The 10 Best Work Knee Pads

Updated September 13, 2017 by Sam Kraft

10 Best Work Knee Pads
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We spent 41 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. If you’re a plumber, electrician, flooring contractor, cleaner or an avid gardener – or anyone who spends extended time working on their hands and knees – it’s essential to protect your joints and ligaments from repetitive strain and damage. Check out our selection of work knee pads to find a pair that will help keep you comfortable and healthy. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best work knee pad on Amazon.

10. McGuire-Nicholas Tuff

The trusted McGuire-Nicholas Tuff is designed with a contoured shape that works well on all surface types. It’s built with a tri-buckle closure system, which keeps it in place, but the bottom edge digs into your knee after a while.
  • easy to spray surface clean
  • rugged and weather-resistant
  • not ideal for thin legs
Brand McGuire-Nicholas
Model 1MN-350
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

9. Crain 197

Constructed of a neoprene material that is super-soft to the touch and flexible, the Crain 197 stays in place whether you're kneeling or knee-kicking. It can be worn under or over pants and shorts without compromising any of the comfort.
  • slides easily for installing floors
  • complete knee wraparound design
  • can tear on abrasive surfaces
Model 197
Weight 9.6 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. Fiskars Ultra Light

Versatile and simple to adjust to various leg sizes, the Fiskars Ultra Light features a soft foam liner that mitigates irritation and discomfort. The exterior is tough enough to provide security for your knee when working on a variety of surfaces.
  • moisture-proof outer shell
  • includes lifetime warranty
  • requires occasional repositioning
Brand Fiskars
Model 94186997J
Weight 4.8 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. TSE Safety 2.0

Despite its extremely hard and rigid design, the TSE Safety 2.0 is constructed in a way that allows it to bend and flex with the natural motion of your knee. It also features shock-absorbing grip strips, which prevent it from sliding.
  • dual density inner foam pad
  • air vent system to reduce sweating
  • narrow straps may dig into legs
Brand TSE Safety
Model TSE-TFLX2.0
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

6. Troxell USA Original

The Troxell USA Original is made out of a premium wetsuit material for durability and all-weather use. Plus, this ensures it can easily be washed for everyday wear, and its lightweight design is effective in minimizing fatigue.
  • comfortable to wear with shorts
  • does not pinch or bind
  • tends to slip around
Brand TroxellUSA
Model pending
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. DeWalt Professional

Equipped with everything you need to make your job easier, the DeWalt Professional includes a convenient upper tab for easy positioning and layered gel technology integrated into its cushioned padding for maximum stability.
  • heavy-duty clips do not pop loose
  • resilient caps do not skid
  • upper strap is unreliable
Brand Custom Leathercraft
Model DG5204
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. NoCry Professional

Nobody wants a knee pad that constantly shifts, which is why the NoCry Professional utilizes flexible neoprene straps to accommodate a wide range of leg sizes and knee shapes. Built to withstand heavy use, it feels like your own personal knee pillow.
  • scratch-resistant shell
  • slip-buckle clips for custom fit
  • double-stitched to prevent rips
Brand NoCry
Model pending
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. KP Industries Ultra Flex

The KP Industries Ultra Flex offers complete protection, with a tough plastic outer shell that covers the entire knee and a hinged design that won't hinder your movement. Its replaceable, abrasion-resistant straps are a nice touch.
  • speed clips snap easily into place
  • straps reinforced with sewn ends
  • available in 5 color options
Brand KP
Model KP-UF01
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Gamba Tools Elite

Work’s difficult enough; when it requires you to sacrifice your body, it can become a literal pain. The Gamba Tools Elite is designed to provide real comfort, reduce overall knee fatigue, and allow you to do your job without worrying about irritation.
  • extra-wide breathable straps
  • offers extensive range of motion
  • strong hook-and-loop fasteners
Brand Gamba Tools
Model pending
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Troxell USA Leatherhead

Durable and hip, the Troxell USA Leatherhead has a patented Velcro front strap that can be fastened quickly and easily without causing pinching or rashes. It’s made in the United States and machine washable for easy maintenance.
  • vast surface area for max protection
  • encased in forgiving neoprene
  • easy to put on and take off
Brand TroxellUSA
Model 17209SoftXL
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Is Your Profession Hard On Your Knees?

When you think about jobs that require a lot of kneeling, bending over, and working on all fours, a few select occupations probably come to mind. Construction workers, a title that includes carpenters, builders, and other similar tradesmen, find themselves in these situations with regularity — so much so that construction knee pads can be considered in a category of their own. Auto mechanics spend vast amounts of time on their hands and knees working underneath cars and trucks. And when you hear the term plumber, many of you can’t help but conjure up the image of a worker kneeling under a sink.

