Construction can be brutal on the body. Beyond the heavy lifting and repetitive motions involved, time spent kneeling on plywood, concrete, or even soil can cause pain, discomfort, and swelling. This pain can make it hard to walk or even stand up.
Luckily, the best construction knee pads can help. These knee pads, specifically designed for construction work, create a comfortable barrier between the wearer’s knee and the surface they’re kneeling on in hopes of preventing injury. This guide on how to choose the best construction knee pads, as well as some top picks, will help explain how users can make the best choice.
- BEST OVERALL: ToughBuilt – Gelfit Knee Pad Set (6 Piece)
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: McGuire Nicholas Stabilizer Shock Absorbing Knee Pads
- UPGRADE PICK: ToughBuilt – Gelfit Thigh Support Knee Pads
- BEST FOR FLOORING: NoCry Flooring and Roofing Knee Pads
- BEST FOR CONCRETE: Klein Tools 55629 Knee Pads, Tradesman Pro
- BEST FOR ROOFING: Klein Tools Knee Pads, Hinged Gel Knee Pads
- BEST MULTISURFACE: Custom Leathercraft DeWalt DG5204 Kneepads
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Construction Knee Pads
Knee pads may seem like a relatively simple product, but there are a few points to consider before purchasing a pair. The following sections detail the need-to-know information that all shoppers should keep in mind when shopping for the best construction knee pads.
When it comes to construction, there are essentially two types of knee pads—padded caps and shell caps. They both have their pros and cons.
Padded caps are soft and conform to the wearer’s knee and the ground surface. They’re typically made of neoprene that is wrapped around foam padding. They’re often non-marring and provide the user with grip to prevent slipping. However, they may not protect the wearer against punctures.
Shell-cap knee pads have hard shells made from plastic or carbon fiber attached to foam padding. These shells provide excellent protection against punctures or scrapes but can be slippery on some surfaces. They can also scratch wood floors or certain tiles.
Knee sleeves are also an option, but these are for compression and don’t offer any protection on a job site.
Knee pads of different styles and designs may offer varying levels of protection. For instance, shell-cap knee pads may offer better protection in a demolition-type setting where nails and screws could easily poke into a worker’s knee. However, on a roof, soft knee pads would be a better option since they can offer some grip.
When choosing a knee pad based on the protection level, users should consider the jobs they’re most likely to tackle. If they’re handling flooring or tiling, a softer knee pad should be suitable protection. However, for heavy-duty jobs, opt for hard-shell knee pads.
Comfort and Fit
If a pair of knee pads isn’t comfortable, no one’s going to wear them. For this reason, it’s important to choose knee pads with thick enough padding to protect the knee but also provide some ventilation to keep the wearer cool.
Also, consider the fit. Some of the best construction knee pads feature one-strap designs, while others have two. One-strap designs are excellent for light-duty models as they’re extremely comfortable, but they may slide around a bit with enough movement. Two-strap pads are a bit less comfortable, but they’ll typically stay in place better than one-strapped models.
Although there are knee pads that come in specific sizes like small through large, it’s typically the case that they’re a one-size-fits-most product. To accommodate users and legs of most sizes, they need to have adjustable straps.
Old-school knee pads have hook-and-loop straps, but they can irritate skin and become uncomfortable. Today’s best construction knee pads utilize thicker padding behind the hook-and-loop or elastic straps and buckles that hook on and off with ease. They’re quick to adjust, as the user simply pulls on the strap to tighten and unhooks the buckle to remove them. This strap-and-hook system allows for easy on and off, as well as on-the-fly adjustments throughout the day.
Construction sites are rough and tumble places. There may be loose nails, falling lumber, uneven surfaces, and other surprises around every corner. For a pair of construction knee pads to survive, they have to be tough. Thick foams, plastic or carbon fiber shells, and robust buckles will all help ensure a pair of knee pads is up to the task.
Keep in mind that damaged knee pads may not offer the protection necessary. Broken straps, cracked shells, or worn foam won’t hold up to the rigors of a project site, so be sure to replace them sooner rather than later.
