Fitness fads come and go, but the fundamentals of strength training never change. If you want to make real and lasting gains in strength and muscle, the single most effective way is to utilize the main compound exercises.
Bench presses, deadlifts, pull-ups, dips, and squats (commonly called ‘the king of exercises’) are unrivalled in their effectiveness at building muscle and strength. A good power rack (a.k.a ‘power cage’) or squat rack allows you to safely perform all of these exercises in the comfort and convenience of your home or garage gym (yep, even deadlifts…sort of).
A good quality power cage improves the safety of heavy lifts beyond that of even the best squat racks and stands. Their added stability also increases the functionality and effectiveness of those great bodyweight exercises in pull ups and dips – well beyond that of even the best power towers. If you have the space and money, then a power rack is without question the greatest addition you can make to your home / garage gym.
But, a good weight lifting rack requires a certain outlay of money, and if you’re a normal, sane person, then you’re not going to drop a heap of hard-earned cash on something like that without doing a fair amount of research first.
And this is where we come in.
This article will examine 10 of the best power racks and squat racks for your home or garage gym, and help you make the best possible choice. At the end of the article we’ll also discuss some key considerations you need to make when choosing a power rack.
Best Home Power Racks and Squat Racks at a Glance
Best Power Rack Overall
This classic westside-style power rack is the perfect example of the top quality products Rogue produce. There’s also a huge number of variations on the standard rack, so you’ll be able to find an option that’s perfect for your unique home gym.
Best Value Power Rack
If you’re looking for something a bit flashier that you can customize to your unique style and requirements, then the PR-4000 is a worthy option. The stock option is similar in nature to the R-3, but Rep Fitness have developed an extensive range of accessories that can be added to it, and are constantly developing more.
Best Squat Rack for Home Use Overall
Rogue’s SML racks are the proven workhorse that drives numerous home gyms around the world. You are getting a high-quality piece of equipment you can easily rely on and use daily. With a reasonable price and great build quality, Rogue’s SML series is an obvious choice.
The Best Power Racks and Cages for Your Home Gym
Whether you’re just getting into barbell training, or you’re already a passionate and experienced lifter, buying a good power rack will probably be the best investment you can make. On the other hand, buying a crappy rack will likely be the worst.
All of the power racks and cages below are worth the money. Which is right for you will depend on how much you’re planning to lift, your budget, the size of your home gym, and any additional personal preferences you might have.
If you’re at all familiar with strength training equipment, then you’ll know that Rogue Fitness are the market leaders in terms of quality. The Rogue R-3 Power Rack is arguably the single best example of that superior quality.
It was designed and built in the mold of the classic power rack used by Louie Simmons in the strength training laboratory that is the gym at Westside Barbell. And like the athletes at Westside, the R-3 Power Rack should help take your powerlifting to the next level.
Being part of Rogue’s Infinity Series of products, it’s comprised of 11-gauge, 2×3″ steel uprights and base, and held together with 5/8″ hardware. Included with the this power rack is almost everything you need to get lifting straight out of the box (so to speak):
- Excellent quality J-Cups with UHMW lining (ultra-high-molecular-weight or simply ‘hard plastic’).
- Pin and pipe safeties that are far stronger than they look, and have undoubtedly saved more than a few lifters from injury (or death). Using the Westside hole spacing that comes standard with most of Rogue’s power racks and squat stands, these safeties can be adjusted to the perfect height for all users through the squat, bench and clean pull ranges.
- 4 x band pegs, which often cost extra. On the DL, these can be used for storing your bumpers or steel / iron plates until you get a more permanent solution.
- 43″ dual Fat/Skinny pull-up bar for lat and grip strength.
Why did we say almost everything you need to get started straight away, you ask? Well, this power rack must be bolted to the floor for safety. However, Rogue’s concrete anchors need to be purchased separately. They’re not expensive (~$15), but it’s extra cash nonetheless.
On that note, if you don’t want to / are unable to drill into your floors, another solid option is to make yourself a plywood platform. If you’re going to do this, then you’ll want to use 3 x ¾” sheets, glued and screwed.
