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Never heard of yoga knee pads? They’re one of the latest props gaining popularity among yoga practitioners, so it’s time to learn about them!
These aren’t the traditional “knee pads” you might think of – the big, bulky ones that volleyball players strap around their legs. No, a yoga knee pad is usually a small pillow or jelly cushion that you place under your knees for additional comfort and support during your practice.
The pads are often used by seniors or folks with bad knees, beginners who could use some extra support, or everyday yogis who are tired of their knees banging up against a hard floor with just a thin yoga mat for cushioning.
Knee pads for yoga can cost anywhere from $10 for a basic cushion pad to gel cushions that fetch closer to $50 for a pair. Which product you buy depends on how desperately you want that cushioning, and how versatile you need the pads to be.
Some of the gel pads are flexible enough to serve as support for wrists, elbows, and even heads (try a headstand with a cushion underneath you!) Some of the cushion pads can be used in other situations, such as on the floor next to the tub when you’re giving the kids a bath.
These may be fairly new to the yoga world, but they’ve got so many practical uses for so many people, you wonder why it took so long for someone to develop them! Read on for our suggestions for the best knee pads for yoga.
Our Choice for Best Yoga Knee Pad
HEATHYOGA KNEE PAD
The Heathyoga Knee Pad is basically like a mini-yoga mat, as it’s made from the same non-toxic TPE material that many mats use. This knee pad is 26 by 10 inches, with a thickness of 12 mm (about a half-inch.) It has solid traction so it won’t slide around on your mat like some other pads.
While some knee pad brands are too thick to roll up, the Heathyoga pad rolls up nicely and even comes with a strap to keep it cinched. The Heathyoga pad comes in four colors, providing a nice variety. You can choose from purple, teal, black, and dark blue.
The Heathyoga pad is marketed as being great for not only yoga, but also any activity where you have to lie down or kneel: gardening, camping, fixing cars, and household chores such as bathing children. Most knee cushions are good for all of those activities, but Heathyoga was one of the first brands to make that obvious connection in its marketing.
Are there any cons to this pad? Not really. The only caution we’d give is that its 12mm thickness is less than some other pads. While 12mm should be more than enough to provide most folks with sufficient cushioning, senior citizens or people with serious knee problems may want something thicker.
Other Top Knee Pads Available
The Most Versatile and Supportive Gel Cushions
These Yoga Jellies are cool because they’re different from many other exercise knee pads out there. These are small, circular discs made from flexible gel material. The discs are roughly 5.5 inches across and come with an indentation in the top that gives them a flying saucer appearance.
Yoga Jellies are soft and malleable, so they essentially provide a custom-fit as you rest your knees, wrists, or elbows on them. That’s one advantage these products have over the others that are much less flexible. Because of their sticky material, these discs also have great traction and will not slide around during your poses.
Another advantage is that they’re two separate items instead of one flat pad. That means you can move them around to cushion multiple parts of the body at the same time. For instance, during Sunbird Pose you could place a jelly under your knee, and another under your wrist, which is not possible with a standard pad.
Find the Yoga Jellies in six colors named after stones: Amethyst, Tanzanite, Malachite, Aquamarine, Obsidian, and Sapphire. I really like the Malachite version – you don’t see many companies that make knee pads in that deep green color.
The main con with the Yoga Jellies is their higher price tag. You can get other yoga knee pads for half the price, so buying these gel yoga discs is a larger commitment. If your budget can handle it, we highly recommend Yoga Jellies.
A Nice Extra-Thick Yoga Knee Pad Cushion
KINESIS YOGA KNEE PAD
The Kinesis Yoga Pad is pretty similar to the Heathyoga pad that we love. The differences? The Kinesis pad has slightly different dimensions and a bit more thickness.
This Kinesis cushion measures about 24 by 12 inches, or two feet by one foot. Most notably, it’s a full inch thick, which ranks it among the thicker knee pads available. Anyone with sensitive knees or who just wants a little extra cushioning will want to consider this brand to take the load off on those difficult weight-bearing poses.
This pad is made from NBR, a natural rubber that is eco-friendly, unlike the PVC material some pads use. It also comes with a nice mesh bag in which you can store and transport the cushion.
Not everyone wants a thicker knee pad, so you’ll want to comparison shop and determine if the 1-inch thick model is right for you. But that’s the only real criticism of this product. The Kinesis Yoga Knee Pad offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee, though it’s not clear precisely what that means, in terms of whether they’ll offer you a full refund, or just another knee pad as a replacement.
One of the Best Quality Exercise Knee Pads on the Market
SUKHAMAT KNEE CUSHION
We can’t make a list of the best yoga knee pads without including the Sukhamat Knee Pad. This was one of the very first knee cushions available. It’s been listed on Amazon for more than six years, way before some of today’s competitor brands had even been founded.
