It has a smooth but grippy finish, is thin enough to fit in most of my bags, and comes in a variety of colors.
The bottle also does extremely well to keep any beverage I have cold or hot for hours on end.
Table of Contents: Masthead StickyStandard-Mouth Water Bottle with Flex Cap (24 OZ.) (small)
The Hydro Flask Standard Mouth Water Bottle is a simple water bottle. Inherently, there’s not much to it, and that’s what I like. It’s double-walled and vacuum-sealed, but you wouldn’t know by looking at or carrying it.
Double-walled and vacuum-sealed technology dates back over a century, and most modern, steel-walled water bottles employ it. In short, it involves one flask (or bottle) being placed over another, and the gap between the two being vacuumed before its sealed to stabilize the inside temperature, keeping cold things cold and hot things hot for long periods of time.
I like just about everything else about the water bottle, too. The spray-on finish has a luxurious feel, and the new Hawaiian shave ice ombrés are just downright seductive.
The narrow body of my 24-ounce bottle also means it can fit in just about everything, from my laptop case (where I can safely trust it not to open and expel its contents) to my boat bag. It refuses rust even after repeated soaks in the sea (without a wash), and there’s an unobtrusive, collapsible silicone handle that you can use to attach it to a bag or railing if need be.
But that “if need be” should not be taken lightly. The strap, being silicone, is not the most durable thing in the world, and it will eventually break, especially if you’re clipping it into a carabiner often enough. There are a handful of complaints right on Hydro Flask’s website attesting to this where the replacement cap is sold for $7.50.
The other side of this issue, while not a perfect solution, and certainly a nuisance, is that this bottle comes with a limited lifetime warranty, which does include things like the Flex Cap‘s strap breaking. And, again, you could also purchase a different cap or lid altogether.
The rest of the water bottle is nearly indestructible. I’ve dropped it down flights of stairs, I’ve kicked it across the deck of my boat, and it’s rolled all the way down my gravel-laden driveway with little more than a scratch. There were some smudges after all that, but I was able to buff them out, which I found impressive (not in reference to me, but the bottle, of course).
Should you buy it?
Yes. Hydro Flask’s lineup of vacuum-insulated water bottles offer an environmentally friendly and versatile way to enjoy your beverage of choice each day. They do well to keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot for hours on end, and their nearly indestructible design means you’ll have it around for years.
Another Insider Reviews favorite are the bottles from S’well which not only do well to retain cold or hot beverages but feature a aesthetically pleasing design, too.
The bottom line
Standard-Mouth Water Bottle with Flex Cap (24 OZ.) (small)
All told, the Hydro Flask Standard Mouth Water Bottle is a functional yet fashionable vessel for hydration, and while it’s not the water bottle I’d necessarily choose to take on any long-distance kayaking or hiking sojourn, it’ll hold its own just about anywhere and, in an urban setting, it’s a delightfully refreshing splash of color.
What more do most of us need in a water bottle this summer?
Pros: Lightweight, streamline, several cap choices available
Cons: Strap with included cap prone to breaking
Standard-Mouth Water Bottle with Flex Cap (24 OZ.) (button)
Hammocks have been used for literally hundreds of years, dating back to early indigenous Americans. They’re incredibly practical, lifting you off the ground to stay cool in the heat of summer and protected from insects or, in the backcountry, wildlife.
In the modern era, hammocks are often seen swinging in backyards, campsites, frat houses, and teenagers’ bedrooms. They’re prized for their comfort and for how easily they fold up for transport and storage when the R&R session is over.
Each hammock on our list shares a couple of key characteristics in that they hang from two fixed points (not always a tree) and support a person or two. However, that’s where the comparisons stop. Some hammocks are designed for comfort, others for light travel and to withstand the elements outside. Before you buy a hammok, it’s important to think through where you’ll use it, how you’ll set it up, and who might be sharing or borrowing it, which we go into in more detail at the end of this guide.
In the meantime, we’ve personally tested the majority of the hammocks on this list and can confirm – your life can only get better after a nap in any hammock on this list.
Pros: Long hammock for ideal sleeping comfort, easy to set up and adjust strap system, high-quality materials
Cons: Slightly bulky when packed, not made with ripstop fabric
Most hammocks feel great when you first climb in, your body feeling almost weightless as you ease yourself into a gentle curve and rock back and forth in the breeze. But when you’re ready to shift out of that initial position, you’re basically out of luck. That’s because many hammocks are only comfortably enjoyed on your back and in near-total (but blissful) stillness.
