Don’t want to be confined to working out solely in doorways? Want the freedom to workout in your basement, garage or outdoors on sunny days? Then a free-standing pull-up system is the perfect solution for you. But before you go “yeah no shit Sherlock” have you stopped and considered that there are 3 distinct different types of free standing systems on the market offering dozens of different features at prices ranging from just $90 to well over $300?
Yeah, bet you didn’t think about all of that. No worries, neither did we when we first started 😉
Stand alone systems are great and kind of the “king of bars” as people usually graduate on to these set ups after they’ve mastered their doorway mounted systems or other basic body weight workout routines. Free standing bars usual offer a much wider variety of tools to help you perform a multitude of different exercises, making them more akin to home gyms than just pull up bars.
Well, you’re here for a reason aren’t you? You don’t think a doorway mounted system is for you, and to be honest, we’re with you, because doorway systems are great for beginners or people with limited budgets, but free standing pull up stations are where it’s at.
Free standing pull up bars also go buy the names “workout station”, “power tower”, “power cage” and “exercise stand”. These structures vary greatly in what they offer, from size to maximum weight loads to materials their built with.
Some “power towers” for example offer back rests to do leg raises in a captains chair, bars for tips, bars for push ups and more. Other more basic units, usually just called “power towers” or “pull up stand” do away with some of the extra features. One thing they ALL have in common and should do well is provide a solid, stable platform to perform chin ups and pull up variations.
There are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for this type of equipment. First and foremost this is a serious investment. These things are big, heavy and take up space. You can’t just toss them in your closet like an iron gym when you’re not using it. They are large pieces of equipment that consider a bit of forethought.
- Make Sure You Have The Space: These are like large refrigerators. Check the exact dimensions of the unit you are looking to buy then measure out the space in your house/garage/basement where you plan to put it to make sure it fits. The cost of returning one of these beasts is expensive so it pays to get it right the first time!
- Invest in Quality: Power Towers are very serious pieces of workout equipment for serious lifters, that’s why they’re usually considered the next stup up from doorway mounted pull-up bars. When purchasing workout equipment you should first look at reviews and quality. Working out is tough, both on your body and on the equipment. Look for a system that can take all the punishment you can throw at it because you know you will when you’re raging through your workout progressions.
- Plan for the Future: There are free standing units to suit all needs. If you only need to perform pulling movements, there are systems for that. However if you’re goal is to one day have a complete home gym then think about looking at more complete power racks/cages that are modular and which you can add pieces to in the future as you build out your dream home gym.
Top 5 Free Standing Pull Up Bars on the Market
These are OUR top 5 choices with some extras included, but we’re pretty sure we’re not alone in our assessment.
The Stamina 1690
The Stamina 1690 is one of the highest reviewed, best selling free standing pull up bar stations on Amazon (link). It’s also one of the cheapest. This combination of popularity and low cost make it “the peoples” power tower of choice, kind of like the original Volkswagen Beetle. With a minimalist design, light weight and basic features it’s a logical no-brainer purchase for those looking to take their pull-up game to the next level. The Stamina is also the cheapest free standing option out there (of decent quality, there are cheaper but we’d stay away from those) making a great entry level unit. There are a few other features in particular that make the Stamina 1690 such a popular purchase:
Super Simple Lightweight Design
When ordering a power tower online weight matters. Not only because of the cost of shipping it to your house but also hauling it to wherever it is you want to set it up. Also, a simple design makes for quick assembly and easy tear-down if you move or want to sell it in the future. These are small things, but things to keep in mind when comparing the Stamina to other home gym systems. At just 54 pounds this is the lightest and thus most portable of the free-standing pull up bars available on market today.
Everything You Need, Nothing You Don’t
Constructed out of a tough tubular steel frame with no slip end caps and handles for all the essentials (wide grip pull ups, narrow grip pull/chin ups, grips for dips and grips for deep pushups) the Stamina has all the bases covered. Pull ups, dips and pushups will be enough to give you a complete upper body workout. There are not fancy frills with the Stamina, but if pull ups are your thing then she’s got your back.
The 1690 model is one of Stamina Products Inc’s oldest products. Founded in 1987 Stamina has been exporting it’s exercise equipment around the world. They’ve also been contracted to produce equipment for top television fitness personalities including Body by Jake, Tony Little, Suzanne Somers and more. This is a tried and true brand that’s been around forever, which combined with light weight, cheap price and popularity with consumers, makes it one of the best free standing bars on the market.
The Cap Barbell Power Rack Stand
We couldn’t leave the Cap Power Rack Stand out of this list, even though it’s kind of a hybrid unit. People who are looking to buy a power rack are usually first and foremost concerned about squatting and bench pressing. While squatting and benching are awesome, this simple power rack makes an absolutely solid pull up stand and has the added benefit as doubling as a squat/bench rack in the future in case you want to build out your home gym. At nearly the same price as the above mentioned Stamina, the Cap Barbell Power Rack stand offers a ridiculously sturdy platform to do pull ups and TRX exercises.
