If you are looking for the best parallel bars for your home, then you are in the right place.
Parallel bars are an important piece of equipment for any calisthenics athlete. For this reason, I have tested dozens of products and settled for the best six out of them. These are split into three categories: parallel bars, parallettes, and mini parallettes.
Each category will have two items: best overall, and best value (price-quality ratio).
Without further ado, let us present the best overall for each category, then get into the buying guide and the more in-depth reviews.
Summary: The best parallel bars for home
Above you can see my pick for what I believe to be the best parallel bars and best parallettes.
Below, you will find a review of the following items:
What are parallel bars?
Parallel bars are a piece of equipment used in gymnastics and calisthenics. They range in height and type, and using them brings some impactful benefits to your training.
The most notable exercises you can do on parallel bars are:
Furthermore, they are mandatory for certain conditioning and preparatory exercises, like the scapula shrugs and the support hold.
In the next lines, let us see the real benefits of parallel bars.
The benefits of parallel bars
Before presenting you the best parallel bars for home, I thought I would present you the benefits they bring. Being one of the main apparatus gymnasts train on, you can imagine strength is one of the benefits.
However, that is but one of the benefits.
Here are all the important benefits associated with parallel bars:
Benefit #1: Less strain on the wrists
There are skills in the calisthenics world that put a lot of pressure on the wrists. The culprit is the position, rather than the load alone. When the wrist is in extension, it is in a more vulnerable position, and more susceptible to injury.
Imagine holding a handstand on the floor, and holding it on the parallel bars.
Using parallel bars you are forced to keep your wrists in a neutral position, which minimizes the risk of injury and exercise-related wrist pain.
Furthermore, for most people it makes balancing the handstand easier.
Benefit #2: Increased range of motion
Another benefit of parallel bars, which will influence your training for the better, is the possibility to increase your range of motion in certain exercises.
The most notable example is the tuck and advanced tuck planche push-up.
If you are doing this exercise on the floor, you can go only until your knees touch the ground.
However, when you are using parallel bars, your range of motion increases significantly. You can lower until your shoulders touch the parallel bars. Doing this will force your muscles to become stronger in a wider range.
Benefit #3: Access to new variations and exercises
The parallel bars can offer a new stimulus to your training, by simply forcing you to change the position of your wrists. Furthermore, they make some exercises easier, allowing you to train them. Let us see an example for each of these cases:
Holding a handstand on the floor relies very much on pressing the floor with your fingers.
However, once you start doing it on parallel bars you are forced to use different wrist movements to balance. This is a new stimulus your body has to adapt to.
Let’s see the example with the L-sit.
Most beginners are unable to do an L-sit on the floor. Their belief is that their arms are not long enough; therefore, they are unable to push the floor away from them.
In reality, they don’t have enough scapula depression strength.
Thankfully, you can still train the L-sit using parallel bars. By providing you the extra elevation you need, you can more efficiently train your scapula depression strength.
How to choose your ideal parallel bars?
Finding the best parallel bars for your home is easy once you know what to look for. Since this matter differs from one individual to another, there is no absolute best I can recommend.
However, I will show you what to look for to find your absolute best.
There are four things you should look for before purchasing parallel bars:
In the next chapter I will present and review what I believe to be the best options in terms of parallel bars. These options proved to be the most versatile and should be suitable for you too, regardless of your situation.
There are two main types of parallel bars to choose from. Each type has its own variations. If it sounds difficult, don’t worry, it is not. They all come with their own benefits and drawbacks, so choosing one of them will be a breeze.
The two types are:
Some people may argue that parallettes are not parallel bars, and that only dip bars fall under this category. However, I decided to please everyone and review both.
Before getting your dip stands, you should decide what you want them to do. I like to differentiate them as only two sub-types of dip stands (very different between each other!):
Fully connected parallel bars
The fully connected type of parallel bars are very sturdy and stable.
As the name suggests, these parallel bars are connected with each other at the base.
If you are looking to practice swings or do weighted dips, then these may be your go-to. They offer great stability so you can safely practice those moves. However, they can be difficult to move around, pricey, and won’t be suitable for a large array of exercises.
You are only limited to specific exercises.
Individual parallel bars
The individual parallel bars are versatile and easy to move around.
They come with two separate bars, so they are not attached in the middle.
If you are looking for a more general exercising tool, then this may be ideal for you. They open up the possibility to do a large array of exercises, ranging from dips, to the front lever, handstands, and jumping over them.
However, they are not suitable for weighted exercises or swings because they are both not stable enough and too close to the ground.
Parallettes are very different from dip stands. They come at a maximum height of 1ft (30cm). Therefore, if you plan on doing dips or parallel bar swings, parallettes are not suitable for you.
You can find two types of parallettes:
Regular parallettes are ideal if you are mainly looking to practice your handstand, increase range of motion with your push-ups or handstand push-ups, and work on your L-sit. I recommend you to get the wood version if possible, as they provide a better grip.
