You'll need the best pull-up bars to build upper-body definition at home – easy as that. Pull-up bars come in many shapes and sizes: door pull-up bars are ideal for rented households, mounted pull-up bars if you've got a dedicated workout space (and permission to drill the walls), and standalone pull-up frames if you have all the space in the world to set up your home gym.
Pull-up bars are ideal for building upper body strength at home using nothing else but your body weight as resistance. Pull-ups are one of the best back exercises, and they also work other muscles, like the lats, hence why the King of Upper Body Exercises is also included on our list of best lats exercises.
[Here is how to do pull-ups and what's the difference between chin-ups and pull-ups. For your reference.] Have more questions about pull-up bars? We've answered 11 of the most searched questions about pull-up bars here. Without further ado, let's see what are the best pull-up bars right now.
Best pull-up bars to buy right now
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Door pull up bars
The Adidas Door Gym does what it says on the box: it is indeed a cost-effective, space efficient and versatile piece of home training equipment. Door pull-up bars have less max load capacity (the Adidas Door Gym's max load is 110 kg), but since they are attached to the door frame, there is no point in them being able to hold 200 kg when the door frame would give in under much less.
The Door Gym has three grip positions, and it is also height adjustable, so you can tailor it to the door space you have (width is not adjustable, so please be mindful of that). Some reviewers complained about the foam cover not being sturdy enough on the side where the Door Gym meets the frame, but if it's secured properly, it shouldn't be an issue. The most convenient (and probably cheapest) way to build upper body strength.
The Ultrasport Door Pull-Up Bar supports up to 100 kg in user weight and is ideal for pull-ups and chin-ups. Better still, it comes with three different depth settings, so one can adjust it to their own door frames. If this is not good enough for you still, the Ultrasport Door Pull-Up Bar can also be used as an incline push-up/floor dip bar, all without having to drill or move things around in your rented flat.
Door pull-up frames are ideal for getting better at pull-ups and chin-ups: should you have enough space to walk under it, just have the Ultrasport Door Pull-Up Bar on the door frame all the time, and every time you walk under it, do a pull-up or chin up. You will see results soon enough!
As with all door pull-up frames, it is true that although the actual equipment can support up to 100 kilos in bodyweight, the max load also very much depends on the door frame itself. For the same reason, this pull-up bar might not be suitable for CrossFit-style pull-ups as it could wriggle around too much on the door frame.
Best free standing pull up frame
Should you have the space to house this beast of home gym equipment, you should most definitely invest in the Weider Power Tower. As well as being able to perform pull-ups and chin-ups, using the Weider Power Tower, you will also be able to do knee raises (or leg raises), bodyweight dips and a wide variety of push-ups, too.
Although it is a free-standing pull-up frame, the max user weight is a pretty impressive 135 kilograms. That is even more surprising considering that the Weider Power Tower only weighs 40 kilos itself. Some self-assembly is required to put this home gym equipment together, but not much. The time spent on assembling the Power Tower will be dwarfed next the time you'll spend doing full-body workouts on it.
We love Bowflex products here at T3. One of our favourites is the Bowflex Selecttech 1090i Dumbbells which made it all the way to the top of the best dumbbells list. The Bowflex BodyTower (opens in new tab) (retailer link) doesn't disappoint either; Bowflex claims you can do more than 18 different exercises on this power tower, including – of course – pull-ups and chin-ups.
This beast of home gym equipment is over 50 kilos, but in return, the max supported user weight is over 130 kgs. Surprisingly, it takes only 30 minutes to assemble the BodyTower, according to Bowflex. Bowflex knows that no one ever cleans their gym equipment, so it threw in a special feature: the hand grips are covered with non-absorbent, microbial-resistant material, and even the back pad is non-absorbent, closed-cell EVA foam cushioning. Well done.
Power racks, such as the Powertec Workbench (opens in new tab) (retailer link), are the perfect solution for all callisthenics fans out there to build functional muscle mass at home. Want to master muscle-ups before you head down to the park to impress your peers? Better practice them out of sight, at home in the garage or spare room, and showcase your muscle power once you can perform the exercises correctly.
As well as being a very competent standalone pull-up frame, the Powertec Workbench can also function as a squat frame (barbells/plates sold separately) and a dip station too, meaning it can provide a full-body workout in just three moves. When you think about it this way, it really isn't that much of an investment, is it?
Do bear in mind that this home gym equipment is on the bulky side and will require a lot of floor space. Also, the Powertec Workbench stands over 2 metres tall, and you would need enough space between the top of the tower and the ceiling so you won't headbutt the top of your abode with each rep. Ideal for garage gyms or spare rooms, though.
Best wall mounted pull up bar
Mirafit's mission is to manufacture quality products for a reasonable price, and boy-oh-boy, do they deliver on that promise! The Mirafit M2 wall-mounted pull-up bar is a commercial-grade, sturdy piece of home gym equipment that also looks great.
The max load of the Mirafit M2 is 150 kg (subject to wall strength, of course), more than enough to hold the weight of most fitness enthusiasts. Not just that, but the Mirafit M2 has loads of different grip positions, so you can target your muscles from a lot of different angles. The powder-coated frame looks good enough to actually compliment your garage gym too. Wall fixings are included, although you will need a drill for the holes in the wall.
How to buy the best pull up bar
Pull-up bars come in various shapes and forms, and you should always do your research before you invest in one. If you are in a rented property, you might not be able to drill a solid, mounted pull-up bar into the wall. Luckily, there are free-standing and door pull-up bars that don't require any drilling or much DIY skills at all.
The two main features to consider are max-load and versatility. The non-freestanding versions should have at least a few different grip positions (wide grip, narrow grip and neutral grip) and around a 110-150 kg max load. Free-standing pull-up frames should include other features, such as padded back and armrests. Some models also include grips at the base of the frame so you can mix up your press-up routine as well. Generally, free-standing pull-up frames' max load is less than the wall-mounted variety and is between 120-140 kg.
Do pull up bars damage doors?
Neither stand-alone nor wall mounted pull up bars damage doors because they aren't attached to the door frames. Door pull up bars – the ones you attach to door frames – shouldn't damage doors either, but make sure you check the minimum and maximum door width the bar can support.
Are pull up bars safe?
A good quality pull-up bar installed correctly is always safe to use. That being said, always test the bar a bit before you apply your weight to it. The stability of pull-up bars depends on how it was assembled or attached to the wall/door frame.
Alternatively, you can always purchase an exercise floor mat, like the Mirafit folding exercise mat (opens in new tab) (retailer link), that could help you land softer. If you are concerned about your grip strength, you can get a pair of grip pads or lifting gloves that can help even sweaty palms to grip longer. You can also try resistance band pull-ups which take some pressure off your arms and back.
How much weight can a pull up bar hold?
How much weight a pull-up bar can hold depends on the model, but in general, choose a pull-up bar with a maximum user weight of 20 kg over your bodyweight. Considering that most door pull-up bars can hold 110 kg, most of them will be able to hold an average-built adult easily.