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Gaiam yoga mat review - woman practicing yoga on a dock

Gaiam Yoga Mat Review (And a Few of The Best Alternatives)

When it comes to Gaiam Yoga Mats, there are tons of options to choose from. They’ve been in the yoga product world almost the longest and chances are you have one of their products laying around the house right now. 

But, are they great yoga mats or are there better alternatives?

In this Gaiam yoga mat review, we cover several of the most popular Gaiam yoga mats and give you a breakdown of what we like, what we don’t like, and the alternatives we prefer. 

Let’s dive right in...

Our top picks for Gaiam & alternative yoga mats

#1

Our Top Alternative Pick

Manduka Welcome

Our Rating

#2

Editors Choice (Gaiam alternative)

Heathyoga

Our Rating

#3

Favorite Gaiam Brand Yoga Mat

Gaiam Athletic Mat

Our Rating

What Is The Gaiam Yoga Mat? 

Gaiam Yoga is a very popular brand for entry-level yogis. They create affordable yoga products of every type and generally, their products are pretty good. They don’t compare to the high-end yoga mats in quality but they do everything you need pretty well. 

Most of the Gaiam yoga mats are made from a foam or PVC material that’s relatively inexpensive to produce which allows them to pass those savings on to you. They hold up well, provide decent cushioning, and come in a wide variety of printed designs. 

Overall, the Gaiam yoga mats are good but we’re going to review their most popular ones and see how they stack up against comparable mats from other yoga companies. 

Review Of The Best Gaiam Yoga Mats

Below we’re going to take a peek at the most popular Gaiam yoga mats. We’ll tell you what we like, dislike, and if there are alternative yoga mats we would prefer.

Standard Gaiam Yoga Mat - Print

Our rating:


Summary

The 6 mm Gaiam print yoga mat is probably their most well known and best-selling yoga mat. Almost everyone has one somewhere in their closet or garage. It’s made from a non-toxic PVC that’s lightweight (weighs about 2 ½ lbs), provides decent cushioning, and it’s always offered in tons of printed patterns. 

We like several things about the standard mat. For starters, it’s affordable. Secondly, the sheer variety of designs means anyone can find something they like. And finally, it’s 6 mm which is thick enough to provide good cushioning even for those with sensitive joints.  

A few other high points are that the grip is good and the material will essentially last forever so even if you use it daily, it should hold up.

What we don’t love is that it’s just like most low-cost yoga mats. Meaning, it curls at the ends when you put it down, feels cheaply made, and doesn’t offer the same class as some of the other mats. It also has a chemical smell when you first get it but if wash it down with some soap and essential oils the smell disappears instantly. 

Overall, this is a good one for beginner yogis, those who just need something easy and don’t really care about getting a high-end yoga mat. 

What makes this yoga mat special?

  • Many print design options
  • Affordably priced (at the time of this writing)
  • Low maintenance 

Specs

  • 68 x 24 inches
  • 6 mm 
  • 2.49 lbs 
  • Good grip
  • Firm density


Gaiam Sol Dry-Grip Yoga Mat

Our rating:


Summary

This is one of Gaiam’s hot yoga mats that’s designed to absorb sweat and maintain a dry grip throughout the class. It’s made from a dense PVC that’s free from harmful chemicals and has a “top coat” that’s designed to absorb and wick sweat. The grip improves throughout the class as the heat rises. 

There are a few great things about the mat. Firstly, the fact that its sweat absorbent is a big win. It does a great job of remaining high grip throughout the class and even works well in non-heated yoga environments. It’s designed to be similar to the Lulu Lemon yoga mat but less costly. 

It also comes in a standard yoga mat size (68 x 24”) and an XL version that’s 78” x 26” which gives you lots of space even if you’re a much larger individual. This extra space is great if you’re in a crowded yoga class and don’t like rubbing elbows with your sweaty neighbor. As for style, at the time of this writing, it’s only offered in 4 colors but they’re all good colors. 