We’re going to side with Rogue, and recommend against using it as a freestanding rack. Not only is there risk of it toppling over if it’s not bolted down, but the legs can also splay outwards over time. If you want a freestanding variation of the R-3 Power Rack, check out the RML-390F Flat Foot Monster Lite Rack, discussed below.
Aside from having to bolt it to the floor, the R-3’s dimensions are its other most often discussed aspect. It has a footprint of 53″ wide x 34″ deep, with a 24″ working depth. This raises concerns for some that it isn’t deep enough to lift comfortably inside of. We’ve found that the 24″ working depth is plenty big enough, and that even the largest of humans are able to lift inside it without issue. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference, and is just something you’ll have to experience for yourself.
Realistically, your squat is the only lift where you’re likely to feel cramped. If that’s the case, consider grabbing a pair of the infinity spotter arms, attaching them to the front uprights, and squatting in front of the rack.
The R-3 has a standard height of 90″, meaning it will fit comfortably under 8′ ceilings. If, however, you have lower ceilings, you can get a “shorty”, which has 84″ uprights. While the standard R-3 is great for anyone looking for a space-saving power rack, the ‘shorty’ is arguably the best compact option available.
Due to its incredible versatility, and overwhelming popularity, Rogue have made a number of R-3 variations to ensure that almost anyone, with any need, can enjoy the benefits of lifting inside this power rack.
Variations of the R-3 Power Rack:
This is the bolt together version of the R-3, which enables it to be more easily manoeuvred through and into tight spaces. It has slightly different dimensions to the standard R-3: It’s 53″ wide, and you get a choice of a 30″ or 24″ working depth. There’s no “shorty” option, and it costs about $30 more.
An ultimate space saving option, The R-3W is a clever rack that mounts to the wall and folds flat when not in use. Realistically, it’s actually a squat rack, owing to the fact that there’s no inside working area. It has a few variations itself depending on your needs, and is a great option if you can’t have your rack permanently taking up floor space in your home gym. Note: The R-3W stringers are not included, and cost $50 extra.
Being part of the Monster Lite range, the RML-3 has 3×3″ 11-gauge steel uprights and base, and is an amazingly good upgrade to the classic Westside power rack design. It also has a 30″ working depth, which makes it a bigger, meaner, and more expensive variation of the R-3 Power Rack for people who want zero
concerns for safety and stability.
This is the bolt-together version of the RML-3 above. It’s identical in every way, except the uprights come flat-packed rather than as single pieces. You can now also get the RML-390C, which is the same bolt-together rack, except it’s available in a range of funky colors.
Can’t or won’t drill into your home gym’s floors? The RML-390F is a good solution. It’s self-stabilizing feet allow it to stand on its own, while its size and weight ensure it’s as stable as ever. It has a 30″ working depth like the RML-3, however, the stabilizing feet create a 48″ overall depth. This removes it from the ‘space-saving’ category, but it’s a great rack that’s perfect for people looking to keep their home gym’s floors in tact.
This is the absolute king of wall-mount racks. 3×3″ 11-gauge steel uprights, quick attach pull-up bar, and locking pin & hinge system make it one of Rogue’s most popular piece of equipment of any type.
So, that’s the Rogue R-3 Power Rack in all is versatile, variable glory.
We’re guessing that many of you reading this will have been looking at the Rogue R-3 already, but aren’t yet convinced if it’s worth the money…If you’re one of those people, and still wondering if you should press the trigger on this rack: Do it. It’s made in the US to the highest standards of quality and has a lifetime warranty.
If you train alone, it’s a great investment that could genuinely save your life.
Are you thinking a power rack might be a bit much for your home gym? A good squat rack could be a better option. Take a look at the best squat racks and stands currently on the market.
For those who don’t want to pay Rogue’s often exorbitant prices, Rep Fitness is rapidly becoming the best option for home fitness equipment. Their racks are a great demonstration of this, especially the PR-4000 Power Rack.
Using the same basic Westside design as the Rogue R-3 (and most other racks), the PR-4000 is a good quality, heavy duty power rack that comes at a very reasonable price. Now, the stock option is only about $30 less than the R-3, but that’s for a 3″ x 3″ versus the R-3’s 2″ x 3″. Both racks use 11 steel gauge tubing, have Westside hole spacing, and come with both UHMW-lined J cups and pin & pipe safeties. The stock R-3 has a fat / skinny pull up bar, whereas the PR-4000 has a single standard 1.25″ bar. The PR-4000 is made overseas, whereas the R-3 is, of course, manufactured by Rogue in their Ohio facility. Both racks have a 1000 lbs.+ weight capacity and are covered by limited lifetime warranties (this covers defects, not usual wear and tear).
