Buying a new yoga mat can be an important decision if you’re new to yoga or you’ve only used one or two other mats before. After all, you’ll have the weight of your body on your knees and other joints so you want something that won’t hurt you right? And since a mat is the one piece of equipment you must have for yoga, we’ve reviewed Jades most popular yoga mats to help you find the best fit for you.
How to Choose a Yoga Mat
Jade yoga has a variety of high quality mats and each serves a different purpose so there’s no ONE that’s right for everyone. That being said, I can give you a few guidelines and some advice before making your final decision. Here goes:
The thickness of your mat matters a lot. If you have sensitive joints, you're pregnant or you just don’t want to feel the floor underneath you, then you want something thicker. Yet I’ve noticed that many of the thicker PVC and memory foam style mats are squishy. That sounds nice but it can actually throw you off balance until you either develop your stabilizers or get used to it.
The alternative is something like a natural rubber mat. You can find some that are 6-8 mm thick (Jade Fusion) and dense so you don’t feel the floor and it’s not squishy. The downside with a natural rubber mat is that it’s heavy so you may not feel like lugging it around.
If you’re taking your mat too and from class, you may want to consider a middle ground such as a natural rubber that's around 4 - 5 mm thick. It's not as heavy and still dense enough to protect your joints.
Length and Width
Yoga mats generally range from about 68” to 72” long and 24” wide. After using the standard yoga mats for a while, I learned about the longer / wider versions and I won’t go back.
For one, it buys you space in a crowded yoga studio. Further, in poses like pigeon where your foot wants to go off the sides or grab the edge and bunch your mat, you realize that a few inches can make a big difference. If you’re smaller, like 5’10 and under, then a standard mat should work for you. If taller, I recommend sizing up to be safe.
Functional, Hygienic and Moral Reasons
The material of your mat is important for several functional, hygienic and moral reasons. Let me explain:
Functional - a thick and squishy mat (like PVC or memory foam) can affect your balance and make it hard to change poses. A thick and dense mat (like rubber mats) can be heavy and unwieldy. They all have their functional pros and cons so you have to decide which pros matter more for you.
Hygienic - you want a mat that's easy to clean. Opting for mats with a closed cell surface means they won’t absorb dirt and sweat so you can pretty much wipe them clean. I don’t want to give you the wrong idea about open celled mats though. They’re still easy to keep clean, they just aren’t one wipe easy. All of Jade's mats are open celled but I explain cleaning at the bottom of this post.
Moral reasons - mats made from PVC, as an example, never break down. That means they’re filling landfills and not going away. Natural materials are better if you’re considering future generations. Materials like natural rubber, cotton and jute are great biodegradable options which are earth friendly.
You don’t want to be that person who falls on their face in the middle of class right? Nobody does. Traction matters in general but it's especially important for hot yoga. There are two options available in this case:
- Get a quality hybrid non-slip mat
- Buy a decent yoga towel to put on top of your mat
If you know you’ll be primarily in hot yoga, we recommend the Lifeform yoga mat. If you want the ability to switch styles at whim, consider getting a decent towel - we love Mandukas Yogitoes towel. That being said, since Jades yoga mats are open celled, they do maintain a high level of grip and stickiness so if you’re not a heavy sweater, you might be fine with just the mat.
Active yoga styles like Ashtanga and flow require lots of starting and stopping which can eventually wear holes in your mat. If you’re practicing often, this might mean you’ll have to replace it a few times a year. If that doesn’t sound like a good time, spring for a quality mat that won’t tear or wear through easily. Natural rubber and composite materials are typically more durable options.
The weight of your mat may or may not be a big deal depending on how you get to class. If you can leave your mat at the studio, then weight really isn’t an issue. But if you’re walking or biking to class, you might not feel like hauling a 9 lb mat. I will say this though, if you find a mat you love, and it's heavy and you have to travel a ways to class, get a good bag to carry it and get the mat you love. Carrying the mat is an added calorie burn so it can’t hurt right?
About Jade Yoga
Jade’s an earth conscious company that makes all eco-friendly products AND plants a tree for every mat that’s sold. Since they have a mat for almost every style of yoga and every size person, we’ll go ahead and cover each one below for you.
Jade Harmony Review
The Jade Harmony is their most popular mat for good reason. It comes in standard 68”, 71”, 74” x 24” which can accommodate most people and if you really want some space, they make an extra wide 28” version. Personally, I like the extra wide because I prefer room between me and my neighbor.
