Choosing the best home gym flooring is probably the single most confusing aspect of putting together a functional workout space on a budget.
After spending 50+ hours analyzing and reviewing 82 flooring options, I absolutely get why that is.
And it’s not your fault.
I have two decades of experience as a personal trainer, and I was also puzzled about how manufacturers advertise their floors.
If you’re not privy to how the industry works, you’re vulnerable to vague language and misleading information.
We’ll untangle that web today.
The best flooring option for a home gym are Regupol Aktiv rubber rolls. That will be true for 8-9 out of 10 home gyms, whether you’re into weights, functional training, or doing a lot of floor exercises.
- Because the density (60+ per cubic foot) and the hardness are balanced just right to lend traction with minimal slip.
- Because the tear and tensile strength are high (70 PLI and 200 PSI, respectively…more on that in a second)
- Because it’s a budget-friendly option.
- Because the two cheaper alternatives have serious CONs – plain EVA foam tiles aren’t durable enough, and generic stall mats aren’t safe.
Yes, those are big words, and I’ll explain myself in a minute. I’ll also show you the numbers behind my claims as we move along.
Note to the reader: Parts of the guide get technical at times, but it’s always brief. Every time it happens, I follow it up with a real-world example. So, stick with me, and you’ll know more about choosing a good gym floor than 99% of lifters.
Let’s dig right in.
Aktivlok Black Rubber Regupol
American Floor Mats Fit-Lock
- 14 best floors for a home gym
- Rubber rolls – the Goldilocks of home gym flooring options
- A flaw in the “stall-mats-are-cheap” argument
- 1 – Best rubber roll floor for a home gym – Regupol Aktiv Flooring
- 2 – Best rubber tiles for a home gym
- 3 – Best stall mats for a gym floor
- 4 – Best vinyl gym flooring
- 5 – EVA tiles and foam mats for a home gym
- 6. Best carpet tile for a home gym – Triluc low pile carpet
- 7a. Best artificial turf flooring – Performance Turf Rolls and Gym Turf Value
- 8. Best cork flooring for a home gym – iCork floors
- Home gym flooring guide – how to find value in a sea of options
- Methodology – how we assess and rate home gym flooring options
- FAQs about home gym flooring
- Close-but-no-cigar home gym floors – other products we analyzed
- Best product – resume and key takeaways
14 best floors for a home gym
|Flooring||Best in category||Price range||Thickness (inches)||Colors options available|
|1. Regupol Aktiv||rubber rolls||$$||0.31 to 0.5||yes (fleck)|
|2a. Aktivlok Black rubber Regupol||rubber tiles (overall)||$$||0.375 (3/8)||yes (fleck)|
|2b. American Floor Mats Fit-Lock||premium rubber tiles||$$$$||0.375||yes (fleck)|
|3. Extreme Mega Rubber Floor Mat||over concrete, stall mat||$$$$||0.75||yes (fleck)|
|4a. Coin Grid-Loc Tiles||Vinyl tiles||$$||0.5||yes (7)|
|4bi. Athletic Vinyl Padded Roll||hardwood-like rolls||$$||0.28|
|4bii. Max Tile Raised||hardwood-like tiles||$$$||0.625|
|4c. Metallic PVC Vinyl rolls||Vinyl rolls||$$||0.1||yes (2)|
|5a. Rubber-top SUPERJARE tiles||rubberized EVA tiles||$$||0.56||yes (fleck)|
|5b. ProSource Fit Extra Thick Puzzle tiles||regular EVA foam tiles||$$||0.75 or 1||yes (3)|
|6. Triluc low pile carpet||low-pile carpet||$$||0.13||yes (4)|
|7a. Performance Turf Rolls||athletic turf||$$||0.375||no|
|7b. Gym Turf Value||colorful turf||$$||0.75||yes (7)|
|8. Classic Mules Cork Board Tiles||cork tiles||$$$||0.375||no|
*price range column based on price per square feet
Finding your way around this guide
I’ll take a moment here to give you a roadmap for the guide below because it deviates from our typical structure.
We usually choose the products and list the PROs and CONs for each.
A better approach for this guide is going over the PROs and CONs of each flooring type and then recommending products in each category…all based on how much you’re willing to spend and what you’re putting it over (concrete, tile, carpet, etc.).
Bear with me, and it will get crystal clear in a hot minute.
Rubber rolls – the Goldilocks of home gym flooring options
Recycled rubber flooring will be the best option for most lifters and home gyms.
It’s also the best gym flooring if you’re going over concrete.
However, it’s not your best bet to cover carpet – something stiffer like vinyl tiles is better suited for that.
A flaw in the “stall-mats-are-cheap” argument
If we’re comparing thicknesses in the same price range, you might say that a stall mat is more durable than rubber rolls.
But is it, though?
I’ve seen this argument thrown around like nobody’s business, so let’s unpack it.
Say that you get a ¾-inch stall mat instead of a ⅜-inch Regupol.
At first glance, you’re getting more rugged flooring for a similar buck.