At this point you’re probably wondering what actually sets them apart.
While the stock PR-4000 looks and feels quite similar to the R-3, the value you will get from this rack lies in your ability to customize it. And customize it you can.
Starting with the look and size, you can get both the uprights and crossmembers in a range of colors as well as heights and depths. From Rep blue to a fantastic stainless steel clear coat, you can make this rack look uniquely yours. And while the R-3 has two different height options but only one depth option, the PR-4000 comes in two different heights (80″ and 93″) and three different depths (24″, 30″ and 41″). This means you can get your rack closer to the perfect size for your home or garage gym than really any other power rack on this list.
And, the customization options continue. Rep’s PR-4000 Power Rack accepts a phenomenal range of accessories. From strap safeties and multi-grip or globe pull up bars to landmines, dip bars and a lat pulldown / low row attachment.
Two of the most useful accessories are the rear stabilization bar (only for the 41″ crossmembers) and front foot stabilizers. Both attachments allow you to use the rack safely without bolting it down. The rear bar allows you to use the inside of the rack unbolted, while the front feet allow you to attach safety spotter arms and lift in front of the rack unbolted.
Without these attachments, however, this rack must be bolted down to be used safely. Not doing so would be to risk the rack toppling over, or the legs splaying outwards over time. Unfortunately, Rep don’t include or stock the cement screws needed to fasten the rack to the floor, so you’ll have to purchase your own. We recommend these Titen HD screws, which are available from most hardware stores.
In addition to the sheer number of available accessories, the PR-4000 series attachments are extremely well-priced. Especially when compared to the Rogue power rack attachments, which can really cause your costs to balloon. For this reason, the PR-4000 is a great tribute to Rep’s ever-improving product development.
Rep Fitness used to have the PR-3000 power rack, which they’ve now discontinued. The PR-4000 is what replaced it. Ultimately, they’ve done a fantastic job of addressing the PR-3000’s shortcomings (e.g., it was tall and wide, with no other depth / width options).
All-in-all, the Rep Fitness PR-4000 Power Rack is an awesome rack that you can customize to the hilt, and make to be uniquely yours. Even the stock model (which includes pin & pipe safeties and J-cups only) offers enough customization in terms of color and size to make it a great alternative to the Rogue R-3.
Yes, it’s made overseas, so it simply can’t meet the same standards of manufacturing quality that the Rogue power racks can, but if you want to kit out your rack with a bunch of useful accessories and can’t afford to pay the high costs demanded by Rogue, then the PR-4000 is your best bet.
Titan Fitness make no secret of the fact that the T-3 Series Power Rack is a near-identical clone of the Rogue R-3. Indeed, one of the biggest differences between the two racks is the cost: The T-3 is less than half the price of the R-3! Although it’s a blatant copy, it’s also a very solid option if you like the look and features of the R-3, but can’t or won’t shell out the extra cash for it.
Like Rep Fitness, Titan target the budget-conscious segment of the home fitness equipment market, and are currently the major player in this segment. Therefore, while its certainly necessary to compare the T-3 to the R-3, it’s also worth comparing it to the Rep Fitness PR-4000, which is the next best power rack for a home gym on the list.
