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Manduka PROlite vs EKOlite (2021): What’s The Difference Between These Two Popular Yoga Mats?

Many yogis who want to take their practice to the next level often turn to Manduka. After all, they’re known in the community for making some of the best yoga mats you can get your hands on. However, picking out a Manduka mat can be quite confusing given how many models there are. To help you out, we’re putting the Manduka PROlite and the EKOlite side by side in an in-depth comparison, both of which are popular picks that are well-loved for being lightweight. We take their grip, materials, durability, comfort, and support into consideration so that you can pick which one’s the better match for your practice.

Manduka PROlite vs EKOlite Comparison Chart

ModelManduka PROliteManduka EKOlite
 Amazon productAmazon product
PriceAmazon productAmazon product
GripGreat grip but needs to be broken in firstGreat grip from the beginning, no breaking in required
MaterialEco-certified, body-friendly PVCNon-amazon harvested natural tree rubber
SurfaceClosed-cell surface that doesn’t let sweat seep through and bacteria to breedClosed-cell surface that doesn’t let sweat seep through and bacteria to breed
Lifetime WarrantyYesNo
Thickness4.7mm3mm and 4mm
Dimensions71 x 24 inches68 x 24 inches
Weight4lbs4.5lbs

Grip

The PROlite needs to be broken in first while the EKOlite offers good grip from the beginning.

Both the PROlite (left) and EKOlite (right) provide excellent grip.

Just like the PRO, the PROlite boasts an amazing grip. It’s one of the many reasons why yogis are willing to pay a hefty sum for it. Be warned, however, that it doesn’t always start out that way and needs to be broken in first. And by breaking in, we don’t mean just a couple of sun salutations. The process takes quite a lot of time, effort, and patience which not all yogis are willing to give, especially those who are just starting out in the practice. But once you do get there, you’ll find that it’s all worth it, especially because it will stay grippy for a lifetime.

As for the EKOlite, it’s a lot more beginner-friendly because it doesn’t require such a painstaking breaking-in process. Unlike the PROlite, its rippled surface offers decent grip from the get-go which only gets better the more you practice on it. If you want, and this is applicable to the PROlite as well, you can try giving it a salt rub to enhance its grip even more. Manduka suggests that you sprinkle some sea salt on it, leave it outside for 24 hours, and then wipe it down with a damp washcloth.

If you’re wondering what kind of yoga you can do on these mats, the PROlite and EKOlite are ideal for all styles. Thanks to their amazing grip, you’ll be able to hold your poses even if you have a more rigorous practice and tend to work up a lot of sweat.

Materials and Durability

The PROlite is more durable while the EKOlite is more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

The PROlite (top) is made from PVC while the EKOlite (bottom) is made from natural tree rubber.

The PROlite isn’t considered the Taj Mahal of yoga mats for no reason. According to yogis, it’s so durable that you won’t ever have to purchase another yoga mat again. Manduka confirms this by promising that you’ll never find it flaking, peeling, or fading on you. They’ve even backed it up with a lifetime warranty so you know they’re confident in this yoga mat’s construction. That said, PVC plays a role in its durability, a material that doesn’t decompose in landfills and is also quite difficult to recycle. But given that the PROlite will last you a lifetime, you’re still actually helping out the environment when you purchase it because you’re reducing consumption and waste.

As you can tell by its name, the EKOlite is the more environmentally friendly alternative to the PROlite. Instead of PVC, it’s made of 100% non-amazon harvested natural tree rubber which biodegrades in landfills. To boot, the EKOlite is colored with non-AZO dyes which are healthy for both the body and the environment. While the EKOlite definitely deserves extra points for being sustainable, there are a couple of drawbacks you should be aware of. First off, it’s not as durable as the PROlite and it doesn’t come with a lifetime warranty either. Although you should still be able to get plenty of use out of it. You might also notice a slight rubbery smell when you first unroll it but that should fade over time.

While they’re made out of different materials, the PROlite and EKOlite do have something in common–a closed-cell surface. This means that sweat won’t be able to make its way into your yoga mat and bacteria won’t have any chance to breed.

Comfort and Support

Both the PROlite and EKOlite are able to provide a good balance of comfort and support.

The PROlite and EKOlite are thicker than the standard yoga mat.

When it comes to comfort, both the PROlite and EKOlite are thicker than the typical yoga mat (4.7mm and 4mm respectively) and are able to provide ample cushioning. So if your bones tend to jut out in certain poses or if you have weak or sensitive joints, these mats will do a good job of protecting you. And because they’re both pretty thick and heavy, you can expect them to stay put no matter how advanced your flows are. They won’t bunch up, stretch out, or slide all over the place, allowing you to hold your crows, wheels, and headstands with ease.

As for support, both the PROlite and EKOlite are high-density yoga mats. This means that even though they’re thick, they don’t compress under your weight and won’t make it any harder for you to balance. That said, advanced yogis tend to prefer mats with less padding because it helps them feel more grounded. If that’s the case for you, the EKOlite comes in a thinner 3mm version which should be perfect for you.

As for size, the PROlite is the bigger option of the two, measuring in at 71″ by 24″ (the EKOlite is shorter by a couple of inches). So if you’re on the taller side or you just want more space to move around in, it’s definitely the better choice for you.

Portability

Both the PROlite and EKOlite are much lighter than the PRO and are easy to carry around.

The EKOlite (left) is 4.5lbs while the PROlite (right) is 4lbs.

When it comes to portability, the PROlite and EKOlite are definitely a lot less troublesome to carry around than the 7.5-pound PRO. If we’re really splitting hairs though, the PROlite wins this round by a very small margin. Because despite providing more cushion for the joints and space to move around in, it manages to be slightly lighter than the EKOlite. However, the EKOlite does come in a thinner 3mm version so if you’re looking for a yoga mat that’s extremely easy to travel around with, that should be the best option for you.

Verdict

The PROlite is for advanced yogis while the EKOlite is for beginners and eco warriors.

Amazon product

It can’t be denied that the Manduka PROlite and EKOlite are amazing yoga mats, both able to provide yogis with reliable grip as well as a good balance of comfort and support. There are, however, some very important things you should consider when choosing between the two.

The Manduka PROlite is definitely more geared towards yogis who already have a regular practice in place because they’ll be able to fully take advantage of this yoga mat’s unparalleled durability and lifetime warranty. Also, beginner yogis might find the breaking-in process too tedious.

As for the Manduka EKOlite, it’s much more beginner-friendly, considering that it already has decent grip straight out of packaging and doesn’t need to be broken in. It’s also the better choice for the eco warriors out there because it’s made out of sustainable materials.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Manduka PROlite worth it?

While the Manduka PROlite isn’t cheap, it’s definitely a worthwhile investment because it’s extremely durable, comes with a lifetime warranty, and provides amazing grip, support, and comfort.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Manduka PROlite slippery?

The Manduka PROlite has amazing grip but it has to be broken in first. Keep practicing on it and it should become no-slip over time. If you want to fast-track the process, you can try giving it a salt rub.

๐Ÿ“Œ What is the Manduka EKOlite made of?

The Manduka EKOlite is made of 100% non-amazon harvested natural tree rubber and colored with non-AZO dyes. This makes it both safe for the body and the environment.

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

If you’re a more advanced yogi, you’re better off with the Manduka PROlite because you’ll be able to take advantage of its lifetime warranty and you won’t find it too hard to break it in. As for the EKOlite, it’s perfect for beginners as well as eco warriors.

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Denise Jose

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