We gave this article a complete overhaul in our latest refresh, replacing six of our previous recommendations with an all-new list.
We featured our new top pick – the Stamina X Fortress – as well as the Harison Power Tower and Steelbody STB-98501. If you’re after something more affordable, the Stamina 1690, GoBeast Power Tower, and K KiNGKANG Power Tower are other new additions worth checking out.
When shopping for a good pull-up bar you certainly aren’t limited in your choice. Several styles are available, including doorway models, wall-mounted bars, and free-standing pull-up bars. It’s the latter we are looking at in more detail in this article.
Table of Contents
There are plenty of units to consider – big, compact; premium, affordable; simple designs and those with a plethora of stations to hit every muscle in your body.
Today we are highlighting seven of the best free-standing pull-up bars on the market, discussing their benefits and limitations. We will also guide you through what to look for when shopping, while our FAQ section will answer a couple of your questions.
Max Weight: 250lbs
Adjustable Height: No
Assembly Required: Yes
Features: Wide and hammer grips, stronghold balls, rock-climbing grips, ab straps, adjustable dip bars, padded back support, built-in adjustable plyo box, steel construction
Topping this list is an all-round amazing power tower that’s bursting with features to help you sculpt the body of your dreams. This model comes with a high price tag, but every penny feels well spent.
With a sturdy but compact build, the top of the unit features your standard wide and hammer pull-up grips, along with stronghold ball grips and rock-climbing grips, covering every kind of pull-up you can imagine. You’ll also find a pair of ab straps and adjustable dip bars.
In addition to all this, the X Fortress features a built-in adjustable plyo stand, allowing you to perform box jumps up to 24” and add explosive power to your legs. If you can afford it, this is undoubtedly the best power tower on the market at the moment.
The Harison Power Tower is another highly-rated high-end model with a reassuringly chunky build. This heavy-duty tower features all the workout stations you would expect, with an adjustable height ranging from 70” and 88” to fit any room.
You’ll find a wide-grip pull-up bar on the rear of the unit, with a set of dip handles and push up bars on the front. The padded back rest and elbow pads allow for a comfortable leg/knee raising session to blitz your abs.
A big bonus is that it also features a foldable weights bench. Just grab a pair of dumbbells and you can incorporate flat, incline and decline bench presses to your workout routine for a total body workout.
Max Weight: 350lbs
Adjustable Height: No
Assembly Required: Yes
Features: Multi-angle pull-up bar, adjustable dip station, adjustable pushup station, padded back and arm rests, foam rollers, sturdy build
The STB-98501 may be slightly more affordable than our top choices, yet it shows no lack of quality with a heavy-duty steel build and all the workout stations you need for a solid upper body workout.
The multi-angle pull-up bar allows you to perform wide- and close-grip pull-ups, as well as chin-ups. Moving down the tower you will find a dip station with three positions, while there’s also a three-position pushup station at the bottom.
The leg/knee raise station is set back into the power tower, and offers both padded arms and a backrest. There’s also a pair of low foam rollers to offer sit-up assistance. Overall, the STB-98501 has quite a large footprint, yet the stability on offer is excellent.
The VKR1010 from Body Champ used to be our top pick and we still rate it very highly! For an affordable price, this simple yet robust power tower offers great stability and plenty of workout stations.
As with some others, this tower makes good use of space, with stations on either side of the sturdy H-shaped base. On one side you will find a pull-up bar with wide grips and padded close grips, allowing for both pull-ups and chin ups, as well as a low pushup station.
On the other side, you have a dip station that pairs with padded arm and back rests for hitting your abs with leg raises. Ultimately, the VKR1010 straddles high-quality and affordability very well, which explains its popularity.
The 1690 is another great power tower from Stamina, although one that comes with a more wallet-friendly price tag. This affordable unit keeps things simple with four workout stations and performs very well indeed.
The pull-up station features a wide bar with foam padding in the right areas to allow you to perform both wide-grip pull-ups and chin-ups. There’s a padded dip bar just below, with sit up ankle pads and pushup bars at the bottom of the tower.
This popular tower doesn’t feature a dedicated ‘captain’s chair’ station for leg raises, yet you can still perform them by hanging from the pull-up bar. While this minimalist tower is easy to assemble and light to move around, in use it feels solid, supporting users up to 250lbs with ease.
For something so affordable, this power tower from K KiNGKANG has a lot going for it. This popular tower boasts several workout stations – all on the same side – including a wide pull-up bar with a six-position adjustable height.
There is also a dip station that combines with padded arms and a backrest for leg raises, while there is also a pushup station at the base. On the rear you’ll find a few hooks, which can be used with a barbell and bench (neither are included) for bench press, although it isn’t worth buying for this feature alone.
As you may expect from an affordable tower, the stability can be a little shaky, but it supports users of up to 330lbs, and allows you to crank out pull-ups to your heart’s content!
Max Weight: 300lbs
Adjustable Height: Yes
Assembly Required: Yes
Features: Wide pull-up bar, dip station, pushup station, easy to build, lightweight design, workout manual, resistance bands, carry case
This lightweight power tower from GoBeast is the very definition of minimalist – no complicated design or components, just pure performance!
