Despite its simplicity, a horizontal bar is probably the single best piece of strength equipment you can have. Dollar for dollar, you can squeeze out more exercises and hit more muscle groups than with any other piece of home fitness equipment.
Want a V-shaped back? No problem – do wide and short grip pull-ups. Bulging biceps? – bust out some chin-ups. Six-pack abs? – leg raises and windshield wipers are your ticket to that coveted chiseled torso.
I’ve spent my fair share of time on a pull-up bar, but not nearly as much as 24-hour pull-up world record holder, Brandon Tucker. Tucker, a Georgia-based former Army Ranger and Manager and Head Coach at Uncommon Athlete, busted out an astonishing 7,715 pull-ups in 24-hours. Over a 14-month period, he logged more than 220,000 pull-ups, so saying he knows what makes a good pull-up bar is a gross understatement.
Tucker says width and depth are the most important things to look for in a bar. “You need room” he says, “and the ability to do advanced movements” such as muscle-ups, wide-grip pulls, and leg raises without hitting the wall or beams. He recommends a bar width of at least 48 inches and a set-up that sits far out from the wall..
Tucker’s preferred pull-up bar setup is on a Rogue rack similar to our Step-Up pick, but any bar will do as long as it’s wide, level and sturdy. Where and how much room you have will largely determine the particular type of bar you need – wall or ceiling mounted, removable or permanent, door jam or freestanding. We strained our backs and arms and scoured the internet to find the best bars. You can’t go wrong with the following six options.
Best Overall Pull-Up Bar: Rogue P-4 Pull-Up System
If you want the best in fitness equipment, commercial grade is the way to go. Odds are if you’ve done pull-ups in any gym, this is the bar you used. It’s simple, solid and checks all the boxes Tucker looks for in a quality bar. The P-4 features a 52-inch width and can be wall or ceiling mounted with 30 inches of depth from the wall or ceiling – more than any other bar featured. It may not be as sexy as some of the more contoured bars, but it’s the best horizontal bar you can buy. Note: mounting hardware must be purchased separately.
Width: 52 inches
Depth: 30 inches
Weight Capacity: 500 pounds
Best Upgrade Pull-Up Bar: SML-2 Rogue 90" Monster Lite Squat Stand
If you have the space and budget, you might as well go all in. This freestanding squat rack is hands down the best compact power rack. For pull-ups it comes standard with your choice of dual fat/skinny pull bars or a single 49-inch pull-up bar. And it’s burly, supporting up to 1000 pounds. Beyond the bar, the rack is equipped for bench presses, squats, cleans, floor presses and more. Drop your gym membership and this thing can serve as the base of a great home gym setup.
Width: 49 inches
Depth: 48 inches
Weight Capacity: 1,000 pounds
Best Budget Pull-Up Bar: Best Choice 50-inch Wall-Mounted
This bar boasts some impressive stats for half the price of our top pick. Sporting a 50-inch bar width and 32 inches of wall clearance, you’re free to kip, swing and wide-grip away without encountering any space limitations. Why is it cheaper? It’s made of iron, whereas the Rogue P-4 is made of steel. Steel is more rigid than iron, making it more stable during dynamic movements. Will you notice the difference? That depends on your size and strength.
Width: 50 inches
Depth: 32 inches
Weight Capacity: 500 pounds
Best Multi-Grip Pull-Up Bar: Titan 48-Inch Wall Mounted Multi Pull-Up Bar
Varying your grip during pull-ups is a great way to emphasize certain muscles over others. For example, wide-grip pull-ups target the back, whereas a close grip works the arms. No other bar gives you more grip positions than the Titan Multi Pull-Up Bar. This steel unit has eight different non-slip, powder-coated bars for endless options. The only downside? Mounting takes a bit more effort. Still, at such a fantastic price point, it’s worth the trouble.
Width: 48 inches
Depth: 30 inches
Weight Capacity: 600 pounds
Best Mounted Doorway Pull-Up Bar: Rogue Jammer Pull-Up Bar
This part pull-up bar, part piece of industrial art bar gives you gym-grade quality above your doorway that’s not a complete eyesore. Sturdy as hell and easy to mount, the 43-inch bar comes in ten cerakote color coatings and can be curled or smooth. And as with pretty much all Rogue products, you can expect quality and durability worth the price.
Width: 43 inches
Depth: 7 inches
Best Removable Doorway Pull-Up Bar: Perfect Multi Gym Elite
If having a permeant mounted bar isn’t appealing or possible, a removable doorway system is for you. The problem with most removable pull-up bars is they’re designed for the width of a standard doorway, eliminating wide grip pull-ups. Extending a few inches beyond the doorway, this sturdy bar gives you the option of four different grip options. As a bonus, the bar can be taken off the wall and used for pushups, sit-ups and dips. It's worth noting, thought, that the weight capacity is lower than others on this list.
Width: 38 inches
Weight Capacity: 300 pounds