Carpet Stretchers: Knee Kicker and Power Stretcher

When you want to install a carpet or you want to change the carpet you already have, a carpet stretcher will be a very good friend of yours. It is a very essential tool for carpeting works, especially installing wall-to-wall carpet. 

A carpet stretcher is designed for generally installing wall-to-wall carpet. But, of course, it is very useful in any kind of carpeting works. It grips the carpet with a set of tines on the head. When you apply the force to a stretcher, it tensions the carpet and pulls it closer to the wall. It can be fixed to a tack strip to the wall. 

For your installation work, you need a carpet stretcher because carpeting cannot stay in a place by itself. It needs to remain taut and attached to the grip strips along the edges. It ensures that your carpet stays flat without lumps and bumps. If you intend to do a job on your own, you should definitely buy or at least rent a carpet stretcher and learn how to use it.

Even though you can hold your carpet without a stretcher, it is not recommended at all. If you do your installation improperly, it leads to harm to your carpets such as buckling and creases. Eventually, those can ruin how your carpet lies flat in your place and how it looks in general. 

As we mentioned before, a carpet stretcher is a very essential and useful tool. It helps you lay carpeting down and stay flat easily. It has teeth of adjustable depth on the end of it to grip into the carpet. You can start to try with the teeth depth for the carpet you are working with. Position the stretcher. Push the teeth down into the carpet. Move the kicker about an inch away from the wall. Slam your knee into the cushion to get the carpet in place. That’s it. That’s how it works. 

If you are not planning to install carpets in your entire house, it is not worth to but a new carpet stretcher for your own because they are highly expensive machines. But, nowadays, you can rent one of them fro the carpet stores or installation stores. Also, let’s say you buy one for one use and it is very cheap. Probably, it wouldn’t work it supposed to work as expected. It can leave your carpet wrinkled and bumpy. Because cheaper machines are not qualified enough.  

If you really want to buy a carpet stretcher, if you really want one in your home always, then you need to know what is included in each set of carpet stretchers. Because there are better sets that have more extension tools for greater reach. Also, the basic set does not include a knee kicker for stretching carpet on tight spaces such as stairs, which is actually a very important addition.

If you don’t want or rent a carpet stretcher, as an alternative way, you can use your furniture as well. But it is not something recommended. Because it is about getting proper access to perform the work. Because when you move the furniture, it removes the weight on the carpet. It is possible to ruin your carpeting. 

Don’t only think about carpet installation. Don’t think temporarily. A carpet stretcher is also used for wrinkled and bubbled-up carpets to fix them. With this tool, you can extend your carpet’s life by a few years. 

Types of Carpet Stretchers

There are two main types of carpet stretchers you can find on the market which are power stretchers and knee kickers

Power Stretchers

It is a long tool. It applies tensions with a lever. Uses a pole. Extends the tensioning force across the room. Stretches the carpet from one side of the room to the other side. Used for increasing tension for carpeting in large rooms. It creates more tension than knee kickers. 

The head is placed by the loose edge of the carpet. Then he grasps the carpet to pull it tight. A long pole is placed from the beginning towards the opposite wall. A lever is then pumped. The pressure is created and the carpet is stretched with more force.

Knee Kickers

Tension is applied to the back of the tool using a knee hit. It is mostly used to stretch carpets in small areas. It is useful for firmly fitting carpets into small areas. It consists of a sturdy aluminum frame and foam comfort grip. You must make sure that you are applying proper tension during installation. Because failure to stretch can cause wrinkles to develop over time.

A knee kicker is a small tool. Thanks to this feature, it is generally used in small spaces such as stairs and closets. What do you refer to as small spaces exactly? It is suggested you use for places 10’X10’ or smaller. You can use it in order to position the power stretcher as well. 

To use a knee kicker needs human power because, by itself, it doesn’t have the power to stretch the carpet. You need to get on the floor and “kick” the tool with your knee. The head grips the carpet and the kicking on the back end stretches the carpet. Because of that, it is not proper to use in large areas. It is very exhausting to use in terms of large places. If you see your installer doing an installation with a knee kicker, you need to tell them to directly change the tool they use. If you don’t do it, you need another company to fix the ripples one before has done. 

The design of the knee kickers makes a difference in your projects and areas. Let’s think about an inexperienced carpet installer, for example, you. For you, all knee kickers are the same because you don’t have enough to use it. But by the time, when you become more experienced, you will see the difference between tools.

Some kickers are not as comfortable as others, or some of them are not as easy to use as others, or while some of them are user-friendly and some of them not. By chance, you can have one of them. Let’s say, you buy one which is not comfortable, you can adjust it according to yourself. By adjusting, you can get the best performance.  

Comfortability and performance allow you to properly stretch the carpet to its most maximum stretch. You won’t need to use a power stretcher in this case. It doesn’t mean that all knee kickers are the same in comfortability and performance, and will allow the consumer to make a wise purchase according to their preference in knee kickers. It depends on what you want, what kind of work you are going to do, how experienced you are and the brand of the tool. 

