So you’re living in a rented apartment or your moms house and can’t drill in the walls. We hear you. Or maybe you only have a couple bucks in your wallet but still want to work on building your upper body. That’s cool too.
Either way either a door-mounted pull up bar or its little cousin the telescoping pull bar should meet your requirements as these little bad boys deliver unequal amounts of value for dollar and flexibility.
Below is a quick overview of all the bars reviewed on this page. You can use the comparison table to look at the reviews for each of the bars we’ve selected as the best in their respective categories. For more detailed reviews on each brand and type simply scroll down the page as we dig into the pros and cons of each product as well.
Now let’s get more detailed in our analysis, let’s take a look at your general doorway pull up bar first.
Shopping for a piece of workout equipment is a little like shopping for a new car; you need to do a littler research before you go spending your hard earned money. In both cases you need to find something that:
- Has a high level of build quality because it will have to last years.
- Is well engineered and safe, as you’ll trust your body to it daily.
- Something that provides considerable value for the price.
- Something that suits your specific needs, budget and living situation.
First, set a maximum amount of money you’re willing to spend. Whether it’s $30 or $300 you need to have a range to search within. Without a range you can easily get sidetracked and end up with “buyers remorse” the day after.
Second, evaluate your living situation. Can you drill in walls? Yes? Then you can consider other bar types. However if you can’t drill in walls because you’re living in a dorm or renting from a strict landlord, then a doorway-mounted bar is perfect for you.
Finally, measure your doorway and compare it to the recommended measurements from the bar manufacturer. Most doorway type bars will be flexible and adapt to common interior door frames, however it’s always worth double checking.
As far as build quality, features, reliability and reviews, leave that to us! We’ve gone through dozens of different bar manufacturers and narrowed them down to a list of the top 3 doorway-mounted pullup bars on the market.
Top 3 Doorway Mounted Pull Up Bars Reviewed
We highly recommend you do your own searching in addition to the reviews below, however we’ve spent hours researching and testing in real life and these are the bars we like the most.
Prosource Multi-Grip Heavy Duty Doorway Trainer
Needless to say, the first time we reviewed the ProSoruce Multi-Grip Trainer we were pretty jealous. We had both just purchased identical Iron Gym bars (reviewed below) and were at a buddies on a Friday night and were blown away at the sheer size of the Prosource he had mounted in his bathroom doorway (yes, he does his pull ups every time he goes to use the toilet).
The Prosource is the king dog of pullup bars for multiple reasons, besides the fact that it’s the number one selling pullup/chinup system on Amazon. Here are some of the reasons this bar has earned “king” status amongst doorway-mounted systems.
It is a True Multi-grip System:
Many bars offer parallel or perpendicular gripping, so you can only do regular grip pull ups and hammer grip pull ups. The Prosource has 12 different grip types allowing for a much more comprehensive workout.
It’s the Widest, Beefiest, Most Industrial Bar on the Market
Seriously, the only bars stronger than this are the stand alone types and the wall-mounted types. For non-invasive doorway mounted bars, this fella is king, made of quality steel, supporting up to 300lbs, and including a lifetime warranty.
Insane Price Point for Quality and Warranty:
Seriously, starting at under $30, the ProSource earns #1 respect because not only is it an absolute beast it’s cheap too! Combing quality at an affordable price is the true stroke of genius rarely found in today’s companies. This magic combination is what made Henry Ford popular and is what makes ProSource the most highly reviewed bar on the web.
Stamina Doorway Trainer Plus
The Stamina Doorway Trainer Plus may not be as beefy as the ProSource above, and it can only hold 250lbs compared to the ProSource’s 300lbs, nor does it come with a lifetime warranty, but it does have a secret ace up its sleeve that makes it the solid #2 best bar currently available on the market.
The Stamina is highly reviewed for one main reason; it doubles as a pushup bar, tricep dip bar and foot-holder/ab bar as well. (see images below)
Traditional pullups and chinups are great upper body exercises, however they emphasis mostly lat development and arm development. Having a bar like the Stamina that helps incorporate pectoral, tricep and ab exercises as well makes it a real Swiss Army knife and definitely worthy of consideration (as long as you’re under 250lbs!)
Things we like the most about the Stamina bar include:
It’s Simple Design
The Stamina is built much like the bar reviewed below (the Iron Gym) which is one of the most iconic home pullup bar designs of all time. Like Porsche and Harley Davidson, sometimes it’s best not to mess with a winning design. So in this regard, we like the Stamina’s simplicity.