If you don’t have much storage room or travel a lot, then you should consider the mini-parallettes.
Their advantage is that they are compact. However, they are not tall, so they won’t offer a noticeable increase in range of motion.
After you have chosen the type of parallel bars you’d like, it is important to consider its weight limit. If you plan on doing exercises like weighted dips, or you are on the heavier side, then a low weight limit won’t do.
Individual parallel bars will have a lower weight limit than the fully connected ones.
Their versatility is certainly an advantage. However, the drawback is that you will (generally) have to settle for a 300-350lbs weight limit.
Fully connected parallel bars may not be as versatile.
However, their weight limit is very high; up to several thousand lbs which, most likely, is unnecessary.
Base & feet
After considering the type of parallel bars suitable for your home and particular situation, you should pay attention to their base and feet.
Look for parallel bars with long feet and a wide base to provide stability.
As far as the fully connected dip bars and parallettes are concerned, this factor is not as important. The former is stable through its nature, while the latter is too close to the ground to be unstable.
Therefore, you should pay particular attention to the base and feet of individual dip bars.
Furthermore, make sure that the ends of the feet have rubber casings to prevent the bars from moving across the ground or damaging your floor while you’re exercising.
Lastly, you should keep in mind the adjustability of the parallel bars.
Being able to change their height and width will open up a larger array of exercises for you. Furthermore, it comes in handy in the situations where more than one person is using them.
Be weary that this option will make the item more pricey.
Parallel bars reviews
With all of this out of the way, let’s go ahead and review the parallel bars I have concluded to be the best. There are six items in total:
ProsourceFit Dip Station
One of the best things about these bars is that they are quite highly adjustable. Coming at a minimum of 31” (78cm) and a maximum of 35” (90cm) they are suitable for most people. This option gives you the possibility to train on top or from under the bars. You can do dips or train the front and back lever without much hassle.
The stands are individual. This is a benefit because you can use both of them together, for handstands, L-sits, dips, etc., or one at a time for rows, front levers, jumping over, and others.
The bars are made of strong tube steel, making them a good option for everyone. This dip station can support up to 400 lbs (182kg), ensuring that the frame won’t buckle or bend, regardless of how heavy you are.
The base is wide and the legs are long, making the station stable. Extra stability and safety is provided by the non-slip rubber soles; it will stay put regardless of how intense your workout is.
Lastly, the assembly is a breeze. The whole unit is ready in about 15 minutes.
Value for money
We believe that for its price point of under $75 at the time of writing this article, you can’t go wrong with this dip station. Taking into account the wide array of exercises you can use these parallel bars for, I believe that the price point is more than fair.
Furthermore, the value is increased by the unit’s durability. You spend your money once and you are sure to have an item that lasts.
The build quality of the ProsourceFit Dip Station is top notch. The steel tube construction makes this unit better than most others on the market which come at a higher price. With a weight limit of 400lbs (182kg) you can be sure that these parallel bars won’t bend or buckle anytime soon.
Gymnastics Parallel Bar
These gymnastics parallel bars are an ideal training tool for your gymnastics routine. With the adjustable bars being anywhere between 3 feet 9.5” and 4 feet 0.5” (115cm to 123cm) off the ground, there is plenty of room for you to do various exercises like rows, dips, russian dips, swings, and many more.
The bars are 2” (5cm) in diameter and roughly 21” (53cm) apart. Furthermore, the bars were designed to be slip free, so you can exercise without worry of slipping.
As far as footprint is concerned, this unit is still small enough to fit in a home gym, garage, or even your own room. These parallel bars come in two separate packages, are very easy to assemble, and weigh about 90lbs (40kg).
Featuring a wide base equipped with non-slip rubber and long feet, stability is not something you will have to worry about.
As for the weight limit, I have thrown everything I had at it and withstood it with no issue. Therefore, I started researching and was unable to find any official statements. As far as I was able to tell, there is nothing a human could throw at it that this thing couldn’t sustain.
Lastly, they are built with heavy-duty 2” square tubes. They are meant to last.
Value for money
These parallel bars may seem fairly pricey. However, if you take into account that they can literally last you for a lifetime, then it doesn't seem so bad. The price point at the time of writing this article is around 250 dollars.
Taking into account the durability, how comfortable they are, and the exercises you can do with this unit, I believe that the price point is good
The build quality of these parallel bars is, in my opinion, outstanding. Having virtually no weight limit for what a human being can throw at it, such a stable base, and the non-slip bars, you can’t go wrong with this unit.
Ultimate Body Press Dip Bar
First of all, this dip bar is built with 1.5” thick steel tubing to ensure its durability and strength. If you are on the larger side, then this could be a great option for you. It can hold up to 350lbs (158kg) and features an open frame for ease of movement.
As far as adjustability goes, you are unable to adjust the height. However, the item comes at a height of 3ft so adjusting the height may not be necessary.
The grips are angled to support a more natural movement pattern. Furthermore, you can adjust the width of the unit: 19” (48cm) or 24” (61cm). So, regardless of whether you work out alone or with your friends or family, the width of this dip stand can accommodate everybody.
