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The best canes for 2024, according to nurses, physiotherapists and physical therapists

Find the perfect support for walking and balance with the help of canes from brands like Kinggear, Carex and HealthSmart

The best canes for 2024, according to nurses, physiotherapists and physical therapists

Whether you're recovering from an injury, just had surgery or simply need assistance with balance or stability, a cane can be useful in helping you navigate your world. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, canes are walking aids that can help with mild balance and stability challenges for short or long-term use. Canes can help increase confidence and independence by keeping patients moving.

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"Canes are generally used by people with balance problems and mobility issues and have become essential medical equipment around the world, especially in hospitals and clinics where patients need them after surgeries or accidents," says Calum Fraser CEO and owner of Advantage Physiotherapy. He adds that they can be particularly useful following leg injuries that impact a person's movement patterns or gait, or for individuals who have chronic diseases that affect their lower limbs, like arthritis.

That said, there are a variety of types of canes on the market, so it's important to understand that the best cane for one situation isn't necessarily the best cane for another. To better understand what to look for in a cane and how to choose the best one for your needs, we spoke to a variety of experts, including nurses, senior aid consultants and physiotherapists. We also poured over product reviews and ratings to rank the best cane choices in various categories, from the best walking cane for balance and the best walking stick to the best collapsable cane to the best cane with a seat. Read on for our top picks, tips and tricks to help find your perfect cane.

Cost: $21 | Height: 37 inches | Type: Walking cane | Handle material: Rubber | Shaft material: Aluminum | Weight: 1 pound | Base type: 4

If you're looking for a sturdy, well-balanced cane, the KingGear walking cane is an excellent choice. The offset handle provides solid wrist support, while the pivoting quad base offers superior traction. At just $21, it's a cost-effective product that makes moving around more accessible following surgeries or during injury recovery. 

"I had heel surgery and was coming off the knee scooter moving into a medical boot. I needed the cane to help with stability. I didn’t want a grandma looking cane so I got one with color. It worked perfectly well. It was easy to put together and use," says one satisfied Amazon reviewer

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Shock absorbing tip
  • Ergonomic handle
Cons
  • Some reviewers say the base is too thick
  • May not be suitable for people over 6 feet tall
$18 at Amazon

Cost: $22 | Height: 38 inches | Type: Derby | Handle material: Rubber | Shaft material: Aluminum | Weight: 11.84 ounces | Base type: 1

This derby-style walking cane features a latex-free, ergonomic handle that is adjustable for left- and right-handers. The gently cushioned handle helps absorb shock and reduces wrist fatigue. With the push of a button, it adjusts to various heights up to 38 inches. The anti-slip tip provides extra traction so users can be confident in every step.

With more than 3,500 reviews on Amazon, this cane maintains an impressive 4.7 star rating, with reviewers particularly pleased with how sturdy the model is. "I'm at least 300 lbs and this cane holds up to me just fine. Like the title says it's good and sturdy and I particularly like the little lanyard on it ... nothing worse than dropping your cane and have to lean down trying to reach for the thing. I particularly like the rubberized handle both for the fact that in cold weather doesn't freeze your hand off and also when leaning it on or against something the rubber grips so once again you're not dropping your cane everywhere. Practical, sturdy, affordable, there you go!" said one Amazon customer

Pros
  • Soft, ergonomic grip
  • Anti-slip tip
  • Adaptable for right- and left-hand users
Cons
  • May be too big for more petite people
  • Cannot be returned via Amazon
$22 at Amazon
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$23 at Ace Hardware$27 at Senior.com

Cost: $35 | Height: 38 inches | Type: Offset quad | Handle material: Rubber | Shaft material: Aluminum | Weight: 1.8 pounds | Base type: 4

When you need extra stability, a quad-tipped cane is a reliable choice. And this one from HealthSmart is as durable as they come. Made from high-quality material and able to support up to 250 pounds, this solid cane works as well outdoors as it does indoors. If you need an extra boost, the offset handle helps support users to move from a sitting to a standing position.

Reviewers also appreciate the fact that the cane stands up on its own and doesn't tip over, which is particularly helpful when moving around outside. One Amazon reviewer who owns four canes said that this is their pick for working in the garden. "I use this when in the yard because it will stand alone on most surfaces, including gravel and grass, although it occasionally falls over if placed on an incline. This quad base offers more support than any other type of cane, so I feel very safe when walking outside." 

