Best Hangboards: The Top 6 of 2017

HangboardRetail Price
Top Pick: Trango Rock Prodigy Training Center$$$
Best Value: Metolius Project Training Board$$
Budget Buy: Metolius Rock Rings 3D$
Best Hangboard for Beginners: Metolius Simulator 3D Training Board$$
Best Wooden Hangboard: Beastmaker 2000$$$
Best Solution for Renters: Blank Slate Climbing Trainer$$$
Hangboards, finger boards, training boards — whatever you call them, they are instrumental for improving your climbing and bouldering ability.

If you’re interested in taking more initiative regarding your climbing training, a hangboard is one of the best investments you could make. Every time I routinely do hangboard workouts I’m always amazed at how quickly my finger strength improves.

There are plenty of hangboards on the market now, so finding the right one for your needs can be challenging. We’ve done the digging for you and here have the list of the best hangboards available today.

Any of these boards would suit you well as you look to improve your climbing, but, for your convenience, we have identified which are the best for particular wants or needs. Good luck training!

Top Pick: Trango Rock Prodigy Training Center

The Trango Rock Prodigy Training CenterThe RPTC was designed by twin brothers Mike and Mark Anderson, the climbing gurus who produced arguably the best book on climbing training ever, The Rock Climber’s Training Manual.

It consists of two separate pieces — which allows you to customize the width of the board to fit your body — and a surprising variety of holds in such a compact board.

Virtually all levels of climbers can use this board. It isn’t the most beginner-friendly hangboard on the list, but it has plenty of challenging holds that are appropriate for climbers who are serious about training. Also, the depth of the edge rails decreases as you move outward, meaning you can make a training session harder or easier depending on where you decide to place your hands.

The RPTC is also designed to be comfortable on your skin and joints so that you won’t have to cut a hangboarding session short because of skin discomfort.

Finally, the RPTC sports a sick set of pinches (large and small). Not all hangboards have these so it’s always exciting to see that feature included.

To learn more about this board, read our full Rock Prodigy Training Center review.

Best Value: Metolius Project Training Board

Metolius Project Training Board Our Top Pick might cost too much for some people. For that reason I’ve included the Metolius Project Board, the option that gives you the most bang for your buck.

The Project Board is a classically designed hangboard that is best for the intermediate to advanced climber. Beginners might have a little trouble on this board in their first few sessions (this was the first hangboard I ever used, and I definitely did), but it’s not too advanced that a beginner couldn’t improve from it with some concerted training.

This fingerboard doesn’t have any real fancy features such as pinches or one-finger pockets, but it is a solid all-arounder. It sports tough slopers, a pair of jugs, and pockets and edge rails of varying difficulty.

And, it comes at one heck of a value — we say the best value.

BONUS! If you’re looking for the best value wooden hangboard, we recommend the Metolius Wood Grips Compact Training Board.

Budget Buy: Metolius Rock Rings 3D

For those of you who are on a budget, these rock rings from Metolius are a great buy. They’re cheaper than a hangboard and you can hang them over your pull-up bar or from hooks screwed into your wall.

On top is a pair of jugs which is good for pull-ups. Below that are three pocket edges. Obviously your options are limited compared to a full hangboard but these rock rings are good for practicing dead hangs and pull-ups while away from the climbing gym.

If you are planning to hang these from a pull-up bar, make sure you’d be able to hang from them without having your knees touch the ground.

Best Hangboard for Beginners: Metolius Simulator 3D Training Board

Best beginner hangboard Metolius claims that the Simulator 3D is the “#1 selling training board in the world.”

Now, while claims like that should always be taken with a grain of salt, it is indicative of how this board appeals to a wide range of climbers (it also probably means that, at the very least, it is the best selling board in the Metolius line-up).

The board is larger than most because it has holds that span so many levels of difficulty. Although we highlight this as the best hangboard for beginners, it truly can suit any level of climber.

The Simulator 3D is good for beginners because it has a lot of decent holds. If you’re a beginner, the easiest holds on this board will challenge you but aren’t overly difficult to the point of being unhelpful or damaging to your skin or tendons.

This board will also last you a long time since it does appeal to virtually all levels of climbers. You can keep this board as you get stronger and methodically progress to the harder holds when you’re ready for them.

While any level of climber can improve using this great hangboard, for a similar option tailored towards more advanced climbers check out the Metolius Contact Training Board.

