Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Welcome to our big Pilates mat test 2021. Here we present all the Pilates mats we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web. We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best Pilates mat for you. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy Pilates mats.




Summary

  • Pilates mats are relatively thin and stable surfaces that are suitable for Pilates training or yoga that is easy on the joints.
  • Pilates mats can be divided into two different product types: Plastic Pilates mats and Natural Pilates mats. Mats made from natural materials are always free of harmful substances and kind to the skin. Plastic Pilates mats, on the other hand, are more flexible and non-slip.
  • For a safe and healthy workout, the Pilates mat should above all offer high slip resistance and sufficient cushioning. For health reasons, it should also be free of harmful substances and washable.

The Best pilates mat: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a Pilates mat

What can you use Pilates mats for?

Basically, the Pilates mat has a wide range of uses. The Pilates mat can be used wherever you need a soft surface. However, the Pilates mat is primarily intended for Pilates. Pilates is a whole-body workout that strengthens your pelvic floor, abdominal and back muscles. The muscles are not only trained, but also relaxed and stretched.

A Pilates mat is the perfect complement to your Pilates training. (Image source: unsplash.com / bruce mars)

The Pilates mat helps protect your joints and provides a comfortable surface for both lying and standing exercises. Its low thickness and high slip resistance allow you to perform your exercises safely. Like a yoga mat, the Pilates mat is relatively thin and there are virtually no major differences. This means you can use your Pilates mat for yoga exercises without any problems. In addition, the Pilates mat serves wonderfully as a base in situations that require a somewhat softer surface. Be it for an outdoor excursion or for your own children to play on.

What is the optimal thickness for Pilates mats?

In terms of thickness, there is not really much variation in Pilates mats. Usually, the thickness ranges between 0.5 and 1.5 cm, although Pilates mats tend to be thinner. Which thickness is best for you depends mainly on the lying comfort you want. A thick mat offers more cushioning, is softer and therefore easier on the joints. With a thinner Pilates mat you have more contact with the floor. This can also be very useful depending on the type of sport you want to do. For yoga, for example, a very thin mat is quite useful to take better account of the spiritual aspects and exercise execution. Thinner mats are also recommended for Pilates, as they are more slip-resistant and slightly harder. This helps you to avoid poor posture during exercise and ensures a healthy workout.

If you do a lot of standing or jumping exercises, a slightly thinner and very non-slip mat is preferable. It gives you a safe, stable footing and prevents you from injuring yourself.

Should you use a Pilates mat or a reformer for Pilates?

The reformer is a piece of equipment that allows you to do many Pilates exercises. The device consists of a platform that is mounted on a rail. This allows the platform to be moved to the left or right and you can perform a variety of balance or stretching exercises. You can use both the Pilates mat and the reformer for your Pilates training. Depending on your personal level of development, you should rather use one or the other. If you are still a beginner and have no stability in your muscles or posture, the Pilates mat is suitable for you. It is the best way to create a foundation for later use of professional equipment. Joseph Pilates originally developed the reformer for top athletes, i.e. for those athletes who already have a certain basic musculature and training experience. For beginners, the risk of injury is too great if a reformer is used improperly.

How much do Pilates mats cost?

The price of a Pilates mat ranges from 10 to 130 euros. The price varies depending on the material used, the size and the quality of the workmanship. Natural materials such as cork and rubber are usually more expensive than plastics. Therefore, Pilates mats made of natural materials can have a much higher price. There are of course exceptions where plastic mats are more expensive due to the excellent quality of the material.
Pilates mat material price range
PVC 10-30 €
TPE 15-40 €
Foam 10-30 €
Pure new wool 50-100 €
Cotton 50-90 €
Natural rubber 25-70 €
Cork 30-80 €
Jute 30-50 €

Logically, the larger the Pilates mat, the more expensive it is. The equipment also plays a role in terms of price. Pilates mats with a bag and carrying straps usually have a higher price than those without the corresponding equipment.

What are the alternatives to Pilates mats?

In relation to Pilates, one alternative to the Pilates mat has already been mentioned: Reformer equipment. However, due to their demanding use, these are only recommended for advanced users.

Reformer equipment is an ideal alternative for your Pilates training. However, their use is only recommended for experienced athletes. (Image source: unsplash.com / Maddi Bazzocco)

Another alternative is the gymnastics mat. Gymnastics mats are usually thicker than Pilates or yoga mats. These are a good alternative to the usual Pilates mat, especially for beginners who prefer a mat that is easier on the joints. Commercially available iso-mats, on the other hand, are not an alternative. Unlike the gymnastics mat, they do not have sufficient cushioning. This makes them unsuitable for demanding exercises that put a lot of strain on your knees and elbows. The situation is similar with towels. They are not non-slip and also do not provide enough cushioning during Pilates exercises. Towels are only to be considered as an accessory of a Pilates mat to protect the mat from sweat.

