So you want to get a hang-on/lock-on tree stand but need to know which one is the right fit for you? Sharpshaft has got you covered with all the best hang-on tree stands for 2023
Our top choice on this occasion was the Lone Wolf Assault II. This chair wowed us with its impressive ease of setup, maneuverability (weighing in at only 14 lbs), and self-leveling seat. It truly is the definition of a great all-rounder.
But we didn’t just choose one winner. Here’s a selection of the top 6 hang-ons/lock-ons for whatever you might need from your tree stand:
- Best overall: Lone Wolf Assault II
- Best for comfort: Millennium Tree Stands M150 Monster Hang-on
- Best for a tight budget: Big Game Captain XL Hang-on Tree Stand
- Best for Big Guys: XOP-EXTREME Vanish EVO 2021
- Best for stealth: Hawk Helium Kick-back LVM Hang-on
- Best for Bow Hunters: Go Muddy The Boss
Who is this guide for?
Let’s be honest. Hunting is our passion, but it’s not all a bed of roses.
It can be cold out there. Sometimes hours and hours can go by before we even see what we’re trying to hunt.
And then what if we’re too exhausted to hunt because we’re lugging around kit that’s heavy enough to sink a ship?
And what if every time you wiggle to get comfortable in the most uncomfortable chair known to humankind, your dear friend, the chair, lets the entire surrounding ecosystem know where you’re hiding?
We all know the answer, don’t we?
That’s a guaranteed bad mood.
The wrong kit can really make or break your hunting experience.
So, Sharpshaft has put in the leg work to find you exactly what you’re looking for from your lock-on tree stand. Aside from our best overall pick, we’ve got a great budget pick, a stand for our bigger guys, one for our hunters who rely on stealth, and another for our comfort-seekers.
Keep reading to see why we chose each stand.
- Sharpshaft Content: best climbing tree stand on the market
- Sharpshaft Content: lightest hang-on tree stand on the market (8.5 lbs)
- Sharpshaft Content: lightest climbing tree stands on the market (11 lbs)
- Sharpshaft Content: best treestand safety harness
Why trust us?
We know that our readers come to us for well-researched, objective articles, and this time is no different.
Aside from owning a couple of these hang-on stands ourselves, we’ve found the top 11 hang-on tree stands readily available online by reading 25+ reviews, watching hours of video footage, and scouring the web for the best little tips and tricks we can pass on to you in our Sharpshaft top tips!
How we reviewed the best hang-on tree stands
We narrowed down our evaluation criteria to five key characteristics that we believe any half-decent hang-on tree stand needs to have: comfort, noise (or rather lack thereof), safety, stability & shooting, and maneuverability.
It goes without saying that anywhere we’re going to plant our butts for several hours needs to be comfy, to say the least. A range of hang-on stands are available, some with and some without backrests.
Remember to keep an eye out for the size of the stand, whichever one you choose. Especially if you’re a bigger guy. There’s nothing less conducive to a good hunt than being packed into your tree stand so tight that you can’t think, let alone take a shot.
Just like comfort, silence is a hunter’s best friend. It’s no secret to any seasoned hunter that the quieter we are, the more chances we have of actually hunting something. So, the less noise our hang-on stand makes, the better.
You’re usually onto a winner if there’s no metal-on-metal contact or the company has cushioned these areas with Teflon washers or something similar.
We never put safety as the first criterion because it’s hardly the most exciting characteristic that your hang-on can have. But we’d all be lost without it. Don’t skimp. Read the instructions on your stand and follow them to a T.
A few points to consider are the designated weight limit, the materials’ quality and durability, and the harness’s flexibility.
Remember that not all stands come with a safety harness, so you’ll want to factor that into your decision, too, as you can’t get off the ground without one.
Stability and shooting
Most people forget about stability and shooting when they’re choosing their stand. Don’t be too focused on your butt. If you’re only focusing on comfort, you might as well stay home on the sofa.
Think about the platform size you’ll need to get that golden shot.
SHARPSHAFT top tip: Map out the platform size on the ground with some tape to get a real idea of the proportions you’re looking at and how much movement you realistically get in that space.
Some hang-ons also come with fold-up seats, which can be a real advantage for those bow hunters who want to gain that extra range of movement.
Remember that to get your hang-on into the right place, you must travel with it to your chosen location and climb up a tree with it. It will only be possible if it weighs a ton or has a horribly awkward shape. Hence, maneuverability is key for these types of stands too.
You’ll want to look for something light and compact that’s easy to pack up and comes with handy gear, like carry straps.
