BEST POWER RACK & BEST SQUAT RACK REVIEWS

Building up a home gym is a long-term project. As you increase your cardiovascular fitness and acquire more strength, you need bigger weights, more kinds of weights, accessories and specialized equipment.

Expect to still be tuning your garage gym a year from now. Even though building a home gym is a gradual process, there is no reason not to enjoy powerful workouts almost immediately if you start off with the most essential piece of home gym equipment first: the power rack.

Do not rush into buying the first power rack on the shelf though. A cheap power rack or cheap squat rack could be counterproductive to your training regimen. My simple advice is to buy the best power rack you can afford.

The best power racks are built to keep you safe and last a lifetime. They carry more weight, have more accessory equipment built-in and are stable as a 10-ton boulder.

Once you acquire this core piece of equipment, a barbell, dumbbells and additional weights, there is nothing to hold you back.

Our Recommended Top 10 Power Racks

ModelWeight (pounds)Dimensions (inches)Review
PowerLine



Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com
5744 x 82 x 46Our Review
Valor BD-7



Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com
8953 x 44 x 64Our Review
Valor BD–11



Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com
9746 x 48 x 87No review
Powertec



Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com
20750 x 49 x 83Our Review
Impex Marcy



Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com
11664 x 45 x 85No review
Body Solid Multi-Press Rack



Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com
11745.5 x 46.5 x 82Our Review
TDS Power Rack



Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com
13049 x 57 x 72Our Review
Titan HD



Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com
10783 x 44 x 48Our Review
Super Power Rack



Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com
8042 x 48.5 x 82.5No review
Atlas Power Rack



Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com
13744 x 83 x 48No review

Best Power Racks

There is no single best power rack for home gym trainers. Which features are most important for you depend mainly on your ultimate fitness goals.

Further down this guide, I review a wide range of power racks in terms of capabilities and affordability. These products represent the best values for your garage gym.

To get you started, here is a short list of recommended racks. More power rack reviews with greater detail will follow.

Best Value Power Rack

Valor BD-7

The Valor Athletics, Inc. BD-7 Power Rack with Lat Pull is an excellent all-around rack that supports 17 positions, a curl bar and has exceptional stability at an affordable price.

Best Overall Power Rack

Rogue R-6

Rogue Fitness’ R-6 Power Rack takes your lifting regimen to the next level. It is not the least expensive rack but you will never outgrow it. It is an investment not just a tool.

Most Affordable Power Rack

PowerLine PPR200X Power Rack

If your budget is tight, but you want a quality power rack then the Powerline PPR200X Power Rack may be the best power rack purchase for you. At under $500, it is one of the top power racks you can buy.

Why You Need a Power Rack

When you consider how central and essential your power rack is to your home gym setup, you will realize how odd it is that many public gyms do not have one.

You already know that in general free weights are superior to machines in building strength. Thus, you need a power rack to make your workouts easier, safer and more versatile.

PROS:

  •  Lateral safety pins catch your barbell in case something goes awry. Thus, you do not need a spotter present when you have a power rack.
  • Trying to do squats without a power rack to obtain perfect position on your back is much more difficult.
  • A power rack opens up a wide range of exercises including rack pulls, chin-ups, pull-ups, dips, bench press and inverted rows.

CONS:

  • Most power racks are 90 inches tall, so make sure your ceiling height can accommodate one.
  •  Power racks are more versatile than squat racks, but they do cost more.
  •  You cannot take full advantage of a power rack without additional equipment such as a bench, barbell and weights.

The Benefits of a Power Rack

The Benefits of a Power Rack

Courtesy of Esöteric

Power Rack Alternatives

A power rack is not the only form of a weight lifting rack that you will run across. There are three shorter versions known as a squat rack or squat cage, squat stands and the half power rack.

A half rack, the best squat rack or even a squat rack with pull-up bar is not going to be as versatile as a full-size power rack, however. There is a fourth alternative: the Smith rack.

The latter I cannot recommend at all as it will not have nearly the same effectiveness as free weights.

