Many climbers turn to physical training to help boost their performance. One of the best and oldest tools for finger strength training is the hangboard, also called a finger board. Naturally, a favorite training strategy of climbers when they’re away from the rock or the gym is to hang off their own at-home structure, so we’re here to help you choose the best climbing hangboard to do just that.
Hangboarding is a training technique used to build finger strength, but hangboards can meet a multitude of training goals. Depending on the board you choose, you can train all sorts of grip types and track your progression.
We recommend finding a safe and applicable hangboard training program to get you started.
For more of our top climbing gear recommendations, check out the Best Grip Trainers.
Quick Answer - The Best Climbing Hangboards
- Metolius Rock Rings
- Metolius Project
- Metolius Simulator 3D
- Trango Rock Prodigy
- Beastmaker 1000
Comparison Table - Best Climbing Hangboards
|Metolius Rock Rings||Plastic||Yes||$||4.7|
|Metolius Simulator 3D||Plastic||No||$||4.8|
|Trango Rock Prodigy||Plastic||Yes||$$||5.0|
Reviews - The Best Hangboards for Climbing
Metolius Rock Rings
Metolius Simulator 3D
BEST FOR: INTERMEDIATE CLIMBERS
PROS: Number one selling training board in the world, board tapers for better ergonomic benefits to climbers, multiple grip options to ease progression
CONS: Additional board required for mounting
HOLD TYPES: Jugs, slopers, pockets of various depths and widths
Trango Rock Prodigy
BEST FOR: BEGINNERS
PROS: Board designed by the Anderson brothers, covers most trainable grip positions including excellent pinches which orient thumb on bottom, texture is grippy
CONS: More difficult and involved to mount than other boards
HOLD TYPES: 15+ different grips
BEST FOR: BEGINNERS
PROS: Comfy on hands, great for beginners looking to progress quickly
CONS: No pinches or small crimps, can be slippery
HOLD TYPES: 2 jugs, 35 degree slopers, 20 degree slopers
BEST FOR: INTERMEDIATE CLIMBERS
PROS: Portable and customizable hangboard that is great for traveling, comes with inserts to create variable depth holds, board can be tilted to change angle, holds can be added to the back of board to train additional grips positions
CONS: Requires a structure to be hung from every time, minimal grip variation
HOLD TYPES: Edges of variable depth
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST CLIMBING HANGBOARDS
Before purchasing a hangboard you need to assess your ability and consider your specific training goals. Hangboarding can be hard on the body and it is critical to pair your equipment with your current level. Some boards offer a friendly introduction to beginners whereas others are intended for climbers with extensive hangboarding experience.
There are many ways to train for rock climbing, but when it comes to hand and finger strength, hangboards are the way to go. Consider whether you want to train multiple grip positions using slopers, pockets and edges, or pure finger strength using an open hand or half crimp position.
HOLD TYPES AND SIZES
If you are aiming to improve your stamina in a variety of different hand positions, choose a hangboard with many grip types. Several hangboards offer an assortment of jugs, slopers, edges, and pockets. Boards with a lot of variation and positive holds make it easier to warm up before starting your actual work out. They are also beneficial for beginners.
If pure finger strength is the goal, there are two options for how to pursue gains. The first is to decrease the size of the edges the climber is holding, and the second is to add weight to the climber’s body as they hang from a given hold. To best approach finger strength gains it is important to have a board with a progression of holds that become smaller or less positive.
Take care to ease yourself onto smaller holds gradually to minimize risk of injury.
CUSTOMIZABILITY AND SIZE
Nowadays several companies produce hangboards that the climber can customize for their training. Some boards have a separate right and left side so they can be mounted at the perfect width for your body. Other boards come with inserts to change edge depths or built in rotation features to change the angle of holds.
It is worth considering the size and space required to hang your board as well. If you’re always on the road, check out the small, portable options that are hitting the market. Some hangboards take up very little space but can be customized to meet a progression of difficulties. On the other hand, if you have a full training space in your home you could indulge in a larger board that has a lot to offer.
There is no point in owning a hangboard if you find it too uncomfortable to hang on! We recommend testing the hangboards at your climbing gym, or feeling the surface of available boards in a local shop before making your purchase. Most hangboards are made of either plastic, typically a polyurethane or polyester resin, or wood.
Resins can be molded into any shape; thus plastic hangboards can offer many different hold types. The friction is greater due to the fine grained texture, but they can be uncomfortable on the skin. It is possible to sand down sharp edges on a plastic hangboard if they are too rough.
Wood can be more comfortable on the skin, but is not for everyone. Some people find wood hangboards difficult to grip due to reduced friction during grueling sessions. Wooden boards are also limited by the variety of grip types they are offered.