The 7 Best Exercise Mats for Hardwood Floors
There are a ton of benefits to working out from home; no expensive gym memberships, no long commute to and from your workouts, and privacy to exercise where you’re most comfortable.
That said, there is a little planning – and a little equipment – that goes into a functional home exercise space.
Related: the Ultimate List of Home Gym Essentials
Related: The Best Padded Mats for Your Knees
And I’ve always said that if there is one most essential piece of equipment for your home gym, it’s a sturdy, quality exercise mat.
Especially if that space is on a hardwood floor.
Trying to execute floor exercises like modified pushups and situps on a hardwood floor can be really hard on your back and knees.
And even if you avoid floor exercises, you risk scuffing and denting your floors.
But what kind of gym mat you should get depends on what kind of exercises you do, what kind of cushioning you prefer, and how much space you have.
The wrong workout mat can really put a dampener on your home fitness efforts. Slipping, bunching, and tearing are signs of a poor quality mat and can lead to injury to both you and your beautiful hardwood.
After doing a lot of research, I’ve compiled a list of the top 7 workout mats in order to help you find the best exercise mat for hardwood floors. (Or really for any hard surface!)
**I was not paid to write this review. However, this post does contain affiliate links, which means that I may earn a commission on purchases you make after clicking on those links. (At no extra cost to you!) These are my own opinions and honest thoughts after using the app. Full disclosure here. **
Table of Contents
- 1 | Overview of the Best Exercise Mats for Hardwood Floors
- 2 | Best Overall Mat
- 3 | Best Budget Mat
- 4 | Best Yoga Mat
- 5 | Best Mat with Extra Cushioning
- 6 | Best Oversized Mat
- 7 | Best Interlocking Mat
- 8 | Best Mat for Exercise Equipment
- 9 | How to Choose the Right Mat for Your Hardwood Floor
- 10 | How to Care for Your Exercise Mat
- 11 | Summary
- 12 | FAQ
Overview of the Best Exercise Mats for Hardwood Floors
Let’s start with an overview – then we will weigh the pros and cons of each and drill down on the perfect workout mat for your needs:
1. Best Overall – Gorilla Mat’s Premium Large Exercise Mat
2. Best Budget Mat – AmazonBasics ½-Inch Extra Thick Exercise Yoga Mat
3. Best Yoga Mat – B Yoga Everyday 4mm B mat
4. Best Mat with Extra Cushioning – BalanceFrom’s GoCloud All-Purpose Mat
5. Best Oversized Mat – Gorilla Mat’s Premium Extra 12 x 6 Large Exercise Mat
6. Best Interlocking Mat – ProsourceFit’s Puzzle Exercise Mat
7. Best Mat for Exercise Equipment – BalanceFrom GoFit High-Density Treadmill Exercise Bike Equipment Mat
1. Best Overall Mat
Gorilla Mat’s Premium Large Exercise Mat
At 6’ x 4’ and 6mm thick, it’s the ideal size for most spaces and offers knee padding that is still supportive.
This exercise mat has a lot going for it. It’s durable, slip-resistant, shock-absorbing, eco-friendly, and built for comfort. The bottom layer is specially designed to prevent your mat from sliding around on a hardwood surface. You can wear it with shoes as it stands up to high impact workouts, including jumping rope and plyometrics.
The mat is also designed to be odor-free, which is a pretty common issue among exercise mats.
As if that weren’t awesome enough, they offer a lifetime warranty on the mat, and also throw in a microfiber towel and storage bag with your purchase.
This is my personal favorite – I own one of these puppies! I’ve had it for a year and a half and it still looks like new! You can check out my in-depth review of the mat here.
Pros – It’s a high-quality mat that’s ideal for most exercises
Cons – It’s likely on the higher-end of your mat-shopping budget
2. Best Budget Mat
AmazonBasics ½-Inch Extra Thick Exercise Yoga Mat
If you’re bootstrapping your home workout room, this budget mat from AmazonBasics has got you covered. It offers a ton of cushioning at 1/2 inch thickness and textured for better traction to your floor.
Being made lightweight and ideal for any floor-based workouts like your yoga practice or for bodyweight-only exercises.
However, some buyers report it’s not the greatest for lifting or exercises where you need to wear shoes.
But you simply cannot beat the price. It’s one of the most inexpensive workout mats on the market!
Depending on what you use it for, long-term durability may be a concern. But for the most part, it should help you get the job done at a competitive price point.
Pros – Extra thick, decent quality for the price point.
Cons – May not hold up for long, especially if you need to wear shoes for your exercises
Best Yoga Mat
If yoga is more your speed, you want the BMat. It’s extremely grippy, which means your downward dog won’t unexpectedly turn into a downward faceplant.
It’s durable, eco-friendly, and comes in several fun colors!
