climber hands fingers

We’ve reviewed every hangboard on the face of the earth to bring you the best hangboards out there to get strong, shredded forearms to conquer your routes!

So you’ve just got into climbing and you’re amped, spending every waking second you can at the gym or at the crag.  

You’re progressing through the grades and looking for your next challenge, but then, all of a sudden, bam!  

You seem to hit a limit.  A wall you can’t conquer.  Whatever you try you just can’t seem to get past this level.  

Well, don’t worry, don’t throw the climbing shoes out the window of your sprinter van just yet.  What you may need is a climbing fingerboard!

Luckily for you there is a huge range of fingerboards, also referred to as hangboards, out there for you to choose from.  

Each climbing fingerboard has its unique style, design, affordability and quality and this article will show you how to choose the best hangboard for your needs.  

Instead of being overwhelmed, check out our best top 9 climbing fingerboards for you to quickly shred your forearms on and slay your projects.

For everything finger strength related see our in depth article on How to Improve Finger Strength 

Also, as well as detailing the best hangboards we will give you a rundown of all the do’s and don’ts when it comes to starting training with a hangboard for rock climbing.  

As there is nothing worse than the dreaded sound of a tendon rupturing or pulley popping, trust us!  This can put you out of climbing and onto the sofa for weeks, so continue to the end of the article for hangboard basics including how to hangboard properly, the right grip for hangboards and how often you should hangboard.

Don’t fret if your DIY skills aren’t up to much either, we have details on how to mount a hangboard that even the most unskilled technicians can follow.

Hey! By the way… this page contains affiliate links. So if you make a purchase after clicking one at no cost to you we may earn a small commission. Thanks for your support!

What Is a Climbing Fingerboard?  

man gripping rock

Hangboard?  Fingerboard?  If they sound like some kind of torture devices to you, well, you may not be far from the truth!  In actual fact a climbing fingerboard is a very simple training device for rock climbers looking to improve strength in their fingers.  

For a more portable solution to finger strengthening check out our other article on the 6 Best Grip Strengtheners

Fingerboards for climbing are effective ways of improving grip strength by hanging  (hangboard!) from different shaped and sized holds for set periods of time with rests in between.  They are made from a variety of synthetic materials or even from wood.  

The beauty of these climbing training devices is that you can set them up almost anywhere, allowing for hangboard training at all times.  Whether you set up your fingerboard in the office, at home or use a portable one on your travels, with this nifty tool you can always rest assured you’ll be at the top of your game.

So, without any further interruptions let’s find the best hangboard for you!

Best Fingerboards: Review

Best Overall Performance

Trango Rock Prodigy Training Center

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Pros

  • Great variety of pockets and edges
  • Best progression design
  • Best for wide range of climbers
  • Innovative 2 piece design

Cons

  • Harder to setup than others
  • Takes a lot of space when set far apart

Dimensions – 12.1 x 9.1 inches x 2 pieces

Weight – 9.6 pounds

Material – Polyester Resin

Out of all the fingerboards we’ve reviewed the Trango Rock Prodigy Training Center takes the crown for the best overall, thanks to its clever 2 part design, huge array of holds of different shapes and sizes and the thoughtfulness put into the design.  

This is not surprising due to the fact that its creators are none other than the legends behind the book The Rock Climber’s Training Manual, Michael and Mark Anderson.

With their insight into climbing training and technique they have come up with a fingerboard that is the perfect partner to progressing through the grades.  

The design of the holds intuitively lets you move from larger to smaller edges thanks to the progressively tapered edges.  In addition, there are a huge variety of different pockets, crimps and slopers so you can work on whatever kind of hold you like.  

All of this makes the Trango Rock Prodigy a versatile piece of equipment that would fit into the home training center of any aspiring future prodigy or weekend warrior alike.  So whether you’re just starting out training, or a seasoned pro, this could be the hangboard for you.

If we had to pick just one hangboard for the rest of our climbing careers perhaps this would be the one.  Out of the 9 we reviewed, the Rock Prodigy was found to be the best hangboard in our list thanks to its multitude of holds, ergonomic design, flexibility and ease of use.

We also should take a minute to comment on the two part design that initially sets this fingerboard apart (pun totally intended!) from the rest.  

Mounting the fingerboard at the perfect distance apart to match your size and shape is not only convenient for those who have larger or smaller shoulders than the average climber, but actually facilitates a better form whilst working the board.  This will help prevent unwanted injuries by alleviating stress from backs, shoulders and elbows.

 The workmanship and design of the individual holds are second to none, and we particularly liked the tapering of the edges that progressively become shallower as you move across and down the board.

For climbers looking to invest in a long term training program then this is the training board for you.

The only downside with this one is the initial setup, requiring a lot more skill and patience to get the fingerboard initially in place.  

