Working out at home is becoming more and more popular among those who want to be in full control of their time. One of the best ways to create to a fully functioning home gym is to start with a solid foundation. There is one piece of equipment that will serve as a perfect base to build upon – a power rack. In days gone, power racks were only for those strength training enthusiasts with cash to burn.
Not anymore. Today you can get a good quality power rack even when you’re on a strict budget.
In this article, we’re going to show you the 5 best budget power racks for getting strong and saving cash.
The idea behind these models is to get you that safe strength training environment without forcing you to invest a lot of money. Once we go over our picks you’ll find out that affordable isn’t necessarily bad. On the contrary, all of these racks have a lot to offer in terms of performance.
With that said, investing in a power rack is no small thing, especially if you’re on a budget. If that’s the case, you’re in the right place. Let’s get started with our top picks and later we’ll get into the specifics of choosing the best budget power rack for your needs, what to look out for when shopping around and more.
Best Budget Power Rack At a Glance
Best Budget Power Rack Overall
The PR-1100 from Rep Fitness is a straightforward power rack rig that is all about performance. It brings advanced features such as a multi-grip pull-up bar and high-quality J-Cups at a very reasonable price. On top of that, it is supported by a great set of aftermarket accessories.
Next Best Cheap Power Rack
Titan’s T-3 series of power racks are designed for those who want the best bang-for-buck value in the budget range. This rack is highly versatile and comes in a number of versions you can cater to your needs. On top of that, it’s built like a tank.
Budget Power Rack Reviews
|Rep Fitness PR-1100 Home Gym Power Rack||
|Titan Fitness T-3 Series Power Rack||
|Rogue Fitness RE-3 Echo Rack||
|Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage||
|Fringe Sport Garage Series Squat Cage||
|Rep Fitness PR-1100 Home Gym Power Rack|
|Titan Fitness T-3 Series Power Rack|
|Rogue Fitness RE-3 Echo Rack|
|Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage|
|Fringe Sport Garage Series Squat Cage|
Rep Fitness’ PR-1100 rack offers arguably the most well-rounded features-to-price ratio in this segment of the market. The rack itself is simple, elegant and built to meet the needs of those who need a solid piece of kit around which they will build their home gym. Does it have drawbacks? Sure, but those are very easy to forgive at this price.
What we have here is a 48″ x 47.5″ rack that reaches 84″ in height. It’s made of 14 gauge steel tubing that features numbered 3″ hole spacing. The rack comes complete with a multi-grip pull-up arch, which is a great piece of kit and not something you’ll often find included in the cheaper power racks. This allows you to do pull ups with a pronated, supinated, and neutral grip. The thicker pull up bar on the back side means you can also train your grip strength more effectively.
As far as features go, you’re getting a set of plastic-lined J-cups that are rated for up to 1,000 lbs. as well as chrome-plated safeties that extend past the uprights and serve as additional racking points for your barbell.
If you’ve got a bit of extra cash, Rep also offers a number of features you can get as aftermarket upgrades. These include a set of dip bars, weight horns, landmine attachments, a lat attachment, and a weight storage section. One thing to note is that this rack can’t be bolted into the floor. Therefore, it’s not the best choice for heavy lifting although this can be mended by installing those weight horns.
- Comes with a multi-grip pull-up arch out of the box; a unique addition on a budget power rack
- Quality hardware with plastic line J-Cups
- Multiple optional attachments
The Not So Good
- 14-gauge steel is at the lower end of acceptable
- Safeties are a little thin
Next up is a power rack that offers a different take on the budget segment to our top pick. Unlike Rep’s top low-cost rack, the T-3 offers a more robust setup at around the same price. Here’s the thing: Like most higher end power racks, this rack has to be bolted into the floor. For some, this might be an unnecessary complication. However, for those who lift heavy and want that peace of mind, this power rack is the ultimate budget model.
Construction-wise, there’s a lot to like about the T-3. It’s made using 2″ x 3″, 11-gauge steel tubing and 5/8″ hardware. This alone tells us that T-3 is all about business. As a matter of fact, it’s rated for 1,100 lbs. of rackable weight while the total weight capacity reaches a hefty 4,400 lbs.
