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Best Knee Braces

Updated July 2022
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Best of the Best
Shock Doctor Bionic Knee Brace with Compression Sleeve
Shock Doctor
Bionic Knee Brace with Compression Sleeve
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Advanced Design
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An advanced, top-quality knee brace that our medical expert likes for the variety of sizes offered.


Designed with a semi-rigid, lightweight exoskeleton and a compression sleeve to offer superior comfort and a full range of motion. Advanced construction provides great support while also allowing for fluid range of motion. Moisture-wicking shin and thigh washable lining pads.


Some users had a difficult time finding a comfortable fit.

Best Bang for the Buck
Mueller Sports Medicine Hinged Knee Brace
Mueller Sports Medicine
Hinged Knee Brace
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Medial-Lateral Support
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An affordable knee brace that provides optimal support; our expert recommends it as a good entry-level brace.


Self-adjusting brace provides great medial-lateral support. Antimicrobial treatment controls odors. Side hinges protect from hyperextension while criss-cross straps provide customized support and focused compression.


Some feel that the hinges could be improved.

Shock Doctor Ultra Knee Support with Bilateral Hinges
Shock Doctor
Ultra Knee Support with Bilateral Hinges
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Simple Yet Solid
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Our expert likes the soft material that provides comfort, as well as the built-in hinges with support.


Comfortable even when worn during exercise, and provides outstanding basic support. Antimicrobial and vented design reduces odor and bacteria. Helps prevent and heal injuries. Latex-free brace is stitched well, ensuring it stays in place.


Runs small. Difficult to take off because it fits so snugly onto your knee.

McDavid 429X Knee Brace
429X Knee Brace
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Good Mobility
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This brace stabilizes, supports, and compresses without too much limitation of natural movement; approved by our expert.


Very comfortable and offers almost unrestricted movement. Provides high-level support to assist recovery. Supportive and compressive. Comfortable edges prevent chafing of skin. Customers liked the build quality of the product.


Closed design can make it uncomfortably hot to wear in warmer weather.

DonJoy Deluxe Hinged Knee Brace
Deluxe Hinged Knee Brace
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Breathable Compression
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Designed to provide moderate stability and support for lighter injuries, according to our expert.


Provides support for knee ligament meniscus injuries, sprains, and osteoarthritis. Bilateral hinges add additional knee support. Drytex fabric is compressive but also very breathable. Designed to prevent friction with front and back opening.


Users report that sizing runs large.

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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 all opinions about the products are our own. About 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.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best knee braces

Knee pain affects millions of people each year. You might experience occasional “Monday morning” knee pain after a weekend of athletics and fun, or you might experience chronic knee pain — a near-constant discomfort that diminishes your quality of life.

A knee brace provides extra joint support that can either ease your current pain or prevent it from happening in the first place. We consulted physical therapist Lynda McClatchie to find out what to watch for when choosing a knee brace.

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In addition to wearing a knee brace, ask your doctor for some stretching exercises to promote healing.

Important knee brace characteristics


Knee braces can reduce the inflammation and swelling caused by injuries. The brace compresses the area, forcing the swelling down and reducing pain.

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Expert Tip
For minor injuries, take the knee brace off when resting to allow for some breathing room.
BestReviews Medical Expert

Impact protection

A knee brace can help prevent pain from physical contact to an injured knee. Find a knee brace made of a rigid material or one that has protective strips or bars.


Some knee braces are designed to give the knee more stability. This type of brace is good for knee ligament injuries in which the ligaments have been stretched by a sprain. The stability prevents the ligaments from stretching further.

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Testing knee braces
We researched 63 models of knee braces over the course of 11 hours before picking our best options. We then purchased our top model and tested it in the field.

Why wear a knee brace?

Ligament injuries

Your doctor may prescribe a knee brace if you suffer a torn ligament. The proper brace supports the ligaments as they heal. A brace can also help knee ligaments recover from mild strain.

Chronic pain

Knee braces benefit people with chronic pain due to arthritis or a previous injury. The brace alleviates pain by providing support and reducing swelling.

General pain

A knee brace can help even when you’re unsure exactly why your knee hurts. However, we recommend that you visit a doctor before self-treating with a knee brace.

Types of knee braces

Many different types of knee braces are available, and each offers certain advantages. Match the type of knee brace to your particular situation.

Rigid support knee brace

This is the most restrictive type of knee brace. It sports rigid bars on the sides of the knee as well as horizontally around the knee joint. A strong hinge may restrict movement of the knee.

This is a common type of brace to wear after having surgery, as it provides support for the ligaments as they heal and prevents contact injuries. This type of brace must be wrapped around the knee and latched into place.

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For your safety
Follow any recommendations your doctor provides regarding knee braces. Wear your brace for the recommended amount of time.

