Are you looking to take your bowhunting to new heights? Tree stands have come to be one of the most focused-on aspects of deer hunting, and manufacturers have gone to great lengths to design different kinds of tree stands with a wide variety of features that give you advantages.
If you’re new to tree stand hunting, or if you’ve been using an old tree stand for a while and are looking for something to give you a new edge, this is the list for you. We’ve looked over the tree stands on market, the numerous brands and types, and picked out our favorites. This article also goes through the ins and outs of tree stands so you know what you’re looking for.
Alternatively if you already know you want either a hang-on, climber or ladder tree stand, follow those links to guides with mode in-depth coverage and round ups with more choices for each type of tree stand.
The Best Tree Stand – Our Picks
- Millennium M150 Monster – Best hang on tree stand overall – An extra long platform and a comfortable seat make this ideal for all day hunting
- Big Game Hunter – Best ladder tree stand overall – A stand with plenty of room for those with a wide shooting stance
- Summit Treestands Viper SD – Best climbing tree stand overall – Quiet, lightweight design puts this tree stand on this top picks list
- Lone Wolf Alpha – A great hang on tree stand that will take 350lbs and isn’t bulky
- Rivers Edge RE56 – A great roomy and comfortable hang on tree stand
- Muddy Stronghold – A great ladder tree stand that’s comfortable, sturdy and roomy!
- Lone Wolf Wide Sit & Stand Combo II – Another great climbing tree stand with a wide front design
- Summit Goliath – A comfortable option for climbing tree stand lovers
- Big Game Striker XL – A comfortable and very safe ladder tree stand
Note: Our individual reviews are below, but you can also click any of the links above to check current prices on Amazon and other retailers
Table of Contents
Tree Stand Reviews
Millennium M150 Monster
The M150 Monster is one of their newer models, and they’ve made a lot of innovations that really make this an ideal tree stand all around.
The Millennium M150 Monster is constructed of aluminum, so it’s light but durable. The frame is expertly welded and keeps it stable against the tree. The straps are secure. Millennium has also added is the ability to level the platform. While simple, this unique innovation helps you get the most accurate shot possible. A metal adjuster can be extended or retracted against the tree to change the angle of the platform. You can adjust it however you want based on your stance and preferences.
Maybe the best thing about the M150 Monster is its seat. For starters, it’s very comfortable. The mesh seat is tightly woven and holds your weight while still maintaining rigidity. It’s even ergonomically shaped. The stand also has a convenient flip-up seat that you can adjust based on your height. For a bowhunter, the benefit of this cannot be overstated. The M150 maximizes the space you have in your tree stand.
The platform helps maximize space as well. It’s 24” wide and 37” deep. That extra depth allows for wide stances, especially if you flip up the seat.. The platform is also wider than many others in the back, so you have a lot more room to find the right stance. It even has a foot rest.
The M150 Monster is another quality Millennium tree stand you should check out if you need a tough, secure stand that’s also highly adjustable.
What we liked:
- Flip-up seat
- Long platform
- Platform can be leveled
What we didn’t:
Big Game Hunter HD
Bowhunters have varying stances, and some stances are wider and lower to the ground and they require a little extra room to spread those legs out. Also, some hunters are taller or larger than others, and their normal stance may simply take up more room.
That is why the Big Game Hunter HD 1.5 ladder tree stand is designed with those hunters in mind. The platform is a little wider measuring at 23.5” x 29” and the seat is wider as well for ultimate comfort. The weight capacity is 350-pounds, making this the perfect ladder tree stand for our big and tall hunters or hunters with a wide shooting stance.
Other features worth discussing including a flip-up shooting rail that is adjustable, padded, and removable. The entire structure is constructed from steel and it comes with two ratchet straps, two stabilizer straps, and one full body fall arrest system.
This ladder tree stand is super easy to install on any tree with a diameter wider than 9-inches. The tree stand has a total height of 18.6-feet.
What we liked:
- Designed for big and tall hunters or hunters with a wider stance.
- Supports up to 350-pounds.
- Full steel construction.
- Reaches over 18.6-feet tall.
