How to Choose a Pull Up Bar

How to Choose a Pull Up Bar

Posted on 03. May, 2010 by in Exercise Equipments

After writing a post about a home gym for under $100, I thought about editing the post and adding the pull up bar to the list. But, I wanted to create a separate post for it because I own two different kinds of pull up bars and I want to give you a better idea on which model will fit your needs. Also, thanks to Dave for giving me the idea to write about it.

There are two pull up bars that I’m going to compare in this post. For the first kind, you can either mount it on your door frame and for the second one, you can take on/off the door way whenever you like. The other kind of bars that are out there are the free standing ones which are usually more expensive and takes up more space.

The Perfect Pullup

The first one we’re going to talk about is the Perfect Pull Up which is the one you can attach to your door. This wall mounted pull up bar is great because you can do a lot more things with it. For instance, you can change the position of the bar so that it’s upside down. You can perform body rows at different angles from this position. This brand also comes with a pair of Ab Straps that you can hang on the bar and rest your elbow on while doing hanging knee raises and other ab exercises. It also comes with rotating handles for different hand positions.

Because the bar is moveable, you can also do chest presses, tricep extensions, etc. It’s definitely a versatile pull up bar that you can use for many other different exercises. If you go to this Amazon page for the Perfect Pullup, you will see a video of a guy who’s using this bar for the exercises I mentioned above. The price of this bar has gone down significantly since I first bought it. You can get it for as low as $22 which is a very good deal.

Here is a Youtube video showing more ideas on how to use the Perfect Pullup. It’s an infomercial but you get the idea:

If you haven’t done chin ups or pull ups before, here is a great video by Craig Ballantyne of Turbulence Training and CB Athletics demonstrating how you can practice your way to your first one:

Iron Gym

The Iron Gym is probably the simplest pull up bar out there. It is removeable so this is great for people who are renting because you don’t have to put holes on your door frame. It comes with a small metal hook that you place on top of the door frame. This hook helps keep the Iron Gym in place while you’re performing pull ups or chin ups. Make sure the you install this hook. Otherwise, you might fall. The one thing I like about this brand is the cushion on the handles. This cushion helps a lot especially if you have callouses. I also like the fact that I didn’t have to install it and the assembly is easy. It can also double as a push up stand when you put it face down on the floor. Using it this way is helpful especially if your wrists hurt while doing regular push ups.

The disadvantages to this bar is that it’s not very versatile. You can only do chin ups, pull ups, push ups on it, nothing else. If you have other gym equipment, this is not a big deal. Unlike the Perfect Pull Up, the Iron Gym is not as versatile. They did come out with an extreme version that allows for different hand positions on the bar but you still can’t do other exercises with it besides the three I just mentioned. You can get this bar from Amazon for $27 to $30.

Please leave any thoughts, ideas, comments below. Thanks for reading!

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  • Wow, I didn’t know there was so much to know…though I think you’re right, the Perfect Pullup is much more versatile, I’d have to opt for the Iron Gym to spare my door frame (I’m such a girl…)

  • Hi Anna,
    Wow! So much to know about pull up bars. Thanks for taking what would be a very confusing topic for me and explaining the pros and cons in simple terms. Love the addition of the videos too. Very helpful! Now if actually doing pull ups could be just as easy. 🙂


  • admin

    Pat, the Iron Gym definitely is the best option if you want to spare your door 🙂 And that’s not a girly thing to say…haha. You’re just practical.

    Renee, just like anything, doing pullups can be intimidating at first but you have to approach it in a “walk before you run” sort of thing. I certainly didn’t think I can do chin ups before but I am getting better and better at it the more I do it. I know you can do it too!


  • Anna, I *have* the Iron Gym at home. I absolutely love it and it does what it is meant to do. I am normally weak on pull ups, but I find great use for that bar for push ups, tricep push ups and even sit ups! It might seem “gimmicky” to some, but after I got one on a whim it does work!:)

  • Thanks for this information. I was trying to figure out which one of these would make a good gift for my husband. He uses those twisting things for push ups but wants something different for pull ups. I think I like the Iron Gym maybe someday I’ll be strong enough to use it.