Sleeve knee brace

A sleeve knee brace exudes a basic design. You simply slide it up your leg and leave it over the knee joint. This type of brace provides compression for a knee joint that may be swollen. But it’s soft-sided, so you shouldn’t rely on it to support damaged ligaments.

Some sleeve braces have an open patella; a hole in the center of the brace exposes the kneecap. Others are closed — these work well when you need to provide compression to the entire knee, including the kneecap.

Strap knee brace

This device is so simple, it almost doesn’t qualify as a knee brace. It’s a thin strap that wraps around the knee, just below the kneecap. These are used for specific problems, such as ITBS (Iliotibial Band Syndrome) and jumper’s knee.

Wraparound knee brace

This type of brace wraps around the knee and fastens with Velcro. These braces often have a patella hole over the knee cap. They provide stability above and below the knee but very little support on the sides.

If you’re looking for a quality wraparound knee brace, you might check the offerings from Shock Doctor. This manufacturer is known for its excellent wraparound models, some of which have patella holes.

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If you wear a knee brace during exercise, it could become soiled. Most knee braces can be cleaned with soap and water.

Wraparound knee brace with hinges

Some wraparound braces sport hinges along the sides of the brace. This is a sturdier type of brace for those who may suffer from unstable ligaments. The hinges allow the knee to move in a natural manner while still supporting it. This type of brace also provides compression when the knee swells.

If you’re looking for an excellent hinged knee brace and don’t know where to start, we suggest you check out the offerings of McDavid. This manufacturer is known for its supportive hinged knee braces.

Expert Tip
For major injuries, please consult a doctor to determine if you should put any weight on that leg. If you’re unaware of the extent of the injury, you can cause more damage. Don't rely solely on the brace.
BestReviews Medical Expert

Finding the right knee brace

When searching for the perfect knee brace, consider the following characteristics.


Not every knee is the same, so an adjustable knee brace can help ensure a correct fit. An adjustable brace can be made more comfortable by shifting its position on the knee. You can also adjust the brace to fit tighter when you experience swelling.

Freedom of movement

If you need to retain freedom of movement with your knee brace, soft material works well. Hinges built into the knee brace can help the knee retain its natural movement while simultaneously supporting the ligaments.

No slip

Slippage is a common problem with knee braces made from soft materials. The brace might shift from the proper position as you move. Look for a brace with adjustable straps, usually secured with Velcro, as this type of brace is more likely to stay in place.

Protection area

Knee braces are available in different sizes and lengths. Look for a brace that addresses your specific problem area.

For example, if you seek to compress a wide area around the knee, select a longer brace.

Rigidity level

If you experience knee instability as a result of ligament damage, a highly rigid brace is best. This type of brace often includes support structures on the sides of the knee and around the kneecap.

However, a rigid design restricts movement. If you suffer a knee injury, your doctor may recommend a brace with a specific level of rigidity.

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Expert TIp
Find a brace that fits snugly but not too tight. Braces that are too tight can cause skin abrasions, which can lead to infections.
BestReviews Medical Expert

Water usage

If you plan to wear your knee brace while swimming, performing water aerobics, or undergoing water therapy, you need a specific brace.

Not all knee braces are designed to be used in water. And some braces deteriorate faster if they’re submerged in water for a long period of time.


A bulky knee brace weighs more than a simple sleeve knee brace. You might find that wearing a heavy knee brace fatigues your leg after a few hours. However, a bulky brace will give you a greater level of support.

If you’re concerned about the weight of your knee brace, slowly increase the amount of time you wear it over several days. This will give your leg muscles time to become accustomed to the weight of the brace.

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Some knee braces provide support while keeping the area around the knee warmer than normal. Heat may promote healing in certain types of knee injuries.


Q. Will a knee brace mask my actual injury?

A. Don’t assume that using a knee brace can help with every knee problem. A knee brace cannot fix an injury —  it’s designed to provide support while an injury heals. If you suspect a serious injury, it’s best to consult a doctor who can determine which type of knee brace would help you.

Q. Can I keep exercising with a knee brace?

A. If you’ve suffered an injury, check with your doctor first. If the doctor determines that you cannot further damage the knee, a brace might help you continue working out.

Q. How long per day should I wear a knee brace?

A. Most knee braces are designed to be worn for a large portion of the day. But if your knee brace doesn’t fit properly, it could rub your skin and cause sores. Be sure you select a brace that fits properly so you can wear it as long as possible. Most people remove their knee brace at night before sleeping unless otherwise directed by a doctor.

Q. How do I know if the type of knee brace I’ve selected is working?

A. You should notice a reduced level of pain or swelling in the knee after using a brace for several days. The reduction in pain may occur slowly over time, so don’t expect immediate results. You may also notice that the knee has more stability when wearing the brace than when you aren’t wearing it.

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