Titan vs Rogue vs Rep
|Price||~$450 incl. shipping||~$700 + shipping||~$650 + shipping|
|Frame, Hardware||2″x3″ 11-gauge steel, 5/8″ hardware||3″x3″ 11-gauge steel, 5/8″ hardware|
|Footprint||53″ x 32″ deep||53″ x 34″ deep||Varies depending on customization|
|Height||91″||90″ or 84″||93″ or 83″|
|Weight||230 lbs.||~250 lbs.||265 lbs.+ depending on customization|
|Pull-up Bar||Fat/Skinny||Fat/Skinny||1.25″, 2″. Multi-grip, OR Globe|
|Pin & Pipe Safeties||Included||Included||Included|
|Band Pegs||Included x 4||Included x 4||Purchase separately|
|Plate Storage||Included x 4||Purchase separately||Purchase separately|
|Freestanding||No||No||Can be with attachments|
As you can see, there are a number of similarities and differences between the 3 power racks as far as features and functionality are concerned. There are, however, a couple of things worth noting:
First, the T-3’s rubber-lined J-Cups are pretty crappy, and nowhere near as good as the UHMW-lined J-Cups that come with the Rogue and Rep power racks. Second, the T-3’s paint job leaves quite a bit to be desired. The R-3 and PR-4000 are both powder-coated, however the T-3 appears to be spray-painted. If looks aren’t important to you, then no problems, but those who do like a nice finish to their expensive purchases will likely be disappointed with the T-3’s color.
Additionally, something you can’t glean from a specs list comparison is differences in the quality of the manufacturing / construction.
Rogue’s power racks are US-made; they’re manufactured in Columbus, Ohio. Each component is inspected individually throughout the manufacturing process, and again before the rack actually ships. Manufacturing defects are extremely rare in all of Rogue’s products, and they guarantee their products for life.
The T-3 and PR-4000, on the other hand, are made in China, and generally don’t go through the same strict, quality-controlled manufacturing process. This means that the construction can sometimes leave a bit to be desired; defects are more common and more serious, and the warranties are limited (usually 1 year). Unfortunately, T-3 power racks seem to have more issues than the other low-cost options.
While these problems aren’t common and most T-3 racks work as expected straight out of the box, you may encounter things like bowed uprights, incomplete and messy welds, misaligned and badly pressed holes, and non-threaded bolts.
If you’re unlucky enough to experience them, issues like these are certainly annoying, however they’re part and parcel of low-cost fitness equipment. If you want the highest quality, you simply have to pay for it.
In any case, manufacturing defects can usually be remedied by reaching out to the Titan Fitness customer service department. By all reports they’re very helpful and they quick to send out replacement parts.
Let’s not focus too much on uncommon problems. As we said, the vast majority of the time the T-3 Series Power Rack will arrive defect-free, and when it does it’s a good piece of equipment.
With a 1000 lb. capacity on the spotters, even serious lifters should feel comfortable performing most power lifts inside a T-3. This is especially true for bench presses, as it’s one of the only common power racks other than the Rogues that has Westside hole spacing through the bench range.
Like the R-3, the T-3 has a compact footprint, making it very suitable for home / garage gyms in which space is at a premium. Also, the included storage horns are a nice touch and when loaded up with bumpers or weight plates, make it even more sturdy than normal.
Overall, it’s not perfect but it’ll do its job without burning a hole in your pocket. If you’re a lifter who wants to train at home on a budget, then the T-3 Series Power Rack is definitely worth considering.
Fringe Sport’s OneFitWonder “Kip Cage” is another lower cost, Chinese-manufactured alternative to both the Rogue R-3 (and its variants), and the PR-4000 from Rep Fitness. It doesn’t differ too much from these comparable racks, and certainly has more similarities than differences. Some of the main similarities include:
- Black powder coated 2×3″ 11-gauge steel uprights and base
- 5/8″ holes and hardware
- Pin and pipe safeties included
- 2 x pull up bars (both 1.5″ in diameter, located at front and back of the rack)
Like the R-3 it has a working depth of 24″. As we mentioned before, this may not seem like much, but once you give it a try you ‘ll see that it’s actually plenty.
Unlike the other racks, it has flat feet, which allow it to be freestanding if you want to protect your home gym’s floors. It’s feet have pre-drilled holes that allow you to bolt it to the ground if you so desire.
Somewhat uniquely, the Kip Cage’s feet extend well beyond the upright joins (it has a total footprint of 45″ deep x 47″ wide). As Fringe Sport have done in the video below, as well as a number of other buyers, this allows you to place sandbags on the feet to give it extra weight and stability. Considering 50 lb. sandbags are usually only about $5 a pop from hardware stores, this is an effective low cost alternative to bolting it to the floor. A solid option for anyone concerned about both the sturdiness of their power rack and the irreparable damage done to floors by drilling into them.
