Best Catcher's Knee Savers

Updated October 2019
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
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.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

17 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
109 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

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 only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
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.

Buying guide for best catcher’s knee savers

Last Updated October 2019

Playing the position of catcher in baseball or softball is extremely difficult. The catcher must wear quite a bit of protective gear, preventing them from being injured if a foul ball strikes the body. But this gear can be heavy and hot to wear on a summer day. In addition, catchers must crouch behind home plate for every pitch. They must have strong leg muscles to squat and stand several dozen times per game.

This constant crouching creates stress on the knee joints and tendons, but knee saver pads can help. Knee savers fit between the back of the thigh and calf muscles, and they support some of the player's weight. This removes some of the strain from the knee joint because it doesn’t need to bend as far when the catcher crouches.

Knee savers haven’t been around for very long, so standard catcher’s gear sets often don’t include them. However, you can purchase the pads separately and add them to your own equipment stash. Continue reading to learn more about how knee savers work and whether they would help your game.

Within the past several years, knee saver pads have become a common piece of equipment for baseball and softball catchers.

Key considerations

Sizing

Sizing is one of the key considerations you’ll face when choosing catcher’s knee savers. It’s not just about selecting small versus large, though; it’s also important to find the right thickness of padding and to match the pad size with the shin guard size.

Knee savers can be used for either softball or baseball catchers, as can most pieces of catching gear. As a general rule, the small-size knee saver pad will be usable for players ages 12 and under. Players 13 years old and older will use a large pad.

A shin guard 13 inches in length or less requires the small size of knee saver; shin guards longer than 13 inches fit best with large knee savers.

Thickness

The thickness of the knee pad is another important consideration, although it’s a matter of personal preference. Some catchers prefer a thick pad to yield the highest level of cushioning. However, a thinner pad may feel more comfortable when crouching because the leg muscles don’t need to compress the foam as much.

Knee savers are not part of the officially required catcher’s gear for most baseball and softball leagues.

Features

When shopping for knee savers, you’ll quickly realize that the majority of them look very similar. There aren’t a lot of design differences.

Shape

Knee savers often have a wedge shape, almost like a slice of pie. When seen from the side, they resemble triangles — but they have three dimensions and five sides. The point of the wedge will fit adjacent to the calf closest to the knee, while the thickest part of the wedge fits close to the ankle.

Other knee savers have a boxy wedge shape, resulting in six sides. One end of the pad will be slightly narrower than the other, providing a bit of extra padding near the back of the knee.

Buckles

Most knee saver pads have four buckles, although a few designs have six. They will often be D-shaped, although square buckles are used as well. Pricier knee savers may include metal buckles, but plastic buckles are common on less-expensive products.

Because the buckles are on the back side of the knee savers, it’s easy to use the existing shin guard straps to secure the pads without affecting the fit of the shin guards. Just run each strap through two of the buckles on the knee saver and secure the strap to the shin guard as you normally would.

Knee savers can remain attached to the shin guards even when the catcher isn’t wearing them, so they don’t hinder the catcher’s ability to put on his or her shin guards quickly. Using knee savers doesn’t noticeably slow down a game by forcing catchers to put on extra gear before playing defense.

Color

The majority of knee savers have a black vinyl covering, usually with the name of the manufacturer clearly visible in white. However, if you’d like a color that matches your other catcher’s equipment, multiple color options are available.

EXPERT TIP

Knee savers should last one to three seasons, depending on frequency of use.


Staff  | BestReviews

Catcher’s knee saver prices

Catching gear for both softball and baseball can be costly, as it takes a lot of equipment to keep catchers safe. Compared to other pieces of catching gear, however, knee savers are relatively inexpensive.

The least expensive knee savers will cost $12 to $20 for a pair. (All knee savers are sold as a pair of pads.) Pricier versions could go for $20 to$40 for a pair. These pads may have multiple layers of foam and a thicker level of vinyl covering, which ensures a high level of durability.

Youth (or small) size knee saver pads will cost a few dollars less than adult (or large) size pads.

You shouldn’t encounter any extra or hidden costs with knee savers. You’ll connect them to the shin guards using the straps that are already attached to the shin guards.

At their thickest points, knee savers will measure 2 3/5 inches.

Tips

The knee saver represents only a portion of a baseball or softball catcher’s gear, and it’s one of the few pieces worn for comfort instead of protection. Because the catcher is situated directly behind home plate and close to the batter, they have almost no time to react to a foul ball and catch it. Protective gear shields the body from stray foul balls and wildly bouncing pitches.

We compiled some tips for determining which types of catcher’s gear must be worn for protection and which equipment is a personal choice (like knee savers).

  • Mask: The catcher’s mask and helmet often ship as one piece, designed to protect the face and head. They're made of extremely hard plastic and metal, providing the highest level of protection. The mask has straps, allowing the catcher to adjust the tightness of the fit. All catchers must wear a mask and helmet.
  • Throat protector: Some leagues require catchers to wear throat guards. This is a hard plastic piece that hangs from the bottom of the mask, dangling in front of the throat. Some masks include a built-in metal bar that extends from the bottom of the mask for this reason.
  • Chest protector: The chest protector covers the entire front of the upper body, including the front of the shoulders. Inside the outer fabric layer is hard foam, designed to absorb some of the impact from a baseball or softball. This is a required piece of equipment.
  • Shin guards: A shin guard consists of hard plastic on the outside and padding on the inside. It covers the knee and stretches to the ankle and top of the foot. Straps keep it attached to the lower leg as the catcher moves. The knee saver attaches to the shin guard via straps. Catchers must wear shin guards.

Other products we considered

We expect the majority of baseball and softball players can find high-quality knee savers that suits their needs in our matrix. But if you’re looking for a different style, we did consider a few other products. The Martin Sports Knee Savers are extremely inexpensive; they’re designed for younger players with a small size, and they use a curved wedge shape. For those wanting a thicker padding, the Schutt Sports Knee Savers, available in both youth and adult sizes, deliver. Under Armour Knee Savers feature a multilayer foam design to deliver maximum support. They are offered in multiple colors but are a bit pricier than other options.

About half of all Major League Baseball catchers wear knee savers while playing defense.

FAQ

Q. Do I have to purchase knee saver pads that match the brand of my shin guards?
A.
No. The buckles on knee savers all have a similar design, so any brand of knee saver should work with any brand of shin guard. Some people do like to have equipment that is all from the same brand, but you certainly aren’t forced to match brands for the gear to do its job.

Q. My coach doesn’t like knee savers. Is it true that catchers can have sluggish movement when using these pads?
A.
This is a concern among some baseball coaches. If the catcher doesn’t use proper technique while crouching, he or she may not move as crisply as required. Players should not lean or “sit” on the padding; doing so may leave their weight improperly balanced when in the crouch position. Proper weight balance can be taught to players who wear knee savers, allowing for quick movements behind home plate.

Q. Do knee savers help catchers who have knee problems already, or are they better for helping young catchers avoid problems in the future?
A.
Knee savers should help in both situations. An older player with sore knees can use the knee savers to take some pressure off the knee joints, and a younger player can keep his or her knees healthier for longer by using knee savers to prevent over-stressing the joints.

The team that worked on this review
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Kyle
    Kyle
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.

Take Survey