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Manduka PRO vs PROlite (2022): Which Yoga Mat Is Better For Your Practice?

Ask any advanced yogi practitioner or instructor out there what their favorite yoga mat is and they’ll probably say the Manduka PRO. Many swear by it, claiming that it’s the only yoga mat they’ll ever use for their practice. It has even been dubbed as the Taj Mahal of yoga mats so that gives you an idea of how much it’s revered in the community. That said, the Manduka PROlite has its own following too, loved for being the more portable version of the PRO. So which one’s better for your practice? Here’s an in-depth comparison of the two to help you decide.

Manduka PRO vs PROlite Comparison Chart

ModelManduka PROManduka PROlite
 Amazon productAmazon product
PriceAmazon productAmazon product
GripNo-slip but needs to be broken in firstNo-slip but needs to be broken in first
MaterialLatex-free and OEKO-TKO-certified but contains PVCLatex-free and OEKO-TKO-certified but contains PVC
SurfaceClosed-cell surface that doesn’t let sweat seep throughClosed-cell surface that doesn’t let sweat seep through
Dimensions71″ x 26″; 6mm thick (also comes in 85-inch version)71″ x 24″; 4.7 mm thick
Weight7.5 lbs3.9 lbs
Lifetime WarrantyYesYes

Grip

Both the PRO and PROlite are grippy but it takes a lot of time and effort to break them in.

Manduka suggests giving the PRO and PROlite a salt rub before using them.

One of the reasons why yogis pay big money for the Manduka PRO is for its insane grip. The same goes for the PROlite. But the thing is, you kind of have to earn that grip because both of these mats are extremely slippery in the beginning and are practically useless unless you top them off with a yoga towel. You need to break them in first and unfortunately, it takes more than just a couple of sessions to do so. So yes, you definitely need to have some patience and persistence. While this might come as quite a challenge for casual yogis, it shouldn’t be too difficult for advanced yogis who practice multiple times a week.

Manduka is very much aware of this issue and has even proposed a solution to fast-track the breaking in process. They say that you should sprinkle some sea salt on your PRO or PROlite yoga mat, leave it outside for 24 hours, and then wipe it down with a damp wash cloth. But even then, don’t expect the slipperiness to go away with just one salt rub. While it does sound like a lot of time and effort, they will eventually turn into very sticky and grippy yoga mats and you’ll see that they were worth the splurge after all.

Material and Durability

The PRO and PROlite yoga mats are built to last a lifetime.

Both the PRO and PROlite are backed up by a lifetime warranty.

Yogis say that the Manduka PRO is the last yoga mat you’ll ever need to buy and that’s probably true given how durable it is. The same goes for the PROlite. Manduka guarantees that these two mats will be able to stand the test of time and will never peel, fade, or flake on you. The fact that users are encouraged to give these yoga mats a salt rub before using them is a sign that Manduka is confident in their construction. In fact, they’re so confident that they’ve backed up both the PRO and PROlite with a lifetime warranty.

As for their materials, these two yoga mats have a closed-cell surface, which means sweat won’t be able to seep through and bacteria won’t have a chance to breed. Also, you’ll be glad to know that both yoga mats are OEKO-TKO-certified and are free of any harmful chemicals. They do, however, contain PVC, a material that’s quite difficult to recycle and doesn’t decompose in landfills. But even though PVC isn’t the most environmentally friendly material, the fact that the PRO and PROlite yoga mats are built to last means that consumption and waste are still being reduced.

Dimensions and Support

The PRO is larger and thicker than the PROlite.

The PRO comes in two sizes while the PROlite only comes in one version.

While the PRO and PROlite are identical in terms of grip, material, and durability, the differences between them become more apparent when you place them side by side. You’ll see that the PRO is the wider yoga mat of the two, measuring in at 26 inches while the PROlite is slightly narrower at 24 inches. While they’re both 71 inches length-wise, the PRO actually comes in a massive 85-inch version. This makes the PRO the better choice if you’re on the taller side or if you just want more space to move in while you’re practicing.

As for thickness, the PRO yet again trumps the PROlite. You get 6MM of cushioning with the PRO although the PROlite isn’t all that far behind at 4.7MM. Both offer a whole lot more padding than the standard yoga mat but the PRO would be the better pick if you have weak or sensitive joints. While they’re thicker than average, you don’t have to worry about sinking and being unable to balance because they’re high-density mats. This means that their padding doesn’t compress so you can stick your headstands without any problem.

Portability

The PROlite is the more portable version of the PRO.

The PROlite weighs several pounds lighter than the PRO.

It’s obvious who the winner is when it comes to portability–the PROlite. If you travel around a lot and you like taking your practice along with you, the PROlite is definitely the better choice as it weighs several pounds lighter than the PRO. The 71-inch PRO clocks in at a whopping 7.5lbs (the 85-inch version is 2lbs heavier) so carrying it around is not the most enjoyable experience. It’s meant to left at home or in the studio but if you do plan on bringing it around with you, you should at least ride a car so that you’re not left exhausted even before you start your practice.

Verdict

The PRO and the PROlite are both top-quality yoga mats but they serve different needs.

Amazon product

Both the Manduka PRO and PROlite yoga mats are popular among yogis for a reason. They both provide a great balance between comfort and support, plus they provide amazing grip once you’ve broken them in. And despite being on the more expensive side of the spectrum, they’re built to last a lifetime so you probably never have to buy another yoga mat again. That said, the PRO and the PROlite are meant to serve different types of yogis.

The PRO is for those who need more space to move around in and would like more support for their knees, wrists, and hips. It’s also ideal for yogis who like to keep their practice in one place like the studio or their home. As for the PROlite, its portability makes it a great choice for yogis who like to take their practice to different places. It should be noted, however, that the PROlite is narrower and thinner and doesn’t provide as much space and cushioning.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ How do you break in the Manduka PRO and PROlite yoga mats?

Manduka says that you can fast-track the breaking in process by giving the PRO and PROlite yoga mats a salt rub. Sprinkle sea salt on them, leave them out for 24 hours, and then wipe them down with a damp wash cloth.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Manduka PRO worth it?

Despite being on the more expensive end of the spectrum, the Manduka PRO is worth it. Not only is it no-slip once broken in but it also provides a great balance between comfort and support. Not to mention it’s built to last a lifetime.

๐Ÿ“Œ What’s the difference between the Manduka PRO and the PROlite?

The Manduka PROlite is the portable version of the PRO. It’s several pounds lighter and it’s thinner and narrower as well. But other than that, they’re identical in terms of material, grip, and durability.

๐Ÿ“Œ Which one should you buy, the Manduka PRO or PROlite?

If you want more space and cushioning and you don’t plan on taking your practice outside the studio or your home, go for the PRO. But if portability is your priority and you don’t mind having less space and padding, then the PROlite is for you.

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Denise Jose

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Researcher and yoga teacher passionate about article writing, photography, wellness, and mindfulness.