One thing to note about the T-3 is the presence of a couple of advanced features. The rack comes with built-in pull-up bars as well as Westside hole spacing, making it a great choice for those who make the bench press a core lift.
The T-3 series comes in several versions: You can choose between a tall (91 1/8″ in height) and short (82 ¼” in height) T-3, as well as two different working depths (24″ and 36″). In addition to that, Titan’s T-3 comes in a range of different colors.
The most expensive option (tall, 36” depth) is less than $500. At this price, it’s the best bang-for-your-buck option.
- Robust build quality with 11-gauge steel uprights and good hardware
- Comes with Westside hole spacing
- Rated for 1,100 lbs of rackable weight
- Comes in different height and depth variants
The Not So Good
- Has to be bolted into the floor, which might be an issue for some
Despite being a brand often associated with high-end, expensive fitness equipment, there will always be an attractive Rogue representative in the budget segment. The RE-3 Echo Rack is about as cheap as you can go if you want access to that legendary Rogue quality. Sure, it’s more expensive than other models on our list, but it’s worth every penny. The RE-3 is meant for those who refuse to compromise on quality, but aren’t flush with the cash needed for Rogue’s higher end equipment.
Just like most other Rogue products, the RE-3 is made in the USA. This model also falls within the compact category, measuring 24″ x 47″ at the base while the uprights reach 90″ in height. The rack is made of 2″ x 2″, 11 gauge steel which gives it plenty of rigidity and support. As usual, Rogue went with a simple pull-up bar configuration consisting of a fat and skinny piece, 2″ hole spacing throughout the bench and squat zone (6” spacing elsewhere), and simple UHMW-lined J-cups.
This is another model that needs to be bolted into the floor for use. Its slim profile means that loading it without properly anchoring it down can lead to it toppling at worse and splayed uprights at best.
What about the features? In standard Rogue fashion, you’re getting just the basics out of the box. Rogue have included the rack with Echo fat/skinny pull up bars, a set of band pegs and that’s about it. Everything else – including pin and pipe safeties – is optional equipment that needs to be purchased separately.
Nevertheless, The Rogue Echo RE-3 Rack brings that famous US-made, lifetime warranty-backed quality at a very reasonable price (usually just over $500).
- Standard Rogue quality, both in terms of design and durability
- Built using 11 gauge, 2″ x 3″ tubing all around
- Comes with good hardware that will keep the rack stable
- Compact footprint makes it great for tight spaces
The Not So Good
- Safeties not included
- Anchoring hardware not included
Our next pick comes from Fitness Reality and it represents another affordable model that is suitable for home use. The rack itself brings a few compromises here or there, but it also costs less than half of the Rogue RE-3 Echo Rack above. At its core, this is a rack that’s aimed at lifters who are still in that intermediate weight zone (200 – 300 lbs. 1RMs). Affordable and quite simple, the 810XLT offers decent bang-for-your-buck, all things considered.
Made of 2″ x 2″, 14 gauge steel tubing, this rack isn’t as robust as most of our previous picks. However, it’s still rated for up to 800 lbs. of weight. The rack measures 46″ x 50″ and is 83 ¾” tall. When it comes to features, you’re looking at a multi-grip pull-up arch, a set of chrome safety pins instead of J-Cups and two chrome safety bars.
Keep in mind that this model can’t be bolted into the ground, but considering its weight rating, that isn’t an issue. As long as you’re aware of its limitations, this rack can be a long-term strength training tool that will get you where you need to go.
- An affordable rack that is perfect for those who want decent performance on a budget
- Comes with a built-in multi-grip pull-up bar
- Suitable for larger users thanks to its footprint
- Fairly rigid thanks to rear stability bars
The Not So Good
- Can’t be bolted to the floor
- Rated up to 800 lbs. only
Last but not least we have a Fringe Sport model to show you. This company’s Garage Series Squat Cage brings a refreshing combination of quality, features and reasonable prices. Fringe Sport is a company that simply knows how to make a solid product that won’t nuke your finances. This particular model is about as straight forward as they get.
