September 26, 2021

2020’s Best Hangboard: Take Your Climbing to the Next Level

7 min read

Hangboards are one of the top tools available to climbers to increase their finger strength and maintain fitness during the off-season. With so many different models available, choosing the best hangboard can feel overwhelming. 

If you’re thinking about buying your first hangboard or upgrading your current one, we’ve got you covered with a variety of options so you can find the right hangboard for your training goals. 

Who Should Use a Hangboard?

Many climbing coaches and industry experts say you should wait to start hangboarding until you’re climbing around 5.11. However, when done correctly, hangboarding can be an excellent tool to build strength and resilience in your fingers and even rehab an injury – no matter what level you’re climbing at. 

Best Hangboard: Our Picks

Beastmaker 2000 – Best for Advanced Climbers

Pros: great texture, compact design, numerous mono and two-finger pockets 

Cons: no jugs, less versatile than other models, expensive

Price: $129 

Edge sizes: pockets ranging from ¾” to 1 ½”, edges ranging from ½” to 1 ¼”, slopers

Material: tulipwood 

Dimensions: 22.75” x 6”

With more two-finger and mono pockets than any other model on this list, the Beastmaker 2000 is best for climbers sending 5.13 or higher and who have experience with hangboard training. 

Measuring only 22.75” x 6”, the Beastmaker 2000 will fit above almost any doorway. Users love the texture on this tulipwood board and enjoy the comfort afforded by the radiused edges. The finish is smooth enough to protect your skin, but still grippy enough to hold onto without getting frustrated. 

The Beastmaker 2000 has three pairs of slopers varying from 19-degrees to 42-degrees steep, although few people can successfully grip the 42-degree holds. Some of the pockets are also sloped for added difficulty. 

There are only two sets of four-finger edges, which are designed to be warm-up holds and measure 1 ¼” and ½”. Since ½” (around 13mm) is typically the smallest edge size on many other models, all but high-level climbers will find this hangboard too challenging. 

If you’re looking for something a little more versatile or with more warm-up holds, the Beastmaker 1000 includes a wider variety of edge sizes as well as more three-finger pockets and four-finger edges. It is also an excellent choice, even for very advanced climbers. 

Tension Flash Board – Best for Travel

Pros: Compact design, portable, skin-friendly 

Cons: Not ideal for beginners

Price: $85 

Edge sizes: 8mm, 10mm, 15mm, 20mm, plus some small crimps

Material: American hardwood

Dimensions: 17.125” × 2.5”

If you’re unable to mount a full-size hangboard in your house or apartment, Tension Climbing has you covered. The Tension Flash Board is a go-anywhere fingerboard that can be used to train at home or to warm up at the crag. 

The compact design makes this hangboard an excellent portable training tool. Weighing only two pounds and measuring 17.125” × 2.5” × 2.5”, the board will fit easily in your crag pack when heading out for a climb and in your suitcase when you’re traveling. 

You can hang the Tension Flash Board from an object like a pull-up bar or a tree branch, or even use your foot as resistance. The wooden board is skin-friendly, so if you’re using it to warm up, you won’t wear out your finger pads before getting on the rock. 

The only downside to this hangboard is that it’s not ideal for beginners. The edges range from 8mm to 20mm, making it best for intermediate to advanced climbers. If you are a beginner and want this board, you can put the rope around your foot and use it as resistance until your fingers are strong enough to hang off the 20mm edge. 

Trango Rock Prodigy – Best for Customization 

Pros: Highly adjustable, ergonomic design, broad selection of edges and pockets 

Cons: Expensive, difficult to mount 

Price: $140

Edge sizes: tapered edges ranging from ¼” to 1¼”, pockets from to 1½”, slopers, jugs

Material: Polyurethane resin

Dimensions: 9.1” x 12.1” (each piece) 

Designed by Mark and Mike Anderson, climbing coaches and authors of The Rock Climber’s Training Manual, the Trango Rock Prodigy lends itself well to progression and is an excellent tool to improve your climbing. If you’re systematic in your training and enjoy seeing small improvements, you’ll love the precision this model offers. 

The two-piece design allows you to mount this hangboard however you’d like to best suit your physique and preferences, making it comfortable for people of all different heights and body types. Because this can reduce stress on the elbow and shoulder joints, the Rock Prodigy is a great choice for anyone with a history of pain in those areas. 

The board is made of a fine-grained polyurethane resin that many say is easy on the skin. Some users warned that this design makes the Rock Prodigy more challenging to mount than a hangboard that comes in one piece, but it’s a small price to pay for the superior level of customization and reduced risk of injury. 

