Product Name & Award
Top Pick: KneePro Tactical Ultra Flex III
Runner Up: Caterpillar Men's Cargo Pant
As a welder, your knees can be especially vulnerable. You may have to kneel to get in a good position to make the weld, or you may be working where there’s lots of scrap or junk.
Welders need to protect their body from exposure to sharp metal edges, jagged surfaces, red hot metal, sparks and other hot flying metal or else risk consistent bodily harm.
There’s also external surface materials like rocks, uneven concrete or gravel that can puncture knees or lower legs to worry about. With all of these factors you definitely need some of the best welding kneepads.
Kneepads come in two varieties: built-in kneepads and strap-on kneepads. Both types are used by many welding professionals and each type has its pros and cons.
By Gregory Sanders: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding welder knee pads available for those who are interested in protective gear for welding. The best 6 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best welder knee pads for welding currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.
Best Welder Knee Pads
#1 - KP INDUSTRIES ULTRA FLEX III
You can perform for hours in these kneepads from KP Industries because they are so comfortable.
Made with a tough, hard plastic outer shell, they also have flexibility due to the hinged joints which allow you to move with ease. The outer shell is chemical-resistant and can withstand extreme temperatures, making it perfect for this line of work.
The built-in pad is ½” thick, and made of closed-cell foam so the pads are super comfortable and protect the knees from impact. The pads are sweat and water repellant, which helps keep them cleaner longer.
Soft elastic woven straps above and below the knee strap easily strap into place behind the knee with a speed clip that slides into place and stays secure. They don’t ride up or slide down and will not bind the knee.
While the plastic outer shell on these kneepads is flexible, it won’t tolerate big adjustments, so these may not be the best choice for people with large legs. You'll also have to make sure you get the right size, as if it's not a good fit they won't be nearly as comfortable.
Additionally, you will want to wear these pads over pants as the hard, plastic outer shell could chafe, pinch or scratch bare skin. The KP Industries Ultra Flex kneepad will provide you comfort, protection and durability. These kneepads come in a range of colors: black, green, tan and gray.
KP Industries products are covered by a limited lifetime warranty against defects in material and workmanship for the normal life of the product. They will either repair or replace the item in question which definitely inspires some confidence in the brand. Their customer support is solid, often responding every 1-2 times a day.
#2 - CUSTOM LEATHERCRAFT 313 LEATHER
Custom Leathercraft 313 kneepads are made from top-grain leather and are lined with ½” thick water-repellent felt lining. The kneepads are riveted around the edges, which gives them heavy-duty strength to hold up in even the harshest environments.
They come in one size, which will fit most knee sizes as the leather straps are adjustable. Straps secure in place with a steel buckle. If you are looking for a rugged kneepad that will provide all-day comfortable wear while you work, the Custom Leathercraft 313 is an excellent choice.
Some users had problems with this knee pads when climbing ladders because they are a bit bulky. You definitely lose some dexterity and balance with these on so be careful around ladders.
Custom Leathercraft products are covered by a limited lifetime warranty against defects in material and workmanship for the normal life of the product. They will either repair or replace the item in question. With decent support (24 hour response time) they do get back to you, but it's not always as fast as you may hope.
#3 - TSE SAFETY TSE-TFLX 2.0 KNEEPADS
True Flex kneepads provide durable protection and can be used in some of the most extreme working environments on the planet. They are made from a hard plastic outer shell that is designed to flex with the natural motion of the knee, using a hinged joint.
The interior of the shell contains a dense, comfortable foam pad with an air vent system that allows the knee to breathe. Shock-absorbing grip strips protect the kneecap from extreme physical jolts.
Only bad thing about this knee pads is the relatively weak return and warranty policy. You may return within 30 days of delivery for a full refund so be sure to test the pads extensively in that period.
Adjustable Nylon elastic straps above and below the knee keep the kneepads securely in place and do not bind the knee. The TSE True Flex kneepad should provide you maximum comfort, protection and durability and are a good alternative to the #1 rated Ultra Flex III. These kneepads come in blue with black grip strips.
Best Built In Kneepad
Kneepads that are built in are either permanently sewn into a pair of pants or inserted into a pocket that is sewn into the pants that you will be wearing while you work. They are typically lighter weight than strap on knee-pads and are less bulky. If you want something heavy duty go with one of the choices above instead of the products below.
#1 - CATERPILLAR TRADEMARK TROUSERS
Caterpillar doesn’t just make construction equipment - they also make a line of rugged work wear.
The Caterpillar CAT work pant is a heavy-duty work pant made out of abrasion-resistant cotton/polyester canvas material with reinforced stitching.
Despite the fact that they can handle heavy duty work, they are amazingly lightweight. The waistband has gripper tape to keep shirts and pants in place. There are also side waistband tool holders and lots of pockets.