The critical question here is this – will the added thickness be a factor for “normal use” in a home gym?
I’d argue NO…which makes the thickness point moot.
Simply put – if neither is going to wear/tear, you could install a 2-inch thick stall matt, and it wouldn’t make a difference. Under normal use, Regupol is just as durable, it’s safer, looks much cooler, and is a breeze to install.
Another point… rubber stinks when it is first put down. And I mean REALLY stinks! If you floor your home gym with rubber, get used to training with the doors open – the stuff is really smelly, especially at first.
But what if we go past “normal use”
Would the Regupol tear before a stall mat if Hulk was pummelling Thor on it?
It’s hard to say, but probably not.
There are two main reasons I feel comfortable saying that:
- Regupol has a higher tensile strength (breaking point) than your average stall mat.
It’s over 200K PSI for Regupol (1) and around 100K for your better-than-average stall mat (2).
- Regupol has a higher “elongation at breaking” point than stall mats (75%+ vs. 60-70%).
I know the latter sounds like it’s not relevant because you’re not pulling on the floor.
But a tear from a dropped weight happens in one of two ways:
- A sharp edge of the weight cuts the surface.
- The weight surface is too dull to cut the floor. But the pulling forces are high enough to initiate the tear.
Elongation at tear is relevant for the latter.
My point is this – Regupol is better.
(yeah, I know…I could’ve just said that)
- Excellent material characteristics (high hardness, tensile/tear strength, flexibility/elongation) – it won’t tear, even if you’re dropping heavy barbells repeatedly during weightlifting sessions.
- Made for indoor use – you can rest assured it’s safe and won’t spread smell like a stall mat.
- One-piece look – fewer seams and joints make it much easier on the eye than tiles.
- Fleck pattern – requires less cleaning because it never really looks dirty.
- Slip-resistant – crucial for better traction on heavier lifts, especially the deadlift.
- Stays put – shrinkage and dimensions changes are a lesser issue compared to tiles or horse stall mats (don’t even get me started on EVA).
- Resistant to chemicals – you’ll see little to no wear, tear and change over time.
- Non-porous – your sweat and the spills won’t get into the material and mold.
- Cheaper than rubber tiles – much gentler on your home gym budget.
- Easy installation – easy to cut, fewer things to join, and heavy enough to work with minimal or no gluing.
- Eco-friendly (made from recycled tires) – low environmental footprint means you’re “doing your part.” (I’ll take a raincheck on the conversation about global warming being a hoax and all… it’s been a long day)
- Rolls mean you’ll need space to install it properly – if you’re flooring an existing gym and the stuff is already in there, you’ll go through the hassle of taking it out and in again (the main CON, if you ask me).
- Not as cheap as horse stall mats (or EVA foam) – not really a CON, but it might matter if every cent counts.
1 – Best rubber roll floor for a home gym – Regupol Aktiv Flooring
Regupol Aktiv is our top pick, both overall and in the rubber-roll category.
No other flooring solution embodies the “PROs” of rubber rolls better.
It’s based on the German-made Regupol flooring that’s been around for decades and adapted to meet the challenges of a “fitness cave” better. It’s denser and more resilient, slip and wear-resistant in both wet and dry conditions.
Last but not least, it’s about 2 times cheaper than most of the similar options within the “roll” category (and 3 to 5 times if we include the rubber tiles).
Let me clarify that
The only accurate way to compare prices is to calculate the rubber volume. That removes the thickness from the equation (and the different thicknesses are causing the confusion).
So, we did that here.
Instead of trying to wrap our heads around the halves and three eights, we did the math and looked at the price per cubic foot.
Among the Regupol competitors, a few stand out.
For our purposes, it’s enough to look at the two main ones – the American Floor and the Inc. Store rubber rolls.
If you get it through the Rogue website, the cost of Regupol Aktiv is $4-6 per cubic ft.
For most of the main competitors, that range is $13-16.
The closest alternative is the Great Mats rolls. These can be either black or 10% color and cost 3 times more than Regupol.
What it means for you
The cost of 200 square feet of ⅜-inches thick Regupol with 20 % color fleck will be under $500. (*)
At the same thickness and color percentage, Regupol’s main competitors will set you back at least twice as much.
Caveat if your home gym is smaller than 100 square feet…
The one downside is the 200 square feet minimum for Regupol Aktiv.
This is only a CON if your gym is under 100 square feet because you can get one roll from the competitors instead of two Regupol rolls.
Even in this scenario, the cost of Regupol still wouldn’t be higher; you’d just have to order more than you need.
You can then sell it or keep it.
If I were you, I’d hang onto the extra roll and replace the flooring in, say, 5 years. That’s like finding money in an old pair of jeans.
The one option that should make more financial sense here is the Geneva flooring from Great Mats, but I’m not sure that it does because their roll calculator is confusing.
I contacted them about this, and I’ll update this section with new info once they get back to me. For now, we’re putting a pin in it.
