- Regularly spending long hours kneeling on hard surfaces can lead to both acute and chronic knee pain.
- Without proper protection, knees are at risk of developing bursitis, osteoarthritis, and other conditions that can limit performance and reduce the quality of life.
- The NoCry Professional Knee Pads are our top choice thanks to their large, rugged shield, their secure straps, and their low cost.
Now in the second half of my 30s, I’m at an age where I know how to get a fair amount of home-improvement work done. Cracked tile that needs to be removed and replaced? No problem, let me just run to the store for a matching a grout and we’re good. Loose roof shingle? Hammer time. Scratch on the floor? Wood putty, sand, and stain, baby.
The thing is, as much as I’m shocked to say it, I’m also at the age where my body gets stiff and sore much more easily than it used to, with much of the unwelcome aches and pains localized in my lower back, right shoulder, and knees. As you might have noticed, all of the aforementioned activities involve spending a good amount of time kneeling on surfaces that are none to forgiving for the leg joint in question. The solution? Well, there are two: First, just call someone else to fix the damn floor for me.
The better choice? Knee pads.
When you wear work knee pads, you’re not just making yourself more comfortable then and there as you install tile, wiring, pipes, floorboards, shingles and so on – you’re protecting your body in the long term, reducing the likelihood of issues like chronic bursitis (damage to the fluid-filled sacks that cushion your knees) or painful, debilitation osteoarthritis, a condition that is greatly exacerbated by improper care of a joint.
If you’re a professional tiler, roofer, carpenter, and the like, chances are you already have a decent pair of knee pads for work. When it comes time to replace them, consider this list. For everyone else, even if you just do a bit of gardening or the occasional DIY project around the house, you still owe it to your knees to keep them padded, supported, comfortable, and safe.
While joint damage is much more common through wear and tear over time, acute damage can cause every bit as much (or more) misery in a matter of seconds, all it takes is one hard impact between knee and floor.
Here are the best knee pads you can buy:
- Best knee pads overall: NoCry Professional Knee Pads
- Best knee pads for extended use: Recoil Suspension System Knee Pads
- Best knee pads for heavy-duty work: Klein Tools Tradesman Pro Knee Pads
- Best soft knee pads for work: Troxell USA Supersoft Leatherhead Kneepads
Updated on 07/02/2019 by Les Shu: Updated selections, prices, links, and formatting. Removed our budget pick as our overall favorite is also the most affordable. Added related buying guide.
Keep scrolling to read more about our top picks.
The best knee pads overall
The NoCry Professional Knee Pads are rugged, relatively comfortable, and nicely priced.
One of the most frustrating things about most work knee pads reveals itself the moment you stand up and take a few steps. Many knee pads will slip out of place at once during walking, or else will stay in place but be quite uncomfortable while you move, often even restricting your freedom of motion.
The NoCry Professional Knee Pads stay in place in front of your knees while also allowing you to make use of that full bipedal motion we humans cherish thanks to the clever design of their straps. The straps cross behind your knee in an X-shaped pattern, keeping the pad secure and working with the bend of the joint.
As the adjustable elastic bands secure to the sides of the pads with clips that hook onto pegs rather than with Velcro, there’s much less chance of them coming loose while you work. This type of attachment requires a bit of extra initial effort as you determine the best fit, but thereafter ensures they are always snug but comfortable, without you needing to readjust a velcro strap to relocate the best fit each time.
On the front of the pads, the rugged poly plastic shield protects you from all sorts of hard surfaces and also prevents injury caused by broken glass, nails, and other common workplace hazards. But perhaps the real selling point here is the fact that these capable, reliable knee pads cost less than twenty-five bucks.
With more than 2,200 reviews posted on Amazon, the NoCry Professional Knee Pads has a 4.4-star overall rating (out of 5). A buyer who reported suffering from osteoarthritis said they are “very comfortable” and appreciated the “adjuster straps that move easily but hold [the pads] very tight and lock into place securely.” Another reviewer who does floor installations called them “super comfortable.”
Several users did note that it can be hard to get the strap clips onto the grommets that hold them, and a few mentioned weak grommets that broke after repeated use.
Pros: Secure and comfortable strap system, large textured shield, good price point
Cons: Issues with using grommets and grommet durability
The best knee pads for extended use
The unique pivoting suspension system of the Recoil Knee Pads allows you to work while kneeling for hours on end in comfort.
Let’s get this out of the way: Yes, Recoil Knee Pads are very expensive. In fact, they cost about eight times more than our lowest cost choice. But they are also truly unique and impressive in design, and I’m not just saying that. I own a pair, I’ve used them on myriad surfaces, and they work.
Like any decent work knee pad, the Recoil pads have a rugged shield on the front. Unlike other knee pads, the shield is supported by six heavy-duty springs. The result is shock absorption that increases comfort and reduces the chance of injury each time your knees contact the ground as well as more comfortable, natural motion as you kneel.
As you make the minute motions that come with work, shifting your body to use a hammer, turn a screw, or wield a paintbrush, the flat shield stays down in place on the ground while the rest of the knee pad shifts with you.
The result is more comfort in the short term as you don’t have to move your body around the area in which you’re working as frequently as well as in the longer term as your knees enjoy peerless protection against impact trauma.
I’d say those are both worth a few bucks, no?
One Amazon buyer said these knee pads help you work “smarter, not harder,” and called them “well-worth the price” thanks to their comfort. Another said that while they “take a bit of getting used to,” once mastered, the Recoil Knee Pads are “extremely comfortable, and a great investment,” and loved how “you don’t feel anything on your knees at all [thanks to] the spring system.”