Also, for multiple users of different heights, let’s say a tall guy and his small girlfriend, we would suggest something else from the list.  

However, if you can afford the slightly higher price tag for this great bit of gear then we think it’s worth it.

Best Runner-Up (At a Lower Price!)

Metolius 3D Simulator

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Pros

  • Excellent cost to feature ratio
  • Nice ergonomic shape
  • Some of the best edges and pockets
  • Training guide and mounting instructions included

Cons

  • Not the best for the advanced climber
  • Large

Dimensions – 28 x 8.7 inches

Weight – 10.44 pounds

Material – Polyester Resin

Metolius makes some great gear and this is especially true when it comes to their hangboards.  

If you’re after a no nonsense hangboard with plenty of features that will last you through your progression in the grades then make sure you check this one out.  

The excellent quality and performance of the 3D Simulator is what made it our best buy.

Consistently coming up on top in reviews, the Metolius 3D Simulator is a hugely popular choice and we can easily see why.  It has seen many updates over the years, continually improving on an already solid design.  

The ergonomics are great, the curved shape of the fingerboard is a pleasure to use and, although being somewhat large, it still fits above many conventional doorways.

The range and quality of the edges and pockets really makes it stand out, and we can tell a lot of thought has been put into the progression from larger to smaller holds.  

For the average climber this has to be one of the best fingerboards on the market, but we would suggest if you are already crushing 5.13’s then you might want to look for something a little more specific like the So iLL Beastmaker 2000 featured below

Best Budget Option

Metolius Project

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Pros

  • Budget friendly
  • Compact size
  • Choice of colours!
  • Easy to mount

Cons

  • Not as diverse as more expensive boards
  • More popular holds in center of board

Dimensions – 24.5 x 6.0 inches

Weight – 10.43 pounds

Material – Polyester Resin

Also from the Metolius stable comes the budget friendly Project hangboard.  Considering this is one of the cheapest models on the market it has the quality of a much higher priced model and wouldn’t look out of place in a trendy climbing gym.  

If you’re just getting started training for rock climbing then we highly recommend this budget friendly training tool.  

Thanks to the quality Metolius delivers to its products, this has the feel of a much more expensive model.  

Unlike its larger brother, the Metolius 3D Simulator (see above), the Project is extremely compact and will fit in many places the more expensive, larger boards won’t.  

Considering its size, it has a surprising number of holds that will cater to most beginner to intermediate climbers.  

One downside, however, is the placement of some of the most popular pockets towards the centre of the board, making for an uncomfortable hanging session.  

Despite this design flaw we think for most beginner climbers on a budget this is the best hangboard.

Best Advanced Climbers Fingerboard

So iLL Beastmaker 2000

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Pros

  • Designed for experienced climbers looking to progress
  • Extremely challenging holds
  • Pleasant wooden texture
  • Compact design

Cons

  • Not an all round board
  • Not as cheap as other options

Dimensions – 24 x 6.3 inches

Weight – 3.53 pounds

Material – Wood

The award for best named fingerboard has to go to the Beastmaker from So iLL.  It also takes the top spot in our top 9 climbing fingerboards for advanced climbers thanks to its challenging finger pockets and demanding slopers.

With a name like this who wouldn’t want to start training their finger strength?  

This compact fingerboard for climbing, however, is not for beginners.  Unlike many of the competitors the Beastmaker does away with any easy holds whatsoever leaving the climber to warm up on the two sets of 4 finger edges.  

This difference is fine as long as you are an experienced climber and already have that base finger strength to build on, otherwise using this could be a recipe for disaster.

The wooden construction makes this a pleasure to train on, although it must be noted the majority of the holds are designed to be used independently from only one side.  

The selection of pockets and slopers on this hangboard are really impressive.  For the size, there is a huge variety of options for one or two finger exercises and we really like the 3 differently angled slopers.  

If we could change anything at all it would maybe be to add some less positive edges.

This is not the training device for new or inexperienced climbers (if you’re looking for a more beginner friendly board check out the Project above) but if you’re already projecting hard sport climbs in the 5.13 and above grade then take a look at this.

This being said, if you’re climbing at the level this hangboard demands then you will find it the perfect companion to progressing on to that next stage in your climbing evolution.

Best Transition Board

Atomik Yaniro Power

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Pros

  • Huge amount of well designed holds
  • Very forgiving for polyester resin
  • Good difficulty progression

Cons

  • Huge!  You’ll need some space to mount this beast!
  • Not best for beginners

Dimensions – 29 x 9 inches

Weight – Heavy!

Material – Polyester Resin

With an impressive number and variation of holds the Atomik Yaniro Power comes highly recommended for those climbers wanting to progress to the next level.  

This climbing fingerboard has the same arcing curve that makes great fingerboards such a pleasure to hang from.  Not only that, it’s larger, has a finer texture that is softer on the fingers and has a multitude of holds.  