For my most favorite feature, this item gets both a pro and a con.
There are some accessories that can be attached to this dip stand. To be more precise, you can use the special hooks built in the frame to attach resistance bands for extra resistance. Unfortunately, you will have to purchase those specific resistance bands separately, as they are not included with your order for the Ultimate Body Press Dip Bar.
Value for money
At the time of writing this article, this unit costs around $100. In my opinion, you get your money’s worth of value with it. Even though the resistance bands come separately, I can’t ignore the fact that the unit itself is sturdy, durable, and has a high weight limit.
Furthermore, the angled handles and open space in the middle offer a different training experience - in my opinion, a slightly better one.
This item has a pretty good build quality. The 1.5” steel tubing provides durability and can hold up to 350lbs (158kg) weight. Honestly, this weight limit is not the highest you can find but it is still good enough for most trainees. Moreover, the wide base provides a good amount of stability during exercises. All in all, this makes my list for the best parallel bars.
Wood Parallettes Set for Gymnastics
To begin with, these parallettes are made of wood, are 1.5” (3.8cm) in diameter and come at a height of 8” (20cm). The supports are made of durable steel and have rubber strips on the bottom to provide non-slip stability. You have the option to get them in 18” (45cm) and 24” (60cm).
One of the benefits of wooden parallettes is that they are non-slip; therefore, you won’t have to worry about your hands slipping during exercise.
Being made of wood, they will have a weight limit. For this item, the limit is 250 lbs (115kg), which is not entirely bad.
Lastly, putting them together is a breeze. This item comes disassembled, but putting it together is a matter of screwing the supporting legs to the bar.
Value for money
At around $100 at the time of writing this article, I believe this is a fair price point. Wooden parallettes are better in quality than their metal counterpart; therefore, the price will show for it. These offer great stability, a solid grip, and a good enough weight limit.
Coming at a weight limit of 250lbs (115kg) this pair of wooden parallettes was built with quality in mind. The supporting legs, which are fairly wide and have rubber strips provide stability in movements like the handstand, planche, and L-sit.
Lebert Fitness Parallettes
The first thing you will notice with these parallettes is their sturdiness. They are built like little tanks that are made to withstand a lot of using and high intensity exercising. The diameter of the bar with padding is 5 3/4” (14.5cm) and without padding 4 7/8” (12.4cm). Even so, they are very lightweight, weighing about 5lbs (2.5kg) each.
If you are on the heavier side, then these parallettes were made for you. With a weight limit of 400lbs (182kg) each, they will not bend or break on you.
The base is wide and has commercial grade non-slip grips, ensuring that these parallettes will stay put when you work out. That being said, I recommend you to secure them if you plan on doing any wide exercises like wide handstands, or wide push-ups.
Value for money
We believe that these are among the best parallettes you can find on the market for their price point. The weight limit is very high, the build is solid, and they offer very good stability. It’s very likely that if you purchase these you won’t need to spend money on parallettes ever again.
The Lebert Fitness parallettes are made to last. They are very stable and sturdy. Made of stainless steel, they are light yet can handle 400lbs (182kg) each.
Wood Mini Parallettes
These mini-parallettes are made of wood and have a diameter of 1.5” (3.8cm). The wood is very well finished and does not require any sanding to smoothen out. The design is minimalist but the item gets its job done very well.
The legs are made of rubber which stays put on various surfaces. With these parallettes you won’t have to worry about stability. Even though the rubber legs may seem like a block of rubber, it must have been intentionally made that way. The shape allows the parallettes to adapt to your floor and other surfaces.
As far as weight limit is concerned, each parallete can hold up to 250lbs (115kg) which most likely will be unnecessary.
You can get these parallettes in two lengths: 9” (22cm) and 12” (30cm).
In my opinion, their main benefit is that they are compact and can be taken with you anywhere you go. To add to this benefit, the rubber legs are removable; this feature ensures that you won’t find any wooden parallettes that are more portable than this pair.
Value for money
Looking at their price point, these parallettes are a steal. They have a high enough weight limit, are portable, versatile, and provide good stability. These are without a doubt a bargain and are worth every penny.
The build on these parallettes is great. The handles provide a good grip, they are well finished and won’t require any sanding, and the weight limit is more than anyone would ever need. The rubber legs keep them planted to the surface you stick them to, so you won’t have to worry about stability.
As you could see, parallel bars are a great addition to your training. They offer a lot of benefits, both strength-wise, as well as health related (preventing wrist injuries).
Even though picking the ideal pair for you may seem difficult, it all boils down to your goals and particular situation. If you keep in mind their purpose, for you, so you can determine the type you need, the weight limit, the base and feet and their adjustability, it’s easy to pick one.
The above are, in my opinion, the best parallel bars for your home or home gym.
They are all different so there is no clear winner. Depending on your goals and life situation, one pair may be more suitable for you.
Over to you.