- Shooting rail is adjustable, padded, and can be completely removed.
- Includes two ratchet straps, two stabilizer straps, and one full body fall arrest system.
What we didn’t:
- A bit bulky when compared to other tree stands.
Summit Treestands Viper SD
Summit Treestands has held a reputation for quality in the hunting world for years. The Viper SD is their flagship model, a great purchase for someone just learning to use climbing tree stands.
The Viper SD was one of the first climbing tree stands to take advantage of aluminum assembly. While still being strong enough to hold 300 lbs, this tree stand weighs only 20 lbs itself. The downside of the lightweight can be the small size, and larger hunters might find that they feel a little cramped.
Summit added an additional innovation to this tree stand as well. Sound deadening technology keeps the aluminum assembly from clanging together while you’re climbing the tree. Getting in position quietly is essential.
The Viper SD has a closed front. This limits your movement, but it adds security and stability. This is especially important for the bowhunter because you have to make much more exaggerated movements to use your weapon. The stand also comes with a full-body safety harness to ensure maximum safety.
This tree stand is covered with camouflaged foam that’s comfortable for long periods of time. You can also easily replace the foam which gives the stand more versatility.
The Viper SD has been Summit Treestands best-selling tree stand for 17 years for a reason. It’s a basic tree stand that fulfills a wide range of hunting needs. For the general hobbyist bowhunter, it’s a versatile tree stand that provides quality and safety for a great price. It’s for all these reasons that this one tops our best climbing tree stand list.
What we liked:
What we didn’t:
Lone Wolf Alpha II
If you are a larger hunter and are pushing the weight capacity of some of the other brands of tree stands, not to worry, the Lone Wolf Alpha II has a weight capacity of 350-pounds. That extra weight capacity does not come at the cost of having a bulky and hard to carry stand, the Lone Wolf Alpha II weighs a mere 14-pounds and comes with backpack straps to easily carry your tree stand on your back.
This tree stand is also good for awkward trees due to the self-leveling seat and platform combined with the addition of offset brackets. Create a customized and secure base by being able to individually adjust the seat, platform, and off-set brackets side-to-side until the absolutely perfect position is found for that particular tree.
The contoured foam seat measures at 14” x 12” while the platform has the dimensions of 19-½” x 30”. The set is comfortable, and the platform is large enough for standing shots. Installation is extremely easy with the Lone Wolf’s Versa Button fastening system. You also have the option to add the numerous benefits of the Lone Wolf’s E-Z Hang Hook system.
What we liked:
- Ultra-lightweight but exceptionally strong with a weight capacity of 350-pounds.
- Extremely easy installation.
- Best tree stand for awkward or irregular shaped trees.
- Comes with off-set brackets for additional support in providing a secure base.
What we didn’t:
- More expensive than other brands and models.
Rivers Edge RE56
Comfort does not have to be an unattainable luxury when choosing your next tree stand for the upcoming hunting season. With the Rivers Edge RE556 Big Foot TearTuff XL Lounger tree stand, you can be comfortable the entire time you occupy your favorite hunting spot.
The extra-large platform measures at 37” x 24”, providing extra room for standing shots and to stretch out the legs. The mesh seat and padded armrests both flip up independently allowing for full use of the entire platform. Also, when in the seated position, enjoy the added comfort of the Tear-Tuff backrest and built-in footrest.
This tree stand is also ultra-quiet with noiseless strap attachments and the aggressive lever-action stability provided by the built-in teeth that grip securely into the bark of the tree. This tree stand will never wobble and there are not metal to metal contacts that create unwanted noise.
A couple of last things to note. This entire structure is constructed from incredibly durable steel for extra strength and longevity. Also included is a safety harness to secure you into the tree stand while you occupy it.
What we liked:
- Extra-large 37” x 24” platform for increased mobility and comfort.
- Seat and armrests independently flip up to allow for more platform space during standing shots.
- Noiseless attachment with straps and toothed lever-action stabilizer bar to grip the tree bark.
- Built-in backrest and footrest.
- Includes a safety harness to secure you into the tree stand during occupancy.
What we didn’t:
- A little bulky and heavy.
