Which tumbling mat is best?
You don’t have to be a gymnast to need a tumbling mat in your home gym. These foam mats can also provide protection during activities such as dancing, cheerleading, yoga, Pilates, aerobics and martial arts. And they don’t just provide cushioning for your joints during high-impact activities — they can also make it more comfortable to perform exercises such as situps or pushups.
It all comes down to choosing the proper mat size and thickness. If you’re looking for a durable, high-quality mat, the Tumbl Trak Gymnastics Folding Tumbling Panel is an excellent choice.
What to know before you buy a tumbling mat
Tumbling mats are available in three main sizes: 4 by 6 feet, 4 by 8 feet and 5 by 10 feet.
Choose a mat size based on the activity you plan to use it for and how many people will use it at the same time. Larger mats cost more, so double-check the size to avoid paying for space you may not need.
After a mat, its thickness is the most essential feature to consider. Common thicknesses for tumbling mats include:
- 3/8 inch
- 1 inch
- 2 inches
- 4 inches
If your mat is too thin, it won’t provide adequate cushioning for your joints. But a mat that’s too thick can also be a problem, because your hands and feet may sink into it, possibly causing injury.
For safe landings in activities such as gymnastics, cheerleading and martial arts, opt for a thicker mat. A thinner mat can work well for low-impact exercises, including yoga and Pilates. If you’re purchasing a tumbling mat for your kids to play on, a 4-inch mat is usually best.
Most tumbling mats have exteriors made of polyurethane leather or knife-coated vinyl. Polyurethane leather mats are usually more expensive than vinyl ones, but polyurethane is highly flexible. That means it’s less likely to crack, so it’s more durable.
The interior of a tumbling mat is made of foam, but you can usually choose from two types: EVA cross-linked polyethylene foam and EPE high-density eco-friendly foam.
EPE foam is highly effective at shock absorption because it’s similar to memory foam. On the other hand, EVA foam offers a bouncier surface, so you can spring up more easily.
Folding vs. roll-out mats
Most tumbling mats are foldable, so you can easily store them. However, you can roll up some mats with a thickness of 1 inch or less. These mats are usually meant for aerobics, yoga or wrestling. They take up even less space than folding mats, allowing for even easier storage.
What to look for in a quality tumbling mat
Folding mats usually have handles to make it easier to move them. Some mats are heavy, so the handles are especially helpful. Check that the handles are well-made and sturdy, so you don’t have to worry about them breaking.
Fasteners vs. Velcro
Most tumbling mats let you connect one mat to another if you need a larger area for your workout or practice. They can feature hook-and-eye fasteners, “S” fasteners or Velcro. Velcro attachments are quick and easy to use but usually the least durable.
Many tumbling mats feature the same exterior surface on both sides, but you can find some with an anti-slip surface on the underside. This coating is typically made of a rubberized material that provides effective traction to keep the mat from sliding around.
How much you can expect to spend on a tumbling mat
Tumbling mats typically cost $25-$100. For the most durable, easy-to-use mats, though, you’ll generally pay $100-$150.
Tumbling mat FAQ
How long do tumbling mats last?
A. It depends on the quality of their materials, how often you use the mats and how well you care for them. Most last at least one to three years, but you may need to replace yours sooner if you use it regularly.
Can I use a tumbling mat outdoors?
A. Some mats are waterproof, so they can hold up to the elements. In general, though, it’s best to leave your mat indoors. It’s likely to wear down more quickly if you use it outside.
What’s the best tumbling mat to buy?
Top tumbling mat
What you need to know: This has a reputation as one of the highest-quality mats, so it’s ideal for high-impact activities such as gymnastics, cheer and dance.
What you’ll love: It features highly durable construction that helps it last through regular use. It’s made of sturdy vinyl and EVA foam, is available in multiple sizes and colors, and folds for easy storage.
What you should consider: Some buyers report that they didn’t receive the mat they ordered.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top tumbling mat for the money
What you need to know: This budget-friendly mat works equally well for gymnastics and basic workouts.
What you’ll love: It’s available in multiple colors, including a rainbow design. It’s lightweight, folds up easily and has a convenient carrying handle. It can connect with other mats for a larger practice area.
What you should consider: It’s not as thick or long as other mats. Some buyers report that it can tear with regular use.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This high-quality, durable mat offers excellent construction and thickness for a wide array of activities.
What you’ll love: It comes in 1 1/2- and 2-inch thickness and is constructed of Crosslink Polyethylene foam covered with thick, durable vinyl. It has hook-and-loop closures to connect additional mats. It’s easy to clean with soap and water.
What you should consider: The mats can have a strong chemical smell, so they may require airing out before use.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.