With all of the gear you need for lacrosse, it can be tough to sort through what is a reasonable price for each piece of gear. The only way to truly do it is to gather some research online for each article of equipment. Luckily, this column has got you covered with elbow pads.
The average cost of lacrosse elbow pads is $64, with lower priced elbow pads being $30 and higher priced elbow pads being $120. Price is not necessarily indicative of quality when looking at lacrosse gear, so it is a good idea to do a thorough amount of research before you buy.
I provided the research that I conducted below to validate these numbers mentioned above. In addition, the latter portion of the article features a section on exactly what to look for in high quality elbow pads prior to purchase. This checklist will come in handy when deciding what lacrosse elbow pads work best for you and your play style.
Average Cost of Lacrosse Elbow Pads
In order to deduce the average cost of lacrosse elbow pads, I went to three different major lacrosse online retailers and recorded the prices of five of the best selling elbow pads from each website. The websites that were documented for this study are Lacrosse Monkey, lax.com and Sportstop.com. The 15 different products and prices that were collected for this study are shown in the infographic below.
The lowest priced elbow pads were the Warrior Burn Lacrosse Elbow Pads – 18′ Model at only $30. The highest priced elbow pads were the Under Armour Revenant Lacrosse Elbow Guards at a whopping $120. After taking the average of all the data, the average cost of lacrosse elbow pads is $64.
This data can also be found in the table below:
|Lowest Cost of Lacrosse Elbow Pads||$30|
|Highest Cost of Lacrosse Elbow Pads||$120|
|Average Cost of Lacrosse Elbow Pads||$64|
What Price is Too High of a Price to Pay for Elbow Pads?
From the prices listed above, there is obviously a vast range of price points for lacrosse elbow pads. To a new lacrosse player, it can be hard to decipher which elbow pads are worth the price and which elbow pads are a rip-off.
I know that I struggled with this when I first got into the sport of lacrosse. With the overwhelming amount of selection, it was difficult to pick out which elbow pads to even consider buying. Sometimes, I still struggle!
Some lacrosse players fall victim to the mistaken belief that a higher price equals higher quality. That may be true of some industries, but it’s not the case in lacrosse.
The reason that I know this is because I experienced this firsthand. I’ve purchased elbow pads that are well above the $100 threshold, and I’ve bought elbow pads as low as $20. Personally, I have found that I get the most bang from my buck meeting somewhere in the middle.
Generally, the $20 elbow pads are typically geared toward novice lacrosse players that don’t want to invest in an expensive set of gear from the start. There is no need for them to fork over a bunch of money just yet because they still don’t know whether or not the sport is for them. These elbow pads usually come pre-packaged in a beginner equipment set. This is actually how I bought my $20 elbow pads.
Although these elbow pads are extremely affordable, they are not ideal for more advanced lacrosse players. They did help me grow my passion for lacrosse, but eventually I reached a point where I needed to upgrade.
On the other end of the spectrum lies the elbow pads that cost over $100. Most of these elbow pads are of solid quality and will suffice for most lacrosse players. With that being said, the majority of these elbow pads will hardly blow you away with how over the top the product quality is.
In my experience, the difference in product quality between the mid-priced elbow pads and higher-priced elbow pads is negligible. At one point, I actually had two pairs of elbow pads in my lacrosse bag, one mid-priced pair and one high-priced pair. I was in the process of experimenting to find out which pair I would be using for the upcoming season. When I would switch off between the two, I found there to be no discernible difference.
To come back to the original question, I would consider anything above $100 for a pair of elbow pads to be too expensive, regardless of what experience level you’re at. For the average lacrosse player, I would recommend browsing around the $40 to $80 range for elbow pads. The elbow pads below $40 are sufficient for beginners, but not for players that are in it for the long haul.
What to Look for in High Quality Elbow Pads
Now that you know a solid price range to stick to, you likely want to know how to pick out which pair of elbow pads is the best option for you. Rather than judging on the aesthetic of the elbow pads like most other lacrosse players, I would advise going a different route.
The checklist below is comprised of functional aspects of elbow pads that will actually have an impact on your performance on the field. Measure these different criteria for yourself and use this information to come to a final decision on which pair of elbow pads is ideal for you.
Priority number one is protection. Depending on your position, protection may be a primary concern or of little importance.
For example, virtually all attackmen lean toward bulkier elbow pads that offer a superior amount of protection. Attackmen have to constantly deal with stick checks and body checks as they fight their way to the goal. Being the recipient of numerous checks on the arms game after game is obviously not something you should overlook when searching for elbow pads.
In contrast, defensemen have no real need for bulkier elbow pads since they are typically the ones delivering the checks, not receiving them. As a result, it may be to their benefit to opt for less cumbersome elbow pads to promote mobility over protection.
Speaking of mobility, we will discuss this aspect next.
Free Range of Motion
Aside from protection, you need to make sure that your elbow pads have a free range of motion.
No matter what position you play in lacrosse, it is imperative that your motions are unrestricted at the elbow joint. Every position requires use of the arms, whether it be catching, throwing, or delivering checks. If your motion is impeded, your play will inevitably suffer.
