Chinese Grappling Mats V’s Zebra German Mats

Purchase Comparison between cheaper Chinese Grappling Mats V's Zebra German Made Mats.


We look at the businesses we build for our clients as an investment. This is their vision and their livelihood and their hard earned dollars that they are looking to grow from. Therefore we look to put only the most durable and longest lasting products in to these gyms where the Return On Investment shines through. Example, there are cheaper mats out there, and that’s exactly what you get, a cheaper mat. Dealing with cheaper Chinese made mats can equal much higher cost of ownership in the long term. That is why Zebra products are so great, they outlast any competitor’s product by more than 4 times (average lifespan is 20 years).


As you can understand with cars, you get what you pay for. A Mercedes cannot be compared to a KIA – just as so, not all mats are created equal.


Competitor                                                                                                  Zebra Mats

Made in China – imitation knock offs of the Judo Mat

Made in Germany, inventor of the Judo Mat. German engineering.

Weighs 35lbs / 15kgs per mat

Weighs 50lbs / 22kgs per mat

Foam used in China is lightweight compressed sponge at 230/kgm3 – after 1 year that foam becomes like mush and forces the corners to blow out creating gapping and unsafe training environments. This foam is also less dense and more prone to having an impact related injury

Foam used in Germany is a Multi-Density Rebond Foam at 14/lbs-cu or 230kgm3. Same as China, but because this foam is super compressed prior to being made into a mat, there is no more opportunity for the foam to soften. This mat will only lose up to 10% of its density over a 10 year period of use where the Chinese can lose more than 80% of its density in the first 5 years!

Vinyl is adhered to the foam using a rolled glue. The problem here is that the Plasticisers in the vinyl do not work with the adhesive. It creates an adverse effect and attacks the foam, separating the vinyl from the foam. This can happen with out having any usage on the mats. This becomes most problematic when in use because with the vinyl separated from the foam, friction while in use causes the vinyl to wear down considerably, to the point where you burn holes in areas of the vinyl and the foam shows through.

Vinyl is adhered by a powder epoxy and put under extreme heat and then compressed and cooled. This bonding process is the “secret sauce” of the Zebra mat, and ensure a lifelong bond of the vinyl directly to the foam core. The only way to separate the two is to cut the foam away with a knife.

The vinyl in china used for matting comes with a sheen that invokes slipperiness and causes ‘mat burns’ easily when grappling

Zebra has a Smooth surface Grappling mat called the MMA Mat which is a Patented Vinyl surfacing with low sheen that does not create ANY mat burns, is easier to clean, and friction tests conclude that it offers more traction that of tatami textured mats.

Comes with 1 year warranty, and replacement is not even guaranteed, it is at the discretion of the company that you bought from how they handle or repair, or decide to do nothing.

Comes with an undisputed 10 year warranty

All 4 edges and sides are sealed and no exposed foam (this is good so that no bacteria gets into the foam and breaks it down)

All 4 edges and sides are heat sealed and no exposed foam (this is good so that no bacteria gets into the foam and breaks it down)

Lifespan 2-5 years

Lifespan 20 years

Cost of Ownership:

(Over 15 year period) 10m x 10m space = $7,500

Year 5, 50% of mats require replacing = $3,750

Year 10, 75% of mats require replacing = $5,625

Year 15, 100%, Full Mats Replacement = $7,500

Total Cost of ownership over 15 year period = $16,875

Cost of Ownership:

(Over 15 year period) 10m x 10m space = $10,500

Year 5, 0% Replacement = $0

Year 10, 0% Replacement= $0

Year 15, 0% Replacement = $0

Total Cost of ownership over 15 year period = $10,500


There is a couple of saying that you may or may not of heard before. The first is

"Good Things Aren't Cheap and Cheap Things Aren't Good"

“A Poor Man Pays Twice.”

It’s always smarter to look at what your purchasing and pay that little extra in the beginning, to ensure you don’t pay BIG in the end. It’s better to do things right the first time, because going back to fix things always costs much more.