Best Tree Stand of 2020 | Expert Advice

If you quickly want to find out which is the best tree stand, I'd recommend the Summit tree stands Viper SD.

A climbing tree stand is essential for hunting. But, is that all? 

No. 

For a sophisticated hunting experience, it is important to choose a climbing tree stand that keeps you comfortable, sets up like a breeze, and keeps you safe; at the same time, without burning your pockets. 

Let’s take a look at some of the 5 best tree stands in the market, followed by a solid buying guide.

Our Top 5 Tree Stands of 2020

4.7

Weight - 20 lbs

Capacity - 300 lbs

  • Perfect for Gun and Bow hunting
  • Most comfortable seat
  • Best for all-day hunting
4.8

Weight - 11 lbs

Capacity - 350 lbs

  • Most lightweight of all products
  • Extremely silent
  • Diameter of 4” - 22” fits most trees
4.8

Weight - 21 lbs

Capacity - 350 lbs

  • Most comfortable seating
  • Spacious seating space than Product #1.
  • 4-point Full body fall arrest system(harness) for safety
4.8

Weight - 19.5 lbs

Capacity - 300 lbs

  • Passes the Harness meets Treestand Manufacturing Standards for Safety
  • More platform space
  • Easy to install and set up
4.5

Weight - 122 lbs

Capacity - 500 lbs

  • The only 2 Man Tree stand
  • Heavy duty and durable
  • Weight capacity of 500 lbs

We've created a comprehensive Tree Stands Buying Guide for you!

Types of Tree Stands

Climbing tree stand

The climbing tree stand is the most popular one among the 3 types. It comprises a seat assembly and a platform assembly which needs to be fixed separately. It does not require a climbing step to get up on it which makes it easier. 

Not only is it comfortable while sitting, it also allows for you to quickly change your position while sitting on it. However, this type can be used only in straight trees with a few limbs.

Hang-on tree stand

The hang-on tree stands have a single unit consisting of a seat and a platform together. You will have to climb up using tree climbing steps. It is lighter than the climbing tree stand and easily portable. The sitting position isn’t as comfortable as the climbing tree stand.

Ladder stands

As the name suggests, it is a ladder which consists of a seat platform at the top. It offers really good comfort and even space for 2 people at times; of course at the cost of a bulkier tree stand. It will require a vehicle and 2 people to carry it around. It makes climbing super easy, and can fit in any tree.

A person with the Ladder tree stand

How to choose the Best Tree Stand

Comfort

Hunting requires a lot of patience and time. Considering that you might have to sit all day or for long hours in the tree stand, you need to find one that gives you good comfort.  A tree stand with a back support seat and more leg room is key to that. You should also be able to stand up or move around to get a clear view.

Weight capacity

The weight capacity of a tree stand is simply the weight it can carry. Make sure to check out the maximum weight capacity for any climbing tree stand you buy, based on your weight and the accessories you are planning to carry.

Size

Look for the ones which have more room or a bigger platform so that you can easily move around and even stand up, if you need to. 

Weight

Portability is important for climbing tree stands. If you are planning to go hunting alone, make sure to choose a lightweight tree stand that is easier to carry. Hang-on tree stands are usually the lighter ones, and for more robust options or 2-person stands, the Ladder tree stand is the best option.

Safety

  1. Make sure to strictly follow the steps mentioned in the manual as it is very easy to fall and hurt yourself. Most injuries occur by fall either because of an incorrect placement or not knowing how to use the equipment.
  2. First, practice it a couple of times at home until you get the grip of it. Choose a strong tree. 
  3. Second, put up a safety harness/fall-arrest system and attach it to the trunk before starting to climb up. Never detach the harness while you are on top or when climbing down. Use a pull rope if possible. You should also consider the height that you can climb on - please check the manual for that. 
  4. The Ladder stand is the safest option in climbing tree stands.
  5. Third, the number of straps and the quality of it. To help you choose the safest one, we have mentioned the safety standards that each product follows, in the product review section.
Tree Stand Safety

Maneuverability

A tree stand should be easy to install and access, so you can climb up easily. Anything with the bolt and nut combination will require more effort to install. Choosing climbing tree stands with a good maneuverability consists of 3 steps:

Easy to install/set-up

Every time you go hunting, you will have to assemble and dismantle the tree stand; so looking for a tree stand is easy to set-up should be a foremost consideration. Hang-on and Climbing tree stands are the easiest to install among the three types.

Easy to climb up/down

Ladder tree stands are the best options for easy climbing. Climbing tree stand is a little tricky but can be mastered with enough practice.

Easy while shooting

A spacious room on top makes hunting effortless. There are tree stands that offer a flip seat which provides more room space while standing.

Color

The color of the tree stand should not be bright. We recommend a tree stand which is of a tree color that camouflages well with the surroundings and is best suited for hunting.

Price

You can find tree stands that offer decent quality for lower costs as well. But more the money , better the quality and safety. It wouldn’t be wise to compromise on the comfort and safety for money. All the tree stands we have reviewed are between $200 to $300.

