The Best Tree Stands for 2021 (Climbing/Hang On/Ladder) – Buyer’s Guide

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If you’re an avid bowhunter then you probably want the best tree stand that you can get. Even though ground blinds are growing in popularity each year, it’s a fact that the vast majority of bowhunters still prefer sitting in tree stands whenever possible. What makes a great tree stand? What is the best treestand for bowhunters? We’ll answer these questions and more throughout this buyer’s guide.

For this buyer’s guide, we’ve picked the best tree stands on the market, three of each subtype; I’ll discuss their features and what we like and dislike about them. The ForgottenHunter team made sure to find the best tree stands for a bird’s eye view in 2021.

The Best Tree stands for 2021 – Our Top Picks

Lone Wolf Alpha Hang On-ll
X-Stand The Duke
Lone Wolf Alpha Hang On II Treestand
X-Stand Treestands The Duke 20' Single-Person Ladderstand Hunting Tree Stand, Black
Stand Type:
Hang On
Ladder
Weight:
11.5 lbs
79 lbs
Weight Limit:
300 lbs
300 lbs
Tree Diameter Range:
4"-22"
All Trees
Price:
$290.99
$239.99
$290.99
$239.99
Lone Wolf Alpha Hang On-ll
Lone Wolf Alpha Hang On II Treestand
Stand Type:
Hang On
Weight:
11.5 lbs
Weight Limit:
300 lbs
Tree Diameter Range:
4"-22"
Price:
$290.99
$290.99
X-Stand The Duke
X-Stand Treestands The Duke 20' Single-Person Ladderstand Hunting Tree Stand, Black
Stand Type:
Ladder
Weight:
79 lbs
Weight Limit:
300 lbs
Tree Diameter Range:
All Trees
Price:
$239.99
$239.99

Different Tree Stand Types

You can break down tree stands into three subtypes: climbing stands, hang-up stands and ladder stands. I’ll discuss their features and their advantages/disadvantages below.

Climbing tree stands

Climbing Stand

Climbing tree stands are the most portable of all tree stand types. Climbing tree stands are also suitable for different areas and in different seasons. If you are a hunter who likes to change locations, this is the type for you. These stands give the hunter mobility and the option of moving his stand. Climbing stands are usually heavy and make noise when you climb, so it is very important to let the woods settle down after you climb, before you see the animal that you are hunting.

Advantages

  • Most portable
  • Lightweight
  • Easy and fast to set up
  • With the portable climbing stand, you need no other mechanism for climbing

Disadvantages

  • Only works on straight trees with a few limbs
  • Climbing stands are usually heavy, cumbersome and make noise when you climb

Hang-on Tree Stand

Hang on Stand

Hang-on tree stands can be screwed directly into a tree, which provides more stability. They are the best tree stands for when you want a more permanent mount in a fixed location, for example on private land that you own and hunt on.

Advantages

  • Portable
  • Easy to transport
  • Lightweight
  • Set at almost any height
  • You can use it in most trees
  • Semi-permanent setup

Disadvantages

  • Hardest to set up
  • Hardest to get into
  • Not recommended for beginners

Ladder Tree Stands

Ease of Setting it up

Ladder stands come with short ladders that allow you to climb just high enough in the tree to stay out of the prey’s line of sight. The disadvantage of ladder stands is that they take a while to set up properly, and they weigh a lot. Also keep in mind that ladders are visible to deer, so we recommend camouflaging/hiding them well. One advantage of ladder stands is that they can be placed against almost any tree.

Advantages

  • Large
  • Most stable
  • Easy entry
  • Most spacious
  • Good for beginner’s and youth hunters
  • Semi-permanent placement
  • This may be the safest, most practical stand for deer hunting

Disadvantages

  • Other hunters will see and use the ladder stand you’ve set up in a prime spot
  • Ladder stands are heavy, bulky, and not very portable

Some things to consider before buying a tree stand

Choose a right size

Choosing the right size is important for comfort and ultimately your hunting performance. We recommend finding a reasonable-sized tree stand with comfortable headroom and pedals. Also, make sure the stand and seat are the right size for you. If you are a hunter with a larger frame then you will find more comfort in a larger stand like the Summit Treestands Goliath SD.

Bowhunting from a treestand.jpg

Weight Capacity

Tree stands are built with a weight capacity often between 250-500 lbs. It is important to know how much weight you plan to use in the tree stand. So take your own weight and add the weight of your boots, clothes equipment etc. We recommend to steer 10-15% south of the maximum weight capacity for your tree stand of choice.