Pros: Long-term joint protection, allow the user to stay comfortably in place, durable construction
Cons: Expensive, takes a while to adapt
The best knee pads for heavy-duty work
If you spend long hours at commercial-grade work sites where comfort and safety are of equal importance, then a pair Klein Tools Tradesman Pro Knee Pads belongs in your toolbox.
There are knee pads that allow for greater comfort as you stay in one place for long stretches of time. There are knee pads that are a great deal price-wise. There are knee pads that won’t scuff delicate surfaces. And then there are knee pads that are designed for use when you spend multiple hours each day, many days each week crawling around on concrete, wooden beams, brick, and other surfaces generally unpleasant when experienced by the unprotected patella.
If you work hard, good for you, but a least give your knees a break with a pair of Klein Tools Tradesman Pro Knee Pads. These pads have big, durable, impact-resistant molded outer shells with a textured finish that prevents slipping, which you’ll find convenient when working on tile and which you’ll more than appreciate up on a roof. A thick single with a wide band and quick fasten buckle holds the pads in place but lets you pop them on or off quickly as needed.
But as tough and rugged as these knee pads are on the outer layers, it’s the inner padding that you’ll most appreciate. Your comfort (and injury prevention) comes thanks to a layer of polyurethane foam atop which sits an impact-absorbing layer of gel, and over which a soft but resilient layer of neoprene rests against your knees.
A professional tiler who writes for TilersPlace.com called the Klein Tools Tradesman Pro Knee Pads “well padded with both gel inserts and polyurethane foam,” but did note that they are “one of the more expensive knee pads on the market.”
Pros: Rugged outer shell, three layers of interior padding, quick-fasten buckle
Cons: Rather pricey
The best soft knee pads for work
Not only will the Troxell USA Supersoft Leatherhead Kneepads protect your joints from wear and tear, but they also won’t damage any sensitive surfaces.
The primary job of a knee pad is, of course, to protect your knees. But in so doing, many work knee pads with hard, solid shields can accidentally cause damage to the very surface on which you’re working. With a pair of Troxell USA Supersoft Leatherhead Kneepads, not only will your joints be protected and supported, but the materials on which you crouch won’t be scratched, scuffed, or gouged.
The pads feature a broad single strap that secures with Velcro and can easily be trimmed to size with any extra material cut away so it doesn’t get in the way. The interior padding is soft and comfortable even when all of your weight is bearing down on a single knee, yet the knee pads are light enough to where they won’t annoy you even during long hours of use.
More to the point, however, is the softness of the exterior layer of these Troxell USA knee pads. The thick leather exterior is dense and durable enough to protect your knees against hard, rough surfaces, yet the pads won’t scratch softer stone flooring, won’t scuff textured tile, brick, or polished concrete, and won’t gouge or scrape hardwood.
With more than 200 customer reviews posted on Amazon, the Troxell USA Supersoft Leatherhead Kneepads have a 4.5-star overall rating (out of 5).
One user wrote, “I have tried a dozen or so different types of knee pads over the last three decades, kneeling on the edge of roofs installing gutters for a living, so good knee pads are essential in my work to be able to wear comfortably all day long… [and] no other knee pads compares to these for comfort with a light weight.”
The reviewer from TilersPlace agrees, calling the Troxell USA Supersoft Leatherhead Kneepad “comfortable for all day use” and noting how the “nonmarking leather [is] perfect for delicate surfaces.” He did also note the rather high price and the fact that the leather is more easily damaged than solid knee pad exteriors.
Pros: Nonmarking leather exterior won’t cause damage, trim to fit strap, soft interior padding
Cons: Leather doesn’t hold up as well as plastic shield, pricey
Check out our other home improvement guides
With a good paint roller, you can coat a good-sized wall in a matter of minutes. Or you can paint a whole room, ceiling, and all in just a couple of hours – setup and cleanup included. be sure to break down the benefits of each roller and for what project it’s best suited. Here are the best paint rollers you can buy:
- Best paint roller overall: Wooster Brush Company R017 Sherlock GT Roller
- Best ceiling paint roller: HomeRight PaintStick EZ-Twist Paint Roller Applicator
- Best narrow paint roller: Wooster Brush Company 3-inch Roller
- Best power paint roller: Wagner Smart SideKick Power Roller
While a shovel is undeniably not a sexy or exciting purchase, this utilitarian workhorse belongs in the tool shed of every gardener, whether that garden is a few potted plants or an extensive vegetable garden. The only question is, which type of shovel or spade you need?
We researched and narrowed down to the best shovels and spades out there for a variety of uses. Here are the best we’ve found:
- Best shovel overall: Fiskars Long-Handle Round-Point Steel Digging Shovel
- Best short garden shovel: Bond Mini D-Handle Shovel
- Best garden spade: Fiskars D-Handle Garden Spade
- Best garden scoop: Ames D-Handle Aluminum Scoop
- Best garden trowel: Wilcox All Pro 14-Inch Trowel
Gardening isn’t for the faint of heart – pulling weeds, tilling the earth, and digging up roots is sweaty work, and it really does a number on your hands. To protect yourself from dirt, thorns, chemicals, and other irritants, you need a good pair of gardening gloves. Here are our recommendations for the best gardening gloves you can buy:
- Best overall: Atlas Showa NT370 Nitrle Gloves
- Best leather gloves: StoneBreaker Gardening Glove
- Best for comfort: Bionic Women’s Relief Grip Gardening Gloves
- Best for rose gardening: Exemplary Gardens Rose Pruning Gloves
- Best for kids: Wells Lamont Kids Work Gloves with Safety Cuff
- Best for hand digging: Garden Genie Gloves
- Best for a snug fit: Foxglove Original Gloves