*Price at the time of completing this guide. We stay on top of things and update our guides regularly but can’t guarantee that these are the actual prices.
Bottom line – the only cheaper rubber flooring that makes sense (kind of) are stall mats. For me, they’re not really an option unless your garage gym is in the open or extremely well-ventilated.
We’ll get to that in a minute (no, it’s not just about the smell).
2 – Best rubber tiles for a home gym
The price range of tiles starts at $7 per square foot and goes up to over $11 for the more robust tiles with a hefty wear layer (like the Rogue rubber tile).
The latter is more of an addition to an already floored gym that needs extra support than a standalone solution.
Let’s go over the PROs and CONs and two specific recommendations in the category.
- Robustly built with added wear layers – the better ones (like the Rogue tiles) can absorb more force than rolls because they have a “wear layer” for shock absorption.
- Modular installation – just as easy (although not as fast) as rolls, and removal is easier.
- You can remove/replace one tile – massive plus if you have a high-traffic area in your gym or damage one section of the floor.
- Quickly moved – the floor doesn’t have to be fixed, you don’t have to cover the whole floor, and you can move the tiles as you need to.
- Pricy – price per square foot is higher than our Regupol choices and (much) higher than EVA, stall mats, or vinyl tiles.
- Some tiles can be too gritty – not great for exercises performed on the flooring.
- Interlocking fit that tends to “unlock” – the cheaper tiles tend to move out of place, which is an eye-sore. They can also come apart when you’re dropping barbells on them when weightlifting.
Bottom line – rubber tiles are a solid solution and probably best suited for smaller spaces because they give you absolute control over the surface you get. They’re not ideal for weightlifting gyms, but for general-purpose lifting, they’ll do the job.
The ones in the medium price range are basically a cut-up version of the rolls, and the physical properties are on-par. Still, they come in pieces, and even the best ones won’t lend the clean uniform look of a roll.
2a – Best rubber tiles overall – Aktivlok Black rubber Regupol
It came down to two options in this section, the less popular and more budget-friendly Aktivlok tiles made of the same stuff as the Regupol rolls and the more popular (and more expensive) tiles from American Floor Mats.
I’m giving the laurels as best overall to the former because of the value for money. The price per square foot is similar to rolls and slightly higher than stall mats.
The material is recycled rubber bonded with a polyurethane binder to create a slip-resistant, non-porous surface that’s easy to clean.
That’s just what the doctor ordered for garage gyms.
The downside of this specific tile is the color – it’s pitch black. It might not sound like a real problem now, but once those droplets of sweat start forming white areas, it’s not pretty. It’ll mean you’ll have to stay extra vigilant when it comes to cleaning.
So, if you’re sure that the gym is there for the long haul and you want tiles, splurge on a tile with some color in it. The same tile with some nice fleck in it costs about 15% more, and it’s totally worth it.
2b – Best premium interlocking tiles – American Floor Mats Fit-Lock
Before we get into it, let me just mention that “premium” doesn’t mean expensive in this context. There are tiles we reviewed that cost more than double for the same thickness.
So, getting these is not a splurge, and they’re actually in the medium price range.
Still, they cost about twice as much as the Regupol Aktivlok tile above and have more social proof behind them…over 1K reviews on Amazon alone.
3 – Best stall mats for a gym floor
Price is the sole selling point of the generic stall mat flooring.
But if you do the math and compare it to Regupol rolls, the difference is only there if you compare the total rubber volume. If you look at the price per square foot, the stall mats actually cost a peg more.
Yes, I checked my math on that… three times I did.
I have a bone to pick with stall mats
There’s a problem with generic stall mats that everybody seems to be missing…
Not all rubber flooring is made to be used indoors.
In a well-ventilated horse stall, the off-gassing isn’t an issue. In a 3 x 4 basement gym, it absolutely is.
Before my inbox gets red hot with comments on that, I only ask for one thing. Before you tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about, take a moment to check if you might be justifying a decision you already made.
Anyway, let the dice fall where they may; I’ll just say it – I don’t think generic stall mats are safe for a home gym.
At least there’s no way to confirm they’re safe.
Let me be clear – I don’t have any data to back this up. I just think that you shouldn’t be inhaling rubber fumes…especially not during workouts when your lungs are working overtime.
What to do if you love the jagged stall-mat look…
On the off-chance that you’re reading this after getting stall mat flooring and you’re dead set on using it, leave it out in the sun until all the smell is gone. The heat will open the rubber pores and let the gas out.
Is it safe once the smell is gone?
I don’t know; it’s certainly safer.
3 – My recommendation among “stall mats” is the Extreme Mega Rubber Mat
If you’re after the rugged look of a stall mat, invest in one that’s explicitly listed as safe for indoor use, like the Extreme Mega Rubber mat from Inc Stores.
The thick vulcanized rubber also makes it my top pick in the category of best gym flooring for over concrete.
I said “invest” because mats like these cost a pretty penny – about 2.5 times as much as Regupol per square inch. But that’s to be expected from a mat with the words “extreme” and “mega” in the name.