The trade-off for the extended feet, however, is that this power rack is going to take up a bit of extra floor space in your home gym. Certainly not as much as a fully customized Rep PR-4000, but more than the R-3 and other bolt-down racks. On the plus side, it’s 91″ tall, so even under 8′ ceilings it should have plenty of clearance above the pull-up bars.
The Kip Cage has a final couple of little unique features worth mentioning. First, it comes with two pairs of UHMW-lined J-hooks so you can have two squat positions simultaneously (i.e., no need to make adjustments). Second, the holes on the uprights are numbered, which allows for quick and easy adjustment of your J-cups and safeties.
Unfortunately, Fringe Sport one of the last Rogue competitors yet to adopt the Westside hole spacing. Unlike most other top power racks, they have 2″ spacing the entire length of the uprights. So, again, you might not be able to find that sweet spot for the safeties through your bench range.
Fringe Sport offers free shipping on all of their products, however the reality is that neither UPS, nor any other freight company, ship stuff for free. Therefore, “free shipping” really just means shipping is included in the price.
Nevertheless, the Kip Cage is a good quality, functional, and sturdy power cage. It’s usually more expensive than the T-3 power racks, however Fringe often have sales on their equipment, so if you can get one of these power cages for less than about $650, then you will have done pretty well.
Force USA’s mission is to provide the best value strength equipment for home and light commercial use, and the MyRack Modular Power Rack is proof that they’re doing a damn good job in achieving that mission. This may well be the best power rack for the money.
The MyRack is designed and manufactured to specifications that are not typically seen or met in the home gym equipment industry (except by Rogue), and it’s certainly meant to stand the test of time. Regardless of which attachments you add (more on that in a sec), the MyRack unit is rated at a 2000 lbs static rating weight capacity. That’s double most other racks, and ensures that you can lift heavy with it. It’s also somewhat surprising, considering the rack uses 2.4″ x 2.4″, 12-gauge steel, which is below the industry standard of 11-gauge steel thickness.
As the name implies, this rack is designed to be customized by you. You buy the base unit (~$600), and then add any of the 20-odd attachments. The base unit comes in three different colors (black, red and blue) with nothing but the uprights, feet, and upper and lower brace plates / bars, plus 2 standard barbell holders and 2 olympic barbell holders (one each on the rear of each foot). You then have to add whichever attachments you want.
So, while the ordering process requires a little more effort, you end up only getting the attachments you want and are going to use.
We’re not going to discuss every attachment in detail, but let’s take a look at some of the essentials, and more interesting ones.
You don’t get much more essential than these. You have two options, both of which use the standard pin and post system:
- Standard J-Hooks, which are UHMW-lined and rated for 1760 lbs static weight capacity
- Deluxe J-Hooks, which have the nylon insert that covers the entire face of the hook and are rated for 2645 lbs static weight capacity
Safety arms are another essential attachment, especially if you’ll be lifting solo (which you inevitably will if this rack is for your home gym). There are 3 options here, all of which also use the pin and post system:
- Box Tube Safeties, which are UHMW-lined and rated for 1500 lbs static weight capacity
- Safety Slings (aka straps), which are double stitched, use a magnetized pin and post system, and are rated for 1000 lbs static weight capacity
- Safety Spotter Arms, which are ideal for working outside of the rack, and also have a 1000 lbs static weight capacity.
Pull Up Bars
Pull up bars may not seem essential, but who wants a power rack without them? Force USA’s powder coating is lighter and more slick than the standard you’ll find in the industry. Unfortunately, this means that most of their pull up bars are harder to grip and aren’t great, with the exception of the classic multi grip chin up bars. You have 4 options in pull up attachments for the MyRack:
- The Classic Grip Chin Up Bar is easily their best pull up bar. This is because it has multiple grip options and, most importantly, it has knurling the bars. This negates the poor powder coat. If all of the pull up bar options had knurling, or better powder coating, this rack would easily be one of the best power or squat rack with a pull up bar.
- The Monkey Bars are simply Force USA’s variation of fat / skinny bars. You get a standard 1.25″ bar and a fat 2″ bar for grip training.
- Globe Grip Chin Up Bars are made for those who want to develop a vice-like grip. Force USA’s have two 2″ and two 3″ globes, plus fat and skinny neutral grip bars and wide grip pull up handles. These are the next best pull up bars in the line up.
