Gardening is a hobby that people can enjoy very young until they get quite old. Although requiring time and energy, it is a low contact, high enjoyment activity that many people can get a lot from. However, after perhaps decades of gardening, or as a new hobby in retirement, gardening can become difficult on the knees and back. This article may well be for those of any age that have a yard to maintain but have back problems, have just had surgery, or want to stave off the degradation of joints and flexibility that can come from hours of bending over in one spot. Feeling the twangs of pain too often or in too many areas of the body can quickly make this past time much less appealing to many. However, if this isn’t a hobby that you are ready to give up just yet, we have some solutions for you.
Below, we have several different lists to give you a comprehensive idea of the choices that you have when considering your options. This article covers garden mats, how to choose them and our top three picks for the mats, kneelers and stools. Finally, we will look into what the best option for you will be when considering the pros and cons of all of these. By the end of it, we hope you have a solution to all of your gardening pain woes!
There are multiple different things to consider when choosing a mat specifically and since this type of product is the simplest one you can buy it is also easy to think that they will all be about the same in terms of quality and what they will deliver on. This is a big misconception, however, since the few considerations that do go into the manufacturing of this product are ALL important because of the small amount of them. Listed below are the three that we think are the most important to keep in mind when looking to buy your own mat.
The thickness of the mat is very important as this has a good factor into how supportive and cushiony the mat will be. Simply laying a thin layer of plastic underneath your knees is going to be a very short-term solution for the pain you might be experiencing. Not skimping on the thickness of the mat will be very gratifying in the future. Also consider the length of the mat. You don’t want to have something that will cause you to slip off every time you happen to lean one way or another. The point is to save your knees, not skin them!
Next in line comes the material that the mat is made with. Standing this consideration up next to thickness, they combine to make a really great or a really unhelpful mat. The material that is used in the mat will really make a difference in terms of both cushion and support and should definitely be given a lot of thought to depending on how serious and what your needs are.
The final trait is mostly important simply because it will be used outside, sometimes after a garden is watered and can help to keep you or your work clothes slightly cleaner. Looking for a water resistant or waterproof mat normally isn’t too hard, as the products are manufactured as outdoor materials, but is always an added bonus to an already useful product.
This mat is great for those that are paying special attention to the thickness and durability of the mat. It is made from foam and is a full inch and a half thick, 18 inches long and 11 inches wide, making it one of the thickest and biggest on the market. If support is your aim, this mat could well be your choice, as some people think its firmness may be a bit too much.
This pad is great for those that want more cushion than the firm mat featured above. It is a little less thick, but manages to still be supportive and soft, great for very touchy knees. The dimensions of the mat are 19 inches long, 10 inches wide and one inch thick, still good spacing for flexibility of movement.
A producer that is all about the varying needs of its consumers, this pad comes with different sizing as well as thickness and color options. Middle of the road in terms of firmness versus cushion, it satisfies a lot of people with its ratio of comfort to support.
This mat is at the top of our list as it is great for just about any consideration that those looking to invest in a mat might be thinking of. At one and a half inches thick and constructed from a durable, high-density foam, it is comfortable and supportive at the same time. It comes in at 18 inches long and 11 inches wide, so there is no need to worry about the amount of flexibility you have to shift around with the mat in that same space. It also has a handle at the top of it that makes it easy to carry with you and weighs in at only 12 ounces. It is easy to wipe clean, in case using it indoors needs to be a consideration for you as well and is backed by a 1-year warranty. For those that enjoy the aesthetic effect, it comes in black, blue and bright green.
The manufacturing company believes that a firm mat will supply you with the support you need while working on your knees. However, many reviewers disagree with this, saying that if you have touchy knees, even with the great thickness, this may not be the mat for you.