With the Wildhorn Outfitters Outpost hammock, you have the room and support you need to shift positions and move about as you search for that ideal arrangement of your body’s various parts. The 11-foot span of the Outpost allows you to stretch out fully, with room to spare for most people, and creates a nearly flat space when you lie in it diagonally — provided you’re able to secure the ends of the hammock tautly and far enough apart.
At 1 lb 10 oz, this isn’t the lightest parachute nylon hammock, but it’s still light and compact enough for use on overland treks or during climbs. The generous size and comfort of the hammock more than compensate for those few extra ounces. Speaking of ounces, the hammock is tested to support up to 1,000 pounds, though its safety rated at a maximum of 400 pounds.
Pros: Very low cost, large weight capacity, lightweight and compact
Cons: Inferior rope included with hammock, no setup instructions
There are a lot of positive attributes worth noting about the Newdora Parachute Cloth Ultralight Hammock, but let’s get right to the point: This hammock costs less than dinner at a casual dining restaurant. It’s less than $20 (a bit more if you want the mosquito net) yet in terms of design and material quality, it’s far from cheaply made.
The Newdora Ultralight hammock is perfect for the hiker or climber who needs a place to snooze while taking a break from the adventure. It quickly sets up and is just as easy to take down and pack away, minimizing the time you spend making or breaking camp. At just over 1 pound, it doesn’t add notable gear weight, so you can bring one along even if you’ll spend the nights in a tent and sleeping bag and just want a spot to relax.
The Newdora Ultralight measures 8.75 ft long and 5.4 ft wide. Given those dimensions and its excellent weight capacity, two adults can share it for some cozy relaxation. If you’re going to sleep in this hammock, though, we recommend doing it solo. The attached stuff sack doubles as a handy pocket while the hammock is set up, giving you a spot for a headlamp, phone, snack, and so forth. Speaking of setup, that part is easy thanks to the included tree ropes and steel carabiners.
Pros: Sets up anywhere, lightweight hammock and stand, all-season comfort
Cons: Not actually large enough for two adults, expensive, prone to tipping over with vigorous swinging
As the name suggests, the Best Choice Products Cotton Double Hammock is made from soft, woven cotton. You sink into the material, enjoying comfort and support ideal for an afternoon nap, a break from the yard work, or while disappearing into the pages of a great book. Add a blanket and this hammock keeps you warm and cozy in colder weather. It’s a good choice for summertime, too, as the breeze drifts over your stretched-out body.
Perhaps the best part about this hammock is that it comes with a modular steel stand. The stand can be assembled (or disassembled) in a matter of minutes and both the stand segments and the hammock tuck away into a carrying case.
That means you can set up this Best Choice Products Cotton Double Hammock in the yard, on the porch, at a campsite, at a tailgating party, or anywhere else you want — no trees, fence posts, or wall anchors required. As the stand is resin-coated to be weather resistant, you can also set it up in a permanent location.
Oh, and we also love the multiple color and pattern options.
Pros: Easy to set up, comfortable, durable, lightweight, compact
Cons: Pricier than similar hammocks
Several of our recommended products are ideal for backpacking but when you’re shedding as much weight as you can, the Hummingbird Ultralight Single Hammock is the best choice. It’s comparable to our overall pick in many ways but at $65, it’s pricey, which is why it didn’t nab the top spot. However, you can’t deny the lightweight and its military-grade build quality makes it very durable.
When we reviewed the hammock, our writer found it “much easier to carry than a bulky folding chair,” considering that it folds into a bag that’s smaller than the size of your palm. The size and weight are important if you’re doing a multiday backpacking trip.
Another consideration for using a hammock when backpacking: Due to the way it cradles the body, sleeping in a hammock is better for your spine than lying on rocky ground. Of course, a tent offers protection from the elements but when the opportunity allows, give a hammock a try.
Overall, the Hummingbird Ultralight Single Hammock is easy to set up. It supports a weight limit of 350 pounds, and there is an extra-long version of the hammock for taller folks (it adds 3 ounces to the overall weight) and a double version to fit two people (max weight is 300 pounds). And, the company offers a lifetime warranty. — Les Shu
Whether you want to hammock camp or just lounge at the campsite, the Kammok Roo Double packs down small for easy transport and is water-resistant, durable, easy to set up, and comfortable for two people.