Carpet companies mostly say that their carpets must be stretched with high power during installation. Because a knee kicker can damage your quality carper if your carpet is large. Also, improper installation may destroy the validation of your warranty. Carpet is a large investment that you don’t want to waste your money. In order to ensure your investment, always you need to make sure to use proper tools for the job whether it is done by professionals or you. 

To better understanding the difference between a knee kicker and a power stretcher, let’s consider wall-to-wall carpet installation. On one side of the wall, the carpet is hung on the floor fastening strips using a knee-kicker, which is operated by knocking the padded end with your knee. It is used to place the carpet on the adhesive strips so that the carpet is not stretched. However, on the other hand, you need something stronger to tighten the carpet tightly to the tack strips, which is a power stretcher.

How to Use a Carpet Stretcher

  1. Test the length of the teeth. They should be long enough. There should be enough length to go through the fibers and grip the backing. They shouldn’t go through the carpet backing. You need to adjust the length to prevent harm.
  2. Create a pad for the wall. Protect your pad from the harm. Put another pad opposite to protect the wall. Place it in the area where you want to start stretching the carpet. 
  3. Place the power stretcher base correctly on the pad you have already placed. Place the other end on the head, the head with the teeth, to grab the carpet.
  4. Place the head where you want to stretch the carpet. Change the length of the stretcher if needed. The tube connecting the head and the base type is adjustable, with smaller tubes sliding into the outer tube. Angle the head slightly from the opposite wall. Stretch at about a 15-degree angle.
  5. Next up is to push the lever on the stretcher down. Don’t forget to lock the stretcher in place and then you can hook the carpet on the tackle.
  6. Repeat the process until you have stretched all the carpet between the two walls or until you think it is fine. 

Recommended Products on Amazon

ROBERTS 10-422BK Deluxe G.T. Carpet Knee Kicker, 17-1/2 Inches to 21-1/2 Inches, Black

It features an extra thick foam-filled bumper pad and a checkered, non-slip hand grip. Its high profile design provides clearance over stretcher heads. The die-cast aluminum body is lightweight. It is very durable for easy and reliable use. 


Roberts 10-505-2 Gel Pro Knee Kicker

It is a favorite of professional installers. If you are looking for a high-quality stretching tool, it will be the best option for you. This is a well-made tool, suitable for professionals and novices alike. It is a solid option. It is constructed from diecast aluminum to be durable and lightweight. It features a non-slipping checkered handgrip and a foam bumper pad to cushion the knee kicking. The kneepad can be unscrewed and replaced with a thicker one, which is great if you are using it every day the way it supposed to be.

They are well-known for producing quality products, and it is likely that if you purchase a cheaper brand model your carpet will be bubbling up again within 10 months and you might end up shattering your knee from poor cushioning in cheaper knee kicker models.


MaxWorks 80742 Carpet Stretcher Knee Kicker with Telescoping Handle, Regular, Silver

The product is heavy-duty and it works great. Good quality, adjustable length, and teeth paid for itself. It seems to have all the features of the much more expensive ones, but no, it is affordable. It includes extra-large rubber bumper and heavy-duty rubber grip handle for added comfort. Handle telescopes allowing carpet Stretcher to have 4-different length settings from 18-1/2 inch to 21-1/2 inch long in 1-inch increments. Conveniently placed knob to adjust the height of steel spikes. It has heavy-duty aluminum and frame construction with a powder coat finish.


Roberts/Q.E.P. Economy Adjustable Knee Kicker

It is a great tool for small jobs. It is an adjustable knee kicker for more or less all carpeting installations. This product is manufactured in Taiwan. This product meets customer requirements very well.


Pit Bull CHIC0151 Carpet Kicker Installer

This knee kicker makes your installation job easy. It has an adjustment for a carpet of different thicknesses. It is sturdy and well made. It is a good quality tool. It is easy to use and simple to understand. With a little practice, you can start to work out those areas in your carpet that need to be re-stretched. It is a great product at a good price. 

It is well-designed, well-constructed, and an excellent choice. If your carpet needs re-stretching, go for it. Users love the high-quality construction. On the other hand, some users found it heavier than they expected. This carpet kicking tool has a padded bumper and a plated steel teeth construction. It also has a telescoping handle that has four adjustment positions so you can extend it according to your carpet’s needs. Overall, this could be the right fit for you if you want an effective, but reasonably priced carpet stretcher.


QEP 10408 Economy Knee Kicker

Compared to most of the other options available out there, this is a very good value. It provides a solid feel at a great price. Especially, it is excellent for small DIY projects. It is not an exact carpet stretcher but a decent option for carpet repair or re-stretching. It works fine for some small areas and fixes like a carpet stretcher. However, it is not really designed for laying down a full room of new carpet. If you don’t have anything else you make do with this and then it would be way better than no stretching method. It is ideal for a closet type area or re-stretching and fixing some loose carpet. 

