Elbow pads protect a very fragile part of the body and the best ones do a good job at it. The only problem is some elbow pads stiffen your arms up to where you can’t stick handle and shoot to your full potential.
We’ve tested hundreds of different options, and we believe that the best hockey elbow pads right now are the Bauer NSX. They are so popular at the moment with over 327 pads being sold just last month in May 2019. Fantastic all round pad which doesn’t break the bank and makes life easier for you out on the ice.
We’re gonna go ahead and cover some of the details when it comes to sizing hockey elbow pads, knowing how to wear elbow pads, and what are the best hockey elbow pads of 2020.
Also be sure to check out our home page to see more reviews like our latest post Safest Top Rated Hockey Helmets Of 2019 or 10 unusual skates that actually help you skate better.
Hockey Elbow Pads Sizing
In our research on players questions, they were asking things like… ‘how to size hockey elbow pads’, ‘hockey elbow pads for big arms’, ‘how should hockey elbow pads fit’, and ‘hockey elbow pads that don’t slip’. All these are very good questions and we’re gonna answer them all here. First of all, sizing is very important and if you get this right, you’ll have hockey elbow pads that don’t slip. That’s what we all want right? Well here’s an easy go to guide to ice hockey elbow pads sizing!
Using this chart will help you find the right size, solve you’re problem with big arms, how they should fit, and slip prevention.
Best Hockey Elbow Pads For 2020
|1. Bauer NSX (Budget Friendly)||Molded MD||232g||Check Price|
|2. Warrior Alpha DX (Editor's Choice)||Anatomical foam||276g||Check Price|
|3. Bauer 2N||MDP||295g||Check Price|
|4. Bauer X900 Lite||Hyperlite||238g||Check Price|
|5. CCM Jetspeed FT350||JDP||160g||Check Price|
|6. BAUER VAPOR 1X (High Performance)||Hyperlite||293g||Check Price|
|7. EASTON SYNERGY GX||Hex Membrane||286g||Check Price|
|8. CCM Tacks 7092||D30||284g||Check Price|
|9. CCM Jetspeed FT370||JDP Tech||210g||Check Price|
|10. Bauer Supreme S190||Poron XRD||320g||Check Price|
What are the different designs of elbow pads?
There’s three different types of designs which all elbow pads fall into. Below, we will go through some of the different things you can look out for and expect to get from each different construction. You definitely want to match this up to your level of play as higher league players may want higher level protection. So, the three different types of designs are:
- Soft shell (One-piece)
Soft Shell design – this has a plastic interior while the exterior is made of padded material. These designs typically tend to be entirely one-piece and are more common for the entry-level hockey players. They don’t offer as much protection as some of the higher end pads but players love these because they don’t tend to stick that far off the arm and offer great mobility.
Two piece design – These are typically the most common elbow pads on the market whereby the core of the guard consist of a molded piece of plastic for the elbow and forearm guards. But with this design, you also get a bicep guard which is an additional upper piece.
Three piece design – These are what we would probably say belong to premium elbow pads that have an additional segment in between the bicep and bottom portion of the pad. So, it gives you that protection of the two piece design but the added segment gives you much better mobility especially when straightening out your arm.
Forearm Guard Construction
One thing hockey players look at is the forearm protection for each design which vary slightly as you look at the different designs. Soft shells tend to be formed from single density foam but you might not always see the wrapping go all the way over your forearms. Looking at the wrapping for the two-piece design, you start seeing plastic inserts coming into this one which will give you a little bit more protection. Likewise, with the three piece, you still keep these additional plastic inserts but it will be combined with some high-end foams and a complete wrap of the forearms.
Bicep Guard Construction
So taking a look at the bicep guards with these three options, the single piece soft shell will consist of single density foam throughout. With the mid-range two piece options, you’ll see those thin plastic inserts coming in which tend to be segmented giving you a bit more protection in that upper area. Now looking at the three piece designs, you’ll see denser, thicker plastics combined with high end foams to give you that awesome protection.
Different Wrapping Systems
As you can imagine, wrapping systems are one of the key things to look at when buying your new pair of pads. You can easily buy a super expensive set of pads but if they are sliding all over the place and don’t protect the right areas, it’s going to leave you exposed to injuries out there on the ice.
