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Horse Stall Mats vs. Gym Floor Mats: Which is Better?

When building your home gym, the overall price can be overwhelming. Costs for dumbbells, benches, and gym floor mats add up quickly. Budget-conscious shoppers have probably heard about using horse stall mats for gym flooring.

In this comparison of horse stall mats vs. gym floor mats, you’ll discover the pros and cons of each, learn about the most important factors to consider, and compare their features head-to-head.

How to Choose the Right Gym Mat

How to Choose the Right Gym Mat. Featured product: Vulcanized Rubber Mats

When it comes to mats, there are a few important factors you should keep in mind. Here’s a quick breakdown to help you choose the right gym mats!

Indoor vs. Outdoor

Some mats are to be used outdoors while others are best indoors. For example, our 3/4″ Diamond Top Horse Stall Mats are ideal for outdoor use, while our 3/4″ Extreme Mats can handle both indoor and outdoor applications.

The main difference between indoor and outdoor mats is the smell. For indoor mats, manufacturers include smell mitigators that combat the sulfur smell. Outdoor mats typically don’t use a lot of smell mitigant, which results in a strong smell.

Vulcanized Rubber Mats vs. Non-vulcanized Mats

Vulcanized rubber is super durable, and you can find it in both horse stalls and gym mats. It’s great for horse stalls to prevent dirt and waste from getting stuck in the small pores of the mat. In gyms, vulcanized rubber prevents sweat from getting in the mat’s pores and keeps your gym from smelling.

Non-vulcanized rubber mats are more porous, but that doesn’t mean they’re low-quality! For example, if you want a mat that is easier on the knees, non-vulcanized rubber provides more support.

Related content >> How to Clean Gym Mats

What are Rubber Horse Stall Mats?

What are Rubber Horse Stall Mats? Featured Product: 1/2 inch Button Top Stall Mats

Horse stall mats are made with high-quality recycled crumb rubber. They provide a comfortable floor for thoroughbreds and other large animals.

Horse Stall Mats for Gym Use

Because rubber stall mats are durable and shock absorbent, they can function well as exercise mats.

They are typically 4’ x 6’ mats of either 1/2” or 3/4” thickness. They’re a popular pick for home gym mats because they’re inexpensive and readily available. If you want to test the waters with your commitment to your home gym, these mats are an inexpensive way to get your feet wet.

For example, some rubber flooring products have a strong smell, depending on the type of raw material used or how the flooring was made. And the recycled crumb rubber used for horse stall mats is known to have a pungent smell.

What else can you expect with horse stall mats for home gym flooring? Let’s weigh out the pros and cons:

Pros of Horse Stall Mats

  • Price: Horse stall mats are typically inexpensive.
  • Shock absorbency: These mats can absorb a high level of impact. This makes them great for hardcore exercise programs like P90X, plyometrics, and T25.
  • Water-resistant: One of the best things about rubber flooring is that it is extremely slip-resistant and water-resistant.

Cons of Horse Stall Mats

  • Smell: Horse stall mats are made from recycled crumb rubber and may make your gym smell like a tire store.
  • Movement: These mats can move around and come up at the seams when you perform forceful movements like snatches, power cleans, and jumps.
  • Thickness variations: Rubber stall mats aren’t manufactured with as much precision as a gym mat. The quality of the cut and sizing can vary, so it can be hard to find two mats that are the same. Your gym might look especially DIY with uneven seams and jagged edges.

What are Rubber Gym Floor Mats?

What are Rubber Gym Floor Mats? Featured Product 4 feet by 6 feet Premium Mats

Rubber gym mats are highly shock-absorbent and come in a variety of thicknesses and color selections.

Some gym mats are made from vulcanized recycled rubber tires, which makes them low-odor, high-density, and long-lasting.

Gym floor mats are what professional establishments use. You’ll see them in hockey arenas, schools, commercial gyms, hotels, and ski resorts. But high-quality gym mats are also a top choice for home gyms because they are super durable, and slip-resistant.

Here’s what you get with a high-quality, premium rubber mat:

Pros of Gym Floor Mats

  • Low odor: While most rubber mats will have an initial smell that eventually fades, gym mats have a much less noticeable smell than horse stall mats.
  • Premium appearance: Quality rubber mats make any gym look more professional.
  • Best value: Rubber mats are super durable, ensuring that they’ll hold up through your toughest workouts.
  • Water-resistant: From sweaty workouts to spilled water and even poolside yoga, rubber flooring can withstand it all.
  • Shock absorption: Gym mats, especially our 4' x 6' Premium Mats and 3/4″ Shock Mats, are some of the toughest and most durable gym flooring options on the market. These gym mats will absorb the shock and impact of tough workouts and heavy free weights, keeping your joints and subfloor safe and sound.
  • Durability: Gym mats are strong enough to handle the toughest workouts without wearing out.