It Provides a Comprehensive Workout Solution
Other bars that don’t provide chest, tricep and abdominal stimulation are really only partial solutions to building an aesthetically pleasing physique. This bar allows you to isolate muscle groups not normally stimulated with just regular old fashioned pull ups.
It’s Cheap as Hell
Yes, this bar can only do 250lbs compared to the ProSource 300lbs and yes, it only has 5 grip positions compared to the Prosource 12 positions, but guess what, it’s quite a bit cheaper too! With the money you save buying the Stamina you could use that money to buy ab straps or push up grips or some other piece of equipment.
The Classic Iron Gym
The Iron Gym, you’ve seen it on TV, you’ve seen it in Wal-Mart, some of your friends own one; it is the most well-known pullup bar on the market. Sure, part of this is due to really good marketing, but part of it is due to the fact this was the first mass-produced and mass-marketed doorway-mounted bar in the United States and we love “the classics”.
We (the authors) actually both own this bar, it’s one of the best entry-level workout tools available. Sure, it can’t beat the versatility of the ProSource, and even the Stamina above has a few more grip options, but what the Iron Gym lacks in features it makes up for in simplicity. This bar is a minimalists dream.
Simple, Elegant, Refined
This bar is the simplest engineered of the 3 reviewed here and that is it’s greatest strength. Because it is the simplest it is the easiest to assemble, smallest, easiest to store and most portable. If you travel a lot this bar is for you.
It’s Pretty Versatile
Like the Stamina, this bar can also be taken down to help you with getting really deep pullups or doing tricep dips, although the height isn’t as great for the dips. Still, it’s more versatile than many other pullup bar solutions and offering a full upper body workout wins big points.
It’s a Classic
Sure, there are dozens of “ab rollers” on the market today, but we would always recommend buying the original. Originals should always be respected. Coke original recipe, KFC, Star Wars, we can go on forever on how wonderful the “originals” are. Having a Iron Gym is like having a members card to the home-trainer club, it’s truly classic.
Our Favorite Doorway Pull Up Bars
We’ve listed what we feel are the best pullup/chinup bars on the market (the ProSource, the Stamina and the Iron Gym). However we’re just people and people are all different, so by all means, do your own research before buying! This is the best advice we can give you.
Also, try to think holistically when shopping. A pull up bar is a great tool because the pull up is such a great exercise. But keep in mind your other muscle groups, including your arms, your chest, abs, legs, and core. If you have a limited budget, think about expanding in the future to include equipment like kettle bells, ab straps, push up handles, yoga mats, etc because these tools in combination with a pull up bar will really help you achieve the body you’ve been dreaming of.
Best Telescoping Pull Up Bars
The little cousin of your larger doorway pull-up bar, the retractable pull up bar is also a great choice for those on a budget or with limited space.. It’s a classic, just like the original ab roller and yoga ball.
These types of bars first hit the scene in the 80’s as fitness went mainstream with millions tuning into programs like “The Richard Simmons Show” to get their daily dose of exercise tips and motivation. Since then times have changed, fitness has become completely mainstream and also evolved to new heights. One thing hasn’t changed though, and that is the use of simple and practical home equipment to augment home workout routines, and one mainstay of this industry is the telescoping or retractable pull up bar.
Below we will review what to look for when shopping for a retracting pull up bar, how to spot the best one on sites like Amazon, what makes a good bar and what makes for a bad bar, and how this type of bar stacks up against other popular types like wall-mounted, doorway, and freestanding units.
Telescoping Pull Up Bar Pre-Shopping Considerations
Many people make the mistake of running to the closest Wal-Mart and picking up the cheapest piece of home workout equipment they can find. What this ultimately leads to is a bunch of tools that don’t quite do the job which ultimately then get neglected and sold at a garage sale a year later.
The first rule in fitness is quality matters. This can be applied to everything from workouts to nutrition (what you’re eating) to the tools you’re using to achieve your goals. With everything, it is important to balance quality with price when shopping for the best telescoping pull up bar.
There are a few things to consider when looking at this type of pull up bar compared to others, as this is one of the more unique options available”
- Do you need something that is highly portable?
- Do you live in a building/apartment that won’t allow for modification of the structure?
