The act of gardening tends to involve lot of digging and poking and clambering around in soil, usually concerning the removal of weeds or pesky slugs. It’s often best to be as close to the action as possible, which means that on many occasions you’ll be required to conduct your garden tasks on all fours. Poor old knee joints don’t take too kindly to this kind of punishment, especially if the ground on which you are working is uneven, wet or stony, and nothing hurts quite as much as kneeling on a sharp pebble (wayward fork mishaps withstanding).
For comfortable, low-level gardening (not to mention protecting your trousers from earthy stains) it’s a kneeler you need, and we’ve been testing the best, including both standalone kneelers and strap-on kneepads. To please our knees we were looking for kneelers that provided good protection, were durable and that scrubbed up nicely after a hard day toiling amongst the soil.
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Burgon & Ball Kneelo Knee Pads: from £11.47, Waitrose Garden
Secure velcro fastenings mean these swish pads cling to your knees like neoprene limpets. Padding is provided by thick memory foam which offers good knee protection, and the cut-out holes above the knees give a decent amount of flexibility, while allowing the necessary ventilation to prevent legs from cooking during frantic gardening exertions. These waterproof pads are extremely lightweight – it’s easy to forget you are wearing them so remember to check before heading off to the shops. Available in red, green, dark blue and turquoise.
Haws Leather Kneeling Pad: £31.44, Waitrose Garden
This generously proportioned 44cm x 22cm kneeler was the largest on test. Hand-stitched and constructed from a combination of tough leather and waxed cotton, it made for a robust, comfortable knee platform and scrubbed up nicely after a day messing around the garden. It’s fairly weighty and expensive, but this kind of quality does come at a price. Available in brown leather or a cream and pink rose pattern, with a waterproof cover.
Dickies Gel Pads: £16.90, Amazon
Designed for the building trade, these well-fitting, over-the-knee pads house a gel insert inside the outer shell which makes them super comfortable to wear. The PVC outer casing is rock hard – kneel on a nail or sharp piece of flint and you can be confident it’s not going to puncture your patella. There’s a certain Robocop vibe to these pads, which might raise the eyebrows of a few fellow gardeners, but that’s small price to pay for pierce-proof knee cladding. They’re wipe-clean, too, which is a bonus.
Town & Country Foldaway Garden Kneeler: £14.99, Keen Gardener
Designed for gardeners who have trouble bending down to tend their gardens, this strong, tubular-steel-framed device doubles up as both a seat and kneeler. Stand it upright and it’s a seat; flip it over and you can ease your knees down onto the foam padding by holding the supporting handles, which are kinked for a sure grip. It provides a soft base for weary knees – in bench mode it’ll sit stable providing the ground is reasonably flat. For those worried about ending up in a heap amongst the flower bed on uneven surfaces, ride it like a horse for maximum stability. This bench folds flat so will slide inside a shed or summerhouse for easy storage.
Burgon & Ball Buzz & Dotty Kneelo Kneeler: £17.99, Tesco
This new, fun-sized version of Burgon & Ball’s popular Kneelo Kneeler aims to entice kids into the garden to poke at plants instead of iPads. Made from memory foam and covered in wipe-clean, waterproof neoprene, it provides a suitably soft surface for small, bony knees, and there’s a useful carry-handle. It’s more comfortable than kneeling on an actual bee, that’s for sure. An equally colourful ladybird-inspired version is also available.
Draper Gardener’s Kneeler Seat: £18.52, Amazon
Featuring a springy, foam-lined platform for kneeling and strong handles for lowering yourself down, flip this combo over and you’ve got yourself a nice seat from which you can admire your handy weed work. This kneeler’s secret weapon is the spacious, lockable compartment (30cm x 14cm x 45cm) under the seat where you can stash your trowel, gloves and other gardening nick-nacks. The plastic kneeler stands resolute and steady – even when you’re overstretching for a mug of tea.
Briers Pantone Bluebell Kneeler: £15.99, Tesco
With its bevelled sides and generous, 50mm-deep expandable foam padding, this proved to be a luxurious, comfortable kneeler to reside upon. After aiding a particularly messy bulb-planting session, the white swatch on this kneeler turned brown (Pantone 1395) thanks to all the muck flying around, but scrubbed up to an acceptable shade (Pantone Warm Grey 1C) with a spot of soap and water. It’s water-repellent, too, so it should hold up provided you don’t absolutely soak it.
Kent & Stowe Garden Kneeler: £13.99, Hurst
This oblong offering was tasked with cushioning the blow of weeding on a stony pathway. The soft 45mm deep padding at least made this thankless task easy on our kneesies. A grippy, water-resistant suede-effect panel on the underside makes it sure-footed in wet conditions and we appreciated the large, stitched hanging loop for stowing our Stowe neatly after use.
Green Blade Garden Kneeler: 99p, Greenfingers
This foam-formed kneeler is cheap as chips. It’s a touch on the thin side, has an uncompromising, basic design (looks like a wonky slice of green bread), but does a fair job of cushioning your delicates when kneeling down on stony ground – of course, it can’t compete with the comfort of the pricier options on this list. It’s wipe-clean and has a carry handle for when you’re traversing the garden. The wording on the packaging states it is “not to be used as a floating device”, so warn your cat over using this kneeler as a pond lilo.
BosNeeleze Kneeler: £16.50, Agriframes
This is a good value, curvaceous kneeler with luxuriously thick padding that allows plenty of room for knee manoeuvres. After an unscheduled downpour, our soaking kneeler dried quickly, ready for more outdoor action. Made from EVA foam, covered in waterproof neoprene, it’s light too, so you can easily skim it across the garden for your gardening buddies to use if the call arises. Fashion-conscious gardenistas will be pleased to know that these kneelers come in seven colours, from slate grey to hot pink.
The Verdict: Garden kneelers
Kneel before (then into) a pair of Burgon & Ball Kneelo Knee pads – they provide the best portable platform from which to conduct knee-bound garden activities.
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