Are you looking to increase your grip strength and put your fingers to the test to improve your climbing? Then you should consider investing in a hangboard (AKA finger board or training board)!
Hangboard training is one of the most effective and efficient ways to get strong fast. All you need is a hangboard and 30 minutes twice a week - no gym time required!
With a decent climbing hangboard, you can work on a multitude of training techniques to take your climbing skill to the next level in the comfort of your own home.
Hangboard shopping may seem like a chore, but don’t fret. We made your job easier by researching the top five climbing hangboards of 2018. Read on to decide which one is right for you!
|Best Climbing Hangboard||Trango Rock Prodigy Training Center||$120 / ￡91|
|Best Value Hangboard||Metolius Simulator 3D||$80 / ￡60|
|Best Budget Hangboard||Metolius Project Training Board||$55 / ￡41|
|Best Wooden Hangboard||Beastmaker 1000||$160 / ￡121|
|Other Hangboards Worth Considering||Metolius Contact Board or UCraft Rock Climbing EVO Rings||$95 / ￡72|
The Trango Rock Prodigy Training Center (RPTC) is our top pick for the best all-around hangboard of 2018.
Created by Mark and Mike Anderson, the authors of The Rock Climber’s Training Manual, this hangboard was designed with elite climbing in mind.
A two-piece set, the RPTC is the most adjustable hangboard on the market today. The sliding design allows the user to fine tune the board to fit their body’s specific needs, making it accessible for climbers of all shapes and sizes.
The RPTC has a varying degree of depth on each edge, adding variety to the existing holds without increasing the size of the board.
Users have also claimed that the RPTC has the most useful pinches, since they don’t allow you to cheat as is the case with many other hangboards of a similar style.
The pinches are designed with the thumb on the bottom and the fingers on top, isolating the forearm and hand muscles used primarily for pinching.
The high-friction surface of the board may feel rough at first, but once your calluses are fully formed from your hardcore training regimen, you’ll never slip off a hold again with the help of the RPTC!
If you’re in the market for a long-lasting, affordable hangboard to meet all of your training goals, look no further than the Metolius Simulator 3D.
This ergonomic training board boasts a huge selection of hold types and sizes for the actively progressing climber, so you won’t need to invest in another hangboard for a long time.
You can buy the Simulator as a glossy-eyed beginner and continue using the variety of holds throughout your skill progression, making this hangboard the best value on the market.
The Simulator is one of the best hangboards for climbers who are just starting to train, because it includes large jug holds and mega-crimps as well as pinches that are large enough for even the most novice climber to hold.
As your strength improves, the Metolius 3D will be ready and waiting with smaller pockets and a plethora of edges for you to really start to cut your teeth in the realm of climbing.
The Metolius Simulator 3D may not be the most compact model out there, but it appeals to a wide range of climbers for good reason - no other hangboard is as durable or affordable as the Simulator, making the bang well worth your buck.
A compact cousin to the Simulator 3D, the Metolius Project Training Board is an excellent choice for the true dirtbag climber who wants to train with as little investment as possible.
This board is best for intermediate to advanced climbers, as the smaller size only allows for a limited number of holds.
There are no pinches or mono-pockets present, but the slopers on top combined with a couple of jugs, pockets of varying degrees, and edge rails make it a good all-around training board.
If you’re looking for something simple and cheap to enhance your climbing regimen, then the Metolius Project Training Board is for you.
Not all hangboards are created equal, and the wooden quality of the Beastmaker 1000 certainly makes it stand out from the crowd.
The smooth texture of the wood combined with a multitude of pockets of varying sizes and depths brings an extra level of dexterity to the trainer, as it requires superior grip strength to hang from a shallow wooden pocket.
The wooden material of this hangboard may be tough for some to hold if they’re just starting out, so this training board is geared towards the intermediate - advanced climber (5.10 - 5.13 or up to V8).
if you’re tearing through grades like the hulk tears through his clothes, you can always bump up to expert level with the Beastmaker 2000!
The Beastmaker 1000 has an excellent progression of holds, with 20- and 35-degree slopers, several pockets of varying size, and multiple jugs, making it one of the best all-around hangboards.
