Imagine for a moment, you are deep in the thick woods on a Whitetail hunt and find yourself within striking distance of a “Trophy” buck; unfortunately, the buck has found himself a game trail on the far side of thick brush, giving you no opportunity to get off a shot and leaving you empty handed.  This is an all-too-real scenario for archery and muzzleloader hunters that do not come prepared with a tree stand that allows one to get an optimal shooting and viewing angle while hunting in a platform or tree.  By attaining a higher angle in comparison to targets below, hunters are more efficiently able to view and fire at incoming target animals from greater distances with minimized obstacles that are faced while on the ground level.

When it comes to finding the best tree stand for the budget, there is a wide availability of options, such as ladder stands versus climbing stands and within each category there are multiple factors to consider when finding the best tree stand that will meet the needs of your next hunting season.  In this guide, we will take a closer look at the multitude of options available and the benefits that best tree stands for the money provide for various hunting scenarios.

Top Tree Stands – Comparision Table

ImageNameCategoryWeight/SizePriceOur Rating
Millennium Treestands L220 18 ft. Double Ladder Stand with Folding SeatsLadder Stand103 lbs.$$$$$4.6 / 5.0
Millennium Treestands L110 21 ft. Single Ladder Stand with Folding SeatLadder Stand92 lbs.$$$$4.5 / 5.0
Rivers Edge 2 Man Bowman Ladder StandLadder Stand104 lbs.$$$5.0 / 5.0
Lone Wolf Wide Flip Top Climber TreestandClimbing Stand21 lbs.$$$$$4.2 / 5.0
Summit Treestands 180 Max SD Climbing TreestandClimbing Stand23 lbs.$$$$4.6 / 5.0
Summit Treestands Viper SD Climbing Treestand
Climbing Stand20 lbs.$$$4.9 / 5.0
Guide Gear Hunting Hang On Tree StandHanging Stand18 lbs.$4.2 / 5.0
Johnson 360 Tree StandHanging Stand55 lbs$$$5.0 / 5.0
Guide Gear 13ft. Deluxe Tripod Deer Stand Tripod Stand112 lbs.$$4.2 / 5.0
Sniper Sentinel Tripod Deer StandTripod Stand75 lbs. $$$3.7 / 5.0

What is a Tree Stand?

A tree stand is a device used to gain a higher viewpoint and shooting position in relation to targets on the ground below by giving hunters the ability to maintain an elevated point among a tree.  There are multiple options of tree stands that allow a hunter to gain elevation while hunting, including ladder tree stands, climbing tree stands, tripods, and additional non-traditional stand options.  We will take a closer look at the best stands available in the market to meet the varying needs of hunters looking to make the most out of their next outing.


Best Ladder Tree Stands

Ladder tree stands are identified as being a great option for hunters looking to have optimal stability while on a hunt and safety when climbing to an elevated position.  With a fixed ladder that adds support to the stand above and is braced in the middle with an attachment to a tree, a ladder tree stand provides peace of mind when hunters are climbing in darkness or within natural elements commonly experienced while on a hunt, such as rain or snow.  Ladder tree stands are produced in one-person or two-person varieties that also allow the ability for hunters to bring along valuable aid on a hunt.

#1: Millennium Tree stands L220 18 ft. Double Ladder Stand with Folding Seats Review

The Millennium Tree stand L220 18ft. provides a stable stand position at a height of 18 feet.  The Millennium Tree stand provides a double rail ladder that has been designed for durable performance and enhanced stability.  The stand, itself, on top of the ladder has been constructed to provide both efficiency and comfort for hunters with the ability to allow for both sitting and standing positions which is optimal when looking for mobility when viewing or aiming.  Additionally, the Millennium Tree stand L220 has an adjustable and padded shooting rail, arm rest, and foot rest to provide comfort in hunts of longer duration.  When looking for a tree stand that provides stability and hunter rotation or movement, this option is hard to surpass but is limited in height to 18 feet.

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#2: Millennium Tree stands L110 21 ft. Ladder Stand with Folding Seat Review

Similar in comfort and stability to the L220, the Millennium Tree stand L110 has been designed with both functionality and comfort in mind.  At an increased elevation of 21 feet, the single ladder stand of the Millennium L110 immediately provides an advantage of greater viewing capabilities while still providing stability and safety with a fixed ladder system.  An adjustable tree brace and included stabilizing strap helps to ensure the entire stand from ground-level to platform is secure and fortified, which can be highly beneficial when the cold winds of fall arrive right alongside opening morning.  A double-sized platform that has a weight capacity of 300 lbs is beneficial for both mobility and storage when multiple gear elements are important to have a successful hunt.