What you have here is a 48″ x 53.5″ base that’s 82.5″ tall. The whole thing is made of 2″ x 2″, 11 gauge tubing that inspires confidence. Fringe didn’t include multi-grip pull up bars, but they did add a skinny and a fat bar to compensate. As far as features go, you’re getting UHMW-lined J-Cups, adjustable spotter arms and, as a bonus, two built-in weight horns in the back. With a weight rating of 700 lbs., you shouldn’t have to worry about it tipping over.
Overall, this model is great for those who want something relatively compact, simple and effective. All you need is a good set of weights and this rack becomes a true home gym setup. The only reason it isn’t higher on our list is the fact that it’s slightly more expensive than expected.
- A solid rack that is built from good materials all around
- Fairly compact, making it a good choice for garages or other tight spaces
- Comes with good quality hardware, including welded plates to bolt it to the floor
- Utilitarian design that appeals to minimalists
The Not So Good
- Slightly more expensive than expected
- Not as heavy duty as the top picks
Should You Get a Budget Power Rack?
If you’re clear on what you want, and what you’re trying to achieve with your strength training, then yes, a budget power rack can be a very good purchase.
Power racks are at the very core of any home gym worth its salt. One of the concerns most potential users have is whether these racks are worth investing in? Are you getting something you can work with, or are you just wasting money on equipment that won’t measure up?
It all comes down to your intended use. Some of these best budget power racks are great for those who are just starting out, as well as more advanced lifters who have the experience but perhaps lack the funds to get something better.
As with most (if not all) fitness equipment, you’re getting what you pay for. If you’re planning to lift heavy and aren’t comfortable with a rack that offers only basic features and a lower weight rating, then we strongly suggest you look into more heavy duty power racks for your home gym instead.
The key is to know what you want out of your equipment and to be realistic with your expectations. With that said, if you’re planning on strength training with a barbell at home, a power rack is a must. The only other alternative is a good squat rack, which will also be very useful if chosen wisely.
Choosing the Right Cheap Power Rack
Not all racks are created equal. That much is obvious. Knowing what features to look for can mean the difference between getting a mediocre power rack and a solid one. Since we’re looking at budget rigs here, all of this is even more important. The budget segment is where you’ll be most vulnerable to getting a dud rack. Let’s go over some of the main things you should look for in a good cheap power rack.
Type of Tubing Used
Before we go any further, we have to address build quality. Racks are made to sustain heavy weights during prolonged periods of use. Because of that, you’ll want something robust supporting your lifts, especially if you’re lifting alone.
If you look at all of our picks, you’ll notice that the gauge of steel ranges from 14 to 11 gauge. Now, 11 gauge is the optimal choice but 14 gauge will still get the job done. If these were cheap squat racks, 11 gauge would almost be the bare minimum. If you’re interested in a solid budget squat rack, check out our dedicated guide!
One of the often-overlooked aspects of power racks comes down to whether or not they must be or can be anchored to the floor. Some racks require anchoring, while others have flat feet and don’t need to be bolted down. This sometimes comes down to personal preference, and sometimes in comes down to necessity. If you don’t want to be drilling into your concrete floors (maybe you’re renting), then you’re going to need a flat-foot rack.
Be aware that most really good power racks require anchoring; it’s the more stable, and therefore better, option.
Here’s another factor: Anchored racks can be more compact since they don’t need a wide footprint to remain stable.
On the other hand, getting a flat-footed power rack brings a small risk of the rack tipping over under heavy loads; especially if you can’t get out of the whole on a back squat and have to dump your bar backwards. As such, it’s imperative that you pick a design that best fits your needs, your home gym, and your future plans.
As you’ve probably figured out from reading our reviews above, power racks can be deep or shallow depending on the model you get. This is another matter where personal preference prevails. Which one you’ll get will mostly depend on two things:
- Your Available Space
Shallower racks have a smaller footprint than racks that have a deeper working space. Even though most of these differences come down to 12″, that can be too much for some users. Another thing to keep in mind is that racks with more depth offer better stability while shallow racks often times require anchoring into the floor.
