Best Pull Up Bar of 2021
Checking all the boxes, our favorite removable doorway pull up bar is the Iron Age Doorway Bar. It utilizes standard doorway installation, has padding for all the possible grip positions, and can even be converted for floor use during ab workouts. The bar comes completely put together and stores flat when not in use. Iron Age also includes TRX bands with this bar. We really like that there is a central ring that the included TRX bands attach to, as well as the inclusion of angled down wide grips.
One drawback of this model is the small contact points that fit on the back of the door frame. They're designed to keep from busting through your drywall, and small contact points allow for easier storage when the bar isn't in use. However, they might still damage your trim because there is not a lot of surface area to ensure the bar is secure. That said, we still find this bar to be especially strong, adaptable, and a good fit for most door frames.
The Sagler Doorway Pull Up Bar has the lowest price of any model in our test lineup. This low price, paired with uncomplicated instructions, strong construction, and a classic design, leads us to recommend it for those seeking a budget option. Standard door casings will support this bar without issue, and it won't cause much damage when in use. You have a couple of different choices for your pull up and chin up form with this functional bar, but it remains simple to assemble right out of the box.
Unfortunately, the Sagler lacks padding for wide grip pull ups. This can be a real pain if you live in the heat, but could perhaps be remedied with gloves or extra padding purchased separately. It doesn't stow away well, either. This bar is bulky, making it challenging to store while not using it.
The Garren Fitness Maximiza Pull Up Bar is the best option for a semi-permanent bar. If you are looking for a simple bar that you can leave up for extended periods of time without having to worry about interference with a door or walkway, this bar is the best. It is sleek, minimalist, and reliably sturdy. It has comfortable padding for close grip and normal grip chin ups and pull ups, and is easy to take down when you need to.
The biggest downside to the Garren Fitness Maximiza is that you have to put screws in your doorframe in order to use it. However, this is also what makes it so sturdy. There is also a more conservative installation method that only requires one screw for more solid door frames. While testing, we noticed that the rubber suction at the end of the bar detaches from the rest of the bar when taking it down, but this does not seem to affect its functionality.
The Kaufam Portable Doorframe Pull Up Handles caught our eye because it is by far the most portable and storable option that we have seen. The design is small and compact, but effective. If you travel frequently or just like to hide your equipment out of sight, this is a great option. It is easy to hang on the door frame and even offers two different grips.
The caveat to the Kaufam is that it is not the most stable setup. The handles come with a set of TRX bands, which we thought was a great idea — until we tried to use them together. The pull up handles work perfectly well if the pulling weight is directly below the bar. However, as soon as you weight the TRX strands from anywhere other than directly under the door frame, the handles come loose from the door frame.
The HAKENO Doorway Bar is a great option for someone who just needs a bar for standard chin ups and pull ups, and they want it to be well-padded. This bar is super stable and comfy to use, and you can leave it in your door frame without interfering with the door's function.
The HAKENO Doorway Bar has two-inch pads securing it to the wall, making it very stable, but also requiring a two-inch wide flat space in your door frame. In our standard door frame, it didn't quite fit, but would still work. The bar also stripped some paint from our doorframe and crushed a bit of our casing. We recommend a sturdy door.
The ANXEN Doorway Pull Up Bar is a great option for a semi-permanent bar. This bar uses pressure and stable pads to secure it in any doorway without the use of screws. It has removable rubber pads that are great for avoiding damage to your door. It is also slim enough to secure in a doorway and leave it there for extended periods without disturbing the functionality of your door. This bar is also a great option for doors without trim or casing.
However, if you need to remove your bar frequently, this probably isn't the model for you. The ANXEN Doorway Bar isn't terribly hard to install in the doorway, but it does require an Allen wrench and a few minutes of your time every time it goes up. This bar could also be a problem if the casing on your door isn't super solid.
The Stamina Doorway Trainer is versatile, sturdy, and fun, with options of rock climbing holds for grip options. It wasn't too difficult to assemble, and from the construction, it is clear this bar can bear quite a bit of weight. There is also exceptional padding on the bar, excluding the climbing holds.
This model weighs in at 11 pounds, so it makes sense that it requires a sturdy door. Before you buy the Stamina Doorway Trainer, we recommend you measure the depth of your door and make sure it is eight inches thick. We found that most indoor doorways are about 5 inches thick, and doorways leading outside or to the garage run about 8 inches thick. For you climbers out there, we did not try to change out the climbing holds. Unfortunately, the way the holds are mounted makes it challenging to replace them with a different type of hold.
The Ikon Fitness Ultimate 4-in-1 Doorway has a fantastic design that's ready to go right out of the box. It has great padding for multiple grips and folds flat for easy storage. This bar is wider than the similar Iron Age model, so if you have longer arms or want that extra-wide grip, this bar could be right for you.
The instructions for the Ikon Fitness Ultimate 4-in-1 Doorway claim that this product will fit in any doorway 27" - 36.22", but we found this only to be true of door frames without a door attached. It quickly became clear if the door you are hanging it on has a door, and the door does not open past 120 degrees, the door frame cannot be under 31 inches wide.