The only thing keeping this item from being our best buy is the fact that it offers little to the beginner to moderate climber except pull ups.

The Atomik Powerboard, hand shaped by veteren climbing trainer Tony Yaniro, has held the test of time.  

Despite being a 20 year old design, it still competes with any newer, modern fingerboard.  Atomik claims this is due to the hand shaping, giving the holds an almost “glove-like” feel to them.  

Well, we’re not sure about that, but we reckon you could put in some long sessions on it without deteriorating your skin.

As mentioned, this fingerboard is absolutely loaded with holds.  Half pad claw, 1, 2 and 3 finger pockets, flat ¾” edge, slopey ½” edge and incut pinch anyone?  

And this is just to mention a few!  How about a 1 pad mono?  Did we already mention this is probably not the training tool for beginners….?!

Best Warm-Up and Value

Get Out!  Doorway

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Pros

  • Low cost
  • No frills
  • Decent material

Cons 

  • No real progression
  • Limited in holds
  • Not as ergonomic as more expensive models

Dimensions – 21.9 x 10.3 inches

Material – Polyester Resin

Weight – 4.43 pounds

Simple, no frills, compact design climbing fingerboard at a good price.  If you’re unsure about how committed to a training regime you actually are, or just looking for something to warm up on then the Get Out! Doorway might be the one for you.  

Not ideal for specific training or with a huge selection of finger pockets, we found it great for pull ups.

One of the cheapest hangboards on the market, the Get Out! Doorway sits in a niche somewhere between a warm-up tool and beginner hangboard.  

As we would never really recommend hangboarding to beginners this could be the perfect tool for those just toying with the idea of training but without wanting to fully commit or pay out for an expensive board.

The material seems to be the same as that found on the Metolius models, which is a plus.  The quality of the holds are good even if they are lacking in quantity.  

It’s compact, easy to mount and doesn’t take up much room.  All in all a good option for those wanting something to warm up on before training on a steep home wall or for climbers getting into hangboarding for the first time.

Best for Slopers and Pinches

So iLL Iron Palm

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Pros

  • Excellent, unparalleled sloper and pinch holds
  • Nice and wide for better form

Cons

  • Limited in smaller edges
  • Need a lot of room for mounting
  • Heavy!

Dimensions – 27 x 11.5 inches

Weight – 8 pounds

Material – Urethane

Something of an oddity, the iLL Iron Palm caters for those who want to concentrate their training on slopers and pinches.  In a move away from conventional climbing fingerboards the Iron Palm utilizes two round balls for sloper training and incorporates at least 3 pinch shapes into its design.

Just like Marmite, we think you’ll either love or hate the So iLL Iron Palm.  We love it, but we know our tastes for slopers and pinches are something of an anomaly.  

Nonetheless, the Iron Palm does offer the more conventional edges but not in the form of pockets, but, rather, long tapered edges.  These are ok for progression, but if you’re more into a traditional style of fingerboard then perhaps look to something like the Metolius 3D Simulator.

In practice the two huge balls offer a variety of sloper positionings due to them being flatter on top than on the sides.  As your strength increases with your workouts you can tailor the way you hold these balls to gain the maximum benefit.  

The pinches, totalling 3 different sets, are some of the best to be found, so if tufa climbing is your thing then this comes highly recommended.

Heading to Fontainebleau this Spring, or Kalymnos in the Autumn?  Then we might have found the trainer for you.

To sum it up, the So iLL Iron Palm offers some great variety in an otherwise crimpy field. 

Best Value Wood

Metolius Wood Grips Compact 2

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Pros

  • Great price for wooden fingerboard
  • Good looking
  • Sturdy
  • Skin friendly

Cons

  • Not best with chalk
  • Fewer edges and pockets than competitors

Dimensions – 25 x 7 inches

Weight – 4.7 pounds

Material – Alder

The robust Metolius Wood Grips Compact 2 is the second wooden fingerboard in our line-up and the third from this brand.  It is arguably the best budget wooden board out there, comprising a pleasant finish with sturdy holds for repeated abuse on your sessions.  It also wouldn’t look out of place in a wooden cabin or classy studio apartment.

This wooden hangboard from Metolius has a lot going for it.  Not only does it come in at a great price for a wooden board, but it matches the features and quality of many more expensive models.  

The clever compact design allows for mounting the fingerboard in many places and the classy aesthetic looks mean it doesn’t have to be relegated to the garage where more unsightly bright plastic boards may lurk.

Chalk is not recommended to use with wooden fingerboards, so if you are in any way sweaty palmed then maybe a molded poly resin option like the Get Out! Doorway is more practical.  

Having said that, the Wood Grips Compact 2 is made from alder that lends to a soft and textured feel where you don’t really notice the need to chalk up between repetitions.

