward; most are rectangles of flexible PVC that roll out to provide a good surface for you to practise on, and roll up for easy storage.
However, simple as they may seem, they can come in a range of materials, sizes and thicknesses, and it's worth considering your options before buying.
The mat you choose will depend on many things, including your yoga ability, where you plan to take your mat and the type of floor you'll be laying it out on.
We’ve pulled out some of the most important differences to consider:
- Thick vs thin yoga mats – thicker mats (5-9mm) will prove extra cushioning on hard floors and tend to be slightly more durable – but they’re also much heavier and bulkier to travel with. A thinner mat (4mm or less) will be more lightweight and allow you to feel more connected to the floor.
- Non-slip surface – a so-called 'sticky' mat will stop you sliding all over the place, help you keep aligned and stop you slipping during sweaty high-intensity workouts. PVC and natural rubber are usually the best for grip. You could also consider a textured surface, which uses raised bumps or ridges to prevent sliding.
- Size – this will depend on your height. You should be able to lie on your mat without your head or feet spilling over the edge. Standard mats are 68 inches long, but there are extra-long ones available. Try to use a yoga mat that’s at least six inches taller than you.
- Materials – most mats are made from PVC, but you can now find more eco-friendly options that can be made from natural rubber, jute, cork or organic cotton.
- Yoga mats with alignment lines – these are to help you with the positioning of your feet and hands in certain postures. Great for beginners and for yogis practicing at home without the guidance of an instructor.
Find out more about different types of yoga.
Yoga mats can really vary in price, with some costing as little as £10 and others selling for more than £100. It really depends on the style and features you want.
You should be able to get a decent yoga mat for around £40-£60.
Thicker, more durable mats will cost more, as will more environmentally friendly options such as natural rubber.
Colourful and intricate designs are typically more expensive compared with solid-colour mats, as are mats that have grid lines.
Should you buy a cheap yoga mat?
You can get a basic, thin, solid-colour PVC mat for less than £10. If you're not sure how well you'll take to yoga, you could always try a cheap mat to start with, but bear in mind it may be less durable.
And try not to substitute price for truly important features – if you've got dodgy knees, it could be well worth spending a bit more for extra padding.
This doesn’t mean you can’t find a bargain yoga mat. Just double check it has the features you need before investing. Reading customer reviews will help, though keep a watching eye out for potentially fake reviews; take a look at our guide on how to spot fake reviews.
Keep track of all your fitness activities with the help of the best fitness trackers; look out for one that lets you track yoga as well as activities such as running and cycling.
As yoga becomes more popular an increasing number of retailers are selling mats, including both generalists and dedicated yoga shops. Popular shops that sell yoga equipment include.
Find out how popular retailers, including Amazon, John Lewis and Sports Direct, performed in our survey of the best and worst online shops.
We don't currently test yoga mats but Argos, Sweaty Betty, Lulemon, Gaiam and Liforme are some of the most searched-for retailers for yoga mats at the time of writing. Below is a selection of different types and styles from those picks
Budget mat: Argos Opti Basic Yoga Mat
- Price: £7.99
- Material: PVC
- Thickness: 4mm
- Size: 173cm x 61cm (68" x 24")
This no-frills, basic PVC yoga mat could be a good choice if you’re on a budget. It should be sticky enough to keep you grounded, but it’s pretty thin, so you won’t get much cushioning.
Argos's fitness brand, Opti, also offers a wider range of yoga mats, including thicker and patterned models.
View or buy the Argos Opti Basic Yoga Mat.
Reasonably priced, thicker mat: Sweaty Betty Eco Yoga Mat
- Price: £40
- Material: Thermo Plastic Elastomer (TPE)
- Thickness: 6mm
- Size: 183cm x 61cm (72" x 24")
Sweaty Betty’s offering should be thick enough to offer good cushioning for those of you with harder floors (or sorer knees). The material it's made of is eco-friendly and latex-free. It’s also pretty reasonably priced.
Sweaty Betty also sells a thinner, but pricier, 'Super Grip' mat.
View or buy the Sweaty Betty Eco Yoga Mat.
Versatile, multipurpose yoga mat: Lulemon Reversible Mat
- Price: £48
- Material: Natural rubber
- Thickness: 3mm
- Size: 180cm x 66cm (71" x 26")
You can use this mat for a variety of yoga types. One side has a polyurethane top layer, which offers the grip needed for hotter, sweatier workouts. The other, smoother side is more suited to restorative or yin yoga. The Lulemon Reversible Yoga Mat comes in a variety of colours and patterns.
Lulemon also offers thicker (5mm) and bigger versions of its reversible mat, with higher price tags.