Pros
  • Supports up to 250 pounds
  • Quad tip provides greater stability
  • Offset handle helps transition from sitting to standing positions
Cons
  • Some users may find it heavy
  • May not be suitable for people over 6 feet tall
$35 at Amazon

Cost: $28 | Height: 38 inches | Type: Cane with seat | Handle material: Rubber and vinyl | Shaft material: Aluminum | Weight: 3.2 lbs | Base type: 3

If you have limited mobility, a cane with a built-in seat, like this one from Drive Medical, is an appropriate choice. You can use it as a cane when folded or as a convenient seating option when opened. This is particularly handy when running errands or attending events where seating may not be readily available — a built-in seat enables you to sit down and rest as needed, rather than trying to remain standing if you're tired or feeling wobbly. The tripod design and sturdy aluminum tubing also help increase stability, while the vinyl-tipped feet offer traction.

One reviewer on Amazon found it's the perfect cane to help their elderly mother walk longer distances without over-exerting themselves. "My mother is 88 years old and was having a hard time walking three blocks to her mailbox. Because of this chair, she is able to walk much farther than she was before. When she gets tired, she opens up the chair and sits for a minute or two, then [folds] up the chair and goes back to her walk. My biggest fear was that the seat would be too small and she would fall, but it is actually perfect and she loves it." 

Other reviewers were also concerned about the size and stability of the seat, but most found that it was better than expected. "I'm 6'2" 195 lbs, seat is comfortable, feels sturdy when sitting on it," another reviewer shared

Pros
  • Reasonably priced
  • Folds and opens easily
  • Comfortable seating
Cons
  • Heavy
$28 at Amazon
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$28 at Lowe's$36 at HSN

Cost: $33 | Height: 37.5 inches | Type: Folding | Handle material: Rubber | Shaft material: Aluminum | Weight: 1 pound | Base type: 3

The HurryCane folds down easily for quick storage, fitting into a day bag or luggage for travel. Yet, it still features all the bells and whistles (and then some) of most other canes. The patented "WhisperFlex" base features a sturdy, three-pronged base with a flexible "joint" at the connection point with the shaft. This joint moves almost like your ankle would, allowing for a more natural range of motion as you walk or move. The underside of the base also features cross-hatched gripping tips for added traction whether you’re on concrete, gravel or grass.

With more than 23,000 Amazon reviews and a solid, 4.5-star rating, it's a popular pick with shoppers. The same reviewer who recommends the HealthSmart Quad Walking Cane for doing yard work relies on the HurryCane for almost all other situations. "The HurryCane is my favorite, all-purpose cane because it is comfortable to grip, lightweight, pivots to make walking more natural and will stand on its own with careful placement on select flooring. I own 4 canes, and I've had some experiences with them over the years for various injuries, most recently a broken leg. This is the cane I always select when I am going out, to doctor's appointments, etc. The HurryCane folds easily, although you have to be careful; I pinched a finger when I first tried it. Despite the fact that it folds, the HurryCane is very supportive and it does not feel like you are compromising stability for compactness. The only negative is that the HurryCane does not stand up on its own as well as advertised." 

Pros
  • Large, grooved handle gives secure grip
  • Wide base
  • Holds up to 350 pounds
  • Flexes at the base to make walking more natural
Cons
  • Some reviews say the cane starts to creak as it ages
  • Hard to replace rubber stoppers if they come off
  • Doesn't stand up on its own as well as advertised
$10 at Lowe's
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$28 at Walmart$33 at Amazon

Cost: $29 | Height: 37.5 | Type: All terrain, collapsable | Handle material: Nylon and rubber| Shaft material: Aluminum | Weight: 1.1 lbs | Base type:

For individuals who need a little extra support, but are still pretty agile at getting around, the Rehand Walking Cane can help you stick with your favorite outdoor activities, even if your mobility isn't quite what it used to be. This reliable option features heavy-duty construction with an ergonomic, soft grip handle and an all-terrain shock-absorbing tip. If you'll be walking on uneven terrain, this can help lessen the impact on your muscles and bones. 

The collapsible design also makes it ultra-portable, so it’s ready whenever you are — you can store it in your purse, wheelchair bag or glove compartment. Not to mention, it's a favorite with Amazon customers, maintaining a 4.7-star rating with almost 10,000 reviews. 

"This cane is sturdy, folds easily for storage, has a comfortable hand grip and is easily adjustable for your height. My only complaint is that this cane cannot stand up by itself and has a smaller base so can be less stable. However, the smaller base also makes it easier for traversing uneven terrain," shares one reviewer who adds that it's most ideal for individuals who don't have major balance problems. "If you have more serious problems with balance, I would definitely recommend a cane with a larger base." 