As for the holds themselves there are a decent combination of pockets, edges and slopers.  Each hold is well rounded which adds to the comfortable feeling this fingerboard exudes.  None are too small to think you will never hold them, but similarly none are too big either.  

All in all this is one of the best all round fingerboards on the market at an affordable price.  If you’re looking for a design that covers all the bases then you’d not go wrong with this one.

Best for Travel

Metolius Rock Rings 3D

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Pros

  • Perfect for travel
  • Mounting instructions and training guides included

Cons

  • Not a replacement for a mounted finger board

Dimensions – 7 x 5 x 2 inches

Weight – 4 pounds (set of 2)

Material – Polyester Resin

While we’ve been focusing on fingerboards for mounting, this is something slightly different – allowing you to take the training anywhere.  If you’re on the road a lot but still need to keep your fingers in shape then these Rock Rings are the solution.  

Easily hung in a wide range of places, from trees to pull up bars to beams, they also allow for maximum flexibility and rotation in the shoulders.

An innovative, portable training device, the Metolius Rock Rings are made up of two independent units that function together to allow training on the go wherever you are.  

Each unit has a single, flexible suspension point to allow the rotation of your joints whilst hanging, reducing the risk of picking up an injury.

If you’re us and you’re on the road a lot, travelling between different climbing crags for months on end, then these could be your portable fingerboard solution.  Whilst slightly too big to go backpacking with, they wouldn’t take up much space in the van, and could even easily be taken to the crag for warm ups.

Obviously, the range is limited in terms of the variety of holds here – but if you need a portable pullup bar which can double for a finger workout too, then your search is over.

How to Choose a Hangboard for Your Needs

man rock climbing

Now that you’re clued up on what’s available, how do you know which hangboard is right for you?  

A good place to start is to work out what your level is and what your goals are.  This should give you a good idea and help you choose the right hangboard for your needs. 

For example, if you’ve only just started climbing, more than likely your fingers are not going to be strong enough yet to put under the stress that hangboarding produces.  So a good option could be the Get Out! Doorway which you could use for pull ups and practicing form, and to climb lots in the meantime.

If, however, you’re an intermediate climber, for instance you’ve just started sending 5.12’s but feel you’re hitting a limit, then a hangboard with a good range of holds and a good progression of holds should be important to you.  For this case we would recommend either our top pick the Rock Prodigy or the best buy Metolius 3D Simulator.

Types of Hangboards

man climbing focus on hands and grip

Plastic

The most common type of hangboard, most plastic hangboards are made from a polyester resin.  

The advantages of this include the ease of manufacturing – just one mold will serve to make an unlimited number of hangboards, therefore reducing the price for consumers.  Also, the texture can be designed to replicate different rock types, and the friction is amazing.

Wooden

In a close second, wooden hangboards are becoming more and more popular, especially with small bespoke and artisan companies.  Along with the mass produced hangboards from well known brands other brands will design a board specifically for your needs and to your specifications – just expect to pay top dollar for it!  

Advantages of the wooden hangboard vs plastic hangboard would be a kinder texture on your skin and a more aesthetic looking training device.

Hanging Rings

Like the last product reviewed in our list, hanging rings are great to allow flex in your shoulders and joints reducing the chance of injury.  Although extremely portable and useful as a training tool they are a bit limited in what you can do in terms of fingerboard exercises.

Hangboard Basics

climbing finger hold

There’s a ton of useful information out there on hangboard techniques and training from reputed authors, below we’ve listed some of our favorites.  

But when it comes to the basics it’s important to remember to have a good form to prevent injury, always warm up sufficiently and be aware of your own finger strength.  This way you will begin to improve without risking injury.

How to Hangboard Properly

Despite what you may think, hangboarding properly is actually quite technical – too technical for us to go into detail here, so why not check out Dave Macleod’s excellent video on how to hangboard properly.  

He covers all the fundamentals from which exercises to use,the right grip for hangboards, how to warm up properly, tailoring intensity and scheduling sessions to suit your ability and importantly how to avoid injury.

How to Mount a Hangboard

So, hopefully you’ve found our review useful and your new shiny hangboard is in the post and on its way.  All that’s left is to get help mounting it!  

Depending on the size and weight of the board you’ve chosen this can range from easy to difficult.  Luckily for you there are many easy explanations on how to do this online, below we’ve added a link to our favourite.   

List of Recommended Reading

Check out these three different but awesome books about getting into training for climbing.

The Rock Climber’s Training Manual: A Comprehensive Program for Continuous Climbing Improvement by Mike Anderson and Mark Anderson

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The Self Coached Climber by Dan Hague and Douglas Hunter

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Training for Climbing by Eric Horst

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For further reading see: “Ultimate Hand Care For Climbers Guide – Never Get a Flapper Again” and “DIY Liquid Chalk: How to Make Your Own & Save Money“. 

Published by Neil Skilton