With your entry level soft shell designs, you’ll probably find the basic three strap elastic and Velcro system. There will be two on the bottom portion for your forearm and one at the top for the biceps.
The intermediate two-piece design keeps that three strapping system but you’ll see upgrades in the materials that are used for the straps themselves. The forearms wraps tend to be nylon which keeps them nice and tight across your forearms.
Finally getting into the higher-end three piece equipment, the elastic on the bicep guard is a lot softer but made of higher quality elastic. But looking at the forearm guard, that’s really we you see the difference with almost a neoprene like strap which is an awesome feature.
What liner is used with these elbow pads?
Now a question you may have asked yourself at this point is how comfortable are these different types of deigns? For that, we need to look at what kind of liner the elbow pads have.
When you look at the soft shell pads, the interior typically use a brush nylon liner which is soft and comfortable. However, this is quite basic and it’s not until you get into the two and three piece construction that you see more advanced materials being used throughout the pad.
Several of these elbow pads are not for everyone because some carry a hefty price-tag.
However, these pads are good enough to make it to our list of the top elbow pads on the market. Also, don’t forget you can save yourself loads of time by clicking on the name of the elbow pads, this will take you down to the review instead of having to scroll all the way down!
1. Bauer NSX
So, as you may have seen at the top of the article, these are currently our favorite elbow pads on the market right now. If you have read our articles then you my actually recognize the NSX range where the shoulders featured quite highly in our best hockey shoulder pads guide.
They were known for being very well fit to the point where you didn’t even need to try it on before buying. But will the elbow pads be as good?
The Bauer NSX elbow pads made of molded protective soft cap and with medium density foam cover, provide an item with two-piece tapered fit, to create the right feeling when using them.
Both pads feature forearm protection, which is made by molded Polyethylene (PE) resistant to chemical substances.
Also, to offer the necessary protection of the bicep, the pads are made with medium density foam, independent from the cap, to cope with various falls on the icy pitch.
The material used for the Bauer NSX comes as a mixture of strong liner with hydrophobic mesh technology providing a dry and comfortable fit to your elbows.
Thanks to its elastic middle strapping system, the Bauer NSX elbow pads offer full safety for the forearm, joint and bicep, to prevent injuries and relieve pain.
The appearance of these elbow pads features a combination of white, red and black colours with the Bauer signature on it.
2. Warrior Alpha QX5
Warrior Alpha QX5 elbow pads made of molded plastic cap with two-timer protection, WarTech Fresh ‘n Clean liner and comfortable polygiene material to drain moisture and keep bacteria from growing offer an incredible sensation when using them.
The cap part is topped with medium density foam, thus it helps absorbing the impacts a player may have. The coverage material of QX5 is synthetic leather and nylon of a higher grade increasing the durability even when stretched.
At a weight of just 300 grams the elbow pads feature a lightweight design for the bicep and forearm, in order to raise the mobility and offering a superior fit for full range of motion while keeping protection where it needs to be. Equipped with VPS (Ventilated Performance System) to allow the flows of air through the pad and not risking protection.
Also the three strap system will make the QXE elbow pads secure a great touch and feel for your bicep, forearm and elbow.
The Warrior Alpha QX5 comes as a match of black and yellow colors.
3. Bauer 2N
Another feature for Bauer already and it’s another range that’s been introduced before. The 2N’s were featured in our top rated hockey sticks. This product range is known for being a premium product and will boast some awesome technologically advanced features.
“Beefy protection to leave you feeling safe out on the ice”
The new pro level elbow pads, offer much better protection, more control and the best comfort for you. Its material and design provide the best combination for every player. This is why, it is provided with a molded cap, with IX foam protection.
In its inner liner material, it comes with a composition of THERMO MAX with Sanitized technology.
“Tons of coverage to cover the more delicate areas of the elbow”
In addition, the design and protective padding covering the bicep and forearm are provided with forearm guard with Tune Fit strap and MDP design for biceps protection with Vent Armor insert.
Bauer Nexus 2N offers a Y-shape vented neoprene-strapping system, to make it more comfortable and to reduce irritation.
It comes in a combination of white, black and blue colours, with a classy signature shape on it.