At 4mm thick, it’s at that sweet spot for cushioning; thick enough to protect your joints, but not so thick that you feel like you’re sinking into it. The 71” length will be long enough for most people, but if you’re tall they also have an 85” one.
It’s also great for floor exercises that don’t take up much space, like pushups or sit ups.
You can also turn to the B Mat if you have more limited space and can’t use a mat that’s too wide.
The one downside is that it does tend to collect dust pretty quickly so regular cleaning is important.
Pros – Perfect for yoga and pilates, and won’t take up too much space in your living room
Cons – As a yoga mat, it is narrower than other exercise mats, so isn’t suitable for exercises where you need a lot of stepping space.
Best Mat with Extra Cushioning
BalanceFrom’s GoCloud All-Purpose Mat
If you need something with a little more padding between you and the floor, this mat BalanceFrom is for you. The GoCloud mat offers a ton of cushioning as it is 1 inch thick.
It’s also moisture resistant and lightweight for easy transport.
Like the AmazonBasics mat, it’s ideal for floor-based workouts like yoga, pilates, or bodyweight exercises, but it might not be big or sturdy enough for plyometrics or high-impact exercises.
The fitness mat is easy to clean and comes in a variety of colors to choose from.
Depending on what you use it for, long-term durability may be a concern. But for the most part, it should help you get the job done at a competitive price point.
Pros – It’s pretty affordable and ideal for those who need a little extra cushioning
Cons – Some users find that it’s not the most durable mat they’ve ever used.
Best Oversized Mat
Gorilla Mat’s Premium Extra Large 12 x 6 Exercise Mat
Gorilla Mat has an even larger mat that is 12’ x 6’’ and 6mm thick, which makes it perfect for HIIT, weightlifting, plyometrics, dancing any exercise where you need a bit of space for footwork without worrying about scuffing your floors.
Another bonus is the mat comes with a microfiber towel and carry bag with straps.
Some people have reported finding the mat a bit on the slippery side, which means it’s better for shoe-based exercises over yoga or workouts with bare feet.
The only other downside? A big mat comes with a substantially bigger price tag. But it’s worth the investment, especially since it comes with a lifetime warranty from Gorilla Mat.
Pros – A high-quality mat that’s perfect for covering larger spaces
Cons – It is easily the priciest fitness mat on this list
Best Interlocking Tile Mat
ProsourceFit’s Puzzle Exercise Mat
For those who need something larger and outside the typical dimensions of available exercise mats, this Puzzle Exercise Mat from ProsourceFit is a great choice.
You can get them in a pack of 6 that covers 24 square feet, but if you need to cover more space you can buy another set.
The tiles are made of dense foam material and provide great cushioning for any number of exercises, from bodyweight workouts to lifting. You can even use them underneath your cardio equipment to protect your flooring.
If you intend to use these for plyometrics or high-impact exercises, make sure you buy enough of them to create a large enough work out space.
Pros – It’s a more affordable option for those who need to cover more space, and the
Cons – If you plan on using it for a lot of plyometrics or jumping, you’ll have to buy sufficient tile to create a large enough space – and the tiles may not stay put as well to the floor, as other fitness mats, which means you may need to use a non-slip mat tape.
Best Mat for an Exercise Equipment
CyclingDeal’s Bicycle Trainer Floor Mat
Should you bring any kind of cardio equipment into your home (such as a rowing machine), this is the quality mat to have underneath to prevent scuffing and dents to your hardwood. They come in a few different lengths, most notably:
- A smaller one at 3’ x 5’ which is large enough for most home stationary exercise bikes, ellipticals or steppers.
- A larger one at 3 x 7 feet which could work for treadmills, rowers, or a weight bench
The mat is also designed to protect floors and keep your gym equipment in place during vigorous workouts.
And since it’s made of PVC material, it can double as a mat for your yoga practice (or bodyweight exercises) in a pinch!
Pros – Noise canceling and ideal for home cardio equipment
Cons – Although it comes with a 2-year warranty, some buyers have reported difficulty reaching the company to redeem it
How to Choose the Right Mat for Your Hardwood Floor
So we see that there are a variety of good choices here, but which is the best exercise mat for hardwood floors in your circumstance?
Here are a few factors to consider before pulling the trigger on a mat:
If you can only dedicate a corner of your living room to your workout area, then a 10’ long Gorilla Mat might not be the ideal choice.
If you do only have a small space to work out, you can totally get by with a durable yoga-sized mat. You just have to be a little more mindful of where you’re stepping.
But if you can swing the space, a larger mat is better.
You can also get creative with your space. Some people even create “convertible” work out spaces, if they can’t have a dedicated workout zone.
For example, they leave the exercise mat in the middle of their living room at all times and just cover it up with an area rug when they’re not using it.
If you do need to put your workout mat away after each workout, you’ll also want to pay attention to the weight of the mat you choose. For example, the Gorilla Mat is as hefty as it sounds, and might be a bit heavy if you intended to fold it up and roll it out before and after every single workout.