If you are looking for a ladder tree stand that can give you the upper hand with a stealthy 18-foot vantage point, then look no further than the Muddy Stronghold. This ladder tree stand not only gives you the best vantage point, but it is also extremely strong and comfortable.
The entire structure is made from construction-grade steel that is treated with an easy-to-grip weather-resistant Fiber Guard powder coated finish. The seat itself is no ordinary seat, this tree stand features the Flex-Tek Zero Gravity seat with padded armrests, a flip-back footrest, and an adjustable shooting rail. All moving parts are equipped with stealthy silencers and nylon washers to prevent any possible noise.
The Muddy Stronghold ladder tree stand has an excellent safety rating with the adjustable support bar, two heavy-duty ratchet straps, two stabilizer straps, and a TMA-certified 4-point full body harness.
Dimensions are as follows: Seat and backrest: 24” z 14”, platform: 27” x 14”, seat height from platform: 24”.
What we liked:
- Built with construction grade steel.
- Supports up to 300-pounds.
- Features the Flex-Tek Zero Gravity seat providing unmatched comfort.
- Equipped with stealthy silencers and nylon washers to minimize noise.
- Includes two ratchet straps, two stabilizer straps, an adjustable support rail, and the TMA certified 4-point full body harness.
What we didn’t:
- Bulky and heavy to carry into the field.
Lone Wolf Wide Sit & Stand Combo II
The Wide Sit & Stand Combo II by Lone Wolf is a quality climbing tree stand made specifically with bowhunters in mind. Maybe the most impressive thing about this stand is the bow holder. It’s designed to hold most bows and really makes an all-day hunt that much more enjoyable.
Plus, the Sit & Stand is big. The platform is 30” by 19.5”, and the entire tree stand widens out away from the tree. This isn’t just important because it’s comfortable. It gives the bowhunter an advantage because he can have a higher range of motion with his weapon.
Despite its large size, the Sit & Stand is relatively light at 21 lbs. Even better, it folds down to a four-inch profile when packed. This makes the tree stand easier to carry, and it makes it a lot stealthier because it’s less likely to catch on every sapling and bush you pass on your way to your tree. The downside to this highly collapsible design is that it can be a little complicated to pack and unpack.
The climbing mechanisms on this tree stand are also innovative. They work really well, but like the packing design, this can be complicated for a hunter used to other tree stands. It also loses a point for its coloring, which is camo on the back of the seat but monocolor everywhere else. In reality, this probably doesn’t make much difference to the deer eye, but it might make you feel like you stick out.
Still, the Sit & Stand makes its way quickly and quietly up a tree, and when you get to the top, it’s comfy. The two-paneled foam seat contours to your posture, and the wide, open design of the tree stand gives you plenty of room. And of course, it has all the necessary safety features including a strong harness.
What we liked:
- Wide design
- Bow holder
- Highly collapsible
What we didn’t:
- Complicated to work
Hunters that are a little larger that find other climbing tree stands to be too small or too uncomfortable will be impressed with the Summit Goliath. With a weight capacity of 350-pounds, you can sit comfortably for hours knowing your tree stand is strong and sturdy.
For added comfort, the seat is foam padded as is the backrest. Some climbing tree stands do not have a backrest, but if you are a larger individual, the backrest does wonders for support and comfort.
The foam padded seat measures at 18” x 12” while the platform measures 30.75” x 21”. For additional safety precautions, the Summit Goliath comes with a full-body harness and fall arrest system with all the necessary hardware.
If you are at all concerned about noise, you do not have to be if you go with the Summit Goliath. Summit has designed a way to fill critical parts of your tree stand with expanding foam to silence any metal to metal contact noise. You will be free to move around in your tree stand without creating any unwanted noise.
What we liked:
- Expanding foam inserts inside of the metal tubing.
- Has a weight capacity of 350-pounds for larger hunters.
- Comes with a full-body harness and fall arrest system.
- Seat is foam padded for added comfort and measures at 18” x 12”.
- Platform is large enough for standing shots and some mobility measuring at 30.75” x 21”.
- Comfortable design.
