Best Overall Hangboard
The Metolius Contact
Metolius Contact hangboard
The Metolius Contact
is our Editors' Choice and is our favorite hangboard as long as you have a space big enough to mount it. The Contact a larger-than-normal resin hangboard absolutely covered in holds, with a review high of 19 different pairs of grip options. Metolius did a sweet job of creating a broad with an excellent progression of holds similar to the Trango Prodigy. With the Contact you can easily dial in a training program and see signs of progress. The Contact is big: standing 11" tall and 32.5" wide. It is still designed to fit in nearly all normal sized doorways, but depending on your space you wont have a ton of head clearance for pull-ups and won't fit as well in tighter spaces and below lower ceilinged door frames. At $95 it's also a rad deal on a bigger hangboard being less expensive and offering more options than either of our other non-wood award winners. What really sets the Contact apart is its massive variety of edge sizes and depths offering up to five rows of grip options, from friendly to heinous. It also offers separate (though maybe sometimes unnecessary) 2,3 and 4 finger pocket holds in many of these depth options letting the user truly fine tune their workout even as much as the Trango Prodigy. The Contact features a few easier than average slopers, but a pair of fantastic variable width pinches that were great for warming up and driving home a pump. We fell like Metolius is using a better texture on the Contact than they have with their previous hangboard models that was overall above average among non-wood boards and our favorite of these styles.
The Metolius Contact was our favorite hangboard and winner of our OutdoorGearLab Editors' Choice because of its huge array of holds and excellent texture all at a killer price. We'd recommend it for anyone who has a place to mount this above-average sized hangboard.
The Metolius Contact features more difficult and advanced options than either of their other boards the Simlulator 3D and the Project, which are good for most climbers in the 5.10-5.12+ realm. Comparatively the Contact has many more options for advanced users suitable for 5.14 climbs, yet remains a top choice for beginner boarders. Basically if we could only own one board this would be it.
Read full review: Metolius Contact
Best Bang for the Buck
Metolius Wood Grips Compact Training Board
Metolius Wood Grips Compact
The Metolius Wood Grips Compact
Training Board is our Best Buy Award Winner, and likely our favorite hangboard overall for its size and price. It's compact, but has just enough edges and holds to keep most climbers happy. It fits anywhere you could think of hanging a board and is only $65. You do have to be a little more creative and use different finger groupings on the Compact's range of edges but it has enough variety that it works. The finely sanded wood is the perfect balance of not being too slippery while retaining its ultra-skin friend texture. The Compact's large central Sloper is broad enough to work holding onto it in different zones to increase or lessen the difficulty. It is also a good looking board and could mount in your living room without being an eye sore. If you have the space and want a little more variety, we also really like the slightly bigger version of the Compact, the Metolius Deluxe Training Board which adds another row of holds of 6 holds and is just under 2" taller and 4" wider and $15 more at $89.
Read full review: Wood Grips Compact
Top Pick for Wood
The Beastmaker 1000
The Beastmaker 1000
and its much harder counter part the Beastmaker 2000, are both awesome wood training boards made in the UK. They used to be distributed in the USA by Revolution Climbing until recently, when Revolution sadly closed shop for good. Now you can still buy them on Amazon but shipping costs will run you $20+. The Beastmaker continues to have a following and is one of the most beloved hangboards out there. The Beastmaster 1000 was also nearly are Editors' Choice overall and was only barely beat by the Metolius Contact for its wider range of edges and hold types, but we love the texture, range of edges and small profile of the Beastmaker.
The Beastmaker 1000 has a surprising number of edges for its very small dimensions and can offer up a wide range of ability levels, from 5.10 to 5.14. Like most wood boards the Beastmaker doesn't offer much in the way of pinches but has a stellar array of edge and pocket, widths and depths. It's edge depths all complement each other amazingly well, giving its users good warm-ups to heinously thin crimps. The Beastmaker has two rad sets of slopers, one easy, one pretty hard. One of our favorite features of the Beastmaker is the lowest level of edges is offset inward so our fingers didn't catch on the lower pockets when on the higher grips. The main thing we didn't like about the Beastmaker 1000 is the both sets of three finger pockets in the middle of the board are a little too close together and our hands bump up against one other while using them. The same can be said about the central sloper, its beig enough to get both hands on, but isn't as comfortable for your thumb knuckles and shoulders. If folks are considering the Beast Maker 2000 know that it's a MUCH more difficult hangboard, with no jugs and not many "good" holds, making it best for 5.12-5.15 climbers.
Read full review: Beastmaker 1000
The Beastmaker 1000, our Top Pick for bigger wood boards and one of our favorite products in general. It offers awesome finger preserving texture and a wide range of edge and pocket sizes. Its two slopers are excellent.
Top Pick For Systematic Training
Trango Rock Prodigy Training Center
Rock Prodigy Training Center
The Trango Rock Prodigy Training Center
is exactly that, a training center. It is the perfect board for the most calculated and systematic users, who will want to track and be thoughtful about their progress. The Trango Rock Prodigy Training Center stands out at first because it's unique in that it's the only model we tested that is split in half, in theory to account for people with different shoulder widths. While this is a cool idea, it does take more effort to mount. The highlight of the Rock Prodigy is the immense variety of holds on it has to offer. The Prodigy, features edges that change in depth as they move across the board with marker bumps to help you stay lined up. It also features a few holds with offset pockets to further give the users options. One of only a few downsides of the Rock Prodigy is the price, at $120, it's one of the most expensive options out there. but we feel for the price you get a LOT. The only other downside is most of our testers felt there was almost a little too much texture and during long sessions or working the board on, or near climbing days felt like it was harder on our fingers than other boards.
Read full review: Rock Prodigy Training Center
A rad board that was nearly a Top Pick Award Winner
So iLL Iron Palm
The So iLL Iron Palm
is actually made out of urethane and not resin but it feels similar. The Iron Palm, designed by pro-climber Jason Kehl, might not have a lot of pockets, but it has four very different edges to choose from that you can easily work different finger combinations on. We really liked the two giant ball slopers offering variable difficulty and the two different pinches that give the users three grip options. At $99 it's average among boards for its size, but more expensive than the more hold rich Metolius Contact. So iLL also just started making a wood version of the Iron Hand, called the Iron Wood which looks sweet but we have yet to test it out. The Iron hand feels much bigger than its 27" x 11.5" x 4" in dimensions, and it fits above doorways and in low ceilinged apartments fantastically. It's only down fall, is its warm-up jugs were a little too close together, making it less ideal, especially for folks with shoulder problems.
The So iLL Iron Palm, our honorable mention Top Pick award winner for best smaller resin board. We really liked its two pinches and big ball slopers. It only offered four edges and no pockets, but each edge was very different from each other and we found we could easily use these edges for two and three finger work outs.