All versions of the Jade Harmony are 3/16” or about 5 mm. At that thickness, you’ll feel the floor but only a little and the material is dense rubber so your joints will feel supported. The mat surface is an open celled rubber which is sticky for high grippability. But if you’re using this mat primarily for hot yoga, I recommend a towel since the mat’s not designed to absorb large amounts of sweat.
The Jade Harmony weighs about 5 lbs making it heavy but not bad for a natural rubber mat (the Manduka Pro, for example, weighs as much as 9.5 lbs). Rubber is always going to be heavier than something like PVC, cotton, jute, etc. but also more durable and likely to last significantly longer.
What's the catch?
The catch is that it’s made from natural rubber...which smells like natural rubber. Jade’s done a good job of minimizing the scent and I personally don’t think it's bad but you should know that your mat might have a slight rubber scent. That being said, with use it will diminish and you can deep clean it to remove a lot of the smell.
- Their most popular and versatile mat
- Comes in many sizes so you won't ever have to touch the dirty and hard floor
- Weighs about 5 lbs which is relatively light for a solid rubber mat
- May have a rubbery smell
Jade Fusion Review
The Jade Fusion yoga mat is their top of the line yoga mat. It's offered in 68” and 74” length by 24” wide and offered in an extra wide 28” version. The extra wide is ideal if you’re a larger person or even a smaller person who likes the added real estate in class. The Fusion is an extra thick mat as well, coming in at about 8 mm. This thickness is ideal for pregnant women and those with sensitive joints but it can work for anyone who doesn’t want to feel the floor underneath them.
The only caveat here is that, while it's a dense rubber, it does give which can disrupt balance and take some getting used to. Most people report being able to adjust quickly though.
The natural rubber is an open cell surface which is a double edged sword because it’s grippy but also slightly harder to clean than a wipe clean closed cell mat. If you’ll be using it for hot yoga mostly, go ahead and spring for a towel. We love the Yogitoes, but there are cheaper options that can work too. The main reason you want the towel is because, for any yoga mat not specifically designed for hot yoga, you’ll pool sweat on your mat making it very slippery.
The downside of the Jade Fusion mats are:
It's natural rubber smell
It's relatively heavy - about 7.5 lbs
If you don’t mind the natural rubber scent and have no trouble transporting it, then it's a very good yoga mat that should last you for a long time without any problems. Put simply, the vast majority of people who buy this mat absolutely love having it. Plus, you’re planting a tree with every purchase 🙂
- Top of the line mat that's built to last
- Extra thick 8 mm's which minimizes pressure on sensitive joints and back
- Offered in an extra wide version to accommodate larger individuals
- May have a rubbery smell
- Relatively heavy at about 7.5 lbs
Jade Elite S Mat Review
Jades Elite S yoga mat is designed specifically for active yogis who do Ashtanga and flow yoga styles. The top layer has been made thick and extra durable for two reasons:
- It won’t wear through when you start, stop and flow on the mat. For many mats this can be an issue where your feet, knees and palms create holes and break the mat down.
- The extra durable top prevents the mat from stretching and shifting. As you may already know, when you’re pressing your hands and feet in different directions under the weight of your body, a mat that stretches can cause you to slip or even tear your mat. That’s not an issue here.
As for the specs, the Elite S is 5 mm thick and 71” x 24” long / wide. It provides decent cushioning for your joints but if you’re practicing Ashtanga or flow, chances are you’re not pregnant so you’ll find that it’s very comfortable. The only downside is that it’s currently offered in just the one size. If you’re over 6 feet tall, you may find yourself desiring a larger mat than this.
In regards to weight, it’s about 3.5 lbs making it lighter than the other mats. This is mostly due to the modest thickness and lightweight top layer. The bottom layer is a rubber which, as you know, has a rubber scent but it's milder on this mat since it's the bottom layer and not the whole thing. Overall, the Elite S is a great choice for active yogis but works equally well in most other styles of yoga. You shouldn't experience any piling, the mat won’t stretch, rip or tear and it's built to last you for quite a while with no problems.
- Designed for even the most active forms of yoga so it won't bunch, pile or tear
- Lightweight and easy to bring to and from class
- Natural rubber which is dense and durable
- Rubber smell is minimal since only the bottom layer is made from rubber
- Works for any style of yoga including Ashtanga and flow
- May have a slight rubbery smell
- Currently only offered in one size
Jade Travel Mat Review
Jades Travel mat is slightly thicker (3 mm) than their voyager (1.5 mm) to add a little cushioning while staying light for the yogi on the move. It's made from a dense natural rubber which is what you want with a travel mat since you won’t have the thickness. Forewarning - while the material’s dense, you will feel the earth underneath you.
