Having done some more testing in addition to the results below and the other tests dotted around this website, I can conclude that whichever unarmed aid you end up using, the damage you will get is very roughly in line with an unenchanted level 4 average damage weapon (eg custom katana). While there may be a small variance of 10-20 hp here or there, most of that can come down to the randomness of results and whichever aid you pick you will be doing roughly the same damage, especially considering you will be doing kicks/knees some of the time regardless.
At higher levels I would recommend using the focus statue and focusing head/neck rather than using the knee strikes and you may find you can do a bit more damage with that.
Aside from that, pick which unarmed aid suits you best rather than which does the most damage. Claws can cut vines and damage trees and make you look like Wolverine/Sabertooth, dusters may have less random damage, leather strap gloves are very light, the tentacle gives a grappling bonus, pure blunt options might be better vs trolls, it is this kind of thing that should decide which one you pick as well as which suits your character's theme.
Also, the final point on unarmed damage is that the higher the burden you have in relation to your dexterity stat the greater penalties you get. Conversely the higher your dex and the lower your burden the better improvement to your unarmed. These burden-related advantages/disadvantages specific to unarmed show up if you have the weapon_warning notifications on and are in addition to the normal penalties for burden in combat. Good luck!
- Toffee 02/08/2023
To check thoroughly which unarmed aid does the most damage and how they rank I have just performed some unarmed tests with the unarmed aids listed on this page. Many thanks to Pokey for his help!
Each test was about 50 rounds for around 100 hits per aid. All hits were included. I had 670 striking bonus and was at 24-25% burden.
Leather-strap gloves - 257hp average
Knuckle-dusters - 269hp average
Lion paws - 248hp average
Tentacle - 252hp average
OBBK - 262hp average
The knuckle-dusters do the most damage. OBBK has very random damage with some high damage hits and some very low ones. The kicks and unboosted punches may be lowering the amount of damage for the lion paws and tentacle. It would seem the leather strap gloves or the knuckle-dusters would be the preferred choice for most players unless you need to cut vines (lion paws) or improve one's grappling (tentacle).
- Toffee 06/03/2022
Having discussed the results, the lack of focus on a target area may have affected the results. As the hits were at random locations, perhaps more results are needed to get an accurate average.
- Toffee 15/03/2022