What we didn’t:
- Could be made quieter
Big Game Striker XL
The Big Game Striker XL ladder tree stand is perfect for any hunter looking to take advantage of tall trees located on the edges of open fields, ponds, or meadows where deer frequent or pass through. At 17.5-feet, this ladder tree stand provides incredible views and maintains an excellent vantage point for any hunter.
If safety is a concern for you, which rightfully so, then the Big Game Striker XL has you covered there as well.
First, it is constructed from ultra-durable 100% steel.
Second, there are 3-single ladder sections that work in unison with the stand’s adjustable support bar, a 1-inch ratchet strap, and two 1-inch stabilizer straps to safely secure the stand to any tree that has a diameter of 9-inches or more.
Last, this tree stand’s platform provides ample room to manuever, measuring 17” x 22” and it also comes with a full body fall arrest harness system. The harness straps you into the stand to prevent any accidental slips or falls while taking a shot or simply adjusting your position. It is required that the safety harness meets industry safety standards implemented by the TMA.
A few smaller details that make the Big Game Striker XL ladder tree stand an excellent choice for any hunter are the stand’s built-in comfort and the shooting rail. The flip-up seat measures at 20” x 13”, is padded for comfort, and includes a 20” x 19” backrest for additional support. The padded shooting rail, like the seat, can flip-up as well and it provides another degree of fall-prevention.
Feel secure at all times with this durable and incredibly sturdy steel ladder tree stand in combination with the full body fall arrest harness system. Holds up to 300-pounds.
What we liked:
- Built with safety in mind and includes the full body arrest harness system.
- Comfortable seat that includes additional back support with a backrest.
- Includes an adjustable support bar, two stabilizer straps, and one ratchet strap.
- Incredible vantage point rising above 17.5-feet.
What we didn’t:
- A little bulky to carry into the field. Better to set up before the hunting season starts.
How high should a tree stand be?
The ideal height for your tree stand depends on a few factors. Your tree stand should be high enough to give you a good view of the surrounding area, but not so high that you can’t see through the tree cover.
Your tree stand should also be high enough that your scent is caught on the wind and carried away instead to the noses of nearby deer. The funnest way to figure out what height this is is with a kite, but you could also just climb a tree or ladder.
For both these factors, the ideal height tends to be around 16-20 feet, and you’ll notice that most ladder tree stands are manufactured in this range. If you’re a bowhunter, you have to pay extra attention to height because you have to be high enough that the deer don’t notice you drawing the bow. This means you have to be a little higher up than a rifle hunter. You should probably err closer to the 20 feet, maybe going up to 22.
The Types: Hang-On, Ladder or Climber?
Climbing tree stands are nifty inventions that allow you to scale the tree using the tree stand itself. The weight of the stand uses a fulcrum system to create pressure against the tree and keep the stand locked in place. The platform and seat are separated, so you can release the weight on one part to bring it higher. This way you basically inchworm your way up the tree.
Climbing tree stands maximize versatility and portability. They’re usually very light and can be carried easily in and out of the woods. Plus, you don’t need anything else to get you into the tree. If you like to try out a lot of different spots over the season, or if you can’t leave your stand up because you hunt on public land, climbing tree stands are great options.
Hang-on tree stands keep some of the portability of the climbing tree stands while adding a little bit of stability as well. They’re a good intersection. The stands are light and collapsible, so you can carry them in and out of the woods no problem. They come with strong brackets or straps to attach them to the tree. This lets you leave the stand up if you want. Alternatively, you can buy extra sets of brackets or straps and leave them up in various trees. Then you can carry your stand to whichever tree you want to hunt from.
The downside of hang-on tree stands is that they’re difficult to get into. Most hunters opt for climbing sticks which you attach to the tree leading up to the stand, and this means one more thing to either carry or leave in the woods.
Hang-on tree stands are ideal choices for anyone who’s hunting a new place and might want to leave their stand up if they find a good spot. They can also be a good choice for anyone who wants the versatility of a climbing stand but also wants something a little more secure.
