There are some times when the only way to get the right welding angle is to kneel.
With cutting debris, hot sparks and molten blobs of metal down there, you need protection.
Knee injuries like cuts, burns and bruises are not only painful, they can be debilitating.
If you want to avoid lost time in the shop, you need a good set of knee pads.
Here are some great welding knee pads for you to choose from.
A quick comparison
Redbacks Advanced Slide-ins
Toughbuilt KP-G3 Gelfit
KneePro Ultra Flex III
Custom Leathercraft 313
Best Welding Knee Pads With Reviews
Here's a list of some of the best knee pads on the market
1. Redbacks Advanced Slide-in Knee Pads
- Professional quality
- Certified EN14404 Type 2 Level 1
- Flexible rubber construction
- Designed to last 10X longer
- Tested for 550 pounds
- Fit pocketed work pants
- High impact design
- Curved for the knee
- They're heavy
- Tend to slide around in the pockets
This brand is well-known in the UK. The Redbacks Advanced Slide-in Knee Pads are designed to fit into the pad pockets on branded work trousers like Jobman and Carhartt. They have a lattice design that allows compression to fit into narrower pockets and they can be trimmed to fit vertically.
Redbacks Advanced Slide-ins are made of a firm, flexible and nearly indestructible rubber. They’re very good at preventing impact, but due to the open design, they’re not really meant to stop impalements or being poked by shards of metal. If molten blobs or bead spatter burn through the trousers, these pads could be damaged over time, not it’s not likely to be much of a concern. Users report that these pads are heavy and some felt that the pads moved too much inside the pockets.
These pads are curved to fit the knee and washable as well as waterproof. They are pricey, but if you aren’t worried about being stabbed by something and just need to drop onto your knees, they’ll work very well. Redbacks Advanced Slide-ins do have a cover that helps to protect the knee from minor dangers.
2. Toughbuilt KP-G3 Gelfit
- GelFit gel cushion with foam
- Abrasion resistant fabric
- Comfortable leg straps
- Anti-slip pads stay on the knee
- Ruggedly built
- Very comfortable
- Durable construction
- Comfortable leg straps
- High side walls
- Distribute pressure well
- Dig into your shins when standing
Toughbuilt KP-G3 Gelfit Knee Pads use a gel material, combined with foam to minimize impact on your knee caps and distribute pressure. Users praised the comfortable leg straps, which keep the pads secure but don’t cut off circulation. They’re designed with high sidewalls, which can result in these pads digging into shins slightly when you stand up. These pads have a foam outer for gripping slippery floors, but it could probably be damaged from sparks and bead splatter if you wear them while standing.
They also have high side walls to help minimize any twisting of your knees. Users found the Toughbuilt KP-G3 Gelfit knee pads comfortable to wear all day. They’re designed ergonomically to provide lateral stability by using thigh support. Users often mention how ruggedly built this design is, with an abrasion-resistant fabric covering that keeps them in good shape.
The Toughbuilt KP-G3 Gelfit does a great job of staying on the knee properly, centering the knee cap well without rotating off the knee caps when you shift your weight or have to walk on your knees for a few feet.
3. K-P Industries KneePro Ultra Flex III
- 5/8-inch high density foam pad
- Grip strip for traction
- Hard polymer shell
- Speed Clip for easy adjustment
- Hinged to move with the knee
- Straps leave room for the knee
- Hinges use steel rivets
- Snap-on elastic straps
- Very durable
- Slippery when wet
- Need to wear with pants
The K-P Industries Knee Pro Ultra Flex III Knee Pads use a hard polymer hinged outer shell to provide long lasting construction. They have rubber grip pads to provide a good grip on slippery surfaces without damaging the floor. While the hard polymer outer won’t be harmed, there is a possibility this rubber pad can be damaged by hot spatter if you weld while standing. Lined with ⅝-inch closed cell foam, these knee pads can be quite comfortable.
The riveted hinges on the outer shell, combined with elastic straps that are located well above and below the knee, make the K-P Industries Knee Pro Ultra Flex III knee pads easy to walk in and keep your knees from getting numb. Many users felt that closed-cell foam was a bad idea, because moisture can build up inside the padding against the knee, resulting in irritation or slipping.
