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Manduka PRO vs eKOlite (2021): Which Premium Yoga Mat Is Better?

A look at reviews and year-end lists for the best yoga mats will show you that Manduka is one of the most trusted yoga mat brands. Across its extensive catalog, however, the Manduka PRO remains its best-selling product. The PRO is a durable yoga mat that offers ultra-dense support for new and seasoned yogis alike. It has definitely become a staple yoga gear over the years.

Nonetheless, Manduka’s lineup of eco-friendly yoga mats has also gained a fair share of loyal patrons. The Manduka eKOlite, in particular, is a lightweight mat made from natural tree rubber. Although thinner than the PRO, Manduka shares the eKOlite is just as reliable and durable. Between the two premium yoga mats, however, which one should you buy? Here we take a closer look at your favorite yoga mats and see their pros and cons.

Manduka PRO vs eKOlite Comparison Chart

ModelManduka PROManduka eKOlite
 Manduka PRO Yoga Mat – Premium 6mm Thick Mat, High Performance Grip, Support and Stability in...Manduka 131023030 eKO Lite Yoga and Pilates Mat, Midnight, 4mm, 68'
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Buy It ForDense support, excellent dry grip, and comfortEco-friendly material, lightweight, and durable
MaterialPVCNatural tree rubber
Available Sizes71″ x 26″, 85″ x 26″68″ x 24″, 71″ x 48″
Thickness6mm3mm, 4mm
SurfaceClosed cellClosed cell
SafetyOEKO-TEX certified, 100% latex freeNo PVC or toxic foaming agents
Weight7.5 lbs to 9.5 lbs3.5 lbs to 5 lbs

Yoga Mat Material

Manduka shares the PRO is made from PVC while the eKOlite uses natural tree rubber.

Compared to the Manduka PRO (left), the Manduka eKOlite (right) has a thinner proofile.

While the size and design strongly influence the yoga mat you choose, the actual material used in making the mat should be your top consideration. After all, your mat’s composition will dictate its texture, grip, and cushioning support, among others.

Manduka’s PRO series, for instance, makes use of Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC. Although this material is often associated with budget or low-end mats, it’s not always the case. The Manduka PRO is as premium as you can get, boasting a thick mat that offers excellent traction and support; but because it is made of PVC, it does require a break-in period. PVC is also non-biodegradable.

In contrast, the Manduka eKOlite is popular for its use of biodegradable natural tree rubber. Manduka shares that the trees used are non-Amazon harvested, too. This should give environmentally-conscious yogis peace of mind. Aside from their minimal environmental impact, rubber mats like the eKOlite are known for having a grippier and harder surface as well.

Now the Manduka PRO and eKOlite are both closed-cell yoga mats. As such, they repel bacteria and odor quite well. However, they can get slippery, especially if you practice hot yoga. If you’re interested in a non-slip mat, you can check out our other Manduka reviews.

Design, Size, and Thickness

The Manduka PRO has fewer designs but is thick and durable while the eKOlite boasts several variants but is lighter and less cushioning.

Manduka’s PRO mats come in solid colors (left) whereas the eKOlite is available in unique patterns (right).

Customers can get the Manduka PRO and eKOlite in different designs and sizes. For the PRO mat, yogis are limited to a few solid colors like black, purple, and blue. The eKOlite, on the other hand, is available in both solid colors and patterns. Yogis who prefer more colorful designs will definitely like the eKOlite yoga mats better.

The availability of colors and patterns, however, depends on the mat size you get. Manduka’s PRO yoga mats, for instance, come in at 71-inches or 85-inches long. Here, Manduka’s Bondi Blue or Brown Metallic variants are only offered with the 71-inch mat. The same holds for the eKOlite. Manduka’s eco-friendly rubber mat is either 68 or 71-inches long. Some of its more interesting designs, like Mint Marbled, are only available with the longer model.