You can check out our review of the Lightest hang-on tree stands in 2023.
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Best Hang-on Tree Stands in 2023
Best overall: Lone Wolf Assault II
When choosing our overall favorite, we stuck to the 5 key criteria mentioned above: comfort, noise, safety, stability & shooting, and maneuverability.
Let’s get the ball rolling with maneuverability. This hang-on blows most of the others out of the water. As well as weighing in at just 11 lbs, it’s one of the lightest tree stands out there by quite some way. Use, also sing its setup praises. It’s one of the easiest hang-ons to unpack and get in place and packs up so well that it’s easy to carry around with you, too.
It’ll also hold up to 350 lbs, making it one of only two hang-on stands we have found that will cater to this weight range.
Only a little to report on the noise front, which is a definite plus from where we’re standing. Some users have said there’s a little metal-on-metal contact when you collapse the stand to take it home. This can be sorted out with a little strategically placed tape.
Our research has also shown us that this is one of the most stable hang-ons out there, with many hunters stating just how secure they felt in a tree on this tree stand. Lone Wolf states that these hang-on stands adapt to trees anywhere from 4″ up to 22″, which is much better than most and gives you one less thing to worry about when picking your ideal hunting location.
Another huge plus for any bow hunter is a built-in bow holder at the front of the foot platform to rest your bow in, meaning less tension on the arms and more safety.
Oh, and let’s remember the self-leveling seat. Not only does this make this hang-on safer, but it’s got to add something to the comfort levels.
The only downside with this hang-on is, as hang-ons go, it probably could be more comfortable out there. It does have a padded seat that hunters claim is very comfy, but measuring just 12″ by 14″, it looks a little on the slender side to us.
Unfortunately, the platform is also the smallest of those we reviewed, measuring 19,5″ by 26″. It’s a decent enough size, but you will only be wiggling around a little up there. On the flip side, this small-sized platform will allow you to get into smaller gaps and more hidden climbing areas…so it’s not all bad!
- Weight limit (up to 350lbs)
- Super lightweight
- Easy to transport
- Easy to setup
- Built-in bow holder
- Self-leveling seat
- Adapts to many trees
- Not super comfortable
- Platform size
Best for comfort: Millennium Tree Stands M150 Monster Hang-on
Of all the hang-on tree stands we reviewed, this one from Millennium was one of only two with a backrest. And let’s be honest, no one fancies resting their back against a tree if they’ve got a choice. So this one was a clear winner in terms of comfort.
Aside from the backrest, the seat has other cleverly-designed features that make it all the more delicious to sit in. The chair has an ergonomic design that adapts to the shape of the body, and the sheer size of the seat, measuring up at a pretty impressive 17″ by 20″, make it just what your achy bones are after. And if that weren’t enough, you can adjust the seat’s height to get just the perfect amount of legroom.
It will also be a great hit with all those bow hunters. The platform with this hang-on measures a huge 24″ by 37″, and the whole seat packs up to give you even more space on that enormous platform to take that all-desired perfect shot!
But fear not, rifle hunters, as Millennium also has an optional shooting rail similar to the one you can find here.
As with most hang-ons, this tree stand comes with a standard weight limit of 300 lbs.
Regarding mobility, it also packs flat and is easy to carry around with you. However, all that comfort does come at a price, and that’s the weight of the beast. It’s definitely on the heavy side. Weighing a huge 19 lbs, you’ll probably not love lugging it around with you.
Another downside is that the Millennium is the second most expensive hang-on tree stand we have analyzed. It’s still within reach of the other cheaper options, though, and sometimes you have to pay a little more to get a little more. Who can put a price on a comfy backside, after all?
- Super comfy
- Fold-up seat – perfect for bow hunters
- Easy to flat-pack
- A little expensive
Best for a tight budget: Big Game Captain XL Hang-on Tree Stand
We love this Big Game Captain XL Hang-on tree stand. It’s rare to find such great value for money on hunting gear like this.
First, let’s kick things off by talking about the ease of setup. It’s easy peasy and is going to save you tons of time out there in the forest.
Users have also raved about just how sturdy this guy is. We’re not really surprised, given the enormous platform size of 24″ by 30″. Plenty of space to move around, take your shot, and do a merry jig (we’re just kidding!)
However, as with any budget product, the hang-on has a few criticisms. The first of these is the size of the seat. This one measures up at a skimpy 14″ wide by 8″ deep. Talk about sitting on the edge of your seat. The only upside is that it gives you more platform space to move around on.
