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Home Improvement

Best Work Knee Pads

The ache of a worn out knee is something that I would never wish upon anyone. If you talk to any old carpenter, there is a good chance that they will mention their aching knees before long and much of that pain is the result of floor work. The best way to prevent long term damage as well as offer some short term relief is to wear the right knee pads for the job.

Knee pads come in many varieties and it is important to understand which one to use in each situation. If you are going to do a lot of work on gravel, concrete and other rough surfaces then I would suggest a set of hard capped knee pads that can stand up to the abuse and keep it off your knees. On the other hand, working on tile, soft stone or hardwood will call for a set with soft faces to prevent damaging the floor. Lastly, the actual shape of the cap can make a big difference in the performance and function of the knee pads so know your job before you go shopping and read these lists to get a good feel for what you're going to need.

Genau Gear 3310 Heavy Duty Hinged Knee Pads

Genau Gear 3310 Heavy Duty Hinged Knee Pads

These knee pads have a hard plastic cap covering the entire front facing surface which guarantees protection from sharp impact from any forward angle, rather than relying on padding for glancing blows. The hinged design allows you to kneel and stand without discomfort because the knee pad is bending with you instead of only being comfortable in one position. A square of rubber on the outside of the lower section increases grip and stability when kneeling while an ample amount of inner padding makes them very comfortable.

McGuire Nicholas 30509 ProHinge Gel Rocker Kneepads

The straps securing these pads to your knees are wide and comfortable but they’re also supported by an upper strap I can only describe as similar to a sock garter. This really helps keep the entire piece in place while also pulling the pad close to the knee even when your leg is bent. The gel padding is comfortable and well-designed to reduce pressure on kneecaps, which anyone can appreciate while doing floor work.

Proflex 210 Long Copolymer Hard Cap Knee Pad

These pads are a bit clunky when walking around but very comfortable when you’re down on your knees. The cap is articulated and allows for a bit of flex but a little rigid; however, it’s a trade off I'm willing to make, thanks to the great protection these pads offer. The hard cap is durable and encompasses much of the knee while the interior foam has a good density while offering support without compressing entirely. Strap placement is a little uncomfortable so I suggest wearing these knee pads with clothing.

Bucket Boss Bucket Boss 92100 NeoFlex Hard Shell Kneepad

The cap design on these Bucket Boss knee pads offer great stability without sacrificing the slide and swivel a hard cap usually offers. The strap placement is decent as the main support comes from below the knee and the smaller, upper strap prevents the pad from riding up. These pads can be uncomfortable when over-tightened but will feel great once you find the right tension. The neoprene is durable but avoid over tightening as it reduces the material life and removes some of the stretch. Well priced for the quality you’re receiving.

Extreem Knees Full Length Hard Shell Knee Pad

These are some of the most comfortable knee pads I've thanks to their added shin protection. The added support on the shins helps distribute pressure more evenly and reduces fatigue in your knees and legs overall. The adjustable strap system crosses the calf, offering solid support and entirely avoiding the back of the knee. The density of the interior foam is comfortable without being too pillow-like. A great set of knee pads overall but a bit outside the average budget.

ProFlex 342 Extra Long Cap Injected Gel Knee Pad

Looking like a combination of a shin guard and knee pad, the Ergodyne PROFLEX 342 is our top pick for the best soft cap knee pad with an extended design distributing weight more along the leg than just supporting the body on the knee. One of the nicest features on this set of knee pads is the placement of the straps which wrap around the calf rather than the back of the knee. This prevents the discomfort which often comes from straps digging into the back of the knees.

Custom LeatherCraft 378 Gel-Tek Stabili-Cap Articulated Kneepads

A piece of safety gear is only effective if you wear it, so comfort matters. The padded straps on this set of knee pads from CustomLeatherCraft makes them quite comfortable to wear and the design places them far away from the back of your knee. This means you'll be able to wear these all day without feeling them dig into sensitive patches of skin. These soft cap knee pads flex nicely with the knee while moving about the work site and you definitely won't be encumbered by them.

