Best Pull-Up Bars

Updated August 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

22 Models Considered
9 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
165 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best pull-up bars

Last Updated August 2019

One of the best ways to achieve your fitness goals is to have a way to exercise at home. Pull-ups are an incredible way to build muscle and stay fit, and a pull-up bar is one of the most affordable heavy-duty pieces of exercise equipment you can purchase.

The right pull-up bar for you depends on your home. For instance, if you can't install a wall-mount bar, you may need to purchase a doorway pull-up bar — but you'll want one that doesn't chip your paint or damage the trim. You will also need a pull-up bar that can safely support your full weight and offers you the grip you desire.

If you're ready to buy, consider one of the highly rated options listed in this article. If you'd like to learn more about pull-up technique and exercises that can help you build the strength needed to execute a pull-up, keep reading.

Although a pull-up primarily focuses on your back and biceps, it also engages fingers, forearms, triceps, shoulders, and core muscles.

Pull-up bar installation options

Tension mount

This type of pull-up bar is a single bar that installs in a doorway like a shower curtain, only it can support much more weight. Typically, there are two caps that fasten to the doorframe and a removable rod that inserts between those caps. Often, the pull-up bar can be placed at varying heights to facilitate other types of exercises.

Leverage mount

A pull-up bar that stays in place with leverage can be hung in a doorway in seconds. It can be removed just as quickly, allowing you to install it only when you want to use the equipment. Often, these types of pull-up bars can be flipped over and placed on the floor to assist with a wide variety of other exercises.

Wall mount

If you have the available wall space and sturdy walls, a wall-mount pull-up bar may be a good option for you. These devices attach permanently to your wall and can support more weight than tension-mount and leverage-mount designs.

Ceiling mount

If you do not have the wall space but would like a permanent installation option, a ceiling-mount pull-up bar could be your answer. When installed properly, this type of pull-up bar typically supports the most weight and, depending on where it is located, offers the greatest exercising flexibility of all mountable options.

Freestanding

If you have an abundance of floor space, a freestanding pull-up unit may work for you. These household devices typically can't handle as much weight as most mountable pull-up bars. They are also more expensive, and you may have some stability concerns. However, this type of equipment usually offers a wide variety of exercise options.

DID YOU KNOW?

One way you can make pull-ups harder (if you have room) is to go higher. Instead of simply clearing your chin, extend the range of motion until your chest is even with the bar.

Other considerations

Once you've determined the type of pull-up bar you’ll be getting, there are a few other features and options to consider.

Weight limit

The pull-up bar you are considering should easily be able to support your weight. If it can't, it is not the pull-up bar you should be purchasing.

Variety of grips

Pull-up bars most often come with underhand, overhand, and neutral gripping options. Some specialty bars have other gripping features, such as rings or rock-climbing handholds. If these features are important to you, make sure the pull-up bar you select provides them.

Height

Most pull-up bars do not install high enough to allow you to complete the exercises without bending your knees. If you have a high enough ceiling, however, you have two options: a wall-mount pull-up bar or a ceiling-mount pull-up bar.

Range of motion

In general, the greater the space surrounding your pull-up bar, the greater the range of motion you will have to perform variations on your exercises. Typically, a wall mount unit in a room with a high ceiling gives you the most options.

Other exercises

As noted, pull-ups are an incredible way to build strength. However, it is variety that often holds a person’s interest the longest. A pull-up bar that can assist you with a wide range of exercises may be of the most use to you in the long run.

Pull-ups are an ideal exercise because they combine bodyweight training with resistance training.

Pull-up bar prices

Pull-up bars range from portable to freestanding. The type you choose has the strongest impact on cost. From $10 to $30, you can get a pull-up bar that temporarily mounts in a doorway, either utilizing a tension rod or leverage-mount design. Between $30 and roughly $100, you can find some more durable portable models (at the lower end), but for the most part, these pull-up bars are permanent pieces of equipment that mount to a wall or the ceiling.

From $100 to $200, you can find a few more elaborate mounting models, but the vast majority are freestanding units that may offer the opportunity to perform additional exercises, such as dips.