- Finally, there are the Hammer Grip Chin Up Bars. These are primarily for neutral or “hammer” grip pull ups, but also include wide grip pull up handles. They’re covered in a rubber grip which is so so.
The above attachments are what we’d consider essentials. Here are some of the less essential or non-essential options:
- Dip Bars. These are like Rogue’s matador arms and, as the name suggests, are for doing bodyweight or weighted dips.
- Matador Arms. This attachment acts as a pair of J-Hooks that sit out from the rack. When you lift the bar off, they retract thus allowing you to go straight into your squats without having to walk the bar back. They’re ok. Rogue’s and Rep’s are much better.
- Lat Pulldown and Low Row. Force USA’s lat pulldown attachment is arguably the best on the market. It’s easy to set-up, and smooth in its operation. It includes Olympic and standard plate adaptors for those heathens that still use standard weight plates.
- Cable Crossover. The MyRack is one of the only power racks that includes a cable crossover option. It’s pretty awesome, but also expensive. You need to buy two if you want them on both sides.
With a mixture of essential and non-essential attachments, the MyRacks is comparable in price to the Rogue R-3 and Titan T-3 power racks, and less expensive than the PR-4000. With the MyRack base unit (~$600) and these attachments:
- Standard J-Hooks
- Plate holders
- Box safeties
- Dip bars
- Classic chin up bars
You’re looking at about $1090 + $150 shipping. A similar set up for the Rogue R-3 rack will cost you about $1155 + shipping (which will vary depending on where you live).
So, it’s not bad value at all, especially considering the attachments are mostly good quality.
Our main gripe is this: The rack uses 2.4 x 2.4″ steel tubing. As far as we know, Force USA are the only ones that use these dimensions. This means that, unlike Rogue, Rep, Fringe Sport, and Titan equipment, you can’t use anyone else’s attachments on the MyRack; you must use Force USA’s attachments and only theirs. So, if they’re out of stock or they discontinue an attachment you like, then you’re shit out of luck.
A couple other things to mention are:
- You can bolt the MyRack to the floor, or leave it free standing. It has flat feet that allow this without risk of toppling or the legs splaying
- The rack has fairly standard dimensions. 47″ W x 55″ L x 87″ high, with a 29″ interior depth means this rack should fit in your garage gym quite easily, even if you’re limited in footprint space or have low ceilings.
So, all-in-all, the Force USA MyRack Modular Power Rack is a worthy option if you’re looking for a good home power rack that can be customized to suit your needs, and won’t break your bank. If you have the cash, you should go with the R-3 or PR-4000, however you probably won’t be disappointed in the MyRack
The 5 Best Squat Racks for Your Home Gym
|Rogue SML Series of Squat Racks||
||Check current price|
|Rep SR-4000 Heavy Duty Squat Rack||
||Check current price|
|Fringe Sport Garage Series Squat Rack||
||Check current price|
|Titan Fitness X-3 Series Squat Stands||
||Check current price|
|Rogue S-4 Indy Stands||
||Check current price|
|Rogue SML Series of Squat Racks|
|Check current price|
|Rep SR-4000 Heavy Duty Squat Rack|
|Check current price|
|Fringe Sport Garage Series Squat Rack|
|Check current price|
|Titan Fitness X-3 Series Squat Stands|
|Check current price|
|Rogue S-4 Indy Stands|
|Check current price|
It should come as no surprise that Rogue is sitting at the top of our list. They are, after all, a top tier gym equipment manufacturer with a spotless record. Rogue’s SML Series of Squat Racks represent a perfect choice for home use. This series consists of a number of models, starting with the more basic short rack and ending with more advanced rigs that have pull-up bars and progressively taller uprights.
No matter which one you choose to go with, you can always count on that proven Rogue quality. This company is one of the few that proudly manufactures its products in Ohio and offers great warranties on anything that leaves the factory floor. With that said, the quality of Rogue’s products is on a level where their warranty services are rarely called upon, if ever.
This particular series of squat racks are made of 11-gauge steel that pretty much exceeds the needs of home users. Rogue also rates the entire series at 1,000+ lb weight capacity. SML racks feature J-Cups with protective UHMW plastic inserts that will protect your bar. Best of all, SML racks are quite affordable as well depending on which one you go for.