Depending on how much protection you desire, you may have to sacrifice a certain degree of mobility. After all, big bulky elbow pads that cover a considerable amount of arm have limited maneuverability.
At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide which takes priority: protection or mobility. In my case, I always find myself leaning towards a happy compromise between the two.
Breathability & Comfortability
Next, you need to make sure that the breathability and comfortability of the elbow pads are up to par.
These two criteria are grouped together because they both go hand in hand. For example, if your elbow pads lack in the breathability department, you can bet that you’re going to feel extra discomfort in the middle of a hot summer tournament. Aside from the lower end beginner elbow pads, breathability is typically not a problem with the newly designed elbow pads manufactured today.
As far as comfortability goes, that is really one thing that is entirely up to your particular preferences. If you have the chance, I would highly recommend trying on at least a couple of different elbow pads at different sizes to gain some perspective on what feels best. By only trying on a single pair of elbow pads at one single size, you will only be limited to that one perspective. It is best to try multiple pairs to get an accurate gauge of comparison.
However, I understand that a majority of consumers are purchasing online. Since this limits the prospect of physical experimentation, I would suggest reading some reviews online to be certain that there are no underlying issues with comfort.
Think about it this way. You will be wearing these elbow pads for an extended period of time week after week during the lacrosse season. Whether you’re out on the field for practice or for games, the last thing you want to be concerned with is how uncomfortable your elbow pads feel.
No Slippage Down the Arm
Although it is important that your elbow pads feel comfortable, they cannot be too loose. Elbow pads should fit snug on the elbow. Not so tight that it cuts off blood circulation, but tight enough to prevent the pads from sliding down the arm.
I ran into this problem with my first pair of elbow pads. Every time I performed a shot or pass, my elbow pads would slip all the way down to my forearms. Needless to say, this was quite distracting and frustrating to have to readjust my gear every time I subbed off of the field.
The main solution to this problem is to pick the right size initially. Loose elbow pads may feel pleasant, but it’s not worth having to manually adjust them every five minutes.
Furthermore, check that the Velcros are working properly. While you’re trying on the elbow pads, flex your elbow up and down and see if the Velcros come undone. If they do, I would move on to a different pair of elbow pads. You will be flexing at the elbow joint repetitively on the lacrosse field and it will be an annoyance having to constantly reattach the Velcros every time you step into the game.
Elbow Pads vs. Arm Pads vs. Arm Guards: Which Should You Purchase?
Throughout this article, I have been referring to lacrosse elbow protection as elbow pads. Generally, the majority of lacrosse players reference elbow protection using the broader term of elbow pads. However, what you may not know is that there are technically three different kinds of elbow protection in lacrosse: elbow pads, arm pads, and arm guards.
We will analyze each of these types of elbow protection in depth to help you make an informed decision as to which best suits you.
Of the three different kinds of elbow protection, elbow pads offer the least amount of protection. They cover the entire elbow cap, but nothing more.
Again, this has to do with the seesaw between protection and mobility. What it lacks in the area of protection, it more than makes up for in the realm of mobility. It is for this reason that many defensemen opt to buy elbow pads above the other types of elbow protection. Typically, this would not be a particularly good fit for offensive specialists because these elbow pads do little to protect the forearm and upper arm from defensive checks.
Arm pads offer a level up in terms of protection compared to elbow pads. Instead of wrapping only around the elbow, they wrap around a small portion of the forearm and upper arm as well.
Being an offensive midfielder, these are the arm pads I gravitate towards. They offer the best mix of protection and mobility that I could realistically ask for. Arm pads are able to stand up to most defensive checks, but not all of them. With lacrosse retaining such a considerable emphasis on contact, I feel as though that goes along with the territory.
Lastly, arm guards are the most protective of the three kinds of elbow protection. They cover the most amount of surface area on the arm and thereby restrict range of motion the most. You can see the comparison in the image above.
This is the ideal option for attackmen that heavily rely upon driving into defenders and initiating first contact to make plays on offense. This aggressive style of play lends itself to forceful checks on the arms. It is for this reason that attackmen wear arm guards as opposed to other two options. They need to guarantee that their arms will be adequately protected during games. Otherwise, they will be rendered completely ineffective on offense because their arms will take a beating.
Should You Purchase Bicep Guards Along with Elbow Protection?
After browsing through a few elbow pads online, you may have noticed that bicep guards are also available for purchase. Bicep guards are not mandatory for lacrosse, but they are an accessory that you may want to consider if you’re worried about potential injury.
In all my years playing lacrosse, I haven’t ever experimented with bicep guards. In my case, they were rather unnecessary. Any bruises that I received on my biceps were not severe enough to get me to purchase bicep guards.
However, if you have had issues in the past with bicep injuries, this is the ideal solution for you. Sometimes, all you need is an extra protective layer to ward off injury. Unfortunately, the biceps do occasionally take on the brunt of defensive checks from time to time. Elbow protective equipment is only able to cover so much surface area.
In summary, I would only purchase bicep guards if you’re especially worried about arm protection or if you’ve had bicep injuries in the past. Otherwise, I don’t think bicep guards are necessary.