What we don’t love about the mat is that more than a few people have reported that their yoga mat fell apart quickly. This isn’t common with PVC yoga mats but the top coating on the mat seems to be less durable. The top coat also has a tendency to stain and hold sweat marks so go for the darkest color you can get if you decide to buy this one. 

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re an absolute beginner and just need a yoga mat to test whether or not you like yoga. There are better hot yoga mats for a comparable price. Namely, one of our favorites in the Combination yoga mat. It’s a little more (at the time of this writing) but well worth the investment. 

What makes this yoga mat special?

  • Dual purposed for both hot and non-heated yoga
  • Affordably priced (at the time of this writing)
  • Closed cell surface that's easy to clean

Specs

  • 68 x 24 inches
  • 5 mm
  • 3.09 lbs
  • Good grip 
  • Closed-cell surface
  • Latex-free


Gaiam Jute Yoga Mat 

Our rating:


Summary

We’re fans of jute yoga mats and even reviewed the best jute yoga mats recently. We ranked the Gaiam as our favorite for beginner yogis so it’s a good starter yoga mat. It strikes the perfect balance between style, quality, and price for anyone getting started in yoga. 

There are several things we like about the Gaiam jute... 

We like the color, it has a great grip, and it’s moderately lightweight making it a breeze to bring to and from class. 

However, there are some sacrifices. 

It doesn’t seem to last as long as higher-end jute yoga mats which is why we recommend it for beginners. If you’re an experienced yogi and know that you’ll be practicing for a while, then you may opt for something that’s a little more durable. 

The jute material on the Gaiam is interwoven within the foam and provides a coarse surface that’s very helpful for grip. As far as your yoga mat real estate, it’s offered in one size which is 68 x 24” and 5 mm thick so it’s pretty standard. This works for anyone under about 5’ 10”. If you’re taller, you’ll want something longer.

That material it’s made from is a PER foam that offers a firm density that provides decent cushioning with a little bit of a floor-feel. And of course, the top layer is the jute which gives you the grip as well as a distinct look on your yoga mat.

This probably wouldn’t be thick enough for someone with sensitive joints and practicing on a hard floor. However, it would work if you’re practicing on the carpet. 

Overall, we recommend this as a solid beginner yoga mat for anyone who likes the look and feel of jute. 

What makes this yoga mat special?

  • Great grip for non-heated yoga 
  • Unique design that turns heads

Specs

  • 68 x 24 inches
  • 5 mm
  • PER foam 
  • 4.25 lbs
  • Great grip


Gaiam Cork Yoga Mat

Our rating:


Summary

Gaiam’s cork yoga mat is another solid option for a stylish and affordable yoga mat. We’re big fans of cork because it’s naturally antimicrobial, looks great, provides excellent natural grip in both hot and non-heated environments, and cork tends to be the perfect density. 

What we like about this particular yoga mat is that it feels a little more solid than some of their other Gaiam options and includes a lifetime warranty. It’s not uncommon for some cork yoga mats to flake on top so knowing that you can send this back in if that should ever happen gives some peace of mind. Several people reported their yoga mats cracking and flaking so you may need to take advantage of this warranty if that happens. 

The grip on the surface of this yoga mat is best for hot yoga. If you use it in non-heated yoga, it doesn’t grip as well because the material needs to warm up a little for the best result. You also want to clean the yoga mat when you first purchase it. Out of the box its a little more slick because of the stuff left on the surface from the manufacturing process. After wiping it down the grip improves.

It’s worth noting that the cork layer on top is pretty thin which is probably why it’s sold at such an affordable price. 

Overall, it’s a decent entry-level cork yoga mat that’s good for beginner yogis. If you’re looking for a higher-end cork yoga mat, our favorites are the Basically Perfect cork yoga mat and the Body By Yoga luxury cork yoga mat. We like both of these more but the Gaiam is an okay beginner option.

What makes this yoga mat special?