Durability and Material

Your tree stand is exposed to the elements and it has to carry your weight a long way in the air. Therefore you want your stand to be durable. What makes a stand durable is its construction quality and the materials it is made of. The best tree stands are made from durable materials like steel and aluminum.

Comfort

You’ll probably be up in a tree stand for a long period of time so you want the stand to be comfortable. Some tree stands come with a padded seat and padded armrests or a padded mat to lean on. Size also comes into play, especially the size of the seat.

Safety

When we are looking for the best tree stands then safety is the most important aspect. This is because the hunter is a long way above the ground and if he falls down it can have nasty consequences. So you want your tree stand to be as safe as possible.

Safety

Straps and Safety Harness

Fortunately, many climbing tree stands come with straps, so that you can carry the stand through the woods like a backpack, and a safety harness, which you’ll need when you’re up in the tree. A safety harness is vital to safety. Some harnesses that come with stands are not great. Therefore we recommend getting an additional safety harness.

Tree Stand Safety tips

  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings before you use your Tree stand and Full-Body Harness.
  • Don’t underestimate the weight and distribution of your gear.
  • Be prepared for specific weather conditions and be sure to remain safe when climbing in and out of your tree stand when it’s raining.
  • Check your stand (including straps and chains) every season and also before each use for signs of wear, fatigue, cracks, loose or missing nuts or bolts, and replace as necessary.
  • Practice at ground level with your treestand and FBH with another person present before the hunt.
  • Learn how to properly use your FBH with a suspension release device.
  • When climbing a ladder, keep three points of contact with the ladder at all times.

Open or Closed Front / Rail

The best climbing tree stands have a rail on the front. This rail can be used by rifle hunters to aim their target. However, climbing stands with a rail are not the best option for bow hunters because the front rail can get in the way of the bow while aiming. If you hunt with a rifle, then you should look for a model with a rail, and if you hunt a bow, then you should look for a model without a rail. Some climbing stands have a removable rail or a rail that folds up when you want to move it. These are of course suited for both.

Sound

As a hunter, you always want to be as silent as you can be. Therefore you also want your hunting gear to be relatively silent. The best tree stands are made to be as quiet as possible.

Portability

You should know that tree stands are made for backpacking purposes. The tree stand that you are buying should be portable enough to transport. In this case, consider buying a tree stand which is normal in size but is made from light material, for example, aluminum so that you can easily carry it on your back.

Cost

Of course, you also have to consider the budget you want to spend on a treestand. The more features a treehouse has, the more expensive it usually is.

The type of material the stand is made of also plays a role, and therefore durability. More expensive stands are also more comfortable. Basic models usually have less padding and are smaller, while more expensive models usually have more padding and more space.

We do not recommend looking at budget tree stands. These are often not durable and therefore will only last one or a few hunting seasons.

If you are willing to spend a little more on a quality tree stand, you will not only have a better hunting experience but also end up saving money. After all, a more expensive stand that you use for longer will soon be cheaper than having to buy a cheap stand every year.

The Best Climbing Tree Stands

Summit Treestands Goliath SD – Best Overall

Summit Treestands SU81119 Goliath SD

The Summit Goliath SD is a climbing tree stand that is designed for larger-framed hunters. It has extra space and a 350-pound weight limit. The Summit Goliath SD features a comfort-engineered design, but with a wider top compared to its predecessor, the Viper SD. Summit Treestands managed to keep the Goliath SD both lightweight and portable.

The Summit Goliath SD has a simple, fast and quiet cable attachment system. No fumbling with pins, knobs, nuts or bolts necessary. The stand’s high-quality extruded aluminum and precision welds provide maximum rigidity and strength. Each joint is “locked” into place before welding and designed so that stress its welds is minimized.

The RapidClimb stirrups are easy to use and adjustable to fit any boot. They are designed to keep your boot securely attached to the platform, these ergonomic stirrups allow you to quickly and safely climb to your desired height. The Summit Goliath SD is the best climbing tree stand for big guys in 2021.

Stand Type:Weight:Weight Limit:Tree Diameter Range:
Closed-front climber21 lbs
350 lbs
8″-20″

What we like

  • Quiet and sturdy
  • Easy to assemble
  • Climbing is really easy
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Very comfortable 
  • Durable

What we don’t like

  • Cheap teather 

No products found.