How to Choose a Power Rack: Factors to Consider When Buying a Power Rack

As you begin your search for the perfect power rack or power cage for your personal home gym, pay attention to the following characteristics when ascertaining a particular rack’s quality and suitability for your personal training regimen now and in the future.

Build QualityBuild Quality

How to Choose a Power Rack: Factors to Consider When Buying a Power RackA good power rack is a heavy piece of equipment. Look for thick steel, a minimum of plastic parts, large bolts and a rugged design.

Load CapacityLoad Capacity

You may not be lifting more than one or two hundred pounds at the moment, but that will change as your training progresses.

A good rule of thumb is to plan on 500 lbs. lifts and double that for safety. So, choose a rack with a minimum of 1000 lbs. capacity.

Height and WidthHeight and Width

Your home gym power rack should be tall enough that you can perform an overhead press inside of it. If the rack is too short, then it must have outside uprights and bar hooks.

Also, width will affect stability and comfort, so steer towards wider racks.

StabilityStability

How to Choose a Power Rack: Factors to Consider When Buying a Power RackA light rack or a rack that is too narrow may be unstable. To counter that, see if it is possible to anchor the rack to a wall and/or the floor. Better, however, is to choose a rack designed for stability in the first place.

AdjustmentsAdjustments

Unless you have a power rack you can touch, it may be difficult to see how easy or difficult it is to make adjustments to it. If you are buying online, pay close attention to this feature in buyer reviews.

In general, more adjustments are better because they add to versatility and fit for lifters of different sizes. If you can, find a rack that has pin positions low enough that you can do floor presses.

AccessoriesAccessories

A basic rack supports bar lifting and not much more. A pull-up bar should be the minimum accessory that you require, and if it comes with more than one flavor of pull-up rack all the better.

Do not let the price of a rack with many accessories put you off. As your training continues, you are likely to utilize all the accessories over time and avoid the regret of having been pennywise and pound foolish.

Buying a Power Rack for a Home Gym

BEST POWER RACK & BEST SQUAT RACK REVIEWS

Power Rack vs. Squat Rack vs. Squat Stand

Here is the essence of why you need a power rack or power cage: your lifting regimen will be incomplete without bench presses, squats and shoulder presses. There are other lifts that a power rack enables as well, but these are the biggies.

Furthermore, you want to take those exercises to fatigue. You endanger yourself, however, if you do not have a spotter or the support of quality power rack safeties.

A power rack also makes it much easier to set up your lifts by allowing you to position the bar at the correct height for the lift and add plates while it is in position.

Most squat racks are half or less the height of a power rack or power cage, though not all have a smaller footprint. Few squat racks have safety pins, however.

The lack of safeties makes them less safe, especially for fatigue sets. Squat holds or stands are similar to squat racks but are typically even more unstable and do not have safety pins either.

If you cannot afford a full power rack, then consider a half rack instead of a squat stand or squat rack. The half rack provides pins for safely racking a bar without a spotter and has a smaller footprint than a full rack because it is less deep.

It will not support the same range of exercises that a full rack will and is less likely to come with a pull-up bar. If it has a pull-up bar, then be sure it is attached to the wall or floor for stability when kipping.

Power Racks That I Recommend

Powerline Power Rack

PowerLine PPR200X Power Rack

This is a sturdy, budget rack with a 3D footprint of 44W x 46D x 82H. It comes with a knurled pull-up bar, 2 liftoffs and two safety pins. The frame uprights are 2 x 2 inch steel and the total weight is 117 lbs. It is rated at 500 lbs. load capacity. An Olympic size bar fits with about 3 inches to spare on either side.

Some buyers have increased the stability of this power rack by weighting it down with sand bags or strapping it to floor supports. At well under $500, it is good value for beginner lifters. A lat tower is an optional accessory.

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Body Solid Pro Power Rack

Body-Solid Pro Power Rack

This industrial strength power rack offers stability, a walk-in design and 20 3-inch adjustment points. It also comes with a wide, built-in, knurled pull-up bar.

Its 3 x 3 inch, 11-ga. steel uprights and 800 lbs. load capacity make it strong enough for the serious lifters. It is a beautiful rack with a chip-resistant powder coat finish.