Why You Should Trust Us
Head tester Daniel Dolan has been fitness-focused for the better half of his life. He spent his younger years playing any sport available, from soccer, to baseball, to gymnastics. It wasn't until his early twenties that he started weight lifting heavily, and about eight years ago, all other hobbies dropped to the wayside as Daniel discovered climbing. Since then, his life has been a series of varying upper body workouts and outdoor climbing trips. Needless to say, Daniel knows what to expect out of a pull up bar.
Our process started by researching the available products on the market and selecting seven of the top styles and brands. Once the bars arrived, we decided on a series of tests designed to expose each bar's weaknesses and strengths. We tested on four metrics that we found to be most relevant: ease of assembly, ease of use, construction, and size. These four categories form a comprehensive summary of what it is like to use each of these bars.
Analysis and Test Results
As we used our developed criteria to evaluate each product, it became increasingly clear that each model has specific advantages and disadvantages. Some bars are better because they are easier to store; some are better because they have more variability in grip. Ultimately, we found that it is incredibly important to pick your pull up bar based on what you want out of it.
The most important factor in selecting a pull up bar, regardless of anything else, is whether or not it fits in your doorway. As doorways come in many different shapes and sizes, so do these bars. It is very important that you measure the depth and width of your door frame and take into account whether or not it has trim. Once you do that, you can take a look at the metrics we list with each bar to find a bar that will fit in your doorway and your needs.
We took into account the dimensions of each bar and tested each one in a standard doorway: 29 inches wide, and 5 inches deep. All seven test models claim to fit a standard door frame, but this was not always the case. Due to some of the features or the way a couple of the bars were constructed, we found that certain door frames were better for certain bars. The Iron Age Doorway and Sagler models fit well in a standard door frame, and the HAKENO Doorway Bar, ANXEN, Garren Fitness Maximiza, and the Kaufam Portable fit in just about any door frame, but require sturdy casing. The Stamina Doorway Trainer is a great option for a deeper doorway — at least 8 inches — and the Ikon Fitness Ultimate 4-in-1 Doorway is a good option for a wider doorway.
In the size category, we also rated how easy each bar is to store, either out of the doorway or in it. We found that the pressure bars fit in the doorway and don't need to be removed in order to close the door. This is good news, since they are somewhat challenging to put up. The Iron Age, Ikon Fitness Ultimate 4-in-1 Doorway, Garren Fitness Maximiza, and Kaufam Portable Doorframe Handles are the most storable of the more removable bars.
Depending on your priorities, an equally important factor in choosing a pull up bar is if it will hold up to regular use, and whether or not that regular use will destroy your door frame due to the structure of the bar.
We wanted to test bars that do minimal damage to your door frame. This means minimal screws, nails, and holes in your wall. This is why it would be incredibly disappointing if one of these bars dealt your door frame some damage. The best option for a delicate door frame is the Sagler. It has a large contact point for the back of the door frame and cushioned arms for the front.
While most of the bars we tested were made with sturdy and reliable construction, our door frames were not. While trying to install the HAKENO Doorway Bar, we managed to inflict some damage. We found that a sturdy door frame is essential when using the ANXEN and the HAKENO bars.
We did test one bar that required screws in the door frame for installation. The Garren Fitness Maximiza has two options for installation. The first and recommended option is the heavy-duty door mount, requiring 4 screws to secure each mount (2 mounts for each door frame). The second option, a medium-duty door mount, requires only one screw for each mount. Our testing showed that the medium-duty door mount works well as long as you are using a sturdy door frame.
Ease of Use
In this category we focused on balance and comfort. We tested balance by hanging on one side of the bar and then the other for a few seconds and then pulling up, while comfort was evaluated by bar width and foam padding for your hands.
We did multiple pull ups in several variations of grips to get a feel for the comfort of each bar. We found the most balanced and stable bar to be the pressure bars, the Garren Fitness Maximiza, HAKENO Doorway, and ANXEN. The most comfortable bars for multiple pull up grips are the Iron Age and Stamina Doorway Trainer.
Ease of Assembly
The final category we observed was ease of assembly and installation. The pull up bars arrived in varying states, some fully assembled, others in pieces. We were surprised to see that Iron Age and Ikon Fitness Ultimate 4-in-1 Doorway arrived in one piece even though they are both three-dimensional bars.
The only bars that really require assembly are the Stamina Doorway Trainer, assembled in about 30 minutes, and Sagler, assembled in about 5 minutes. Both of these bars have excellent, easy-to-follow directions and include all the equipment and tools needed for assembly.
We researched and tested the best bars available to give you a more comprehensive understanding of each product. We found that each bar did the essential function as long as it was hanging on the appropriate-sized door frame. While some bars are exceedingly simple, giving you just what you need and nothing more, others have more complexity, offering you more versatility for your workout. We hope that this review helps you conclude your search for your optimal pull up bar.
— Daniel Dolan