Maintenance

The climbing tree stand is a low-maintenance product. Most of the tree stands do not require special attention but frequent inspection is advised for better safety. If the materials used in the tree stand are of good quality, they can withstand any weather. We have carefully considered all these features to curate the 5 best list of tree stands for you. 

If you are planning to camp, check out our article on camping tables

Other Features

Noise

Very essential feature for any tree stand. A tree stand which makes noise isn’t very optimal for hunting. Hang-on tree stands make more noise when compared to the other types.

Bow and Gun friendly

On top, you should have a holder to keep the bow or gun. This holder should be easily accessible as well.

Accessories

Some tree stands offer a holder for a binocular and water bottle for easy access. Bonus Points!

Here's an useful video we found on how to use a climbing tree stand:

The 5 Best Tree Stands

Short Review

The Summit is the best climbing tree stand and is most trusted, lightweight yet strong. It comes in a Mossy oak with Break-up infinity camo color. 

It comes with 2 assembly types - seat assembly and platform assembly, both made up of high-quality extruded aluminium for strength and lightweight. Starting with the seat, it is a very comfortable suspended seat with foam padding. I usually end up with back pain when I use a seat assembly without a back support; luckily the backrest support is great with this one which was a sign of relief. You can also adjust the height of the seat.

It can hold up to 300 lbs which is a great weight capacity for a lightweight tree stand. It weighs about 20 lbs which is great for portability as well. 

Viper SD has updated the stirrups with the help of a RapidClimb technology, which makes your feet attached to it always. With this you can easily move your leg up or down. Quickdraw cable retention system ensures the cable is locked securely. The critical parts of the tree stand is made up of expanding foam to reduce the noises.

It comes with a 4-point Full body fall arrest system(harness) with safety strap and attached SRS strap. You get a manual along with a Safety / Instructional DVD, please check this out for how to use this tree stand.

One thing that we didn’t like about this tree stand is the instruction manual; the instructions could have been clearer. The footrest doesn’t have a grip tape which could have been a good addition. If you are more than 6’ feet, you might need to buy a footrest separately. 

Pros

  • Perfect for bow hunting
  • Most comfortable seat in the market
  • Lightweight
  • Silent
  • Easy to use
  • Feel secure

Cons

  • Shoulder straps are not so helpful
  • Does not come with a grip tape on footrest
  • Need to buy a Footrest add on if you are more than 6’

Bottomline

A strong, lightweight and quiet tree stand which ensures a secure and comfortable hunting all day long.

Short Review

The Lone Wolf Hang on Tree Stand is the most lightweight tree stand of the article, with some pretty impressive features.

It comes with a one-piece cast aluminium for strength. Seating is attached to the platform without a backrest, which gets tough at times when you want to hunt for long hours. It weighs about 11lbs and can carry around 350 lbs. It's the slimmest on our list. The size and the weight of this tree stand makes it easy to carry & mount. It has a backpack strap for carrying it. 

Color of this tree stand is Distinctive 3-D camo platform design which camouflages well. Lone wolf tree stand comes with a diameter of 4” - 22”, which fits most trees quite easily. 

With the help of the E-Z hang hook system, you can hang the stand directly on the tree. Offset brackets provide stability for the stand. Self leveling system makes the seat and platform level out with different angles, with which you can fix on a perfect position.

A 6-point Fall Arrest System in the tree stand makes you feel very secure on top of the tree. The thing that we didn’t like is its seat which is not comfortable for long hours. Also, there have also been some complaints around not receiving the harness with the tree stand. Make sure you call Amazon or the seller if in case you don’t receive it.

Pros

  • Extremely Lightweight (11 lbs)
  • Diameter of 4” - 22” fits most trees 
  • Very silent
  • Built of one-case aluminium for strength
  • 6-point Fall Arrest System for safety
  • Durable

Cons

  • Not a comfortable seat for sitting for long hours
  • Backpack strap is not so comfortable to carry the stand

Bottomline

A lightweight and a sturdy stand which is built to last.

Short Review

Another one from Summit which has the same features as Viper SD, except that the Goliath offers more space.

Just like the Viper SD, it has a seat assembly and a platform assembly, made of high-quality aluminium that ensures lightweight, durability and strength. The padded seat is comfortable with an adjustable height and provides a comfortable hunting experience with its backrest. 

It can hold up to 350lbs, even though it is lightweight. It weighs about 21lbs and the size is the distinguishing factor here. It is bigger than the Summit Viper SD and provides more room for people who are fond of extra space. For comparison of the size and weight of all the tree stands, you can refer to the table attached after the Product reviews.

Goliath SD has a RapidClimb technology which makes it easy for you to move around and adjust your leg positions. It has a 4-point Full body fall arrest system(harness) with safety strap and attached SRS strap. Along with it also comes a manual and safety DVD; make sure to check that out.

Overlooking a few disadvantages such as the instruction manual that we felt didn’t have clear instructions, and the cables that wear off the coating soon, this is an amazing product.

Pros

  • Very sturdy
  • Offers more leg room and seating space
  • Perfect for bow hunting
  • Most comfortable seat in the market
  • Silent
  • Easy to use
  • Feel secure
  • Can carry up to 350lbs

Cons

  • Shoulder straps are not so helpful
  • Does not come with a grip tape on footrest
  • Expensive than the Viper SD. Only buy if you are looking for that extra space and weight capacity.