For additional cost, you can add the DR378 Dip Attachment. The bar supporting J-Hooks are very easy to adjust. It only requires that you turn the hook 90 degrees to slide it in and out of the holes.

The Pro Power Rack is basic, but will suit intermediate lifters and last for many years.

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Powertec Fitness Workbench Power Rack

Powertec Fitness Workbench Power Rack

A comfortably wide and deep power rack, the Powertec Workbench measures 60W x 50D x 84H. It is a bit short, however, for people over 6 ft. tall.

It comes standard with a chin-up bar and dip bar and many accessories are available such as a lat pull-down.

Even though it is rated at 1,000 lbs., some buyers have expressed concern that the J-Hooks are a combination of one weld and a pressed joint, which makes them uncomfortable with heavy weight on the bar.

The price of the rack is trending upward, but it probably makes financial sense if you plan to add Powertec accessories.

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Titan HD Power Rack

Titan HD Power Rack

It is clearly a Rogue R3 import clone in which a lot of shortcuts have been made to lower the cost and consequently decrease its ease of use. Here are the specs: 48W x 48D x 83H, 2 inch uprights, load capacity of 700 lbs. and weighs 107 lbs.

It comes with a basic pull-up bar. The build quality and engineering comes nowhere close to a Rogue R3.

The J-Hooks require modification and the safety pins are difficult to adjust and do not properly distribute weight should you drop a bar. If you are strapped for funds to get your home gym started, however, then this may be the power rack for you.

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TDS Power Rack

TDS Power Rack

This plain-Jane power rack is the ideal height for a basement gym with low ceilings as it is only 72 inches high. It is a comfortable 49 inches wide and deeper than most rack at 57 inches due to the long stability supports. It is well-suited for squats, presses, shrugs and more.

Clearly, with only a 6 foot height, most average height men are going to find it difficult to do chin ups on this rack. The safety pins are 1 inch solid steel and are adjustable at 2 inch intervals.

There are plenty of attachments such as dip bars available. At under $300, it holds plenty of value despite being somewhat limited compared to a full height rack.

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Bodycraft F430 Power Rack

BodyCraft F430 Power Rack

The F430 is a rugged, well-built power rack with 5-star ratings all around. The supports are made from 11 gauge, 2 x 3 steel tubing and overall build quality is high.

Corners are trussed and it is held together with ¾” bolts. It might be the best power cage for the money competing head-to-head with Rogue equipment.

The safety bars use easy-to-adjust, spring-loaded pins that make reconfiguration a snap. Bodycraft has a full array of plug-n-play accessories including a lat/row station, dip handles, fully adjustable bench and cable crossover attachment. It is super stable at 282 lbs. and rated at 800 lbs. capacity.

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Valor Athletics BD-7 Power Rack

Valor BD-7For an under-$500 power cage, the Valor BD-7 has a lot of value built-in. It comes with a lat pull with knee bar standard, a low pulley station, plenty of plate storage and 4 safety hooks.

It sets up fast after which you can use it for military press, squats, lat pulls, upright rows and more. Its steel frame is made from 2 x 2 steel posts and measures 44W x 53D x 86H.

It is a little short for tall people to do an overhead press. Although it weighs only 135 lbs., storing plates on the four holders makes it quite stable.

The capacity rating for the safety bars is 800 lbs. and the lat bar rating is 250 lbs. This rack is a good value considering the extras that come with it.

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Rogue Fitness Power Rack Reviews

Rogue Fitness is legendary among serious weightlifters for both the quality and variety of their power racks. They do not sell clones or imported equipment.

All their racks are designed, engineered and perfected in the U.S. at their Ohio plant. You might think that such quality would be unaffordable for your home gym, but that is not the case.

Their least expensive racks are under $600. If you took to heart my advice to think long-term and make a power cage the centerpiece of your home gym setup, then that price should seem reasonable.

They also make models for larger budgets as well. Visit their site for complete specs and to custom-configure any of their fine power racks.

Here, we take a look at three of their most popular models.

Rogue R-3This is the little brother of the R line, which is a perfect size for a small garage gym or a basement gym if you have adequate ceiling height. It is solid, it is heavy and completely accommodating to anyone’s workout regimen.

