Gaiam Yoga Mat Review

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When it comes to yoga mats, Gaiam are one of the first names that spring to mind.

They’re known for creating good quality, eco-conscious yoga products aimed mainly at the beginner yogi, and their products are significantly more affordable than some of the alternative names on the market.

Gaiam are probably best known for their yoga mats, and they don’t just offer one but a whole myriad of them, from their classic mat to a travel version, to reversible designs that are perfect for hot yoga.

So, where to start? If you’re new to yoga and want to find out more about one of the leading yoga brands, then keep reading. We’ll tell you all there is to know about the company, its best-selling mats, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of opting for the Gaiam brand.

So, let’s get started. 

Who are Gaiam? 

Gaiam make yoga, fitness, and wellness products for a range of abilities, from beginner to expert. For over 25 years they’ve been one of the leading innovators in the market, and they're on a mission to make yoga accessible to all.

Gaiam brands include Gaiam for yoga and fitness; Gaiam Restore and SPRI. The Gaiam distribution network consists of about 38,000 retail doors, 18,000 stores within stores, and 5,000 category management locations and e-commerce.

The bottom line is, the Gaiam name is extremely well-established in the yoga world and is sold by reputable retailers around the world. 

The Gaiam Yoga Mat

Gaiam offer a range of mats, most of which are made out of foam or PVC. These materials provide good cushioning, are relatively durable and above all, are inexpensive to produce - which is why the Gaiam mat comes with a less expensive price tag than many of its competitors.

Type “Gaiam yoga mats” into Google or Amazon and the results are endless, with a color and design to suit every yogi, as well as mats of varying thickness, material, and purpose. But there's no need to feel overwhelmed, we've put together a list of the most popular ones, as well as everything you need to know before you click "buy."

Top 5 Gaiam Yoga Mats

OUR TOP PICK

Gaiam Yoga Mat Premium Print Extra Thick Non Slip Exercise & Fitness Mat for All Types of Yoga, Pilates & Floor Workouts, Navajo, 6mm

With 8,353 reviews, the 6mm premium mat is Gaiam’s most popular product on Amazon, and this mat strikes the perfect balance between providing enough thickness for joints that need a little extra support, without weighing the mat down and making it heavy to carry. 

The sticky, non-slip texture of this mat provides excellent traction and superior grip making it a great choice for beginners or hot yoga practitioners who need that extra level of suction from their mat. 

Made of a non-toxic 6P-free PVC, this mat is free of harmful materials making it a healthier choice not only for you but for the planet, too. 

As ever, Gaiam doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the choice of design. This mat comes in a range of mesmerizing patterns - from the Mandala to the Sundial. Bold colors and enticing patterns not only help you maintain focus when practicing but also ensure you stand out from the crowd.

Pros

  • 6mm thickness for ultimate comfort and cushioning
  • Sticky, non-slip texture
  • Non-toxic PVC
  • Wide choice of designs and patterns
  • Free downloadable yoga class with purchase 

Cons

  • No carrying strap

EDITORS CHOICE

Gaiam Essentials Premium Yoga Mat with Yoga Mat Carrier Sling, Purple, 72'L x 24'W x 1/4 Inch Thick

Perfect for the beginner yogi, this lightweight essential yoga mat is extra long making it ideal for all kinds of yoga practices and giving you the space you need to reach your full potential. The sticky non-slip texture provides added grip and makes this mat suitable for hot yoga, too. 

The extra thick ¼ inch thickness provides additional cushioning for beginners and maximizes your comfort. Weighing in at just 3.5 pounds, this mat is lightweight and comes complete with a carrier sling/strap to make transporting your mat a breeze. Simply roll your mat up, strap around the sling, and get going. 

Available in a range of bright colors, these mats combine the Gaiam premium quality with a simple design, all for an affordable price.

Pros

  • Carrying sling included
  • Extra thick for ultimate cushioning and comfort
  • Lightweight for easy carrying
  • Sticky non-slip texture ideal for different types of yoga
  • Range of colors
  • Great for those on a budget
  • Non-toxic PVC 

Cons

  • Strong plastic smell at first 

BEST VALUE

Gaiam Sol Dry-Grip Yoga Mat, Black, 5mm

Like to practice hot yoga? Then the Sol dry-grip mat could be the one for you. Because hot yoga causes you to sweat intensively, you need a different kind of mat to provide extra grip and to wick moisture.

Constructed from a non-slip PVC material, the Sol mat seals out germs, odor, and bacteria to keep your mat feeling fresh after hundreds of uses. 