Sukhamat has been providing people with a pain-free yoga practice for many years, and it’s still one of the top-rated knee pads you can find. It’s a simple, no-frills product that gets the job done because it’s well-made.
Like the Kinesis, the Sukhamat cushion is made of closed-cell NBR material. That means it’s a dense and durable material that won’t absorb sweat or moisture. It provides solid traction on your mat so it won’t slide around. Sukhamat prides itself on customer service and currently offers a money-back guarantee for Amazon customers who are not satisfied.
This knee pad measures 15 mm (0.6 inches) thick, so it provides slightly more cushioning than the Heathyoga. It’s 24 by 10 inches, making it slightly shorter than the Kinesis. It comes in six vibrant colors, from pink to sky blue to black. This product is biodegradable, latex-free, and it’s still thin enough to roll up with your mat.
The Thickest Yoga Knee Cushion – A Full 2.5 Inches!
PROSOURCEFIT EXERCISE BALANCE PAD
Okay, let’s get serious about cushioning. Folks with knee issues who need the thickest knee pad available should stop reading and pick up the ProSourceFit Exercise Balance Pad. This behemoth is a full 2.5 inches thick. That’s five times as thick as some of the other leading brands!
That extra thickness means extra cushioning and support for your joints. Your knees and wrists will thank you. This pad comes in two sizes: one is 12 inches long, and the other is 19 inches long. Both are 15 inches wide, which is less wide than a yoga mat, so keep that in mind.
Despite its heft, the pad is still fairly lightweight at less than 1 pound. It’s made from TPE, a blend of synthetic materials that is common among yoga mats and props.
Are there any cons when it comes to having such a thick pad? Sure, there can be. You may find that because the mat is thicker, it’s a bit more intrusive and therefore more difficult to pull off certain poses. And it will be bulkier if you’re trying to travel with it.
For many experienced yogis, the ProSourceFit would be a little too thick for everyday yoga use. But for those who cannot practice yoga without some extra support due to health concerns or joint issues, this exercise balance pad is for you.
Versatile Cushion Pads for Knees and Wrists
SUNFLOWER HOME KNEE PAD CUSHIONS
If you like the idea of small knee cushions but find the Yoga Jellies to be a bit too expensive, the Sunflower Home brand would like to say hello. These Sunflower Home Knee Cushions can help you avoid joint discomfort, and because they are two separate pieces, you can move them around to support your ankles, elbows, wrists, or knees.
Sunflower Home is a relative newcomer to the world of yoga cushions, but these knee supports already have a number of great reviews and ratings. They are composed from foam that is 20 mm (about 0.8 inches) thick.
These knee pads come in kind of a clover design, with four rounded corners and a circular indentation. They measure 7.75 inches in diameter and weight about 10 ounces each. That makes them heavier than some of the other pads. The Sunflower Home foam knee cushions come in turquoise, gray, and rose red.
The Most Portable and Lightweight Knee Cushions
YogaRat makes one of our favorite microfiber towels – I’ve used for it for a few years now and I love it. The company has also developed a highly-rated knee pad that they gave a cute nickname.
The YogaRat RatPad is an oval-shaped disc, but unlike the Yoga Jellies, it’s composed of yoga mat material rather than gel cushioning. The disc is large – almost 12 inches wide and 7.5 inches in height. It stands 1 inch thick. Its meager weight of 2.2 ounces make it super-easy to transport and travel with.
The key thing to note is that the RatPad is sold as a single item, not a pair. So pick up two if you want to be able to use them like the Gaiam Gel Cushions or the Yoga Jellies.
The RatPad is wide enough that it can be used for many yoga poses you might not immediately think of, such as headstands. Folks who are just getting started with headstands often feel like they could use some extra cushioning on the hard floor – this pad is totally perfect for that situation.
Who Can Benefit From Yoga Knee Pads?
Just about everybody! Seniors and those with sensitive or injured knees are the most obvious candidate for using yoga knee pads. You can’t focus on proper breathing or form if your mind is preoccupied with the pain in your knees or wrists. Pads can put your mind at ease and allow you to fully engage with your yoga practice.
Many other groups of people can benefit. Such as yoga beginners. Discomfort and soreness can occur when you start any new exercise activity like yoga, especially if you haven’t yet built up the necessary core strength to pull of some of the more complicated postures. Extra padding can help deal with that.
Even experienced folks can benefit from knee pads, especially folks whose joints may be tight after sitting behind a desk all week long. Yoga is supposed to be an escape from the busy life of the real world, not a place where you feel the negative effects of a poorly-made office chair.
That’s especially true if you practice yoga at home on hardwood floors. In that setting, a thin yoga mat may not be enough cushion for your pressure points. Adding a knee pad into your practice can help alleviate pain – or prevent pain from happening in the first place!