As with all the R-* racks, the uprights are super-strong 11 gauge steel fastened with 5/8” bolts. The R-3 features a “Westside” hole pattern with 1” spacing in the bench and clean pull area and 2” hole spacing on either side of that.

The close hole spacing makes it easy to fine-tune your bench angles. If your bench presses tend to “stick” at chest height, you can use this close spacing to your advantage by adjusting the height for pin presses instead.

The 5/8” holes accommodate accessories from other manufacturers. The R-3’s footprint is 53 x 34 inches with a 90 inch height, which is enough for inside overhead presses for lifters at 6 ft. tall. Uprights are 2 x 3 inches, which makes for a comfortable inside fit. Note that even though this power cage weighs in at 200 lbs., it must be fastened to the floor or a lift platform. Make sure you have space for all movements in your routine before affixing it.

Rogue R-4The next step up from the Rogue R-3, this rack features a bigger footprint and more interior space. It takes up a 53 x 53 inch floor space and has a full 90 inch height. The lifting area is 43 x 43 inches. Each end has a pull-up bar built-in.

One is a fat/skinny bar at nearly 79 inches and the other is a single skinny bar at 86 inches. The R-4 uses the same 2 x 3 inch 11 gauge steel uprights as the R-3 with 5/8” bolts throughout.

It weighs in at 250 lbs. and should be floor or platform mounted for maximum stability. If you cannot affix it to the floor, then Rogue sells additional stabilizer bars at $50 each.

This rack comes with spotter pipes, J-cups and four band pegs. It is built to commercial standards and, like all R-series racks, has the popular Westside hole pattern that allows you to fine-tune bar height when using a bench.

Optional accessories include spotter arms to replace the pin and pipe system, a dip station, multi-grip cross member to perform any style pull-up or chin-up and a landmine attachment. The R-4’s 5/8” upright holes also accommodate other manufacturers’ accessory attachments.

Rogue R-6Rogue’s R-6 is their top-line rack and is simply the strongest power cage you can buy for a home gym. Do not consider it if you do not have the space for it, however. It is 81 inches long, 52 inches wide and 90 inches tall.

Basically, it is an R-3 and R-4 combined with lots and lots of plate storage on the back. Alone, it weighs 300 lbs., so it is not going anywhere even if you do not bolt it to concrete. If you have any stability concerns, however, add plates, add a stabilizer or anchor it. Like its little brothers, it features Westside hole spacing on 2 x 3 inch 11 gauge steel supports.

It has built-in a cross member monkey chin bar and a fat/skinny pull-up bar with 2 inch and 1.25 inch grip diameters. 2 J-cups, 6 band pegs, a pair of pin-pipe safeties and 2 double plate and 4 single plate storage rods.

You will not find a beefier, more complete and versatile power rack than the R-6. It is built to last a lifetime and beyond. Make sure you have an extra pair of hands when it arrives so that you can assemble it quickly and safely.

Half Power Racks

A half power rack, as the name implies, has half the nominal depth of a full rack and thus, can fit in a smaller space. They often include a pull-up bar, some plate storage and a bit more stability than a squat rack.

The price differential between a full and half rack, however, is not proportional. For the same build quality and options, the price difference between the two is probably not more than 25 percent at most.

The half rack definitely has its place in a home gym, so here I’m going to review three of them worth buying.

XMark Commercial Half Rack

XMark Commercial Half RackThis half rack is built for stout, period. Uprights are 11 gauge 3 x 3 inch steel. It has a total of 10 plate pins, although they are on the back sides, which inhibits placing this half rack right next to the wall.

Overall the dimensions are 57W x 50D x 96H and it weighs 311 lbs.

You can store half a ton of plates on the back, but due to the slotted instead of holed design, these polyvinyl coated pegs are not adjustable.

Spotter and J-cups are adjustable at 2 inch increments and the uprights are numbered for convenience. The multi-grip pull-up bar is knurled. Resistance bands can also be added.