Another slight drawback of this hang-on is its weight. It supports the standard weight limit of 300 lbs but weighs 18 lbs. It’s not the heaviest option by any means, but it is also far from being up there with the lightest.
It’s also just a tad on the noisy side. Hunters don’t quote this as a huge problem, but as you’ll probably save so much by going for this option, we’re hoping there’s a little left in the bank for something to take the edge off a few of the squeaks like this spray or wax.
- Price tag
- Easy to set up
- Space to shoot
- A little noisy
- A little heavy
- A little seat
Best for big guys: XOP-EXTREME Vanish EVO 2021
We were generally quite disappointed by the range of tree stands available for big guys. We did love this one, though.
The XOP-EXTREME Vanish EVO’s whopping price tag is the biggest downside. And it is whopping. But now we’ve got that out the way, let’s look at everything you get for that money.
First, as a big guy, you want a good weight limit on your hang-on tree stand to keep you safe. This one will keep any hunter up to 350 lbs safe in their chosen tree. Not bad going.
Second, you’ll feel even safer in this tree stand, knowing that its self-leveling device will stop you from hanging off the tree at a precarious angle.
And despite that level of sturdiness, this cheeky little hang-on is weighing in at just 10 lbs. Just 10 lbs. You’re going to be shimmying up that tree like a squirrel. It’s the lightest hang-on tree stand we analyzed in our research.
You’re also basically paying to sit in a cloud. The seat has 3 layers to it, making it a great choice for those looking for comfort. The seat isn’t the biggest in the world (13,5″ by 14″), but it is by no means the smallest option.
Another point worth mentioning is the size of the platform. There are definitely some hang-on tree stands out there with much bigger platforms. This one measures up at just 19.75″ by 27.5″. That’s not bad. Again, it’s not the smallest of the bunch. But if we compare it to Millennium’s 24″ by 37″, you can probably see why we’re slightly underwhelmed.
If you’re looking for a cheaper option with a similar weight limit, we’d recommend our overall favorite, the Lone Wolf. But remember, you’ll get a slightly less comfy seat and a smaller platform.
- Super lightweight
- The price tag
- Seat size
- Platform size
Best for stealth: Hawk Helium Kick-back LVM Hang-on
This hang-on has many virtues, which we will go on to tell you about. But clearly, we’ve chosen it because of its silence. It has self-lubricating Teflon washers that make for such silence that we created a new category for this hang-on. This is our stealthy favorite.
As with most other hang-ons out there, it’ll hold up to 300 lbs and has a self-leveling mechanism which we love. One less thing to worry about.
It’s also super comfy and has a nice little backrest that any hunter would be happy to lean against.
Another great thing about this hang-on is the size of the seat. It’s the biggest one we’ve come across in all our research, measuring 15″ by 21″. Definitely worth thinking about this one if you’re in the big-butt club.
The platform is also up there among the biggest that we’ve found, coming in at 26″ by 31,5″. That should give hunters more than enough space to get their shot on.
This hang-on also boasts more of Hawk’s fold-flat technology, making this tree stand compact enough to carry around as you search for your hunting spot for the day.
But, of course, all of this marvellousness does come at a price. And it’s not the $$$, as this tree stand comes in at around the average price. Unfortunately, this hang-on weighs in at 20 lbs, putting it right up among the heaviest tree stands we have researched. We doubt it will make you want to jump from tree to tree.
Besides that, this tree stand will be a great hit with any strong hunter looking for a solid all-rounder.
- Big platform
- Big seat
- Fold-flat technology
Best for Bowhunters: Go Muddy The Boss
Last but not least, we’ve got our best for bowhunters category.
So, let’s get right to it. Why do we love this stand?
Firstly, it’s got a quick and easy setup that any hunter will love. No time-wasting getting into position, and getting your stand set up means more time for hunting.
It’s also got that all-important low price tag, allowing you a little wiggle room in the budget to get some cool accessories like somewhere to hang your bow.
As well as that, it’s also a stealthy option, with no metal-on-metal contact to give you away.
But the best bit for us is the size of it.
The 24″ by 30″ platform has been treated with anti-slip technology to keep you safe as you move around on your tree stand, even on the dampest days. And the seat flips back to give you full use of it!
As with all decent-sized platforms, we’ve run into that age-old weight problem. We couldn’t classify this hang-on as a lightweight option, but weighing 17 lbs doesn’t make it the heaviest.
It’s probably not as comfy as some options out there. But with that much space and silence, it could be a good shout for all our bow hunters.
