Spreader bars are one tool that anyone into bondage should have in their toy bag. They combine the vulnerability and restraint of bondage furniture with the approachability, convenience, and ease of storage you expect from under bed restraint systems. That’s a pretty ideal combination if you ask me.
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1. Bondage Boutique Leg SpreaderPrice: $84.99Pros:
- Expandable from 18 to 26 inches
- Real leather ankle and hand cuffs
- Breaks down to three pieces
- Cuffs do not detach
- Not vegan
- Padlocks not for beginners
If you’re most interested in bondage that involves both the ankles and wrists, check out the Bondage Boutique Leg Spreader. The expandable metal bar has four attached cuffs, two for ankles and two for wrists, made of real black leather and lined with faux fur for comfort.
Using the two pins, you can adjust the length of the bar from 18 inches long to 26 inches long. As the bar expands, the space between the wrist cuffs grows so the distance between the wrist cuff and the ankle cuff beside it always stays the same.
These are fixed cuffs so you don’t have to mess with attaching chains or special clips or worry about the cuffs accidentally coming off mid-session. For comfort and safety, the ankle cuffs have some swivel to them but the wrist cuffs are firmly static. The downside to this is that you can’t swap out any of the cuffs for your own and when you’re not using the wrist cuffs you can’t remove them.
The cuffs close with a metal loop fitted through a slot that is held in place with a small lock. These types of cuffs aren’t secure unless you’re using something to keep the loop from slipping out of place so the set includes four mini padlocks and eight keys so you’ll always have spares just in case. Don’t get me wrong, cuffs that require a lock and key are hot and I appreciate the drama of it, but they probably aren’t the best choice for someone new to bondage. If the sub decides they want to end the scene and get out of the bondage right now, it’s going to take a moment to get a hold of the keys and unlock each restraint. For beginners to bondage, I always suggest velcro, quick-release cuffs.
2. Talea Spreader Cushion by LiberatorPrice: $145.00Pros:
- Unique padded spreading bar
- Four velcro cuffs
- Doubles as position aid
- Good for beginners
- Harder to swap for your cuffs
- Can't adjust length
- Too friendly-looking for some
Liberator has a completely unique take on the bar with the Talea Spreader Cushion. It’s a metal spreading bar contained within a cushioned pillow with a removable waterproof cover. This makes the bar a lot more approachable for beginners as well as more comfortable to have to lay on.
A huge bonus of this design is that the cushion can be used as a positioning aid to help lift the hips and take the strain off your lower back. These sort of position cushions have been found to help lovers reach the G-spot and have deeper, more satisfying romps.
The Talea comes with four velcro cuffs, two on either end. These cuffs attach to the bar using a seatbelt-style connection which is nice and convenient but gets in the way if you want to substitute your own, higher quality cuffs. There is a D-ring there to attach your own cuffs but that chunky plastic connection remains in place.
The cushion is 30 inches long and firm enough to support the weight of two bodies.
3. Purple Reins Thigh SpreaderPrice: $29.99Pros:
- Keep thighs farther apart than ankle cuffs
- Padded velcro thigh cuffs
- Metal is covered nylon
- Cuffs don't detach
- Won't fit all thighs
- Can't adjust length
- Keeps thighs from spreading wider
The thing with spreader rods is that, if you’re flexible, even if your ankles are being held apart, you can still sort of squirm to pull your knees together. The Purple Reins Thigh Spreaders take care of that.
It’s made up of a 12-inch metal beam that’s covered in purple nylon with two attached padded velcro thigh cuffs. The beam prevents the wearing from closing their thighs at all. Each cuff is made of purple nylon with a black foam padding liner. They can be adjusted to fit a circumference of 13 to 20 inches so if you have bigger legs, it’s worth doing a quick measure to make sure these will fit. The bummer is that the cuffs are permanently attached to the beam so you can’t swap them out for larger or more secure thigh cuffs of your own.
Purple Reins also makes a matching purple ankle spreader as well.