Pros: Lightweight, water-resistant, packs down small, comes with lifetime warranty, fits two people comfortably
Cons: Hanging straps not included, expensive, a bit heavy for backpacking (18 oz)
Whether you want an angelic way to nap after a long, hot hike or to forgo your tent and hammock camp, you want a hammock that won’t retain heat and can stand up to the elements.
The Kammok Roo Double is slightly pricier than others on our list, but the durability and small details make it well-worth the investment.
It’s constructed with uber-strong proprietary ripstop nylon — ideal to hold up against all the wear-and-tear of many, many camping trips. The fabric is soft out of the box and treated with DWR water repellency, which means it’ll keep you cool on humid days and dry through lightly wet nights.
The Roo Double hammock is only 18 ounces, but can comfortably fit two people or one person and a dog (that ripstop nylon is also great against dog claws) with a 500-pound weight capacity. It’s also crafted with lot of thoughtful details, like fade-resistant treatment on the brightly-colored fabric and soft seams on the side so you can comfortably hang your legs off.
You can secure the hammock around basically any tree or pole with Kammok’s 10-foot Python straps, which have 20 daisy chain loops that make it easy to latch the hammock’s durable carabiners to, no matter the width of the tree.
The only downside is the Python straps aren’t included and will cost you an extra $30. Plus, the straps and the hammock itself live in two separate bags so you have to take care to make sure you have both before you leave for your trip (I’ve made that mistake once or twice).
Note that if you want to save weight and money, Kammok also makes the Roo Single for one person (10 ounces, $70). But the Double is only $10 more, roomy to sleep in solo, and allows for versatility on future trips with friends or pets. — Rachael Schultz
Pros: Classic style, large enough for two adults, weather-resistant components
Cons: Additional hardware needed for setup, rather expensive
The name of this hammock comes from Pawleys Island, South Carolina, where hammocks were first mass-produced in the United States back in the late 19th century. Not much differs between this hammock and the ones produced more than 125 years ago, too.
It features a double-woven bed made from more than 1,000 feet of braided cotton rope, solid oak spreader bars, and steel hardware. It has a few modern updates, too. The steel is zinc-plated to help it resist corrosion and the oak bars are dipped in a marine spar varnish to enhance their weather resistance.
This classic rope hammock is at its best when one or two people are lying on their backs and doing nothing at all, though reading a book and/or sipping a cocktail or glass of lemonade are also acceptable.
This style of hammock tends to be hard to get in and out of, and others might find the rope less comfortable than a solid weave or parachute fabric. But the nostalgia is real.
The open rope design is inarguably ideal for a hot day as it promotes excellent airflow. This hammock belongs strung up between two elm trees in a suburban backyard or between two palms on the beach. Mine currently resides in the yard of its third residence, the hammock having moved around Southern California and then clear across the country with me.
Pros: Protects the user against insects, versatile design, low price point
Cons: Not comfortable enough for multi-day use, netting rips easily
Bug bites and bee stings are up near the top of the list of things that are no fun. While most insect bites are merely annoying, causing an itch or a bit of pain, mosquito-borne illnesses like the Zika virus, dengue fever, malaria, and more can be serious, even deadly, issues.
Whether you’re traveling to an area known for endemic insect-borne diseases or you’re just tired of having flies buzzing around you while you try to relax, the G4Free Portable Hammock with Mosquito Net is a great solution.
The hammock itself is made from smooth, supportive parachute-style nylon and generously accommodates a single adult user. Two hoop-shaped wireframes hold the insect netting up and out of the way, creating a large interior area in which you can sit up and move about without constantly touching the mesh. The netting can also be detached and moved out of the way when not needed.
The materials used to construct the hammock, mesh, and the supporting roping are all mildew and rot-resistant, making this insect shelter hammock a great choice for use in jungles, on beaches, and in various tropical locations. Your back might protest after multiple nights of sleeping in it, though, as it does dip noticeably when in use.
What to look for when buying a hammock
Hammocks are amazing for any leisurely outdoor experience, whether in the backyard or backcountry. But what you want in one is entirely different for those two situations.