This mat is a great choice for those looking for something with a little more give to it. It is advertised as comfortable and cushiony while still giving enough support, and reviewers seem to agree with this. This mat is versatile in its uses, commonly being used both outdoors for gardening purposes, as well as indoors for bath time for children or animals, saving your knees in any situation. It is made from a thick rubbery foam that is one inch thick. It is big enough to meet the movement needs of most consumers at 19 inches long and 10 inches wide as well as being very light at 3.2 ounces, making it easy to carry around from job to job. This option also comes with different colors, a blue, purple and green, as well as a lifetime guarantee. It has a relatively unique property of floating on water as well, useful for some if they might forget it outside or drop it into a puddle.
The biggest con that comes up when considering this product is the durability of the foam material. In some cases, stepping on it just right or too often resulted in the foam edges breaking away from the rest of the mat and the color faded quickly. It scratches and mars relatively easily, but treated with some love, it should last for a while.
This mat is a great when versatility and more options for the consumer are being considered. It comes in three different sizes that make it appropriate for whatever need in or out of the garden you may have for it. Note that there are also different options for the thickness of the pad when selecting a size. There are also a wide range of colors and it is equipped with a handle at one end to make it convenient to pack along with you. One of the characteristics that is highly spoken of in this model is its ability to resist moisture and won’t absorb it only to get your knees wet the next morning.
Some reviewers said they were disappointed in how difficult it was to clean that mat after outdoor use, while others seemed to have no problem with it. The amount of support can also be an issue, but with the option to select for thickness, this is more up to which option you decide to buy.
The next product we are taking a look at are kneelers. What is the difference? The make of a mat is very simple and is just that, a mat. However, a kneeler is a little more complex to equip you with more support and a frame around you to help with the job. Although they can be used in indoor situations, their size and build make them much more convenient for solely outdoor use. Below we have highlighted our top three to consider if you are thinking of going this route.
A relatively affordable option for those that ant to try one of these out, this is a well-sized, easy to use choice. It is made with durability and convenience in mind and is easy to both transport and store.
This is another versatile option that can be used as a kneeler or a garden seat. Made from steel and given a ‘power cushion’ for added comfort, this option is great for those who may suffer from arthritis but have a passion for gardening. This product also comes with a tool pouch as well as feet protectors.
This is highly rated as one of the best kneelers on the market, made with durability and longevity in mind but still not skimping out on the comfort of the user by making the knee pad out of EVA foam. The fortified steel bars make this kneeler strong and sturdy, great characteristics when considering these products.
This kneeler is made with ease in mind. It is easy to fold down or under to be either a kneeler or a seat, whatever your working preferences are. This also makes it quicker and easy to transport. It is a good size when thinking about movement but not too big to make transportation or storage too much of a hassle and comes in at 23.5 by 10.5 by 19 inches. The seat itself is well padded to ensure comfort and it is made out of a high-quality steel that keeps durability at the forefront of the design. It is rated for 220 pounds and even comes with a free tool pouch to hang on the side when using as a kneeler!
If you have a bit more weight behind you or garden on a slope at times, this kneeler might not feel as sturdy as you would like it to. For most people, though, this won’t come into play.
This item can also be adjusted to function either as a garden kneeler or as a seat bench. The company calls their cushion a ‘power cushion’ as it is well made to protect your knees and lower back as well as give you support to avoid muscle injuries. It weighs in at only seven pounds and is 24.4 by 10.6 by 19.2 inches, making it easy to carry for just about any conditions. The metal structure is crafted from steel and the cushion is made from foam. It is said to be stain resistant and even comes with both a free tool bag that hangs at the side with the legs extended, as well as feet protectors that fit on the bottom and increase the durability and longevity of the product.
It is not as stable as some would like it to be when it is set up in the seated position, although this may not be an issue for everyone. Also be aware that although this product is made for yard work, the steel frame is not rust-proof and the finish will show this if left out to often during the season or over winter.