The K-P Industries Knee Pro Ultra Flex III benefits from a lot of refinement over the years to produce a design that works very well for its intended purpose. This pad can be a great inexpensive choice.
4. CLC Custom Leathercraft 313 Heavy Duty Leather Kneepads
- 1/2 in. thick felt lining
- Highly adjustable
- Crafted for durability
- Heavy duty construction
- Riveted for extra strength
- Heavy leather straps
- Stitching is extra heavy
- Classic leather design
- All day comfort
- Great coverage
- Leather straps are stiff
- Need constant adjustment
The CLC Custom Leathercraft 313 Heavy Duty Leather Kneepads have two layers of half-inch water-repellant felt padding. The adjustable leather straps hold them in place well and they’re put together with heavy-duty stitching. They’re also riveted for better durability. Because they’re made of thick leather like saddles, they can take a while for you to break them in to where they’re more comfortable. Users report that once broken in, these knee pads are comfortable enough to wear all day long.
For many users, the CLC Custom Leathercraft 313 knee pads was offered in sizes that seemed to run a little too small. For that reason, you may want to order a size larger than you would normally use. This is probably one reason that many owners mentioned the need to frequently adjust these knee pads to stay in place.
The CLC Custom Leathercraft 313 welding knee pads have a lot of padding, and felt is very comfortable. They’ve got a certain old-school appeal and they’ve been used for decades. Leather pads may be the best available for resistance to damage from welding spatter and sparks.
5. REXBETI Heavy Duty Knee Pads
- Double thick gel
- High density foam cushion
- Thigh support
- Strong elastic strap
- Heavy duty PVC shell
- Ergonomic design
- Include 4 extension straps
- Reinforced Stitching
- Wide, stretchable straps
- Non-marking front cover
- Elastic straps are not for thin legs
- Move around on the kneecap
REXBETI Heavy Duty Welding knee pads feature double thick gel for your knee caps. They back this up with a high density foam cushion that makes a big difference by the end of the day. They’re ergonomically designed, with thigh stabilization to minimize lateral movement and fatigue. They have wide, stretchy elastic velcro straps that hold the knee pads securely, although they may be too loose for skinny legs.
This is a hard shell design and comes with a non-marking rubber insert in the front to keep from damaging floors while you’re kneeling. This insert could be damaged by bead spatter if you weld standing up while wearing these pads. REXBETI Heavy Duty welding knee pads incorporate heavy-duty stitching in every part of their construction, ensuring the straps will stay where they’re put and will take a lot of wear before they start to degrade.
REXBETI put a lot of thought into these knee pads, but there were reports from many users of the knee pads moving around on their knee caps. Heavy PVC construction will last a long time and resists damage from sparks and spatter.
When you buy knee pads, you need the most protection you can for your knees that you can afford. This is one part of the body that receives cumulative damage over time. Don’t put up with a little discomfort “just for now” because down the road, that’s extra damage that could have been avoided.
Depending on what kind of work you do and how much time you end up spending on your knees, even a temporary period of discomfort lasting a few weeks could be the difference between treating pain in your golden years with surgery or with ibuprofen and exercise.
Saving money that costs you medical damage, in the long run, is a false sense of economy. Surgery is more expensive than the most expensive knee pads.
Knee Pad Designs
Knee pads come in several main types, and each has inherent advantages and disadvantages depending on the environment you have to work in.
Strap-on Knee Pads
These pads are designed as a basic shell or protective piece of armor that straps to your legs with elastic, velcro, leather, or fabric belts. Look for strength, flexibility, stretch, adjustability, and wide straps.
Slide-in Knee Pads
Slide-in pads, sometimes called built-in knee pads, are similar to strap-on pads in that they are a piece of basic armor in plate form, molded to fit your knee. They are made to slide into work trousers that are designed with pockets that accept armor plates like knee pads and thigh protection. Some of these work pants and overalls are constructed with the armor sewn into the pants, accounting for the “built-in” terminology.
