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The Best Hangboards, Which is Right for You?

Different hangboards make sense for different climbers at different times. Which hangboard is right for you?

When approached with restraint, the hangboard provides climbers opportunities to develop resilient fingers for more strenuous moves. Although it can seem intimidating, modern hangboards have been built with you in mind. Today, we explore hangboards for three different types of climbers.

The Novice

If you began climbing in these last months, welcome! Training is only one aspect of climbing’s many faculties, but it is a fun way to measure progression. There are several approaches to hangboarding and, as you research, you will note that there are many useful methods. You will have to experiment to find what works for you.

Today, the best hangboards in the world are made of wood. Hardwoods have become the popular wood type for hangboards as they wear well and offer absorptivity. Wood helps save skin during hangboarding routines and provides a low friction surface on which we can strengthen our fingers. Instead of testing the tensile strength of our skin, hangboarding should focus on loading the tendons and soft-tissue structures of our hands and forearms. Wood isolates these structures by forcing grip through limited friction.

Metolius Wood Grips Deluxe II hangboard

Wood soaks up the sweat and can help prevent the slipping of fingers. Although plastic is stickier, it becomes slippery and inconsistent as it wears. To that effect, a wooden hangboard wears evenly. This allows for consistent training over a long period of time. Although wood can become slick with grime, it is easy to clean with sandpaper.

Which one should you get? It can be tempting to go straight for the premium models, but these boards have their problems. When you are a beginner you need a couple of key attributes in your board. First, you will need jugs. These positive handles are essential for pull ups and bar work. Second, you will need larger grips. You are new to hangboarding, starting on larger grips is important. Third you will need progressively smaller grips. Some of the world’s most famous advanced hangboards have large grips and the skip straight to small grips. This will not do. Find something with incremental gradations.

For your money, Metolius offers the best value. Their alder-based Wood Grips Deluxe II provides climbers with a selection of edge sizes all for $99.95 USD or $129.95 CAD from ClimbOn Squamish. If you wish to spend a little less, the Metolius Wood Grips II is a great option, though the largest grips are incrementally smaller than those on the Deluxe. Instead of 31 mm, the largest grip on the Wood Grips II is 29 mm. It comes in at $79.95 USD and $106.95 CAD.

The Intermediate

This is where things get a little more complicated. Although many intermediate hangboards exist, they each serve different functions and the one you need is dependent on your definition of intermediate. We will define intermediate as bouldering within the V4-V8 range. This means you will be completing two arm hangs with and without weight.

It is also unlikely that you are out the other side of larger muscle training, and so it is probably useful to have a jug grips on the board as well. If you are willing to shell out a little extra money, The Tulipwood-based Beastmaker 1000 is one of your better options. At $165.95 CAD or $129.00 USD, the 1000 offers most things a climber needs. The larger grips still allow for a good warm up, and the smaller grips still push the fingers without pushing them too quickly. The bottom edges come in around 20 mm, and provide a stable base for multiple grip positions. Similarly, this size edge is excellent for two-handed weighted hangs and can be used for one-handed hangs eventually.

If you are more interested in pursuing minimum edge training, the 1000 also comes with a smaller 12 mm edge. The board also has numerous grip types that make it appealing to those working on pockets and three finger grip types. The slopers are also an excellent way to train for hanging the 2000 slopers, if that is something you are interested in.

The Advanced

When it comes to identifying the best hangboard on the market for an advanced climber, it is a toss up that is dependent on goals. For many the Beastmaker 2000 is essential as it has become standard to the world of training and offers numerous challenges worth working toward. The 22 mm edge is useful for one-arm hangs and easy to plot against other strong climbers. The slopers also provide a unique challenge and give climbers a unique strength training opportunity.

Although Moon’s new hangboard has 35-degree slopers, they are easier to hold onto due to the plywood design. The problem with the 2000 comes down to the size of the edges. If you want to hang on small edges, the 2000 does not drop below 14 mm. With that said, it has an ideal platform for weighted hangs. You can buy the 2000 for $169.95 CAD here or $129.00 USD here.

If you want something that reaches into small-grip territory, it is difficult to beat Tension’s Poplar-based Grindstone Mk2. This hangboard is beautifully constructed and comes with the most comfortable edges in the game. With grips dropping all the way to 8mm, it does not pinch like the original grindstone and offers a superior platform for one-arm hang progressions.

Cornered holds can make some edges uncomfortable for one-handed and weighted hangs. The Tension navigates around this problem with rounded edges. The edges also make it easy to train open handed alternative grips like pocket and mono grips as your progress. Although this is the most expensive hangboard, the value is difficult to match especially if you are hangboarding many days a week. You can order it online at ClimbOn for $209.95 CAD here or buy it for $130-155 USD on Tension’s website.