- Quick and easy setup
- Flip-up seat
- Decent-sized platform
- Price tag
- Not super comfy
- A little heavy
Q: Are Hang On Stands Safe?
As this article points out, most accidents happen when hunters are climbing up or down a tree, not when they are actually happily sitting in their tree stand.
However, there are definitely some top tips you can use to make climbing and the general tree stand experience safer.
First, choose a good, sturdy, straight tree without dead branches. Make sure it’s on good ground, too. We don’t want a gust of wind to come along and blow you over.
Next, invest in some good quality climbing poles & safety equipment. We’ve already written a little article about the best tree stand harnesses.
It’s a good idea to practice at home with a buddy so you’ve got your technique well-rehearsed before you find yourselves in the wilderness.
Lastly, remember that if your hang-on has been hanging on since last season, you will definitely want to check it over to ensure it’s still safe, there’s no rust, nothing has come loose, the ground conditions/tree haven’t suffered, etc.
SHARPSHAFT top tip: Never try to carry your weapon up with you as you climb. That’s a surefire disaster waiting to happen. Attach them to a line or rope you can pull up once you’re in position!
So, in short: Yes, of course, they are safe.
But you do need to know how to use them properly. Check out the TMA’s webpage for more information on keeping safe in a tree stand, and read the following FAQ on how to hang a hang-on.
Q: How Do You Hang a Hang-on Tree Stand?
The first step to doing anything for the first time is practice. Make sure you find a tree in the garden or close to home that you can go and practice on before the big day. It’ll make everything a lot less stressful and maximize hunting time.
- Get your first climbing stick in place.
- Get your stand & sticks ready. Have your sticks and ratchet straps on you to use, and attach your stand to a long rope that you can use to pull it up to you when you’ve reached the right height.
- Attach yourself to the tree using your climbing rope.
- Keep placing your climbing sticks using ratchet straps until you’ve climbed to the right height.
- Once you get to the desired height, attach your safety rope and tether yourself to it.
- Pull your stand up and attach it to the tree.
- Take off your climbing belt. You’re now safely attached to the tree.
- Fold down the platform.
- Double-check all straps and safety equipment
- Happy hunting
SHARPSHAFT top tip:
Always have a couple of spare ratchet straps in your backpack if you see one that’s deteriorated or doesn’t want to grip, never risk it – just grab a new one.
These friendly hunters have made a little video with some more safety tips that we recommend you all check out:
Q: What do hang-on stands require?
It’s always a good idea to ensure you have all your gear before setting off. Here’s a quick checklist of everything you’ll need:
- Hang-on stand (of course)
- Climbing sticks (usually 4, these are our personal favorites at the moment)
- Ratchet straps (at least 6+ spares)
- Safety gear (Click here to read our review of the best safety harnesses out there).
- Weapon of choice
- Bow hanger – bow hunters. (Check out these 3D-printed bow hangers we liked).
- Backpack filled with essentials
- First aid kit
- Spare rope &/or ratchet straps
- Ammo pack (rifle hunters)
Q: How High Should a Tree Stand Be for Bow Hunting?
There’s no “one size fits all” on this one, although most hunters tend to go for 17 – 20 ft off the ground.
The most important thing to consider is whether you’ll get a decent shot from that height and whether your tree will keep you stable (i.e., it doesn’t get too thin at the top).
Q: What Types of Trees Can I Hang a Hang On Tree Stand In?
The best type of tree to hang your stand in depends on where you find yourself and what trees you have available.
Nevertheless, there are some general principles you can follow. You won’t want to go for too young trees as they won’t offer you the support you need. Likewise, don’t go for anything that looks like it has seen better days. Your tree needs to be sturdy and well-rooted.
Think about your coverage too. Trees with a decent amount of leaf coverage will help to disguise you from whatever it is you’re hunting.
Remember tree diameter, too. Take a careful look at the instructions on your tree stand to ensure you choose a tree with which your stand will work well. Safety first, my friends.
In terms of specific types of trees, steer away from trees with large amounts of sap, like maples. They’ll deteriorate your tree stand.
Outdoor life recommends old oaks, cottonwoods, and cedars, so if you’ve got some around, they’re a good choice.
Q: What is the Minimum Tree Diameter for a Stand?
Generally speaking, you’ll be looking at somewhere between 9″ and 22″.
Nevertheless, it’s best to check the specs on the tree stand you buy, as they all vary slightly.
Q: Do Hang On Stands Damage Trees?
This is a tricky one to answer and really depends on the type of tree stand that you have. In general terms, trees are most damaged when their bark is tampered with in some way, leaving them open to infestation or rot.
