Short on time? Jump straight to our top choice, the RELIFE Power Tower.
The power tower is the king of equipment for doing bodyweight exercises. Also known as a captain’s chair, it’s a great tool for building upper and core body strength. Simply put, it’s a pull-up bar and dip station combined in to one, with a few additional features thrown in. Its versatility means it’s a great addition to any home gym, no matter your fitness level. It’s one of my favorite pieces of equipment, and it gets used almost every time I workout. But how do you can you choose the best power tower to buy? That’s what we’ll aim to answer here.
Quick Comparison: Best Power Towers
- Our Top Choice: RELIFE Power Tower
- Gold’s Gym XR 10.9
- Stamina 1690
- CITYBIRDS Power Tower
- Weider Power Tower
Why Should I Buy a Power Tower?
For me, deciding on the value of any new gym equipment comes down to two main questions. Which exercises can I use it for? And, are these exercises aligned with my fitness goals? With that in mind, we’ll now take a look at the top moves you can perform on a power tower.
One of the toughest bodyweight exercises out there, pull-ups will work your entire back, arms and core. Both physically and mentally demanding, this is a great test of upper body strength. Personally, I found this exercise to be a big challenge when I started going to the gym. My whole upper body would feel exhausted, followed by no small dose of DOMS for days after! Persistence pays off however, and the satisfaction of hitting your targets makes all the pain worth it. There are many different variants you can try, all of which work slightly different muscles. No matter which you chose, regularly including pull-ups in your routine will do wonders for your upper body strength.
Similar to pull-ups, but with your palms facing towards you, chin-ups are another classic bodyweight move. Often with a slightly narrower grip than pull-ups, they are a great way to build strength in your back, arms and core. The narrow grip provides an emphasis on your biceps, but your back certainly isn’t left out. If you’re struggling with pull-ups, it is often recommended mastering chin-ups first. This can be achieved doing something called ‘negatives’, which I’ve always found extremely beneficial. To try it out, first jump to the top of the move, therefore avoiding the initial pulling motion. Next, slowly and steadily lower yourself back down to your starting position. Simple! Beware, this is much harder than it sounds, but is a great way for beginners to get started.
If you’re looking to build up your core strength, the vertical knee raise will not disappoint in targeting your abs. If that wasn’t enough, your hip flexors will also put through their paces. While it may be an aim for some of you, strengthening your core isn’t just about getting a six-pack. Knee raises will also increase your midline stability, which allows you to keep your spine stable when performing heavy and compound lifts.
Dips are another testing compound move, during which your triceps are the main target muscle. Other variants can place more emphasis on your chest, through a slight change in technique. Your shoulders, back and abs are also engaged, which make dips a great complimentary move to the exercises above.
As you can see, the power tower provides a great variety of exercises to include in your workouts. When you combine these in to a single session, your whole upper body gets a thorough workout from one piece of equipment. I think the video below is a great example of this, and how to get the most from a power tower. Don’t be put off by the inclusion of ‘beginner’ in the title… for me this is certainly something to aim for!
How to Choose the Best Power Tower for Your Home Gym
These are some of the things to consider when deciding what’s right for you.
You’ll want to make sure it’s tall enough that you can hang from it comfortably. Equally, you don’t want it being so tall that it’s awkward reaching for the grips (for our shorter readers). You also want to consider the footprint, or the size of the base, to make sure it’s a good fit for your home gym setup.
Type of Grips
Comfortable grips can make all the difference. Especially when carrying out tough bodyweight exercises on both the power tower’s dip station and pull-up bar. Your focus should be on maintaining good form, not on whether you can endure the pain on your palms any longer.
When struggling to push out that last set of pull-ups, the last thing you want is a wobbly frame beneath you. Make sure the legs and base are sturdy and wide enough to stop this from happening.
It’s important to check any power tower you buy is designed to carry your weight. Most models will hold more than enough, but it’s worth checking. You don’t want the bars buckling whilst mid-dip!
While most power towers will be of a similar design, some have extra features giving the benefit of performing additional exercises. Many have cushioned back rests, useful for doing those knee raises, whilst others have adjustable bars. Extra grips for carrying out push-ups can also be a useful feature.