It's currently offered in a 68” and 74” length with a 24” width. 24 inches is as wide as it goes since it’s built to fit in your suitcase or travel bag. You’ll find that it fits well in a suitcase but since it doesn’t fold up, it's not an easy companion for a small bag. If you want something that folds up really small, see the Voyager (below) or our favorite, the Yogo travel mat.
The traction on this travel mat is great. It's sticky surface makes it easy to hold in most conditions without any slipping. I’ve seen a few complaints about the mat attracting lint and things like that. It definitely will but that kind of comes with the territory of sticky mats. As far as the weight, it's about 3 lbs so it's not the lightest travel mat but for a 3mm mat, it's pretty light.
Overall, this mats a great option for travels where you’ll be staying in a hotel and / or attending yoga classes. It’s not a good option if you’re backpacking and need something small for your journey on the El Camino. In that case, you’ll want to check out the Voyager below.
- 3 mm thick which provides a good support while staying lightweight
- Offered in several lengths to accommodate taller individuals
- Easily fits into a suitcase for traveling
- Extra sticky surface makes it easy to maintain grip in most environments
- May have a slight rubbery smell
- Doesn't fold so it won't fit in a backpack unless its large
Jade Voyager Review
Jades Voyager mat is a thinner and lighter travel mat that’s designed to fold up and fit in a large handbag or backpack. It's 1.5 mm thick and weighs just 1.5 lbs making the weight barely noticeable in your bag.
The natural rubber provides adequate cushioning for something as thin as this but you will feel the floor quite a bit underneath you (which is to be expected). The top is a sticky open celled rubber which means you’ll have plenty of grip in most conditions - the exception being when water or sweat is pooling on the mat. In this case you’ll want a towel but these are also light and easy to travel with.
The only catch with this mat is that, while designed to be foldable, it will crease. You can undo some of the creasing by keeping it rolled when you’re not using it but just like anything you fold, you’ll get creases in it. If that doesn’t bother you then this is a great option for a Jade travel mat. It’s durable, currently affordable and easy to pack up and move with.
- Ultra thin and light so you won't even notice the weight in your bag
- Built to be folded to about the size of a yoga block so it can fit in a backpack or large purse
- Sticky open celled surface keeps grip so you won't slip during practice
- Currently offered in several colors and won't break the bank
- May have a slight rubbery smell
- When folded, you will get natural creases in the mat
How to Clean Your Jade Yoga Mat
Since Jades yoga mats are open celled, you’ll want to clean them after every few uses. The porous nature of the mat means that sweat and dirt can get inside and breed bacteria - not good. However, if you clean it after every few classes you’ll be perfectly fine.
For a quick clean, just spray some mat cleaner and wipe down with a rag and some warm water. You can also use a mild soap like castile soap diluted in warm water and then wipe it down with a rag. The mats are made from biodegradable material so you’ll want to avoid harsh soaps and leaving your mat in the sun since these things encourage breakdown.
If you notice your mat starting to smell or lose some of it's grip, do a deep clean and you’ll restore everything back to new.
For a deep clean:
- Fill your tub with warm water and either white vinegar or mild soap.
- Soak your mat for 30 - 60 minutes.
- Take it out and thoroughly rinse. If you use soap, make sure you rinse well since the soap can get into the pores and make your mat super slick.
- Hang dry your mat on the shower rod.
You can also clean it outside with a hose and scrub brush but it's messier. Just make sure you dry your mat inside or somewhere where it won’t be exposed to the sun.
Alternative Yoga Mats
While Jade’s a wonderful earth conscious company with high quality products, they’re not the only option. Manduka makes a number of similar mats that tend to be around the same price range and quality level.
The Manduka PRO is very similar to the Jade Fusion. While I like the Fusion, that’s personal preference and they’re both great options. The PRO is a little heavier and 6 mm thick instead of 8 mm like the Fusion. Manduka is also an earth conscious company and their Manduka PRO mat carries a lifetime warranty.
If you know you’ll be in hot yoga exclusively, we really like the Lifeform yoga mat. It's a highly absorbent, closed cell mat that’s made from completely body friendly, sustainably sourced products and easy to clean. It gets stickier as you sweat and heat up more so you shouldn’t have problems with slipping or sweat pooling on the mat.
Our favorite feature of this mat is its patented design. It's built to fold up small and the way that it folds prevents the bottom of your mat from ever touching the top (unlike when you roll a mat up). We also love the integrated clips which buckle to keep your mat folded when you’re not using it and double as hangers which you can loop around the shower curtain rod for hang drying.