A great workout doesn’t have to require elaborate or expensive exercise equipment. A regular regiment of pull ups will help you develop the muscles in your arms, back, shoulders and chest.
Pull up bars are a great way to exercise at home. They’re inexpensive and easy to install in a doorway or on a wall. By varying your grip width and style you can target specific muscle groups for a total upper body workout.
Generally speaking, a wider grip will target your back muscles while a narrower grip targets your chest and arms. Pull ups bars aren’t limited to pull ups, either. You can also use them to do sit ups, side twists and more. By working against your body weight you’ll always have proper resistance to build muscle.
There are three different types of pull-up bars:
- Doorway – This bar uses leverage to securely fit into any standard-size doorway
- Wall-Mounted – These are mounted directly into brick or the studs behind drywall
- Freestanding – A pull up bar can be part of a freestanding piece of exercise equipment
When shopping for the best pull up bar, you’ll want to consider a few factors. Do you plan to use your pull up bar in one place or do you want something portable you can use travel with? What weight limit does the bar need to support? What budget do you have? Pull up bars vary from simple door frame rods to elaborate freestanding exercise machines.
Let’s take a look at the three types of pull up bars. We’ve also included some top-rated recommendations:
Best Doorway Pull Up Bars
If you have a doorway, you have a place to put a pull up bar. A doorway bar is easy to install and remove. Plus, unlike a standalone piece of exercise equipment, a doorway pull up bar takes up very little space.
There are two types of pull up bars which fit in a doorway: door frame leverage bars and telescopic pull up bars.
A door frame bar goes over the top of the doorframe. Your body weight pushes the bar against the frame in both directions, which keeps the bar in place. Most door frame bars require some minimal, tool-free assembly.
You can leave the bar hooked to the door frame or remove it when not in use. They’re generally foldable and easy to store. The best door pull up bars will easily slide under a bed or fit in a closet.
When shopping for the best doorway pull up bar, here’s what you want to look for:
- Are the grips secure and comfortable?
- Is the overall construction solid?
- Are the contact points padded to prevent damage to the door frame and walls?
Door Frame Leverage Bar
The Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar is best doorframe pull up bar. Rugged and versatile, the bar has five grips: narrow, neutral, wide, side and alternate wide. Each grip targets a different muscle group.
You can also remove the bar and use it for sit-ups. With strong, steel construction the bar supports up to 300 pounds. Assembly is required but all the necessary tools are included.
Other popular door frame pull ups bars include:
KLB Sport Heavy-Duty Chin-Up / Pull-Up Bar: Supports up to 300 pounds thanks to strong steel construction.
Yosoo Steel Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar: 36-inch-wide fit perfect for sits ups, pull ups and more.
Telescopic Door Frame Pull Up Bar
A telescopic door frame pull up bar wedges into the doorway. The bar twists to extend to the proper length between the doorway, where either friction or suction cups keep it in place.
Telescopic bars require only minimal assembly. If you want to use the suction cups, you’ll have to screw them into the ends of the bar. Otherwise, the telescopic bar simply needs to be twisted into the doorframe and you’re good to go.
When shopping for a telescopic bar, you’ll want to make sure the ends won’t scuff or damage your door frame. You’ll want rubber ends. Of all the types of pull up bars, a telescopic door frame bar is the most likely to accidentally cause damage.
The Sunny Health and Fitness Pull Up Bar is a telescopic pull up bar we recommend. This bar supports up to 220 pounds and has a no-slip foam grip. Easy to mount and remove, the rod extends between 24.5 inches and 36 inches. When not in use, the slim bar can easily be stored in a drawer or other small area.
The TOOGOO pull up bar is another good option. Transparent side grommets mean the bar will leave to marks on the door frame. Includes slip-resistant foam handles for a comfortable grip.
With a doorframe bar, your exercise options are limited to pull ups. Works well for traditional pull ups, modified pull ups and Kipping pull ups. By varying your grip width you can target different areas of your body.
Best Wall Mounted Pull Up Bars
Don’t want to put a pull up bar in your doorway? Consider a wall mounted pull up bar. These are permanently installed into an interior wall. They can be mounted into brick walls or dry wall.
You’ll need a wall which is tall and wide enough to accommodate your body. When mounting the bar on dry wall, you’ll need to locate the studs. A stud finder is useful here. You don’t want to make a bunch of holes in your wall, so you’ll want to install the bar in the proper position the first time. Use a level to ensure the bar hangs parallel to the ground.
The best wall mounted pull up bar is the Titan Fitness Wall Mounted Pull Up Bar. This is one tough bar which can support up to 500 pounds. Custom widths for wood stud mounting are 16 inches, 32 inches and 52 inches. You can even mount this bar on concrete at any width up to 48 inches.
Wall mounted pull up bars give you more room for pull ups, especially ones which requires extra agility. You can swing your legs and twist your body easier with a wall mounted bar. You can even perform gymnastic maneuvers.
Best Freestanding Pull Up Bars
Free standing pull up bars have a sizable footprint but offer a variety of exercise options. Aside from pull ups, a freestanding machine will have bars and rods for sit ups, dips and more.
Freestanding pull up bars lock in to prevent wobbling and other movement. They do require more space than wall mounted and doorframe pull bars. Plus, you can’t move a freestanding pull up bar very easily. They work best in an exercise room or other designed workout area.
Also, a freestanding pull up device costs quite a bit more than the other two types of pull up bars. You can expect to spend at least $100. This is an investment you’ll only want to make if you’re committed to working out for many years.
After a thorough review of popular options, we’ve determined the Apex Multi-Function Power Tower is the best free standing pull up bar. This is tower workstation with a pull up bar featuring multiple hand positions. Includes a dipping station with fold-away arms to work out your triceps and a vertical keen raise station for your lower abs. The tower is built-to-last with a 15 Gauge tubular steel frame and powder-coated finish.
The Stamina 1690 Power Tower is another standalone option. Made from a tough steel frame, you’ll have plenty of options for pull ups, sits ups, dips and more.
This type of pull up bar gives you the most options. Aside from plenty of space to do pull ups, the device will also include other ways to work out such as sit ups, weightlifting and more.
When shopping for a free standing pull up bar you’ll want to consider the amount of space you have for it as well as the number of different exercises you want to perform.
The best pull up bar is the one which fits your needs and space. For smaller areas, a doorframe pull up bar is usually the best option. If you have a lot of space but not a big budget, a wall mounted pull up bar allows for a wider range of motion and moves. Finally, if you have a lot of room (and money) to spare, a free standing pull up bar offers a wide range of exercise options.
Pull up bars are as effective as you want to make them. The basics are pretty simple, but you can vary the type of pull ups you do in order to create a full-body workout. With a little bit of know-how just one simple bar can replace an entire gym filled with equipment.
The best pull up bar will help you exercise the way you want to no matter how much space you have. Just a few pull ups each day can transform your body and your life.