- Rogue’s standard build quality and impressive warranty
- Built tough using 11-gauge steel and the proper hardware
- Comes with UHMW protected J-Cups
- Reasonably priced across the entire range
The Not So Good
- Spotter arms aren’t part of the package and need to be bought separately
By all accounts, Rep’s SR-4000 is one of the best budget options on the market. This rack is aimed at those who need a more affordable setup that is still meeting the quality standards necessary for proper home use. In fact, Rep is up there with Rogue, only falling behind in certain aspects. Rep Fitness has designed SR-4000 to be the ultimate choice for those operating on a tight budget. It’s a rack that pretty much has it all.
All the bells and whistles are included with this build. We’re talking spotter arms with pegs that can also serve as dip arms, two pull-up bars, weight horns in the rear of the rack for improved stability, J-Cups with a plastic lining, the whole 9 yards. So, what’s the catch?
There really isn’t one. This rack isn’t without its flaws, but they are far from being deal-breakers. In terms of build quality, you are looking at 11-gauge steel all around. Uprights on this rig are 2.5″ x 2.5″ instead of the much preferred 3″ x 3″ and that is probably the biggest flaw of the whole setup. However, you’re still getting a 1,000 lb certified rack that will easily get the job done.
If your definition of the best squat rack is that which offers the greatest value for money, then look no further than the SR-4000.
- Great bang-for-your-buck value: Easily the best squat rack for the money
- Comes packed with all kinds of useful features right out of the box
- Features 11-gauge steel construction
- Very easy to assemble
The Not So Good
- The only real flaw of this rack is in the slightly thinner uprights compared to the Rogue SMLs
Next up is the Garage Series squat rack from Fringe Sport. This is another awesome budget rig that offers great back for the buck value. Fringe Sport, much like REP, is right up there with Rogue in terms of quality. Their Garage Series racks are simple, built to last and relatively flexible. The one we are looking at today is a perfect choice for those who want a decently compact footprint and a rack that is designed to accommodate a bench press station as well.
As far as build quality goes, Fringe did a great job putting together a robust rack. They have used 12-gauge, one-piece 2×3″ uprights. Even though we definitely would have loved to see 11-gauge steel instead of a somewhat thinner 12-gauge, there is no denying that this rack is properly reinforced in all the right places. With that said, it is tested for 450 lb weight capacity and it is highly recommended that you don’t go outside those specs. 450 lb is still more than enough for home use.
Other than that, you are looking at built-in weight horns, a pair of durable J-Cups, staggered holes near the bottom of the rack to accommodate for proper benching height, and more. One thing you do not get are spotter arms. You can get them as an option and we strongly recommend that you do. Lifting home alone more or less demands a set of spotter arms at the very least.
- Space efficient design perfect for garage use hence the name
- Decent quality construction that offers 450 lb weight capacity
- Features built-in weight horns as well as floor bolting options
- Cost-effective design that is great for budget users
The Not So Good
- Doesn’t come with spotter arms out of the box, although they are available as an aftermarket part
Last but not the least for our ‘standard’ squat rack recommendations, we have the Titan Fitness X-3 Series of squat racks. If you’re familiar with Rogue’s designs, you will probably find these racks to be similar.
Without going into much detail, we can say that the X-3 series and Rogue’s SML series are nearly identical. However, despite being a borrowed design by all accounts, the X-3 squat racks still offer great value through a decent quality construction at a very attractive price point. Indeed, their up there with the SR-4000 as some of the best squat racks for the money you’ll pay.
These racks are a great choice for those who like the look and dimensions of a Rogue rig but don’t want to commit that kind of money.
There are two X-3 variants – short and tall – with both built using 3″ x 3″, 11-gauge steel tubing which is by far the optimal configuration for home gym use. In fact, 3″ x 3″ tubing has become the industry’s gold standard. The short rack stands 72″ tall and has no pull-up bar (much like the SML-1), while the tall rack is 92″ tall and does have a pull-up bar.
Titan Fitness has used the Westside hole pattern through the bench zone, making these great racks for bench presses (you’ll obviously need a weight bench for this). The overall weight rating for these racks is 1000 lbs, making it suitable for advanced users as well as beginners.