Decision: What types of Pilates mats are there and which one is right for you?

If you want to get a Pilates mat, there are two alternatives you can choose between:

  • Plastic Pilates mat
  • Natural Pilates mat

Depending on the features you need for the use of your Pilates mat, you should choose one of the possible variants. In the following, we will try to make this decision easier for you by explaining the advantages and disadvantages of the two types of Pilates mats in more detail.

What are the characteristics of a plastic Pilates mat and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The plastic Pilates mat is usually made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), TPE (thermoplastic elastomers), PU (polyurethane) or foam. Plastic offers the possibility to adjust the flexibility, hardness or cushioning of the mat during production. With natural materials, these properties are already determined with the choice of material. A major advantage of plastic is its slip resistance. Plastic alone is already slip-resistant, and in addition the surface is usually designed to be ribbed, which further increases slip resistance. Plastic offers a high degree of cushioning. This makes it possible to train with plastic Pilates mats in a way that is easy on the joints.

Advantages
  • Inexpensive
  • High flexibility
  • High cushioning
  • Non-slip
  • Latex-free
Disadvantages
  • PVC contains plasticisers
  • PVC is not environmentally friendly
  • Toxins may be present
  • Plastic smell

In addition, plastics are latex-free, which is why allergy sufferers can use plastic Pilates mats without any problems. In addition, plastic is relatively inexpensive both as a material in itself and in production, which means that the end products have a low price. The disadvantage of plastic is that it can contain toxins if the production quality is inadequate. With Pilates mats made of PVC, there is also the risk of phthalates. These plasticisers are absorbed through the skin or respiratory tract and are harmful to health. TPE and PU, on the other hand, are biodegradable and do not require plasticisers in production. It can happen that plastic Pilates mats have an unpleasant plastic smell. In most cases, however, this will disappear after the first few days if the mat is sufficiently ventilated.

What are the characteristics of a natural Pilates mat and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Natural Pilates mats are made of natural materials. The material used is usually pure new wool, cotton, cork, natural rubber or jute. Depending on which material is used, there are advantages and disadvantages. A big advantage of all natural materials is that they are free of harmful substances and therefore harmless to your health. No softeners are added during production. Natural products are also very skin-friendly. Even if you have sensitive skin, you will have no problems using a natural Pilates mat. The only exception is natural rubber. It contains latex, which can trigger a latex allergy. However, natural rubber is the only material that combines all the positive properties of synthetic and natural materials.

Advantages
  • Natural rubber as hybrid
  • Harmless
  • Skin-friendly
  • Organic
  • Environmentally friendly
Disadvantages
  • Expensive
  • Natural rubber contains latex
  • Wool is not slip-resistant
  • Hardly any suppliers of cork and jute mats

Natural materials are logically also organic and environmentally friendly in production. While Pilates mats made of virgin wool or cotton are extremely soft, mats made of cork may well be somewhat harder. This has both positive and negative aspects, whereby a harder mat is definitely desirable for Pilates. Furthermore, Pilates mats made of wool are not really non-slip, which means that active exercises on the mat are not recommended. These mats are more suitable for relaxation and stretching. Cork and jute Pilates mats are very robust and non-slip, but there are hardly any suppliers on the market. Therefore, only very few mats made of these materials are available.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate Pilates mats

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many possible Pilates mats. The criteria you can use to compare Pilates mats include:

  • Material
  • Dimensions
  • Features
  • Harmful substances
  • Washability
  • Slip resistance

In the following paragraphs, we will explain to you what is important in the individual criteria.

Material

A Pilates mat can be made of a wide variety of materials. These can be divided into the groups of plastic and natural material:

plastic natural material
TPE virgin wool
PU cotton
PVC cork
foam natural rubber
jute

In our decision section, the advantages and disadvantages of the respective materials have already been pointed out. As far as plastics are concerned, mats made of TPE and PU are particularly recommended, as they do not require any additional softeners in production. In addition, these Pilates mats are very flexible, non-slip and offer sufficient cushioning. Natural rubber is preferable among the natural materials. It has all the positive properties of synthetics. In addition, natural rubber is both biodegradable and environmentally friendly in production. Some natural fabrics are very soft and not slip-resistant, which makes them unsuitable for standing exercises, such as wool. Other natural materials, on the other hand, have the necessary hardness and sufficient cushioning, but they are hardly available on the market and are also very expensive, such as cork or jute. In the end, it is important that you choose a material that fulfils all the characteristics you expect from a Pilates mat.