  • Naturally antimicrobial cork layer 
  • Unique design and color that looks very cool
  • Lifetime Warranty

Specs

  • 68 x 24 inches
  • 5 mm
  • 4.5 lbs
  • Great grip
  • Lifetime warranty


Gaiam Athletic Yoga Series 

Our rating:


Summary

We really like the athletic mat and it’s exactly that, a yoga mat for athletes. It’s just 5 mm thick, reversible, and ready to go whenever you need it. It’s one of those no-nonsense yoga mats you can just toss on the ground and get to work with. 

We like that it’s over-sized at 78 x 26 inches which makes it ideal for taller and larger individuals. You can easily spread out on this one without your knees going off the sides or bumping into your neighbors in a crowded yoga class. 

At 5 mm thick and just over 3 lbs, the ends curl a little when you put it down which isn’t necessarily a big deal but something to be aware of. This thickness also gives you some floor feel beneath you. 

At the time of this writing, it comes in just one color which is reversible so it’s really two colors in one. Overall, we like this as a simple, affordable, get down to work kind of yoga mat. 

What makes this yoga mat special?

  • Extra large length and width 
  • Very low maintenance yoga mat that's built for durability

Specs

  • 78 x 26 inches
  • 5 mm
  • 3.7 lbs
  • Good grip 


Alternative yoga mats 

Before you run out and purchase a Gaiam yoga mat, there are some comparable alternatives that may be a better fit for you.

Manduka Welcome Yoga Mat

Our rating:


Summary

The Manduka Welcome yoga mat is a 5 mm thick high-quality yoga mat made by one of our favorite companies. It’s 68 x 24 inches and weighs just 2.3 lbs. So it’s easy to bring to and from yoga class.

It’s made from a lightweight and dense TPE foam with a closed-cell surface that’s easy to clean and overall, it’s an excellent yoga mat. It’s more than the Gaiam yoga mats (at the time of this writing) but it’s also a high-end yoga mat that’s still affordably priced.

The Welcome mat compares most to the standard Gaiam yoga mat but from a quality and usability perspective, we prefer the Welcome mat. 

What makes this yoga mat special?

  • High-end yoga mat from an excellent and reliable brand
  • Great grip and easy maintenance, closed-cell surface

Specs

  • 68 x 24 inches
  • 5 mm
  • 2.3 lbs
  • Great grip 

Heathyoga Eco Friendly Alignment Mat

Our rating:


Summary

The Heathyoga mat features alignment markings and compares most in appearance to the very high-end Liforme yoga mat. This one isn’t meant for hot yoga like the Liforme but it’s right around the same cost as the Gaiam yoga mat (at the time of this writing) and another one we prefer. 

Between this one and the welcome yoga mat, if you need a yoga mat for non-heated yoga, you can’t go wrong with either of these. They’re both excellent yoga mats, very highly rated, feature great grip, and great styles. 

This one wins over the Gaiam yoga mat because of the alignment marks (they really do help), TPE instead of PVC material, grip, and size (it’s 72 x 26” instead of the 68 x 24” Gaiam). It’s also competitively priced so it’s kind of a no brainer.

What makes this yoga mat special?

  • Over-sized length and width gives you lots of space on the mat 
  • Super useful alignment marks help you stay centered throughout your session

Specs

  • 72 x 26 inches
  • 6 mm
  • 2.8 lbs
  • Great grip 

Summary

When it comes to yoga mats, the Gaiam yoga mats are great for beginners. They’re not targeting the more advanced yogis or aiming for the high-end market so you can’t expect them to compete with these yoga mats. However, they provide great value for the money and they’re worth purchasing as an entry-level option which is why we made this Gaiam yoga mat review.

That being said, there’s stiff competition in this range and we prefer the Heathyoga or Manduka Welcome to most of the Gaiam yoga mats. 

The Manduka Welcome yoga mat is a high-end yoga mat at a mid-range cost. It offers excellent grip, durability, and it’s lightweight so it’s easy to bring around. 

The Heathyoga offers similar benefits but it’s in the same price range as the Gaiam mats making it very affordable. 


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