Soft Cap Knee Pads
Soft caps are made of rubber, foam or flexible polymer and are useful on hard, slippery or wet surfaces to provide both grip and insulation.
Hard Cap Knee Pads
Hard caps are intended for situations that require dragging your knees on hard surfaces or twisting and pivoting on your knees. They’re also designed to protect from problems like shards of metal, cuts, impalements, burns, and impacts.
Flat Cap Knee Pads
Flat caps are like hard caps, but with a flat spot to provide stability while you work. They prevent rocking and leaning.
Knee Pad Requirements
Here are some things to think about when shopping for knee pads.
It’s important to match any tool to its proper use. Where is it going to be used and to what purpose? If you’re kneeling in soft sand, that’s a different scenario than a slick concrete floor or asphalt. Each surface is better served by a different type of knee pad.
Slick surfaces – It’s probably best to avoid using hard cap knee pads if you’re going to be kneeling on sheet metal, shiny concrete, tile, ice or other slick surfaces. This is especially true if the surface is tilted or moves around. To some degree, slippery surfaces can be mitigated by grippy rubber inserts on the front of the knee caps, designed to provide traction and skid resistance.
Soft Surfaces – If you’re going to be on carpet, sand, turf, or other high-traction, yielding surfaces, a hard cap knee pad makes more sense so you can turn and pivot without causing an injury. Soft caps and grippy pads can cause you to twist, sprain, or otherwise injure your knees or hips.
Trash and Debris – When you’re dealing with lots of cut metal, screws, and nails, glass, rocks, or other debris, a hard cap is probably the best choice to protect your knees from abrasions, cuts, and stabbing. If the surface is also slick, you can use leather to gain both traction and impact protection. In some cases, a grip insert on the front is an option in this type of environment.
You need to think about what type of liner and padding you’re going to have inside your welding knee caps.
- Gel – Some knee caps offer a lining made of the same type of gel seen with shoe or boot insoles It’s impact-resistant, waterproof, and will custom-form around your knee, adapting to shape.
- Felt – Thick felt has been used traditionally on knee caps for a long time. Check to see how thick this layer is and whether it can be replaced or built up by stacking layers of felt to handle hot or cold surfaces and to help with impact resistance.
- Foam – A lot of manufacturers turn to foam to provide impact resistance and a way to spread the weight around while you’re kneeling. This can work very well even on inexpensive knee caps. The concerns here are how firm the foam is, whether it’s absorbent or water repellent, and if you can find replacement liners for maintenance or upgrades.
- Stuffed liners – Many knee caps offer a pillow-like liner made from suede, leather, cotton, or other fabric, stuffed with beads, styrofoam dots, or shredded materials like pine straw or sawdust.
Other Things to Think About
Design – When looking at knee pad designs, consider where you’re going to be working, whether the pads are hard or soft, and how that serves your purpose. If it’s a hard design, is it hinged or flex in some way to adapt to your knee bending? Does it interfere with your shin or thigh when you straighten your leg?
Material – Think about how well the material protects from the welding process. Will this material be able to repel sparks and molten metal, or can it catch fire? What if your grinder slips and briefly contacts the pad? Will it protect your knee or be ripped off or cut through? What if you fall to your knees on a hard surface?
Attachment – How are these knee pads going to be attached? Are they strapped on or slide-in type? If they’re strapped or pulled over the leg, will they restrict movement or blood flow? Are the straps comfortable, yet secure? Are they wide enough to alleviate pressure over several hours of use? How are the straps attached to the pads?
Looking at this selection of welding knee pads, we’ve chosen the Redbacks Advanced Slide-in Knee Pads as the Best Welding Knee Pads based on material, fit, and quality.
However, recognizing that not everyone prefers or can afford work trousers with slide-in pockets, we also recommend the Toughbuilt KP-G3 Gelfit welding knee pads, with the reservation that for some people they might dig into the shins a little when standing up, so you would do well to ask around or try on a set if possible before committing to the purchase.
If you’re one of the people that will be bothered by the Gelfit pads, consider the CLC Custom Leathercraft 313 knee pads. Leather protective equipment has been used by welders for over a century, and these are a pretty nice example of a good design.