The best Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar is one you can rely on and which integrates well into the circumstances of your location. Not all Calisthenics Pull-Up Bars are the same and not all Pull-Up Bars were created equal. There is a best Pull-Up Bar for Calisthenics out there, but that is contingent mostly on where you want it placed. We’ll discuss the 10 different types, yes there are 10 of them, of Calisthenics Pull-Up Bars. For each category, we’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages and we’ll list the best-in-class Calisthenics Pull-up Bar for that category too. Where possible, we’ll provide additional articles that go more in-depth for that particular type of Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar. Time to find the best Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar for you.
If you don’t want to read everything in this blog then we suggest that you have a look at the decision-making flow chart at the end.
Which Type Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar Do You Need?
The type of Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar you need mostly depends on where and not how you want to use it. Some are fixed to a surface, while others remain standalone. Again, others you can pack in your backpack, while the majority are sturdy constructions of high-grade steel. Each of these types of Calisthenics Pull-Up Bars has its own use-case, and that is largely up to preference. Choosing the right type of Pull-Up that works for your situation is the first step in buying one. Any Pull-Up Bar that does work is better than none, or one you can’t setup and use where you are.
We’ll name the 10 different types here. Below, we’ll discuss each type in detail and name the advantages, disadvantages and best use for them. We’ll also link to more in-depth articles once you’ve determined which type you need. Of course, the number 1 best Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar of each type is also presented here already.
The Best Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar of Each Type
Think of what you want from your Pull-Up Bar when you’re doing Calisthenics. Also think of what’s possible with the room you have. Is it going to be outdoors or indoors? Do you want it permanently mounted to some surface for additional stability, or must it remain standing by itself? How much space do you have available? Between these 3 questions, you’ll likely surmise which Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar is best for you. We’ll discuss each type in more detail now.
Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar
A Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar (also called a Standalone Pull-Up Bar) has a top bar that is supported only by the construction of the Pull-Up Bar itself. It’s not bolted or fixed to any surface. Once the structure is built up, it will stand on its own. Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars tend to be larger than other types of Calisthenics Pull-Up Bars since they need to provide their own stable base as well, and reach sufficiently high enough so you can hang from the bar and not touch the floor. They are made of tubular steel, with the legs, base and top bar often either slotted (with or without a retention pin) or bolted together.
The best place of a Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar is in a small to medium-sized home gym where mounting to any surface is not possible. This could be due to having plaster walls and ceilings or where the ceiling is too high for a Ceiling-Mounting version. The Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar is best placed on a level surface.
Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar Advantages
- No fixtures or drilling
Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar Disadvantages
- Takes up floor space
The Best Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar
We love the Gravity Fitness Portable Pull-Up Rack for its simplicity, stability and excellent quality. It also pairs very well with the Gravity Fitness Gymnastic Rings, but the main attraction has to be its modest price. You won’t find any better Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar on the market for this price and considering its excellent fit and finish and durability. It is the go-to workhorse for all your Calisthenics like Pull-Ups, Muscle-Ups and Dips.
Wall-Mounted Pull-Up Bar
A Wall-Mounted Pull-Up Bar is permanently fixed to a wall at a desired height. The top bar is offset from the wall by a pair of horizontal struts, which may or may not be supported by additional diagonal struts. The wall fixtures are universally lockbolts inside wall plugs. These tap into place and expand, providing for a secure fit which is generally stronger than the structural integrity of the concrete it is drilled in. Once secured, it won’t come down unless the wall itself crumbles. This makes the Wall-Mounted Pull-Up Bars very secure and very stable, provided the wall is strong and stable (e.g., concrete and not plaster). This gives these Calisthenics Pull-Up Bars also a very high maximum weight capacity, often exceeding 300lbs.
Since this type of Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar does not take up a lot of space, it is best used in small to medium sized home gyms where a bare concrete wall is available. It is chosen over the Ceiling Pull-Up Bar where the ceiling is too high or the ceiling is inappropriate for bearing weight. Many Wall-Mounted Pull-Up Bars can also be used outdoors as Outdoor Pull-Up Bars.
Wall-Mounted Pull-Up Bar Advantages
- Very stable
- Room efficient
Wall-Mounted Pull-Up Bar Disadvantages
- Very limited freedom of movement
- Requires concrete walls
- Requires the tools, technical know-how and skill to properly install without damaging the walls.
