Construction can be brutal on the body. In addition to heavy lifting and repetitive motions, prolonged kneeling on plywood, concrete or even dirt can cause pain, discomfort and swelling. This pain can make it difficult to walk or even stand.
Fortunately, the best structural knee pads are available to help. Designed for construction work, these knee pads create a comfortable barrier between the wearer's knees and the surface on which they kneel to prevent injury. This guide explains how to choose the best structural knee pads and some of the top choices that will help explain how users can make the best choice.
Best Overall: ToughBuilt - Gelfit Knee Pad Set (6-piece)
Great Value: McGuire Nicholas Stabilizer Shock Absorbing Knee Pads
Upgrade option: ToughBuilt - Gelfit Thigh Support Knee Pads
Best for Floors: NoCry Floor and Roof Pads
Best for Concrete: Klein Tools 55629 Knee Pads, Tradesman Pro
Best for Roofing: Klein Tools Knee Brace, Hinged Gel Knee Brace
Best for Multi-Surface: Custom Leathercraft DeWalt DG5204 Knee Pads
Knee pads may seem like a relatively simple product, but there are a few things to consider before purchasing a pair. The following section details information that all shoppers should keep in mind when purchasing the best constructed knee pads.
In terms of construction, there are two types of knee pads - padded caps and shell caps. They both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Padded caps are soft and conform to the wearer's knee and the ground. They are usually made of neoprene wrapped in a foam liner. They are usually undamaged and provide the user with grip to prevent slips and falls. However, they may not protect the wearer from punctures.
Shell-covered knee pads have a hard shell made of plastic or carbon fiber that is attached to a foam liner. These shells provide excellent protection against punctures or scratches, but may slip on some surfaces. They can also scratch wood floors or certain tiles.
Knee sleeves are also an option, but these are intended for compression and offer no protection at the job site.
Different styles and designs of knee pads may offer different levels of protection. For example, shell-covered knee pads may provide better protection in a demolition-type environment where nails and screws can easily penetrate a worker's knee. However, on a roof, soft knee pads would be a better choice because they provide some grip.
When choosing knee pads based on the level of protection, users should consider the work they are most likely to be doing. If they are working with floors or tiles, softer knee pads should be the right protection. However, for heavy work, choose hard shell knee pads.
If a pair of knee pads is uncomfortable, no one will wear them. For this reason, it's important to choose knee pads with thick enough padding to protect the knee, while providing some ventilation to keep the wearer cool.
Also, consider the fit. Some of the best structured knee pads have a single strap design, while others have two. Single-strap designs are great for lighter models because they are very comfortable, but they may slide slightly with enough movement. Double strap pads are less comfortable, but they usually stay in place better than single strap models.
Although specific sizes of knee pads are available, such as small to large, they are usually the best fit for one size. To accommodate most sizes of users and legs they need to have adjustable straps.
Older knee pads had hook and loop straps, but they can irritate the skin and become uncomfortable. Today's best constructed knee pads use thicker padding behind the hook-and-loop or elastic straps and buckles that can be easily hooked on and taken off. They can be adjusted quickly because the user simply pulls on the strap to tighten it and then unhooks the buckle to remove it. This strap and hook system allows for easy on and off, as well as instant adjustments throughout the day.
Construction sites are messy places. There can be loose nails, dropped lumber, uneven surfaces and other surprises around every corner. For construction knee pads to last, they must be rugged and durable. Thick foam, plastic or carbon fiber shells and sturdy buckles all help ensure that a pair of knee pads is up to the task.
Remember, damaged knee pads may not provide the necessary protection. Broken straps, cracked shells or worn foam won't stand up to the rigors of a project site, so be sure to replace them as soon as possible.
This may seem like a lot of information about the best structural knee pads, but shopping can still seem daunting. Relax; the list below contains some of the top products on the market.
Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a professional, ToughBuilt's Gelfit knee brace set is a great choice. This six-piece set includes three sets of gear - the system's gel-padded knee pads, a non-destructive Snapshell and a swinging Snapshell - which allows users to choose the combination that best suits the job at hand.
The knee pads themselves are designed with the brand's Gelfit padding and single strap hook and loop. This combination allows these pads to be comfortably secured in place and they can be used on the floor, roof or other similar applications when used without a Snapshell. With Snapshells, the user's knees are protected from puncture wounds. The only drawback is the old-fashioned hook-and-loop strap, but it is wide enough to protect the user's skin from irritation.
Those looking to protect their knees and cash may want to try the McGuire Nicholas Knee Pads. These padded knee pads are affordable and have a thick padded interior and a gel pad cover that covers almost the entire pad. A double strap hook and loop strap system holds the knee pads in place.
