The Best Pull-Up Bars

To find a pull-up bar worthy of both your workout and your woodwork, we’ve spent hours researching and consulting gym trainers who have used hundreds of pull-up bars. From start to finish, the Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym Pro, got great marks—yet didn’t leave any on our molding—and is our pick for the best pull-up bar for most people

Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym Pro

The Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym Pro has multiple grip options—for narrow, neutral, and wide handholds—the last of which are cleverly integrated into the crossbar that rests on the doorframe, a feature not found on any other unit we tested. Even smarter, the rectangular doorframe supports make greater contact with the woodwork or wall than the competitors’ cylindrical bars and are therefore less likely to mar your home. The wide-grip handle position also erases any elbow room issues that could arise during a wide pull-up because the arms are in front of, rather than within, the doorframe, and they are also low-profile; others with grips this wide projected farther out from the unit, expanding the footprint dramatically.

With the second-most compact footprint and fully padded projecting handles that can be gripped at basically any spot, the Stamina Doorway Trainer Plus is just right for people under 250 pounds with narrow-to-average shoulders, and is my personal favorite, as a slim, average-height woman. The Stamina bar takes up significantly less space than the others when stored; only one bar, the Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym Sport, has a smaller footprint. It also happens to be the least expensive of the units tested, with a street price lower than $30. 

The one we jokingly refer to as our “Texas” pick, the Ultimate Body Press Elevated Doorway Pull-Up Bar is large, but for several good reasons: The handlebars are the only ones among the models we tested to curve up and in front, providing a substantially greater vertical height from which to execute pull-ups. (From a 7-foot-high doorframe, a 5-foot-5-inch tester dangled from the grips, while a 6-foot-3-inch tester didn’t have to fully bend his knees to pick his feet up off the ground.) The bars themselves are also thicker than the others tested, measuring 1⅜ inch in diameter to the typical 1 inch, providing a thicker grip for larger hands, though not too large for smaller ones. 

The Power Fitness Package from Gym1 (formerly Gorilla Gym) rests above the door like the other contenders but has the added security of adjustable vise clamps that attach on the sides of the doorframe to give the entire thing some serious stability. While all of the other products in this field warn against any swaying motion during use, the folks at Gym1 encourage people to swing around as much as they like. It also has the ASTM safety rating, which guarantees that the product meets rigorous safety demands for children’s play products and fitness equipment. Just be aware that without the pull-up extender installed, the base unit has a lot fewer pull-up grip options than the others.

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