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#3: Rivers Edge 2 Man Bowman Ladder Stand Review

As one of the most cost efficient ladder stands available on the market, the Rivers Edge 2 Man Bowman Ladder Stand provides a V-shaped platform at 19 feet 9 inches above ground level that allows for two hunters to be highly concealed against the trunk of a tree.  The two seats attached to the top of the platform have a mesh design that are both comfortable and durable and can be adjusted to a vertical position quickly to allow for greater use of the platform when mobility is needed or if the stand is only in use by one hunter.  At an elevated position of nearly 20 feet, the Rives Edge 2 Man Bowman Ladder Stand helps hunters to be winded by nearby animals while also maintaining security in climbing with a ladder system as opposed to free climbing.

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Best Climbing Tree Stands

A climbing tree stand, in contrast to a ladder stand, does not have a ladder to climb to a given elevation, but rather the stand itself becomes a climbing mechanism that allows a hunter to increase his or her position while on a hunt.  A climbing tree stand uses two primary parts: standing platform and sitting platform.  The standing platform and sitting platforms of the stand are angled into the tree one at a time and pulled up by a hunter to climb the tree, alternating from standing platform to sitting platform on the climb upwards.  A climbing stand is limited by how high branches begin on a tree, as the wrap portion of the climbing stand cannot be impeded by limbs or branches to gain additional height.  In addition to the stand and tree-connection or wrap, a climbing stand is accompanied with a safety harness utilized by hunters to avoid injury if a potential fall or mechanical breakdown were to occur.

#1: Lone Wolf Wide Flip Top Climber Tree stand Review

With a carrying weight of only 21 lbs, the Lone Wolf Wide Flip-Top Climber is a great choice for hunters looking for ease in transport for hunts that can extend the extra mile.  Lone Wolf has developed a pivoting sit and climb bar that allows a hunter to use a seated position while climbing trees anywhere from 9 to 19 inches in diameter and can support up to 350 lbs.  With a padded seat that is mounted somewhat high in relation to the foot platform, hunters are immediately positioned strategically for any potential target that may arrive suddenly.  Ideal for archery hunters, the Lone Wolf stand also provides an In-Cast bow holder that helps hunters to effectively balance and keep track of equipment during the day and provides the ability to “have it when you need it.”

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#2: Summit Tree stands 180 Max SD Climbing Tree stand Review

Providing one of the most comfortable vantage points for taller or larger hunters, the Summit Tree stands 180 Max SD Climbing Tree stand incorporates an extended top-frame, backrest, and foam seat that makes even the longest hunts comfortable.  In addition to comfort, safety is at top of mind with Summit Tree stands as they provide a 4-point safety harness and climb stirrups with the purchase of the 180 Max SD.  With a weight capacity of 350 lbs and the ability to be either tree-facing or outward-facing while on a hunt, the adjustability and reliability of the 180 Max SD Climbing Tree stand helps to meet the need of a full range of hunters of all shapes and sizes while providing a full range of motion and viewing capability.

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#3: Summit Tree stands Viper SD Climbing Tree stand Review

The highest-rated climbing tree stand recognized with a 4.9/5.0 Rating is that of the Summit Tree stands Viper SD.  Designed with sound deadening technology and an exceptionally solid frame, the Viper SD both provides stability and stealth on a hunt that are both critical in their own regard.  Beyond hunting efficiency, Summit Tree stands supports their construction and design by providing a 5-year warranty for the Viper SD and additionally provide a 4-point safety harness with purchase, similar to other Summit Tree stand options available.  The Viper SD is versatile for both archery and rifle hunters as it has been designed with a seat that can be easily raised or lowered, meeting the diverse needs of all hunters and shooting positions required.

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Best Hang-On Tree Stands

A hang-on stand, or hanging stand, provides a platform similar to that of a ladder stand but without the ladder.  A hunter uses climbing sticks or screw-in steps to gain in elevation on a tree and connect the hang-on stand to a tree at a desired height with the use of chains or cables.  A key benefit in relation to ladder stands or climbing stands is that hang-on tree stands are not limited in height by branches or limbs that may be lower on some trees, but the required skill and action of climbing in a free-setting is not for all hunters.