This garden kneeler is commonly rated as one of the best out there, it is on the market for about the average running price of most kneelers, however, it is known to be one of the most versatile options out there with the ability to switch from a kneeler to a seat in one swift flip. It is made with a steel frame and a thick, soft EVA pad so that it ends up being one of the highest rated weights with a capacity of 330 pounds, a hundred more than many similarly priced kneelers. It is only 5.73 pounds total, even with more fortification, meaning easy transportation for those that will need to be considered with storage or moving it around. It also comes with not just one, but two garden tool pouches that easily strap to the handles with Velcro straps.
Even with an overall sturdy and sure make, one flaw for those that are going to be putting their full weight on it may be the plastic honeycomb that is used between the two pads in the middle of the kneeler. This may start to bend slightly, giving more than some people like. An easy solution is to replace it with a board or otherwise sturdy object.
If both of these options leave something lacking for you, or if you are looking for something that gives more support than a mat but is more simple than a kneeler, our next option, featuring simple garden stools, may be the way to go for you. We only feature two of these because a stool, or bench, is a generally easy thing to find and keep as a garden fixture at any furniture or outdoor store. However, the two we have featured give some different design ideas to the original concept of a stool that is make them special for gardeners to use.
This product set doesn’t serve to redesign the simple idea of a stool, but instead gives you a team full of extras to play with that increases the usability of the stool. The stool easily connects and disconnects to a customized tool bag that also comes with a set of its own tools and gloves
This product is a slightly different design then just your simple sit-down that’s-it stool. Equipped with a sort of bucket seat and wheels, it allows you to move around the garden and store tools in a bucket underneath the seat for ease and convenience. This is a more heavy-duty option than the one before and great for those with some mobility problems.
For as simple of an idea as a stool is, this product has taken it to a whole other level. The stool itself is equipped on the underside with latches that allow the gardener’s tool bag that comes with it to snap into place on all four corners. Along with the tool bag, you are equipped with just about anything you may need for basic gardening needs. This includes: work gloves, nitrile coated and latex free for those with sensitive skin, a pair of pruning shears, and a five-piece set of small garden tools that are designed with beech wood handles for beauty and durability. The stool itself is pretty heavy-duty canvas and is equipped with a strap to ensure safety when you go to sit down. The tool bag is fitted with 18 side pockets that allow you to store the tools it comes with along with any other tools you may require or samples you collect along the way.
Although the convenience of this product is undeniable, perhaps because of the versatility and wide range of different products that accompanies this set, the quality of the products included are at times purported to be quite low.
The other unique design regarding stools is this interesting product offered by Sunnydaze Décor that allows you to move by just pushing your legs or giving the cart a nudge. This product is equipped with a tray on the underside of the bunch seat to hold any tools or samples that you may need while you are working. It also has a swivel seat that can swing 360 degrees around to make it easy to reach what you are trying to work on no matter what angle it is at. The design is made from solid steel and has heavy duty pneumatic wheels that make sure mud and soft lawns won’t slow you down. Its seat is adjustable, and the product also comes with a 1-year warranty offered by the manufacturer. The same company also offers variations in style and design. Although it does not have a steering mechanism, many people say this is a positive thing as the steering on other products tends to be a weak link and the first thing to break or have issues.
The problem for many people is that, although there are instructions that come with the product, it does require assembly, and this has led to some problems for some with whom this might not be a strong suit. Also, although it was mentioned with the pros as well, not having a steering mechanism is a definite con for some that want mobility.
After considering the three ideas that are common assists in the garden and yard, it may be hard to choose which one is right for you. Hopefully our outlined product guides and summaries of the pros and cons will help you to form your opinion. If not, be aware of your needs in which body parts, knees, back legs. Do you need extra support in certain parts of your body? Mats are going to be good for your knees, along with a kneeler. Having a stool, seat or bench with be better for your back. If you need mobility, choose something that is either easier to carry or can be steered and roll as you go. This article is meant to give you back the gift of gardening for many years to come! Here’s to hoping it has accomplished that and more!