We tested models from some of the most well-respected hammock makers in the industry for all types of lounging experiences. But there are a few key things to consider before deciding which to buy:
First, who will be using the hammock? Every hammock has a weight capacity and size capacity, so consider the size of the single person, or if you’ll want to lay in it with your sweetie, regularly.
When will you use your new hammock? This issue is a bit more nuanced than you might think. Sure, saying “I’ll probably use it on Saturday afternoons” might be the right answer, but you should also consider the season (temperature and insects can be factors in choosing) and if you will be using the hammock overnight.
Where you install the hammock — will you use it camping in the wilderness or only on the patio beside the pool? Is it going to be hung in the basement playroom or in a bedroom? Will you want to set up and take down the hammock frequently and in various locations, or leave it as a semi-permanent installation? Not only do these allow you to select the right hammock but make sure you’re getting the most out of which one you ultimately decide on.
Finally, how will you use your hammock? Is this purely a leisure investment or if you want to get into hammock camping. The latter you can also use in your backyard, but you can’t take, say, a rope hammock to a National Park and expect to get a good night’s sleep in it. Many are designed for specific use cases and using them improperly can significantly impact the experience.
Many of us neglect our skin from the neck down but moisturizing our limbs is equally as important – especially when you get out of the shower. As your skin dries, the water evaporates off the top layer, which can sap moisture from your epidermis. Smoothing on moisturizer keeps your skin feeling soft and hydrated instead of tight and itchy. This is doubly true for folks with skin ailments like eczema and psoriasis. Proper hydration can help you avoid painful flare-ups, making a body moisturizer a must-have in your beauty arsenal.
There are all sorts of body moisturizers out there – from balms to creams to lotions – and the one you choose depends on your skin type and preference. To save you time and effort finding the right one for you, we’ve rounded up the best ones, some with self-tanning properties and others boasting antioxidants for skin-boosting benefits. If you have a specific skin condition, however, it’s a good idea to check in with your dermatologist before starting any new project regimen, just to make there won’t be any adverse effects.
Kiehl’s Crème de Corps is our top body moisturizer overall because it gives you soft, smooth, and healthy-looking skin with immediate results.
Pros: Good for normal, dry, or sensitive skin; no added synthetic fragrance
Cons: Some may find it a bit greasy
Kiehl’s Crème de Corps is a lifesaver that targets dryness, dullness, and uneven skin texture, giving you brighter-looking skin. It nourishes, locks in moisture for hydration, and leaves your limbs feeling soft and smooth.
The rich body lotion is packed with a powerful blend of ingredients, including antioxidant-packed beta-carotene, skin-softening cocoa butter, and moisture-replenishing olive-derived squalane. The beta-carotene is also what gives the lotion its slightly orange tint.
In testing, I found Kiehl’s Crème de Corps had a whipped butter-like texture and a pleasant, subtle fragrance that stems from the ingredients. The body lotion absorbed quickly leaving it looking instantly smoother. However, despite claiming to be non-greasy, it did feel a little greasy on my skin, possibly due to the cocoa butter and oils like olive and avocado.
The best drugstore body moisturizer
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion is an award-winning drugstore moisturizer that hydrates without leaving behind a greasy feeling — and without the big price tag too.
Pros: Affordable, fragrance-free, non-greasy, non-comedogenic, soothing oatmeal is good for eczema and itchy skin, great for all skin types including sensitive, oily, and dry skin
Cons: Left behind some residue on skin
Designed to absorb quickly and last 24 hours, this body moisturizer’s gentle formula promises to leave your skin feeling soft, smooth, and healthy-looking
Aveeno’s Daily Moisturizing Lotion works wonders for dry skin and is ideal for daily use. It contains natural ingredients like oatmeal to relieve dry, itchy skin, while emollients soften dry areas.
In testing, Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion was the perfect consistency — not too thick or too thin. It didn’t irritate my sensitive skin and made it look smooth, though it left a slight residue. I appreciate its pump dispenser (for extra convenience), and the fact its fragrance is subtle.
Cons: The scent can be a little strong, especially if you use a lot of product
Sol de Janeiro’s Brazilian Bum Bum Cream product smell like coconut trees and sandy beaches. Its consistency is super smooth and glides seamlessly over the skin. It’s especially great for dry areas and, though I focus the product on my upper thighs during the summertime, it’s still a go-to in colder months when I hop out of the shower.