Qualities to Consider When Making a Decision
Materials. Most athletic knee pads are made of the same non-toxic TPE material, but as noted, there are exceptions. If you prefer a softer and squishier product, the Yoga Jellies could be calling your name. Read through reviews and use your best judgment to make the call.
Design & Color. Physical appearance is less important than other factors, but you may still want to take it into consideration. Do you want something colorful like pink or sky blue, or would you prefer a more muted gray or black pad? And do you want a single flat knee pad like the Heathyoga, or two separate pads such as the RatPad?
Dimensions. Thickness is the primary difference between many of these products. Your specific situation will determine whether you need an extra-thick mat such as the Kinesis, or whether you can go with a more standard-sized pad like the Heathyoga. Don’t forget to check the length and width as well, since pads have slight variations in their dimensions.
Price. Of course, price is always a factor. The Yoga Jellies are currently the priciest item on our list of knee pads for yoga, while some other brands are quite a bit cheaper. Stay within your means, but don’t go too cheap because you may risk sacrificing quality.
Durability. Will your knee pad last for years, or will it fray and tear after only a few months? Unfortunately, there’s no way to know this for sure until you get the product into your home. But reading reviews can help. If you’re concerned about durability, go with one of the brands that has been manufacturing yoga knee pads for years and earned a great reputation, such as Sukhamat.
Extras. A couple of the knee pads in our guide come with carrying cases or other extra bonuses that could make the difference if you’re torn between two different products.
More FAQs About Knee Pads
How can you wash or clean the pads?
It depends. For most knee pads, which are made of basic yoga mat material, you’ll want to clean them the way you’d clean a yoga mat. Which means using sprays and cleaning solutions and wiping down by hand. You could toss a pad into the washing machine, but that sort of wear and tear will likely make the pad fray and break down sooner than it otherwise would.
As for the gel cushions, wash by hand only! Yoga Jellies instructs its customers to use dish soap and water, or an alcohol-based cleaning solution. Use only as much water as necessary. Do not fully submerge them in water – the jellies hate water as much as your cat does!
Do people bring knee pads to the yoga studio?
Knee pads are still somewhat rare when it comes to in-studio practice. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bring them. Props such as yoga blocks are common in classes, so unless your studio has specific rules against outside props, you could bring them along. Of course, these athletic knee pads are totally ideal for doing yoga at home.
Can you travel with yoga knee pads?
Sure! Most are small enough to fit into a suitcase or travel bag. Most of the square and rectangular pads fold up into a cylinder, like mini yoga mats. The RatPad and Yoga Jellies are already small enough to just pop inside your carryon. The ability to easily transport them is one of the best factors about yoga knee pads.
Can you use these knee pads for hot yoga?
You could, but you’d probably need a hand towel to set on top of the pad. Pretty much all the yoga knee pads on the market right now are made from non-absorbent materials. So your sweat will slide right off of them onto your mat. This is not ideal! But if you have a good hand towel ready to soak up the moisture, then you’ll be able to make it work.
Can you use knee pads to perform yoga without a mat at all?
That is not recommended, especially if you’re a beginner. But if you know what you’re doing, and you find yourself in a hotel room while traveling, or in a grassy park, these pads – especially the thicker ones like the ProSourceFit – could serve as a yoga mat alternative and allow you to get by without a mat for a couple days.
Are there any other uses for yoga knee pads?
As noted earlier, you can use these around the house for any tasks that require you to be on your knees or back, such as cleaning the floor or tub. In terms of other yoga uses, you can sit on the pads if your tailbone needs a pillow. Or you can use them to soften the ground while you perform headstands.
You can also use them like yoga mat extenders if you wish. A lot of yoga mats still come in 68-inch length, which is too short for anyone taller than 5’8″ (See: What Size Yoga Mat Should I Buy?) You could place the pad at the top of your mat to essentially lengthen the size of your mat by a foot. That gives your head or feet a chance to get up off the floor and onto a supportive pad.
Other Recommended Yoga Products
We love all of the knee pads and gel supports listed in this guide. Many of them are great for wrist support in addition to knee support.
But if you want a product that are specifically made for wrist support, consider getting a sturdy pair of yoga gloves. Gloves can either help with your grip on a slippery mat, or they can offer compression and pain reduction.
If you find that even a knee pad isn’t enough cushioning for you, check out our list of the top yoga pillows and bolsters. Bolsters tend to be softer and fluffier than pads, so they can be an invaluable asset for your practice.
Yoga footwear is becoming more common, so we’ve created a guide to the best yoga shoes for men and women.
Finally, if you find that you have difficulty getting into certain yoga poses due to flexibility or pain issues, consider picking up a cork yoga block or foam yoga block. Blocks add support and resistance so that you don’t have to bend quite as far when you’re getting into plank pose or any number of other common postures.