A powerful grip is one of the most beneficial attributes many athletes can have. For a strength athlete, a stronger grip can improve their deadlift, farmer’s carry, any press movement, to name a few. A stronger grip also benefits the normal civilian who has to perform day to day tasks, such as twisting lids off jars, pulling open heavy doors, and carrying luggage.
The fitness industry continually advances the technology of helping people get stronger and the engineering of grip strengtheners is no exception. Although the tried and true original grip strengtheners still have their place, there are many other options to choose from. So let’s get a grip, and find the right grip strengthener for you.
Best Grip Strengthener
- Best Overall Grip Strengthener: GD GRIP Pro-70 Hand Grip Strengthener
- Best Old School Grip Option: IronMind Captains of Crush Hand Gripper
- Best for Strong Girps: GD Iron Grip EXT 90 Hand Strengthener
- Best for Arm Strength: Fat Gripz Extreme
- Best for Finger Strength: The Xtensor
- Best for Core Strength: Spud Inc Traveling Farmer Walk Handles
- Best for Beginners: Harbinger Ergo Grip Strength System
Best Grip Strengthener Overall
The best grip-strengthening tool worth your money is a durable product that can give you broad benefits with a range of resistance options and is portable and compact.
GD GRIP Pro-70 Hand Grip Strengthener
The GD GRIP Pro-70 Hand Grip Strengthener is engineered with ultra-compressed steel springs and durable plastic. It has a resistance range of 55 pounds to 154 pounds, which is adjustable via a knob above the thumb when holding it in a standard grip. What’s nice about the seamless adjustability is that you can actually perform a drop set for your grip. For example, you can hold the device shut on its heaviest setting for, say, 15 seconds, then lower the resistance to 55 pounds and pump out 20 repitions.
The GD GRIP Pro-70 Hand Grip Strengthener is engineered with ultra-compressed steel springs and durable plastic. It has a resistance range of 55 to 154 pounds that is adjustable via a knob above the thumb when holding it in a standard grip.
Who Should Buy the GD GRIP Pro-70 Hand Grip Strengthener
- People who want a wide weight/resistance range.
- Those who want a weighted, bulkier tool. This one only weighs 5.6 ounces.
- Athletes who have smaller hands.
Who Shouldn’t Buy the GD GRIP Pro-70 Hand Grip Strengthener
- People who want a broad range of movement — it decreases as the resistance increases.
- Those with sweaty hands who need non-slip grip support.
Best Old-School Grip Strengthener
For athletes drawn to simple — and time-tested — designs that have been staples in gyms and fitness centers for decades, the best old-school grip strengthener is essential.
IronMind Captains of Crush Hand Gripper
IronMind Captains of Crush Hand Gripper has two handles connected by a resistance coil. There are 11 different weight options that range from 60 to 365 pounds (tough, they’re sold separately) and each is made of billet aluminum and alloy steel. This is a ruggedly built gripper that features knurled handles. Though, be warned: if you’re new to building your grip, you may find this to be rough on your hands.
IronMind Captains of Crush Hand Gripper has two handles connected by a resistance coil. There are eleven different weight options that range from 60lb to 365lb and each is made of billet aluminium and alloy steel.
Who Should Buy the GD GRIP Pro-70 Hand Grip Strengthener
- Fans of consistent range of motion versus the amount of resistance.
- People who want variety in handle widths as it comes with four different handle width options.
- Those who need lots of knurling — the deep cuts offer a similar feeling to gripping a barbell.
Who Shouldn’t Buy the GD GRIP Pro-70 Hand Grip Strengthener
- People with more sensitive hands — the lack of padding on the handles may cause discomfort.
- Those who want a product with a range of weight resistance. These grippers come with only one resistance level per.
Best for Strong Grips
Athletes that fall on the more advanced side of the fitness spectrum need a product that will offer higher resistance while standing up to lots of abuse.