This versatile board is a good training tool for anyone who climbs 5.10 and up. The Rock Prodigy requires a bit more room than some other models reviewed here, so keep this in mind if you have limited space to mount a hangboard. 

Metolius Simulator 3D – Best Value 

Pros: Affordable, good variety of edge sizes and pockets, beginner-friendly 

Cons: Widely spaced holds may feel awkward

Price: $79

Edge sizes: edges ranging from 14mm to 36mm, pockets ranging from 14mm to 50mm, jugs, 55mm flat slopers, 65 mm round slopers

Material: Polyester resin

Dimensions: 28” x 8.75”

The Metolius Simulator 3D includes a diverse selection of edges and pockets that offer excellent opportunities for progression. This board retails at $79, but can often be found on sale for significantly less, making it the best hangboard for anyone on a budget. 

At 28” x 8.75”, this hangboard is larger than others on the market, but it will still fit above most doorways. The polyester resin material is harder on the skin than wooden models, but most people don’t find it to be an issue.  

Many users enjoyed the ergonomic, slightly downturned design, saying it reduced strain on elbows and shoulders. However, shorter climbers may find the widely spaced jugs and some of the edges to be a bit awkward, as they stretch the arms significantly more than shoulder-width apart. 

Overall, the Metolius Simulator 3D is a quality board at a great price. If you’re new to hangboarding or have a limited budget, this is an excellent option to start with and will support your progression from around 5.10+ through 5.12+ or 5.13-. 

Tension Climbing Grindstone Mk2 – Best Overall

Pros: Diverse selection of edges, ergonomic design, skin-friendly texture

Cons: No slopers, expensive

Price: $150 

Edge sizes:  8mm to 50mm, full-width jug 

Material: Poplar wood

Dimensions: 23” x 7”

Whether you climb 5.10 or 5.13, this versatile board will take your training to the next level. The Grindstone Mk2 is made of skin-friendly poplar wood and includes a wide range of edge sizes from 8mm to 50mm, making it suitable for climbers of all levels. However, if you’re looking for a tool to train slopers in addition to crimps, this board is not it. 

The asymmetrical design and offset edges allow you to keep your hands shoulder-width apart at all times, a feature that shorter climbers and those with shoulder problems will find especially beneficial. Because each edge size includes equally spaced grips, it’s easier to maintain consistency in your training with this hangboard than with some of the others on our list. 

Tension’s unique edge profile makes it possible to train anywhere from one to four fingers at a time without any special pockets. The board also includes a phone holder to make timing your hangs more convenient and a full-width jug on the top. 

While the Grindstone Mk2 has a higher price tag than many other models, that is the only downside. This hangboard has great reviews and is recommended by many coaches in the climbing industry, making it our pick for the best hangboard overall. 

How to Mount a Hangboard

Now that you’ve chosen the best hangboard for your training needs and climbing goals, how do you get it ready for use? 

Most people choose to mount their hangboards above a doorway, but you can also hang it from a pull-up bar or mount the board on an exposed joist or beam. While it’s possible to mount a hangboard by yourself, you may find it easier to do so with the help of a friend. 

Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when mounting your hangboard. The product should come with instructions and hardware required for mounting the board itself. However, some companies do not include the screws required to mount the plywood backing on your wall. Check to make sure you have all the supplies required before getting started. 

To mount a hangboard above a doorway, you’ll need the following items: 

  • Step ladder or chair
  • Plywood mounting board (around ¾” thick and cut to fit the space you’ve selected for your hangboard) 
  • Screws and other required mounting hardware
  • Drill and appropriate drill bit(s) for the screws
  • Tape measure
  • Level 
  • Screwdriver 
  • Stud finder 
  • Pencil

Below are basic instructions for mounting a hangboard above a doorway:

  1. Locate the studs above your doorway with a stud finder and mark them with a pencil. 
  2. Hold the plywood mounting board up to the wall and mark the stud locations on it as well. 
  3. Place your hangboard on top of the plywood backing and mark the location of the screws. You can do this with a pencil or by pushing the screws through the holes in your hangboard to leave an indentation in the plywood. Circle the screw marks with a pencil to improve visibility. 
  4. Drill pilot holes into the plywood mounting board at the locations which you’ve marked. 
  5. Line up the plywood mounting board with the studs in your wall, make sure it’s level, and attach it with the screws. 
  6. Line up the holes in your hangboard with the pilot holes you drilled into the plywood backing. Once it’s lined up, attach the hangboard to the plywood using the mounting screws. 
  7. Tighten the screws by hand with a screwdriver and ensure your hangboard is secure. 
  8. Warm up and start training! 

These instructions are applicable to buildings with wood-frame construction. For additional instructions and alternative mounting options, check out our dedicated post on how to mount a hangboard.  

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