Power Tower Reviews
Our Top Choice: RELIFE Power Tower
Out of all of the power towers we considered for this article, this was our favorite. With a weight capacity of 330lbs, this tower will almost certainly be suitable enough to support your weight. There are suction cups on the base, a nice addition which helps with stability mid-exercise. A big bonus is the fact that there are 9 different levels of height adjustment possible for the top bar. This means it can be adapted to suit your height, no matter how tall or short you may be. The backrest is also adjustable to several levels, meaning you can have this flexibility whilst doing knee raises as well. Not only that, the grips used during knee raises can also be adjusted, for those of you possessing longer limbs. This feature was recently added by the manufacturer, after complaints regarding the grip positions. This shows they care about their user’s needs, which we really liked, as these complaints often go ignored! There are foam grips on the top bar, which provide that added bit of comfort during pull-ups. All of the features on the tower are also accessible from one side, meaning it could be placed up against a wall. We are big fans of this, as we know that space can sometimes be a restriction in home gyms. This particular product is at the higher end of the price range, however, we still consider it to be great value. If we were to recommend just one power tower for your home gym, this would be it.
- Weight capacity of 330lbs
- Suction cups on base provide added stability
- 9 levels of height adjustment for top bar
- Adjustable backrest
- All features on one side, can go up against a wall
- Foam grips on top bar
- Adjustable grips for knee raises
- Higher end of price range, but we think it’s worth it
If you’re looking for good quality, without breaking the bank, this is a great choice. Solid construction means that, despite the price, this power tower will last. A high weight capacity means you’ll feel secure when using this tower, and it has the added bonus of looking great. One thing to consider is that the height and positions of the top bar and grips are not adjustable. Whilst this is not a must-have feature, make sure you check the dimensions are suitable before buying. At this price range, however, we don’t think you will be disappointed. It does everything a power tower should do, and we think it is a strong contender for the next addition to your home gym.
- Looks great
- Strong construction, long lasting
- High weight capacity
- Easy to assemble
- Excellent price
- Height of top bar and grips not adjustable
This is another great option for those of you on a budget. With a weight capacity of 250lbs, and non-slip endcaps on the stand, it’s sturdy and stable enough for most people’s needs. The main drawback here is that there is no backrest, so knee raises are out of the question. However, to compensate this, the base does include a sit-up station. This is a nice addition and means you can still give those abs a decent workout. All of the grips are foam padded, and the minimal design means it is lightweight and easy enough to move around a garage or living room. If you’ve been using power towers for a while, the no frills design may leave you wanting more. In this case, we would recommend spending a little extra. However, if this is your first power tower, we think this is very good value and will leave you more than satisfied.
- Weight capacity of 250lbs
- Non-slip endcaps on stand
- Foam padded grips
- Sit-up station
- No backrest for knee raises
- Height of top bar not adjustable
Constructed with a heavy square steel frame, this tower provides a huge weight capacity of 400lbs. Combined with a scratch resistant finish, this makes it an incredibly durable product that will withstand repeated long term use. There are anti-slip foot covers on the base, which ensure there will be zero wobble when you’re pushing out those dips. This was a very close contender for our top choice, and although it’s at the high end of the price range, it delivers high quality. The top bar is adjustable to 4 levels, and there are another 7 levels of adjustment for the backrest. This allows you to tweak the setup to suit your own height and technique. Tilted armrests are another added feature, which prevents your arms slipping during knee raises. We can tell a lot of thought has gone in to every aspect of this power tower, and we think it’s paid off. Solid, durable and adjustable, you won’t be disappointed with this.
- 400lbs weight capacity
- Adjustable top bar
- Adjustable backrest
- Anti-slip foot covers on base
- Tilted armrests
- Towards high end of price range
This power tower ticks all the basic requirements. It has cushioned armrests and a backrest providing comfort and support for knee raises. There are grips for performing both dips and push-ups, and the all important top bar for pull-ups and chin-ups. Unfortunately, none of the bars or grips are adjustable, but this may not be an issue. As we’ve mentioned already, just make sure you check the dimensions first. Although this may not be the perfect tower, it does the basics and it does them well. It also comes in at around the mid-range price level, so we certainly think it’s worth considering.
- Vinyl cushions for padding
- Reasonable price
- Backrest for knee raises
- Height of top bar not adjustable
As you can see, there are several things to consider when choosing a power tower for your home gym. As with all equipment, you need to consider the size, to make sure it will slot in nicely in your current setup. The required comfort level of the grips, and the maximum weight capacity, will depend on your own preferences and body type. Good quality construction, and therefore stability, is also a key factor when performing bodyweight exercises. The range of exercises possible can vary, depending on the specific features of each tower. What you need will depend on your own routine and goals. We also think that having bars and grips that are adjustable is a big bonus that is worth seeking out. With these things in mind, our top choice would be the RELIFE Power Tower. Providing a high weight capacity, adjustable parts and a sturdy construction, this compact tower gives you everything you need in one single piece of equipment.