The pull-up is one of the best exercises you can perform to develop total upper body strength therefore, if you only ever buy one piece of home gym equipment, a pull-up bar should be it. There are dozens and dozens of home pull-up bar variations, some of which are very effective at helping to develop upper body strength, others less so to the extent they can be considered dangerous.
When choosing a pull-up bar you should consider:
- If it will fit your door frame (assuming you choose this type of pull-up bar)
- If you will be required to make any structural changes – some door frame pull-up bars need to be screwed in, as will wall-mounted versions
- If it will hold your weight
- If it has the grip handles you need to perform your chosen pull-up variation
- If you have the space
- If it fits your budget, of course
Best door pull-up bars
The Total Upper Body Workout Bar by Iron Gym
This #1 bestseller on Amazon installs into all door frames measuring up to 35.4 inches wide without screws. It has two handle positions which can be used for normal and close-grip pull-ups and chin-ups plus hammer grip / palms-facing pull-ups.
It is described as a total upper body workout bar because, when placed on the floor at such angles, it can make sit-ups, pull-ups and dips more effective. It can hold weight of up to 300 lbs.
The Multi-Gym Doorway Pull-Up Bar by Perfect Fitness
This home pull-up bar by Perfect Fitness is well-priced, basic but sturdy. With two handle positions it can be used for normal and close-grip pull-ups and chin-ups plus hammer grip / palms-facing pull-ups. It fits most standard door frames (those 27 inches to 35 inches wide, to be precise) and can hold a weight of up to 300 lbs, which is more than sufficient for an average man or woman.
Like the Iron Gym’s pull-up bar, the Perfect Fitness pull-up bar is marketed as a ‘multi-gym’, since it can be laid on the floor in such an angle that enables the user to perform push-ups, sit-ups and tricep dips. Some people won’t buy into this and 90% of users probably won’t use it for anything other than its primary function, I personally think push-ups in particular can be more effective as you can achieve more of a stretch on the chest muscles.
The Multi-Grip Doorway Pull-Up Bar by Special-U
Very similar in ways to the previous two entries, with added grip positions allowing the user to target different muscles during exercise. Like the other door pull-up bars in this list, this bar attaches to standard door frames without screws however it holds slightly less weight – up to 260 lbs.
Best wall-mounted pull-up bars
The 48” Multi-Grip Chin-Up Station with Hangers
This heavy-duty steel wall-mounted pull-up bar boasts a variety of grip positions to target different muscles. It can hold a weight of up to 268 lbs and also includes study anchors to attach additional equipment, such as punch bags. It is a little more pricey than the doorway pull-up bars, but this is to be expected for a product of such quality.
The Ultimate Body Press Wall Mount XL Pull Up Bar
Simple but effective comes to mind with the Ultimate Body Press Wall Mount XL Pull-Up Bar. This solid, over-sized pull-up bar protrudes 30 inches from the wall, allowing for full range of motion during pull-ups and other exercises using additional attachments, such as ab straps. The fact that this bar can support over 350 lbs of weight is proof of the build quality.
Best free standing pull-up bars
Gold’s Gym XR 10.9 Power Tower
This premium power tower from the legendary Gold’s Gym is well-built and, like most other models, comes with additional states to allow for a full-body workout. This tower includes durable padding as elbow rests and a back rest to enable knee/leg-raises to be performed comfortably ad safely, plus handles for dips and enhanced push-ups. The pull-up bar itself is horizontal only which allows for wide-grip and narrow-grip pull-ups.
The Stamina 1690 Power Tower
The Stamina 1690 Power Tower is like a scaled-down version of the Gold’s Gym XR 10.9 Power Tower. Still solidly built but omitting some features, such as the back and elbow rests thus eliminating the possibility of core work but maintaining the dip and push-up handles and the horizontal pull-up bar, but with more pronounced angles at the end.
This tower holds weight of up to 250 lbs and is ideal for someone who wants an all-round upper body workout but is not concerned with abdominal work.
Most expensive pull-up bar
The Revolver Rotational Pull-up System
This one is more for entertainment purposes, as I cannot condone spending $1,500+ on a pull-up bar, though if i had a load of spare cash I would consider this one! More expensive pull-up systems are available but they didn’t quite fit the requirements for this category.
The Revolver Rotational Pull-up System is a frame of bars which can constantly rotate around a central bar. The resistance of the rotation can be manually adjusted. This makes it ideal for climbers, or those guys and girls training for Ninja Warrior. This system needs to be attached to Revolver Rack and can be done so at a high, medium or low level. Each level would offer different exercises. For example, at a low level you can perform inverted pull-ups, at a medium level you can perform a variety of rows and at a high level you can perform infinite climbing and a range of pull-ups and chin-ups.
Most useless pull-up bar
Any screw-less, adjustable telescopic bar!
Useless is probably a bit harsh as any bar the enables you to perform pull-ups is useful, however we’ve all seen the vast number of giphs and videos depicting users falling from a height onto their backside and, nine time out of ten, it’s because they’re using one of these pull-up bars. I’m sure there are some sturdy models out that require a lot of weight and movement before they slip, but I’m simply not confident using any of these as every one I have previously used has slipped at some point. And I’m not that heavy! I’m well within the stated supported weight anyway!
Was this guide useful? Do you own a pull-bar? Is there a model you recommend (or don’t recommend)? If so, let me know in the comments!
Still struggling with pull-ups? Check out this handy guide.