Bottomline

Extra large Summit Goliath SD is a perfect tree stand for people who are looking for a comfortable hunting experience with more space in their climbing tree stand. 

Short Review

A hang on tree stand which offers an array of features and excels in safety.

It is made up of aluminium and is lightweight. Seat of this tree stand is well built with adjustable heights, from 16 inches up to 20 inches off the platform and side straps for added comfortability. It weighs about 19 lbs and can carry around 300 lbs. Size of this tree stand is a little bigger and provides more platform space where you can easily stand and shoot.

Generally the Hang on tree stands are one-piece models which makes it easier to install. Cable is double coated for extra durability. This tree stand can be installed even in a tree which is 15 degrees off vertical. The materials used here are carefully crafted to reduce any noise coming out of it.

It has a Full body harness which meets or exceeds the TMA(tree stand Manufacturing standards). Also comes with a safeLink for added protection.

However, we were disappointed with the strap quality. It is made up of a synthetic material and not very durable.

Pros

  • More platform space
  • Easy stand and shoot 
  • Breeze to install and set up 
  • Lightweight (19 lbs)
  • Harness meets the TMA - Safety ensured

Cons

  • Heavy when compared to the other brands
  • Strap quality is not so great

Bottomline

The best tree stand for safety, and a broad platform for sophisticated hunting.

Short Review

The X-Stand is the only ladder tree stand which provides room for 2 people on top. If you are planning to go hunting with a partner, this should be your pick.

X-Stand tree stand is made up of steel with Helix oval tubing design to make it extra strong when you climb. It also gives you an extra grip while climbing up and down. Seats are of comfort-flex mesh which can be flipped up and down for full use of the platform. Padded armrest adds more comfort. Shooting rail can be adjusted to the desired height. All the ladder tree stands are heavy and this is no exception to that. It weighs about 122 lbs and can carry around 500 lbs, which is good enough for 2 grown men. Height of this stand is 20 feet.

Ladder tree stands are quite tough to install but very easy to climb up/down. It has used Stealth silencers(self lubricating nylon washers) to reduce the noise. tree stand metal is coated with X-Stand’s weather defender for durability and to reduce the noise further. 

It also has accessories for holding 2 water bottles and also 2 hooks and a flip-out footrest for people who need extra comfort. It has a unique 3D camouflage pattern for an almost invisible hunting experience 😉

X-Stand comes with a two 4-point full body harness for consumer safety. Upper jaw safety system makes sure that the ladder is always attached to the tree.

Things we didn’t like is the adjustment that is required for smaller trees(less than 20 feet), but this can be overlooked as it is common for every ladder tree stand. Some customers also felt the Amazon packaging that it came with wasn't great.

Pros

  • Easy for climbing up and down
  • 2-person capacity
  • Weight capacity of 500 lbs
  • Comfortable seating with mesh support
  • Heavy duty
  • Helix oval tubing design for added strength
  • Comes with bottle holders and hooks for accessories

Cons

  • Not so popular these days
  • Very heavy and not portable
  • You will need 2 or 3 people for installation & lifting it up

Bottomline

A heavy duty tree stand with a comfortable seat and 2-seat capacity for regular hunters.

Product

Type

Platform Size

Seat size

Weight

Weight Capacity

Summit Viper SD

Climbing

20” W x 26.5" D

18” W x 12” D

20 lbs

300 lbs

Lone Wolf

Hang On

26" W x 19.5" D

14" W x 12" D

21 lbs

350 lbs

Summit Goliath SD

Climbing

20” W x 36" D

24.50” W x 37.50” D

21 lbs

350 lbs

Millennium

Hang On

24” W x 37” D

20” W x D 17” D

19.5 lbs

300 lbs

Maxauto

Ladder

42” W x 34” D

39” W x 17” D

122 lbs

500 lbs

Conclusion

Now that we have listed down how to carefully assess the key features of a tree stand, and also created mini-reviews for the 5 best products we found, it is time to announce the winner. 

Our pick for the best tree stand is the Summit tree stands Viper SD. Some stands have a 2-person capacity, but are bulkier. Some are extremely lightweight and may not be very durable. What we like about the Summit Viper SD is that it comes with a balanced feature set, and Summit is a trustworthy name when it comes to climbing tree stands. 

Be it the versatility in assembly types or the high-quality material such as aluminium that are used to construct the product, the Viper SD doesn’t disappoint. It is strong, lightweight and has a very comfortable seat that keeps you comfortable even for a day at a stretch. It’s easy to climb it up and down, and is safe as well. 

That is it for the article guys. Did you find our article helpful? Do you have any suggestions for us? We are all ears! Drop a comment to let us know. 

Happy and safe Hunting!

Mark Bennett
 

I have a serious thing for travel, outdoors and wilderness. I grew up in Oregon and camping outdoors with my father was one of the fondest memories of childhood. I enjoy camping and hiking and love to share what I've learnt over these years.