Protecting yourself at all times during BJJ training should be a must as many nasty injuries like bruises, mat burns can happen while rolling.
Mats are one of the most important factors to reduce the risk of common injuries in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and mitigate the damage. So whether you train this grappling martial art style in the comfort of your own home or buy it for a gym, you need top-quality BJJ mats to stay safer so you can practice the gentle art with ease of mind.
Below you can find the reviews of top mats for Jiu Jitsu after that there is a very thorough buyer’s guide and frequently asked questions as there are many things to consider while choosing BJJ mats including thickness, mat space, and type.
Best BJJ Mats
IncStores 1 Inch Thick MMA Foam Flooring Tiles | Extra Thick
- Made of EVA foam
- Very good shock-absorbing qualities
- Made for martial arts training
- Very durable
- Decent grip
- Trustworthy mat brand
IncStores always produces excellent mats and this one is no exception. IncStores 1 Inch Thick MMA comes in tiles. These mats have a seamless connection and will stay solid.
EVA and the surface material of this mat provide a very protective surface while rolling. It reduces the load on joints. This is actually what many BJJ practitioners are looking for in mats to prevent horrible joint issues.
This best BJJ puzzle mat offers a decent grip without interfering with the movement while performing BJJ techniques. Also, it is one of the most popular BJJ mats on the market!
Best BJJ Mats for Home
Z Athletic Gymnastics
- Very protective smooth surface
- 2” thickness
- Easy to carry and store
- Perfect for indoors
- Handwash only
Z Athletic can be used for multiple purposes. This smooth mat can be used not only for BJJ drills but also for weightlifting, yoga…
High-density cross-linked polyethylene foam provides optimal cushioning and increases shock absorption while shrimping. Also, it has a 2-inch thickness which is thicker than most folding mats.
Basically, the company produced a very shock-absorbent mat to keep you safer during hard impact moves like takedowns.
Z Athletic is one of the best portable BJJ mats as it can be carried around easily with handles, folded, and stored in small spaces. Thanks to these qualities, Z Athletic Gymnastics is an ideal mat for BJJ home gyms and garages.
Jiu Jitsu Mats for Humid Environments
We Sell Mats 3/4 Inch Thick
- Tatami pattern
- Seamless connection
- Easy to clean
The tatami surface provides more secure grips and prevents the surface to become slippery. Also, vinyl doesn’t let foam absorb moisture as well. Thus this is definitely an option if your goal is to minimize sliding while training in humid environments.
We Sell Mats can be installed on any surface. However hard floors are recommended for setting up to provide the needed cushion to reduce impact during drills.
Connecting tile mats requires effort however these will definitely provide a more secure, non-slippery training area.
These square tile mats can be cleaned easily with soapy water.
GXMMAT Large Exercise Mat
- Very protective
- Very easy to set up and portable
- Can be used for MMA, plyometric training
Thank to ease of setup and portability, roll out mats are becoming increasingly popular.
Both inner and outer materials are very good at protecting your muscles from soft tissue injuries.
Also, it has a circular pattern which helps mats stay in place and improves traction to offer secure grips. You can see how useful this roll out mat can be for grappling-style martial arts, right?
I needed to include at least one environment-friendly mat on this list as there are a lot of environmentally conscious practitioners practicing the gentle art. This eco-friendly mat reduces our environmental footprint and plastic waste to make the world a better place.
Thanks to the ease of setup and protective qualities, GXMMAT Large Exercise Mat can be perfect for homes and gyms.
Best Cheap Jiu Jitsu mats
ProsourceFit Tri-Fold Folding
- 2” thick
- Foldable and portable
- Very affordable
Even though it is very affordable this foldable mat has everything you need in a mat. It has good cushioning to reduce the strain, is foldable for storage in small spaces and 2-inch thickness is enough for drilling high-impact techniques like throws.
According to Jiu Jitsu community, the surface doesn’t seem to get deformed easily even after a long time of usage.
It has a vinyl surface that offers ease of cleaning and waterproof materials make it hard for bacteria to reproduce. These qualities will help you have a hygienic training area.
Considering the value and good price, ProsourceFit Tri-Fold Folding is a very cost-effective product.
I selected these mats according to several criteria including protection, ease of use, and cost. I am a firm believer that these products will deliver what a martial artist is looking for in grappling mats.
Let’s learn more about jiu-jitsu mats, so you can have a better understanding of how I evaluate the protection, quality, and performance.
The Ultimate Guide to Buying Perfect BJJ Mats
BJJ Mat Types
There are 3 types of martial arts mat types which are interlocking, folding, and roll-out mats.
1. Interlocking (Puzzle) Mats
Puzzle mats generally tend to be square and these come in various sizes like 24” x 24”. As you can understand from the name these are put together just like a jigsaw puzzle. After assembling the tiles, these will not move and stay solid.