The XMark is a more expensive than the Vulcan and does not include free shipping. Unless your preference is a slotted system for spotter bars and J-cups and you like storing all your plates directly on the rack, the Vulcan Elite is probably a better value.

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Vulcan Elite Half Rack

This Vulcan half rack is a higher-end rack that can be located along a wall. The footprint is 48W x 59D x 96H. That height allows you to use the escalating pull-up bars, but it might preclude it fitting vertically in a standard garage.

An offset pull-up attachment takes a skinny or fat bar. A dip station, cross member bar and other accessories are optional.

The massive 3 x 3 inch steel uprights and mixture of 7 and 11 gauge steel makes this a lifetime half rack that you can hand down to your kids.

The spotter arms and J-cups are all lined with Ultra High Molecular Polyethylene inside and out to protect the rack’s paint and your bars. The UHMW also contributes to a snug bar fit.

Plate storage is to the front, which is what allows it to be pushed right up against the wall. There are four plate pegs and two band pegs, which could also hold additional weights instead.

All in all, the Vulcan Elite has a rock solid build and beefy components. The price is a little north of $1,000 but it does include free shipping.

Rogue HR-2 Half Rack

Rogue HR-2 Half Rack

There are actually two versions of this half rack. It comes standalone and complete or you can create one by buying a conversion kit for one of their three Monster Lite squat stands: SML-1, SML-2 and SML-3.

Both versions have an identical footprint of 49W x 48D and a 2 x 3 inch 11 gauge steel base. The HR-2 and the conversion kit add two 3 x 3 inch 11 gauge uprights and 17-inch cross members to tie together the uprights on the sides. Those back uprights with optional pins can probably hold your entire plate set.

Each pair of uprights, front and back, can be ordered in two different sizes. The back uprights come in 70 or 90 inch lengths and the front uprights in either 90 or 108 inch heights.

Theoretically, you could mix these heights how you want, but either 70-90 or 90-108 are the usual configurations.

The J-cups hang on either the back uprights for bench lifts or the front uprights for shoulder or overhead lifts. However, the spotter bars only work on the interior of the cage.

Despite being a Rogue rack, the HR-2 is not prohibitively expensive at around $600-$700. If you already have a Monster Lite squat stand, then the conversion is about $250 and well worth it.

Squat Stands

I discussed the disadvantages of squat stands or squat racks vs. power racks earlier. Basically, they are more of a one-purpose piece of equipment compared to the versatility of a good power cage. That said, they do have some compelling features.

You may prefer the lower cost and convenience of a squat stand to a power rack, for instance. They take up less room in a home gym where space is at a premium.

Some models even fold up flat against the wall so that space is recovered when you are not training. Usually, you do not have to worry about ceiling height unless you get one with a pull-up bar.

So, here are a few reviews of the best squat stands around.

Body Solid Multi-Press Rack for Basement Gyms

Body Solid Multi-Press RackOne non-Rogue squat rack that I feel comfortable recommending is the Body Solid Multi-Press Rack, especially for low-ceiling situations such as in basement gyms.

At only 74 inches in height, it will fit any habitable space in the house. It has a generous 64 inch width and 45 inches of depths. That layout and the slanting back braces make this a sturdy and stable piece of equipment.

Each upright is 2 x 3-inch 11 gauge steel tubing, which is why it has a 1,000 lbs. load capacity. Olympic style plate holders on the back brace add additional stability when they are loaded.

Instead of upright holes for J-Cups, this has 14 gun-rack style bar holders on a 7-degree tilted post. An advantage to this style over J-Cups is that you have the possibility to quickly move a bar up and down without taking off plates.

These are also handy if you are bench pressing and want to rest the bar at any position in the press. There are safeties as well, though they are narrower, about 13.5 inches, than you would find on a full rack, so be careful.

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Rogue RML-3W Fold Back Wall Mount

Rogue RML-3W Fold Back Wall MountThe RML in the name stands for Rogue Monster Lite, which always means you get burly 11 gauge 3 x 3 inch uprights and 5/8-inch hardware. This model is the ultimate in space-saving equipment for any home gym.