- Do you just want to do pull-ups or are you looking for a more comprehensive solution? (link to freestanding units with dip features)
- What is your overall budget? Do you only have $20 to spare or can you invest more?
Think about the above questions for a little bit. Planning a fitness road map for success requires forethought, if you just rush into it you’re likely to have difficult achieving your goals, trust us.
About six years ago in university my mother (or Santa, whichever) got me a telescoping pull-up bar for for Christmas. The only problem was I lived in a university-owned apartment complex that had solid wood door frames that I couldn’t drill holes into.
My mother (and many other shoppers to be fair) was under the impression that telescoping bars just hang in place by themselves when in actuality they require little metal cups to be screwed to the door frame. I ended up getting a doorway-mounted bar that uses leverage and thus requires zero drilling, and saved the telescoping bar for use at home.
Moral of the story is doing your research ahead of time is critical. If you didn’t know telescoping bars aren’t just bars but require little metal cups to be fastened to your door frame well now you know and are better off for it. Below we look at the best 3 bars on market right now so you can quickly and effortlessly compare the best of the best so you can finish your shopping and get on with your fitness transformation!
Top 3 Telescoping Pull Up Bars Reviewed
There are tons of options out there, but this list is our personal top 3. Keep reading to find out why.
JFIT Deluxe Doorway Pull Up Bar
There’s a reason the JFIT is the best rated telescoping bar on Amazon (link); it balances build quality with price with simplicity. As we mention when reviewing any type of bar, the simplest is often the best because there is not need to over complicate a tool that facilitates one of the simplest exercises known to man; the pull up. When things get over engineered they have more potential breakage points, are harder to assemble and are usually more expensive. The JFIT Deluxe bar is none of those things.
Maximum Adjustability, Longest Bar Available
The JFIT is a beast. Yes, despite what your girlfriend tells you size DOES matter on occasion and pull-up bars are one such occasion. The JFIT extends to a full 40″ long. Yeah, impressive right? To put this in perspective, the standard interior doorway width in the United States is about 32″ give or take a few millimeters. That means the JFIT provides an extra 8″ of length that other telescoping bars can’t match. These extreme width is perfect for oversized door frames that other doorway mounted bars (internal link) just aren’t compatible with.
Removable Velcro Grips
For anyone that has been to a busy gym or owned a pull up bar before knows, grips can get pretty nasty pretty quick. Repeated soaking up of sweat, tight gripping with dirty hands and the friction from gym gloves takes their toll on grips. This is why PullupProfessors rarely recommends bars with foam grips as standard because foam is a relatively delicate material that wears quickly and soaks up stinky sweat. The grips on the JFIT however are unique in that they can be removed, cleaned and reattached at whatever width is preferable.
Maximum Adjustability & Stability
Once installed this bar ain’t going anywhere, and that’s a nice piece of mind to have when you have your body hanging from it. “But aren’t all bars supposed to stay put once you fasten them to your door?” Well of course, but in reality some stay put better than others and this comes down to engineering. The JFIT extends from both ends, which means pressure is applied/distributed equally and those the bar is more secure then other cheap telescoping bars that only extend form one end. This is why the company can confidently state this bar holds up to 300lbs.
Another benefit of dual-extending ends is the center bar which you grip is one continuous length. Some cheaper bars sold at stores like Wal-Mart extend from one end only, resulting in a non-linear bar where one side is thicker than the other, which is not optimal for building a balanced physique.
The Ollieroo Bar earns #2 honors because it provides nearly all the features of the JFIT but at a slightly lower cost on average. The Ollieroo is reviewed highly on sites like Amazon (link) and the company stands by its product. Like the JFIT the Olieroo retracts from both ends and is of a simple design, which as you can tell from our previous writings, we like. The price makes it a hell of a bargain and it has a few other features that make it a top contender. Ultimately it falls short of the JFIT by just a tiny margin, most notably in that it can only support 220lbs vs the JFIT’s 300lbs AND it doesn’t have removable grips (instead uses foam).
Mini Size For Mini Situations
One unique strength of the Ollieroo is it’s versatility. Many bars boast about their maximum extension range, and we can’t help be impressed, that’s why we ranked the JFIT #1, however the Ollieroo goes above and beyond and not just brags about it’s maximum extension range of 39 inches, which isn’t bad AT ALL, but also mentions it has the SHORTEST range of application as well at just 24inches!
