How To Choose Mala Beads And The Best Mala Beads For Your Practices

Looking for ways to make your meditation sessions more meaningful? 

Or maybe you’re in the market for a stylish necklace? 

Either way, mala beads may be just the thing.

A staple in Eastern religions, mala beads are used for counting mantras and recitations. 

A full set boasts 108 beads, but strands of 54, 27, and 18 are also common.

Mala beads also have a larger “guru bead” not used for counting.

Below, we’re breaking down how to choose mala meditation beads for yourself.

How to Choose Mala Beads for Yourself 

What are the best mala — aka japamala — beads for you? It depends on your goals. Many people have several sets for different aims.

Serious practitioners may maintain necklaces for each chakral node and personalized strands for specific objectives.

1. Intention

The first thing to consider when choosing a new set of mala beads is your intention. What will you use them for?

Do you have specific spiritual goals? If so, research which energies, stones, and minerals may best support your objectives, then pick accordingly.

2. Bead Type

What should my mala beads be made of? Different traditions have their own material preferences regarding mala beads, but there’s no universal standard.

Traditionally, they can be made out of natural elements that can be molded into a bead.

What is the best bead for a mala? It depends on your goals. Wood, stone, seeds, bone, marble, glass, precious metals, gemstones, minerals, and semi-precious gems are all viable options.

The average mala bead size is between 6 mm and 8 mm. Occasionally, you’ll run across larger styles, but they tend to be very bulky.

Below, we’ve made a chart outlining common stones used in mala beads. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a starter guide.

Mineral / Stone / GemUses / Notable Energetic 
Clear quartz, crystal quartzBalances chakras, helps concentration (allowing for longer meditation sessions)
HowliteCalming stone, balances chakras, helps develop patience
AmethystEnhances spiritual awareness, promotes peace, helps relieve stress, aids restorative sleep
LepidoliteWorks on the 7th chakra, promotes emotional balance and peace, relieves stress
Lapis LazuliWorks on the 6th chakra, enhances cognitive function, promotes deep thought and clarity, increases capacity for compassion
SodaliteEnhances manifestation work, erodes limiting mindsets, stimulates deep thoughts
ChrysocollaReleases guilt, improves communication energy, enhances self-awareness
African turquoise (“stone of evolution”)Inspires transformation, balances 4th and 5th chakras
RhodoniteHelps heal past wounds (emotional and physical), affects the heart chakra, balances feminine and masculine energies
MoonstoneWelcomes new beginnings, improves energy around business and career
Ruby zoisiteIncreases sense of gratitude, promotes fertility and healing, channels abundance energy
Jade (“harmony stone”)Improves energies related to love and friendship, brings abundance and good luck
Yellow jasperIncreases energetic protection, good for traveling, supports positive energy
Tiger’s eyeAffects the root chakra, center energy, promotes focus, helps when conflict resolution is on tap
Zebra jasperStimulates root chakra, helps with grounding, gets you out of your head, good for transitions
OnyxIncreases strength and courage, improves stamina, enhances self-control
Black obsidianProtects against negative energy, promotes healing

3. Length

How long should mala beads be? There’s no rule. Most 108-bead strands fall between 36 and 42 inches, depending on the bead size. Options with 54, 27, or 18 notches will be smaller.

4. String

Ideally, you should look for meditation garlands that use natural threading material, like cotton, silk, or animal hair.

But if none are available, don’t stress. It’s not a dealbreaker. Plenty of people use mala beads held together by synthetic string, including plastic and nylon. 

5. Chakra

Mala beads are helpful when doing chakra clearing and balancing work. Devoted practitioners may even have a garland for each chakra that coordinates with their energetic hues. 

People use black mala beads for protection. Onyx and obsidian are the best.

6. Knots 

When choosing mala beads, pay attention to how they’re strung. If you’re worried about losing beads in the event it breaks, get a set with knots between each piece.

Pick a knot-free style if you’d prefer to slide the beads when counting.

7. Markers

Markers and spacers help you track where you are on your recitation round. Usually, they’re placed every 27 beads. Markers can be a bead or series of beads of different sizes.