These are smaller than other mat types so you need to buy many pieces to create a training area. However, as long as there is a smooth surface these can be used almost anywhere whether there is a small or huge space. Basically, tile mats can provide a great fit for most areas.
2. Folding Mats
These mats can be folded into a compact form so you can carry and store this mat type with ease. Compared to other BJJ mat types, these tend to offer a very smooth surface and thicker padding. Thanks to these qualities, your body will experience fewer bruises, cuts, and mat burns while learning ground fighting.
Shortly, this mat type is perfect for high-impact workouts, and if you like rolling hard, definitely consider folding mats to decrease the likelihood of injuries.
Folding mats are also ideal for practitioners who drill grappling techniques in hot climates as these don’t store heat so they can stay cooler than other mat types.
Lastly, this expensive mat type tends to come in rectangular shapes and these generally are attached with hook and loop closure systems.
3. Rollout Mats
As the name suggests just roll it and it will be ready to use in a matter of seconds. Thus, this mat type is the easiest mat type to set up and is portable.
The top layer surface tends to be made of vinyl and does not have hard edges. These mats have a hard outer layer thus it is not the ideal mat type for high-impact training. However, thick, lightweight construction makes it suitable for groundwork.
Which Mat Type is Suitable for Home?
Folding mats and roll-out mats are portable and you can literally set these up within seconds. Also, when you are done with them you can just fold them and store them in another place with ease.
Thus you can use this space for other purposes as well. These qualities make both roll-out and foldable mats perfect for garages, homes, and apartments.
Essential Features of BJJ Mats
There are four main features of Jiu Jitsu mats which are materials, thickness, texture, and connectors. These can affect both your groundwork performance and safety.
What Materials are Jiu-jitsu Mats made of?
Two common materials are used to make BJJ mats. These are foam and outer materials which tend to be vinyl.
Foam’s purpose is to provide a stable, firm, protective surface and three common foam types are used to make jiu-jitsu mats. These are EVA foam, PVC, cross-linked polyethylene. And the foam is covered with vinyl or PU leather.
Ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer (EVA) is a resilient and low-cost material. This environment-friendly foam returns to its original shape instantly after impact as it is an elastic material. This elastic material can continue absorbing, distributing impact quite well, and preventing injuries for a long time.
Another advantage of this foam for BJJ is that EVA is water-resistant and your sweat will not mess up the material even if you roll hard during long drills.
These are the reasons why equipment brands use this material in sports gear including insoles of shoes.
PVC Rubber Nitrile and Cross-Linked Polyethylene Foam
If you have been a member of a martial arts club, you would have known that PVC rubber nitrile foam and Cross-Linked Polyethylene Foam are used to make most jiu-jitsu mats. The former is soft, tear-resistant, and provides good cushioning which makes PVC Rubber nitrile suitable for takedowns, and hard sparring.
Even though Cross-Linked Polyethylene foam is not as soft as PVC Rubber, it is very flexible, more protective, and absorbs the impact a lot more efficiently. Also, this material does not lose its properties, or qualities even after years of practicing martial arts.
Thus Cross-linked foam is preferred more for purely groundwork.
Thicker mats are safer. These don’t only absorb the shock more and keep your soft tissue safer but also make it harder to slip when you are on the edge of the mats. Thus, these are perfect for beginner practitioners to practice.
However, experienced grapplers tend to prefer thinner mats that make them work more as they try not to slip while they are on the edge of a mat so they can improve core strength and balance over time.
Thickness is an important factor for safety however the surface material and padding type also matter as these are other factors for reducing the shock. So even though it is an important metric you should definitely keep in mind the other factors.
How Thick is a BJJ mat?
Most mats used in this ground fighting discipline tend to be between 0.75 and 2 inches.
How Thick BJJ Tournament Mats Should be?
According to IBJFF, tournament mats should be 1.5”. So if you are preparing for any kind of BJJ tournament making yourself familiar with thicker mats is the way to go.
It is important to know your needs so that you can choose a suitable texture for your jiu-jitsu drills. There are two different textures which are smooth and tatami.
Tatami mats: Modern tatami mats are made of foam which is covered with rough vinyl and a tatami pattern molded into the surface for a secure grip. The rough surface improves the grip and reduces the slipping with the grooves which are ideal qualities for grappling martial arts.
Also, many practitioners just love the traditional look of tatami mats and the fact that the tatami pattern has been used for centuries.
Smooth Mats: As the name suggests, this one has a smooth surface. While performing BJJ techniques, it does not slow down your movement, and still offers a decent grip to perform them. Smooth mats generally come in one piece and cover a larger area.
These are the basic explanations of tatami and smooth mats. Each of these textures has advantages and disadvantages.
Smooth Mats Vs. Tatami Mats
1. Mat Burns
When I put my feet on a smooth mat it feels like I can even sleep on it. It does not cause itching or rashes. Well, that is not the case with tatami mats which have a rough texture. Tatami mats offer more grip and you slip less while practicing on them. However, you also get more mat burns with tatami mats, and continuing to practice on tatami mats can delay mat burns to heal.
