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You may have heard that a pull-up bar can be a great workout tool. But what are some of the different types of pull-up bars you can use?
Basically any horizontal bar that is sturdy enough to be used to do the pull-up exercise can be considered a pull-up bar.
Among other benefits, working out with a pull-up bar can help you build muscle, improve cardiovascular health, help you lose weight, improve bone density, etc.
While the main concept of a pull-up bar is simple, there are a few different types, each with its own specific advantages and disadvantages.
Which one of these is the best type of pull-up bar for you ultimately depends on things like your personal situation, budget, room, walls, training goals, etc.
1. Doorway pull-up bar
The first, and definitely one of the more popular types, is the doorway pull-up bar. For this option, you will need a sturdy doorframe you can use.
Doorway pull-ups bars work in a way that makes it so your weight presses one part of the bar against the wall and the other against the doorframe. A certain amount of weight also rests on the top of your doorframe.
This does not sound, and is not, the most sturdy way to hang a pull-up bar. That being said, if you have a well-built doorframe and you don’t swing too much, it can be a convenient type of pull-up bar.
These often also come with multi-grip bars that allow you to do pull-ups with different grip angles to target your muscles in a slightly different ratio.
The main benefits of doorway pull-up bars are that they are relatively inexpensive, easy to install and de-install, and compact to store. On top of that, you don’t need to drill any holes in your walls.
On the other hand, doorway pull-up bars are not that sturdy. Especially for things like hanging core exercises that often involve a good amount of moving back and forth, doorway pull-up bars are not a great choice.
Besides that, there is a potential for small amounts of door frame damage when using pull-up bars of this type.
2. Wall mounted pull-up bar
As the name implies, wall mounted pull-up bars are a type of pull-up bars that get attached to a wall. The first challenge when it comes to using these is finding a suitable wall.
First of all, putting this type of pull-up bar in a random place on something like drywall will likely cause accidents and a broken wall. More suited walls include brick and concrete.
Next, even if you find a good type of wall, you need to remember that the pull-up bar will hang there for a while. It will take in a decent amount of space. Certain wall mounted pull-up bars can be relatively long too.
Keep in mind that installing and de-installing these will take some effort and require you to drill holes in your wall.
If these two things are not a problem you can consider a wall mounted pull-up bar. While the install conditions are a bit strict, this type of pull-up bars can be a good addition to your workout equipment collection.
Wall mounted pull-up bars are generally one of the sturdier options on this list and often come with multi-grips. As long as you respect the weight capacity some swinging back and forth is generally not a problem.
As you progress, at some point regular pull-ups may become too easy for you. When this is the case wall mounted pull-up bars are one of your best options for doing weighted pull-ups.
3. Power tower pull-up station
The next type is freestanding pull-up bar stations. There are actual pull-up bar only free-standing setups but these are often more expensive than a similar piece of equipment called a power tower.
A power tower is a combination of a pull-up bar, dip bar, and often captain’s chair. If you plan to get a free-standing pull-up bar any way you may as well get the option to do additional exercises at a lower price.
A benefit of this pull-up equipment option is that there are a variety of power tower exercises like pull-ups, dips, leg raises, etc. Another advantage is that a power tower can last a long time without losing too much value.
One potential downside of power towers is that they come at a relatively steep price compared to some of the other options.
Additionally need a decent amount of space to use and store one and you may need power tower accessories like protective gym flooring.
Something that comes as a surprise to many people is that power towers tend to have a relatively low weight limit compared to other types of pull-up bars.
Most of the power towers also only come with one horizontal pull-up bar. If you want multi-grip options you need to choose some of the other types or get certain pull-up bar accessories.
4. Power rack with pull-up bar
A power rack is a steel construction made to hold a heavy barbell. Many versions also come with a pull-up bar or at least the option to add such an attachment.
If you are looking for a piece of equipment to only do the pull-up exercise, this option is likely not for you.
However, if you are putting together a home gym, a power rack with a pull-up bar also enables you to squats or bench presses with a heavy barbell (for this last exercise you will need a weight bench too).
A power rack will also generally last a long time and not really lose its value a lot.
An obvious downside is that a construction like this requires quite a bit of space. Additionally, it comes at a relatively steep price compared to many of the other pull-up bar types.
One thing to keep in mind when buying a pull-up bar attachment and power rack seperately is that you have to make sure the dimensions match. Not all power racks are the same so certain pull-up bar attachments may not fit your specific model.
5. Inside doorframe pull-up bar
The next type of pull-up bar is one you attach inside your doorframe. Some models do this by pushing with outward force, for others you need to drill a hole and attach a holder with screws.
The screwed-in versions will be sturdier but they will also require slightly more work to install. Both versions are usually easy to de-install and store somewhere else when you are not using the equipment.
Inside doorframe pull-up bars are basically the most compact option on this list. Another benefit of this type of pull-up bar is that it is generally relatively inexpensive.
One potential downside is that these are generally only one single horizontal bar. If you want multi-grip bars you will need to choose some of the other options.
Inside doorframe pull-up bars also tend to be relatively close to the ground. You may need to tuck in your legs during pull-ups and other exercises.
6. Ceiling mounted pull-up bar
As the name implies, ceiling mounted pull-up bars are an option you attach to a sturdy ceiling. The installation and storing challenges are similar to the wall mounted pull-up bar.
First of all you need to find a sturdy ceiling or support beam to install the bar on. Make sure the surface is sturdy enough, at the right angle, and at the right height.
Keep in mind that the pull-up bar will likely hang there for a while since the installation and de-installation require a good amount of effort and time. It may not be smart to hang it in a narrow space where you plan to walk a lot.
A potential downside of this option is that the space between the bar and the ceiling may feel a bit small. That being said it should be enough room as long as you don’t pull yourself up too high.
Something else to remember is that ceiling mounted pull-up bars can be slightly pricier.
An upside of ceiling mounted pull-up bars is that once you find a good place to install them, they are generally sturdy, often have multi-grip handles, and last a long time.