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Best Wrist Braces

Updated October 2018
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.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 21 Models Considered
  • 8 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 279 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 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 wrist braces

    Last Updated October 2018

    The proper wrist brace can help speed up your recovery from a wrist ailment. In some cases, it can even prevent injury.

    To get the full benefit from a wrist brace, you need to choose the right one for the job. At BestReviews, we put together this detailed guide to help you sort through the options and find the right brace for your needs.

    Read on to learn all you need to know about wrist braces. When you’re ready to buy, head to the top of this page where you can find more information about our favorites.

    Are you worried that a wrist brace would slow you down too much? Fortunately, most wrist braces give you free use of your fingers and thumb.

    What are wrist braces used for?

    Wrist braces can be used to help with a variety of injuries and ailments. Here are some of the main uses for wrist braces.

    Repetitive strain injury

    Wrist braces can help treat the early stages of carpal tunnel syndrome and other types of repetitive strain injury (RSI).

    Playing sports

    Some sports, such as tennis and lacrosse, put a lot of strain on players' wrists. Wearing a wrist brace while playing can help prevent injury, especially if you've suffered from wrist ailments in the past.

    Sprains and strains

    If you've sprained or seriously strained your wrist, you may find that you suffer from lingering pain for some time after the initial injury. Wearing a wrist brace can help relieve the pain and prevent further damage to the ligaments.

    Fractures or postoperative use

    If you've had a wrist fracture or an operation on your wrist, you may be instructed to wear a wrist brace after your cast has been taken off or as an alternative to a cast. These types of braces are often prescribed by a doctor, but it may be cheaper to buy one yourself as long as you choose the right type to give you proper support.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Some people wear wrist braces for bowling to help keep their wrist stable as they release the ball.

    Types of wrist braces

    You'll find a wide range of wrist braces on the market. The following are some of the most common.

    Cock-up wrist braces

    Designed to completely immobilize the wrist, cock-up wrist braces are suitable for fairly serious carpal tunnel problems, post-cast-removal use, tendonitis, and ligament injuries, to name but a few. Because the wearer cannot use the wrist at all, these braces can help speed recovery and prevent further injury. However, since it’s quite difficult to complete many ordinary tasks when wearing a cock-up wrist brace, use should be reserved for severe ailments.

    Sports wrist braces

    Sports wrist braces are worn while playing sports that put a lot of pressure on the wrist. These braces provide support while still maintaining decent flexibility and range of motion. Not all athletes choose to wear wrist braces, but they can be useful if you're recovering from an injury or have weak wrists.

    RSI wrist braces

    As the name suggests, these wrist braces are designed to help people suffering with RSIs. They hold the wrist in a neutral position, which helps relieve pain and prevent further strain on the wrist. RSI wrist braces can even be used as a preventative measure by people who use a computer all day or do other jobs that require repetitive movements, such as stacking shelves or assembly line work.

    Overnight wrist braces

    Overnight wrist braces are worn during sleep. The support is more rigid than you might want during the day since you don't need to use your wrist at this time. However, these braces are still designed with comfort in mind, as an uncomfortable wrist brace could prevent you from sleeping.

    Wrist orthoses

    Wrist orthoses are heavy-duty wrist braces that are used as an alternative to a plaster cast for people with wrist fractures or for after wrist surgery. These braces will generally be given to you after hospital treatment. You definitely shouldn't try to treat a wrist fracture yourself with a wrist orthosis.

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    If you're unsure which type of wrist brace is right for you, consult your primary care physician or physiotherapist.

    Considerations for selecting a wrist brace

    Size

    Many wrist braces are described by the manufacturer as “one size fits all.” This may work for the majority of people, but if you have especially small or large hands/wrists, it may not work for you. In this case, we recommend shopping around for a wrist brace that comes in a specific size. You may need to take some measurements to find the correct size for you.

    Material

    Most wrist braces are made from synthetic materials with a slight stretch to them, such as nylon or neoprene. The material should be breathable so you don't get too hot while wearing it. Some manufacturers use materials with added antimicrobial protection to help stop the growth of bacteria. This is a nice feature, since you may find yourself wearing the wrist brace for long periods of time.

    Padding

    The more padding a wrist brace has, the more comfortable and supportive it will be. Greater padding also means less flexibility, however, so you'll need to find a happy medium between the two. Another fact to consider is that a highly padded brace can make your wrist feel warm. As such, it may be best to avoid wearing a heavily padded wrist brace in the summer months.

    Compression

    Compression can benefit many wrist injuries and ailments, including sprains and RSIs. A degree of compression helps to relieve swelling and inflammation, aiding in pain relief and perhaps even speeding up recovery. All wrist braces provide a degree of compression, but some offer more than others. As you’re shopping, remember that a wrist brace that provides a large amount of compression may not be comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

    EXPERT TIP

    Some wrist braces provide adjustable compression. You can use more when you need it and ease off when you require more comfort or flexibility.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Wrist brace prices

    You can find basic wrist braces that cost from $5 to $10. These products might not provide the most support or have the widest range of features, however. On the other end of the spectrum are specialist wrist braces that may cost $100 or more.

    We believe the average person would probably do best somewhere between these two extremes. Depending on the kind of support you need, it’s not unreasonable to pay between $25 and $50 for a quality wrist brace.

    Tips

    • Choose a wrist brace made of breathable material. Nobody wants to feel sweaty and itchy inside their wrist brace.

    • Decide whether or not you need a splint. Some wrist braces have a built-in splint. Some don’t have a splint at all, and some feature removable splints.

    • Think about durability. How long do you need your wrist brace to last? If you have a chronic wrist issue, durability is a big concern. If you have an acute problem that should clear up within a few days, weeks, or months, you probably don’t need a wrist brace that’s built to last for years.

    • Consult a doctor if you're in serious pain. You might be able to treat a minor injury yourself with a wrist brace, but if you're in a lot of pain, you should get checked out by a healthcare professional.
    Some wrist braces are designed specifically for the right wrist or the left wrist. Others can fit either wrist. Be sure to choose the correct option for whichever wrist is troubling you.

    FAQ

    Q. How do I know if I’m wearing my wrist brace on correctly?

    A. Different wrist braces are fitted in different ways; check the instructions to find out how to put yours on properly. When fitted correctly, your wrist brace should be snug but not so tight that it restricts blood flow.

    Q. Can I wash my wrist brace?

    A. Many wrist braces are machine washable; others must be washed by hand. Check the instruction sheet or inside label to find washing instructions for your wrist brace. If you need all-day support for more than a few days, it's wise to buy two wrist braces so you've got a spare to wear while the other is in the wash.

    Q. What can I do to speed up my recovery?

    A. Most types of wrist injuries and ailments can be improved with RICE. We're not talking about the edible grain, but rather rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Of course this method isn’t foolproof, and sometimes there is no substitute for advice and treatment from your doctor. In many cases, however, the RICE method can help you heal.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Erica
      Erica
      Writer
    • Jacob
      Jacob
      Editorial Manager
    • Katie
      Katie
      Editorial Director
    • Lauren
      Lauren
      Writer
    • Linsay
      Linsay
      Editor
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor

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