It’s also fast-absorbing. In fact, your skin will feel instantly hydrated the second you swipe it on. Though the scent may be too strong for some, I only noticed an extra potent scent if I apply more product than average.
At $45, this body butter is a bit of a splurge. But if you want to cut costs a bit, the brand has a mini version for $20. — Victoria Giardina, buying guides fellow
Pros: Formulated with vitamins A, C, and E; fast-absorbing, paraben-free
Cons: May be greasy if much product is used
Necessaire’s Body Lotion is a top-tier product for including popular skin-care ingredients in its body-care products. This ensures the skin on your arms and legs is just as hydrated, healthy, and nourished as the skin on your face.
This minimalist tube is packed with vitamins A, C, and E, and omega fatty acids 3, 6, and 9 for an added, antioxidant-filled boost. There’s even niacinamide — an ingredient more commonly found in serums — to help soothe irritated skin and smooth out fine lines. The formula still manages to absorb quickly and doesn’t leave much greasy residue, though that depends on how much you pile on.
This multipurpose moisturizer is formulated with vitamin E, collagen, elastin, and ginseng to help hydrate, firm, tighten, and improve the elasticity of your skin. What’s more, its color-enhancing complex subtly yet gradually deepens your skin tone, so you don’t need to worry about looking like an Oompa Loompa.
It comes in two shades (fair to medium and medium to dark) and leaves behind uniform color with a streak-free finish. For best results, exfoliate first before applying all over your body, but do so sparingly on knees, elbows, and ankles. Wait a few minutes for the lotion to dry before dressing and be sure to wash your hands — unless you want them to be extra tan.
This is my go-to body moisturizer for parties, weddings, or whenever I want to take my fair skin a hue tanner. It does the job and always results in a smooth finish in less than a day. And, unlike many self-tanning products, the smell is bearable thanks to odor-reducing technology.
A proper snow sled is an entertaining (and exciting) way to spend a snow day, no matter if you’re playing hooky from work or just looking to pass some time on the weekend.
The best sleds should all have these three things in common: Enough surface area for one to two people to ride comfortably, a design that allows a smooth (and fast) ride, and some form of steering wheel or rope for added stability.
Sledding is a winter pastime that’s as thrilling as it is fun. Not only is it a popular recreational activity for people of all ages but variations of sledding (i.e. the luge, skeleton, and bobsled) are beloved Olympic sports. Regardless of whether you’re gunning for a gold medal or just want to see how fast you can go careening down a snow-filled hill, you’ll always need that one thing that gets you from Point A to wherever you land on Point B: A sled.
But not all sleds are created equal, and you don’t even need a genuine, by-the-book sled to get downhill. In addition to those classic metal and wood sleds, you can also use a plastic toboggan-style sled, an inflatable intertube, and even a round saucer (and who hasn’t just used a garbage lid?).
If you crave the thrill of downhill snow sledding but aren’t sure which sled variant is best, we have you covered: The following guide includes some helpful tips and info on the best sleds for a range of use cases. With one of these sleds, you’ll be able to turn any normal snow day into a snow sled day. They’re also suitable for use with your kids.
Updated on 12/23/2020 by Rick Stella: Updated the introduction for relevancy, revised the copy for each pick, checked the availability of all recommended sleds, and updated the prices and links where necessary.
Pros: Fast on most types of snow, fits adult and child, durable plastic body
Cons: Bottom scratches and loses slickness over time
The Slippery Racer Downhill XTreme Toboggan Snow Sled is the closest adult-sized approximation to the sled I used as a kid. It has the classic plastic toboggan shape with a few upgrades I would’ve been glad to see as a kid but that is certainly enjoyable today.
These include cutout handles for a secure grip and easy carrying, a proprietary IceVex cold-resistant coating that helps prevent cracking and scratching, and construction using such a durable yet flexible plastic that the sled can bend to 90 degrees without breaking.
The bottom of the 48-inch long Slippery Racer toboggan is smooth and slick, helping it to glide over all sorts of snow, from soft, fresh powder to heavier, wetter packed snow. The sled features a slight taper toward the front that increases its dynamic performance and also serves to accommodate a smaller rider during an adult-child tandem ride.
While you should always avoid rocks, trees, and other solid objects during a sled ride, should you endure an impact with some such obstacle, know that the sled can take the abuse without breaking. That’s backed up by a yearlong warranty Slippery Racer throws in with each purchase.
