Jade and Manduka are the two of the most popular yoga mat brands on the planet. Most yogis will find themselves at a fork in the road: “Which brand is best for me?"
To help you tackle this common conundrum, we tested both these mats over a series of days, putting them “head-to-head” in all kinds of scenarios. Check out the full report below!
Going to Hot Yoga
Both of these mats hold up well to sweat and moisture. In our opinion, Jade has an edge in terms of stickiness and traction when wet. Neither of these mats is designed for hot yoga specifically. But good to know that either one can get you through a sweaty, humid, crowded class safely — no slippage.
We felt the Jade had more traction when wet. But the open-cell, porous nature of Jade mats means the mat is absorbing sweat and bacteria too. Over the years, this means your Jade Harmony can become harder to clean than the Manduka PRO, which is a closed-cell mat. This is only a concern if you're hitting-up Bikram-style classes multiple times a week. If that's the case, we suggest using a hot yoga towel for superior grip (and cleanliness) anyway.
Going to Unheated Vinyasa Yoga
The Manduka PRO gives you more space left to right and front to back; it's 2 inches wider and 4" longer than a Jade mat. If you love a spacious mat, you'll definitely want to take the Manduka PRO under serious consideration. It feels like a nice, big Cadillac compared to the long, thin Jade. That being said, we didn't feel the difference in dimensionsimpacted our yoga practice that much one way or the other. If you decide extra space is important but have your heart set on a Jade, spring for a Jade in Extra Long or Extra Wide Width (Jade does make these options).
Both of these mats have great texture in different ways. The open-cell Jade mat has give and elasticity. This lets you yawn deeper into poses, expanding into the mat's elastic nature. You feel the Jade mat subtly elongate under your palms as you work to lengthen your spine in down dog. You sense it widening as you adjust and refine your your stance in Warrior I.
The closed-cell Manduka PRO doesn't have this kind of movement and give. It has a wonderful fabric-like texture that's raised and patterned (the opposite of Jade's porous nature). There's no sense of the mat subtly moving with you like Jade. Pending your personal preference, this may be a very good thing. The Manduka PRO feels stable like a tank - it's not going anywhere.
Let's Talk Cushioning
The Manduka PRO has more padding than the Jade mat. It's thicker by 1 mm.
That said, the open-cell, springy texture of the Jade is soft on your knees in low lunges and in seated poses.
In terms of cushioning, these mats feel equal.
The Jade mat is 4.5 pounds, heavy enough to be a serious mat, but still easy to sling over your shoulder. The Manduka PRO is 7 pounds, meaning you're toning your arms when lifting it. Your shoulders might resent the Manduka PRO after a long walk from the studio to dinner.
Cleaning & Care
Jade mats are like a giant sponge, sucking in soap and anything other cleaner you use. It's therefore advised that you wipe your Jade mat down with water only. Perform an occasional deep clean in the bathtub with a very mild soap and rinse thoroughly. Hang dry indoors. With Jade mats you want to avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.
The Manduka PRO you can lightly scrub with a gentle household cleaner or create your own mat cleaner withwater, vinegar and essential oils. You could also splurge on Manduka's specially formulated mat wash. Manduka mats love the sun. Put the Manduka PRO in a bright spot in your yard to let it dry after a deep clean.
Which Mat Performed Best?
Unheated Vinyasa Flow
Tie! (Both great, just in different ways)
Gentle / Yin Yoga
City Commuter (Walk or Bike)
City Commuter (travel by car)
Cleaning & Care
Tie! (just different)
Long Term Performance
Brett Larkin teaches vinyasa flow yoga at top San Francisco studios and on her YouTube channel, where thousands of students have studied with her for more than 10 million minutes. Find her "yoga hacks," yoga teacher training tips, and free yoga/meditation classes at BrettLarkin.com.