Calisthenics requires very little equipment, but there is one piece that can really take your training to the next level, and that is essential for one of the most important exercises in calisthenics. That essential piece is a pull-up bar, and you’ll need it for pull-ups and all its variations including the chin-up. Thankfully, pull-up bars are fairly inexpensive, and there’s a great selectin of high quality pull-up bars on Amazon. Below, we rank our five favorite.
#5 – The Simple Option: Sunny Health & Fitness Doorway Chin Up Pull Up Bar
Pros: Low price, quick and easy setup
Cons: Low weight maximum (220 lbs), may need to be screwed to the wall for maximum support
This is a simple, low cost doorframe mounted pull up bar that has garnered quite positive reviews on Amazon. Although this model mounts to doorframes, it does so a little differently than the most popular models on the market (see below). This models pushes against the sides of your doorframe using pressure, and for extra support you can also use the mounting screws (included) to screw the brackets into the sides of your doorframe. In fact, many reviewers noted that in order to be confident that the pull up bar would fully support them, they decided to use the screws (although many others noted that they didn’t need to). The build quality is quite high on this bar, and the grips are very comfortable. For a low cost option that’s very easy to setup (especially if you don’t need to screw it in), this is a great starter option. Note however that this pull-up bar supports a lower weight limit than most other bars, at only 220 lbs according to the manufacturer.
#4 – The Crowd-Pleaser: Iron Gym Pull Up Bar
Pros: Good price, many positive reviews, can be used as push up bars and parallettes
Cons: Concern about build quality
The Iron Gym Pull-Up Bar is a doorframe mounted model with a great reputation and plenty of sales on Amazon. Like any door mounted pull-up bar, it uses leverage to hold against the doorway so there are no screws required and no damage to the door. The bar is pretty standard in terms of dimensions, and has three grip positions; narrow, wide, and neutral. It’s made primarily from high quality metal and the grips are quite comfortable. Although the bar is sturdy and appears to be high quality, many of the Amazon reviewers have complained about the flimsiness of a piece called the “Safety Clip” which helps to reinforce the bar in place. We didn’t notice any real issues with it in our testing, but we can see why users have complained about it given the piece seems rather cheap and almost unnecessary. This bar is quite versatile as it can be placed upside down on the floor, at which point it can be used just like parallettes and push-up bars. This is a tried a true product that you’ll more than likely be happy with.
#3 – The Versatile Choice: ProSource Multi-Grip Chin-Up/Pull-Up Bar
Pros: Versatile range of grip options, heavy duty build quality
Cons: Higher cost
Another doorframe mounted model, the ProSource Multi-Grip provides a huge range of grip options, making it a very versatile pull-up bar option. It features no less than 12 grips and handles, allowing many variations on the standard pull-up such as wide-grip, hammer, close-grip, and more. Like the Iron Gym, this model can be easily mounted to any sturdy doorframe and hold up to 300 lbs. This model also comes with J brackets that allow a more permanent mounting with screws. The build quality of this pull-up bar is top notch, as it’s constructed of high grade heavy duty steel. This model has been received positively by Amazon customers, with an average review of 4 stars on 2,005 reviews at the time of this writing. A bit more costly than the Iron Gym model at $26.79 vs. $19.99, but the extra grip options and sturdy build quality may be worth it.
#2 – The Wall Mount: Yes4All Wall Mount Chin Up Bar
Pros: Perfect for those that want a permanent mounted option, solid steel quality design
Cons: Higher cost, not for those who don’t have a wall they can mount this on
For those out there who are weary about hanging their pull up bar on a doorframe, or just prefer to have it mounted more permanently to a wall, the Yes4All bar is a fantastic option. This pull-up bar gets screwed into the wooden wall studs that sit behind the drywall, and stay their very securely while holding up to 300 lbs. Made from high quality solid steel, this is a very well built unit that should never break down. It comes will all the required installation hardware, and even provides for two different options for wall stud spacing – 16” and 24”. The bar itself has multiple grip options such as close-grip, wide-grip, and hammer-grip. The bar is designed to allow 12” of clearance from the wall, which provides plenty of space between you and the wall. Sentiment on Amazon is very positive, with many reviewers commenting on the solid build quality of the product. We know several serious calisthenics practitioners who use this unit and they love it.
#1 – The Ultimate: Weider Power Tower
Pros: All in one calisthenics equipment, great quality, no mounting required
Cons: High cost
This baby is a pull-up station, push-up station, dip station, and leg raise station all in one. It’s a little unfair to include this product with other reviews of more simple pull-up bars, as this one technically isn’t just a pull-up bar. But we figured that for anyone who is starting out in calisthenics and who may end up purchasing a pull-up bar, dip bars, and parallettes, it may make more sense to just purchase this unit which essentially gives you all three. That’s not even mentioning the fact that it has a leg raise station as well, which is nicely appointed with cushioned arm rests. The beauty of this apparatus is that it requires no mounting to doorframes or walls as it’s completely standalone. Weight capacity matches the highest in the market at 300 lbs. Amazon reviews are quite positive on this unit, at 4 stars over 1224 customer reviews at the time of this writing. For those looking to get serious about their calisthenics training, and who are considering purchasing the various pieces of equipment (pull-up bar, dip bars, parallettes), it may make sense to invest in the all-in-one Weider Power Tower and be done with it. In the end, you may actually end up saving money and will have a very nice piece of equipment to show for it.