Yogis who want take their practice to the next level often want a better yoga mat. And in their search for one, they’re bound to come across two very popular brands, namely Manduka and Lululemon. Both have earned the love of the yoga community but for very different reasons.
If you’re not sure which one is the better pick for you and your practice, here’s an in-depth comparison of their most popular yoga mat models: the Manduka PRO and the Lululemon Reversible Mat. We take their grip, materials, durability, support, and portability into consideration so that you can choose wisely.
Manduka vs Lululemon Comparison Chart
|Price||Check Price at Lululemon||Check Price at Amazon|
|Grip||Top-side offers great grip because of polyurethane layer that absorbs moisture||Provides great grip but requires breaking in first|
|Materials||Natural rubber base with antimicrobial additive||PVC, latex-free, OEKO-TKO-certified|
|Surface||Polyurethane top layer that absorbs moisture||Closed-cell surface that prevents sweat from seeping in|
|Dimensions||71″ x 26″||71″ x 26″|
The Lululemon Reversible Mat is sticky right off the bat while the Manduka PRO needs to be broken in first.
As you can tell by its name, the Lululemon Reversible Mat has two usable sides. The top-side has an extremely smooth finish that looks like it has zero grip but that’s not the case at all. It offers so much traction that you’ll have no problem holding your downward dog or wild thing even when you’re dripping in sweat. In fact, it gets even stickier the wetter your practice becomes, thanks to the polyurethane layer that absorbs moisture. If you’re worried about bacteria breeding in your mat, it contains an antimicrobial additive so that there won’t be any odor issues. As for the other side, it’s meant for less sweaty yoga sessions but it provides decent traction as well.
The Manduka PRO is raved about for its amazing grip as well but unlike the Lululemon Reversible Mat, it’s not sticky right off the bat. In fact, many get so frustrated with it because of how slippery and unusable it is in the beginning. It definitely needs to be broken in first and it takes more than just a couple of sessions to do so. So keep doing your surya namaskars on it and it will eventually become the grippy yoga mat you’ve paid big money for. Manduka also suggests that you give it a salt rub to speed up the breaking in process. Sprinkle some sea salt on it, leave it outside overnight, and then wipe it down with a damp wash cloth.
Materials and Durability
The Lululemon Reversible Mat starts to look beat up quickly while the Manduka PRO is pretty much indestructible.
The Lululemon Reversible Mat has a natural rubber base which, as mentioned, is topped off by a polyurethane top layer. It definitely feels very well-made and comes in a bunch of aesthetic designs but unfortunately, this yoga mat isn’t built to stay pretty forever. It’s extremely easy to scratch the smooth top-side so if you tend to drag your toes when you’re jumping through or stepping backward and forward, expect to see lines running across your mat. And because it absorbs moisture, it won’t take long before stains appear on the surface. But even if it starts looking beat up after a couple of months, it should still be perfectly usable.
As for the Manduka PRO, it’s unparalleled when it comes to durability. In fact, yogis say that it’s the last mat you’ll ever have to buy because it’ll last you a lifetime. Manduka promises that it will never peel, flake, or fade and backs this claim up with a lifetime warranty. Also, the fact that they encourage users to give the PRO a salt rub before use means that they’re very confident in its construction. That said, the reason why it’s indestructible is because it’s made from PVC. It’s not the most environmentally friendly material but because the PRO is guaranteed to last forever, you’re still actually reducing consumption and waste.
Comfort and Support
Both the Lululemon Reversible Mat and the Manduka PRO provide a great balance between comfort and support.
When it comes to comfort, both the Lululemon Reversible Mat and Manduka PRO will make you forget that there’s a hard floor underneath you. These two mats are thicker than the average, the former measuring in at 5mm (although there’s a 3mm version as well) and the latter at 6mm. They’re definitely good options for those who have weak or sensitive joints and need more padding while they’re holding low lunge, plank, or crow. And because these two yoga mats are so thick and heavy, they won’t bunch up, stretch out, or move while you’re flowing.
If you’re worried about sinking or being unable to balance properly because of how padded they are, you don’t have to be. Both the Lululemon Reversible Mat and Manduka PRO are extremely dense and not at all squishy or spongelike. They don’t compress underneath your weight so even though they are very comfortable, they’re able to provide stability too. Aside from offering a great balance between comfort and support, both are bigger than the typical yoga mat as well. This makes them ideal for those who are on the taller side or just want more space to move in.
Both the Lululemon Reversible Mat and Manduka PRO are hefty but the former is easier to carry around.
Neither the Lululemon Reversible Mat or the Manduka PRO are considered portable. They’re quite hefty and it’s unfortunate that they don’t come with their own bags so that they can be transported easier. They’re definitely better off as permanent fixtures in the studio or at home but if we really had to choose a winner, it would have to be the Lululemon Reversible Mat. Weighing in at 5.24 pounds, it’s significantly lighter than the 7.5-pound Manduka PRO. Also, it comes in a 3mm version which should be a lot less troublesome to carry around.
The Lululemon Reversible Mat is more beginner-friendly while the Manduka PRO should be left to the advanced yogis.
Both the Lululemon Reversible Mat and the Manduka PRO are deserving of the praise surrounding them. They’re thick yet dense so they’re able to strike up a great balance between comfort and support. That’s something not a lot of standard yoga mats can provide. That said, they’re designed for very different types of yogis so it’s important to choose wisely.
The Lululemon Reversible Mat is grippy right off the bat and doesn’t require any breaking in. However, it’s not able to withstand aggressive wear and tear and will look start to look beat up after just a couple of months of usage. This makes it more ideal for beginner yogis who don’t have such a rigorous practice yet. As for the Manduka PRO, it takes a lot of time and effort to break it in. But once you get there, it provides amazing grip and support. To boot, it’s extremely durable and will last you a lifetime. This makes it a great investment for more advanced yogis who practice regularly and plan to do so for a long time.
While the Manduka PRO is on the expensive side, it’s worth investing in it because it’s extremely durable and will last you a lifetime. Also, it provides great grip and support once broken in.
The Manduka PRO is slippery in the beginning and requires breaking in. To fast-track the breaking in process, Manduka suggests that you give it a salt rub. Sprinkle sea salt on it, leave it outside overnight, and then wipe it down with a damp wash cloth.
The Lululemon Reversible Mat is not cheap but it’s worth buying for its amazing grip, versatility, and superior support and comfort it provides.
If you’re an advanced yogi with a regular practice, it’s better to invest in the Manduka PRO. But if you’re just starting out, the Lululemon Reversible Mat is the more beginner-friendly option.