Even if you don’t make a living in one of these vocations, that doesn't mean your line of work won’t cause knee-related problems. Professional cleaners and maids who wash floors, clean cabinets, and scrub toilets frequently put sustained pressure on their knees. The same goes for people who install carpet, tile, and other types of flooring. If you think those professions are tough on your joints, imagine the hard surfaces that bricklayers and masonry workers kneel on all day. Just thinking about it can cause discomfort.

The list goes on: electricians, roofers, miners, railroad employees, landscapers, and professional gardeners. Many athletes and dancers, both professional and amateur, put enormous strain on their knees. Even preachers, as peculiar as that sounds, face the possibility of harming their knees if they’re not careful. After all, they kneel at the altar multiple times per day, not just on Sundays and select holidays.

Though some of these careers pose more risk than others, work knee pads serve a similar purpose for each one: to protect the meniscus and the patella, or the thin layer of cartilage and tissue known as the kneecap. They are designed to absorb impact, prevent injuries, preserve your range of motion, and enhance the longevity of your knees.

Knee-related workplace injuries cause thousands of professionals to miss work each year. If you work in one of these areas, it’s not really a question of whether or not you should wear knee pads; it’s a question of which knee pads you should wear.

Prevent Pain With The Right Knee Pads

When assessing knee pads, you should begin with the most critical aspect: its cap. Hard cap knee pads minimize sharp impacts and allow you to slide and swivel around as you install carpeting, scrub the floor, or perform landscaping duties on the grass. That being said, they may cause you to slide around too much on some surfaces, like tile or slick wood, so make sure to keep that in mind.

Soft cap knee pads — which typically feature a rubber cap that allows for easy side-to-side motions — provide comfort by evenly distributing pressure. While they offer less reliable protection from harsh impacts and tough surfaces, they don’t feel as bulky and awkward as hard caps. They’re lighter, more versatile, and are usually designed with gel or foam pads. If you spend a lot of time moving around on the ground rather than kneeling in a stationery position, these should be a good fit.

On the other hand, if you do often find yourself kneeling in a stationery position for an extended period of time, flat-cap knee pads may be your answer. They are constructed with a flat structure, which creates a stable base that helps prevent you from rocking. If they’re well-designed, they should also offer reliable grip and considerable padding for plumbers, electricians, miners, and other workers who spend time working in tight, confined spaces with minimal wiggle room.

Comfort and injury prevention aren’t the only factors that drive knee pad use. Some models also serve as performance boosters. Particularly among the tradesmen and laborers mentioned above, certain knee pads can enhance productivity by providing the user more flexibility and reducing the need for frequent rest periods to ease discomfort. They can also help military personnel perform tasks like jumping, diving, and rolling with more confidence and agility.

Work At Your Own Risk: Common Injuries And Ailments

Two Texans invented the knee pad at the end of the 19th century for agricultural use in picking cotton, berries, and other crops. Though our medical knowledge has certainly progressed exponentially since then, those early knee pad users were protecting themselves from the same issues and conditions that often plague today’s laborers.

Not only is the knee the largest joint in the body, it's one of the easiest to injure. Three major bones, several tendons and ligaments, articular cartilage, and your meniscus combine to form the joint. It’s remarkably complex, and it also provides plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong.

One of the most common injuries to those who work in the physical trades is knee bursitis, which features swelling, inflammation, and warmth around the kneecap. The bursae, which are small sacs of fluid that reduce friction around the outside of your knee joint, become inflamed, causing pain and creating the potential for infection. Carpet layers, plumbers, and gardeners are all at significant risk, as they spend a lot of time kneeling on hard surfaces.

Though less common, patellar tendinitis can be an issue as well. Repetitive stress on your knee causes the ailment, which results in irritation and inflammation of one or more tendons. If you suffer from patellar tendinitis, kneeling down or standing up from a squatting position can be particularly painful, limiting your effectiveness at work and making life in general more difficult. For extra knee support outside of the workplace, a knee brace can help alleviate pain and make everyday tasks easier.

Why risk these injuries — and more severe ones like fractures, a dislocated kneecap or a torn tendon — when work knee caps are so readily available? If you consider the options, it’s simple: when you work on your knees, you should make sure to properly protect them.

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Last updated on September 13, 2017 by Sam Kraft

Sam is a marketing/communications professional and freelance writer who resides in Chicago, IL and is perpetually celebrating the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory.

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