View or buy the Lulemon Reversible Yoga Mat.
Eco-friendly, cork mat: Gaiam Cork Yoga Mat
- Price: £74.99
- Material: Cork and Thermo Plastic Elastomer (TPE)
- Thickness: 5mm
- Size: 172cm x 60cm (68" x 24")
This eco-friendly cork is thicker than average and has a ‘closed cell design’ which Gaiam claims will ‘seal out germs, odour and bacteria’. It costs slightly more than most mats but definitely looks a bit different; one side is made of cork, the other is made of eco-friendly TPE.
Yoga specialist Gaiam also makes a range of PVC mats in a selection of colours and attractive patterns, if you fancy something attractive to gaze at in plank posture, with prices starting at around £30.
High-end mat with lots of features: Liforme 'White Magic' Yoga Mat
- Price: £135
- Material: Natural rubber
- Thickness: 4.2mm
- Size: 185cm x 68cm (73" x 27")
This top-end yoga mat from Liforme comes with a wealth of features. It’s made from natural rubber and is printed with non-toxic ink, making it environmentally friendly. You’ll also get grid lines to help you perfect your alignment, plus a yoga mat bag for carrying it out and about.
Specialist yoga brand Liforme also sells a range of less expensive mats, most of which have alignment lines, on its own website or through retailers such as Amazon.
See the Liforme White Magic Yoga Mat.
If you’re new to yoga, there's no need to panic buy every accessory you see online. It’s best to start off with a mat and build up your kit with the things you really need. Your first priorities after a yoga mat are likely to be a yoga block and perhaps a strap, as these can help you achieve certain postures more easily.
You don't need to invest heavily in special yoga clothes; you can practise yoga in anything you feel comfortable in and that allows you to stretch – though don't let this stop you if you want to get the full yoga look (after all, you might want to try out your new-found expertise at a yoga class in future).
Here are a few useful yoga accessories that could help your practice.
Yoga blocks are used as a way of bringing the floor closer to you, and in turn improving your poses and providing more comfort.
You can use them to:
- Sit on
- Support back bends
- Rest your hands while balancing
- Make the most of a stretch if placed under your hands, feet or bottom
Blocks come in different sizes. If you’re smaller and more flexible opt for a smaller block. If you have larger hands or are less bendy, opt for a larger block.
Think carefully about the material, too. Foam blocks are better for backbends and more restorative yoga, while wooden or corks blocks are sturdier and better for balance.
Yoga blocks typically cost around £10, depending on the material and design.
Yoga straps are great for getting the most out of a stretch without compromising on form. They can also help keep you aligned in certain poses, and stop you from over-reaching into positions that can cause tension.
When choosing your strap make sure it's long enough for you. Most are around six feet, but depending on your height you may need a longer one.
Buy one with a sliding loop design and it will double up as a yoga mat carrier, too.
Belt straps can cost anywhere between £5 and £20. If you don't want to buy a strap, you can also use a belt, scarf or towel. It should do the same job.
These are the same as exercise balls – great for strengthening and stretching your body, while adding a little variety to your yoga workout.
A ball can help improve your core and balance; its lack of a stable base can also help you build your strength.
A quality yoga ball will set you back around £20.
These are essentially exercise leggings. Although not necessary to practise yoga, they can make you feel like more of a pro, and they won’t restrict your natural movement. Many come in attractive designs and colours.
Quality yoga pants will be breathable and you should make sure they fit you properly.
They can cost anywhere between £15 and £60 depending on the brand.
Yoga gloves and socks
These are well-fitted, breathable gloves and socks that should be lightweight and provide extra grip for your hands and feet.
If you get the right pair of gloves they can also provide support in positions that put pressure on your wrists, such as plank.
You can get a set for as little as £10.
Most yoga brands will sell these online. You can also buy sets from Amazon.
Yoga mat bags
Yoga mat bags are mainly used when you're on the go. Whether you ride to the yoga studio on your bike, walk to the park or you're travelling the world with your mat, a bag will keep it clean and make it easier to carry.
Try to get a bag in a material that you can wash, such as cotton. And make sure the straps are durable and comfortable if you plan to travel often.
Some yoga mats come with a complimentary bag. If not, you'll be able to find one in most yoga stores for around £20.
Fancy adding some more cardio to your workouts? Here's our guide on how to buy a treadmill.
How we selected prices and retailers
Retailers and equipment chosen based on popular UK search terms and availability. Prices correct as of 17 April 2020 and obtained from manufacturer's own website where possible; otherwise, obtained from third-party retailers listed on Google Shopping.