Finally, Bauer Nexus 2N has been created for everyone, thus offering small, medium and large sizes for youth, junior and senior as well
4. Bauer Vapor X900 Lite
The inner material is made of liner equipped with Thermo Max and sanitized technology which is odor resistant.
Thanks to its Y-shape the Vapor X900 offer a comfort three strap system, providing elasticity for your bicep and full protection to make you feel secure as well removing the irritation you may experience during the game.
The foam cover provides the necessary strength of the pads, while the Hyperlite material makes the elbow pads completely slight, in order for players to gain mobility and speed when moving their hands.
A composure of black and red colours with white writings on the surface, the X900 elbow pads are the summary of durability, protection, lightweight, elasticity and comfort to make every player enjoy each time they wear them.
5. CCM Jetspeed FT350
Featured with Polyethylene Protective Foam Inserts for the forearm and injected plastic piece JDP design at its caps, the pads provide a high level of protection as well redirecting the impact around the joint.
The bicep part is also floated with protected foam, but comes in a lighter weight in order to deliver quick mobility.
The cap extends all the way to the button of the forearm to completely cover your arm and thanks to its weight the pads provide better breathability to avoid any irritation.
The CCM Jetspeed hockey elbow pads are very easy to use, as you just slide them into your arm and the attachment of the pads comes as a two strap system for a very customizable and comfortable fit.
Designed in a three color combination these elbow pads come as a mixture of red and black with white signature on its surface.
6. BAUER VAPOR 1X
The bicep guard is attached by a strap which allows it to be extremely flexible and move independent of the elbow cap too. There is also molded foam on top of this hard elbow cap which gives you two way protection including you and other players out there on the rink.
The bicep guard uses Aerolite foam which is a high density foam considered to be 30% lighter than other traditional high density foams while still maintaining its high impact resistance so its going to be just as protective. Its also reinforced by a plastic insert to help reinforce that protection as well.
Now in the forearm guard we are going to see Curv composite technology, which means it extremely protective especially against slashes as well as being very lightweight. This area is reinforced by Aerolite foam increasing the quality of protection.
The interior features 37.5 technology which is the fabric used to accelerate the evaporation process by using the body heat to help speed up that process up to 5x faster than other similar fabrics. There is also transfer mesh which allows the air to flow in between the different layers of the fabrics to help enhance the 37.5 and keep you even cooler out there on the ring.
The fabric is a very nice feel and adds to the comfort of the touch. The three strap system gives you a really good fit and is extremely lightweight. For a top of the line, this outperforms all other elbow pads by a distance.
7. EASTON SYNERGY GX
The Easton Synergy is personally my favorite elbow cap and outperforms all others on the market. I found the overall profile to be really lightweight and comfortable when out on the rink. My elbows had really great airflow and breath-ability largely due to to the air vented molded plastic design of the elbow cap. I also noticed the lattice design consisting of really lightweight high density foam which helps with the air flow without compromising protection.
I had heard about Easton’s top of the line synergy equipment for some time but I was impressed by it’s hexagonal designed foam in the bicep and forearm area. The design was extremely lightweight but really highly protective especially during high impact collisions. The foam is backed by a molded PE plastic which is segmented for greater flexibility and to wrap right around your bicep and forearm.
Inside the pads, there is the Helix 10 lining the elbow pocket. Now the Helix 10 is an engineered foam designed to mitigate high energy impacts. Most importantly, the foam around the elbow is very cushioned like a memory foam which makes it feel really comfortable.
Easton has also included its bio dry liner which is antimicrobial so prevents the formation of odor causing bacteria. This is also a three strap system which adds onto the really comfortable fit especially the strap across the elbow crease which helps improve the air.
All in all, this three piece design allows the parts to operate independent of each other providing a flexible fit while remaining really lightweight. Easton has also made sure the pads are not bulky through the use of hex membrane and high density foams while not comprising on the quality of protection.
If you want an indepth review of the pads then checkout – Easton Synergy GX SR. Elbow Pads Review
8. CCM Tacks 7092
The CCM Tacks 7092 Senior Hockey Elbow Pads have the two-piece construction. The pads are strapped together and it helps you get great mobility and it will allow you to move as you want to be. The pads will not only give you mobility but great protection as well. This product by CCM offers insane level of protection and streamlined fit.
