Guide to the Best Prayer Kneeler

Editor’s Choice

124254: Gothic Padded Kneeler

  • Superbly crafted
  • Constructed of solid hardwoods
  • Finished with details of uncompromised quality

Best Overall

48270X: Canterbury Padded Kneeler, Oak Finish

  • Exceptional design and function
  • Ships in well-protected packaging
  • Constructed from 100% Eastern Maple hardwood

Budget-Friendly

117940: Folding Kneeler, Hardwood Maple with Walnut Finish

  • Handcrafted of genuine maple hardwood
  • It features flame-resistant padding
  • Includes a convenient shelf to store a Bible or prayerbook

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out the best prayer kneeler, then I’d recommend the Canterbury Oak Finish Padded Kneeler as the best one.

Growing up, we have all come across a prayer kneeler at least once every Sunday. It’s shorter than a typical bench. Its beautiful wood carvings tie in with the interior design of the church. We know that we can pray wherever and whenever, but a prayer kneeler just offers a different experience.

As we continue, we’ll learn all there is to know about prayer kneelers. 

Here are the best Prayer Kneelers we will be reviewing:

What is a Prayer Kneeler?

A prayer kneeler or “prie-dieu” is one of the most common pieces of furniture you will see inside a church. Shorter than a normal bench, the prayer kneeler is designed for kneeling without pain inflicted on the knees. It is a small, ornamental wooden desk furnished with a thin, sloping shelf and a kneeler. Sometimes, instead of the sloping shelf for books or hands, a padded armrest will be provided. 

A prayer kneeler or some call them prayer benches, are “godsend” pieces of furniture as it’s a lot easier to concentrate on communing with God in a comfortable position. A prayer kneeler is primarily intended for private devotional use, but it may also be found in churches. The padded kneeler provides comfort while the prayer desk gives you a place to lay your forearms while keeping your Bible or prayer book open.

Parts of a Prayer Kneeler

Base frame

A prayer kneeler’s base connects the kneeling pad to the prayer desk. The prayer desk or front panel is at an angle that is perfect for you to read your Bible. Some prayer kneelers have a storage shelf below the desk for you to place your Bible or prayer book.

Kneel pad

Most prayer kneelers have a cushion on their kneeling pad; each has varying thicknesses. The best paddings are from virgin polyurethane foam. The thickness depends on your preference but keep in mind that thicker cushions are not always the most comfortable.

What are the Best Materials for a Prayer Kneeler?

Because of today’s technology, you could build a prayer kneeler from aluminum and high-grade plastics. But wood is still the best material to use. The cheapest materials used for prayer kneelers are chipboard, fiberboard, plywood, and pine. But if you want to use high-quality wood, your best choices are mahogany and walnut. Both mahogany and walnut offer the most excellent durability. They are also known for their beautiful natural wood patterns. These two premium wood materials are on the expensive side, so bear that in mind.

As for cushions, the best material for the covering is leather. Leather is your best option because it resists wear and tear, is very comfortable, and has impressive aesthetic appeal. Again, leather is more on the expensive side of the spectrum. If you want something that is cheaper but is easy to care for, then you can opt for polyester or cotton coverings.

How to use a Prayer Kneeler?

Using a prayer kneeler can be a little daunting at first, but it’s easy once you get the hang of it. Here are a few tips to help you use the prayer kneeler and be as comfortable as possible:

Find a comfortable kneeling position

Although most kneelers or pads have cushions, they can get uncomfortable if you don’t position yourself properly. The ideal position is to keep your ankles relaxed and straight behind you. In this position, you evenly distribute your weight.

Keep your back straight and tall

Keeping your back straight and your shoulders relaxed helps you concentrate. Maintaining a proper and correct posture eliminates one more distraction: back pains and neck strains. Another advantage of maintaining a good posture is that you can focus better. Slouching for an extended period can be very uncomfortable; discomfort is very distracting during prayer and meditation. It is also not good long-term for your posture and back muscles.

Purpose of Using a Prayer Kneeler

Using a prayer kneeler can help you, not only during prayer but also during meditation. Having a designated place to pray and meditate enables you to concentrate better and focus on dwelling in the presence of the Lord. The padded kneeler provides comfort as you rest your knees on them. At the same time, the prayer desk allows you to have your Bible opened on the passage you wish to consult with God.

A prayer kneeler may be provided in church weddings for the bride and groom to kneel on during the service. They are also used by a cleric when he leads the worshippers in prayers. In the Byzantine Rite, a prayer kneeler is provided for the bishop when he kneels during the consecration of a church or when a priest recites prayers at Pentecost.

