Perhaps more commonly known as the cause of door frame-related accidents rather than a serious piece of gym equipment, the humble pull up bar remains one of the most effective fitness accessories for building your upper body.
Excellent for improving grip strength and developing back, arm and shoulder muscles, there is now a range of alternatives to doorway bars to choose from. Freestanding, outdoor and wall-mounted pull up bars – along with dumbbells, kettlebells, and exercise mats – all make for safe, cost-effective and versatile additions to your home gym setup.
That being said, whether you're an experienced gym-goer or new to weightlifting, there are a few considerations you should make before buying a pull up bar to use at home. To help you make the right purchase, The Recommended spoke to two fitness experts to find out what you should look for and avoid. You can read their expert advice in full at the bottom of this page. In line with their advice, we've listed our top picks for pull up bars below.
The best pull up bars at a glance:
- Best wall-mounted bar: DTX Fitness Multi Grip Wall Mounted Pull Up Bar
- Best multifunctional wall bar: JX FITNESS Pull Up Bar
- Best lightweight power station: Sogesfurniture Height Adjustable Power Tower
- Best free standing pull up bar: Sportsroyals Power Tower Dip Station Pull Up Bar
- Best multi-use power station: BangTong&Li Power Tower Dip Station
- Best doorway pull up bar: Sportstech Pull-up bar
- Best multi-grip doorway bar: Adidas Door Gym
- Best basic pull up bar: Umi. Essentials Door Pull Up and Chin Up Bar
- Best for garden training: Stamina Outdoor Power Tower
The best pull up bars
Best wall-mounted bar: DTX Fitness Multi Grip Wall Mounted Pull Up Bar
A great range of grip positions
Recommended by our expert Fabrice, the choice of grip positions on this wall-mounted pull up bar from DTX Fitness will provide you with everything you need for performing chin-up variations.
Made from steel, the manufacturer claims this pull up bar can withstand up to 150kg of weight (roughly 22.6 stone) – subject to wall strength. There are plastic wall fixings supplied, however, a number of user comments on Amazon recommend using sturdier alternatives made from metal instead.
Best multifunction wall bar: JX FITNESS Pull Up Bar
Wall-mounted for sturdiness
This multifunctional, wall-mounted pull up bar from JX Fitness doubles as a punch bag and training bracket for power ropes, making it a versatile option for home gyms.
The JX Fitness Pull Up Bar is made from heavy-duty steel, and features high-density foam grips, strengthened beams and a triangular support structure designed to withstand up to 124kg of weight (roughly 19.6 stone). This pull up bar features a choice of grip positions and includes hooks for punch bags, power ropes and TRX straps, offering a range of exercises beyond the pull up. User comments on Amazon recommend using sturdier alternatives to the wall fittings provided.
Best lightweight power station: Sogesfurniture Height Adjustable Power Tower
Lightweight and adjustable in height
Our expert Dan recommends this power station from Sogesfurniture as it is adjustable in height and lightweight, which he says makes it easy to move it into his low-ceiling garage from outside.
Built with a durable steel tube frame, it also features non-slip rubber feet, rubber handles, and foam-padded arm and backrests for comfort. It features handles suitable for push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, tricep dips, and vertical knee raises, can support weights up to 100kg (roughly 15.7 stone) and can be adjusted to a maximum height of 210cm.
Best free standing pull up bar: Sportsroyals Power Tower Dip Station Pull Up Bar
Can withstand heavy weights
This free-standing, multifunctional dip and pull up station from Sportsroyals is a versatile unit. It can withstand weights up to 200kg (roughly 31.5 stone) and is constructed with 14-gauge heavy square steel.
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The height can be adjusted to heights ranging from 165cm to 22cm, and the backrest can be adjusted to suit different exercises. The top handles are perfect for wide and narrow pull ups, while the middle grips are suited to dips, and knee raises. There are also bottom handles designed for push-ups.
Best multi-use power station: BangTong&Li Power Tower Dip Station
A full-body workout in one unit
If you have some extra space to work with, a workout station like this one from BangTong&Li Power is ideal. It has top handles for pull ups, as well as middle handles for dips and knee raises.
The top handles can be adjusted up to 82 inches tall, and the rotating safety pads are designed to protect your back and reduce pressure during exercise. There are also non-slip end caps to protect your floors, as well as foam handles to protect your hands.