4 – Best vinyl gym flooring
If you’re a “dropper,” it’s safe to skip this section altogether.
I can think of three scenarios in which vinyl will be better than rubber:
- Your gym is an open outdoor space.
- You prefer a hard floor to rubber.
- You’re not a fan of the hardcore aesthetic and prefer a nice hardwood-like floor to go with your Bowflex (just sayin’…not judging).
My guesstimate is that less than 5% of people will be in these three groups combined. But if that’s you, I won’t leave you hanging.
We’ll discuss a few pros and cons and mention specific product recommendations – one for each scenario above.
PROs of vinyl gym flooring
- Available in a range of patterns – you can fit the look to your space, even get one that’s indistinguishable from hardwood floors (well, kinda)
- Low maintenance – wipe-and-go, especially with the patterned tiles.
- Resistant to mold, mildew, and chemicals – this makes it a universally good fit, basement-to-attic.
- Longevity – as long as you don’t drop weights onto the vinyl and crack it, diamonds and vinyl tiles are forever.
CONs of vinyl floors
- Not as flexible as rubber – there’s practically no shock absorption to speak of here. Vinyl gym floors are prone to dings and scuff marks (and forget about dropping weights).
- Less traction than rubber – won’t t feel as stable on heavier lifts.
- Pricier than most rubber options – the better ones will set you back 50-100% more than Regupol rolls.
- It’s stiff – you’ll feel some yield in hollow areas if you install it on a hard, uneven surface like concrete. Unless you get it padded (more on that in a sec).
Bottom line – vinyl is a practical option for the non-aggressive lifter who never drops weights.
For Crossfit and functional stuff, it sucks.
If money was no issue, this whole guide could be just me talking about the flooring types and linking to the GreatMats and RubberFlooring websites.
4a – Best vinyl tiles for your garage gym – Coin Grid-Loc Tiles
Garage flooring is an underappreciated option for a home gym.
If you’re not a weight-dropper or lifting very heavy, you can get a durable floor and save a pretty penny.
My recommendations are the GridLoc Tiles from Rubber Flooring Inc. These can easily hold rolling loads (think cars) up to 40,000 lbs. It’ll offer plenty of protection to the floor underneath.
These are durable but not nearly as shock absorbent or grippy as rubber. The price point of the coin pattern is very close to that of Regupol rolls.
On the flip side, they’re inferior to rubber if you’re lifting heavy and need the traction (especially on deadlifts) and you’re in the habit of dropping weights.
4b – Best hardwood pattern floors for a home gym
In this section, I’ll mention two flooring options that will do a great job if you need to imitate a hardwood floor.
Option 1 – Athletic Vinyl Padded Roll
Along with some rubber options, this is easily the best gym flooring if you’re covering concrete.
There’s enough heft to the padding to balance out the bumps on the concrete.
Graphite is probably the only color option if you want to maintain the heavy-duty aesthetics you’ve nurtured for years.
For the guys: If color is a non-factor or your gym is in a shared space, let your wife choose a color that goes with the drapes (trust me on this one).
Option 2 – Max Tile Raised – 5/8 inches
If you have an open house plan and the gym corner or section needs to match the rest of the floor closely, you’ll need to dig into your pockets and get something like these tiles from Great Mats.
Out of the few products in the category, these stood out as the US-made option that doesn’t break the bank and features modular installation notches.
In plain English, these are the black “thingies” on the side that lock in place but are easy to lift and move.
4c – vinyl rolls – Metallic PVC flooring from Rubber-Cal
Finally, if you just want to freshen up the space, you have the most budget-friendly option in the vinyl category – rolls.
They’re thin (usually 0.1 inches) easy to install, offer good rubber-like traction, and look cool, especially the silver diamond plate.
The price of the vinyl rolls is in the same range as the Regupol rolls.
They won’t do much in terms of flattening the floor, though. If you’re installing these on top of bumpy concrete, the bumps will still be there.
5 – EVA tiles and foam mats for a home gym
EVA is a great option for gym flooring.
Just like vinyl is underappreciated, foam is given too much attention for my liking. It’s probably because it looks nice, with the fancy colors and all.
Frankly, it’s useless. In my days as a personal trainer working in people’s home gyms, if they had EVA foam tiling I’d spend as much time putting the tiles back together as I would training people.
Theoretically, the only way EVA foam should find its way into a home gym is under a rubberized wear layer.
Apart from that, I can think of only two reasons to get EVA tiles for a home gym:
- To save money.
- To get something light that’s easy to move around.
Words are easy; weight plates are hard
The lack of data is the main problem with adding EVA foam to the list of serious contenders for the best home gym flooring label.
All the foam tiles I looked at are described using phrases like premium…long-lasting…reliable.
WHAT IS THAT?
Give the tear and tensile strength..give me the elongation at the tear…give me something I can quantify and compare.