The only downside of this tool is that that soft rubber/foam grip around the handle tends to slide up or in the direction that you are pushing during use. Also, if you use this tool in order to stretch your carpet for re-tacking, you will need two people. While one kicks the carpet into place, the other tack it down.


Bon 24-612 Deluxe Adjustable Carpet Knee Kicker

This tool has 5 setting adjustments and 16 adjustable pins. There is a trigger lock as well. It is well-constructed, efficient, and convenient for do-it-yourself projects. Overall, this is a high-quality, but inexpensive knee kicker. It could be an excellent choice for anyone who doesn’t want to rent a carpeting tool every time they need it. As a whole, users are extremely satisfied with it, and they praise its performance and functionality.


M-D Building Products 48113 Adjustable Knee Kicker

It allows you to make your next carpet installation easier. It stretches carpet over the tack strip. It has an adjustable pin depth. It works with any kind of carpet very well.


XtremepowerUS Carpet Installation Knee Kicker With Adjustable Stretcher

It works great and doesn’t hurt your knees. It is the most popular knee kicker and has been the industry standard for over years. It is ideal for small installations and fixing loose carpet easily. The tool makes carpet fitting easy. It gives your work a professional finish. The ultra-wide aluminum head with steel teeth grips your carpet firmly and the teeth can be raised and lowered in order to use on different carpet thicknesses. 

It provides adequate performance. The high contour neck is specifically designed for use over stretcher heads and poles. The superior die-cast aluminum body is lightweight and durable Foam-filled seamless bumper pad for extra comfort. It enables you to stretch the carpet as needed for quick and easy installation, even in tight areas.


Crain Cutter 505H Adjustable Carpet Knee Kicker

It holds your carpet up great. It does its job magnificently as it supposed to be. It has a steel telescoping mechanism, with 5 adjustments for length. The new double-engagement buttons eliminate wear or hole elongation. The wide head grips carpets with the combined hold of 3 replaceable nap grippers, and 16 adjustable hardened-steel pins. It has 9 different position settings of the long ping. They provide adjustability to carpets of all usual thicknesses.


HF tools Adjustable Carpet Stretcher

It works as it is needed. This stretcher works well for the homeowner. This is a great stretcher for the money. It is very easy to add more extensions of any length. The short one is much cheaper than the longer ones and it easily extended by sticking 3/4″ pipe of varying lengths in between the sections. This stretcher will fit any room in the house and it is far handier than the carpet professional. 

The ones that are long enough are way too expensive for the DIY homeowner. This packs up very small, so you can store it with ease. This works much better than a knee kicker. For the price, you can’t go wrong with this. If you have never put down the carpet before, you don’t need to worry about it, just go to youtube, watch and learn how to use it.


Echelon Power Carpet Stretcher with Case

It comes in very handy in your business. It has a great and affordable price for this good quality. It makes stretching way easier than with just the kicker. Everything you need to stretch your carpet in any size room and extremely good quality. They are standard poles and are compatible with similar-sized stretcher poles.


Roberts/Q.E.P 10-237 Junior Power Stretcher

The stretcher is commercial quality and over a year later the carpet will still tight. It is a very good quality tool. The finish is perfect. The storage box keeps things neat and makes transport easy. Solidly built with a lightweight head that makes maneuvering throughout a room less of a chore than more bulky power stretchers, but no less sturdy than units twice its price. This unit includes one power unit, tail block with wheels, three 3 in. Extension tubes, adjustable locking tube, transfer tube, and durable carrying case.


Kraft Tool FC502 Carpet Power Stretcher

Drive head has an adjustable locking head for various lengths of stretching. Stretcher adjusts from 3 to 22-feet. Adjustment knib on the head allows easy adjustment of power pins for various carpet thicknesses. The driving head has an adjustment for partial carpet stretches. This tool is equipped with 4 standard size extensions tubes.


Veena Shop Lever Action Carpet Stretcher Adjustable Extendable From 17-3/4 to 59 1/2″ Kicker Installer Head Foot Lenght Wall Fits

It comes with four attachable bars with the bracing foot, allowing for adjustments. Take the strain off your knees and back with this adjustable carpet stretcher. A lever-action PVC handle enables you to stretch the carpet as needed for quick and easy installation, even in tight areas. Lever action stretches carpet without having to strain your knees or back. It has an adjustable length which allows you to work in tight areas. There are four attachable bars with the bracing foot.


Roberts, 10-128, Matching/Seam Repair Carpet Stretcher

According to customers, it is one of the best inventions ever. They are very happy with the tool. It allows users to do more or less everything they want in their house about carpet installation.


Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like history and reading about carpets. I like to play soccer too :)

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