4. Exreizst Two-Bar Spreader Set & CuffsPros:
- One small and one large bar
- Four leather cuffs included
- Endless configurations
- Cuffs aren't quick-release
- May not want two bars
- Chains give ankles more movement
Get double the restraints for your money with Exreizst’s Two-Bar Spreader and Cuffs Set. It comes with one expandable bondage bar, one shorter bondage bar, two wrist cuffs, two ankle cuffs, four mini padlocks with keys, four connector rings, and two attaching chains. It also comes with a velvet pouch for storage. The cuffs can be attached in nearly any configuration to contort your sub into all sorts of fun positions.
This two-bar package is nice for beginners who want to start with a very small bar for their ankles and then slowly work their way up to using the standard size bar. Alternatively, it’s also nice for people who want to connect ankles to the long bar and wrists to the short bar.
The four connector rings slot open and closed (almost like shower curtain rings) and these are how you lock the expandable bar to the length you want. They can also connect to each other so there’s the ability to connect the leg bar to the wrist bar to really immobilize your sub.
It comes with four real leather cuffs with a soft cashmere lining. They have buckle closures with a tiny ring on the buckle so you have the option of using the included four mini padlocks to lock the cuffs in position. This is fun for more experienced users, but I always suggest beginners stick to cuffs that are quick to remove.
The shorter bar measures 12.9 inches and the longer bar expands from 23 inches to 35 inches long. Exreizst offers a wide range of colors in their bondage sets. I’m featuring the classic black on black but they have brighter options like red bars with red cuffs, rose gold bars and red cuffs, and silver bars with black cuffs.
5. Scandal Expandable Leg Spreader BarPrice: $59.99Pros:
- Red damask patterning
- Makes fewer clanking sounds
- Expands to three feet long
- Breaks down for storage
- Does not come with cuffs
- Black gap in center
- No storage bag
Sometimes form is as important as function and the Scandal Expandable Bar by California Exotics delivers on both. Its foundation is a solidly built three-piece metal rod, sturdy enough to get the job done and more. That is covered in a black and red cover with a sensual damask pattern.
It looks attractive, which is great, but this fabric covering gives just enough padding to help dull the metal-on-metal clanging sounds you typically get with spreading bars as they smack against chains, metal connectors, and metal cuffs. I’ve lived in thin-walled apartments. Having sound-dampened options can be a lifesaver.
When not in use, the bar breaks down into three pieces: two sides and one center pole not covered in fabric. The expanding function works by adjusting how much of this center pole fits into the two side poles and locking that in place with the included pins. This is how my current bar works and it’s simple and quick. That does mean, however, that when the pole is expanded, there will be a gap of black uncovered pole in the center.
Keep in mind that this bar does not come with cuffs. There are two tie-down rings on either side that are compatible with most any cuff with a connector but this is a BYOC (bring your own cuffs) situation.
6. Sportsheets Nylon-Covered Bondage BarPrice: $34.99Pros:
- No metal clanking
- Beginner-friendly velcro
- Straight-forward design
- Attached ankle and wrist cuffs
- Not expandable
- Doesn't break down for storage
- Can't switch out cuffs
- Looks cheaper than others
For those with roommates or kids, having a toy with lots of metal clanking together isn’t ideal so Sportsheets made their Bondage Bar. It’s a rigid fiberglass bar covered in nylon with attached nylon ankle and wrist cuffs. Because all the hard components are covered in nylon, there are no bits to bang together so you can be a little more subtle in your play. (Or, the leg spreader will be more subtle but I can’t speak for the rest of you.)
The four cuffs have a velcro closure so they’re easily adjustable as well as quick to put on and take off. This makes them great for bondage newbies who are still working out their comfort level to restraints.
Sportsheets’ Bondage Bar is a simple, no-nonsense option but it’s solidly made like all their bondage products. We have their over-the-door cuffs system and it’s held up for years. The only downside is that you can’t replace the cuffs with your own or adjust the length of the bar. It stays 24 inches long which is a decent size.