Why it’s a deal-breaker for me
Because the tensile strength of foam ranges from low 20s for EVA to over 100 PSI (PE foam), based on my experience if a spec is not mentioned, it’s on the lower end.
What it means for you
It means that Eva foam tiles will tear more easily than rubber…way more easily. And when they don’t tear, they will dent, scuff and move.
I do understand that EVA will be a choice for some people looking to finish their home gym projects on a budget.
That’s why I’ll go over a few solid choices.
5a. Best Eva tiles for a home gym – rubber-top SUPERJARE Eva tiles
The section on choosing the best EVA tiles is like telling you not to drink and settling for making sure you don’t drink and drive.
Eva tiles with a rubber wear layer will hit the spot for those who like a softer feel to their flooring.
These tiles come from a brand whose motto is “Superjare makes life comfortable,” and they did pull that off with these tiles.
I can’t say that dropping weights onto this is a good idea because the rubber layer is not thick enough to protect the EVA underneath. The floor will develop “weak spots” where the rubber surface is intact, but the foam structure gives in.
Still, in terms of durability, it’s head and shoulders above regular EVA tiles.
5b. Top budget pick among foam tiles – ProSource Fit Extra Thick Puzzle tiles
ProSource Fit makes probably the most popular EVA tile on the market.
Its advantage over the competition in the same price range is straightforward – it’s thicker and certified not to be toxic (phthalates-free).
That’s a low bar to limbo, but there you have it – cheap, consistent thickness and density (far from a given with EVA tiles), safe, and decent at staying put.
As long as you know what to expect (and not expect) from EVA flooring, these will not disappoint (read that sentence again).
6. Best carpet tile for a home gym – Triluc low pile carpet
There’s one reason I can think of to go with a carpet for a home gym – you want to keep it pretty.
(Again, not judging).
Main PROs of carpet tiles:
- Simple installation and maintenance – makes your life easier…cut, peel, stick and vacuum occasionally.
- It’s pretty and comes in more colors than other options – you can mix and match, keep the homey feel and still have a gym.
Two CONs of carpet flooring stand out:
- It’s porous, so it will retain sweat stains and smells over time.
- There’s no traction to speak off.
You might read that carpet is shock absorbent, but that’s a moot point because it’s never thick enough to protect the floor underneath from the kinetic energy of weight plates.
In other words, it might be good to prevent scuffing from the elliptical, but it’s not the option for the heavy lifter used to dropping weights.
My recommendation – Triluc Peel & Stick carpet tiles
If you do go with carpet tile, choose a low-pile carpet like the Triluc peel and stick tiles.
It comes in five colors; the installation is as easy as it gets, and they’re advertised as “water-repellent.”
I say “advertised as” to make sure you understand they’re not water-resistant or waterproof. It just means the tile surface is not easily penetrated by water, and you might prevent a stain if you get to the spill with an absorbent rug right away.
What sets them apart from the competition is the maintenance.
You can just peel a Triluc tile, wash it in a machine, and slap that bad boy right back on.
And there’s the added benefit of mixing and matching the tiles if you grow bored with the color scheme.
7a. Best artificial turf flooring – Performance Turf Rolls and Gym Turf Value
I love artificial turf.
I have a strip in my own gym as you can see below…
But if you’re looking at turf as an option for a home gym, you’re either lucky enough to have the space for sleds. Or you’re looking to add some oomph to a uniform floor.
All the top picks I considered in this category come from Great Mats or Rubber Flooring Inc. That’s because most turf options advertised as gym-friendly are too thick.
If you’re going with turf for practical reasons (like pushing sleds or jumping rope), I’d go with something like the Performance turf rolls.
- They come in easy-to-cut rolls (duh) and install easily.
- The profile is low enough to sled and rope-friendly.
- It costs less than most fitness-dedicated alternatives.
- I’ve seen very few reports of permanent wrinkles (a common issue I’ve seen with lesser turfs).
You can see the flooring in action (or under action) in the short video below:
7b. Best turf for adding texture and color – Gym Turf Value by Greatmats
Non-fitness-dedicated turf might be fine for corner and low-traffic areas.
If your reasons are aesthetic, i.e., adding a patch of texture or a splash of color, your best bet is the Gym Turf Value by Greatmats.
It’s conservatively priced, comes in seven vivid colors, and is low enough to fit with other surfaces like rubber or foam seamlessly.
If you go beyond my recommendations, pay attention to the height/thickness…you don’t want a red bush in your gym.
8. Best cork flooring for a home gym – iCork floors
If you like cork as an option for your gym floor, we can be friends.
It’s not as practical as rubber, but it carries a badassery vibe no floor here can match.
Apart from the subjective advantages, these are the factual PROs of cork.
- Durable – can absorb millions of jumping jacks and high knees without flinching.
- Flexible – the bit of natural “give” makes it easier on the joints.
- Safe – the natural properties allow cork to get into your home without significant chemical treatment.
- Natural sound insulator – if you live in an apartment building, sound insulation or cork will be a plus…tremendous plus.