Benefits of Using a Prayer Kneeler

It helps you concentrate

Having a designated space for prayer and meditation helps you concentrate better. When you use a prayer kneeler, you cut all possible distractions. Because prayer kneelers have a prayer desk, you can bring your Bible and read a passage from your devotion to help with your meditation. Although the pews have kneelers in some churches, praying in a crowd is very distracting.

It keeps you comfortable while kneeling

Although some see kneeling as more of a medieval custom, as Christians, we see kneeling before God as an act of humility and surrender. But let’s admit it, kneeling for an extended period can get very uncomfortable thus very distracting. Well, using a prayer kneeler can help you with that! Most prayer kneelers have cushions on the kneeling pad for comfort.

It helps you keep a proper posture

While we are not consciously thinking of our posture, a prayer kneeler helps us practice proper posture. Because of the height of the prayer desk, slouching will be very straining for our spine and back muscles. To prevent that from happening, you can practice keeping your back straight while using a prayer kneeler. Be mindful to keep your spine straight and your shoulders relaxed to avoid straining on your neck.

Things to Consider in Choosing the Best Prayer Kneeler

Stability and Safety

A prayer kneeler needs to be safe to use and stable enough to hold the weight of each individual that will be using the prayer kneeler. The standard measurements of a prayer kneeler’s base are 26 inches – wide enough for the user to kneel and rise from prayer quickly.

To prevent injury when using the prayer kneeler, like hitting your head on the prayer desk or going off balance as you rise, make sure that all corners of your prayer kneeler are rounded. The rounded corners are not only for decorative purposes but are also for the safety and comfort of the user.

Lastly, look for prayer kneelers that mechanically lock the kneeler or kneeling pad when you bring it down. The locking feature helps you use the prayer kneeler without worrying about it tipping forward.

Accessible and Comfortable

Most prayer kneelers nowadays have kneelers that are six to seven inches off the ground so that the user can quickly rise from a kneeling position. The height of the kneeler also permits comfort and less stress on the user’s knees, ankles, and feet during prayer.

Manufacturers also make prayer kneelers for those who find it hard to kneel. They make more accessible versions without the kneeler or kneel pad so that people in the wheelchair can also use the prayer kneeler.

Height is easily adjustable

The standard height of a prayer kneeler is 31 inches. This height is just about right for most people, but if you wish to adjust the size for your convenience, some products come with hex wrenches for adjusting.

Simple design that is not distracting

Choosing a classic and simple design is always the best choice, especially for prayer kneelers. Opt for a simple stain and a smooth wooden finish; this compliments any homes or sanctuaries. Also, if you want, choose a simple wooden carving design so that it wouldn’t be too distracting when you use the prayer kneeler. This eliminates the possibility of the design catching your attention and distracting you from meditation.

It can be personalized

Like all types of furniture, you can also personalize your prayer kneeler to fit your home or sanctuary. Most manufacturers offer you a variety of hardwoods, finishes, padding materials, and designs to choose from. You can also select the stain and mix custom colors for your prayer kneeler. There are so many options and combinations to choose from; the possibility is endless when you have the budget to match.

Size of the base frame

The overall size of the base frame is essential because it gives you an idea of how much space you will need to accommodate the prayer kneeler. The standard width of a prayer kneeler is 26 inches, standing at 31 inches tall. But because of customization, you can ask the manufacturer to alter the size however you see fit.

Long-lasting

Lastly, choose a prayer kneeler that will be durable and long-lasting. Most prayer kneelers are made from high-quality hardwood and are held together by high-quality screws. The padding and cover fabric should be comfortable to use, easy to clean, and will not lose shape after a few uses.

Canterbury Oak Finish Padded Kneeler

48270X: Canterbury Padded Kneeler, Oak Finish

The Canterbury Oak Finish Padded Kneeler is a beautifully hand-crafted East Maple hardwood with a light-colored oak finish. This padded kneeler’s woodwork is reminiscent of the Canterbury Cathedral Romanesque and Gothic architecture, a perfect embodiment of a classic and timeless design. It’s the ideal praying altar for your home and your sanctuary. Though it lacks a storage shelf, the prayer desk is at an angle that is perfect for comfortable reading.

This padded kneeler needs some light assembly, but the manufacturer sends everything in well-protected packaging, complete with all the tools you will need to put the kneeler together. This padded kneeler measures 24” wide x 22” deep x 32” high.

Pros:

  • Exceptional design and function
  • Ships in well-protected packaging
  • Constructed from 100% Eastern Maple hardwood
  • Free shipping within the US
  • You can choose from two finishes, Walnut and Oak

Cons:

  • It doesn’t have a compartment for your Bible or prayer book
  • The kneeling pad isn’t foldable
  • Some assembly required

Gothic Padded Kneeler

124254: Gothic Padded Kneeler

Look no further if you’re looking for a prayer kneeler with a simple yet elegant wood carving design. This elegant yet straightforward gothic-style padded prayer kneeler is handcrafted from Eastern Oak hardwood with a medium oak finish. This padded prayer kneeler perfectly compliments a traditional-style home or sanctuary. Together with the soft red imitation leather padded covering, it perfectly compliments the overall look of the padded kneeler.

