Which gymnastics mat is best?
Whether gymnastics is simply a fun activity for your kid to participate in or a potential career path, safety is crucial. Gymnastics mats are the staple of safety in the sport, as they ensure that any unintended tumbles don’t lead to injury. And the best is the We Sell Mats 4-by-10-Foot Folding Exercise Mat.
What to know before you buy a gymnastics mat
- Folding mats: The most common type, folding mats have multiple attached panels that can fold on top of one another for easy transport and storage. Also known as panel mats, folding mats often have hook-and-loop straps on the ends so you can attach multiple ones together for a larger practice area. Although they come in a variety of sizes, most of the largest mats are folding mats.
- Cartwheel mats: Designed to help gymnasts learn cartwheels, they have graphics on the vinyl to show a gymnast proper hand and foot placement for a successful cartwheel. Although they may seem childish, a cartwheel mat is still sufficient as a padded mat even after the graphics are no longer needed. Some cartwheel mats also have a built-in beam for practicing balance beam routines.
- Incline mats: Ideal for gymnasts practicing back and front rolls or walkovers, incline mats come in several incline heights and angles. These mats create the effect of a slope, giving a gymnast more momentum for rolls and walkovers as they get started.
- Flexible roll mats: Often shortened to “flexi-rolls,” these are designed to mimic competition flooring. Unlike competition floors, they don’t have built-in springs; however, they create a similar experience, making them perfect for competition-focused gymnasts. And they roll up for easy storage.
What to look for in a quality gymnastics mat
The key to any mat’s success is its thickness. If too thin, it won’t safely cushion falls, but if too thick, it inhibits tricks because hands and feet sink into the material. You can find mats as thin as 1 inch or as thick as 5 inches, but standard mats range from 1⅜ to 2 inches thick. Less-experienced gymnasts should use thicker mats, while more experienced gymnasts may choose thinner ones.
While most gymnastics mats fold up or roll up when not in use, the usable floor space a mat can exist on is key. For younger gymnasts, a smaller mat may be okay, but in most cases, bigger is better. It’s better to have more padded space than you need than to lack space to safely execute a certain trick or skill.
If your mat is going to be on hard floors, pick one with slide-resistant backing that keeps the mat in place. Most home mats are designed to be reversible, though, so this backing is uncommon. Most mats do use vinyl coatings designed to be grippy enough to stay on the floor when using either side.
How much you can expect to spend on a gymnastics mat
Depending on size and thickness, you can spend as little as $30 or as much as $250. For less than $100, you’ll get a 6-to-8-foot mat that’s around 1.5 inches thick. For a 2-inch thick mat, you’ll probably pay at least $130. For mats 10 feet long or longer, expect to pay $150-$250; however, these larger mats will give your gymnast plenty of room to practice on as they grow.
Gymnastics mat FAQ
What’s the best way to sanitize a gymnastics mat?
A. You can use any disinfectant spray you have in your home, or dish detergent mixed with water. To clean, wet a rag or sponge with the cleaner and wipe it over both sides of your mat, rinse it with plain water, then give it plenty of time to air-dry before the next use.
Are gymnastics mats waterproof?
A. Most of the time, yes. Vinyl-encased mats, which are the most common, are considered waterproof. Check reviews for your specific product, but many are even waterproof enough to safely be stored outdoors.
What’s the best gymnastics mat to buy?
Top gymnastics mat
What you need to know: Big enough to practice some of the most involved tricks, this thick, foldable mat is perfect for large spaces.
What you’ll love: Available in eight colors, this easy-to-clean gymnastics mat is made from durable 2-inch-thick cross-linked foam for ensured safety. You can use it indoors or outdoors, and being foldable makes for easy transport and storage.
What you should consider: Some customers experienced damage during delivery.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top gymnastics mat for the money
What you need to know: This high-density mat is large enough on its own, but it also offers hook-and-loop connections so you can attach additional mats for even more usable space.
What you’ll love: It’s made from 2 inches of thick expanded polyethylene foam covered in puncture-resistant and moisture-resistant vinyl that deters sweat and cleans up easily. It gives you all the size and transportability of the best mats at a budget-friendly cost.
What you should consider: It’s less durable than some other mats.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Made by a trusted brand, this mat is lightweight and durable, perfect for more advanced gymnasts who don’t need as much cushion when they fall.
What you’ll love: Available in eight colors and a variety of sizes and thicknesses, Tumbl Trak has mats suitable for any gymnast. The folding panels have a closure at each end to maintain a tight fold. This also is a great option for athletes who do dance or martial arts.
What you should consider: It has a strong chemical smell upon arrival that fades over time.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Collette Bliss writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2023 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.