Cons of Gym Floor Mats

  • Price: Although gym mats may not be the cheapest option, they still provide the best value. They’re more consistent in thickness and size, easier to clean, don’t smell as bad, and they’re more stylish.
  • Semi-porous: Most gym floor mats are semi-porous. Any liquids that fall onto the mat will eventually absorb into it. Check out our vulcanized mat options for 100% non-porous material!

Horse Stall Mats vs. Gym Floor Mats: Which is Better?

Horse Stall Mats vs. Gym Floor Mats: Which is Better? Freatued Product: 3/4 inch Shock Mats

Since horse stall mats and regular gym mats are made of durable, shock-absorbent rubber, both options can potentially serve you well for a workout area.

Let’s compare and contrast the two and see how they measure up in different categories. Whether you go with horse stall mats or premium mats depends on what qualities matter most to you.


Horse stall mats attract budget-conscious DIYers, while premium mats are the more durable, long-lasting investment. Gym mats are the more economically smart option in the long run because they’re more durable and won’t need to be replaced if you start investing more in your fitness.

But if the price is the most important factor for you, you may want to start with horse stall mats as an inexpensive way to test your commitment to your home gym.


All rubber flooring has a distinct rubber smell, but it’s stronger with some products than others. For example, stall mats have a very strong smell that doesn’t typically fade. Meanwhile, rubber gym mats have a milder smell, and that smell can fade over time, especially if you mop the mats with soap and water and let the room air out.


It’s simple to install both gym mats and horse stall mats – just lay them out and you’re done. However, because the edges aren’t always cut with precision, and the thickness can vary from mat to mat, it’s hard to install a floor that looks polished and won’t create a tripping hazard.


Since both horse stall mats and gym mats are rubber, they both provide strong, durable, and shock-absorbent flooring for high-impact workouts.


Gym floor mats come with a ton of color-fleck options so you can match them to the decor of your gym.

Meanwhile, rubber stall mats are designed for function rather than style. They typically only come in black. If the look and feel of your home gym are important to you, you’ll want premium gym mats.


Both horse stall mats and gym mats are made for easy cleaning. They’re very easy to wipe down.

Additional Rubber Gym Flooring Options

Gym mats are great for covering small areas and having the convenience of plopping the mat down wherever you want it, but they’re not your only option for getting durable rubber flooring in your gym. If you have a larger space to cover, rubber rolls or tiles are a great solution.

Horse Stall Mats vs. Rubber Flooring Rolls

Horse Stall Mats vs. Rubber Flooring Rolls. Featured Product: 3/8 inch Heavy Duty Rubber Roll

Rubber flooring rolls are a premier flooring type you’ll see in most traditional gyms. Known for their sharp, sleek looks and extreme durability, rubber rolls give your gym a professional appearance.

Pros of Rubber Rolls for Gym Flooring

  • Great for large spaces
  • Cost-efficient
  • Custom-cut availability
  • Durable
  • Slip-resistant
  • No seams or separating with heavy movement

Cons of Rubber Rolls for Gym Flooring

  • Very heavy — may need additional help installing
  • Installation is a larger process than simply laying a mat down
  • Pricier than horse stall mats

Horse Stall Mats vs. Rubber Floor Tiles

Horse Stall Mats vs. Rubber Floor Tiles. Featured Product: 3/8 inch Sport-Lock Rubber Tiles

Interlocking rubber floor tiles are another popular type of flooring you’ll see in traditional gyms. Known for their ease and simplicity, rubber flooring tiles click together like puzzle pieces. Sure, it doesn’t get much easier than laying down gym or horse stall mats, but rubber floor tiles are the next best thing in terms of DIY-friendly installation!

Pros of Rubber Tiles for Gym Flooring

  • Professional appearance
  • Easy installation
  • No glue or tape necessary
  • Easy to cut to any room shape
  • Durable
  • Slip-resistant

Cons of Rubber Tiles for Gym Flooring

  • Installation can be time-consuming in large spaces


Now that you’ve seen a detailed comparison of horse stall mats vs. gym floor mats, you should have a better idea of which option works best for you.

Your gym floor is the foundation of your fitness journey – set yourself up for success with reliable premium flooring!