And while the Slippery Racer Downhill XTreme Toboggan is an adult-sized sled, it’s also more than suitable for kids. The site ToyTruckToys.com recommends it for kids over the age of four, calling it a “beginner to intermediate” sled.
Best inflatable snow tube
The A-DUDU Inflatable Snow Tube gives a swift, comfortable ride down the hill, and its air-filled design cushions riders against the jolts and bumps along the way.
Pros: Smooth and comfortable ride, supports up to 250 pounds, easy to store when not in use
Cons: Requires inflation prior to use, cannot be steered or controlled
One of the best things about an inflatable snow tube is the fact that when it’s not being used, it can be deflated, folded up, and stored in a cabinet or drawer. That makes the A-DUDU Inflatable Snow Tube a great choice for the apartment-renter for whom free space is at a premium.
This tube can zip riders up to 250 pounds down a snowy hill at great speed. The A-DUDU Inflatable Snow Tube measures 47-inches in diameter, easily supporting larger, taller adults, and is suitable for use by two kids at the same time, provided they’re ready to share those handles.
The rugged PVC exterior of the tube resists tears and punctures and resists cracking even in temperatures as cold as negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The tube inflates quickly by mouth or with an air pump and stays sealed shut thanks to a double-locking valve.
Snow tubes might be nearly impossible to control, but they do absorb many of the bumps and jumps along the way, thanks to that huge cushion of air. And besides, less control means more excitement.
Pros: Steering bar controls direction, beautiful classic style, last for years
Cons: Rather expensive, greater risk of injury than with other sled types
You could easily be forgiven for buying the Flexible Flyer Steel Runner Sled as a piece of faux-vintage decoration. It would look great beside the fireplace, above the mantle, or among the collection of wacky tchotchkes on the wall of a casual dining restaurant. But where this sleigh-style sled truly belongs is flying down a snowy hill at high speed.
Though a wood and steel runner sled may look antiquated, there’s a reason they’ve been produced since the late 1880s: They flat-out work. While not suitable for use on fresh powdery snow, in the right conditions, this sled is as fast as almost any modern option while also allowing you to control your ride. With a flexible steering bar at the front of the sled, you can steer right or left and enjoy the ideal route down, avoiding obstacles and people and hitting jumps and drifts, if that’s your thing.
The sled is recommended for ages five and older and can accommodate most adults. I’d probably recommend you wait until the kids are a bit older than five, personally, as the chance for injury is a bit higher with this sled than with a plastic toboggan or inflated snow tube. Wood and steel just hurt more than plastic.
Pros: Works on most types of snow, built to last for years, suitable for wide age range
Cons: Impossible to steer
If you’ve seen the classic comedy “Christmas Vacation,” starring Chevy Chase, then you know a flying saucer style sled can potentially lead to a tragicomic tableau. Skip the extra grease on the bottom, and you should be able to enjoy this saucer without quite as much risk of personal injury as Chase’s Clark Griswold while still having lots of fun this winter.
The lightweight but virtually indestructible Lucky Bums Powder Coated Metal Saucer is fun for kids and adults alike thanks to the simplicity and durability of its design. Even a smaller child or a larger adult should be able to fit on this sled thanks to its 25-inch diameter. You’ll just have to sit cross-legged, of course. And despite being made of metal, the saucer only weighs six pounds, so even a younger child can carry it back up the hill.
You can’t steer a saucer — that much is important to know going in — but they also tend to work well on all sorts of snow, from slush to ice to powder to those perfect large, downy flakes. While a runner sled bogs down on lighter, fluffier snow and a toboggan can sink into slushier snow under a larger rider’s weight, this smooth disc will slip along over all sorts of wintry precipitation with ease.
A proper at-home pull-up bar should be easy to install and able to support your weight without wobbling or bowing – and is a great addition to anyone’s home gym setup.
Adding a pull-up routine to your weekly workouts helps strengthen your upper body, builds muscle, and improves your grip strength – so long as you’re using the right bar.
We spoke to New York City-based personal trainer, Brad Baldwin, about how to pick out the right pull-up bar, the benefits of doing the workout, and how adding it to your fitness routine can have a major impact.