Choose a mat that will help you keep your home workouts as simple as possible. Exercising regularly can be hard enough as it is, and if setting up your space is too complicated it might eat away at your willpower to workout!
Enough cushioning is crucial when working out on a wood floor. Not only do you want to protect from scuffing, denting, or scratching your floors, you want to make sure you are protecting your joints, especially if you intend to do a lot of floor exercises or high-impact exercises that involve a lot of jumping.
On the flip side, more isn’t always better. For example, when I’m doing yoga, I find I can’t handle a mat that’s too thick because I actually end up sinking a little too much into the mat which makes it harder to balance.
So is there a magic number? Not really, because it also depends on what is comfortable for you. Personally, I find 6mm to be the perfect thickness for my home exercises.
If you’re looking for a mat designed to support your yoga practice or pilates, it won’t make sense to buy an enormous mat.
But if you intend to use it for a ton of different exercises, a multipurpose mat like the Gorilla Mat will cover all your bases.
Lastly, if you think you may use your mat with gym equipment like ellipticals, rowers, cycling bikes, or treadmills, you will want to make sure the mat is long enough to go underneath, and thick enough to keep equipment from scratching the floors.
It’s best to choose an exercise mat that has a built-in non-slip underside to help prevent it from bunching and slipping on your floors while you exercise. However, if you need a little extra grip, you can use a non-slip backing or mat tape to help keep your mat in place.
I’m guessing that probably one of the reasons why you’re putting together a home workout area is because you want to save money on expensive gym memberships.
So I totally get if spending a lot of money on something as basic-seeming as a mat is not something you’re super enthusiastic about doing.
And as we can see, there are budget options. But in my experience, it’s worth investing a little more up front to have something that will last for years and make workouts as painless as possible (because they’re already painful enough as it is, am I right?)
How to Care for Your Mat
Once you buy your exercise mat, there are steps you can take to boost its longevity.
There are a couple of guidelines to follow like:
Keep your mat out of direct sunlight for extended periods
Many rubbers tend to degrade if they are left out in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. You also don’t want to leave it in your car for too long on hot summer days as the heat can damage the integrity of your mat.
If you are putting it outside to air it out your mat or let it dry after cleaning, be sure to pick a shady spot.
Use mat-specific cleaners and don’t submerge your mat in water
Use a natural cleaner made specifically for cleaning exercise mats to help maintain your mat’s integrity. Using harsh cleaners can make the mat slippery or otherwise damage the surface.
A non-toxic, eco-friendly spray like Asutra’s mat cleaner is a good choice.
When I’m cleaning my mat I just give it a few sprays of mat cleaner and then wipe it down with a damp cloth. Most mats should not be submerged in water!
If there is one single piece of equipment that is most essential to your home workout space, it’s a quality exercise mat!
Because once you have a mat, you can do any number of workouts with no other equipment, using only your bodyweight.
Fortunately, when it comes to finding the best exercise mat for hardwood floors, you’ve got a lot of good options.
At the end of the day, it comes down to your personal preference and home fitness goals. But hopefully, this guide gave you a clear idea on the best exercise mat for your purposes.
Overall, the Gorilla Mat is the winner when it comes to quality, multipurpose exercise mats. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth the investment if you plan on exercising regularly at home. (Plus the manufacturer offers a lifetime guarantee!)
There are definitely budget options available that will get the job done. But paying a little more on a high-quality mat will be more cost-effective for the long term.
Some mats come with a non-slip underside tread that is sufficient for keeping your mat from sliding. But in many cases, you may need to apply a non-slip backing or tape to the underside of your mat for extra grip. Make sure you get a tape that is designed to be easy-to-remove and won’t leave a mark on your floors!
Yoga mats tend to be a bit narrower and designed more for floor-based exercises that don’t require much room, like yoga and pilates. Exercise mats tend to cover a larger area of floor and are more suitable for HIIT, lifting, and exercises where you need lots of space to step. This article has more information on the difference and how to choose the right one for your needs.
It really comes down to preference and the type of exercises you do. In general, I would go for a mat that is at least 6mm thick. If you need extra protection for your joints, look for a mat that’s at least 10mm thick.
Use an eco-friendly cleaning spray that’s designed specifically for exercise mats. Give it a spritz and then wipe it down with a damp cloth. In most cases, you should not submerge your mat in water.
It’s not a good idea for a couple of reasons. First, rugs tend to really hold on to dirt and odors, so you would be both exercising in dirt and by sweating on it, making the rug dirtier at the same time. You could also cause damage to your rug, especially if your exercises require shoes.
It mostly comes down to differences in cushioning, grip, and surface area. For more detailed explanation, please see my Excercise Mat vs. Yoga Mat post.
Do you have any questions about the best exercise mat for hardwood floors that were not covered in this guide or Q&A? Drop your questions and comments below and I’m happy to answer!