That way, if your eyes are closed, you can feel the difference.

8. Tassel

Many mala strands feature a tassel or pendant that hangs off the guru bead, representing the connection between the earthly and spiritual realms. They’re usually made out of either silk or cotton. Instead of a tassel, some mala beads have a pendant.

10 of the Best Mala Beads for Your Practices

Are you ready to get a set — or five — of mala beads? We’ve pulled together a list of 10 handmade options. 

1. Picture Jasper Matte Mala Beads

These matte-finished mala beads made of picture jasper have a sophisticated look.

They’re also an excellent option for people who prefer a natural aesthetic. The earth tones are versatile, and the gold guru pendant featuring a lotus flower is a stylish touch.

Picture jasper is a beautifully patterned stone that reportedly stimulates the immune system, clears pollutants and toxins from the body, and helps people strengthen their resolve when quitting smoking, drinking, or other destructive vices. 

Jasper is also good for:

  • Grounding
  • Harmonizing
  • Enhancing creativity
  • Attracting career luck
  • Improving your sense of self

Length: 18 inches

Knots: Yes

Spacers: Gold, every nine beads

Targeted Chakra(s): Root

Ideal For: People in the process of developing better habits, working toward a professional goal, or trying to strengthen their connection with nature

2. Rose Quartz Pink Mala Beads

Rose quartz is a delicate-yet-powerful stone, and this mala bead set captures its essence. The use of genuine quartz from Madagascar, which varies in shade, adds dimension to this design, making it a tasteful choice.

Finished with a large, unshaped pink tourmaline guru bead and silk tassel, this strand makes a great choice for a heart chakra japamala.  

These crystal mala beads also pack a spiritual punch. Rose quartz is known to:

  • Attune with the divine feminine energy
  • Help improve self-esteem
  • Aligns wearers with their higher self

Length: 45 to 47 inches

Knots: Yes

Spacers: Gold, intermittent

Targeted Chakra(s): Heart, throat

Ideal For: People looking to support a healthy pregnancy, enhance their capacity for compassion, or heal emotional wounds

3. Certified Rudraksha Mala Beads

Rudraksha is the preferred material for mala meditation beads among adherents to Shaivas, a sect of Hinduism.

These sets use certified beads from real rudraksha trees in India. An energetically enhanced natural wood, rudraksha may help to:

  • Protect you from negative energy
  • Mitigates negative karma
  • Improves focus and concentration
  • Attract peaceful and harmonious vibes
  • Control stress and lessen anxiety

This set of natural wood mala beads also features a yellow or orange silk tassel — the choice is yours. Allow for a longer shipping time, as these come directly from India.

Length: NA

Knots: Yes

Spacers: No

Targeted Chakra(s): Root

Ideal For: People looking for an authentic set of mala beads; also a good option for those interested in enhancing their connection to nature or balancing their root chakra

4. Tibetan Sandalwood Mala

This beautiful set of sandalwood mala beads is a traditional option. It comes with a silk pouch, cotton tassel, and three rosewood markers.

Note, however, that they’re the same size as the other beads. The beads are imported from India, but the strands are made in the US.

Energetically and spiritually, sandalwood is good for:

  • Protection
  • Good luck
  • Prosperity
  • Relaxation
  • Spiritual connection

Length: 34 Inches

Knots: No

Spacers: Yes, three

Targeted Chakra(s): Heart, root

Ideal For: People looking to attract abundance into their lives, enhance their spiritual connection, or  

5. Inlaid Bone Mala Beads

These unique mala beads are made from yak bone. In ancient times, bone mala beads were the norm. But they’re much harder to find these days, making these a great find at a super price. 

This strand is dyed naturally and features beads in shades of green with inlaid with brass or copper and turquoise or coral color bits. It also has an elongated guru stone with a short tassel.

Length: 24 Inches

Knots: No

Spacers: No

Targeted Chakra(s): Heart, root

Ideal For: People looking to enhance their bonds with the natural and animal world

6. Hematite Mala Beads

Hematite is a powerhouse stone. Forged by earth and fire, they come in various colors in the black, steel, brown, and red families. All are deep-hued. Hematite has a laundry list of benefits.