For a reasonable price, it comes with a wide and sturdy base to support a streamlined pull-up station that can be lowered to become your dip station. Despite its simplicity, this tower allows you to perform 35 movements including wide- and close-grip pull-ups, chin-ups, dips, leg raises and a variety of pushups.
This one also comes with some extras that really boost the value. These include three quality resistance bands, a workout manual and carry bag. The bonus is that it is very easy to assemble and dismantle with no tools required – it takes less than five minutes.
In theory, shopping for a free-standing pull-up bar is much less complicated than shopping for something like a good treadmill for runners – thankfully, there are a lot less things to consider.
However, instead of just diving in and buying the first power tower you see, there are still things to consider when browsing. Will it be tall enough to cater for you, but short enough to fit in your garage? Does it offer more than just a pull-up station? Can you keep it outside in all weather?
Sure, it’s not rocket science, but here are some things to keep in mind ahead of your purchase.
While each brand differs in what they offer, most free-standing pull-up bars come with a relatively similar design.
The bottom of the unit will feature a wide and sturdy base to offer enough stability. To this base, two vertical poles will be attached – these support the pull-up bar at top. This is about as complicated as a free-standing pull-up bar needs to be, although many offer a lot more.
Many pull-up bars come as part of a ‘power tower’. This signifies that, while pull-ups are catered for, the unit also allows you to target other muscle groups with various stations (see below).
The most important aspect of any free-standing pull-up bar or power tower is that it is stable. This is a bar you will be jumping up on, grabbing hold of and moving your bodyweight around on, so if it can’t stay sturdy while in use, it’s not doing its job.
Sure, you can expect a little sway or wobble – especially on cheaper models – yet you don’t want to feel like you are hanging off a tree branch on a very windy day! However, if you can’t deal with even the slightest wobble, you may be better off looking at a sturdy wall-mounted pull-up bar instead.
On that note, you should also check the user weight limit. If you weigh up to 200lbs, most free-standing pull-up bars will cater for you. If you are heavier than this, you should check the exact specs of the tower you are looking at. Many do take users up to 300lbs, but some will cap out at around 250lbs.
One area that free-standing models excel in over wall-mounted pull-up bars, is their portability. Some lightweight models are more portable than others, with quick assembly and dismantling allowing you to put it up in one room, take it down and erect it somewhere completely different within around ten minutes.
Earlier we mentioned that many pull-up bars – especially those in our top ten chart – come as part of a power tower. This means you will have multiple workout stations at your disposal.
Let’s start with the most obvious station – the pull-up bar. This may be a straightforward bar with grips at the end and center, allowing you to perform wide-grip and close-grip pull-ups, as well as chin-ups. You may sometimes find a pair of protruding parallel grips to allow you to do neutral/hammer pull-ups.
On higher-end units – such as the Stamina X Fortress – you will occasionally find additional grips, such as stronghold ball grips and rock-climbing grips, adding a new dimension to your workout.
Regardless of brand or design, you will almost always find a dip station included. Protruding from roughly the center of the tower, these parallel bars allow you to perform triceps dips, which obviously work the triceps, as well as the chest and front of the shoulders.
Combine a few sets of dips with some pull-ups and chin-ups (targeting your back and biceps) and you will have a very good upper body workout!
Complementing these two stations will often be a pushup station towards the bottom of the tower. As you are probably aware, pushups are yet another way to target your chest and triceps, so are a good movement to add in after some sets of dips.
Some power towers will also offer you means to work your abs. You will often find a ‘captain’s chair’ design, resembling a big chair (albeit without the seat). This features a padded backrest along with a pair of padded armrests and handles, allowing you to brace yourself in the ‘chair’ and perform both leg raises and knee raises.
Another ab station commonly found on power towers is one for sit ups. Towards the base you’ll find a pair of foam rollers to hold your ankles in place while you crunch and perform sit up variations.
After this, it’s all down to the brand and what they decide to attach to the power tower.
For example, you may find a plyo stand. This is an adjustable platform allowing you to perform box jumps of varying heights, as well as step-ups and split-squats.
Some towers offer a removable/foldable bench that allows you to perform a dumbbell chest press – providing you have your own pair of dumbbells – as well as ab exercises and so on.
These extra features are rarely reason alone to purchase a power tower, although they do add value to the unit and can prove useful.
Unlike doorway and wall-mounted pull-up bars, all free-standing pull-up bars require at least a little assembly.
In general, the more complex and heavy-duty the design, the more complex the assembly will be. The good news is that everything you need will be included in the box – you probably won’t need anything other than a screwdriver and a little patience.
The additional good news is that you don’t need to damage door frames (as you may with a doorway pull-up bar) or drill permanent holes (as you would with a wall-mounted bar). This means there is another advantage, in that you aren’t restricted to a wall or a doorway when deciding where you place the tower.
So, if you want to take your workout into the great outdoors and enjoy some pull-ups in the sunshine, you can do just that. Just be aware that not all power towers are weatherproof. Leaving it outside permanently may result in damage to the metal and/or padding, so check with the individual manufacturer.