The knees are double-layered with pockets with foam kneepads. While the price is right, the standard foam kneepads are not the most durable.
These pants have double knees made of some cordura-like material that actually stands up to the rigors of contractor's daily routine, and though after a while there can be a couple of small cuts in them, they are nowhere near wearing through after a year or two of solid use, making them still a decent buy.
#2 - BLAKLADER UTILITY WORKWEAR
Swedish manufacturer Blaklader Workwear has manufactured quality work wear for centuries.
Their 100% cotton canvas pants with built-in leg shields and kneepad pockets for adjustable kneepads are just the thing for heavy-duty welders.
They are triple-stitched for durability. These pants also have reinforced utility pockets and side pockets and ankle cuffs so you are guaranteed to be protected against sparking and have handy places to put things.
These pants are heavy and can get hot when worn for long periods in hot weather.
Blaklader will cover ripping or tearing of seams caused by normal wear and tear for the lifetime of the garment. Blaklader will also cover premature failure of any of our products caused by defect in the original materials and workmanship. Blaklader has the right to repair or replace any defective merchandise at its option and expense.
#3 - JOBMAN WORKWEAR MEN’S ULTIMATE CRAFTSMAN’S WORKPANTS
Jobman offers a wide selection of products for the working man. Jobman’s work pants are made of lightweight materials that will keep you comfortable in any temperature. They are triple-stitched for durability.
Pockets and knee areas are reinforced with Kevlar, and front and rear pockets have reflective bands for safety. The kneepad pockets are sewn so that the kneepads are put in on the inside of the pant at the bottom of the knee.
A drawback is that the front pockets are slanted, making it difficult to keep contents in when kneeling or bending.
These heavy duty workpants feature quality techniques and top quality fabric throughout. These pants have a gusset that provides day long comfort for the wearer.
Why Would You Need To Use Kneepads When Welding?
In welding there are many situations that require you to kneel in order to get the right weld, cut on a piece of metal or part.
This can be extremely taxing on the joints. Stress applied to the patella and the patella tendon after extended periods of kneeling can result in knee-specific injuries.
Many automotive welders spend a great deal of time on their knees welding parts in various places of the car where it’s just not feasible to weld standing up.
This type of welding requires flexibility as you may be standing part of the time and then kneeling the other part of the job. A kneepad that is flexible and will not bind, slip or prevent motion, yet protects while kneeling, is required for this type of welding.
Additionally, some welders work in outdoor environments where they kneel for long periods on hard, rough, wet or cold surfaces.
Outdoor work sites can have rocks, glass and other objects that can damage the knee. A kneepad with a hard, protective outer area that is also flexible and allows motion is what is needed in this type of welding environment
During welding and cutting operations, having the best welding kneepads for the job enhances your welding speed, ability and safety. kneepads can protect your knees from pain, while also providing insulation, knee cap protection and comfort.
Two Options: Pants With Built-in Kneepads Or Strap-on Kneepads
Kneepads come in two varieties: built-in kneepads and strap-on kneepads.
Both types are used by many welding professionals and each type has its pros and cons.
kneepads built into work pants or jeans are very convenient. You don’t have to worry about whether you forgot to bring your kneepads to the job and you don’t have to take so much time to put them on or take them off. With built-in kneepads, you don’t have to worry about them sliding out of position, as they stay right in the pocket around the knee.
Some people complain that the pants with built-in kneepads can get hot and are heavier than normal work pants. Another drawback is that they cannot be easily transferred to other clothing.
Kneepads that strap on are flexible or hard materials shaped like a knee that can be strapped on around the outside of the pants you would wear to work.
Kneepads that are strapped on offer the ability to be transferred from one pair of pants to another.
They can be used when you need them and taken off when you don’t. Another very desirable feature is the ability to adjust the straps to fit your leg size and to place them right where you want them on the knee.
Some kneepads that strap on have been known to shift a lot or ride up or slide down requiring frequent adjustment throughout the day.
They can become too loose or too tight and, depending on the type of straps, can bind around the crease of the knee and cut off circulation.
How To Make Your Own Pants With Knee Pads
You can also make your work more comfortable by creating your own built in knee pad pants.
Knee pain is a common complaint of trade professionals in the construction and welding trades. Whether you are looking for kneepads for indoor or outdoor welding jobs, there are a variety of choices.
Built-in kneepads offer the convenience of not having to put on and take off or constantly adjust the knee pads but they do make the pants heavier and hotter to wear. Strap-on kneepads give the option of only putting them on when you need them but they can ride up or slide down and require adjustment to use.
When choosing the proper kneepad for the job, you should review the different types, paying close attention to the following: durability of the material for prolonged use, impact resistance, and affordability.
Proper knee protection will make a day’s work more comfortable and prevent long-term knee damage.