Whether you go for a deep or shallow power rack will also depend on which one you find more comfortable. Larger people might find that shallow depths feel too cramped, especially when squatting. After all, barbell exercises require a certain degree of freedom of movement. This is particularly true when pushing your 1RM
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s talk about features. Here, J-cups and spotter bars are a must. These are components you can’t lift safely in a power rack without. The next tier are weight horns, pull-up bars and other accessories that are not necessities for lifting safely.
J-Cups and Safeties
J-Cups are probably the most important secondary component on any rack. They’re necessary for unracking and re-racking your barbell. Because this is really the only part of the rack that makes regular contact with your barbell, you’ll want good quality J-Cups, preferably with UHMW-lining, lest the knurl on your bar gets the shit ripped out of it. Rogue’s J-Cups are the gold standard in the industry right now. However, other brands offer similarly good designs as well.
Safety bars (a.k.a. safeties) are slightly less complicated since they’re suspended in the rack with two points of contact. Primarily, what you’re looking for here is safeties that aren’t made of cheap materials. That said, you want to ensure they’re not too thin, otherwise they too can damage the knurl of your barbell
Secondary accessories are also worth looking into. Although almost every rack comes with a pull-up bar these days, some feature a simple, single-width bar while others come with multi-grip arches, or two bars with different thicknesses. The former represents a classic, traditional choice while the latter options are very much considered the norm these days.
Weight horns are a very useful accessory to have on your rack if you’re planning on lifting heavy. Not only do they allow you to neatly stack your plates or bumpers on the rack itself, but they also greatly reduce the risk of your rack toppling over as the added weight serves as a stabilizer. As you’ll find out, most of the brands offer aftermarket accessories for their racks, presenting you with numerous ways of spicing things up.
Frequently Asked Questions About Budget Power Racks
In this section of the guide, we’ll address some of the most frequently asked questions regarding budget power racks. Let’s start with the elephant in the room.
Do you really need a power rack?
Here’s an analogy: Do you need seat belts in your car? After all, they’re just a safety feature and your car can still function without them. Are they necessary? We’re going to go with a solid YES! What do seat belts have to do with power racks? They’re both safety devices that will reduce your chances of injuring yourself.
Working out in a gym gives you access to spotters. That isn’t something you’ll often have at home, at least that’s the case for most of us mere mortals. Doing squats alone and reaching that point of failure can be a dangerous ordeal. The best way to ensure that you’ll be fine either way is to have a robust power rack that will catch you when you begin to fail.
Do you really need a power rack? Yes, you absolutely do as long as you’re doing any barbell work.
Can you bench press in a power rack?
You sure can! You’ll need:
- A weight bench to lay on
- To adjust the safeties to the appropriate height for you to have full range of motion but still be able to dump the bar if you fail a lift without it crushing you.
What’s the difference between a power rack, squat rack, and half rack?
Essentially, the difference is in the structure of each rack. The functions of each are pretty much the same.
A power rack has four uprights, which create a working space within the rack. Safeties run between the front and back uprights, creating a more secure platform on which to dump failed lifts.
Squat racks only have two uprights. The working space is any / all of the space in front of the rack. Owing to the fact that there are only two uprights, squat racks use safety spotter arms as the safety mechanism for failed lifts. Because they only have one point of attachment, spotter arms are inherently less stable / weaker than the safeties in a power rack.
A half rack has four uprights but these do not create a working space. The working space is, like a squat rack, the area in front of the rack. The additional uprights are used to store weight plates or bumpers.
Well, there you have it: The 5 Best Budget Power Racks
We’ve selected our models based on their price, performance and track record. In that sense, we stand behind these racks as each offers a great set of features and solid performance for its price. All you really have to do is figure out which one best fits your needs, personal preferences and space requirements. No matter which one you go with, you’ll get yourself a safe lifting environment.