  • Anna! Wish I had this 1.5 years ago!! I bought the p90x one like the 2nd one you post hear-easy to install, but the 1st had more versatility – that’s smart!

    Ann Evanston
    The Warrior is Within You

  • This is great information from a very practical standpoint. Thanks for such a well-rounded approach. I was sold on the versatility of the first option.

  • Well, good to know i don’t only have to do a chin up, which I’ve never been able to do completely! The rowing et al seems like a great way to add a strength building piece of equipment at home, for the days I don’t want to go to the gym! Thanks

  • admin

    Lee, if you want to work up to pull up, try chin ups first. This is usually easier for people to start with.

    Lisa, the Perfect Pullup might be a better option since he wants to do other things other than pullups. I’m sure you can do them. You just need to practice.

    Ann, I definitely like the Perfect Pullup for all the other things I can do to it. I just hated installing it…lol.

    Haley, the first option definitely stands out.

    Irene, you’re right, The body rows will help your upper body get stronger in preparation for the chin ups or pullups. Great insight!


  • Anna,
    Great post! Thanks for taking my suggestion! The ability to do inverted rows on the Perfect Pullup should make the installation hassle well worth it. Inverted rows are ideal for people who can’t do pullups yet. They’re a great complement to pullups as well. I get a huge amount of value from doing them after pullups…the whole horizontal pulling vs. vertical pulling concept. Watching your form on inverted rows or pullups is key though as I’m sure you know. For your next post, maybe you can find a great dip station! Just kidding of course.

  • Pull-ups have always been my weakness. The Pull-Up Bar seems very versatile for a full-upper body work-out.–great price too…

  • Thank you Anna for this information! I like the Perfect Pullup the best. We are turning the spare bedroom into a workout/bedroom and this would be great. And a great gift idea for my boyfriend!

  • admin

    Dave, I should’ve included that thought that body rows are a great way of moving up to pull ups but I think CB said that in his video as well. I don’t like dips 🙂

    Anne, personal trainers say that you should work on your weaknesses as it will give you the most benefit. I was weak with pullups too but it just takes practice.

    Peggy, glad to help! I hope your workout room turns out great and your boyfriend likes his gift.


  • Hey Anna, great post. I actually have the free standing “power station” that includes a pull up bar. I mainly got it because it has a dip station and roman/captain’s chair, but you are right it was quite expensive, and it takes up A LOT of space. I think the perfect pull up looks great, it’s the one I would go for if I was looking for the most bang for my buck.

  • admin

    Hey David, if I had the space, I would probably go with the one you have too plus the Perfect Pullup…LOL.


  • Another endorsement here for the Iron Gym. It’s especially handy to take with you on vacation, provided you travel by car. It’s a great way to help you keep fit anywhere you go!


  • admin

    That’s a good idea, Drew. You can just leave it at the bathroom door in your hotel room and you’ll be good to go. Just don’t forget the hook 🙂


  • Anna,

    Thanks for getting this info out there. If all someone has is a pullup bar, they can get a complete bodyweight exercise in, which is awesome for beginners and people who can’t get to the gym. Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading more of your posts!

  • admin

    I totally agree, Darrin. You can use a pullup bar especially the Perfect Pullup for awhile and not run out of effective exercise to do. Thanks for your input!


  • Bjgillette

    With a Body Solid body weight station and free-hanging workout straps in the basement and a pullup bar in the master bathroom, you would think I have everything a man could want in that department. Not quite. A couple of months ago, I beveled a couple of 8″ 2x4s and nailed them to the wood columns at the foot of my basement steps (on the “up-side”). Then I laid an everyday bar across them (as in “barbell”). Now I have the perfect arrangement for running 10 sets of 8 pullups… with every level of “cheat” available via the steps.

  • AnnaDornier

    Great idea, BJ. Sometimes, one set-up is just not enough 🙂 You're very
    resourceful too!

  • Dark_guitarist2

    on the iron gym you could also do close, standard, and wide grip push ups; dips; and sit ups

  • Yes, for sure. Thanks for the input!


  • anyway chins are great exercise, did you do those or pull ups, in other words was your grip so your open hand faced you or the back of your hand? I bet you could do more with a decent way to do them

  • I start with chin ups since those are easier. I think that's what you're asking.

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