The topcoat of the mat wicks away moisture and provides a better grip as temperatures in the class rise. With 5mm of cushioning, it’s soft on your joints and ensures you’re comfortable and supported in class.

It’s also suitable for those with Latex allergies, and it's manufactured free of the top six most harmful phthalates, making it a healthy choice for both you and the planet.

Pros

  • Moisture-wicking topcoat locks out sweat
  • Non-slip surface perfect for hot yoga
  • 5mm of cushioning for added support and comfort
  • Free of latex and the top six most harmful phthalates 

Cons

  • The mat may fade and become brittle if exposed to the sun for extended periods of time

RUNNER UP

Gaiam Yoga Mat Folding Travel Fitness & Exercise Mat | Foldable Yoga Mat for All Types of Yoga, Pilates & Floor Workouts, Be Free, 2mm

Love to travel but never have space to take your mat? Then the Gaiam folding travel mat is for you. This innovative yoga mat is just 2mm thick and folds into a 10”x12” square that will easily fit into an overnight or carry-on bag. Weighing just 1 pound, this mat couldn’t be easier to travel with.

Aside from being a few inches thinner, this mat features everything you’d expect from Gaiam: including the sticky texture for increased stability and grip, a range of beautiful designs, and Gaiam’s non-toxic PVC material. 

Pros

  • Lightweight, compact design for traveling
  • Unique, sticky texture provides extra grip
  • Range of designs and colors
  • Affordable
  • Non-toxic PVC material 

Cons

  • While the 2mm thickness keeps weight down, if you’re a beginner you may find this mat doesn’t provide enough cushioning for you 

RUNNER UP

Gaiam Kids Yoga Mat Exercise Mat, Yoga for Kids with Fun Prints - Playtime for Babies, Active & Calm Toddlers and Young Children, Dino Zone, 3mm

If your little ones love copying you when you practice, why not get them their own super cute kid-sized mat? It doubles up as a mat for playtime, too, particularly with the range of fun designs from Gaiam’s kids' collection. From colorful dinosaurs to adorable elephants, there’s something for every mini yogi in this range. 

Designed for children ages 5-8, these mats are designed to provide a fun, healthy outlet that teaches a positive body image, concentration, balance, and calmness.

The textured, non-slip surface provides a stable and secure surface for your child to practice on, while the PVC material is non-toxic and free of harmful phthalates. 3mm thickness provides cushioning for your child while they play or practice. 

Purchase this mat and you’ll also get a free downloadable yoga class specifically designed for kids to help get your little one introduced to the wonderful world of yoga. 

Pros

  • Range of fun, colorful designs especially for kids
  • Textured, non-slip surface
  • Non-toxic PVC and 6P free
  • 3mm thickness for a cushioned surface
  • Free downloadable yoga class 

Cons

  • Designed for children ages 5-8, but no range of sizes for other ages

Things to consider 


Material 

The majority of Gaiam’s mats are made of non-toxic PVC and are free of the top 6 harmful phthalates DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP, and DNOP - which are known for causing a lot of health issues. Most of the bad press around PVC is concerned with the toxic materials it is often made of, however, Gaiam mats are non-toxic and are therefore safe to use. 

PVC is great in terms of its flexibility and usually provides a good level of grip, making it ideal for a range of different yoga styles. It’s also pretty cheap to manufacture, and this translates to the Gaiam price point, meaning they're a whole lot cheaper than mats made of other materials on the market. 

Sustainability

That said, while PVC is adaptable and cheap, there are some drawbacks to it. It’s not environmentally friendly nor sustainable to produce. There is no safe way to destroy these mats, so they can’t be recycled

Gaiam are not alone in using PVC though - many yoga mats are made of PVC because it is far cheaper than alternative materials. However, if you’re environmentally conscious, you may prefer Gaiam’s cork yoga mat, made of all-natural, sustainable cork. 

Grip

Pretty much all of Gaiam’s mats feature a non-slip surface that enhances your stability and increases grip. This makes them great for a range of yoga styles, from Vinyasa to Ashtanga.

If you plan on using your mat for hot yoga, Gaiam’s Sol mat is perfect for this, as the warmer the temperature and wetter the surface of the mat, the easier it is to grip. 

Cushioning

One of the great features of Gaiam’s yoga mat range is the amount of cushioning you get. Most of the mats range from 4-6mm in thickness, and this provides a plush, comfortable surface to practice on which also cushions your joints from the hard surface of the floor.

This also makes them a great option for beginners, or those with more limited mobility. 