High Density Foams and Insane Protection
The pads are super strong for a lot of reasons and one of them is the injected insert up in the bicep guard and it provides really great coverage down to the joint. On the other hand, the pads are loaded with thick density foams both on the inside and on the outside as well. So, these foams will give you good protection and comfort.
D30 Light Foam – The Next Level Energy Dissipation
Well, the D30 light foam makes these pads very demanding as the D30 light foam is smart rate sensitive foam. So, what does it mean exactly? Well, it feels very soft when you touch it while performing really well when it comes to handling the high impact attacks. The D30 light foams manage the impact energy in the best way possible. They have also used the molded PE reinforced with the D30 Lite technology.
With the improved technology and better protection level this product is taking the Tacks line to the next level. The CCM Tacks team has covered every single thing and has given equal importance to every part of the pads. They have used the molded foam armor bicep with extended coverage. They have used the raised exposed plastic insert in the forearm to give you that top level coverage.
In the elbow cap they have made some changes as there are closed cell foam liners in it. So, it will help you stay dry and fresh during the game as it doesn’t absorb water. They have used the JDP cap technology in the inside and for those who don’t the JDP cap technology is one of the most popular elbow designs in the NHL today.
9. CCM Jetspeed FT370
The main purpose of the CCM Jetspeed FT370 Senior Hockey Elbow Pads was to make it super lightweight and protective. When you are wearing these pads then you are going to weight any weight at all and that’s what will help you to make swift moments at crucial moments. Just to let you know the CCM team has made it very lightweight yet the pads are highly protective and durable. But, wait there are some other amazing features about elbow pads that you should know as well.
An Improved Construction In The Pads
One of the most highlighted features of the pads is the amazing construction. The amazing construction is all about the great mobility and comfort. These elbow pads will give you ease and will allow you to move quickly and swiftly. The CCM Jetspeed this particular product is all about great mobility, fit and insane protection. Because of the big upgrades in the construction of the pads that is why it gives you an extra range of motion while maintaining that great motion.
The JDP Design – The JDP technology is an amazing and unique design used by the CCM in these pads. This design helps in deflecting the impact energy from the elbow joint and into the pads where it can be absorbed in the best way possible.
The strapping system of the pads is really good as well. You are getting a nice grip and protection and they have done a great job with the strapping system of the pads. The strapping system allows you to adjust the fitting of the pads as per your demand and this what I really like about the pads. They have also added the ROCKETFRAME COMPOSITE as well for better mobility, adjustability and protection.
10. Bauer Supreme S190
The Bauer Supreme S190 pads are all about great protection, comfort and durability. There is so much to explore like the amazing technology used by Bauer or even the great anatomical fit of the pads. There is a 3 Strap System with anchor and overlock strap. But if we talk about the construction of the pads then they have used the two-piece construction in the pads.
Great Movement, Great Mobility and The Amazing Construction
One of the best parts about the construction of the pads is that it will not restrict your movements and you can increase your range of motions. But, the Bauer team has not compromised with the protection as well because the pads are super strong and protective.
If we see the forearm guards then there are high density foams used in this part of the pads. You are definitely going to get elite level protection because the Bauer team has also used the molded plastic inserts with the high-density foams for that top-level protection. The pads are loaded with some really high quality and high density in different parts of the pads to provide insane protection.
The forearm and the biceps are getting the same injected plastic cap here thicker foams again are being used in this section as well. So, if we see the Bauer team has paid huge attention to the high-density foams and have used it in different parts of the pads to make the pads very powerful and protective.
The New Technology in Bauer Supreme S190
As far as the technology is concerned, the Bauer team has used the XRD foam and that has certainly taken the pads to the next level. And just to let you know, this is the most protective foam that the Bauer is offering. The position of this is so amazing as it will help you deal with all those high impact energy shots in the best way possible. It is very comfortable as it also has that memory foam type feel.
The liner also has their thermo Max Liner and this is one of the most premier liners they’ve ever used in the pads. Above all, we cannot overlook the sanitized active fresh technology this is directly integrated into the liner itself. So, here is your answer for all the odor causing bacteria as this technology will keep you nice and dry during the game and no odor causing bacteria will disturb you.
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