When folded up, its depth is a mere 5 inches. If your gym space is limited or shared, this is a great solution. Installation requires a couple of wall stringers, which you supply yourself.

There are two unfolded depths: 21.5 or 41.5 inches. The smaller depth folds up with uprights inward or outward on the wall. If folded inward, the uprights for the deeper model will overlap.

Unfolded, the shallow version has a footprint of approximately 49W x 25D and the deeper version’s footprint is 49W x 44D. Both have a height of 91 inches. Total weight is either 163 or 190 lbs.

As with all Rogue equipment, you get the advantage of Westside hole spacing, sturdy J-Cups and hefty safety bars. The folding section has commercial quality hitch pins.

It also comes with a quick attach pull-up bar that must be removed before folding.

For strength, durability and space-saving, there is no other product quite like Rogue’s RML-3W.

Rogue SM-2 Monster Squat Stand

Rogue SM-2 Monster Squat Stand

Rogue’s Monster series of squat stands are designed for use by professional and collegiate power lifters, but there is no reason you cannot have one in your home gym too.

SM-series squat stands feature the same 3 x 3 inch, 11 gauge uprights as in lesser Rogue models, but 1-inch hardware instead of 5/8-inch. It has unsurpassed weight and stability.

All Monster Squat Stands are essentially the same, except that they differ in height. The SM-2 is a 90 inch tall stand, which makes it a good fit in most garage gyms.

All these stands come with UHMW plastic on J-Cups and spotter arms to protect the hardware and your weight bars. Since you are not likely to use a bench with a squat stand, the hole spacing is all 2 inch on-center instead of a Westside pattern.

The SM-2 comes standard with a fat/skinny pull-up bar and is stable even for kipping pull-ups. Any Monster series accessory will fit this stand such as the dip attachment, 2-inch pull-up bars and additional spotter arms.

You really cannot go wrong with this well-built squat stand from Rogue.

Rogue MLW-4 Monster Lite Wall Rack

Rogue MLW-4 Monster Lite Wall Rack

This rack is elegant simplicity in action. It is a wall/floor mount configuration, so it has a footprint similar to a full power rack, but since there are no back uprights, you can walk through it and use a bench with it as well.

There are just two uprights and a three-sided “header” truss to hold the tops of the uprights together and to attach to a wall.

The footprint is 53 x 75 inches with a height of 108 inches. So, you need a tall ceiling to accommodate this rack. The header is also the pull-up bar with space for four stations.

You have some flexibility as to where it is installed, since you can choose one of three fixed heights for the pull-up bar: 7, 7.5 or 8 feet high.

Like other Rogue models, this rack is built for a lifetime of use with 3 x 3 inch uprights made from 11ga. steel. It comes with a pair of J-Cups but there is no safety bar.

It must be mounted securely to both floor and wall. If your wall is made with studs, then you have to install stringers as the width does not line up with most standard stud placements.

Rogue S Series Squat Stands

Rogue S Series Squat Stands

The S-Series is Rogue’s least expensive line, but that does not mean they skimped on the quality. The uprights are 2 x 3 inches and made of the same sturdy 11ga. steel as in their larger stands.

Each has a stable 4 x 4 ft. base. Its basic design accommodates many exercises including bench press, squats, overhead and floor press, and clean pulls.

Only the S-2 and S-3 stands have pull-up bars in fat or skinny diameters. As an example, the S-2 has a three-sided floor frame with two uprights set in the center of the side rails for a total height of 92 inches.

The pull-up bar spans the two uprights. Westside hole spacing is used along the posts so you can fine-tune your bench angles. Two J-Cups come with every stand.

All the S-series squat stands are simple, space-saving, economical and get the job done.

 

Should You Buy a Used Power Rack?

Power racks are hard to do without in the home gym if you truly want an effective, goal-smashing training program. They can do so many things for your fitness and body shape. I am sensitive to the fact that a quality rack is not cheap either.

Thus, the question comes up as to whether you can find a quality used power rack for sale in the classifieds, craigslist or other venues. It is possible, but it is not a slam dunk.