The Best Wall-Mounted Pull-Up Bar
Sturdy, simple and durable, the Gravity Fitness Wall-Mounted Pull-Up Bar wins this race by some margin. If you’re looking for the perfect combination of stability and comfort, then this Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar will become your friend for many, many years to come. Again, Gravity Fitness plays with very tight profit margins and manages to deliver this high-quality product at a very agreeable price point too.
Door Frame Pull-Up Bar
A Door Frame Pull-Up Bar (not to be confused with a Doorway Pull-Up Bar) goes over and around the frame of a door with prongs or clamps, which then latch or wrench onto the doorframe. The best Door Frame Pull-Up Bars are designed so that when a weight is suspended from them (like you), the frame clamps down harder around the frame of the door. When properly installed, a Door Frame Pull-Up Bar is very secure and won’t come loose when you use it. They offer some but not much offset from the doorframe, allowing for a full chin-up. Many have additional perpendicular prongs so you can do a variety of different exercises.
If you’re tight on space and need something which can be mounted and dismounted relatively easily, then a Door Frame Pull-Up Bar would work very well. All you need is a door opening and you’re set. Most standard U.S., U.K. and E.U. build code doorways will accept any Door Frame Pull-Up Bar.
Doorframe Pull-Up Bar Advantages
- Stable enough
- Takes up little space
- Cheaper than most other options
Doorframe Pull-Up Bar Disadvantages
- Less/no overhead space for Muscle-Ups
- Must be dismounted before door can be closed
The Best Doorframe Pull-Up Bar
Out of all the tested Door Frame Pull-Up Bars, the Pullup & Dip came out the best Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar. It offered great stability and safety with a design that will just wrench the doorframe harder the more weight you put on it. It cannot fail by design. It also offers great options with additional protruding horizontal bars.
Doorway Pull-Up Bar
A Doorway Pull-Up Bar also uses the door opening as a way to mount a Pull-Up Bar. Where it differs from a Door Frame Pull-Up Bar is how it is mounted. The Doorway Pull-Up Bar uses friction by being pressed between the doorposts. Usually, you achieve this by twisting the bar ends, increasing or decreasing its length. Wrenched like this between the doorposts, enough tension is built up for it to remain in place when you hang from it. These are some the least reliable Calisthenics Pull-Up Bars and many accidents occur with seemingly tightly fitted Doorway Pull-Up Bars.
We see an application for the Doorway Pull-Up Bar if you’re really strapped for cash and have very little room to spare in your home gym. It is also one of the more portable designs for a Pull-Up Bar, although a lot will depend if you have a mounting surface (a door) available to you if you take it with you. You should also buy a quality brand, where the quality of the internal workings is at least on par.
Doorway Pull-Up Bar Advantages
- Room efficient
Doorway Pull-Up Bar Disadvantages
- Can damage the doorposts if tightened too much
- Accident prone
The Best Doorway Pull-Up Bar
Because Doorway Pull-Up Bars are so accident prone, you want the absolute best quality and strongest Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar you can get in this category. The Gravity Fitness Universal Door Pull Up Bar is this Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar. It gives you the safety you need while keeping everything very compact in a single extendable bar design.
Ceiling-Mounted Pull-Up Bar
A Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar, Ceiling Pull-Up Bar or Joist Mounted Pull-Up Bar all refer to the same equipment; a Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar fixed to a ceiling. Like with the Wall-Mounted version, this Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar is semi-permanently fixed using lockbolts. Concrete ceilings are designed to support enormous amounts of weight, so it is a good place to do your exercises from. Once secured properly, the Ceiling Pull-Up Bar can take very large amounts of weight with ease. There are several designs, from as simple as a wall mount design with its fixtures turned 90 degrees, to elaborate racks or elongated designs spanning the whole room.
If you have a low, concrete ceiling, a Ceiling Pull-Up Bar may work very nicely for you. It leaves all the room below it free for other uses or for passage to and fro. The longer or more elaborate designs may also work well in a large home gym or a professional gym.
Ceiling-Mounted Pull-Up Bar Advantages
- Very stable when mounted correctly
- Can be very versatile
Ceiling-Mounted Pull-Up Bar Disadvantages
- Highly dependent on ceiling height
- Highly dependent on ceiling suitability (concrete or joist placement)
- Requires the tools, technical know-how and skill to properly install without damaging the ceiling.
The Best Ceiling Pull-Up Bar
Simple and rugged, is what we’d call the Ultimate Body Press Ceiling Pull-Up Bar. This translates into a durable, quality product that won’t let you down. The legs can be flipped to allow for either 16” O.C. joist or 24” O.C. joist layouts, permitting safe use in most if not all U.S. built homes.