Two main CONs of cork gym floors…
If not coated or finished somehow, cork is porous, so your sweat and that whey shake spill will get in and stay there. I found a few options to offset that problem.
It won’t be robust enough to cope with thousands of weight drops, so count it out if you’re a powerlifter, weightlifter or CrossFitter.
My recommendation – iCork floors
iCork Leather 1/2 Inch (12mm) Cork Floating Flooring
iCork Night 7/16 Inch (11mm) Swiss Real Cork Floating Flooring
The problem is there’s little demand for natural cork flooring, so the market offer is slim pickings.
The good people over at iCork carry the widest of cork flooring styles, and my favorite for home gyms is the 0.5-inch leather style and the grayish “Night” tiles.
Home gym flooring guide – how to find value in a sea of options
The section of the home gym flooring guide will be attractive to two groups of people:
- Fitness “nerds” like me who want to understand the logic and methodology behind our recommendations.
- People with a particular home gym setup who didn’t find what they were looking for among our picks.
9 primary factors of choosing a good home gym floor
Safety of the flooring material
Whatever you do, don’t let what I said about stall mats make you paranoid about the safety of rubber gym flooring.
The rule of thumb here is reading the fine print and finding the part that explicitly says it’s approved for indoor use.
When I say safety here, I’m not talking about slipping and stubbing your toe, but about potential off-gassing. If the former is your concern, go with rubber or cork instead of the slippery options like vinyl.
Durability of the gym floor – all the fuss made simple
The word “durability” has been thrown around in this industry like a rag doll until it’s lost all meaning.
The team here at Strong Home Gym is on a mission to reverse the damage done by vague and unclear language.
In the context of gym flooring, that means looking at the quantifiable material properties.
4 crucial properties – tensile & tear strength, abrasion resistance, and resilience
1 – The tensile strength of a flooring material describes how much force it can take before breaking.
2 – Tear strength (or tear resistance) measures how the material reacts to tearing.
It’s instrumental in comparing rubber(s) because it shows how and when tears start (tear initiation) and what happens when it does (tear propagation). It’s expressed in Pounds per Linear Inch of PLI.
In plain terms – let’s say you drop a dumbbell, and it creates a micro-cut in the rubber – that’s tear initiation. If it’s in a high traffic area, the tear propagation will result from walking over it.
3 – Abrasion resistance is pretty self-explanatory – it describes how a material handles scraping and rubbing.
Here’s the important part – abrasion resistance is a measurable, quantifiable quality (commonly measured in loss of weight over time/cycles of use).
I’m mentioning this because you’d have to search far and wide to find rubber flooring that the manufacturer doesn’t describe as “abrasion resistant.”
Most of them (manufacturers) hope you won’t ask what they mean by that.
Well, we’re asking!
An ice-cream cake is abrasion-resistant too…not very, but resistant still.
4 – Resilience of a gym floor
The simplest way to think about the resilience of a gym floor is in elasticity terms.
It described how much force the floor can take without permanently (plastically) changing.
Think of it like this – if you drop a 100-lbs dumbbell after a heavy incline press, a rubber mat will take it like a champ. Drop that on cork or vinyl tiles and it will maim the spot for good.
Do I have to be a nerd to choose good gym flooring?
You don’t, but we do.
To make recommendations we stand behind, we have to look at the data.
In those terms, this guide is the hardest I’ve ever had to write.
Sure, adjustable dumbbells are complicated, but the data is there, and it just takes more time to interpret.
With flooring, the data is scarce, scattered and not uniform. Coming up with a way to compare the floors with minimal influence of opinion is next to impossible.
That’s why nobody in the home gym space is doing it.
But we tried to do just that.
You be the judge of whether we actually pulled it off.
An illustration of my point above – Regupol vs. EVA
Regupol has a tear strength of 70 PLI (minimum), and it can elongate about 150% before it breaks.
Its tensile strength is over 200 PSI (vulcanized rubber goes past the 1,000 PSI).
In comparison, the tensile strength of your average EVA foam tile is in the 15-45 PSI.
That should tell you everything you need to know if your dilemma is EVA or rubber/Regupol (even if you have no frame of reference).
Best thickness for a gym floor
Best thickness for a gym floor is anything in the 0.25-0.5 inches, and Regupol Aktiv is a great example of that (comes in 0.31-0.5 inches range).
I won’t dwell too much here because the thickness isn’t an innate characteristic of the floors; it’s just a factor to consider based on your lifting routine.
It would also be an orange-to-apple comparison if we looked at all flooring, so we’ll just talk rubber.
I have three rules of thumb here:
- If you can imagine yourself dropping weights, your rubber floor should be at least 3/8 inches thick.
- As long as the rubber is abrasion-resistant, you can’t go too thick.
- Never go for anything thinner than ⅓ of an inch.
Is the floor water-resistant or not?
You want a water-resistant (or at least water-repellent floor) in your gym for one main reason – maintenance.
That one reason is actually three-fold:
- Wiping the dust away easily.
- Not developing mold or mildew from the leftover water.