Pull-ups aren’t for the faint of heart. I remember the days of easily cranking out a dozen or so pull-ups while hardly breaking a sweat. But after years of cheeseburgers and sitting at a computer, easy pull-ups are harder to come by. Fortunately, there are a number of pull-up bars on the market that fit the needs of anyone looking for a new addition to their home gym.
But first, I highly recommend first consulting with a physician before starting any exercise program. I learned this the hard way when I tried to rattle off some pull-ups after years of sedentary living, and quickly tore a muscle in my shoulder. Don’t be like me.
Why you should start doing pull-ups
The benefits of incorporating pull-ups into your weekly routine are many. From improving upper body strength to building muscle, pull-ups can have a significant impact on your fitness goals. According to the New York City-based personal trainer, Brad Baldwin, pull-ups are “the king of back exercises.”
“[Pull-ups] force you to work at a higher intensity,” Baldwin told Insider. “They’re great for creating that coveted V-shaped torso and for getting stronger.”
For anyone looking to begin strength training, it’s smart to start with dips and push-ups on your way to performing a pull-up. You might also try mounting your pull-up bar lower or standing on a box. Pull yourself up to the bar with your feet on the ground at an increasingly difficult angle. Thankfully, the bars I included in this guide are versatile enough to help you work up to your goals.
Updated on 12/15/2020 by Rick Stella: Updated the section on why you should start doing pull-ups, added more to our testing methodology and how to shop for a pull-up bar, checked the availability of all recommended picks, and updated the prices where necessary.
The Garren Fitness Maximiza Pull Up Bar is made of chrome steel and comes with three sets of mounting hardware, two of which support up to 300 pounds of weight. The medium-duty door mount supports 150 pounds and isn’t recommended for use above waist height.
You can also use the bar without door mounts for sit-up foot support and other light exercises. The bar is adjustable and fits doorways between 26 and 36 inches wide, and can be installed so that a door is still able to close.
The bar features non-slip, extra-long foam grips. Garren Fitness cautions against using the Maximiza for gymnastics, and they suggest applying your weight cautiously during the first few exercises to ensure the bar is safely installed (a smart practice with any pull up bar.) Garren Fitness provides a full satisfaction guarantee, so you can get a no-questions-asked full refund if you’re not satisfied for any reason.
Pros: Comfortable foam grips, unobtrusive, solidly built
Cons: Installation requires drilling into door jamb, foam grips may wear from heavy-duty use
Pros: Three padded gripping positions, easy installation, sturdy construction
Cons: Some complaints of manufacturer defects
The Ceiling Mounted Pull Up Bar from Ultimate Body Press has three high-density foam grip positions for standard, wide-grip, and 20-inch parallel-grip pull-ups or chin-ups. This model has a powder-coat finish for added durability. The 14-inch reversible risers are designed to fit either 16- or 24-inch joists.
The mounting kit comes with instructions, a template, and mounting hardware. You will need a drill, tape or pencil, and a step ladder. Ultimate Body Press offers a fairly nebulous 100% satisfaction guarantee with this product. The fact the bars aren’t welded to the mounting brackets could affect long-term durability (though perhaps the satisfaction guarantee would cover it).
Best pull-up bar for beginners
If you are interested in doing pull-ups but don’t want to spend a lot of money, the Iron Gym Pull Up Bar is an excellent solution for beginners.
Pros: Inexpensive, versatile, easy to mount and remove, 300-pound capacity
Cons: Contains plastic parts
The Iron Gym Pull Up Bar works much like the Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym. It hangs on a doorframe and stays in place through leverage. You can also remove the pull-up bar to perform sit-ups, push-ups, and dips.
The bar is made of a combination of plastic and steel, and it comes with everything you need to assemble the unit, including a hex open wrench. There are foam grips for standard and wide pull-ups. However, the parallel grip handles are fairly small and awkwardly positioned. Lastly, this model comes with a comprehensive workout and nutrition guide.
Pros: Three grip locations, 300-pound capacity, unlikely to damage your doorframe
Cons: Wide grip may be too wide for some, recent quality concerns, doesn’t fit all doorframes
The Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym Doorway Pull Up Bar has three padded grip positions for hammer grip, close grip, and normal grip pull-ups. The 300-pound weight capacity makes it so you can use this model with a weight vest. There is some assembly required, and all of the tools needed are included with the bar.
The Multi-Gym Pro adjusts for height and works with doorframes that are up to 6 inches deep and 33 inches wide. The bar can be placed on the floor to assist with push-ups and sit-ups. And, Perfect Fitness stands behind the quality of this model with a one-year warranty.
