Setting Up A Home Gym? Cover Your Hardwood Floors With These Mats

by Yoona Wagener
Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

Whether you exercise in your living room or bedroom, the best exercise mats for hardwood floors can make your home workout routine much more comfortable. Top-rated mats designed for vigorous movement should have anti-slip properties so they won't slide around, and mats for any type of exercise should be a bit on the thicker side in order to provide proper cushioning from the hard floor. Different preferences and exercise routines may require thicker mats in bigger or smaller sizes, so be sure to consider what makes sense for your lifestyle and exercise of choice before you buy.

Because hardwood floors are, well, hard, it makes sense to cover them with thicker mats. For general exercise, an exercise mat should be at least 0.5-inches thick in order to provide good cushioning. This is sort of a middle ground when it comes to mat thickness; if you require extra support for sensitive joints or like higher impact workouts, look for a mat that's at least an inch thick. For yoga, on the other hand, you may want a mat that's thin enough to ground you but thick enough to cushion your knees, so consider a mat that's thicker than an average 0.125-inch thick yoga mat — but not too much cushier.

The amount of coverage your mat provides matters, but so does the space it takes up when not in use. Some larger mats don't stow super easily, but can be left in place if you have a dedicated gym area with equipment. Other mats roll or fold between workouts. Good mats should be hardy enough to stand up to the stress of repetitive exercise as well as regular storage, though a good warranty is also nice.

Whether you’re looking for a solid budget yoga mat or an extra-plush all-purpose exercise mat for hardwood floors, these options will support you while you sweat.

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The Overall Best Exercise Mat For Hardwood Floors

This 0.5-inch thick all-purpose mat is marketed as a yoga mat, but it's very versatile. Measuring 71 inches long and 24 inches wide, it's a few inches longer than a standard yoga mat. It comes with a knee pad that measures 10 inches long and 24 inches wide, allowing you to add just over half an inch of padding to help protect your joints or spine from the hard floor. Amazon reviewers report that the mat is great for all varieties of floor-based exercises, such as push-ups, stretching, and bodyweight strength training, earning it a 4.7-star rating overall from more than 17,000 Amazon reviewers.

Both sides of the mat are finished with nonslip texturing, and the moisture-resistant foam can be wiped clean with soap and water. Lots of pleased reviewers confirm that it stays put for lower-impact exercises, cleans easily, and doesn't tear. If something does happen, though, this mat is backed by a two-year warranty.

Choose from seven different shades, all of which can be rolled and placed in the included carrying straps for storage or easy transport.

Positive Amazon review: "I love everything about this mat! [I] exercise at least 3-4 times a week, so I use this pretty frequently. I do some intense exercises and this mat is PERFECT! It is so soft even on my hardwood floors and cushions my knees and elbows while exercising. The extra mini mat is also helpful if I ever need additional support, or even for elevating my lower back if needed."

A Large Mat For High-Impact Exercise

If you don't need a ton of cushion and want to give yourself lots of space to move, this large exercise mat measures 72 inches by 48 inches in size and is 0.25 inches thick, which makes it versatile enough for all types of exercises from yoga, to HIIT to jumping rope.

Support comes from dense foam and natural rubber that several Amazon reviewers report is free from any bad odors, not to mention free from materials like latex, phthalates, and silicones. The mat has a textured top so you won't slip, plus a circle-patterned grip on the bottom so it won't slide on hardwood floors. While you might prefer to leave the mat out in your workout area, it comes with a carrying strap for rolling up and storing or toting. The manufacturer also supplies a microfiber towel for simple spot cleaning, and you can deep clean with dish soap and air dry.

Take your pick between a few different colors, and work out on top of it as hard as you want — if you somehow manage to damage it, there's a lifetime warranty. That said, there shouldn't be any problems — it has a knockout 4.8-star rating overall on Amazon after more than 1,100 reviews.

Positive Amazon review: “Absolutely love this mat so far! I’ve used it for HIIT workouts, strength training, and stretching and am very impressed. For reference, I have engineered hardwood floors. The mat doesn’t slip at all, even while doing burpees and lunges. It’s not super thick, but does seem to be cushioned enough that side planks and crunches aren’t painful.”

The Best Thick Folding Mat

This 1.5-inch-thick tri-fold mat offers extra support you might prefer for stretching, tumbling, or even a martial arts routine. Amazon reviewers seem to think so — the product has a 4.7-star overall rating on the site after more than 8,000 reviews.

Made of an easy-to-clean vinyl exterior with a foam interior, the 24-inch-wide mat is slightly longer than a typical yoga mat at 72 inches long. And unlike a rolling yoga mat, the tri-fold design stores flat underneath a couch or bed and carries easily thanks to two built-in handles. While the mat is plush enough to support most floor activities, it lacks a nonslip coating, which could make it too slippery for a lot of jumping or some yoga poses. That said, multiple happy Amazon reviewers report that it’s nicely supportive for activities such as mat-based core exercises and stretching.

Grab it in a handful of shades, all of which are backed by a lifetime warranty.

Positive Amazon review: “I have been doing a lot of home workouts. Having hardwood floors makes some things really not fun! [No] rug nor yoga mat nor folded up blanket was saving my spine during crunches and leg lifts. This mat lets me do all of my floor exercises with zero issue. The padding is thick and does not give much but is extremely comfortable. It folds quickly for storage and is easy to wipe clean. I love it and I can't believe how long I went without it.”

An Anti-Slip Yoga Mat With A Little Extra Cushion

If you're looking for a yoga mat that's just a bit thicker than average, this anti-slip yoga mat is 0.2 inches thick, rather than the usual 0.125 inches. This means you can still feel the floor, but get a little more cushioning for the knees and joints. More than 2,200 Amazon reviewers have given it an overall rating of 4.6 stars on the site, suggesting that the thickness is just the right amount for those who like light padding without getting in the way of holding poses. The top layer of the mat is a non-slip, moisture-wicking polyurethane and the bottom is a patterned, grippy TPE tree rubber material.

The mat is also slightly longer and wider than your average yoga mat, measuring 76 inches long and 26 inches wide, which makes it versatile enough for other types of exercises, too. Plus, it comes with a carrying strap. Many reviewers also report that this product is generally easy to wipe clean and definitely delivers on the anti-slip claims.

Positive Amazon review: “This yoga mat will take your practice to the next level. It is the first mat I've owned where my hands and feet don't slip at all in downward dog. Doesn't move around on carpet or hardwood floors. I spent hours looking at new yoga mats and I am beyond satisfied with this one!!”