- Staving off the sweat smell.
The rubber floors that live at the sweet spot aren’t completely water-resistant because that would mean a slick surface with no traction (think vinyl).
If you’re going with something porous like cork, choose a floor with a water-repellent finish.
Compatibility with the existing flooring
This is a big one. If you get it wrong, it won’t matter if you paid 10 bucks per square inch for vulcanized rubber.
Here’s the good news – once you understand a few basic principles, it’s all straightforward.
So, I’ll take my time to make sure I cover all the bases.
Best gym flooring for over concrete
If you’re covering concrete, go with thick rubber (at least 3/8) to even out the concrete imperfections.
If you lay the mats/tiles and you can still feel the concrete bulges; you’ll need an extra layer of sub-flooring like the FloorMuffler underlayment.
If that doesn’t work, the concrete is not flat enough for rubber, and you’ll need to switch it up to something stiffer, like vinyl.
Best over tile – rubber with a protective layer
Rubber and tile go well together, but if you’re going with anything thinner than 3/8, you’ll want to protect those brittle tiles with sub-flooring.
The sub-flooring will safeguard the tiles and eliminate the follow-through and the grout marks that might appear as the rubber sets in. Win, win.
Best over hardwood floors – rubber with a paper underlayment
Rubber over a protective layer of craft paper like Fortifiber to keep the rubber from transferring color onto the floor.
Best over carpet
If you’re covering a carpet, avoid rubber flooring, especially the rolls.
They will bunch the carpet up because the carpet-to-rubber grip is pretty much non-existent.
Go for raised interlocking PVC tiles like the StayLock Bump from Greatmats. They’re stiffer, so bunching won’t be an issue.
Anti-slip properties of the flooring option
I could launch a full-on tirade about the Pendulum test as a way to measure and quantify slip resistance, but nobody would read that.
Moreover, you can probably tell which floor will be slippery/grippy just by looking at them.
Here’s my advice – the more of a hardcore lifter you are, the more grip you’ll need, especially on heavy squats. Go with rubber and consider cork platforms.
Long story short – “anti-slip properties” is another category where rubber takes the cake.
Installation and maintenance of gym floors
Installation is one of the factors I believe are over-hyped. You’re putting something into your home that will be a part of your daily life for years.
Whether it takes 4 or 6 hours is a non-factor if you ask me.
Even if you are that lazy, all the main options like rubber rolls, tiles, and mats are a breeze to install.
Cork and vinyl flooring might be tricky if you’ve never done it, but who cares…you’re crafting a space that should inspire and uplift. Invest the extra hours. Just make sure it’s done properly – it needs to be flat, without lumps and bumps which are a trip hazard.
If you aren’t a capable DIY’er, get a pro to lay your floor. It’s important that you get it right.
Price of the gym floor
Prices of gym flooring range from $0.75 for cheapo EVA tiles to over $10 per square inch for a premium standalone mat like the IncStores Thick mat.
My rule of thumb – if you’re going with our picks, expect to spend $3-8 per square inch (that includes flooring, adhesives, tapes, and whatnots).
Warranty of the flooring
The better flooring options like rubber or turf typically come with a 5-year warranty.
With cork and vinyl, the warranty can go up to 10 years of “residential use.”
A home gym is technically residential use, but I don’t think weightlifting is what they had in mind when they defined the terms.
My two rules of thumb:
- A 5-year warranty is a solid indicator of quality in any price range.
- Only go below 1-year if you’re paying less than $1.5 per square inch.
Methodology – how we assess and rate home gym flooring options
This guide was different from the get-go.
Instead of having clear-cut bits of consistent information, we have pieces of a puzzle that are hard to put together, even within the same gym flooring category.
This guide is a unique beast
Product specifications are the bread and butter of the objective part in all our rating formulas.
The specs you have available here are wildly inconsistent. Some home gym flooring products list tensile strength, while others list elongation at break as a measure of durability.
Long story short – there was no way for us to get consistent data to feed the statistical monster…… at least not up to our standards.
In some aspects, I had to go with my gut and make choices based on my 20-year-long experience as a gym owner and a personal trainer. Our focus was to keep those to a minimum.
Below are the steps that brought us to the top picks in each category.
- We compiled a massive database of home gym flooring products of all types – 82 of them.
- We broke up the initial long-list into 8 categories – rubber flooring (rolls, tiles, and standalone mats), EVA foam, carpet, artificial turf, plastic/vinyl, cork, epoxy, and resin. The majority of the options belong to the first two groups – rubber and EVA foam.
- We gathered all relevant information for the flooring options, from physical characteristics like tensile strength and their resistance to the prices per square foot and warranty terms.
- We chose a winner in each flooring category based on the data we have. We focused on versatility and did our best to offer one main option and one budget alternative.
FAQs about home gym flooring
What flooring is best for a home gym?
Rubber rolls are the best flooring for a home gym, and Regupol Aktiv stands out as the top value option.
