Manduka is one of the leading names when it comes to yoga mats, but a premium brand also comes with a premium price tag that can verge into a three-figure investment, but, are they worth it? Keep reading to find out my opinion on this and whether they are the best brand on the market.
Are Manduka Mats Worth it?
Yes, Manduka yoga mats are a heavy investment, but if you’re serious about yoga and your practice regularly, then the price is worthwhile because they will aid your yoga practice and last a long time.
Manduka mats are chosen by yogis for use at home and are often used by yoga studios thanks to their durability. Each range uses a different material as I’ll outline below, but all are long-lasting compared to other brands.
Compared to cheaper yoga mats which can often be short-lived, the Manduka mats have a premium feel and provide excellent grip during practice. They are padded enough to support your knees but not at the expense of being firm for when you need to balance during standing poses.
To get the most benefit out of your Manduka mat, ensure you pick the correct one from the beginning. If you’ll be using it for classes, try to get a Lite version that can easily be transported, whereas those using them solely at home can opt for the standard mats with that little extra padding.
Which Manduka Yoga Mat Should I Buy?
Compared to other manufacturers such as Lululemon and Liforme who tend to stick with one mat design, Manduka have several different ranges to choose from so deciding which one is best for you can be a challenge.
Here is a rundown of each mat with the pros, cons, and best use case from my experience:
Manduka Pro – Durable and Easy to Clean
The Manduka Pro series is their signature range that made Manduka a name as one of the top yoga mat brands. It’s made from PVC which means it’s super durable, this is why Manduka offer a lifetime guarantee where they will replace damaged mats within 10 years of purchase.
It’s a closed-cell material which means they are easy to wash and do not absorb any odors so keeping it clean is simple. However, they can get slippy when wet so sweaty hands can move around.
The Pro Lite is the mat that Adriene from the popular YouTube channel, Yoga with Adriene, has been using for many years.
The downside to this mat is that it’s not great for the environment. PVC comes from non-renewable sources and isn’t recyclable or biodegradable. So, yes it will last a long time, but when you inevitably buy a new mat, it’s going to end up in landfill for a very long time.
Manduka eKO – Environmentally Friendly
If you’re a little more environmentally conscious, you might want to opt for the Manduka eKO series. These mats are made from 100% natural rubber. Rubber comes from a renewable source (rubber tree) and Manduka guarantee that it’s not from Amazon trees.
They also ensure there are no toxic glues or foaming agents used in the manufacture of the mats and they are biodegradable too.
Similar to the Pro series, these are made with a closed-cell material so they are easy to clean but can get slippy when your hands are sweaty so they are not advised for hot yoga unless you have a towel too.
Manduka GRP – Remains Grippy When Wet
Next up is the GRP range. Yet again, a different material is used here which provides a leather-like texture.
Unlike the two previous mats, the GRP series has an open-cell structure, this means that the material is able to absorb some moisture. The benefit of this is that it stays grippy, even when your hands and the mat get sweaty which is great for certain types of yoga.
Open-cell mats are also more cushioned as they contain small air pockets which can compress better than a closed-cell mat.
The downside to the GRP is that they are tougher to clean and can easily absorb smells, so you’ll need to work harder to keep your mat spick and span.
The final range that Manduka offer is the foundation series which mostly consists of the Manduka X mat. This is a more affordable mat that is aimed at beginners.
The idea is that the mat can double up as an exercise mat for people who do other workouts and dip their toes into yoga. Although, ideally you would have a separate mat for this since exercise mats and yoga mats are very different.
The Manduka X is made from TPE which is more sustainable than PVC since it can be recycled and is biodegradable, however, it does still come from non-renewable sources so it’s not as eco-friendly as the eKO series.
Although it’s nice to have a more affordable option, if you’re serious about yoga, I would recommend that you jump straight in with the Pro, eKO or GRP series.
Standard vs Lite vs Superlite – What’s the Difference?
In each of the series’ mentioned above, you also have the option to choose between standard, Lite and SuperLite versions of each mat (except the foundation series).
The difference between these is the thickness of the mat. The standard size is great for home use where you don’t need to worry about moving it around whereas the Lite and SuperLite are lighter and easier to transport to class or on vacation.
This chart shows you the different thicknesses of each product.
In addition, there is usually a standard length and long length to choose from, plus several different colors – it’s not an easy choice!
How Long Do Manduka Mats Last?
Manduka Pro mats are very durable and guaranteed to last at least 10 years. Manduka have a lifetime guarantee where they will replace your mat if it becomes worn within this 10 year period. As for the other mats, there is no guarantee but they usually last around 3-5 years depending upon how frequently you use them.
What’s the Best Yoga Mat?
Although I can highly recommend Manduka mats, they are not my favorite brand. I’m a big advocate of Liforme mats. They are made from natural rubber on the base with a polyurethane surface which provides excellent grip, even when your hands are sweaty.
These mats are particularly great for beginners thanks to the alignment lines on the mat that can help you self-correct when practicing without a yoga instructor.