Ergodyne Proflex 344 Broad Cap Injected Gel Knee Pad

Like many of my favorite knee pads, this set avoids placing any straps over the back of the knee, vastly improving wearer comfort. The solid connection between cap and strap make these solid with very little slip and the caps flat design adds stability as you work. These knee pads are expensive but worth reducing the effort needed to prevent rocking on your knees as well as being superior to cheaper alternatives which need frequent replacement.

McGuire-Nicholas 30511 ProHinge Gel Gripper

This is an interesting design from McGuire-Nicholas which is similar to a knee brace. The vertical supports prevent the knee pad from riding up thanks to pressure on the thigh muscle, making these knee pads surprisingly comfortable overall. They’re nonrestrictive while you’re working and the amount of cushioning in the cap is plentiful to treat your knees kindly. The soft cap has some good texturing and offers good grip without sacrificing durability.

ProKnees Custom Fit Knee Pads

ProKnees Custom Fit Knee Pads

Easily some of the best knee pads on the market in terms of comfort and quality; you’ll be hard pressed to buy a set which has a better fit. Their secret is these knee pads are custom made to order and fitted to your exact knee specifications. With a single pair costing more than $200, these aren’t for the average weekend DIY workers and even most professionals will be hard pressed to spend this kind of money on knee pads. If they weren’t so cost-prohibitive, I’d say everyone should own a pair.

McGuire Nicholas 22378 Stabilizer Knee Pads

McGuire Nicholas 22378 Stabilizer Knee Pads

These pads are ideal for a long day of floor work thanks to their ample cushioning and stability. A cup-shaped gel backing takes pressure off the knee cap and distributes the weight more evenly across the entire knee itself. The face is also non-marking which is good for work on new flooring and soft materials which might pick up scuffs easily. I really like how the strap used to secure these pads is wide and soft so it won't dig into the backs of your knees throughout the day. After all, what's the point of a product made for comfort which is actually uncomfortable to use?

Western Safety Deluxe Contour Knee Pad

Western Safety Deluxe Contour Knee Pad

These flat knee pads have a good balance between padding and stability for comfortable floor work. A flat rubber insert on the face gives you a good grip on the floor and avoids slipping in wet conditions but wouldn’t recommend them for use on gravel as the sharp edges will chew through the rubber eventually. These pads are designed more for comfort so don't drop hard onto your knees and expect them to absorb the entire impact (as opposed to high performance knee pad with a hard cap). If you're just looking to get some flooring done comfortably these make a great addition to your existing set of gear.

Ergodyne Proflex 344 Broad Cap Injected Gel Knee Pad

Like many of my favorite knee pads, this set avoids placing any straps over the back of the knee, vastly improving wearer comfort. The solid connection between cap and strap make these solid with very little slip and the caps flat design adds stability as you work. These knee pads are expensive but worth reducing the effort needed to prevent rocking on your knees as well as being superior to cheaper alternatives which need frequent replacement.

Protective Industrial Products Clear Flat Cap Gel Knee Pads

Protective Industrial Products Clear Flat Cap Gel Knee Pads

Cheap and effective is the name of the game when it comes to these knee pads from Protective Industrial Products. The protection these knee pads offer is substantial, they hold up well to damage and the cap is designed with a fair amount of grip to prevent sliding and increase overall stability. The padding is ample enough to feel comfortable without being bulky and my only real complaint is the strap placement which can get a bit irritating on the backs of the knees over long periods.

Custom LeatherCraft 378 Gel-Tek Stabili-Cap Articulated Kneepads

A piece of safety gear is only effective if you wear it, so comfort matters. The padded straps on this set of knee pads from CustomLeatherCraft makes them quite comfortable to wear and the design places them far away from the back of your knee. This means you'll be able to wear these all day without feeling them dig into sensitive patches of skin. These soft cap knee pads flex nicely with the knee while moving about the work site and you definitely won't be encumbered by them.

Paul Joseph Morin
I grew up breathing sawdust and dirt. Now I'm back in the shop after an overly long break. This time I remembered my respirator. I have my father to thank for setting me on the path of the DIY guru and he didn't waste a day that could be spent with a trowel or hammer in hand. Now I use these skills to grow my own vegetables and fruit, craft wooden toys and tools, and keep my home running smoothly.
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