Pros
  • Shock absorbing tip
  • Steady and stable on a variety of surfaces
  • Lightweight and collapsible
Cons
  • Reviews suggest rubber handle may start to wear over time
  • Not safe for those with latex allergies
$29 at Amazon

Cost: $32 | Height: 41 to 58 inches | Type: Walking stick | Handle material: Wood | Shaft material: Wood | Weight: 1 pound | Base type: 1

Whether hiking a trail or traversing your neighborhood, the Brazos walking stick offers added support to remain steady on your feet. Made by skilled American woodworkers, the individually cut pieces of wood are kiln-dried, sanded and varnished into well-crafted, reliable walking sticks that are as much a showpiece as a practical item.

Of course, walking sticks aren't quite the same as canes that are intended to be used as medical devices — they lack the ergonomic handles and rubber safety tips that can help improve day-to-day mobility. Consider this option only if you're looking for a little added stability when you're out taking a hike. For instance, one Amazon reviewer who regularly uses a cane switches to this walking stick when heading to the park. "The best feature of this walking stick is that it helps me to keep my balance, especially while I walk on the uneven ground of our local park. My canes would restrict me to the asphalt path which needs repair." 

Pros
  • Nine wood finish options and four height options
  • Built-in compass
  • Solid wood, crafted in the U.S.
Cons
  • Non-adjustable
  • May be too heavy for some users
$37 at Amazon
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$18 at Carewell$30 at Tractor Supply

Cost: $85 | Height: 47.5 inches | Type: Trekking poles | Handle material: Rubber | Shaft material: Aluminum | Weight: 9.4 oz. | Base type: 1

With or without any mobility challenges, serious hikers may want to invest in trekking poles to help tackle challenging terrain with ease. Trekking poles help you balance on uneven surfaces and allow you to propel yourself forward — you can also use them to test the stability of the path in front of you before taking your next step on tricky trails. 

The Leki Wanderfreud's ergonomic grip and strap ensure a solid hold, while the pointed base allows you to dig in for better traction. The pole is lightweight yet sturdy, and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. It also folds up easily so you can throw it in with the rest of your hiking gear with plenty of room to spare.

Pros
  • Easy to adjust
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Costly
$85 at Amazon
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$85 at Backcountry

Cost: $30 | Height: 37 in | Type: Collapsible tripod | Handle material: Rubber | Shaft material: Aluminum | Weight: 1.33 pounds | Base type: 4

This sturdy, foldable walking cane features a heavy-duty, quad-tipped base with pivot action so you can position it exactly how you need it for ultimate balance, whether you're moving from a seated to standing position or you're using your cane for support as you lean forward to reach for something on a shelf. The ergonomic handle allows for a superior grip to keep you steady on your feet. 

This Honeybull cane is considered an all-terrain walking cane, as it can be used on various surfaces, including snow, grass or gravel. The pivoting head also helps when going up and down stairs, as attested to by multiple Amazon reviewers. "My favorite part of the cane is the pivoting tip. It helps on stairs, and really is flexible. Overall, it's quite sturdy. Easily adjustable," one reviewer noted, adding, however, that they don't like the clicking sound that the tip makes while walking. "My husband says it helps him to know where I am," they note, tongue-in-cheek. 

Pros
  • Collapsible
  • Can hold up to 250 pounds
  • Pivoting tip for extra balance
Cons
  • Some reviews suggest the base squeaks
  • Reviewers say that it does not always stay standing when not in use
$30 at Amazon

Cost: $80 | Height: 40 inches | Type: Offset cane | Handle material: Foam rubber | Shaft material: Aluminum | Weight: 1.8 lbs | Base type: 4

What sets this cane from StrongArm apart is its patented design that takes the pressure away from the wrist and puts it onto the forearm, so getting up and down from a seating position puts less strain on your body. It's also ideal for anyone who has weak or painful wrists, which can make using a traditional cane more challenging. 

The price is higher than most other canes, so that may give you pause if you're watching your budget. That said, reviewers on Amazon are generally pleased with the purchase, with some even noting that their own therapists approve of the offset design. "I recently tore my ACL and meniscus, and have graduated from crutches to a cane. Regular stick canes were providing very little support. The wrap-around curve provides a ton of extra support around your lower arm, making this more like a crutch than a cane ... with my ACL and knee pain, this actually alleviates pain throughout the day as I can lean more heavily onto it. My physical therapist really liked this, too," one reviewer said

That said, it may be more suitable for average-to-tall individuals, rather than shorter people due to limitations in adjustability. "The length of the cane is adjustable, but the length of the upper curved part is fixed," explains an Amazon buyer. "I am 5'3" and my arms are short, so this part of the cane is way up to my elbow. It sort of pushes my arm forward as I take a step, which is not comfortable." 