Weight

All of Gaiam’s yoga mats take into account portability and lightness, to make them easy to carry to and from your class. Their lightest mat weighs just 1 lb and can be easily folded to fit in a carry-on or overnight bag.

Most of Gaiam’s regular mats weigh around 3.5lbs and can be easily rolled up and carried. 

Quality

Gaiam are a trusted name in the fitness and wellness industry, and therefore, they are generally good quality mats for an affordable price. Many people talk of owning Gaiam mats for years without needing to replace them, but for the price, it’s also fair to expect that they’re not going to last forever.

Some people mention that Gaiam mats sometimes “shed” after a few uses, but on the whole, Gaiam makes pretty durable yoga mats that can be trusted, although it's best to keep them out of direct sunlight - as this can cause their designs to fade, and the surface of the mat may become brittle. 

Price

Gaiam is pretty much unmatched when it comes to affordability and price point. You can get a premium, extra-thick mat for under $30 and this makes the brand stand out in comparison to its competitors.

Even though these mats may not last forever, they’re good value for money considering the level of cushioning and grip that you get for the price. This makes them especially appealing to beginners, as they can purchase a great-looking mat with a beautiful design, for a fraction of the price of other mats on offer. 

Design

Gaiam offers something for everyone, and their range of calming, colorful designs are definitely one of the major pull factors of the brand and make Gaiam’s mats look just as expensive as some of the higher-end options. Patterned yoga mats can help increase your focus and above all, they look great and encourage you to practice. 

We loved Gaiam’s extensive range of kids' patterns, which not only look great but add a fun-factor to yoga for your little one. If you’re not keen on patterns and prefer something more basic, then Gaiam’s block color mats combine simplicity with premium quality. 

Overall pros of the Gaiam Yoga Mat 

  • Price point - these mats are accessible for almost any budget
  • They’re great for beginners
  • Anti-slip surface for ultimate grip
  • Extra thick designs for more cushioning and support
  • A range of beautiful designs to choose from
  • A trusted brand that has over 25 years in the industry
  • Extra perks - such as the downloadable yoga classes that come with most mats
  • A mat for every occasion - from hot yoga mats to mats designed for traveling

Overall cons of the Gaiam Yoga Mat

  • PVC isn’t environmentally friendly
  • These mats tend to peel
  • Designs may fade and stiffen if left out in the sun for a prolonged amount of time 


Frequently Asked Questions


Are Gaiam yoga mats good? 

Gaiam yoga mats are widely considered to be the best budget yoga mats out there.

When it comes to striking a balance between affordability, quality, and style, Gaiam pretty much come out on top, making them perfect for beginners who are looking for a mat that will allow them to reach their potential but not break the bank. 

Are Gaiam yoga mats safe?

Gaiam mats are generally made of non-toxic PVC and are free from the top 6 harmful phthalates, which can cause a host of health issues.

While there is some debate around non-toxic PVC, Gaiam yoga mats are widely used and have been for years, and are generally considered safe to use. 

Which brand of yoga mats is best?

The yoga and wellness market is expanding every day, as more and more people discover the benefits of yoga and meditation. Which brand is best is entirely dependent on what you are looking for in a yoga mat: is it design, weight, cushioning, grip?

While there is a myriad of great brands on the market, including top-end names such as Manduka and JadeYoga, these aren’t affordable for everyone, and we believe that yoga should be accessible to all. This is one of the main reasons why we love Gaiam - they’re affordable, good quality, and look just as great as the more expensive mats. 

Final verdict

Gaiam yoga mats aren’t perfect. They’re slightly behind in terms of sustainability and the materials they use, however, we also understand that the company chooses to prioritize making Gaiam accessible for all so that everyone can reap the benefits of yoga. 

On the whole, Gaiam offer an extensive range of mats that come in different sizes, thicknesses, and designs. There are mats for specific purposes, like traveling or hot yoga, as well as mats for children, meaning there’s a yoga mat out there for everyone. There’s also a range of designs on offer, from regal elephant prints to mesmerizing mandalas and surreal sundials, these mats not only give you a beautiful image to focus on but allow you to stand out from the crowd, without breaking the bank. 

In terms of the price, Gaiam mats are streets apart from their competitors. While these mats won’t last you forever, the quality of the surfaces and the design makes up for this, plus they’re plush and comfortable to use - and all for a fraction of the price of other brands. We hope that as the market expands and the love of yoga spreads even further, that Gaiam will only move from strength to strength and become more trustworthy and environmentally conscious. 

Sure, some things can be improved with the company and their customer service, but overall, for the price you’re paying, you get a lot of mat for your money.

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