This doesn’t mean much to you if you live in a house or apartment built in the last 20 years or so, however if you’re living in a much older building, or perhaps you’re planning on moving to the Old World Europe or a modern cramped Asian city, then the minimum range of extension is very important. Sure maximum range sounds impressive, but in terms of total range, that is adding maximum extension and minimum extension, the Ollieroo wins out, making it the most versatile bar even if it’s short of the maximum extension range by an inch.
The Ollieroo weighs in at 2.65 pounds and has diameter of 1.1″, and solid steel construction. The stated max load is what dropped it to the #2 position with a max weight of just 220 pounds or 100kg. While this is short of the JFIT by nearly 80 pounds, it’s still no slouch. 220 pounds is more than the average adult so for those just starting their home workout routines the Ollieroo is a great entry level option. Also, for young adults and teenagers, the 220 pound max is really not issue at all and the cheaper price only adds to sweeten the appeal of this particular bar.
The only thing we didn’t like about the Ollieroo is the foam grips. Inevitably the glue seems to wear loose on these, the foam starts to lose it’s plushness, get’s dirty and often tears off, this is our experience with ALL gym equipment that utilizes cheap foam grips. This isn’t the end of the world though, we usually mod our bars with lifting tape (link) that can be replaced and creates a nice secure grip no matter what the bar is made of.
The Maximiza is unique in that it offers a cross between flexibility and comfort. The bar has a minimum length of 26 inches, just two more than the super flexible Ollieroo, and a maximum reach of 36 inches, which is just under the Ollieroo as well and much shorter than the beast that is the JFIT. Still, the Maximiza is no slouch, as it supports a full 300 pound load, which is more than the Ollieroo and the same as the JFIT.
So in terms of capabilities the Maximiza is kind of a hybrid of the JFIT’s strength and the Ollieroo’s flexibility. Obviously, like an SUV, compared to a tank or a sports car, it can’t out perform 100% in either category, but it covers all the bases pretty well. The Maximiza does have one pretty unique feature that we have to admit that after trying we completely fell in love with, and that is it’s comfort!
Fully Gripped Baby
The Maximiza comes with a full-length grip out of the box. While most other bars just have two narrow hand-width grips, sometimes adjustable (see the JFIT), sometimes not (Ollieroo), the Maximiza decided to cover all bases and run a grip down the entire length of the bar. So what you may ask, isn’t that just a waste of foam? Hardly we reply!
Depending on the width of your grip you’ll stimulate different parts of your back when doing a pull up. You hit different muscles, including lower lats with a wider grip and higher lats/traps and more arms with a narrower grip. Likewise, you want to use a much narrower grip when performing chin ups as apposed to wider grip pull ups. Having a grip that runs the entire bar let’s you perform a multitude of different width exercises with ease and that makes the Maximiza kind of like the Cadillac of pull up bars.
Our Favorite and Final Telescoping Bar Considerations
We’ve chosen 3 distinct bars to review on this page, the JFIT, the Ollieroo and the Maximiza. Each has it’s own unique features, the JFIT has removable grips and a super wide range, the Ollieroo has the most versatile range with the shortest option and the Maximiza offers super flexible grip options right out of the box. Truth be told there are many other bars on the market that do similar things, we just chose the top 3 of each category. All of these bars would make excellent options for a home workout gym. Alas though, we like to share with our readers what WE WOULD pick if we had to buy a new bar today.
Of course which bar you choose depends greatly on your individual requirements like living situation and budget, at the end of the day, the bar WE would choose over the rest would be the Maximiza. One, because it’s got a sweet name lol. Just kidding! Mostly we like it because it comes out of the box fully gripped which is rad because a complete back workout routine will require a combination of wide grip pull ups and closer gripped chin ups and this bar is nearly 100% covered in grip so we like that flexibility.
Still, we know after a few months we’ll probably need to get some grip tape (link) to re-grip the bar, but that’s the same for all pre-gripped pull up bars really. That’s pretty much it, all the bars are so closely matched the Maximiza wins for us purely on its grips alone, which is by no means a make-or-break feature. No matter what bar you choose from the above lists, we’re sure it’ll do it’s job and leave you healthier and happier in the end.
The Big Wrap
You cannot go wrong with any of the six doorway pull up bar options featured on this page. Whether you go with a door frame model, or a telescoping model, usually comes down to how much room you have both while using it and while storing it.