Just like most premium yoga mats, the Manduka PRO is 6mm or 1/4″ thick. This is by far the most popular size of mat you can get since it’s both durable and cushioning. The only downside to a 6mm mat is that it is heavy. Manduka PRO mats weigh anywhere between 7.5 to 9.5 pounds. For yogis who want something more lightweight, then the Manduka eKOlite is a good alternative. The mat is available in 3mm or 4mm thickness and weighs 3.5 to 5 pounds depending on the size you get.

Performance

Both the PRO and eKOlite offer excellent cushioning and dry grip but loses their traction in wet conditions.

The Manduka Pro (left) vs the Manduka eKOlite (left)

As one would expect, the difference in material, size, and thickness all dictate how well these mats perform. Yogis who want a steady practice surface, for instance, will like the stability and comfort offered by the Manduka PRO. The mat’s extra thickness also means you get dense cushioning. This is great when going through poses that put a lot of pressure on your joints.

Since it’s made of PVC, the Manduka PRO does take a while to break in. Simply put, it’s not as grippy as you’d want it right out of the box. After several uses, however, expect the Manduka Pro’s surface to get stickier. The company shares the PRO is the type that gets better over time. Keep in mind this isn’t a mat you’d bring for your hot yoga or Bikram yoga, though. Nonetheless, it will handle light perspiration well.

The Manduka eKOlite, on the other hand, is only 3mm or 4mm thick, which may seem like minimal cushioning, especially for more sensitive joints. But since it’s made from natural tree rubber, you still get a decent amount of padding here. The eKOlite also boasts a rippled surface to improve traction, allowing yogis to focus on their poses instead of worrying about slipping.

Care and Cleaning

Cleaning Manduka yoga mats is easy.

Here’s a look at the difference at the Manduka Pro (top) and eKOlite (bottom) rolled out.

The first step in caring for a Manduka PRO yoga mat is to break it in. Users have shared the best way to do this is to use the mat daily. Manduka also recommends an alternative way to hasten the break-in process. According to the company, you can sprinkle salt on the mat’s surface, leave it out overnight, and then wipe it clean with a damp cloth.

To clean a Manduka PRO, lightly scrub the mat with a sponge, cloth, or soft brush. Manduka recommends the use of its own cleaning solution and then air-drying the mats in the sunshine. Users can take the same approach for the Manduka eKOlite. However, because the mat is made of rubber, yogis should avoid drying it under direct sunlight.

Verdict

The Manduka PRO is a better all-around yoga mat compared to the Manduka eKOlite. However, the latter is a more eco-friendly purchase.

All things considered, the Manduka PRO Yoga Mat has a slight advantage over the Manduka eKOlite. The PRO comes with the standard 6mm thickness that’s proven to be durable and cushioning. It also handles light perspiration better, although both the PRO and eKOlite aren’t made for hot yoga.

The downside of Manduka’s premium yoga mat is that it’s heavy and expensive. The PRO is made of PVC, too, which is a non-biodegradable material. This makes the Manduka eKOlite a more eco-friendly option if not, a less expensive one. The eKOlite may not be as thick as the PRO, but it does offer its own conveniences, including less break-in period and a more travel-friendly weight.

FAQs

📌 What’s the difference between the Manduka PRO and eKOlite?

The Manduka PRO Yoga Mat is larger and heavier compared to the eKOlite and is made of PVC. In contrast, the Manduka eKOlite is made of natural tree rubber and is more portable.

📌 Can I use a home made solution to clean my Manduka yoga mats?

Some users make their own cleaning solution for their Manduka yoga mats. This includes mixing equal parts water and cider vinegar (typically a cup) and putting the solution inside a spray bottle. Shake the mixture and spray your Manduka mat down. Wipe the excess solution off from the surface and then proceed to air dry your mat.

📌 Is there a lighter Manduka eKOlite yoga mat available?

Manduka’s eKO lineup of yoga mats includes the eKO Superlite Travel Mat. The Superlite is only 1.5mm thick, weighs 2.2 pounds, and folds to fit most travel bags.

📌 Aside from yoga mats, what else can you buy from Manduka?

Manduka sells a range of yoga mats, towels, fitness apparel, bags and accessories.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.