Travel Pull-Up Bar / Portable Pull-Up Bar
What defines a Travel Pull-Up Bar or a Portable Pull-Up Bar is the ability to take it with you inside a backpack or suitcase. They also need to be very light and not contribute much to your luggage weight. Most Travel Pull-Up Bars come in the form of handles, miniaturized Doorframe Pull-Up Bars which offer you just enough of a bar to work with. The preferred material of choice is a hard and durable type of plastic along with rubber and sparing steel components where it’s really needed. This helps keep the weight down and allows for the manufacturer to shape the Travel Pull-Up Bar into a more portable design.
Travel Pull-Up Bars are quite limited in their utility. They allow you to do Pull-Ups and maybe Chin-Ups. You won’t get the full versatility or comfort of a larger Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar. But any Pull-Up Bar is better than none, and we always take our favorite Travel Pull-Up Bar with us on our travels.
Travel Pull-Up Bar Advantages
- Very compact
- Ultra lightweight
Travel Pull-Up Bar Disadvantages
- Less versatile
- Less durable
The Best Travel Pull-Up Bar
Of all the portable, take-with-you Pull-Up Bars, the Duonamic Eleviia stands out as the very best Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar. Its flat design allows for easy transportation in a travel bag or suitcase. They add next to no weight to your luggage either. You get two solid handles which fit around practically any doorframe. They clamp down harder by design the more weight you hang from them. These give you the best options for taking your workout with you on the road.
Kids Pull-Up Bar
Easy, light and playful Calisthenics is healthy for children and helps fight off the number one chronic illness that affects kids these days; obesity. A Kids Pull-Up Bar fits right into those active, formative years. It makes sense you get something that your kids can use without too much outside help from you (but never leave your kids unattended on the Pull-Up Bar). A Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar which can be adjusted in height is the most convenient. But you always want something very stable and strong since kids can make some unexpected moves that aren’t intended for a regular Pull-Up Bar for Calisthenics. Something else to consider is picking a Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar that can also be used by you or other adults. That way, you can either play alongside your children or use the Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar separately for your own routine.
We recommend getting a kid-friendly Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar to ANYONE who has children growing up. Get them moving as soon as they attain full faculty over all their limbs and can move around like adults do (usually around age 4). The sooner you get them away from a sedentary life staring at a screen and get them to adopt an active lifestyle, the better. Not just for right now or for in the near future, but also for when you are long gone. By giving your kids an active and healthy start in life, you’re adding decades to their life expectancy.
Kids Pull-Up Bar Advantages
- The difference between them living up to 60 and them surviving into their 80’s.
- Lightweight and portable
- Adjustable, will grow with your child
- Can be used by you as well
Kids Pull-Up Bar Disadvantages
- None, if you get the right one
The Best Kids Pull-Up Bar
Because the Gravity Fitness Portable Pull Up Rack can be shortened, you can easily transform a grownups Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar into a kids sized Pull-Up Bar. It is lightweight enough to carry it outside and inside again and will work perfectly only any well-kept lawn or backyard. If your kids grow up or have grown a little too, they can still make use of the Gravity Fitness since it can grow with them.
A Power Tower, (or Pull Up Tower) combines the top bar of a Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar with other Calisthenics Equipment like Dip Bars and Push-Up Bars. You will also find a Leg Raise station present on most Power Towers. This effectively brings most of your Calisthenics exercise together in one package. Power Towers tend to be bulkier than Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars but all-in-all they are more efficient with the room they take (and their price) than all the aforementioned equipment combined. Their primary drawback is that all the additional features have to be a compromise between the available room and giving you functionality. They will never be as good as quality, standalone Dip Bars or Push-Up Bars.
If you have a small to medium sized home gym and need a compact all-in-one solution, then a Power Tower will work well for you. You only need the room for this one device and you’re set. Power Towers like to stand on level floors with a hard surface or low pile carpet.
Power Tower Advantages
- Highly versatile
- No fixtures or drilling
Power Tower Disadvantages
- Takes up room space
- Heavier than Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars
- You get a jack of all trades, a master of none
The Best Power Tower
We were most enamored by the Sportsroyals Power Towers, due to their low price point but high overall quality and utility. The updated version has slightly enhanced stability over losing some open floor space; it comes down to preference which one you should get mostly. When unsure, go with the old version. It’s the one we used most and we never had any trouble with it.