7. Dominix Deluxe Inflatable Spreader SetPrice: $36.99Pros:
- Deflates for storage and travel
- More approachable
- Uses air instead of a metal bar
- Isn't as intimidating
- No satisfying weight
- Not as durable and strong as metal
The clever Dominix Inflatable Spreader Set skips the metal bar altogether and gets all its rigidity from air. It’s made up of a 29 inches long tube with included cuffs on either end and, once inflated with your breath, the tube holds its structure and keeps the cuffs away from each other. It achieves the same results but without the heavy, metal bar some may find uncomfortable or cold.
A huge benefit to using an inflatable beam is that when it’s not in use you can deflate the tube and fold your spreader bar up into a tiny little package. Even bars that break down into three pieces are still three long-ish metal rods to store but this one compresses to almost nothing. That makes it perfect for bringing with you on vacation, to conventions, or for storing someplace out of the way where no one will find it. Plus, if you keep it separated from the cuffs, even if someone does find it, they likely won’t have any idea what this black deflated pool float really is.
This set comes with the inflatable bar, two velvet-lined velcro cuffs, and a velvet blindfold. The ends of the tub have tie-down loops making it easy to swap out your own cuffs if you don’t love the ones it comes with.
It’s worth saying that this one won’t feel as menacing as metal versions so if the intimidation factor is big for you, this might not be the bar for you. Other the other hand, there’s something amusingly cruel about the idea of making your sub inflate the tube while you watch.
8. Fetish Bondage SetPros:
- Made of stainless steel
- Includes mini collar bar
- Four locking cuffs and one collar
- Expandable bar
- Not real leather
- Cuffs aren't quick-release
- Too intense for some
Go all-in with this Fetish Bondage Set which includes an expandable spreading bar, wrist cuffs, ankle cuffs, four mini padlocks with keys, a collar, and a smaller bar.
This mini restraint bar has one larger ring to connect to the collar and two smaller rings. These two small rings can be attached to the wrist cuffs, the ankle cuffs, or to the larger spreading bar itself. With all the carabiners and rings included here, you’ve got an expansive array of configurations to play with.
The bars are made of rust-resistant, durable stainless steel and the cuffs are PU faux leather. The locks for the cuffs fit into a small metal loop on the buckle closure to secure the cuffs in place. This is great for keeping the restraints nice and secure but not a good choice for bondage beginners who may decide they want out of the bondage sooner rather than later when you’ve been fiddling with the keys for five minutes.
While the listing doesn’t specify the starting length of the larger rod, it does say that it can expand out to 33 inches long.
9. Beginner’s Non-Rigid RestraintsPros:
- Good first step
- Similiar position to spreader bars
- Velcro cuffs are user-friendly
- Faux leather look
- Not a true spreader bar
- Too floppy for most
- Can't lock in place
- Can't use your own cuffs
Alright, this Beginner Restraint Set isn’t a true spreader rod but if you’re curious and have found yourself at the bottom of this list not sure if you really want to go through with trying it out–this is for you.
It has the same shape and cuff placement as a traditional spreader but it’s made of faux leather and nylon. It doesn’t technically spread anything since you can fold the fabric in half but it can help you dip a go into the bondage world and see how you feel about this sort of position.
This strip of faux leather had four attached cuffs with quick-release velcro closures. That’s another huge bonus for beginners because if you want the cuffs off, they come off with one movement instead of having to struggle with buckles or locks. The wrist and ankle cuffs can be used simultaneously or on their own while you get comfortable.
What Are BDSM Leg Spreaders?
Spreaders are a bondage tool made up of a rigid metal bar with ankle cuff attachments on either end. They prevent the person wearing them from being able to close their legs, leaving them exposed and open to whatever fun torments you both have in mind.
How Do You Use It?
They're fairly straightforward. Attach the ankle cuffs to either end of the bar (some bars come with cheap velcro cuffs included) and strap in your sub's ankles. That's it and you're ready to play.
The bar makes for a great handle to position your sub because you only need one hand to control both of their legs. This frees up your other hand for whatever you want. I like leaning on the bar to force a partner's knees up to their chest while they are on their back.
