Three best knee braces

Kailey Fralick

If you plan to swim with your knee brace, double-check that the model you choose is suitable for use in water.

Knee braces can go a long way toward minimizing the pain you feel from a recent knee injury or surgery and preventing further harm. But it's not always easy to find the right one for your situation. There are different types of knee braces, and each is designed to help you in a different way. The wrong knee brace may not provide the support that you need, so it's important that you consider your specific situation before purchasing a brace. Here's what you should be thinking about, along with our picks for the three best knee braces on the market.

Considerations when choosing knee braces

There are four basic types of knee braces. Rigid knee braces have hinges and strong bars on the sides of your knees. They restrict your movement more than the other types of braces, but they also provide the most support. These braces are commonly used after someone has suffered a severe knee injury or has undergone knee surgery.

Sleeve knee braces are the ones that you slide up over your leg and onto your knee. These braces are designed to provide compression for a swollen knee, but they don't provide much actual support. Some have an opening at the kneecap, while others do not.

Strap knee braces are a simple strap that wraps around your leg just below the knee. These are best for specific conditions like jumper's knee or Iliotibial Band Syndrome.

Finally, there are wraparound knee braces. These usually have Velcro straps that wrap around your leg and help to provide stability above and below the knee. However, they don't provide much support to the sides of the knee.


Once you've narrowed down the type of knee brace you need, there are a few other things you should consider.


The knee brace should fit snugly without causing pain or slipping off the knee. The fabric should be soft and breathable but not itchy. Ideally, the brace will give you a way to adjust the fit as necessary.

Range of motion

Some braces are more restrictive than others. If you'd like to be active while you're wearing the brace, you may want to choose one that allows for a fuller range of motion. However, this will also depend on the type of support that you need.


Most knee braces are lightweight, but some rigid braces with metal support bars can be quite heavy. If you're wearing the brace all day, a heavy brace can cause your leg to tire more quickly.


Knee braces range in price from about $20 to almost $200. As a general rule, the more rigid, heavy-duty braces cost more, while simpler compression and wraparound braces cost less.


Q. How should a knee brace fit?

A. It should be snug but not painful. You should be able to easily slide two fingers underneath the brace. If you cannot, you should loosen it a little bit. But if you need to continually readjust the brace because it is falling down, you may want to tighten it or consider investing in a different brace.

Q. How long should I wear a knee brace?

A. You should always consult with your doctor for advice on your specific situation. But generally speaking, you should remove your knee brace at night. You can wear it during the day for as long as you feel you need to.

Knee braces we recommend

Best of the best: Bauerfeind GenuTrain Knee Brace

Our take: This is an excellent choice for active adults who want a durable knee brace that offers strong support while still allowing for a full range of motion.

What we like: This knee brace provides surprising support given its flexibility. It's made of a comfortable, knit fabric that's breathable and machine-washable.

What we dislike: It's expensive for a knee brace, but worth the investment if you plan to use it often.

Best bang for your buck: Neo-G Medical-Grade Closed Knee Brace

Our take: You won't find a better knee brace at a more affordable price.

What we like: This adjustable knee brace fits users of all sizes. It's soft and provides adequate support for the knee without putting pressure on it or inhibiting your range of motion.

What we dislike: Users have said that the straps securing the brace are a little too thin.

Choice 3: McDavid Hinged 429X Knee Brace with Cross Straps

Our take: This is a well-made brace, but it's not the best choice for active adults because the fabric doesn't breathe well.

What we like: This heavy-duty knee brace holds up well over time and offers a virtually unrestricted range of motion. Users report that it is comfortable and secure.

What we dislike: It's not breathable, so it may get uncomfortably warm in hot weather.

Kailey Fralic is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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