While they may look like something that a knight or a gladiator would have worn for protection during combat, today’s modern worker uses the knee pad to help protect from job-related injuries.
Are you in construction or any other profession requiring you to rest your weight on your knees throughout the workday?
Many jobs and professions require workers to sit in a lower position to perform their duties, and knee pads can help prevent you from wearing holes in your work clothes and skin.
Our guide will highlight some of the best knee pads for work-related purposes and help you understand what to pay attention to as you shop for some.
Our Top Pick: NoCry Professional Knee Pads
If you want comfortable and multi-purpose knee pads, we recommend the NoCry Professional Knee Pads. They are ideal for construction work, working on linoleum, concrete, hardwood floors, flooring, welding, stocking shelves, tiling the roof, plumbing, and so on.
Top 10 Knee Pads for Work Comparison Table
Details to Consider as You Compare Products
We’ve tried our fair share of knee pads throughout the years, and after trying so many, we have realized that these are the most important things to consider before you purchase.
- How You Wear Them. Will you wear the pads under your pants, over your pants, or bare skin?
Remember that you’ll feel the straps and hardware less if you wear the pads over the top of your jeans or pants, but they might not be as comfortable when you wear them with shorts or under your pants.
- Fit. Choosing the right size for your shape and style for your profession. We have listed suggestions in our table to give you an idea of what professionals in certain fields have success with, but make sure you find the right size for your knee so you don’t end up with some that are too tight or loose.
- Outer Material. Make sure you choose pads that can handle the surfaces you’ll be working on.
Those with a hard outer shell offer the highest level of durability and protection from punctures, but they are also a bit too slippery for some surfaces and might leave scuff marks.
Leather, neoprene, and other fabric-coated material are softer and smoother but will rip and tear if you drag your knees across the floor. For occasional kneeling throughout the day, they provide comfort and cushioning for your knees.
- Care and Maintenance. Is the material machine washable? If not, how does the manufacturer recommend cleaning and caring for the knee pads?
Those made from a mixture of fabric and plastic might need to be hand-washed, while others, like the TroxellUSA Leatherhead Knee Pads require a special leather cleaner.
Tips for Professionals Who Lay Flooring
Those of you who lay different types of flooring in your profession need to choose knee pads carefully, especially when it comes to wood. While many of the products we suggest are for professionals who lay flooring, check to see the specific type of surfaces the manufacturer recommends before making any assumptions.
The last thing you want to do is have to pay for material that you ended up scratching on the job.
Some of the best knee pads for flooring on our list are those from Crain, featuring generous padding and soft outer material to prevent scuffing and scratches on the hardwood.
For other hard flooring surfaces such as concrete, tile, and brick, consider the DeWalt Professional Knee Pads (DG5204) instead.
Top 3 Best Knee Pads for Work Reviews
The best knee pads for work vary from user to user because not all jobs require the same level of protection.
These three stood out from the rest of the products we tried, but if you’re looking for something in a specific profession, use our table to help you locate the right pair.
NoCry is a great choice if you lay flooring, install carpet, work on concrete, work in lawn and garden care, or are busy stocking warehouse shelves.
The rigid outer shell provides a protective barrier between you and any sharp debris and is much more durable than any fabric or leather material. The inside is lined with a comfortable layer of EVA foam and soft gel, and mesh panels make the material breathable.
Most find the fit comfortable and the straps unobtrusive, but if you’re petite, you might need to wear these with jeans to prevent them from slipping.
Speaking of straps, the adjustable straps use slip buckles rather than velcro. You can easily tighten the straps, which stay on much better than velcro.
Tip – If you lay hardwood flooring, don’t use these. The manufacturer says that, when used properly, the plastic doesn’t damage hardwood, but if you slide your knee across the floor with a sharp object underneath, you’ll pay for the damaged goods.
These heavy-duty knee pads are designed for the roughest of jobs, so the HVAC technicians, construction workers, home inspectors, and flooring professionals highly recommend them.
The outer shell is made of hard plastic, lined with a ½-inch layer of foam inside. You’ll be able to bend and straighten your knees easily since the plastic is hinged in the middle, much like those in a suit of armor.
They sit higher on the thigh than most knee pads, making debris less likely to fall inside and get lodged between the padding and your skin.
Other co-workers might give you a hard time when you first start wearing these because they look silly, but who cares! They are comfortable and durable, and protect your knees your entire shift.
Welders enjoy these leather knee pads, as do home builders and homeowners who do their own repairs.
The padding is comfortable on the inside, and the leather is durable within reason. With regular use, you will eventually wear down the leather in the most heavily used areas, but that’s to be expected with this material.
People in the business for years swear by these pads thanks to their comfort level. These would be great for installing hardwood floors since the leather is soft and supple.
Any of you who work outdoors in the summer in shorts will find these to be the perfect knee pad. The straps are comfortable and snug enough not to slip down the calf when you walk.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Choose Knee Pads?
Stick with hardshell models if you spend most of your time in rugged mountain terrain or taking on technical climbs. Don’t worry, though. They’ll still give plenty of protection when you’re scrambling over rock fields or down that next loose scree slope.
On the other hand, if you do most of your climbing in the gym or spend weekends at local crags or boulders, then a pair of flexible foam pads will work better for you. They might not be as protective, but they’ll still offer adequate knee coverage and are far more comfortable to wear.
Don’t go mad with size (especially if you’re looking for adjustable models). Some brands exaggerate measurements, so always check them against your leg length before purchasing.
Too long, and they’ll feel awkward and uncomfortable. Too short, and they won’t provide enough support. Save money and buy sets. They’re cheaper than buying a pair individually.
Do You Wear Knee Pads Over or Under Pants?
Most people who wear knee pads choose to wear them under their pants for various reasons. First, it is more comfortable to wear them this way. The pads will not bunch up or rub against the skin when worn under clothing. Second, the pads protect the knees, not the pants.
Wearing them close to the skin will be more effective at absorbing impact and preventing injuries. Finally, many people find they can move more freely when wearing knee pads under their pants. This is especially important for athletes or anyone who needs to be able to move quickly and easily.
Wearing knee pads under pants is the most comfortable and practical option.
How Tight Should Knee Pads Be?
Deciding on how tight your knee pads should be can be tricky. You don’t want them to be too loose and risk falling off when moving around, but you also don’t want them to be so tight that they cut off circulation or are uncomfortable to wear.
A good rule of thumb is to choose a pair of knee pads that fit the shape of your leg. They should be snug, but they shouldn’t be too tight. You want them fitted on your knees’ shape, but they shouldn’t get loose while moving around.
If you’re still unsure, it’s always best to err on caution and go for a slightly tighter fit. That way, you can be sure that your knee pads will stay in place no matter how much you move around.
What are the Best Knee Pads for Concrete Work?
DeWalt Professional Knee Pads (DG5204) are good kneepads for concrete work because they strike the right balance of firmness and softness. They provide plenty of cushions. The straps hold tight and stay in place.
If you work in a profession that requires you to rest your weight on your knees, you must protect yourself from potential injuries. Knee pads can help relieve pressure and discomfort while protecting the skin on your kneecaps.
Our guide highlights some of the best knee pads for work-related purposes, so read through each product before making a purchase decision.