If you've thought about purchasing a piece of home fitness equipment, you have probably come across any number of products that are specifically designed to help you do pull ups.
Like just about anything in the fitness world, there are tons of different varieties of pull up bars.
In this simple, quick article I want to cover two of the most popular;
- self-mounted pull up bars (that do not require drilling)
- doorway mounted pull up bars (that require drilling into the doorframe)
And tell you which one will be more suitable for your needs.
What Are Self-Mounted and Screw-In Doorway Pull Up Bars?
The easiest way to differentiate the two types is how they are mounted on your doorframe.
Self-mounted doorway pull up bars use the upper-back part of your doorframe as a brace, and the front sides of your doorframe as a second brace to keep the device in place.
You can set them up in literally seconds, and you can also use these types of products to perform pushups and sit-ups as well.
Screw-in doorway pull up bars are, like their name suggests, mounted into place using some type of bracket that you have to screw into each side of the doorframe.
Usually with this type of equipment you are only able to perform any exercises where you need to hang from a bar.
That being said, a picture is probably going to be a lot more descriptive here!
Screw-in doorway pull up bars are quite simple.
Self-mounted doorway pull up bars can be used for more exercises
Which Type is Better for You?
Each type has several advantages and disadvantages.
Let's briefly go over the pros and cons of self-mounted (no screwing or drilling) doorway pull up bars and it should become immediately apparent what type will be perfect for you.
Advantages of self-mounted doorway pull up bars
- Do not require any drilling of mounts (obviously!)
- Can be set into place and removed in literally seconds
- You can do a lot more exercises with them
- You have a lot more variation in terms of pull ups
- The comfortability of the grips is generally better
The disadvantages of self-mounted doorway pull up bars
- If your doorway is wider than 34" the number of options you have is diminished and if your doorway is wider than 37" you can't use them at all
...overall, self-mounted pull up bars are clearly much better overall products.
That being said;
- if your doorway is wider than 37" or narrow than 24"
- if your doorframe is non-traditional in terms of trim and moulding (see example pic below)
Non-traditional doorway trim is no good for self-mounted pull up bars
Looking at the above picture, besides the fact that the doorway itself is way too big, the trimming around the edges is not 'traditional' and it doesn't allow any place for the back brace to securely wedge itself in.
Below is an example of the type of doorway trim you need to use a self-mounted pull up bar.
Then it should be apparent that your only real option (besides purchasing a stand alone unit) is a screw-in doorway pull up bar.
This is by far and away the only real reason to purchase one of these products, as they are not cheaper than self-mounted doorway pull up bars (they are essentially about the same price).
Given the fact that the price on both types is about the same, and self-mounted (no drilling or screwing) doorway pull up bars' advantages vastly outweigh screw-in, they should be your first option.
Check out our comparison table page to quickly compare and contrast every model reviewed on thebestpullupbars.com.
If, however your doorway trim and moulding is non-traditional or you have too wide or narrow doorways, one option is the j/fit Deluxe Doorway Pull-Up Bar with Comfort Grips which is not only incredibly high-rated but also can reach doorway widths of up to 40".