Outdoor Pull-up Bar
An Outdoor Pull-Up Bar is one you take with you outside, or one which can be left outside without deteriorating from weather and climate conditions. This means either of two things; either the Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar is left quite bare (no foam handles and so on) or it’s one you can easily take with you for an outdoors exercise. In either case, durability and an adaptability to varying terrain types is necessary. Some are Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars you put on level ground and that’s it. Others need a mounting surface, like a beam or a tree for use.
We most often see these Calisthenics Pull-Up Bars best used in settings where there is very little room indoors but ample of room outdoors; like in many rural or park homes. The Outdoor Pull-Up Bar can be left standing outside and it will survive just fine. Other cases where we see a portable Outdoor Pull-Up Bar be used are when there is no Calisthenics Park nearby and you still want to exercise in the fresh air.
Outdoor Pull-Up Bar Advantages
- Train outdoors
- Benefit from the fresh air and sun on your skin
- Save room inside the house
Outdoor Pull-Up Bar Disadvantages
- Either left very bare and rugged or,
- Requires outdoors setup every time you use it.
The Best Outdoor Pull-Up Bar
Perfect for a spring or summer day workout in the park or on your own property. All you need is a chunky tree and the setup is done in minutes. The Pullup & Dip Mobile Pull-Up & Dip Bar (see what they did there?) is rugged and reliable. It has two additional bonusses. The first, it can be flipped around and be used a Dip station. The second is that you can still mount it to a wall should you want it too.
Gymnastic Rings add a new dimension of difficulty to your regular Calisthenics exercise and are a great alternative to a Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar. They give you more mobility but way less stability. You need to tense up your body in various ways (and often ever-shifting ways) to keep yourself stable and suspended. This means it takes more effort on your part to do your exercises and as a bonus, other periphery muscles are now activated (way more) than normal. Gymnastic Rings come with either wooden, plastic or steel rings in either 1.1-inch girth (Olympic standard) or 1¼-inch girth (CrossFit type). A set of straps is almost always included, allowing you to suspend the rings anywhere from very high up to very low to the floor. Aside from Pull-Ups, the Gymnastic Rings allow for Ring Muscle-Ups, Dips and even Push-Ups.
We only recommend Gymnastic Rings as an alternative to a Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar for the more advanced Calisthenics practitioner. If you’re coming from a gym setting or have been using a Calisthenics Park to build up muscle already, then the Gymnastic Rings are a solid next step to break that plateau.
Gymnastic Rings Advantages
- Added difficulty means better and faster gains
- Versatile: all manner of Pull-Ups, Dips and Push-Ups
Gymnastic Rings Disadvantages
- Added difficulty can also mean slower gains, if you’re not experienced enough
- Requires a suitable ceiling for mounting (concrete or sturdy wooden joists)
The Best Gymnastic Rings
GORNATION makes the best Gymnastic Rings for Calisthenics, hands down. The excellent choice of wood and perfect finish makes for truly Olympic-quality and Olympic-standard Gymnastic Rings. The incredible maximum workload of 1300lbs is offset by its very good price, which is very affordable. You can also get 10% off all GORNATION products by using the code CWW10 at checkout.
Conclusions about the Best Calisthenics Pull-Up Bars
The decision is yours which Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar best suits your needs and circumstances. We found out that much of the decision-making process comes down to available room and which surface is to host the Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar. A Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar is nice to have but not everyone has the room for it. Getting that rigid stability of a Wall-Mounted or a Ceiling-Mounted Pull-Up Bar is also great but that doesn’t work on wooden or plaster walls and ceilings (although suspending a Ceiling Pull-Up Bar from the joists does work).
Luckily there are plenty of options and within each category there is a best-of-class we can choose. We did say that the decision is all yours to make, and it is, but we won’t leave you hanging and guessing about all the pros and cons. Here’s a handy Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar flow chart to make your life just a tad easier:
We hope this helped you choose the best Calisthenics Pull-Up Bar for you.
Jari Dohmen has a B.A. in physiotherapy and has been involved with Calisthenics since 2013. Around the time Calisthenics began to proliferate in the Netherlands, he was already keenly interested in both the physiotherapeutic and general lifestyle benefits Calisthenics possesses. Jari started Calisthenics Worldwide (CWW) in 2016, after numerous internet searches for Calisthenics topics that sparked his interest yielded barely any information. Today, CWW is one of the largest and most widely recognized Calisthenics blogs in the world. Become part of the Calisthenics community by commenting on this article.