This knee pad set has a non-slip grip on the gel pad that holds the wearer's leg in place instead of sliding away. In addition, the shape of the gel pad provides a firm, stable base for work. These knee pads also absorb impact, which helps with kneeling, but also works for when someone may be pounding on the floor nearby. The only thing to watch out for is the hook-and-loop strap, as it needs to be aligned just right to be comfortable.
Knee pads tend to slide throughout the day, but this upgraded pair from ToughBuilt is designed to solve that problem. These knee pads feature a hinged design with a top strap that wraps around the thigh to keep the knee centered and in place, even when it may twist and turn during the workday.
The set features thick foam padding to cushion the knee and a hard plastic cap to prevent punctures and abrasions. The caps also have a non-slip rubber coating. The straps are flexible and the buckles snap easily into place to ensure a good fit. Made of plastic and nylon, these knee pads are relatively light, but some people may find them a bit bulky.
NoCry's floor and roof knee pads are worth a look for anyone about to undertake a flooring project. These knee pads are designed with a thick foam padding and a wide leather strip in the front that prevents the pads from sliding without leaving marks on tile, hardwood, laminate or other flooring surfaces. The double elastic strap design also features a durable buckle.
Thanks to the polyester design and foam padding, these foam pads are extremely lightweight. However, the leather is also durable enough to handle concrete projects. The main drawback of this particular pair of knee pads is that they do not protect against punctures, so users need to know what they are kneeling on.
Concrete floors can quickly take the wind out of your knees, but the Klein Tools Tradesman Pro Knee Pads are designed to answer that call. These padded knee pads absorb shock, stabilize the knees and provide a comfortable base for hours of work - albeit on concrete.
These pads feature a single strap elastic design with a quick snap closure that allows users to easily slip them on and off. They also offer five layers of protection, including neoprene foam, impact-absorbing gel, polyurethane foam, neoprene outer fabric and a protective molded outer gel shell. If there's a complaint, it's that these knee pads are expensive.
Covering a roof can be a tough job and usually requires a lot of time on the knee for repairs. These pads from Klein Tools could be just the ticket. They feature a double strap hinge design that holds the knee pads in place and centers the knee, preventing roofers from accidentally placing their knees on hot asphalt shingles or rolling their knees off the pads and slipping.
To further prevent roofers from slipping, these knee pads come with rubber caps that grip the surface to avoid slipping. The lightweight design, breathable mesh and neoprene lining make them comfortable enough to wear all day on the roof. one area where Klein may improve these pads is by offering them in other colors, as black is likely to absorb a lot of midday sun from the top of the roof.
Those who pride themselves on being able to perform any job, anywhere, on any surface should check out these knee pads from Custom Leathercraft and DeWalt. the DG5204 knee pads feature a soft gel liner covered in thick closed-cell foam. They also have a durable hardshell cap for maximum comfort and protection.
Thanks to the non-slip coating on each hardshell, these pads are suitable for most surfaces, including concrete, wood, brick, tile, etc. The DG5204 pads also feature a dual strap design with a buckle and a hook-and-loop strap, allowing the user to customize the fit. In addition, the neoprene construction does bend a bit with the knee, which holds these pads firmly in place. Keep in mind that these pads are non-slip, not non-destructive, so they may leave marks on some floor surfaces.
The ToughBuilt - Gelfit knee brace set is a good choice thanks to its customizable levels of protection, allowing DIY enthusiasts to choose the Snapshell they prefer to use. however, for those who don't want to break a knee or bank account, the affordable McGuire Nicholas knee pads are worth considering because they are inexpensive and feature shock absorbing caps.
We know that suggesting a list of the best structural knee pads takes effort, so we did our due diligence. First, we drew on our experience with flooring, demolition and other projects, focusing on the features that were important to us and the features we wanted to have.
Next, we conducted extensive product research and compiled a list of products that met most of our most important functions. We then compared materials, designs, and price points to determine if each product provided sufficient value. We tossed aside those that didn't provide enough value and categorized those that did based on their strengths.
Even with all the background information on the best constructed knee pads, there are still some questions that need to be answered. The following is a collection of some of the most frequently asked questions about constructed knee pads, designed to answer them.
Knee pads should be tight enough not to move, loosen or fall off, but also loose enough to be comfortable to wear for extended periods.
There are two main reasons why your knee pads may fall off - they are too big or they get wet with sweat. Either find a better-fitting pad or wear a more breathable pad to prevent sweating.
Place the cap on your knee and loosely attach the lower straps, then loosely attach the upper straps. Adjust the position of the knee pads and tighten the straps to ensure a snug fit.
The best way to clean your knee pads is to hand wash them with regular laundry detergent. Simply place them in a bucket of warm, soapy water and let them soak. After soaking, gently rinse the pads and allow them to air dry.
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