Ladder tree stands aren’t very portable, but they maximize stability. They’re meant to be left in trees for the whole season, maybe even for years. As a result they’re strong, durable and safe. The frames and ladders are made of tough materials, and the platforms tend to be larger. This means you have more room for your stance.
Of course, the tradeoff for this is weight. Ladder tree stands are much heavier than climbers or hang-on stands, so it would be difficult to move them around even if you wanted to. You might not even be able to set it up by yourself. Consequently, ladder tree stands are great choices for someone who has a great spot picked out that they plan to hunt over and over.
Need a second man?
Climbing and hang-on tree stands are usually meant for one person, and you can usually operate them alone. Ladder tree stands, on the other hand, often need more people to set them up, especially if they’re heavy. One person holds the ladder in place while the other lifts it up and fastens it to the tree.
If the ladder tree stand is on the lighter side, you might be able to put it up yourself. You will have to hold the ladder in place somehow. One way to do this is to bend rebar over the bottom rung to keep it from sliding.
What type is best for bowhunting?
The best kind of tree stand for bowhunting depends on the situation and area, but in general, we’re partial to climbers. A bowhunter can hunt a much longer season, which means different phases of the deer life cycle. Different phases mean different strategies, so a versatile stand is key.
Climbing tree stands also let you more easily find your ideal height. Like we mentioned, height is more important when bowhunting, and this also gives you more versatility when hunting different seasons because the tree cover will change.
How comfortable is it going to be?
You’re going to be spending a long time in your tree stand. You want it to be comfortable. The seat is the most important factor to this. Consider whether it has a seatback and whether it’s padded or woven mesh. Padding will be softer, but woven mesh more supportive.
The size is also important. Larger seats and platforms allow you to stretch out more and change positions, so make sure thetree stand you pick is big enough for you.
Finally, check the extra comfort features the tree stand has. These could be things like footrests, armrests or bow holders. If you’re going to be in your stand all day–or even just several hours–every little bit will make a difference to how much you enjoy the hunt.
How portable is it?
If you’re going to be carrying your tree stand in and out of the woods or to other spots for hunting, you need to make sure it’s not going to be a hassle. Weight and size are obviously important to this. A heavier or larger stand will be inconvenient to carry. Also look at how collapsible it is, though. Some tree stands fold down flat while others end up in bulky shapes that are hard to carry.
What safety features are included?
In most places tree stands are required to come with a safety harness and strap. These are absolutely necessary when you go stand hunting.Be sure your stand has one, and if not, you need to find your own.
See if the tree stand you’re considering have other safety features as well. This can mean things like fall arrest systems that make it less likely your stand will fail and fall from the tree.
Is it quiet?
Tree stands are big metal contraptions, so clanging and making noise is an associated risk. A lot of tree stands take measures to prevent this, so look at what they have before choosing one. Sound deadening technology is one thing that numerous modern tree stands feature that make them much quieter in the woods.
Also consider the quality of the construction and the welding. The more moving parts a tree stand has, the more likely it is to make noise. For ladder tree stands especially, make sure the ladder is as sturdy as possible so it won’t be loud while stepping on it.
A few tips from the experts
Pick the right tree
Your tree is everything when deer hunting. Your tree has to provide you cover while still giving you adequate shooting lanes. It has to be tall enough that you can see long distances but not so tall that the tree canopy blocks your view. Take time to find the right tree regardless of the tree stand you’re using.
Put your gear in the right place
Sometimes your trophy buck pops out when you’re least expecting it. Your gear needs to be easily accessible to take a quick shot. This is especially important for bowhunters. First of all, you have more gear to grab. Second of all, an awkward, bungled grab for your bow might be loud enough to scare off the deer. Be organized and keep everything close.
Keep your tree stand healthy
It might not seem like it, but tree stands are made of many little machines that require maintenance. Before each season you should check that every part of your tree stand, especially the safety features, are in tip-top shape. If it’s a climbing tree stand, make sure the teeth and fulcrum mechanisms still keep the stand tight to the tree. If it’s a hang-on, make sure the brackets or straps are strong and functional. If it’s a ladder tree stand, make sure everything is bolted together tight and that the ladder is safely attached and hasn’t been worn down.