First of all, buying a used power rack or used power cage has all the caveats of buying anything used. You can never be sure how well it was cared for, if it was damaged due to poor assembly or what the real reason is that the seller wants to part with it. Be careful that it was not stored outside and is corroded.

Furthermore, if you find one, it is more than likely it is an off-brand or older model that does not have all the features you want or need.

If you are lucky, you will find a good, modern rack used because the person needs something even bigger or better and wants to upgrade.

These are rare finds, however, and likely to get snapped up before you even reach the phone.

Again, as I like to incessantly remind people, this lifting thing does not pay off if you do not have the commitment behind it.

That comes from inner motivation, and while that is not incompatible with saving money, trying to save a few bucks on your most central, essential piece of home gym equipment by going used is not going to increase your motivation much either.

Homemade Power Racks: How to Build a Power Rack

If you are determined to save money on your home power rack, however, there is another alternative: build your own.

Many people have DIY power rack videos on YouTube from which you can harvest ideas for your own. Bear in mind always that whatever you construct must be sturdy, stable and safe.

Also, realize that it is not a cost-free endeavor and will consume a great deal of time. Here is an example of one project, which required excellent welding skills and about $750 in materials: https://youtu.be/30Pxb1Wdi8U

Others have made simpler power cages from wood too. You are more likely to have on hand woodworking tools than a metal shop, which is why wood power racks are appealing. Here are a few tips should you decide to use wood:

Homemade Power Racks: How to Build a Power Rack

Courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

  • Use kiln-dried lumber, avoid treated lumber
  • Make the uprights from two pieces, e.g. 2 x 6, rather than one avoids warping
  • Join all pieces together with threaded bolts instead of lag screws
  • Reinforce all joints with additional blocks or metal brackets
  • Do not make any holes that are wider than one-third the width of the wood member
  • Use solid steel, at least one inch thick, for safeties

You must be completely confident in the materials and build of a homemade power rack as it is going to support serious weight.

Remember that the safeties must be sufficient to absorb the dead weight of the bar plus its kinetic energy if it falls. If you have any doubts about the load bearing capabilities of your design, consult a structural engineer locally or online to ensure you will be safe.

How to Build a Home Power Rack

BEST POWER RACK & BEST SQUAT RACK REVIEWS

How to Tell a Cheap Power Rack from a Good One

A cheap power cage is not necessarily a bad power cage. It depends on your situation, how much you plan to lift now, a year from now and your garage gym budget.

For home gyms, certainly there are more cheap power racks than high-end ones in use at any given moment.

Naturally, you get what you pay for, so some shortcuts have been made to get the price lower especially when it comes to Chinese import racks.

You have to look carefully at the overall build quality, how the joints are put together, how the safeties and hooks are built and the dimensions to tell if the power rack you are considering is going to serve you well now and in the future.
One tip is to carefully study product reviews. Fortunately, on Amazon you will find almost all the cheap power racks made and plenty of reviews to go along with them.

They also have a questions section, which I find even more valuable for the information it reveals. For instance, many times the product specs are not listed correctly on the page, but are clarified in the questions sections.

Of course, you can ask your own questions there too. There are a number of ways that manufacturers can cut corners to make a cheap power rack:

  • They skimp by using a smaller gauge steel for uprights and cross members. They look the same as the more expensive racks but they simply are not as strong or stable.
  • They use smaller bolts for joints and probably the bolts have a lower grade strength.
  • Where welds are used, cheap racks only have them on one side of the joint.
  • The design of J-Cups are inferior to quality racks such as Rogue manufactures. For example, on some racks the J-Cup pins do not penetrate both sides of the upright. Their shape and cheap cushioning, not UHMW, starts to wear on your bar. The screws within a cheap J-Hook are often not properly countersunk.
  • They skimp on the design and load capacity of the safeties. One such import has washers at each end of the safety tube to allow for a smaller interior rod. These concentrate the shock on the ends of the safety instead of all along it.
  • Cheaper racks do not have anchor holes. There are only a handful of power racks that do not benefit from anchoring.

Tips on Choosing the Best Power Rack

Tips on Choosing the Best Power Rack

Educate yourself about a wide variety of power racks, squat stands and half racks. Even if your mind is made up that you are not going to settle for less than a full power cage, you will gain insights from studying other types of lifting racks.