Another consideration is the dimensions of the tower. Free-standing pull-up bars tend to take up a considerable amount of space, so probably aren’t suitable for areas such as living rooms and bedrooms, unless you don’t mind them being a permanent fixture.
You will also need to consider the height of the tower. For example, if the tower is 80” tall and your garage ceiling is just 84” tall, fitting the tower in will be a tight squeeze. Plus, you probably won’t have enough clearance above the unit to perform a comfortable pull-up.
You must either consider the height before you purchase, or buy a tower with an adjustable height, which will allow you to lower the bar to make it fit.
The good news is that you don’t need to head to a gym to perform pull-ups. This is useful if you can’t even do a single one – there’s nothing worse than being watched as you struggle!
There are a few ways you can do pull-ups at home. Of course, you can try using a sturdy door, a fence or a tree branch, but these are often uncomfortable, and could end in injury to you and damage to your home.
The answer, of course, is a pull-up bar! You don’t have to spend much to have your own pull-up bar – there many home pull-up bars on the market, all suited to different budget, spaces and goals.
First there are doorway pull-up bars. As the name suggests, these fit in or on a standard doorway, usually by resting securely on the doorframe. The advantage of this design is that you can remove and store the pull-up bar when it’s not in use – ideal for small spaces.
There are negatives to doorway pull-up bars in that they can leave marks or scuff your doorframe/wall, while they can be less stable.
If you would rather a more permanent fixture, a wall-mounted pull-up bar is worth looking at. After a little bit of time spent drilling and fixing to an interior or exterior wall, your bar is securely in place.
The advantage of these is that the bar is always ready to go – just jump up and start when you are in the mood. You can also confidently fix things to the frame, like punchbags, resistance bands or a TRX suspension training system.
Finally, if space is not an issue, you can buy a free-standing pull-up bar or a power tower. We go into depth on this style in the article above.
We believe that currently the Stamina X Fortress is the best power tower on the market. It’s by no means cheap, but the workout stations it offers and the overall quality is second-to-none.
Of course, our best may not be your best. You therefore need to take a good look at our top ten chart, which will offer some inspiration ahead of your purchase.
Determine how much you are willing to spend and whether you have the room in your home for something tall, or need a shorter/adjustable tower. Also decide whether its solely pull-ups you want to use it for, or whether an all-encompassing power tower is better for you – one with a dip station, pushup bars, a captain’s chair and more.
Make no mistake about it – pull-ups are great muscle builders! While they don’t rely on any external weight, pull-ups are a compound exercise that work your lats, upper back, biceps and forearms, while also hitting a few others.
However, doing 100 pull-ups a day isn’t going to build a balanced physique. You will also need to complement them with other exercises to directly hit your chest, shoulders, triceps and legs.
This may be other calisthenics movements (such as pushups, squats and crunches) or weight-based movements (bench press, weighted squats and shoulder press).
There is also only so much muscle you can build with standard pull-ups. By this we mean that it’s easy to plateau with pull-ups.
For example, if you can do more than 12 bodyweight pull-ups with strict form, you are slowly creeping out of the hypertrophy (muscle-building) zone and into muscular endurance. If this is the case, adding weight to your pull-ups to keep you in the 8 to 10 rep range will help spark new growth.
Adding weight to pull-ups is straightforward. You can either buy a weighted dipping belt or a good adjustable weighted vest, or just place a dumbbell between your legs. Of course, ensure that your pull-up bar is capable of taking the extra weight!
So, yes – pull-ups are a great way of building muscle. Just make sure that you are giving your muscles enough of a challenge to grow, and that you are complementing them with additional movements to hit other muscle groups.
As we have discussed above, pull-ups are a great way to build new muscle and strength – but are they good at helping you lose weight?
First, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the theory of weight loss. While it can be a complicated subject, the basic notion is that you must be in a consistent caloric deficit; consuming less calories than you burn in a day (or burning more calories than you consume).
As you have probably already guessed, one way to increase your calorie expenditure is by exercising. Cardio and high-intensity exercise are the most popular when it comes to burning calories, although compound resistance work can also be quite effective.
However, only doing pull-ups to burn calories isn’t going to be that effective. It is believed that performing one pull-up burns around one calorie. So, to burn 3,500 calories (the amount required to lose 1lb of fat), you’d need to perform 3,500 pull-ups. Not an easy task!
Our advice is to seek a calorie deficit through a good diet and other forms of exercise, but use pull-ups to help build a strong physique that will be revealed as you lose fat.
If you are looking for a pull-up bar that gives you a little bit more, a free-standing bar or a good power tower is a great solution for any home gym.
Compared to fixed bars, power towers demand extra space and can cost more. However, the full-body workout they can provide leaves fixed bars looking a bit limited.
Be sure to check out our exceptional top pick – the Stamina X Fortress – as well as some of the more affordable options in our top ten chart.
When shopping, keep our advice in mind and you will eventually end up with a unit that fits your needs and helps you achieve the body you have been dreaming of. This is where the hard work really starts…