Summit Viper SD – Most Value

Summit-Viper-SD

Our number two climber is another Summit stand, which should be no surprise. Summit makes some of the best tree stands on the market. Their Summit Viper SD is one of the lightest climbing tree stands on the market and one of the best treestands for bowhunting. The Viper SD was specifically designed to provide a perfect balance of roominess, comfort, versatility, and low weight. This makes the Viper SD is a solid choice for hunters who would like a more portable stand.

The Viper SD Top features a comfortable foam-padded seat that can be raised for bow hunting and lowered for hunting with a gun. The solid front bar makes climbing easier and works well as a gun rest.

Every little bit of noise reduction goes a long way in keeping you concealed. Summit’s Dead Metal sound deadening technology works by filling in critical parts of the platform with a custom engineered expanding foam to reduce unintentional noises caused by movement on the platform.

Stand Type:Weight:Weight Limit:Tree Diameter Range:
Closed-front climber20 lbs300 lbs8″-20″

What we like

  • Very easy to assemble
  • Climbing is really easy
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Quiet and sturdy
  • Comfortable 
  • Durable

What we don’t like

  • Cheap teather 
Summit Treestands 81120 Viper SD Climbing Treestand, Mossy Oak
  • Closed-front aluminum climbing stand
  • Suspended foam-padded seat with backrest in Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity camo
  • Weighs 20 lbs. and holds up to 300 lbs.
  • 18” W x 12” D seat size, 20” W x 26.5" D platform size
  • Includes Full-Body Fall Arrest Harness System and all necessary hardware

Guide Gear Deluxe – Best Budget

Guide Gear Extreme Deluxe

The Guide Gear Extreme Deluxe is a great hang on tree stand that comes for an affordable price. Guide Gear’s Extreme Deluxe Hunting Climber is built strong, with sturdy steel, so you know it’s durable and lasts multiple hunting seasons.

The stand’s thick, 1-inch padding on the seat, plus padded backrest and armrests add comfort and packing and storage are easy thanks to nesting design that folds down to a low profile for transport. Adjustable nylon foot straps for quick, easy climbing. It is one of the best tree stands for hunters that have a limited budget.

Stand Type:Weight:Weight Limit:Tree Diameter Range:
Closed-front climber33 lbs300 lbs8″-20″

What we like

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Easy to assemble
  • Climbing is really easy
  • Quiet and sturdy
  • Comfortable 
  • Affordable

What we don’t like

  • Not as durable compared to Summer Treestands
  • Heavy for a climber

The Best Hang On Tree Stands

Lone Wolf Alpha II – Best Overall

Alpha Hang On-ll

The Lone Wolf Alpha II is one of the best tree stands in 2021. Lone Wolf hang-on stands come in 2 sizes, the alpha II is the largest of the two with a platform measuring 30 inches long by 19.5 inches wide. The seat is the same on both models measuring 14 by 12 inches, seat height is set at 21 inches high measuring from the platform. The height of the seat is what I especially love from this stand. It makes a big difference on all day sit.

The stand is lightweight, roomy, deadly quiet, and easy to use. The Alpha II features a convenient self-leveling seat and platform, and accepts the E-Z Hang Hook accessory, allowing users to preset multiple stand locations for quick, easy hanging.

Stand Type:Weight:Weight Limit:Tree Diameter Range:
Hang-on11.5 lbs300 lbs4″-22″

What we like

  • It’s the best Hang on stand if you have larger feet (normal size feet is recommend the assault)
  • Easy to assemble
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Quiet and sturdy
  • Comfortable 
  • Durable

What we don’t like

  • Instruction book is not great
Lone Wolf Alpha Hang On II Treestand
  • The benchmark by which all other hang on treestands are measured
  • Lightweight, roomy, deadly quiet, and easy to use; Fits trees 4" - 22" in diameter
  • Features a convenient self-leveling seat and platform; Accepts the E-Z Hang Hook accessory, allowing users to preset multiple stand locations for quick, easy hanging
  • The large, contoured foam pad gives all-day seating comfort
  • Weighs just 14 pounds and has a 350-pound weight limit

Rivers Edge Big Foot TearTuff XL Lounger – Most Value

RE556 BIG FOOT TEARTUFF XL LOUNGER HANG-ON

The Rivers Edge Teartuff XL hang-on treestand is a comfortable, highly portable treestand built for all-day hunting. This hang-on stand has an oversized platform that gives a little extra room for standing shots as well as a built-in footrest for added comfort. The seat and armrests flip up independently to allow full use of the platform.