#1: Guide Gear Hunting Hang On Tree Stand Review

As a hunter looking to find the best in terms of simplicity and the best for cost-efficiency, the Guide Gear Hunting Hang On Tree Stand is the best choice.  With an outstanding 300 lbs capacity, the easy-to-set-up hang on stand is lightweight at 18 lbs which makes transport through backpacking hunts or hike-in hunts hassle-free.  2 ratchet-straps are included with the purchase that are used to fasten the Guide Gear Hunting tree stand to a given tree without hindering the viability of the tree after the hunt is complete.  With the ability to climb as high as a hunter is comfortable, the versatility of the Guide Gear Hunting tree stand allows for optimal viewing potential as impeding obstacles faced by other types of stands are no longer of a concern with the upward mobility and sturdiness of this stand.

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#2: Johnson 360 Tree Stand Review

How many trees have you seen that provide branches and limbs that grow at 90 degree angles?  Many branches of trees grow at awkward and unique angles, making most tree stands inadequate for the challenge of creating a beneficial and stable shooting position for a hunter.  The Johnson 360 Tree Stand has been designed to meet this challenge often faced by hunters from around the globe.  Designed to mount in crooked trees up to a 45 degree angle and to have the ability to adjust the base in all directions, the Johnson 360 Tree Stand is a definite buy for hunters that may be facing new or random tree locations where they are unsure of the angles provided by Mother Nature.  In addition to versatility, the Johnson 360 provides an adjustable seat for both height and rotation on a platform that leaves plenty of room for additional gear or for the ability to stand when shooting.  This is an all-around great buy for hunters comfortable in scaling trees.

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Best Tri-Pod Tree Stands

A tri-pod tree stand is a free standing piece of hunting equipment that allows a hunter to set up an elevated stand position without the use of a tree.  This type of stand can be valuable for hunters in locations that are void of tall or stable trees that are looking to maintain the benefits of an elevated viewing and shooting position.  This type of stand can be used on big game hunts, such as with whitetail deer, or in small game or bird hunting, such as with ducks where an elevated shooting position near water’s edge may provide an advantage in certain locations.

#1: Guide Gear 13 ft Deluxe Tripod Deer Stand Review

The Guide Gear 13ft Deluxe Tripod Deer Stand immediately allows a hunter to gain an elevated position when trees in a hunting location are not suitable for other types of tree stands.  The 13ft provided with the Guide Gear stand help hunters to view over shrubbery or other objects that may be in the way of game trails or water areas that may have otherwise been obscured without the ability to gain in elevation.  With a 360 degree swivel seat that is padded with a backrest, a hunter will not only have a full range of viewing, aiming and shooting at given targets, but do so in a highly comfortable manner.  The extended legs of the tripod have been designed with a 6-position adjustment system that allows for a level shooting platform even if the ground below is unlevel.  With a carry-weight of 112 pounds, the tripod stand from Guide Gear is not one to take on an extended hunt that spans a great distance, but provides exceptional value for close-range hunts where large or stable trees are hard to come by.

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#2: Sniper Sentinel 12 ft. Tripod Deer Stand Review

For hunters looking to gain an elevated position in areas such as a clearing or meadow, swamp edge, or among young trees and shrubbery, the Sniper Sentinel 12 ft. Tripod Deer Stand provides an exceptional hunting tool to bring the benefit of elevation into play in areas that otherwise would not be supported.  With 360 degree shooting and viewing rotation, padded armrests, and a stationary shooting rail, the Sniper Sentinel is a beneficial stand for the rifle or archery hunter looking to maximize range and stability on a hunt.  With 75 lbs carry weight and being able to support up to 300 lbs on the stand, this tripod stand provides a reasonable ability of transportation between multiple hunting locations, especially with the folding technology of the three legs.

It’s hard to beat the value of elevation and stealth provided by a tree stand, but these top quality tripod stands work hard to meet the need of hunters in locations with limited availability of stand-worthy trees.

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How to safely install and use a climbing tree stand

The best options of tree stands are out there to meet the needs of hunters in varying locations from around the world.  From hunters that are looking for stability in the trees at a reasonable distance to experienced climbers, to hunters that do not have trees available to them, there is a solution to meet every need and skill-set.  Take the time today to match your needs to the benefits available in this tree stand options and have an even more successful hunt with an elevated position.


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