One of our favorite features about the Beastmaker 1000 is the compact size, which increases the options for where this training board can be mounted.
The Beastmaker is not only one of the most versatile hangboards on the market, but its wooden material means it’s good for the environment and your skin.
How could you go wrong?
Other Hangboards Worth Considering
If the other training boards listed above didn’t suit your fancy, then you may be interested in checking out the Metolius Contact Training Board, claimed by some to be the “motherboard” of all hangboards.
She is a deluxe version of her more compact and economical sister board, the Metolius Project Training Board.
The Contact Board comes with 11 pockets (2, 3 and 4 fingers), top mounted jugs, rounded and flat slopers, and 4 central edges to really propel you into the next level of climbing expertise.
This motherboard also includes variable width pinches and is ergonomically designed with a gentle curve in the overall shape to reduce training-related injuries.
Designed with perfect symmetry in mind so you feel balanced while training and featuring a soft, fine-grained texture that won’t irritate your skin, this board is a great high-end option if you’re looking for a training tool to really push you over the edge of your climbing limits.
Just in case you’re not the traditional type, we’ve also included a review of a different style of training board - the UCraft EVO Rings 3D Hangboard.
These training rings are small and lightweight (together they only weigh 1 lb), making them super portable and easy to stow in baggage for travel purposes.
Since mounting is not required, these little rings can be hung just about anywhere, on a crossbeam or strong branch, no matter where you go!
They include 12 types of crimps, adjustable-angle slopers and two styles of pinches, as well as anatomically correct pull-up grips.
If you’re an avid traveler who wants to train while on the road, then these UCraft EVO Rings may be just the thing for you!
How to Choose the Best Hangboard
Since training boards come in all shapes and sizes, it can be difficult to choose the right one for you.
There are a number of things to keep in mind when trying to decide which hangboard to purchase, so read on to find out how to pick the best one for you!
Training boards are made with a variety of materials, ranging from plastic to wood.
The material used to make the hangboard will depend upon the style of the board and the company who makes it.
Texture is an important component to consider when purchasing a hangboard for yourself. We recommend trying out a few different hangboard styles at your local gym before deciding which type of board to buy.
If you are accustomed to pulling on plastic holds in your climbing gym, then a plastic hangboard (made with either polyester resin or polyurethane) will feel familiar to you.
Since plastic is malleable, it is possible to create a wider variety of holds than with a wooden board.
This can be an advantage if you are looking to diversify your training techniques.
However, plastic is a rough material that could chafe your skin if you pull too hard for too long.
That’s why some climbers prefer the softer texture of a wooden hangboard.
Choosing wood may mean you forfeit the unique hold shapes of a plastic board, but the smooth feel may be worth it.
Keep in mind that the smooth texture of the wood has the potential to make the board slippery, especially while you sweat.
More advanced climbers may prefer the challenge of decreased friction on a wooden board, but the grippy texture of a plastic hangboard is a plus for many.
Location, Location, Location
As with any physical training equipment, it is important to consider the space where you will be mounting your hangboard.
Some hangboards require certain tools and materials to mount the board to your wall, whereas others are specifically designed to hang over your door frame.
Yet others, like the UCraft EVO Rings, don’t require any special materials and can be hung just about anywhere.
Your Training Goals
Before deciding which hangboard to purchase, you must first take into account your current climbing skill level. Then consider your training goals for the foreseeable future.
If there is a particular style of climbing you would like to focus on (say, slopers or crimps), then choosing the correct hangboard will be imperative.
However, if you’re a beginner who wants to progress quickly into the double-digit grades of 5.10+, then you will want to focus your search on hangboards geared towards new climbers.
Make sure you pay attention to the variety of holds included on the hangboard before making your final decision.
Boards that feature a lot of hold variation are easier and designed for beginning to intermediate climbers.
If you are interested in targeting your finger grip strength or are a more advanced climber in general, then you want to find a board with holds that progress in size and have edges of varying degrees.
No matter which hangboard you decide to purchase, your investment will reward you with results almost instantaneously if you begin training right away.
In the sage words of Jonathan Siegrist:
“In the business of grabbing rock, our fingers can never be too strong.”