Chin-up bars are not expensive to add to a quality rack. If you get a power rack without one, you will end up paying double or triple to add one to your gym, so get a rack that has one built-in. Even better, find one that has multiple pull-up bars or a monkey bar.

Find a rack that comes with as many accessories as possible either built-in or optional. The best power racks will also accommodate accessories from other manufacturers.

Pay attention to the walk-in dimensions, especially if you are a bigger guy. You may not be able to live with a cage that is too small for you.

Safety bars do more than back you up in case of a failed lift. They also instill confidence during your lift, which is crucial to your concentration. Make sure you have 100 percent confidence in the safeties of any rack you choose.

The lack of a cable system should not be a deal breaker, but having a rack with one or the ability to add one later will add a lot of exercises to your regimen such as lat pulls, rows, curls, pushdowns and more.

Scour reviews to detect any trend regarding the quality of customer support after the sale. Call the company yourself with questions to see how helpful and knowledgeable they are. Are you talking to a call center drone with a script or someone at the plant who actually is familiar with the product and perhaps has even used it?

Best Power Rack Exercises

Squats

There is no other compound exercise more suited to a power rack than squats. They are often the centerpiece of any lifting session.

With a rack, you can perform them with confidence and safety. Set the bar hooks at mid-chest height and the safeties at your starting squat height and you are good to go.

Bench press

Adding a bench to your power rack is essential if you want to include this large muscle mass exercise to your routine.

A power rack means you can do these any time without a spotter and take them to your fatigue limit without worrying. They are especially effective if you have a rack with Westside safety spacing.

Shoulder press

Another excellent compound exercise that is greatly assisted by a power rack is the shoulder press. Racking and un-racking for a standard military press is simple from either a standing or sitting position.

With this one exercise, you are working shoulders, triceps, biceps, chest and traps.

Where to Buy a Power Rack

Obviously, you are already researching power racks online and finding plenty of reviews and links to sites that have power racks for sale.

I highly recommend you supplement your Internet research with some footwork as well. Visit local gym equipment shops to get hands-on experience with brands that interest you.

Prior online research will arm you well with an educated and critical eye when you visit these shops. When you are ready to pull the trigger, however, I recommend that you make your purchase online.

The local gym shop may have some great power racks or squat racks for sale, but more than likely the price is higher than what you can find online. It is rare to find a power rack for sale or even a squat rack for sale at a clearance price in local shops.

Online outlets frequently run sales or offer big discounts on accessories and the best ones back up the sale with solid return policies.

Amazon

Amazon is unquestionably the largest dealer in home gym equipment. The breadth of their offerings is astounding and they offer the most competitive pricing around.

Especially if you are looking for a cheap power rack, Amazon is the place to start. They also happen to have the best return policies on planet Earth, so no worries about getting stuck with a bad purchase.

Rogue Fitness

I cannot say enough good things about Rogue for those looking for the highest quality power racks on the market. Their racks are built to take the worst abuse you can dish out and continue performing for a lifetime. They probably have more accessories than any other manufacturer too.

Their website is well thought out, easy to navigate and provides you all the information you need about each of their products. Their support staff are extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Keep your eyes open for one of their Black Friday sales and you can save big on shipping costs.

Wrapping It All Up

If I have done my job correctly, you now have a deeper understanding of how and why a power rack as the central piece of equipment in your home gym is vital to meeting your fitness goals.

Wrapping It All UpYou also understand how to use your power rack, what makes an outstanding power rack and which I think are the best racks on the market.

Personally, I truly think that buying a rack that grows with you as you continually lift more weight and expand your repertoire makes the most sense.

That is why I highly recommend Rogue Fitness products such as the R-3 or R-4 or, for smaller budgets, their S-Series squat stands.

Long-term, these are the products that last, are safest and offer the best return on your investment. Buy these and you will not regret it.

I wish you the best of luck in your search for the ideal power rack, half rack or squat rack. If this guide has been helpful, please share it with others and suggest any improvements in the comments section.