Best Wooden Hangboard: Beastmaker 2000

The best wooden hangboard is the Beastmaker 2000 Wait, wooden hangboards? That’s right — the smoothness of wood makes training on a wooden hangboard harder (a good thing) and also less harsh on your skin.

For these reasons, some climbers like training on wooden hangboards, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t include the top option in that category: The Beastmaker 2000.

The Beastmaker 2000 is one imposing fingerboard. To give you an idea of what I mean, on the Beastmaker site the first thing they say about it is that it “is not a hangboard for beginners”. Input for the design came from some of the UK’s strongest climbers, and climbing professionals like Jan Hojer use it to do absurd things like two-finger air planks.

Slick, polished wood combined with steep slopers and shallow pockets and edge rails make this one of the toughest hangboards available, if not the toughest. Like I said above, though, a tough hangboard is a good thing. If your board is full of holds you find easy to hang from then you won’t improve much from using it.

However, the Beastmaker 2000 might actually be too advanced for some climbers. There is good news, though, since there is also a Beastmaker 1000 which is designed for less advanced climbers.

One downside to the Beastmaker boards is that they are difficult to find in the USA. The company that makes them is based in the UK and doesn’t have the best distribution on this side of the pond.

If you are in the US and unable to get your hands on a Beastmaker fingerboard then we recommend you look at our runner-up pick for the best wooden hangboard: the Metolius Wood Grips Deluxe.

Best Solution for Renters: Blank Slate Climbing Trainer

Blank Slate Climbing Trainer NOTE: Hangboards and holds aren’t included with this product. The product is the blank wooden board and mounting apparatus.

If you’re like me, you don’t own the place you’re living – you rent it. This means you can’t screw a hangboard into the wall. You do want to get your security deposit back, after all.

Enter the solution to your problems, the Blank Slate Climbing Trainer. This innovative wooden board mounts in your doorway without the need for screws or any type of wall damage. You can screw your hangboard (and any holds you want to use) into the board and turn your rented apartment into the perfect training zone.

One other cool feature is that the Blank Slate Climbing Trainer comes with a smartphone and tablet mount so you can easily time your workouts.

How to Choose the Best Hangboard for You

Crappy Holds

Hangboard training is supposed to be difficult. It’s supposed to push you to your limits. Your hangboard is supposed to have a few holds on it that you can hold for only two seconds before spitting off (but obviously not all holds on it should be like that).

If you get a hangboard with holds you have no trouble hanging from, you are only doing yourself a disservice. Go for a board with holds that will challenge you, or else you won’t get the most out of your board.

In other words, for hangboards, bad is good. The above options have plenty of crappy holds that will frustrate you endlessly until you realize how much stronger your fingers are getting (the Metolius Simulator 3D also has a number of decent holds which is what makes it the best hangboard for beginners).

Mount-ability

This comes down to pure practicality. If you can’t mount your hangboard in your house or training spot, it will be useless. Look at the dimensions of each option you consider and then compare them to the dimensions of potential mounting locations in your home or training locale. Don’t overlook the logistics — make sure it will fit.

Renters also should be aware that most hangboards are mounted with lots of screws. If you can’t screw things into your walls you’ll have to get creative or consider the two above options that you can install without screws: the Blank Slate Climbing Trainer and Metolius Rock Rings 3D.

Variety

You’ll want a lot of different holds to work with when training. That means a board with jugs, slopers, pockets, pinches if you desire, and lots of crimps and edges of varying widths and depths.

Just make sure there are plenty of hold options on your board. The hangboards we’ve listed above all have plenty of variety (except for the Metolius Rock Rings 3D which we included as a budget buy).


Photo Credit: Amazon

About the Author:

Alex is the owner of 99Boulders and has been blogging about the outdoors for over two years. When he isn’t working on the site, he can be found backpacking around South America or at the bouldering gym using his 6’5″ wingspan to skip all the hard holds.

  • santulinks

    Great review. Not sure if you have heard of http://conceptclimbing.com/ in Australia, but these guys make some really sick wooden hangboards, which I think are even better than the Beastmakers. May be you could test them as well? They use some really nice timbers and the pockets are offset, so you can keep a good distance between your hands when training.

    • Very cool! We didn’t know about them, so thanks for the heads up!