Power Tower Vs Pull-Up Bar (Which Is Better)

Power Tower Vs Pull-Up Bar (Which Is Better)

If you’re looking to make an addition to your home gym, but you’re not sure which is going to be best between a power tower and a pull-up bar, then look no further because we’ve made a full comparison guide to help you decide.

In this article, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about power towers and pull-up bars and compare them in various categories, including best for a full-body workout, best for strength, and best for beginners. 

We’ll also compare them on practicalities, such as cost, sturdiness, and how much space they take up.

What’s the Difference Between a Power Tower and a Pull-Up Bar?

Power Towers and Pull-Up Bars are both designed to help you perform bodyweight calisthenics-style exercises. Although they look fairly simple, both kinds of equipment can help with various strength-building moves.

The key difference between a power tower and a pull-up bar is the power tower has attachments to enable you to do a wider range of exercises. In contrast, a pull-up bar is basically a frame with a high horizontal bar (although some are more complex than others).

Here’s a breakdown of what each item of equipment has to offer when it comes to attachments and potential body benefits:

©Sports Illustrated

Power Tower Attachments

Most power towers have the following basic attachments which form part of the overall frame:

  • Pull-Up Bar (at the top of the station) - often including extended handles for a wide arm pull-up.
  • Parallel Bars (in the midsection) - usually with arm supports & backrest so you can hold pose at the correct angle.
  • Push-Up Grips - at the base of the station to add height to push-ups.

You can attach other equipment to most power towers, including resistance bands and gymnastic rings. Some also have a fold-out bench for those who want to incorporate weightlifting into their home workout.

Power Tower Benefits

The main benefits you can expect to see through regular use of a power tower are increased muscle strength in the shoulders, arms, back, neck, and core muscles.

Some moves will also help stretch the leg muscles and work the glutes, although the leg work you can do on a power tower is limited. 

The kinds of exercises that are incorporated into a power tower workout not only increase muscle strength but also help improve mobility, flexibility, coordination, stability, and posture.

Pull-Up Bar Attachments

Pull-Up Bars don’t usually have any attachments as such, but there are different styles you can choose from depending on your requirements and how much space you have. 

You can choose from pull-up bars with free-standing frames supported from the ground or those that you can attach to a wall or door frame that don’t take up any floor space.

Some pull-up bars have handles so you can perform a wide arm/grip pull-up, and some have foam grips for added comfort. 

Like the power tower, you can attach other equipment such as bands and rings to a pull-up bar and increase strength building by incorporating weight into the exercise.

Pull-Up Bar Benefits 

The main physical benefit you can expect through regular use of a pull-up bar is increased muscle strength, especially in the arms, shoulders, hands, and upper back.

You can also expect improvements in posture, stability, and coordination.

What Exercises Can You Do on a Power Tower?

Many power towers can look pretty basic, but because they have attachments at different levels, you can perform a wide range of bodyweight exercises using each section. 

Below are the kinds of exercises that you can perform on each different section of a basic power tower:

Power Tower Pull-up Bar Section

The top section of the power tower is aimed at working the upper body, back, and core through various kinds of pull-ups and dead hangs.

Below are just some of the most popular exercises that are performed on the pull-up bar section of a power tower:  

  • Regular Pull-Ups
  • Wide-Arm Pull-Ups
  • Negative Pull-Ups
  • Chin-Ups
  • L-Sit Pull-Ups
  • Leg/Knee Raises (Dead Hang or Pull-Up)

Power Tower Dip/Parallel Bar Section

The midsection of a power tower usually has small parallel bars, which are perfect for performing dips and similar exercises that work the upper body, arms, back, core, and legs.

The main kinds of moves that can be performed on this section of a power tower are dips and leg and knee raises.

Power Tower Base Section

The main purpose of the handles that are located on the base of the power tower is to help you perform raised push-ups.

Raised push-ups give extra height to a regular push-up and help increase strength-building potential in the arms and shoulders.

©The Post Game

What Exercises Can You Do on a Pull-Up Bar?

A pull-up bar is perfect for those who prefer high bar exercises, and although it’s a very simple-looking piece of equipment, you can still work on a range of muscle groups, including the shoulders, arms, back, and core.

Pull-ups are also great for hand strength and are often used by bodybuilders who want to improve their grip for deadlifts.  

  • Regular Pull-Ups
  • Wide-Arm Pull-Ups
  • Chin-Ups
  • L-Sit Pull-Ups
  • Leg/Knee Raises (Dead Hang or Pull-Up)

Because the pull-up bar is limited to mainly working the upper body, regular users often incorporate it with other forms of exercise to get a full body workout.

Power Tower Vs Pull-Up Bar: A Full Comparison

So we've looked at the differences between the power tower and the pull-up bar. Let's now take a look at the comparison between the two to find out which is best in each category.