It fits in with the standard measurements at 32 inches high and 24 inches wide, making it suitable for home or church. This padded prayer kneeler also needs some assembly, but it comes complete with tools and instructions for you to follow.

Pros:

  • Superbly crafted
  • Constructed of solid hardwoods
  • Finished with details of uncompromised quality
  • It is reminiscent of gothic architecture’s pointed arches and flying buttresses
  • The padded cushion is thick and very comfortable on the knees

Cons:

  • The description states that the padding is red velvet-like, but it is actually a vinyl
  • The kneeling pad isn’t foldable

Hardwood Maple with Walnut Finish Folding Kneeler

117940: Folding Kneeler, Hardwood Maple with Walnut Finish

This prayer kneeler is hand-crafted Maple hardwood with a dark walnut finish. But besides the simple and sturdy build, this product also comes with a folding kneeler. You can fold up the kneeling pad to save space when not in use. The overall design is simple yet offers convenience with a shelf to store your Bible. Plus, the angled prayer desk elevates your Bible at the right level for comfortable reading.

This folding kneeler is best for places with limited space and perfectly matches other traditional dark wood furniture.

Pros:

  • Handcrafted of genuine maple hardwood
  • It features flame-resistant padding
  • Includes a convenient shelf to store a Bible or prayerbook
  • Finished in walnut stain
  • This folding kneeler measures 20” x 32”

Cons:

  • This product is only available for shipping within the lower 48 US states or Canada
  • The cushion for the kneeler is thin

Windsor Walnut Stain Kneeler

148340: Windsor Kneeler - Walnut Stain

If you’re looking for a monochromatic look that compliments smooth and flawless woodwork, then this prayer kneeler is for you. This Windsor kneeler comes from the Windsor Collection, which was inspired by the beautiful architecture of Windsor, England. This padded kneeler is hand-crafted from solid Maple hardwood with a walnut stain. The overall design of this kneeler greatly compliments a traditional-style home or sanctuary.

This high-quality Windsor kneeler features many materials and elements as the kneeler found in the classically designed churches. With its padded leather kneeling pad, you can be sure that this will be very comfortable to use. This prayer kneeler measures 24” wide x 22” deep x 32” high.

Pros:

  • Inspired by the rich history and beautiful architecture of Windsor, England
  • Windsor Kneeler with Walnut Stain
  • Hand-crafted from solid maple hardwood
  • Measures: 24″ wide x 32″ high x 22″ deep
  • You can choose from two finishes, Walnut and Oak

Cons:

  • It does not come with a compartment for your Bible or prayer book
  • The kneeling pad isn’t foldable
  • It does not indicate if the prayer kneeler needs assembly

Hardwood Maple with Walnut Finish Padded Kneeler

117919: Padded Kneeler, Hardwood Maple with Walnut Finish

Hand-crafted from genuine Maple hardwood, this padded kneeler features a classic design with modern features such as flame-resistant padding and a storage shelf. Its monochromatic and straightforward design compliments dark wood furniture inside your home or sanctuary. This prayer kneeler is reasonably priced and is the cheapest out of the five products we’ve reviewed. But do not let that factor fool you; this prayer kneeler is all about functionality and ease of use.

Although it needs light assembly, all the components are well-packaged, and the instructions are easy to follow. This prayer kneeler measures 20” wide x 32” high.

Pros:

  • Handcrafted of genuine maple hardwood
  • It features flame-resistant padding
  • It has a convenient shelf to store a Bible or prayerbook
  • Finished in walnut stain
  • You can choose from two finishes, Walnut and Pecan

Cons:

  • Some assembly is required
  • The cushion for the kneeler is thin

Conclusion

Choosing the best prayer kneeler for you can be a lot of work, but it’s all worth it. The best prayer kneelers are designed for kneeling without inflicting pain on the knees. It’s not too high that you have to strain your shoulders and neck. Although there are so many materials and stains to choose from, the perfect prayer kneeler for your home or sanctuary is out there.

The best prayer kneeler I’d recommend is the Canterbury Oak Finish Padded Kneeler. It is beautifully hand-crafted in a light-colored oak finish, reminiscent of Old World craftsmanship with exceptional design and function. Constructed from 100% Eastern Maple hardwood and finished with exquisite details reflective of the Canterbury Cathedral Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Its classic and intricate woodwork will complement your traditional wooden furniture at home or sanctuary. This padded kneeler is very comfortable on the knees and is very easy to use. It’s sturdy and will surely last a very long time.

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Alex Shute
EDITOR
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.

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