Pros: Securely installs into a doorframe and allows the door to still shut completely, costs less than $30, features padded grips
Cons: Only supports weight up to 220 pounds
The Sunny Health & Fitness Doorway Pull-Up Bar may not have many bells and whistles, but it’s basic nature (and wallet-friendly price tag) is what makes this product so attractive. Installing the bar requires drilling a couple of brackets into either side of the doorframe you wish to use it on, then the bar’s telescoping arm extends to fit snugly into place.
Brackets may seem like overkill but they work wonders in making sure you don’t end up slamming into the ground should the bar come loose. Even with the brackets and bar installed, any door is still able to fully shut without being interfered with — which adds even more to this bar’s ease of use.
It’s worth pointing out that the bar only supports weight up to 220 pounds, and its position on the door could create a situation where hit the top of your head on the doorframe if you’re not careful. With a price tag south of $30, however, these are minor drawbacks to an otherwise impressive budget pull-up bar.
Best freestanding pull-up bar
The Stamina 1690 Power Tower allows you to perform platform push-ups, sit-ups, knee and leg raises, dips, pull-ups, and more.
Pros: Wide range of exercises, easy to assemble — no drilling or door frame needed
Cons: Issues with wobbling, expensive compared to traditional bars, takes up a lot of space
The Stamina 1690 Power Tower is a free-standing full-body workout unit made of durable steel and fitted with padded foam in five sets of grip locations. The overall size of the assembled tower is 49 inches long by 42.5 inches wide by 81 inches high. The base of the tower features no-slip endcaps.
Stamina states that the capacity is 250 pounds, but as noted below, it’s closer to 200 pounds in practice. In addition to pull-ups and chin-ups, this model is designed for tricep dips, sit-ups, push-ups, and leg raises, though there is no backrest to assist with the leg raises.
How to shop for an at-home pull-up bar
At-home pull-up bars aren’t a one-design-fits-all market, as there are several different styles to choose from, each with its own advantages. Here’s a quick breakdown of the most common at-home pull-up bar type:
Cantilever: One of the most popular pull-up bar variations is the cantilever-style, molding-mounted bars. They don’t require permanent alteration to your home and are easy to install and remove. They feature several grip options, too. However, when shopping for these doorframe pull-up bars, pay attention to the dimensions of the bar and what size frames they work on to ensure you get the proper fit.
Mounted: Then there’s a class of pull-up bar that requires drilling and mounting of the unit. We included ceiling-mounted and door-mounted options in our guide. They tend to be rated for heavier weights but are less portable. Wall-mounted bars are also available but we didn’t find any models worth recommending.
Power towers: The final group of pull-bars is called power towers. These are freestanding units that do not require drilling and are often compatible with a wide array of exercises. However, power towers typically cost more, have a large footprint, and many models have problems with wobbling when heavier individuals are performing intense workouts.
How we test pull-up bars
Each pull-up bar featured in this guide went through an array of tests to see how well it compared across these four categories: Ease of installation, build quality, versatility, and value. Here’s how each category specifically factored into which pull-up bars made this guide:
Ease of installation: How easy an at-home pull-up bar is to install is a vital feature as you not only want to avoid fumbling with a confusing setup, but you also want to be confident that once it’s installed (and installed correctly) that it’ll keep in place. It’s reasonable to doubt the reliability of a pull-up bar that sits precariously in your doorway, so this was one of the first things we assessed when testing.
Build quality: Relying on a pull-up bar to hold your weight comes down not just to the above category but to its build quality, as well. If it’s susceptible to being easily bent or its components are shoddily built-on and likely to fall off, the pull-up bar will be far less comfortable, and safe, to use.
Versatility: A pull-up bar’s versatility is sort of an extension of its ease of installation as most will require you to take them off if you intend to shut the door whose door frame it resides in. There are some, however, (like our top pick) that allow you to still close the door even after they’re installed. This category also refers to the actual build design and if it allows for multiple grip positions or not.
Value: A pull-up bar’s value comes down to a combination of the three categories above, as well as how much it actually costs. It’s not always about spending the most money to get the best pull-up bar, though it is better to shop for a premium, well-built product. While it may be expensive at first, it does save you the hassle of having to buy several, cheaper options more often.