GD Iron Grip EXT 90 Hand Strengthener
The GD Iron Grip EXT 90 Hand Strengthener has an A-frame design that uses a solid steel compression spring to resist from 55 to 198 pounds when squeezing the two handles together. The range of motion is over a full inch and the handles are knurled similar to a barbell. Though some grips strengtheners offer more resistance, 200 pounds is about as much as most general gym-goers will want. However, more serious strength athletes, such as strongmen and powerlifters, may want to invest in a heavier rip strengthener.
The GD Iron Grip EXT 90 Hand Strengthener is an A-frame design that uses a solid steel compression spring to resist from 55 to 198 pounds when squeezing the two handles together. The range of motion is over a full inch and the handles are knurled similar to a barbell.
Who Should Buy the GD Iron Grip EXT 90 Hand Strengthener
- Athletes that want more symmetrical training: the handles come to parallel when squeezed (some options on the market have handles that can cross, causing an imbalance on one side.)
- Folks who want an adjustable handle to better accommodate an athlete’s hand size.
- People concerned with making a lot of noise: this grip strengthener is entirely silent which can make it easier to train on the go.
Who Shouldn’t Buy the GD Iron Grip EXT 90 Hand Strengthener
- People with sensitive hands may be turned off by the coarse knurling.
- Those on a budget. This grip strengthener is on the more expensive end of the market.
- Weight conscious folks may want to steer clear as it weighs nearly two pounds, which is heavier than comparable options.
Best for Arm Strength
Adding a bigger grip extension to your barbell while lifting can help build up grip strength while also adding extra stress to your arm workouts for enhanced muscle growth.
Fat Gripz Extreme
The Fat Gripz Extreme are three-quarters of an inch inches larger than the standard Fat Gripz, which were made to convert any barbell into a thicker bar for better muscle stimulation in the arms and hands. They are made of a rubber-like military compound that features a slit to wrap around any standard bar. The idea behind Fat Gripz is that enalarging the surface area of the bar, you’ll have to work harder to grip. Constantly squeezing the Fat Grip will engage more muscles in your forearms, hands, and arms. One downside is that you won’t be able to lift as much weight, so those who are looking to get a lot stronger, may want to limit their Fat Grip use.
Strap these onto any barbell, dumbbell, and pull-up bar to activate more overall muscles in your arms.
Who Should Buy the Fat Gripz Extreme
- Atheltes looking to target weakness in the upper body, mostly focused on the arms and hands.
- Those looking to convert almost any exercise tool into one with a grip twice the size — Fat Gripz can wrap around barbells, dumbbells, pull-up bars and cable attachments.
- People training for strongman or powerlifting events.
Who Shouldn’t Buy the Fat Gripz Extreme
- People who haven’t used the regular Fat Gripz before — they recommend buying both and working your way up to the Extreme version.
- Those who want to focus more on just grip strength and not build their arms.
Best for Finger Strength
Athletes more focused on individual finger strength, like boulderers and climbers, need a product that strengthens and stabilizes muscles and tendons in the hands.
The finger-band grid system on the Xtensor allows for a more natural range of motion by using a “reverse-grip” design that provides resistance when you open your hand. You stretch the elastic bands by extending your fingers out, and this creates constant tension on the muscles in your hands. However, people looking to build more muscle in their forearms and arms should probably turn elsewhere. This is a very hand-specific product.
The finger-band grid system on the Xtensor allows for a more natural range of motion by using a “reverse-grip” design that provides resistance when you open your hand.
Who Should Buy the Xtensor
- Those looking for the ability to target each finger individually.
- People with muscle tightness in the palms and those wanting to improve range of motion in the hands.
Who Shouldn’t Buy the Xtensor
- Athletes looking for a high degree of resistance since it is much lower than many other grip strengtheners on the market.
- People who need a quick and easy grip-strengthening solution—it can be a little fiddly and annoying to get each finger in the bands.
Best for Core Strength
You can build core strength and grip strength at the same time by doing farmer’s walk workouts. These compact straps allow you to ramp up your training by going beyond dumbbells to using plates.
Spud Inc Traveling Farmer Walk Handles
This set of two 8-inch nylon straps go through rubber-coated handles with a steel core that uses a slide buckle to customize the height adjustment. You loop the straps around either 45 or 100-pound Olympic plates, and then hold the handles as you would any farmer’s carry implement. These allows you to utilize any Olympic plate for farmer’s carry. This is a great tool fr any gym-goer, but strongmen specifically as the sport requires heavy carrying events. Of all the grip strengtheners on this list, this is definitely the most practical option.
Pack these two durable nylon straps in your gym bag and use any pair of plates for grip-building farmer walks.
Who Should Buy the Spud Inc Traveling Farmer Walk Handles
- Athletes who need over 300 pounds (per handle) to bring their farmer’s walks to the next level.
- People who want an inexpensive and portable solution for heavy farmer’s walks.
- Those powerlifters or strongmen that need to build grip strength while working on their legs and core.
Who Shouldn’t Buy the Spud Inc Traveling Farmer Walk Handles
- People who don’t need to (or can’t) perform extremely heavy farmer’s walks.
- Those who want to focus mostly on grip strength.
Best for Beginners
Harbinger Ergo Grip Strength System
The Harbinger Ergo Grip Strength System consists of three oval-shaped donuts made of skin-safe, non-slip silicone and offered in three different levels of resistance — 20, 40, and 60 pounds. These are great for beginners who need to build a base of strength. The Ergo Grip Strength System is soft on the hands, portable, and comes in accessible weights.
The Harbinger Ergo Grip Strength System consists of three oval-shaped donuts made of skin-safe, non-slip silicone and offered in three different levels of resistance.
Who Should Buy the Harbinger Ergo Grip Strength System
- Great for beginner athletes or those with sensitive hands who dislike knurling.
- Oval shape offers a more natural grip and can help relieve stress.
- Climbers who want a light and portable set of strengtheners that are easy to pack away.
Who Shouldn’t Buy the Harbinger Ergo Grip Strength System
- May not be very helpful for athletes who train with barbells.
- Those looking for an extreme grip-strength challenge.
How We Decided on the Best Grip Strengtheners
This is without a doubt one of the major factors to consider when deciding between grip strengtheners. The first thing to be on the lookout for is what the texture of the handles are. Most commonly that will boil down to whether or not the handles have some degree of knurling.
If you are an athlete that trains a lot of barbell movements, then the knurling is likely a benefit. If you are training grip for barbell training, then having a grip that is functionally the same makes a lot of sense.
For athletes looking for a stronger grip but not necessarily in need of the knurling texture, then the options that have smooth handles are likely a better bet. The kinds of athletes non-knurled grips would be better for are baseball or tennis players; a strong grip is needed for a bat or racket, but conditioning grip with knurling is not needed.
A fairly obvious factor to account for, but an important one nonetheless. If you are leaning toward a grip strengthener that has the ability to increase or decrease resistance then it should be beneficial for beginners and advanced athletes alike.
When considering a grip strengthener that has a static resistance, be honest with your strength level. A strengthener that doesn’t have enough resistance will prove unhelpful in the goal of building a stronger grip. If too heavy, it will be hard to improve grip when the resistance is too difficult to train with.
Range of Motion
Assuming the athlete in question has an understanding of what volume of resistance they need, the range of motion a grip strengthener provides is key to be aware of. Some grip strengtheners that can increase or decrease their resistance do so at the expense of some amount of their range of motion.
Before making a purchase, make sure to check that when resistance is increased, the range of motion stays the same. The range of motion for most grip strengtheners on the market are around an inch from start to finish of the movement. Many options on the market will highlight a static range of motion across all resistances as a highlight, but if you are unsure, the design of a strengthener can provide some clues.
For example, if the resistance is increased or decreased by moving the point of flexion on the coil, then the range of motion is likely compromised. If the resistance is changed by moving the angle at which the coil is compressed, the range of motion is likely to remain unchanged.
Whether performing in the gym, on the field, or on the court, having a strong grip can pay lofty dividends in an athlete’s performance. Grip strengtheners are great tools for improving grip strength in a manageable way that doesn’t have to interrupt a normal training routine. Just remember to have an accurate assessment of your current grip strength before committing to a particular option, and your grip will improve fast.