Rubber is more wear-resistant than alternatives like EVA foam, much more flexible than hard PVC floors, and easier to install than cork.
Finally, a few extra bucks get you the flecked flooring with 20-30 % color, which is visually more appealing and easier to maintain.
Where to buy home gym flooring?
You can buy home gym flooring directly from fitness companies, and getting Regupol Aktiv from Rogue is a prime example.
Alternatively, people turn to their local tractor supply stores if they decide to get horse stall mats.
Finally, a wide range of gym flooring is available on Amazon, which is probably the most buyer-friendly way to shop because it allows you to research other people’s experiences.
Why is gym flooring so expensive?
Home gym flooring is expensive because the better options, like the Rubber King interlocking tiles, are engineered to be resistant, non-toxic, low odor, and anti-slip.
There are cheaper options available, like EVA foam, but these are not as durable.
In between those two extremes are the rubber rolls like Regupol Aktiv, which exist at the sweet spot between price, functionality, and safety.
How thick should home gym flooring be?
Home gym flooring should be 0.3-0.5 inches thick, with 0.375 inches thick rubber-like Regupol Aktiv being the sweet spot for most home gyms.
Only go under 3/8 of an inch if you’re not in the habit of dropping weights on the floor.
If you are a powerlifter, expect your floors to take serious “abuse,” go with something more robust and reinforced like the 1.5-inches thick tiles from Rogue.
For context, my commercial-grade rubber flooring in the gym is 44mm (1.73 inches) thick!
How to clean home gym flooring?
If you’re getting something not dedicated to home gyms (like vinyl tiles, cork, or carpet), follow the instructions that come with the products.
Close-but-no-cigar home gym floors – other products we analyzed
The close but no cigar section of the home gym flooring guide is dedicated to the products that didn’t make it to our top 11.
As we did with the top recommendations, we’ve split this section into a few “bite-size” chunks.
Rubber gym flooring – other products we looked at
I’d say that the most relevant part here is the list of rubber gym flooring – because it’s our preferred option and the competition within the category is fierce (especially among tiles).
In other words, the margins between these floors and our top picks are slim. Eight times out of ten, it came down to the pricing.
I’ll try to keep it short and sweet by mentioning 3-5 alternative options in each sub-category.
- Great Mats rubber flooring rolls – these rolls were supposed to be the budget pick up the rubber-roll category. They’re not cheaper than the regular Regupol Aktiv, and you don’t have to get 200 square meters as you do with Regupol. Still, this product didn’t make it to the top picks because the spacing calculator on their website is confusing and I’m still waiting for a reply from their customer service about it. I’ll update this section accordingly.
- IncStores Regrind Rubber gym flooring rolls – a solid product in for the thickness options. It’s not, however, widely popular, and I can tell why that just by looking at the price per square meter and cubic feet – the former is about twice that of Regupol, and the letter is three times higher. Gotta do better in today’s flooring market.
- Heavy Duty Rubber Rolls by American Floor Mats – another recycled rubber option that hasve no real chance of making it to the top because of the premium price point.
- Tractor supply stall mats – if it’s not clear by this point in the guide, I’m not a fan of stall mats because I see them as a serious health hazard for the confined space of the home gym. Even if that wasn’t the case, the battle for the budget rubber option would be touch and go.
Other interlocking rubber tiles we reviewed
The subsections of interlocking flooring tiles are the most crowded. That goes for all tiling options – from rubber and foam tiles to carpet tiles.
Let’s look at a few products that almost made it to the top in the rubber floor tiles category.
- IncStores 3/8 Inch Thick Versa-Lock Rubber Interlocking Floor Tiles – Another entry IncStores (a total of five in the close but no cigar section). Again, great product with a well-thought-out interlocking pattern that had no real chance in our value-centric models.
- Plae Achieve – Plae rubber mats and tiles are probably an overkill for an average home gym. Going into detail about it deserves a separate guide, so I won’t do it. It’s the hefty price tag that kept it out of our top recommendations.
- Rubber King interlocking tiles – great rubber tile that is universally loved by customers. Too expensive for our taste, though.
Foam flooring – other foam tiles and foam mats we considered
- 9HORN interlocking tiles – loving the awesome color range, especially the dark red. Not a fan of the price.
- ProSource Fit Extra Thick Puzzle foam mats – probably the most popular foam flooring out there. Bringing the price down a notch or two would shoot this one for right into the top 3 foam tiles. With that said, this might be the option for you if social proof is the deciding factor.
- Xspec rubber-top Eva foam tiles – this one’s on the expensive side but worth it because of the rubberized top. Like the two options above, it could use a discount.
Best product – resume and key takeaways
This guide was a doozy but totally worth it. I believe we’ve crafted the most complete data-based source of information on home gym flooring.
Below is a short resume.
For most people, Regupol Aktiv rubber rolls are our top recommendation. They’re strong, grip well, look awesome, and don’t break the bank. Click here to skip back to the mini review of the Regupol rolls.
To go over your options again, skip back to the top 15 table by clicking here.