Dimensions

Pilates mats are usually available in a standard length of 180-200 cm and a width of 60 or 100 cm. However, there are also manufacturers who offer round mats. When it comes to size, the basic rule is that your entire body should fit easily on the Pilates mat, and at best there should still be a few centimetres of leeway. This is the only way to ensure that you can perform all exercises correctly and comfortably. As already mentioned, the thickness varies between 0.5 and 1.5 cm. Thicker Pilates mats are softer and offer more cushioning.

However, thicker does not always mean more cushioning! It depends mainly on the density of the material. However, you can use the thickness of the Pilates mat as a rough reference for the cushioning.

For Pilates or yoga, it is important that the material is not too soft, in addition to providing sufficient cushioning. The softer the material, the more likely it is that you will sink into the mat during the exercises and adopt an incorrect posture. You can prevent this by choosing a slightly harder and thinner Pilates mat. However, if you need the mat as a soft surface and not for Pilates purposes, it is recommended to choose models with a greater thickness. Similarly, beginners in Pilates should choose thicker models. Their bodies are not yet used to the strain, which is why a pad that is gentler on the joints is recommended.

Equipment

For many customers, the additional features of a Pilates mat play an important role. Some models have an accompanying bag in which you can store your Pilates mat. In addition, most bags are equipped with carrying straps, which make your mat comfortable to carry. In addition, a bag offers protection for your Pilates mat against external influences. Of course, this equipment has the disadvantage that it increases the price of the Pilates mat. However, if you travel a lot or are looking for a good way to easily store your mat, this additional equipment is recommended, despite the higher price.

Pollutants

When buying a Pilates mat, make sure that the manufacturer has verified that it is free of harmful substances.

The Oeko-Tex 100 seal indicates that the mat is free of harmful substances. If your chosen product is certified with this quality standard, you don't need to worry about plasticisers or other toxins.

Especially models made of PVC plastic can contain softeners (phthalates) that are harmful to health. There is no danger of softeners in natural materials such as virgin wool, cotton or cork. Phthalates are absorbed through the skin or respiratory tract. When using a Pilates mat, the skin will sooner or later come into contact with the mat, even if you put a towel over it. Therefore, the Pilates mat should be phthalate-free so that your health is not at risk.

Washability

In terms of hygiene, it is important that your Pilates mat is washable. During the various exercises, sweat gets onto the mat, which can lead to the formation of bacteria. In addition, an unpleasant odour will develop over time if you do not clean your Pilates mat. Normally, the manufacturer indicates in the product description whether the mat is washable or not. This is especially important for synthetic materials. While natural materials can usually be cleaned in the washing machine, not all plastics are washable. If you put non-washable Pilates mats in the washing machine, they may lose their shape and break.

Slip resistance

A decisive criterion when buying a Pilates mat is the slip resistance. When doing Pilates or yoga exercises, you move a lot on your mat. If it is not slip-resistant, there is a risk of slipping and the risk of injury is high.

Especially when doing exercises from a standing position, it is extremely important that your Pilates mat has a high slip resistance. (Image source: unsplash.com / Form)

When buying a Pilates mat, make sure that the manufacturer confirms its slip resistance. It's also best to take a look at the customer reviews to be even more sure.

Trivia: Interesting facts about the Pilates mat

How healthy is Pilates for your body?

Pilates is a whole-body workout that works, relaxes and stretches the muscles. Pilates strengthens the pelvic, back and torso areas in particular. This sport has a stabilising effect on your body, so that you can improve your posture over time. Pilates can also help you prevent back problems later on. Pilates also improves your breathing and gives you a better feeling for your body. However, caution is advised. If you do the exercises incorrectly, you can damage your joints and especially your muscles. That's why it's important to get professional help at the beginning. A Pilates trainer should instruct you in the exercises so that you do not make any mistakes. This will enable you to practice Pilates in a healthy way for a long time. Note: If you already have problems with your spine, it is even more important that you seek the advice of a professional trainer or doctor right from the start.

How can you clean your Pilates mat?

For reasons of hygiene and health, it is very important that you clean your Pilates mat regularly. Ideally, you should wipe your Pilates mat with a wet cloth after each use. Some mats can also be put in the washing machine and gently rinsed without detergent. However, the washability of the mat must be confirmed by the manufacturer. In addition, it is a good idea to clean the Pilates mat with a disinfectant. This will remove any bacteria from your mat and you can train without hesitation.

What exercises are available for the Pilates mat?

On a Pilates mat you can do exercises for Pilates as well as exercises for yoga. This mat is also suitable for any other type of fitness exercise that requires a slightly softer and stable surface. Examples include push-ups, sit-ups, crunches or the forearm support. The possibilities of different exercises are unlimited. It is best to consult a professional Pilates trainer, as doing the exercises incorrectly can be harmful to your health. As a suggestion for your Pilates training, we have selected a suitable video for you. This workout is designed for Pilates beginners, but advanced Pilates practitioners can also try out the exercises shown.

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