Best garden kneelers
A decent kneeler is an invaluable aid to make tiring garden tasks, such as weeding and planting, more bearable, particularly for people who find bending or squatting difficult. It will protect you from ache-inducing cold and damp ground, mud-caked knees, and bruises or injuries from uneven surfaces, stones and prickles.
Kneeler seats can even provide a bit of support to help make kneeling or standing that little bit easier on weary knees.
Most kneelers are fairly simple and don’t cost a great deal, but it’s still worth spending your money wisely on one that will keep you warm and dry while its durable padding takes some of the pressure off your knees.
So we’ve tested different kneeler mats, kneeler seats and knee pads to help you choose the right one for you.
Best garden kneelers
|What it looks like||Name||Our findings||Where to buy|
|This durable, double-length mat measures 88 x 39cm and provides plenty of space so you can adjust your position or move along a flowerbed without having to stand up.
It’s fairly thin and does not provide great pressure relief for the knees. But protection from cold ground is decent and it’s waterproof, so you won’t get soggy knees as you garden.
You can easily wipe the surface clean, and our testers could see themselves using it in a wide range of gardening.
||Like all the kneeler seats we tested, this one keeps knees warm and dry, although the foam kneeling surface is quite firm and does not provide much pressure relief. The kneeler pad is 30cm wide so may not fit all people.
Our testers found it stable and comfortable when used on a wide range of surfaces, with good kneeling and sitting heights for working at. The legs provide strong support to help you get up and down. The wide, ridged plastic seat feels a bit hard and creates a dirt trap, but can be wiped clean fairly easily.
|These pads feel thick, strong and comfortable, and give you a large padded area to kneel on. They spread weight well, don’t sink too far into soft ground and are good at protecting knees when kneeling on gravel.
Their size does make them more ungainly to walk around in and slightly more of a struggle to stand up in than others, but they’re easy to put on.
Protection from cold and damp ground is excellent, and the padding doesn’t compress much with repeated use.
How we test garden kneelers
In our test lab we used a set of robotic knees to kneel with the weight of an average man (83.9kg) 1,500 times on each kneeler, to measure how much the padding compressed; artificial buttocks did the same to each kneeler seat to test its strength and durability. Specialised pressure-mapping equipment measured how well the kneelers can distribute weight to prevent sore spots. Temperature probes recorded how effective they were at insulating artificial knees from a block of ice, and we also measured how much water they absorbed from a soggy surface and could transfer to clothing.
What to look for in a kneeler
- Check that the width and depth fits both your knees comfortably, giving you room to move.
- Ensure that hand holds leave enough space to be used with gardening gloves on.
- Remember that knee pads and kneeler seats may sink more into soft ground than mats.
- Look for a waterproof surface that keeps damp out and is easy to wipe clean.
- Be aware that smooth fabrics can slide on sloping ground.
- Bigger mats are harder to use in small spaces and to carry around in breezy weather.
- Watch out for a raised edge or lip that holds the kneeler cushion in place– it could dig into your legs.
- Avoid narrow seats and kneeler ledges that put all of the pressure on a small area.
- Check that the working height of the seat and kneeler ledge suits you.
- Look for sturdy legs with handles that you can use to support your weight when rising and give you space to work in when kneeling.
- Check that the padding covers your kneecaps adequately.
- Watch out for padding that compresses too much – you’ll be able to feel the ground beneath you.
- Choose pads that are easy to put on and check how well they’ll fit with and without trousers.
- Walk around to see if they move or restrict your movement.