In the case of hang-on tree stands, there’s not much to worry about on that front, as the stands are set up using straps that aim not to harm the tree in excess.
Common sense should be used anyway; if it looks like you’re damaging the tree, find a different spot or technique. A damaged tree isn’t going to support you the way a healthy one would, and we all need to take care of the forest we’re hunting in.
Q: Should I go for a tree stand or a ground blind?
This can be a tricky one.
It’s mostly a personal preference. If you don’t like heights, that’s a clear point in favor of a ground blind.
Jokes aside, though, it’s important to think about your ability to climb 20ft up into a tree and sit there for hours. A certain amount of athleticism is required to shimmy yourself up there, and that’s only for some.
On the other hand, depending on what it is you’re hunting, it might not even be necessary. Think about how to get the best shot and what angle you’re looking for.
If you decide to go for a ground blind, check out our review of the best ground blind chairs for 2023.
Q: What Is the Difference Between a Hang-on Tree Stand and a Climbing Tree Stand?
The first and most obvious difference is how you get into the tree. With a hang-on tree stand, you will use climbing sticks to help you get up. On the other hand, with a climbing tree stand, you have to support your weight on your arms and pull the base of the stand up with your feet.
The second might be the degree of mobility. There’s nothing worse than needing to come back down the tree when nature calls and having to bring your entire tree stand down with you. That won’t happen with a hang-on tree stand, though, as they can be left in position while a hunter climbs back down the tree. Pretty handy!
The third and final thing you need to consider is the type of hunting you’re doing and your experience level. Most hang-ons don’t come with any rail to rest your weapon on.
Many of them do, however, come with fold-up seats, which allow you to make the most of the space on the platform to take a better shot. That could be ideal for bow hunters. But you’ll need to bear in mind that, in that case, you’ll have no guardrail and nothing to stop you from stepping right off your hang-on if you’re not paying attention. So experience and practice are important here.
If you decide to check out climbing tree stands, look at our handy article on the best climbing tree stands of 2023.
Q: What Is the Difference Between a Hang-on Tree Stand and a Ladder Tree Stand?
As we always say, choosing a tree stand is an extremely personal decision.
The biggest difference between hang-ons vs. ladder tree stands is their maneuverability. Ladder stands are big and bulky and must be moved from one place to another. You don’t have the same freedom of movement as hang-on, or climbing tree stands.
Ladder stands are definitely not as subtle as hang-on tree stands, either. They’re much harder to blend into the trees and much more easily picked out. You’ll probably want to position your stand long before the season starts so that the animals in the area get used to seeing and smelling it.
On the flip side, ladder stands win in size and comfort; they are much bigger and thus have more room to move about.
Another good thing about ladder stands is that they can give you a feeling of being more secure than hang-ons, as you’ve normally got some guard rails, too. They could be a good idea for those wanting to hunt with a firearm.
Check out the video these avid hunters have made to summarise:
Q: Are Hang-on Stands Comfortable?
Due to the nature of the stand and the fact that you have to carry it up the tree with you as you climb, we’ve found that hang-on stands tend to boast fewer creature comforts than some other types of stands.
Some out there have heavily-padded seats, and a few even have backrests for the weary hunter to lean back on. Much more comfortable than resting your back straight on the tree, that’s for sure.
Q: What is the most comfortable hang-on stand?
Q: What is the lightest hang-on tree stand?
Most hang-on tree stands weigh up somewhere between 10 and 20 lbs. The lightest one we recommend was the winner of our “Best for big guys” category, and that’s the XOP-EXTREME Vanish EVO, which weighs just 10 lbs.
The lightest one we don’t recommend is the X-stand ground seat at a ridiculous 3 lbs because, well, it’s just intrinsically flawed. We don’t mind the Millennium Treestands M7 Microlite Treestand, which weighs 8.5 lbs.
So there you have it. That’s our round-up of the best hang-on tree stands of 2023 and the most important characteristics to keep an eye out for when choosing yours.
The best all-rounder for us is the Lone Wolf Assault II. It’s lightweight, easy to set up, and has some super surprising features we love.
If you’re looking for a hang-on that will not break the bank, go for Big Game Captain XL Hang-on Tree Stand. Big Game gives us a good value-for-money option that’s sturdy, easy to set up, and gives you plenty of shooting space.
All our hunters prioritizing stealth out there will want to look at the Hawk Helium Kick-back LVM Hang-on, which we chose because it’s silent, comfortable, and gives you plenty of room to move about.