No gym is complete without a good power tower, also known as free standing pull up bars or VKR/dip stations. They offer multiple workouts you can perform using only your bodyweight. We hope this buyer's guide can show you the best power tower for you.
Pull up/Dip/VKR Station Specs
Table is best viewed on a large screen.
Here is a chart to summarize the main specifications of each pull up tower. The "big 3" exercises people most often want to do are pull ups, dips and verticle knee raises. There are, however other creative features which open up even more possibilities for exercises. Later we'll dive into the nuances.
What s the best power tower for you?
This depends on what you're looking for, of course. However, fortunately, power towers are pretty simple and straightforward products. All of our power towers made of heavy gauge metal and most don t have any moving parts, which means you can be confident your power tower will be standing strong year after year with minimal investment.
How much space do you have?
The length or width of a typical power tower is pretty much a non-issue for most people. If you can put a washing machine in your home gym, then you can stick a power tower in there too. Again, speaking of length/width.
The REAL concern about the size of a power tower is the height, which certainly an implication of something called a tower. Usually, a power tower will easily reach 7, so be prepared for that. And, of course, your head will be going even higher than the top of the tower when you are doing pull ups!
That s another reason why most people like to deck out their garage with power towers and other home fitness equipment. If you don t have an eternally cluttered garage like me, then you should be good to go. If you can t do that, then you can probably make do with a 10 ceiling. In any case, just remember to compare the assembled height with what you can practically work with!
Do you want comfort and assisted lift with your workout station?
There s nothing wrong with a little-added comfort. When you grip handles or rest your elbows and back on the power tower, you can get different degrees of comfort. Pretty much any handle is good, be it simple rubber or foam. If you ever tried using a pull up bar attached to your door, then you actually have a good idea already of the level of basic cushion you re getting. This is an issue that s not worth sweating much over, but just like anything else you can get a little more with some power towers. BodyCraft, for example, makes a power tower where you can rest your back against a removable stability ball. With this and Body Solid power towers, you can use what are called ab slings to make doing leg lifts a little more natural and easy.
Some power towers even have weight-assisted lifts so you don t have to literally pull your whole weight. For beginners, this is very nice. Have you ever tried this at the gym? It's a nice boost to your morale to have an easier time making it back up to the top. You can exercise at your own pace.
Do you need an all-inclusive pullup/chin up, dip station with vertical knee raise or a basic power tower?
First, here s what you are getting with your standard-issue power tower. Many people will find these things perfectly sufficient for their workout goals. Any self-respecting power tower will let you do 3 basic exercises. There are push up handles at the base of the tower, which you grip to have better control and speed. They also function as steps to get to the top.
Then you've got handles in the middle to do dips. They can literally just be protruding bars from the frame, but that s really all you need. Of course, you've got the pull up bar at the top! These are nice and wide. You get plenty of space to perform pull ups without hitting your legs on the sides. Under and overhanded pull ups work just fine. The base of the tower will keep you from wobbling, which you might be glad to know.
Here are even more features for freestanding workout towers
Our manufacturers have gotten pretty good these days at getting the most out of a power tower's surface area. That means there are some cool options that might interest you if you are feeling ambitious.
Leg raise support
While we consider this an extra option beyond the basics that all power racks share, we also consider this essential for people trying to focus on their abdominals. If you ever played a team sport where you laid down and lifted your legs, then you have an idea of how challenging lifting your legs can be. Unless you are completely convinced you only need the basics (which is ok), we strongly recommend you get a power rack with leg raise support!
Thick foam pads you can put over your feet while doing sit-ups just make life better. Friends are good for holding your feet down, but so are big metal towers. If we're going to use every inch of the power tower, this simple option just makes a lot of sense, especially if you're going for that aesthetically pleasing, washboard torso. Sit-ups combined with leg lifts are amazing and will help you take a gut punch (try to avoid those, though).
Heavy bag stand
Are you a boxer? Martial artist? MMA fighter? Believe it or not, you can set up a punching bag on a power tower. Xmark has a power tower like this. Hitting a bag to warm up for a full and functional upper body workout what s not to love?
The simpler cousin of the cross cable, the power band is a powerful tool for body weight exercise. Just grab the handle and stretch it out to provide your own resistance. You don t really even need to hook it on something, but it's awfully convenient.
The BodyCraft power has clever little loops at the bottom and middle sections where you can attach a couple power bands. This adds yet another dimension to an already great product.
Power Tower Review: Staff Picks
Now that we've outlined the most important factors in our power tower review, we hope you'll be 100% confident in your purchase. Everyone is different, but we ve chosen our favorite power towers in each price range, all things considered!
Up to $200
We chose the Weider 200 Power Tower. You get all the basics with just the right touch of comfort. Rugged, simple and effective, this power tower is excellent in this cheaper price range.
$200 to $400
Check out the Valor Fitness VKR Rack. The knee raise station is first class. It s narrow enough to allow comfortable motion while keeping wedged into the comfortable back cushion. The handles have a little more options to accommodate your preferred grip, and we love the sit up station at the bottom.
Best Pull up Tower & VKR Brand
Xmark power towers. If you're looking for total innovation for surprisingly low prices, then you'll really like any one of the many power towers by Xmark. They're a newer brand that we fully expect to see great things from in the coming years.
The Best Free-standing Pull up Bar
The best power tower at any price with all things considered is the BodyCraft Total Training Power Tower. The handles are oversized and comfortable so support every workout. You also get a handy sit up station (gripped horizontal bar at the bottom), ab slings, a stability ball, and holder plus handy loops for optional power band attachments. In our humble opinion, you just can t get any more value from a power tower dollar per dollar!