Tips

Unlike other exercises where you can start at a lower weight, pull-ups can be frustrating because you are either strong enough to do them or you're not. Because of this, many individuals shy away from the exercise, believing it is impossible for them. This is not the case.

Following is a set of tips to help you build the strength needed to become a pull-up master. Remember, this process should take several weeks (or months); don't rush it.

  • Pick a grip. Mixed grip is the easiest for most people. Then it progresses from underhand to neutral to overhand.
  • Start with a hang. Believe it or not, just grabbing the bar and hanging with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart will start increasing your strength. Try to build up to a 10-second hang. Do this twice a week.
  • Hold it. Start in the up position with your chin above the bar — you might need a spotter to lift you if you can't jump high enough — and just hold it the same way you held the hang. Once you can hold it for 10 seconds twice a week, consider taking the next step.
  • Try a slow descent. Again, start in the up position. Instead of staying there, slowly lower your body to fully extended arms. Aim for a 10-second descent. Once you can do this several times twice a week, you are ready to move on to the next step.
  • Try one pull-up. Just one. Think about your form, lift with the chest, and just attempt one pull-up. Once you can do this, take a 60-second break and try it again.
  • Add more. After you can do one pull-up, move on to two. Then three. Then four. Unless each stage is too easy, spend at least two weeks at that level, performing the exercise sets twice a week.
  • Restart. If you begin to feel frustrated, don't keep pushing. Step back to a level that you can do comfortably and stay there for a while longer. Alternatively, you could try an easier grip.
EXPERT TIP

If you build up enough strength that you eventually find pull-ups to be too easy, try adding a weight belt to increase the difficulty.


Staff  | BestReviews

Other products we considered

Because there is such a wide variety of pull-up bars available, we wanted to offer you a few more highly rated models to be certain you locate the one that is best for you. J/fit has a Deluxe Doorway Pull-Up Bar that includes comfort grips. The bar can fit in openings up to 40 inches wide and is mountable at a variety of heights to make it effective for doing not only pull-ups and chin-ups but also push-ups, sit-ups, and dips. The Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar quickly attaches to a door frame so you can do pull-ups, but it can also be flipped over and used on the floor to assist with push-ups, dips, crunches, and other exercises. For individuals who enjoy rock climbing, Stamina's Door Gym includes rock climbing handholds to help increase forearm and grip strength. Additionally, the unit can be adapted to assist with a wide variety of other exercises.

The easiest way to increase difficulty when doing pull-ups is to simply add more. If you can do eight per set, step it up to ten.

FAQ

Q. Is there a proper form for pull-ups?
A.
Yes. The best way to execute a pull-up is to place your hands on the bar a little wider than your shoulders using an overhand grip with your thumbs next to your hands — not wrapped beneath the bar — and lift. Lead with your chest while keeping your shoulders back and maintaining an arch. Drive your elbows down and cross your feet at the ankles to help engage your core.

Q. The pull-up bar that I'm interested in doesn't offer too many options. How important is my grip?
A.
If you can do an underhand grip that is used for chin-ups, you can do an overhand grip for pull-ups; it's just a matter of flipping your hand position around. The hammer grip, or neutral grip, however, requires a special bar. This grip is a little tougher than the underhand grip but a little easier than the overhand grip. The main purpose for using this grip is to provide better support for your wrists. As far as strength training, the impact is not appreciable.

Q. Are there other grips besides underhand, overhand, and neutral?
A.
There are three other types of grips. A mixed grip is when one hand is in the overhand position while the other is in the underhand position. This grip allows you to engage more muscle groups, making the pull-up more achievable. Some pull-up bars come with rock climbing handholds that require more finger and forearm strength. Holding onto a towel or rings is for more advanced individuals, as this requires greater gripping strength and the ability to stabilize your body while executing the exercise. If you'd like to increase the difficulty, instead of switching grips, position your hands a little farther apart on the bar.

The team that worked on this review
  • Allen
    Allen
    Writer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer

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