Best for a Full Body Workout

Winner: The Power Tower

When it comes to getting the benefit of a full body workout from the power tower and the pull-up bar, the winner has to be the power tower. However, neither kind of equipment can really be considered one that provides a full body workout because the potential to increase strength in the legs is generally lacking in this kind of workout.

The power tower and the pull-up bar mainly focuses on upper body strength building and are especially good for building strength in the shoulders, arms, and back; however, the power tower has more opportunities to work on a greater range of muscle groups.

The midsection of the power tower allows you to use more muscles in the core area and provides more opportunities to use the legs because they're on the ground rather than suspended as they would be on a pull-up bar.

If you're looking to perform a complete body workout that uses more muscle groups,  you might want to think about adding in extra leg days to achieve your goals. 

Best for Strength Building

Winner: The Power Tower

The next category we’ll compare is strength building, and the winner of the two is the power tower because it has a greater potential to build strength in more muscle groups than the pull-up bar alone.

However, this isn't to say that the pull-up bar isn't an excellent way to build up strength; it's just that there are more exercises that you can perform on the power tower, which means you can build more muscle in more areas.

It's important to note that there’s a limit to the amount of strength building that you can do using bodyweight exercise alone if muscle mass is your goal. To combat this problem, many people who work out on power towers or pull-up bars incorporate additional weight in the form of weight vests or belts.

It's also common for those who perform a lot of body weight style exercises to incorporate additional weight training workouts. If this is something you're looking to do, you might consider investing in a power tower with a built-in bench.

Best For Beginners

Winner: The Power Tower

If you’re looking to use a power tower or a pull-up bar, it really helps if you already have the upper body strength to hold your own body weight through your hands on the high bar and ideally be able to do a set of pull-ups.

Most of the exercises that are performed on a power tower and a pull-up bar are considered more challenging and are not something that can be normally done by exercise beginners or those who don’t have much upper body strength.

Of the two kinds of equipment, the one which is better for beginners is the power tower because you can work up to the pull-up bar moves that require the most strength.

If you’re a complete beginner, we would recommend starting with some more basic calisthenics exercises to build strength before investing in a large item of equipment.

Which Takes Up Less Space?

Winner: The Pull-Up Bar

If you're looking to expand or create a home gym, but space is an issue, you might want to consider a pull-up bar that attaches to a wall or door frame rather than a power tower or a free-standing pull-up bar.

Although power towers and free-standing pull-up bars aren’t especially bulky, they require quite a bit of floor space because their bases come out further than the top of the frame, which helps keep them stable.

Once you have assembled a power tower or free-standing pull-up bar and put them in place, it’s not really something that you can move around too much. So it's a good idea to check the dimensions to ensure it’s not going to overwhelm your room before you buy.

Some regular users of pull-up bars and other calisthenic equipment often install bars in their backyard or garden where they have more space to swing and move.

Most Sturdy

Winner: The Power Tower

Although a piece of equipment's sturdiness really depends on quality, the power tower has won in this category because it’s more weighted due to the additional accessories and bars.

This isn't to say that a pull-up bar can't be sturdy, but it's a good idea to get the best quality product you can afford. Pull-up bars that attach to the wall (if done correctly) are also an excellent way to ensure sturdiness. 

If you're looking to invest in either a power tower or a free-standing pull-up bar, we recommend that you try the product before you buy to check the quality of the equipment. If you can't test the products before buying, it's good to get recommendations from those who have already purchased or tried the product.

Lowest Cost

Winner: The Pull-Up Bar

When it comes to cost, the cheapest product of the two is a pull-up bar that attaches to a wall or door frame, which you can pick up for around $30-$100.

Free-standing pull-up bars cost a little more at around $100 to $200.

In contrast, the lowest-cost power towers will set you back around $130, but for better quality gym-style towers, you could pay anything up to $1,000.

You could argue that the power tower provides more value because you can use it for a greater range of activities than a pull-up bar, but this all depends on your overall goals and which exercises you enjoy most.


Overall winner: The Power Tower

So we've reviewed each kind of equipment in all categories, and we have the results. The one that came out first in most categories was the power tower because of its greater potential for strength building in more muscle groups and the range of exercises you can perform.

You can also expand your power tower workout even further by attaching resistance bands and gymnastic rings. 

In contrast, the pull-up bar is best for those who don't have much space and for those on a budget.

Ultimately, the best equipment for you depends on your goals and the kind of exercises you want to perform in your home gym.

Although the power tower is excellent for incorporating more activities such as dips and elevated push-ups, if you tend to focus on pull-ups, chin-ups, and other moves that require hanging from a high bar, the power tower might be an overkill for your needs.