2. Fighter’s Performance
Tatami mat’s rough texture improves the ability to pivot and safety by decreasing the likelihood of slipping. So fighters can perform the techniques like single-leg takedowns, slams with more ease.
3. Environment (Hot, Cold)
Are you training in a hot humid environment as I do in South East Asia? The sweat on smooth mats can ruin your workouts as it can make the surface quite slippery and you may feel like you are on the ice at times. So tatami mat is definitely a better choice for sweaty rolling sessions.
4. About BJJ Clothing
You probably thought that BJJ gis stick to tatami mats more, right? Well, this is wrong. When your back is pinned on the tatami mats rash guard or kimono don’t stick as much as they do with smooth mats.
There are a few reasons for this. Smooth mats don’t get rid of sweat effectively so the fabric of BJJ clothing sticks to smooth mats more. Also, the textured surface of tatami mats creates mini channels so your rashguard or gi contact a smaller area and this also minimizes sticking as well.
Lastly, thanks to the texture of smooth mats, this mat type deforms the gi less and this extends the lifecycle of your martial arts clothing.
As you can see, there are some advantages and disadvantages of choosing one texture over the other. I personally choose smooth mats over tatami as I prefer sparring hard and would like to get fewer mat burns on my feet.
Recommended Textures for Gi and No-Gi Training
Gi Practitioners: Train on tatami mats. Kimonos stick to tatami mats less and on top of that, your kimono will prevent mat burns as a smaller area of your skin contact mats.
No-gi Practitioners: Smooth mats are ideal for them. You will experience mat burns less frequently. Also, soft mats are better at preventing soft tissue injuries, and cuts which no gi practitioners experience more often.
How to Set up BJJ Mats? Connecting mats is quite easy for all mat types. You can set up puzzle mats just like you assemble a puzzle, roll the rollout mats and unfold the folding mats. Jigsaw and rollout mats stay firmly in place when they are installed and don’t have a gap issue.
As a side note, when some of the puzzle mats will become useless, you can purchase the same company’s puzzle mats and replace them. Thus, puzzle mats are the most preferred choice when you need mats for long time usage.
What About Folding Mats? You may run into a gap problem after setting up folding mats. Folding mats tend to come with hook and loop closures. If hook and loop closures aren’t really solid, the mats may not have a seamless connection and can have a small gap. To avoid injuries you need to use mat tape so that these can stay in place and don’t have any gaps to cause injuries.
Where to Set up Martial Arts Mats?
Mats should be set up on non-slippery and hard surfaces. This doesn’t only protect your joints and prevent sprains but also improves athletic performance.
These surfaces can be concrete, home floors, etc.
Building a Good Frame
Building a good frame is important to prevent mats from moving as some mats can be hard to keep together while performing techniques like single leg takedowns. If the surface is slippery you will definitely need a rug pad so that the mats stay in place.
Also, mats can be supported by walls. This seems to work quite well and helps keep students safe in dojos.
FAQs About BJJ Mats
How Much Mat Space Do You Need for BJJ?
Partner Drills: Rolling is sparring in BJJ or to drill at different levels of intensity. If you spar with a partner I recommend you train mats that cover at least 100 square feet.
Solo Drills: 24 square feet is enough for solo drills. However, these require more length than width so choosing rectangular mats is the way to go.
How Much Mat Space Do You Need for Takedowns?
The moves like takedowns and throws are effective, important BJJ techniques. However, these require more space for safety. Generally, 4 m x 4 m (close to 172 square feet) is recommended to train these techniques safely.
Are Puzzle Mats Good for BJJ?
Jigsaw mats are a very good choice whether you use them in a gym or at home. These can be assembled easily and can fit any martial arts training area as it comes in small rectangular or square pieces. Also, puzzle mats are reversible which improves their longevity.
How Big is a Jiu-Jitsu Mat?
Puzzle mats generally come in 2’x2’. Roll-out mats tend to be 5’x10‘ or 12’x24’ and folding mats are generally 4’x8’.
How Long Do Jiu Jitsu Mats Last?
This depends on the quality, thickness, and material as well as the training frequency. Quality grappling mats can even last more than twelve years! For example, Fuji products are backed with 10 years warranty.
As a side note, closed foam tends to outlast its open counterparts and offers more quality martial training for a longer period of time.
After purchasing your grappling mats, you really need to learn how to clean and maintain them unless you want a strong smell and bacteria to invade your Jiu Jitsu training area.
Brief Summary of Buying BJJ Mats
- Firstly determine how big your training space is
- Choose a mat type according to your needs (portability, ease of setup)
- Learn more about materials and thickness to buy protective mats
- Definitely do brand research on forums and read the reviews above.
- Choose the best jiu-jitsu mats for your home or gym
Relate Read: Best Jiu Jitsu Gym Bags