The TearTuff XL treestand features a unique lever-action attachment system that eliminates metal-on-metal contact for noiseless attachment. With a foldable design for easier carry, the Rivers Edge Teartuff XL Hang-On Treestand features an oversized platform for versatile hunting and all-day comfort.

Stand Type:Weight:Weight Limit:Tree Diameter Range:
Hang-on26 lbs300 lbs 8″ – 20″

What we like

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Easy to assemble
  • Quiet and sturdy
  • Very comfortable 
  • Durable

What we don’t like

  • When flipping the seat up, there is a square piece of tubing that rotates against the tree and causes some noise

Rivers Edge RE556, Big Foot TearTuff XL Lounger, Lever-Action Hang-On Tree Stand with TearTuff Flip-up Mesh Seat, Oversized 37.5” x 24” Platform, Arm/Foot/Back Rests, Black
  • EXTRA LARGE PLATFORM: At 37”x 24” the TearTuff Lounger offers an oversized platform with extra room for standing shots.
  • FLIP-UP SEAT AND ARMRESTS: Not only will you experience the all-day comfort of the TearTuff mesh seat and padded armrests, but both features also flip-up independently allowing for full use of the oversized platform when standing to shoot.
  • ULTRA QUIET ATTACHMENT: With a noiseless strap attachment the TearTuff Lounger has eliminated metal on metal contact and all of the noise that goes with it.
  • BACK AND FOOTRESTS: The Tear-Tuff backrest offers additional comfort when seated while the built-in footrest provides plenty of room for leg stretching.
  • LEVER-ACTION STABILITY: Big Foot Hang-Ons bite into the tree with an aggressive lever-action eliminating the need for a second strap. Perfect for sitting at ground level or way up high, the TearTuff XL provides unprecedented stability at any height.

X-Stand Treestands The Patron – Best Budget

PATRON

X-Stand’s Patron is a heavy-duty steel hang-on treestand that offers the superior comfort and durability needed for all-day hunts. Constructed from steel with a weather-resistant, powder coat finish. The Patron features a Comfort-Flex seat that contours to your position and flips up for the option of full platform use. Flexible mesh seat and X-Force metal foot grate provide added strength and traction against the elements. To any hunter who plans on long sits, I highly recommend this stand.

Stand Type:Weight:Weight Limit:Tree Diameter Range:
Hang-on25 lbs350 lbs 8″ – 20″

What we like

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Easy to assemble
  • Quiet and sturdy
  • Extremely comfortable 
  • Good safety features
  • Durable

What we don’t like

  • Hard to set up
  • Not for beginners
X-Stand Treestands The Patron Hang On Treestand with Backrest and Armrest
  • WEIGHT CAPACITY : 350 LBS STAND WEIGHT 25 LBS
  • CONSTRUCTION STEEL
  • PLATFORM SIZE : 24.5" WIDE X 30" DEEP
  • SEAT SIZE : 20" WIDE X 14" DEEP
  • COMFORTABLE HANG ON TREESTAND WITH BACKREST, PADDED ARMREST, AND FOOTREST

The ‎Best Ladder Tree Stands

X-Stand THE DUKE 20″ – Best Overall

X-Stand THE DUKE 20"

The Duke X features a revolutionary safety system. Hunt at ease knowing that your stand is safe and secure before you leave the ground. Stealth Silencer washers keep your tree stand quiet while the Quick Hitch receiver adjusts the level and seat of the platform for easy location change while hunting.

The Duke X Ladder Stand has X-Stand’s Jaw Safety System that secures your stand from the ground level for a rock-solid setup. Plus, it has a number of features to keep your stand stealthy and quiet, so you don’t spook game. It is the best and most versatile ladder tree stand in 2021.