Like most power racks, the Cap Rack has one solid bar running across the top, giving you infinite grip variations for your pull ups. The nicest part about this system though is it’s modular potential for expansion. The vertical bars have mounting holes drilled their entire length for mounting all standard squat rack attachments. The unit itself is built out of high grade 12 and 14 gauge steel. The entire thing is powder coated as well.
If you are looking for a pull up bar that is not just designed for pull ups but is something you can build off in the future and turn into a complete home workout solution (squat/bench press rack) then this is a great piece of equipment.
Weider Power Tower
The Weider Power Tower is an absolute icon in the home gym world. Weider has been manufacturing gym equipment for the hardcore for over 25 years. All the greats have used their equipment, including Arnold Schwarzenegger himself. The company was named after Joe Weider, not only a fitness buff himself, but also the founder of Muscle & Fitness Magazine (link) and even personal trainer to Arnold. The Weider Power tower represents everything Joe did; strength, reliability, durability, timelessness. This tower is an absolute icon.
Compact Power Tower
The Weider is a comprehensive unit. It includes a solid wide and narrow grip pull up bar, a padded captains chair for abdominal work, dip bars for tricep and chest development, and push up bars for deep pushups. Everything you need for a full upper body workout is right here and in complete luxury with sewn vinyl cushions exactly where you need them. All this in a unit that is just 30 inches wide, 60 inches deep and standing about 84 inches high.
This tower easily handles 300lbs loads and comes with a full manufacturers warranty so you know you’re making a safe purchase. The support bars are thick as hell and this thing doesn’t rock at all once it’s set up, no matter how big you are or what you throw at it, but what else would you expect from an industry icon like Weider!
Gold’s Gym XR 10.9 Power Tower
Gold’s Gym, the “Mecca” of bodybuilding in Venice Beach CA. Even if you don’t know anything about hardcore bodybuilding you definitely have heard of Golds Gym. Founded in 1965 by Joe Gold, Gold’s Gym birthed some of the biggest and greatest bodybuilders to ever walk this earth. The Gold’s Gym fitness equipment line is licensed by Icon Equipment, also a California based company who also makes the above mentioned Weider workout equipment as well. That’s why both of #2 and #3 options are both built like rocks, they’re from the same manufacturer!
Quality in Name & Construction
The Gold’s Gym XR 10.9 is probably the beefiest free standing system available with massive steel tubing and a super sturdy design. With smaller tubing and less gross sections and bracing many platforms will rock and sway when performing pull ups or dips. Not the XR 10.9 though, this thing is as solid as a rock, which is probably why it weighs just under 100 pounds (99lbs)! That’s nearly double the weight of the smaller and more moveable Stamina 1690.
At approximately 2 feet wide, 5 and a half feet long and 7 feet tall this platform is built for people of all weights and heights. One huge frustration for many people over 6 feet tall is their legs hitting the ground when doing pull ups. This shouldn’t be a problem with the XR 10.9.
Honorable Mention: Body Vision PT600 Power Tower
We usually only review our top 3 pull up systems, but this category is special because there is so much to offer out there at so many different price points. As we’ve highlighted there are small and minimalist platforms like the Stamina 1690 and there are big bulky units like the Gold’s Gym XR 10.9. Price points vary greatly too, from just under $100 to nearly $300. We reviewed the affordable and the premium, but didn’t cover much for the middle-of-the-road solutions, and that is why we are including the Body Vision PT600 Power Tower in our reviews.
The Power Tower is smaller than the Weider and Gold’s Gym options, yet it includes most of the same features, a pull up bar, dip bar, padded captains chair and push up grips. The company making it, Body Champ, doesn’t have quite the hardcore pedigree of the above units either, but they do have over 20 years of producing quality equipment. This adds up to an attractive package that becomes even more attractive when you take into account it’s price point, which is usually at an MSRP somewhere in between the cheaper units and the more professional-grade units. If you’re on a budget but don’t want a budget free standing system, then we highly recommend you check out the PT600 by Body Champ.
Our Favorite and Final Considerations
We don’t include products we don’t like in our reviews. If the product has bad user reviews, is made by a shady company, uses cheap plastics and doesn’t look like it will help you achieve your fitness goals we don’t even waste time mentioning it on PullupProfessors. This means all of the units mentioned above are a solid choice. They differ mostly in your goals, the space you have to put it and what your future plans are.
At the end of the day however, we always pick a favorite, and if budget and size wasn’t an issue, we’d have to go with the Gold’s Gym XR 10.9. Taking into account it has everything you need to hit your pull ups, dips, leg raises, and push ups, while being constructed out of massive silver and black tubular steel and somehow ending up priced far BELOW many other lesser built systems, it’s a clear winner for us.