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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best arm compression sleeves

    Last Updated June 2018

    If you’re an NBA fan, you've probably noticed players sporting compression sleeves on their arms. More than just a trend, these sports accessories offer the benefits of easing pain and reducing swelling, especially in the elbows.

    Chances are that arm compression sleeves may help you, too, regardless of the type of activity you engage in. It doesn't matter if you play a sport, follow a regular aerobics regimen, run, or lift weights to stay fit, you may find that wearing a compression sleeve on one or both arms offers many benefits, and not just protecting elbows. Whether you wear one for sun protection, improved circulation, or pain management, arm compression sleeves can prevent or ease discomfort and may even improve athletic performance.

    If you aren't sure how to pick the best arm compression sleeves for your needs, we are here to help.

    The BestReviews team is dedicated to helping make your shopping experience easier. If you’re ready to buy arm compression sleeves, check out our top recommendations in the matrix above. If you’d like to know more about arm compression sleeves in general, read our shopping guide below.

    Compression sleeves were first worn by patients with medical conditions that required enhancing the blood flow. NBA player Allen Iverson is credited with starting the trend of wearing compression sleeves on the basketball court. He first wore one during a game to ease his elbow pain.

    What are arm compression sleeves?

    You’ve probably heard of people wearing compression stockings to improve circulation in the legs. The concept behind arm compression sleeves is similar. Made of elastic fabric, this tube-shaped garment works by covering various portions of the arm and pressing on the muscles. The compression stimulates and improves blood flow and oxygen distribution to help improve performance and prevent or relieve pain and injury.

    There are many benefits to wearing the sleeves, whether you’re a professional athlete or a weekend warrior.

    • Improved circulation: By compressing the tissues in the arm, the sleeves help increase blood flow.

    • Warmth: Compression sleeves warm the muscles in the arms, providing a simple way to prevent muscles from seizing up and tightening during activities.

    • Ease swelling and pain: Because wearing the sleeves increases blood flow, compression sleeves can also reduce or prevent swelling and pain. This is particularly useful for old injuries and conditions such as bursitis and stiff muscles.

    • Protection: Wearing compression sleeves is an easy way to add a protective layer when exercising outdoors. The sleeves also protect your skin from sun exposure.

    • Recovery: Do you engage in intense workouts or sports? Wearing compression sleeves helps muscles recover more quickly, thanks to the improved circulation they provide.

    • Versatility: Because arm compression sleeves fit snugly, they can be worn with sleeveless tops or under clothing. They come in various sizes so most consumers will find ones that fit well.
    DID YOU KNOW?

    Shorter arm compression sleeves are geared specifically for elbows and these are a good option for people suffering from bursitis and other elbow issues.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Runners benefit from the circulation boost provided by arm compression sleeves. They help with warming up, boosting stamina, and cooling down without muscle strain.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Not an athlete or fitness enthusiast? Compression sleeves are handy for anyone who wants to soothe their arm muscles with increased blood flow.

    Arm compression sleeve features to consider

    Circumference

    Arm compression sleeves provide the best results when they’re somewhat tight (so they don’t slip) but not uncomfortable. Measure the circumference of your arm and check the sizing chart or manufacturer’s recommendations on the style you choose to be sure to get the best fit.

    Length

    While most arm compression sleeves run almost the entire length of the arm from shoulder to wrist, there are some styles that are shorter, such as those designed to target the elbow or biceps.

    Sport

    Most arm compression sleeves are similar in style, but some designs are more practical for certain sports. For example, shorter sleeves with more intense compression on the biceps are suitable for weight lifting, while longer sleeves made of thinner material are more comfortable for running.

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    If you have any type of health problem or arm injury, check with your doctor or healthcare provider before wearing an arm compression sleeve.

    Fashion

    If looking stylish is also important to you, arm compression sleeves are available in lots of patterns and colors. From flashy, attention-grabbing graphics to bold colors that match your team uniform, you’re sure to find the look you want.

    Durability

    How often you plan to wear your arm compression sleeves and the types of activities you engage in while wearing them will help you determine the quality of the sleeves you select. If you only plan to wear the sleeves occasionally for activities like walking, running, or light workouts, value-priced options are worth considering. However, if you plan to wear the sleeves frequently for strenuous activities like sports and high-intensity training, sleeves that are a bit pricier will likely suit your needs better.

    Extra features

    In addition to their elasticity, some arm compression sleeves have other user-friendly features, including the ability to wick moisture away from the skin, no-slip silicone bands, and UV protection.

    EXPERT TIP

    If you plan to wear one or two arm compression sleeves frequently, it could be a good idea to keep several on hand so you always have one ready to wear.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Though a reasonably tight fit is to be expected from an arm compression sleeve, it shouldn’t feel painful or uncomfortable. If it does, the sleeve may be too small for you.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Arm compression sleeves are available in extra-small or youth sizes to provide the same benefits to youngsters. They also come in exciting colors and graphics that kids love.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    If you exercise in the sun, an arm compression sleeve with UV protection will help shield the skin on your arms from the potentially damaging rays of the sun.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Arm compression sleeve prices

    An added bonus to the many benefits offered by arm compression sleeves is the affordable price. You can expect to pay between $8 and $35 for one sleeve.

    • Inexpensive

    For most wearers, you can find good-quality, well-fitting arm compression sleeves for as low as $8 to $15.

    • Mid-range

    More expensive options that tend to be a bit more durable and may have additional features like UV protection cost between $15 and $35. These prices are typically for one sleeve, but some companies also offer pairs of sleeves for a similar price.

    • Expensive

    While there are arm compression sleeves available that cost $45 and more each, the higher price doesn’t necessarily mean better fit or features.

    In addition to the benefits offered by arm compression sleeves, they’ve become trendy. Now the sleeves are fun as well as functional to wear. Arm compression sleeves come in many designs and colors. Mixing and matching the sleeves to your other athletic gear is an easy way to look as good as you feel.

    FAQ

    Q. I’ve never worn an arm compression sleeve before. What should I expect?

    A. Many people who try on arm compression sleeves for the first time are surprised by the snug fit. Unless the fit is extremely uncomfortable, don’t worry. Even if it feels tighter than garments you’re used to wearing, you’ll adjust and be able to experience the benefits of the compression.

    Q. How do I wash an arm compression sleeve?

    A: Though arm compression sleeve material is durable, gentle washing will help the fabric maintain its elasticity. If you choose to wash your sleeve in the washing machine, use cold water in the gentle cycle. Otherwise, wash it by hand and gently wring out excess water. Allow your sleeve to air-dry for best results.

    Q. I have small arms. What should I take into consideration when it comes to finding the right fit?

    A. You’ll definitely want to look for a smaller size sleeve to get good compression. Start by measuring the circumference of your arm and comparing that measurement to the available sizes of the sleeves you’re considering. If your arms are very slim, youth sizes may work better for you.

    Q. Are arm compression sleeves prone to slipping during vigorous activity?

    A. If you choose an arm compression sleeve in a size that matches your arm circumference, slipping shouldn’t be a problem. However, for added reassurance, look for a sleeve with a silicone band at the top edge to help keep it in place.

    Q. Are certain colors more practical than others?

    A. Choosing the color that is best for you depends on the types of activities you do and where you do them. If you spend a lot of time playing outdoor sports, lighter colors will definitely show dirt more easily than darker colors. If you run or exercise in hot temperatures, dark-colored compression sleeves will absorb more heat and may make you feel too hot. Otherwise, if you want fun colors or interesting graphics, your choices are numerous and a matter of personal preference.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor