The Five Best Hand Grippers
Hand grippers are not new to the world of exercise equipment. They have been around about a century, however, in the first half of the 20th century, there was not a whole lot of variety to them. They were also very comparable in difficulty, and for an exceptionally strong person, they were not a suitable challenge.
In recent times, grippers have diversified, with more companies making them not only with substantial variances in difficulties, but also in feel and design. There are simple fixed spring grippers, and also grippers with adjustable spring resistance.
Grippers are advantageous in their versatility, in that they have the capability of training two types of grip:
- The crush grip, which is the dynamic closing of the hand against resistance.
- The support grip, which is the ability to hold your grip fixed for a substantial length of time.
While some companies have better reputations than others, there is no one best gripper for everyone. Not every person who desires to train their grip has the ambition of being one of the top crushers in the world. Comfort preferences also need to be taken into account. If someone finds their gripper uncomfortable, they are less likely to be dedicated to using it, all other things being equal.
This article will highlight advantages and disadvantages of some of the best grippers out on the market.
Captain of Crush by IronMind
Widely known among avid strength trainers, IronMind's Captain of Crush series is often called "the gold standard" when it comes to grip training. They have become so prestigious, trainers that become proficient in their grippers seek official certification from the company itself. Certification begins at their No. 2 level gripper for women, which has a spring force of 195 lbs. For men, the certification begins at the No. 3 gripper, the spring force of which is 280 lbs.
Advantages to this brand are a high level of accuracy in force measurement. The force required to close the grip will be true to its advertisement. They offer a wide range of levels, starting with their Guide, which has a 60 lb. force, to their No. 4, which very few people in history have officially closed, that has a 365 lb. force. The handles are knurled, so it can almost be guaranteed that there will be no slippage, even if your hand is sweaty. These grippers are also known for their extreme durability.
There are two potential disadvantages to this brand. One of them is also listed as an advantage. For some people, the knurled handles may be uncomfortable and slightly painful to squeeze. Also, their lightest gripper, the Guide, at 60 lbs. of closing force already equals or surpasses most standard grippers that can be found in your local sporting goods store. So if you are a woman just looking to make modest gains, this may not be the gripper for you. If you are an adolescent, or even a man who can't close one of those substandard strength grippers yet, you will need to work with those before you would even be able to start with the lowest level Captain of Crush.
Heavy Grips from xFitness
Heavy Grips is also for the more ambitious gripper. In fact, they have nothing akin to the Guide gripper of IronMind. Their lowest level gripper is 100 lbs. With six levels in total, in 50 lb. increments, xFitness can definitely compete with IronMind, though their grippers do not have quite the prestige as IronMind's yet.
An aesthetic advantage that these grippers have are the fact that they can be purchased in different colors, for all levels. Their springs are accurate in measurement, and have a solid construct. The spring and handles are both rust proof, and have proven long durability.
The handles are also knurled, which, depending on your preference and point of view, can be either an advantage or disadvantage. Again, some like the grip it gives them, though others have complained about the discomfort.
Another disadvantage, especially when compared to the Captain of Crush grippers, is that there are only six levels. A fifty pound increment can be quite a big jump to make after you successfully close one level for your desired repetitions or time. The good news is that if you are really a dedicated gripper, the even levels of 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, 350 can fit in between IronMind's Captain of Crush levels which are 140 for the No. 1, 167.5 for the No. 1.5, 237.5 for the 2.5. So a possible solution is to buy both series, in order to improve in even smaller increments at a time, facilitating progress. It is much easier to maintain your range of motion of a full closure if you make a 15-20 lb. increase instead of attempting to jump by 50 lbs. at once.
LifeStyle Lite Hand Gripper by LifeStyle Lite
This is an excellent gripper for the less ambitious person who is content with considerable but not elite level gains, or for an ambitious person that is starting out with less original ability.
An advantage to this gripper is that it is adjustable, and is so by the smallest of increments. The resistance increases or decreases with the gradual turn of a dial.
This gripper is also known for being ergonomically conscious, and has comfortable handles. Instead of knurled aluminum, it is a non-slip TPR rubber. Because the lowest resistance level is 22 lbs., it can be great for physical therapy for hand injuries, where low resistance is necessary to rebuild strength and mobility on a gradual and painless basis.
Disadvantageous for some, this gripper's maximum resistance is 88 lbs. So it will eventually be outgrown if you are an ambitious trainer. If you are looking to increase your grip substantially, you eventually will have to buy a heavier resistance set of grippers.
Death Grip (TM) Adjustable Grip & Hand Strengthener by MummyFit
Like LifeStyle's gripper, MummyFit's Death Grip also has the advantage of gradual adjustability. In slight contrast, this is a somewhat stronger version of the previous gripper. With a range of 55-154 lbs., this can serve as a true competitor to the lower levels of the Captain of Crush. It has the intricate dial, allowing you to increase the resistance by just a couple pounds at a time, instead of the 20 lb. increments of IronMind's first five levels.
Obviously, if you want to progress further after that, you will need the heavier grippers from a company like IronMind or xFitness. However, having a crushing grip of 154 lbs. is pretty substantial for the functional needs of many athletes, unless you have an inner desire to go further.
As far as comfort goes, it is not quite as comfortable as LifeStyle's gripper - it has no impressionable rubber - the handles are made of thermoplastic and steel. However, the handles are smooth, instead of knurled, and to offset any potential risk of slippage, the handle on the finger side is ridged to fit each of the four fingers.
A potential disadvantage to this adjustable gripper is the fact that it starts out at 55 lbs., which can be heavy for people performing physical therapy, or for most women to start out with. Also, at the heavier weights, some people may find that they are better suited to the knurled grip of an xFitness or IronMind in order to eliminate any risk of slippage. That can vary widely with the individual.
ZoN Hand Grips by ZON
This is an excellent brand for those in the novice category. Ideal for women, children, or even some men who just want to make their hands somewhat functionally stronger and develop some endurance. The resistance on these grippers is light to medium. They are not adjustable, so there is no increasing the resistance.
A key advantage to this gripper is comfort. The handles are fitted with a foam covering, so there is no potential discomfort when exercising with these. These grippers are ideal to fill the category of those who don't wish to go beyond the basic level of gripping. A downside is that the foam may eventually wear out with regular use and time. The good news is the cost of a new one is fairly cheap, around $10.