Our Top Picks
That might seem like a lot of information on the best construction knee pads, but shopping may still seem intimidating. Breathe easy; the following list consists of some of the top products on the market.
Whether for a DIYer or a professional, ToughBuilt’s Gelfit Knee Pad Set may be the way to go. This six-piece set comes with three sets of gear—the system’s gel-padded knee pads, a set of non-marring Snapshells, and a set of rocking Snapshells. This allows the user to choose the combination best suited for the job at hand.
The knee pads themselves feature the brand’s Gelfit padding and a one-strap hook-and-loop design. This combination allows these pads to sit in place comfortably, and when used without the Snapshells, they are useful for flooring, roofing, or other similar applications. With the Snapshells in place, the user’s knees are protected from punctures. The only downside is the old-school hook-and-loop strap, but it’s wide enough to protect the user’s skin from irritation.
- Type: Combination
- Straps: 1, hook-and-loop
- Materials: Nylon, plastic
- Comfortable single-strap design
- Customizable Snapshells
- Thick Gelfit padding
Get the ToughBuilt Gelfit knee pad set on Amazon and Tractor Supply Co.
Folks looking to save their knees and their cash may want to give the McGuire Nicholas knee pads a try. These affordable padded-cap knee pads feature a thick padded interior, and it also has a gel pad cap that covers almost the entire pad. A two-strap hook-and-loop strap system keeps the knee pads in place.
This knee pad set features nonskid grips on the gel pad to keep the wearer’s legs in place instead of sliding apart. Also, the gel pad’s shape creates a solid, stable base from which to work. These knee pads also absorb shock, which is helpful for kneeling but also for times when someone may be hammering onto the floor nearby. The only concern is the hook and loop strap, as it needs to be aligned just right to be comfortable.
- Type: Padded cap
- Straps: 2, hook-and-loop
- Materials: Nylon, gel, plastic
- Shock-absorbing caps
- Nonskid design
- Affordable price point
Get the McGuire Nicholas knee pads on Amazon and Sears.
Knee pads have a tendency to slip around throughout the day, but this upgraded pair from ToughBuilt aims to solve the problem. These knee pads feature a hinged design where the top strap wraps around the thigh, keeping the knee centered and the pad in place despite the twisting and turning that might occur during a workday.
This set features a thick foam padding to cushion the knee as well as a hard plastic cap for protection against punctures and scrapes. The caps also feature a nonslip rubber coating. The straps are elastic, and the buckles snap into place easily for a sure fit. Made from plastic and nylon, these knee pads are relatively lightweight, though some might find them slightly bulky.
- Type: Shell cap
- Straps: 2, elastic with buckles
- Materials: Plastic and nylon
- Nonslip shell caps
- Hinged design with thigh support to keep knee centered
- Elastic straps with easy-on and easy-off buckles
Get the ToughBuilt Gelfit thigh support knee pads on Amazon and The Home Depot.
NoCry’s Flooring and Roofing Knee Pads are worth a look for anyone who has a flooring project on the horizon. These knee pads feature a thick foam-padded design with a wide strip of leather across the front to prevent the pads from slipping without causing marks on tile, hardwood, laminate, or other flooring surfaces. The dual-elastic strap design features durable buckles as well.
These foam pads are lightweight thanks to their polyester design and foam padding. However, the leather is durable enough to handle concrete projects as well. The main drawback to this particular pair of knee pads is that they won’t protect against punctures, so users need to be aware of what they’re kneeling on.
- Type: Padded cap
- Straps: 2, elastic with buckles
- Materials: Polyester, foam, plastic, leather
- Lightweight design thanks to foam and polyester
- Easy-on and easy-off elastic straps and buckle
- Nonslip and non-marking leather padding for flooring
- Will not protect against punctures
Get the NoCry knee pads on Amazon and Sears.
It doesn’t take long for concrete floors to zap the motivation out of a pair of knees, but Klein Tools Tradesman Pro knee pads aim to answer the call. These padded-cap knee pads absorb shock, stabilize the knee, and provide a comfortable base for hours of work—despite being on concrete.