Best doorway pull up bar: Sportstech Pull-up Bar
Six foam handles
If you are short of space and specifically want a doorway pull up bar, our expert Dan recommends one such as this that hooks over the door rather than ones that sit between the door frames.
This pull up bar has two notches that fix to the top frame of your door and only requires 1.5 to 2 cm of space to hook on to. The bar itself has two grip positions – wide and narrow – both of which feature breathable and anti-slip padding. The bar can also be used on the floor for push ups and similar exercises, and there is also a hook where you can attach accessories such as power cords.
Best multi-grip doorway bar: Adidas Door Gym
Adjustable in height
Simple and effective, this doorway pull up bar from Adidas can do it all. It has four sets of foam handles for performing pull up variations and can also be used on the floor for press ups and dips.
This pull up bar can support weights of up to 110kg (roughly 17 stone), meaning it isn't necessarily suited to everyone. On the plus side, it extends away from the door, which gives you more space to perform your workouts. It also has padding on the frame fitting, which is meant to leave your doorway damage-free.
Best basic pull up bar: Umi Essentials Door Pull Up and Chin Up Bar
With anti-slip grip pads, this simplistic pull up bar from Grandma Shark is built to provide a steady and secure platform for chin ups, without needing to drill into your door frame.
The width of this pull up bar is customisable to fit different door sizes, extending up to 92cm wide. It has two rubber padded handles for performing pull ups, and is designed to support weights up to 200kg (roughly 31.3 stone).
Best for garden training: Stamina Outdoor Power Tower
If you're looking for a heavy-duty power station to use in your garden, this one wins Dan's seal of approval. Made from heavy-gauge steel, it is weather and corrosion-resistant.
This power tower has handles suitable for push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, tricep dips, and vertical knee raises. It is manufactured using chip and corrosion-resistant paint, making it ideal for use outside. It measures 81 inches high and 50 inches wide.
Our fitness experts
Dan Roberts is an award-winning strength & conditioning Coach based in London, with over 30,000 hours of experience and a proven track record coaching elite athletes, national sports teams and public figures. He is the owner of the Dan Roberts Group, a multifaceted wellbeing organisation that offers retreats, courses, qualifications, private coaching and a wide array of free online resources designed to help people live more healthy and athletic lives. Dan is also the founder of the NUK SOO and Methodology X workout brands and a mentor to a wide array of personal trainers and gym owners.
Fabrice Le Physique is a French-African fitness expert, personal trainer and model known for training celebrities, politicians, sportspeople, and even royalty. Fabrice once worked as the fitness coach for the Cameroon national football team and has trained some of the biggest household names, including Friends actor Matt Le Blanc.
Why should you consider incorporating pull up bar exercises into your workouts?
Both of our experts point to the upper body exercises you can perform using a pull up bar. "Pull ups are fundamental strength training skill for all of us regardless of sex, age or fitness level," says Dan. "Pull ups will get you stronger in your arms, back and shoulder, and while you can find a tree or do adapted ones on a suspension system, you really need a bar to be able to practise them properly."
According to our expert Fabrice, pull ups can also improve your grip strength, as well as your overall fitness level. Dan adds that pull ups are also great exercises for abs, obliques and hip flexors.
What should you look for and avoid when shopping for a pull up bar?
According to Dan, you have two options when shopping for a pull up bar. "You can buy a 'power tower', a free-standing pull up bar which also often includes parallel dip bars, or you can buy a bar that simply bolts onto an external wall."
Dan says that most garage gym enthusiasts use a power tower due to the addition of the dip bars. "When I was choosing mine, the key thing I looked for was the weight of the item – the heavier, the better – the type of bar (you can get curved or straight, but curved is superior), and adjustability – you want at least two different heights."
Fabrice says that you should ideally opt for a wall-mounted pull up bar over a door frame bar as it will provide more stability. He also says you should check how much weight the bar can handle so you can be confident in its ability to hold your body weight. Dan adds that "while this may not seem an issue, having a maximum load of anything less than 1.5 times your body weight will make it feel a tad flimsy".
If you would like to read more expert-recommended fitness round-ups, check out our Fitness page for a full list of recommendations, including the best resistance bands and the best weight benches recommended by personal trainers, the best yoga mats recommended by yoga teachers, and the best skipping ropes, recommended by jump rope pros.
Luke Chamberlain is a Staff Writer for The Recommended, and interviews some of the world’s most knowledgeable product experts to help readers make smarter decision about the products they buy online.