Stand Type:Weight:Weight Limit:Tree Diameter Range:
Ladder79 lbs300 lbsAll trees

What we like

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Easy to assemble
  • Easy entry
  • Quiet
  • Comfortable 
  • Good safety features
  • Durable

What we don’t like

  • Takes a while to assemble
X-Stand Treestands The Duke 20' Single-Person Ladderstand Hunting Tree Stand, Black
  • WEIGHT CAPACITY: 300 lbs., STAND WEIGHT: 79 lbs.
  • CONSTRUCTION: Steel
  • STAND HEIGHT: 20' to Shooting Rail, PLATFORM SIZE: 18" Wide x 26" Deep
  • SEAT SIZE: 22" Wide x 16" Deep, SEAT CUSHION: Comfort-FleX
  • SAFETY HARNESS: One 4-pt. full-body harness

OL’MAN TREESTANDS Assassin – Most Value

Ol’Man Assassin 18’ Dual Ladder Stand

The Ol’Man Assassin Dual Ladder Stand provides extreme comfort for the ultimate hunting experience. All-day sits will be a breeze, thanks to the Millennium Style ComfortMax seat with lumbar support that folds in both directions.

An adjustable padded shooting rail and arm rest, along with a full platform and footrest, keeps you secure and comfortable The ladder bolt design adds strength and eliminates noise, while it’s Bridge Support adds rigidness and eliminates the need for a tree brace. Tough thick tubing, coupled with a strong powder coat finish, makes this stand as durable as it is comfortable.

Stand Type:Weight:Weight Limit:Tree Diameter Range:
Ladder107 lbs500 lbsAll trees

What we like

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Easy to assemble
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Quiet
  • Comfortable 

What we don’t like

  • Instructions are unclear in some sections
  • Heavy and bulky

OL'MAN TREESTANDS Assassin 18’ Dual Ladder Stand with Millennium Style ComfortMax Seat
  • Millennium style comfortmax seat with lumbar support that folds in both directions
  • Anti-flex bridge support system for rock solid stability and eliminating the need for a tree brace
  • Steel Construction with powder coat finish and Ladder sections bolt together adding strength and helps eliminate noise
  • Full platform with foot rest
  • Designed and manufactured by Millennium Outdoors

Rivers Edge Lockdown Wide Man – Best Budget

Rivers Edge Lockdown Wide Man Ladder Tree Stand

No longer will you have to trade security for height. Ratchet the platform tight to the tree before ever leaving the ground, with our patent pending Ground-Level ratcheting technology. This clever system allows the user to pull the straps up to the top of the stand while standing on the ground. Then ratchet the straps tight up top, firmly securing the stand to the tree from the ground. Nothing is safer or easier to use.

The Lockdown Wide ladder stand features an extra-wide, flip-up, TearTuff mesh seat for standing shots. The oversized platform and flip-out footrest provides plenty of room for leg stretching or space to stand and shoot. The Lockdown Wide features a 2-way adjustable shooting rail allowing you to set a height and depth that works for you. The Lockdown Wide features dual tree blades, oversized platform ratchet straps, and octagonal tubing for unmatched stability.

Stand Type:Weight:Weight Limit:Tree Diameter Range:
Ladder68 lbs300 lbsAll trees

What we like

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Easy to assemble
  • 2-way adjustable Shooting rail flips back, and is easily removable for bow hunting
  • Easy entry
  • Quiet
  • Comfortable 
  • Durable

What we don’t like

  • heavy, bulky, and not very portable
Rivers Edge RE656, Retreat 1-Man Ladder Stand, Black
  • Retreat 1-man ladder stand 18'
  • Flip out Footrest and padded armrests
  • 2-way adjustable Shooting rail flips back, and is easily removable for bow hunting
  • included components: Safety Harness
  • material type: Steel

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Tree Stands

Should I use a Tree Stand or Ground blind?

The Advantages of Using a Hunting Tree Stand

Hunter Sitting in his Tree Stand
  • Superior line of sight
  • Scent

The Advantages of Using Ground Blinds

A Hunter hunting from a ground blind
  • Tree stands are more difficult to transport
  • Ground blinds often provide a hunter with a much wider choice of prime locations in which to hunt because they do not require an appropriate tree to attach them to
  • More convenient to transport and erect than tree stands are
  • shelter from wind, rain, or snow
  • can be used with a wide range of stools or chairs for increased comfort
  • ground blinds are much safer than tree stands are. However, tent-type
  • ground blinds are far more difficult to conceal than a tree stand
  • ground blinds significantly limit a hunter’s field of view
  • All types of ground blinds cause a hunter’s scent to be dispersed at ground level rather than well above it which can alert game to the hunter’s presence.
  • ability to conceal movement

Best Hunting Blinds in 2021 – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

Conclusion

Which tree stand suits your needs best depends on your personal situation and preferences. I hope this buyer’s guide helped you to find the best tree stands in 2021. Always take good care of your tree stand and happy hunting!

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