Pros
  • Extends longer than most canes at 40 inches
  • Self-standing base
  • Ergonomic design shifts weight from wrist to forearm
  • Several color options
Cons
  • Costly
  • May not be ideal for shorter individuals
$60 at HSN
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$80 at Amazon

Not all canes are created equal. When purchasing a cane, knowing what options are out there and how they may benefit your specific needs is essential. Consider the following types of canes.

These canes offer basic support and balance. They are lightweight and easy to use, ideal for mild balance issues and everyday support, as they can be used on most flat surfaces. However, they may not be as sturdy as tri- or quad-tipped canes, and they won't be able to stand up on their own.

Quad canes provide a broader base for greater stability. They offer extra support for those who need it and are especially useful on uneven surfaces and for those with significant balance concerns.

Tripod canes offer similar stability to quad canes but with a smaller footprint. They also help with balance and stability issues and can be utilized while recovering from an injury or surgery.

The shaft is angled for better weight distribution and wrist alignment, making it more comfortable for longer use, and an ideal option for individuals with weak wrists, arthritis or joint pain in the hands or arms.

Folding canes are compact and portable, easily fitting into a bag when not in use. They offer the same support as a standard cane while being far more portable.

Seated canes combine a cane with a built-in seat for resting. If you have trouble with exertion or need to take breaks frequently, seated canes can be very helpful by increasing independence and confidence while out of the home.

"Canes help people with balance while standing or walking. They’re often helpful for people with arthritis of the hips or knees, balance issues or new injuries," says Christopher Norman, a nurse practitioner with the National Council on Aging (NCOA).

Canes supply a variety of benefits to the user. Overall, they can help with the following:

  • Improved balance and stability

  • Reduced pain and pressure on joints

  • Assistance with walking after an injury or surgery

  • Increased confidence and independence

  • Fall prevention

  • Arthritis support

  • Post-stroke rehabilitation

  • Hiking/outdoor activity

"Canes can be used to improve balance, reduce fall risk, enhance confidence and help folks maintain their independence longer," says Milicia McDowell, DPT, a physical therapist, certified exercise physiologist and vice president of operations at Gait Happens. "They are used for all types of ailments such as balance problems, a weak lower body, difficulties with [maintaining an] upright posture or for use after a stroke, surgery or other degenerative conditions like Parkinson's, dementia or Alzheimer's."

There are many factors at play when considering what cane to purchase.

"While choosing a cane, it is important to find one that provides proper support and stability. This means checking the weight capacity, ensuring it's suitable for the user," says Fraser, who adds that the length of the cane should also be adjustable. When standing straight with your arm extended toward the floor, you should be able to comfortably grip the cane in your hand with the tip of the cane in contact with the ground — your elbow should be bent no more than 20 degrees and you shouldn't have to lean over to grip the handle.

He also suggests that users consider comfort as well as durability. “There should be a comfortable grip; handles can be made of different materials including ergonomic shapes, which reduce hand strain for users," adds Fraser.

Finally, pay attention to your budget. "Basic canes typically cost $10 to $20, while specialty canes can range from $30 to $100 or more," notes Norman.

To choose the canes on this list, we first talked to experts in the field, including physiotherapists, occupational therapists and doctors to find out their recommendations on what to look for. We then considered more than 40 popular canes, analyzing ratings and customer reviews, taking into account the real experiences (both positive and negative) of real users.

I also have some cane experience myself. My mother just had her second knee replacement this year, and I helped her research canes for her recovery. Many of the canes on this list were products that we researched and considered together.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, the top of a cane should hit the crease in your wrist. If it's too short, you will slouch or slump forward. On the other hand, you won't get the support you need if it is too tall. A correctly-fitted cane can help take the pressure off of the lower joints and body.

Once you've picked out a cane, you need to learn how to use it. According to the Cleveland Clinic, you should start by holding your cane on your stronger side. For instance, if you have an injured left knee, hold the cane in your right hand. If both sides are weak, try holding the cane in your nondominant hand.

Hold your cane at your side, not in front of you, for ultimate support and balance.

"Move the [cane] forward simultaneously with your affected (weaker) leg for balanced support while sharing your weight evenly between the cane and your other leg,” instructs David Chandler, a registered nurse and vice president of clinical services at Senior Helpers. He adds that it's best to practice at home with a friend or family member available to help if you have any trouble.

"Be careful on uneven ground and stairs, and use handrails," says Chandler. "Regularly inspect the cane for damage, especially the tips on the base."

While most canes can support up to 250 pounds, each brand and model of walking cane has its own weight limit. Check with the manufacturer and the product descriptions before purchasing.

Quad canes are the most stable type of cane. Their broad bases increase stability by distributing weight evenly over a larger area, yet they are still maneuverable. Quad canes also usually support more weight.