These pads feature a one-strap elastic design with a quick-snap button that the user can easily take on and off. They also offer five layers of protection, including neoprene foam, an impact-absorbing gel, a polyurethane foam, a neoprene outer fabric, and a protective molded outer gel shell. If there’s a complaint to register, it’s that these knee pads are expensive.
- Type: Padded cap
- Straps: 1 strap with buckles
- Materials: Neoprene, gel, foam
- 1-strap design for comfort
- Wide knee cap for stabilization
- 5 layers of protection
Get the Klein Tools knee pads on Amazon and The Home Depot.
Roofing is tough work that often requires spending much of the repair time on the knees. These pads from Klein Tools might be just the ticket. They feature a two-strap, hinged design that keeps the knee pad in place and the knee centered, preventing the roofer from accidentally putting a knee down onto hot asphalt shingles or rolling their knee off the pad and slipping.
To further prevent the roofer from slipping, these knee pads feature rubber caps that grip the surface to avoid skidding. The lightweight design, breathable mesh, and neoprene lining make them comfortable enough to wear on a roof all day. One area in which Klein might improve these pads is to offer them in other colors, as the black is likely to absorb plenty of midday sun on top of a roof.
- Type: Padded cap
- Straps: 2 straps, buckled
- Materials: Neoprene and rubber
- Nonslip rubber padding
- Elastic straps with buckles
- Lightweight with breathable mesh
- Hinged design keeps the knee centered
- Black may absorb too much sunlight
Get the Klein hinged knee pads on Amazon and The Home Depot.
Folks who pride themselves on being able to perform any job, anywhere, on any surface should check out this set of knee pads from Custom Leathercraft and DeWalt. The DG5204 knee pads feature a soft gel padding layered over thick closed-cell foam. They also have a durable hard-shell cap for maximum comfort and protection.
Thanks to the nonskid coating on each hard shell, these pads are suitable for most surfaces, including concrete, wood, brick, tile, and more. The DG5204 pads also feature a two-strap design with one buckle closure and one hook-and-loop strap, allowing users to tailor the fit. Also, the neoprene construction does flex a bit with the knee, keeping these pads securely in place. Do keep in mind that these pads are nonskid, not non-marring, so they could potentially leave marks on some flooring surfaces.
- Type: Shell cap
- Straps: 1 buckle, 1 hook-and-loop
- Materials: Neoprene, plastic, rubber
- Multisurface pads
- Comfortable closed-cell foam
- Flexible neoprene construction
- They’re nonskid, not non-mar
Get the Custom Leathercraft DeWalt knee pads on Amazon and Ace Hardware.
The ToughBuilt – Gelfit Knee Pad Set is a great choice thanks to its customizable levels of protection, allowing DIYers to choose which Snapshells they’d prefer to use. However, for those who’d prefer not to bust their knees or their bank account, the affordable McGuire Nicholas knee pads are worth considering for their low price point and shock-absorbing caps.
How We Chose the Best Construction Knee Pads
We know that suggesting a list of the best construction knee pads takes work, so we did our due diligence. First, we called upon the experiences we’ve had with flooring, demolition, and other projects, focusing on the features that mattered to us and the features we wished we had.
Next, we performed extensive product research to compile a list of products that met the majority of our most important features. We then compared materials, design, and price points to determine if each product offered enough value. We tossed aside the ones that didn’t offer enough value and categorized the ones that did based on their strengths.
Even with all that background information on the best construction knee pads, there could still be some questions left to answer. The following collection of some of the most frequently asked questions about construction knee pads aims to answer those queries.
Q. How tight should knee pads be?
Knee pads should be tight enough that they don’t move, flop, or drop, but loose enough that they’re comfortable to wear for a long period of time.
Q. How do I keep my knee pads from sliding down?
There are two main reasons your knee pads might fall—they’re too big or they’re wet with sweat. Either find pads that fit better or wear pads that breathe better to prevent sweat.
Q. How do I use knee pads?
Place the cap over the knee and loosely attach the lower strap before loosely connecting the top strap. Adjust the knee pad’s positioning and tighten the straps for a snug fit.
Q. How do I care for and wash my knee pads?
The best way to wash knee pads is by hand 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.