It helps:

  • Dissolve negative energy
  • Block other people’s negative energy
  • Strengthen your connection with nature
  • Improve concentration
  • Enhance memory and original thought
  • Boosts self-esteem, courage, willpower, and vitality

This strand comes with a large green tassel and a large guru bead. Stylish and classic, you can wear this strand of mala beads casually and formally. However, remember that hematite is a bit heavier than other stones.

Length: 19 Inches

Knots: Yes

Spacers: No

Targeted Chakra(s): Root

Ideal For: All-purpose stone

7. Clear Quartz Mala Beads

This hand-knotted, clear quartz set of mala beads features sterling silver accents, a large, white wood guru bead, and a silver cotton tassel.

Specifically made for healing mantras, this is a great set to pick up if you’re working through physical or emotional trauma. 

Clear quartz is the “master healer” stone, making it ideal for most healing objectives — emotional and physical. It also helps bring the body into balance.

This set of mala beads comes with a ‘gemstone meaning’ card and a cotton bag. There’s also a matching bracelet if you want to spring for the set.

Length: 21 Inches

Knots: Yes

Spacers: Silver, intermittent

Targeted Chakra(s): All

Ideal For: People looking to heal physical or emotional wounds

8. New Moon Mala Beads

Looking for something a little different than the norm? This moonstone and African turquoise mala necklace may hit the spot.

The two-tone beads work well together, and the large pendant with moon charm makes it a statement piece. This mala uses high-quality gemstones, and all the spacer beads and accents are plated with 24K gold. 

The stones in this strand may help with:

  • Increasing abundance
  • Improving self-esteem
  • Enhancing wisdom, intuition, and balance
  • Smoothing transitions
  • Expressing courage

Length: 16 or 20 inches

Knots: Yes

Spacers: Gold, intermittent

Targeted Chakra(s): Crown, Solar Plexus

Ideal For: People who are embarking on a new business or career path

9. Amethyst Mala Beads

In the mood for some powerful purple in your life? You can’t go wrong with this lovely set of flower amethyst and aquamarine mala beads. Amethysts are associated with the crown chakra and have long been revered for their energetic properties. 

This strand may help you:

  • Improve concentration
  • Calm fears
  • Improve your mood
  • Elevates your sense of hope
  • Enhance meditation sessions
  • Stand firm in the face of addiction (“sobriety stone”)

You can choose the tassel type and size, and each set is cleansed with white sage before shipping. It also comes with a healing card and mala bag. 

Length: 39 inches

Knots: You choose

Spacers: No

Targeted Chakra(s): Crown

Ideal For: People looking to overcome obstacles, clear their energy fields, or enhance their spiritual connection

10. Lord Ganesh Carnelian Mala Beads

This carnelian mala bead set is an elegant addition to any collection. The fiery red carnelian against the gold accents gives it an old-world look.

Instead of a tassel, these japamalas feature a detailed pendant of Lord Ganesh — the remover of obstacles and the deity of new beginnings — represented as an elephant.

A traditional mala stone, carnelian is known to:

  • Improve your financial circumstances
  • Increase luck and longevity
  • Balance hormones
  • Increase optimism
  • Improve fertility

Conveniently, you can get this strand with either 108 beads or 27.

Length: 34 inches (excluding pendant) 

Knots: Yes

Spacers: No

Targeted Chakra(s): Sacral, root

Ideal For: People trying to get pregnant, desiring more peace, or wanting to attract abundance

Mala beads can be a special part of your mindfulness and meditation practice. We hope you found a few options on our list that work well for you. 

More Related Articles

If You Use Headphones For Meditation, Take A Look At These 11 Headphone Options

17 Renowned Meditation And Mindfulness Teachers And How To Choose Your Own Teacher

What’s The Best Tea For Meditation? 9 Excellent Options To Try

If you’re uncertain how you want to use the beads, just choose an aesthetically pleasing set, and perhaps they will “guide” you to the best way to practice with them.

Where do you get the best mala beads to use for your meditation practice? Find out some of the best in this post.

Leave a Comment