What Are Spreader Bondage Bar Features to Look For?
While they all share the general design of a straight bar with restraints, there are some features that will differentiate which bar is a better fit for you.
Adjustability. Many bars are adjustable and can be shortened or expanded to your desired length. This is a really nice feature if your partner is new to bondage and isn't sure what size bar may be their comfort level. That way they can start slow and move up. It's also great if you have partners of different heights or desires.
Two, Three, or Four-point restraints. All bars have tie-down points on the far ends of the bar but some designs have one or two additional points for connection closer to the center of the bar for attaching wrist cuffs.
Breaking down for storage. Some designs pull apart into three smaller pieces making them easier to store and less likely to be identified by prying eyes if someone were to come across a set of thin metal rods under your bed. Why do you have those? No reason. You could even pass it off as personal protection.
Material. This mainly has to do with weight, preference, and allergies. Some metals are lighter than others and it's up to you whether or not that's a good thing. People who have metal allergies should stick to stainless steel.
Stainless steel is also a good way to go as it's more moisture-resistant and there's a not unrealistic chance it might come into contact with moisture. You know.
Appearance. Some bars are simple and utilitarian while others are more ornate or even padded.
What Are Some General Safety Rules to Follow?
First things first: communication, communication, communication. Discuss what you both want so you can come up with a list of things you both agree to.
Check in with your sub or Dom/me as often as you're comfortable with to make sure they are not uncomfortable in a way they don't enjoy.
If asking, "Hey, are you okay?" kind of ruins the moment for you, you can use a safeword gradient of green, yellow, and red to check in instead.
That way you can ask, "Green?" and if they respond, "Green," you know they are good to go.
If they responded, "Yellow," you know they're getting close to a limit and to slow down or back off a little.
A response of, "Red," means the scene is over and it's time for aftercare and communication.
Careful with those cuffs. Never apply cuffs so tight they are uncomfortable or yank on the bar so hard or violently you could potentially sprain or injure someone's muscles.
While we're on cuffs, make sure you're using something nice and wide to help distribute the pressure. Thin ropes can cut into to skin restricting blood flow and even damaging nerves.
One last thing: it's metal. If someone is throwing their legs around in the throes of passion, these bars could deliver a decent bonk on the head to their partner. As much as pain can be fun, ending the night with a broken nose isn't on everyone's wishlist.
Play aware and play safe.
What About That Scene from 50 Shades?
While plenty of the kink community is grateful to books and movies for the 50 Shades Effect of bringing bondage and power play into the public arena, there's a lot about the books and movies that should never be recreated or believed. (Like the idea that Christian is kinky because he was abused--something that even Psychology Today waded into to point out that people who are into BDSM are no more likely to have a history of abuse than anyone else.)
One of those things is the scene where Christian straps Anastasia into a bondage bar and then uses that bar to forcefully flip her over.
Don't do that.
You're likely to injury your partner's ankles, knees, or hips and then playtime is over. Use the bar to restrain, manipulate and position your sub, but not to fling them around.
Fun (Untrue) Fact: In an interview with People Magazine, Jamie Dornan states that the spreader bar was invented by the 50 Shades books and so the only way it could be used in the movie was for the prop folks to build it from scratch. That is false.
I bought my first spreader bar years before the books ever came out. The whole bondage community is giving you the side-eye here, Jamie.
Why Are There So Many Construction-Type Results in My Google Search?
Funny story, the same term used for this adult toy is also used for a certain type of rigging used in overhead lifting. They're not the same at all, but share the name.
Luckily, it's pretty easy to tell them apart.
Am I Weird or Unhealthy for Liking Bondage?
Not in the slightest. if the success of the 50 Shades franchise didn't prove that to you, there have been a series of studies that show how common these desires and practices really are.
An article in Smithsonian Magazine cited numbers that 36 percent of American adults engage in bondage or kinky activities. That's 16 percent higher than the global average of 20 percent. America coming out on top.
Are Leg Spreader Bars Only for Women?
Of course not. Bondage can and is enjoyed by all genders and in every partner combination in the rainbow.
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