You have the option of purchasing with or without spotter arms. If you’re lifting heavy, we recommend including the spotter arms.
Even though it isn’t riddled with all the bells and whistles, the X-3 Series squat racks from Titan still bring great value to the table.
- A proven design that just works
- Features good quality steel construction and hardware
- Comes with a pair of robust spotter arms
- Reasonably priced setup that offers good value for your money
The Not So Good
- Finish and non-essential quality control aren’t always on point
No list of the best squat racks for home use is complete without at least one set of independent squat stands; a.k.a. Indy stands.
Indy stands are two-piece squat stands that can be moved around easily and stored away. They’re perfect if space in your home or garage gym is at a serious premium, or if you do Olympic lifts and want a squat rack that takes up minimal room on your platform.
Rogue’s S-4 Indy stands are the best in the business, albeit also among the most expensive. The uprights use 11-gauge steel, while the H-bases are made from the stronger and heavier 7-gauge steel. This makes them much more stabe than cheaper, crappier sports-store Indy stands.
UHMW-lined J-cups are included and can be inserted into holes on the uprights that employ Rogue’s usual Westside pattern. Thus, you can use these stands for benching as well as squats and OHPs.
While they’re not ideal for pushing your limits (due their greater inherent risk of toppling), the S-4 stands are a great option if you want something that you can move around easily and that take up very little room.
- Portable and take up little space
- Have Westside hole spacing on the uprights
- Built extremely tough – super high-quality stands
The Not So Good
- Expensive for Indy stands
- Not suitable for testing and pushing your 1RM
Should You Get a Power or Squat Rack?
If you’re looking to get into Powerlifting in a serious way and you want to train at home, then you’re going to need a rack of some sort. Whether that’s a power rack or something different will depend on what you’re aiming to achieve, and your personal circumstances.
It may be more useful to explore why you shouldn’t get a power rack in order to understand if you should get one. Despite the fact that they’re very useful pieces of equipment, they’re not suitable or necessary for all home exercisers.
If you’re not planning on doing any kind of barbell training, then you shouldn’t get a power rack.
Some websites recommend power racks as good options for doing pull ups and other bodyweight exercises, but this is ludicrous. If you want something on which to train calisthenics, there are much more effective and cheaper options than a power rack. For example, wall or ceiling-mounted pull up bars, doorway pull up bars, power towers, and gymnastics rings are far better and (usually) cheaper options for calisthenics. Power racks are only necessary / suitable for those who will be building size and strength by getting beneath a barbell.
If you have very limited space in your home gym, then perhaps consider a squat rack or independent squat stands as an alternative to a power rack. Having four uprights means that even the most compact power racks require a fairly extensive amount of space to be used properly. And, it’s obviously not just the footprint you need to consider. The functional footprint includes at least a couple of feet on either side to allow you to add weight plates / bumpers to the barbell and allow the bar to move freely while you’re lifting.
Similarly, if you’re strapped for cash, then squat racks and stands are less expensive options that perform the same function as a power rack.
So, should you get either a power rack or squat rack? If you’re going to start Powerlifting (either recreational or competitively), have plenty of space in your home gym, and have the budget for it, then yes you should get a rack of some sort. Keep reading to understand more about choosing the right rack for you.
Choosing the Best Home Power Rack or Squat Rack
More often than not, your power or squat rack will be the centrepiece of your home or garage gym. They’re the most versatile and effective support equipment ever created for strength training. But they aren’t cheap. Even the lower cost racks can be a hit to the bank account.
Odds are that if you’re reading this article with serious intentions of buying a rack, you’ve already done a lot of agonizing over which is the right one for you. Hell, you may have spent the last 12 months researching everything you need to know to make the best decision!
Nevertheless, we’ll quickly run through some of the primary considerations to make before pulling the trigger on a rack for your home or garage gym.
How much are you planning to lift?
When shopping for a power rack, this is the first question you should be asking yourself. Your answer can and should influence the decisions you make around the considerations that follow.
If you’re planning to lift heavy and really push your limits, whether in the short- or long-term, then you’re going to need a different piece of equipment than if you’re planning to lift well within your 1 rep max (1RM).
If your back squat is getting up into the 300+ lb. range, and you have a tendency to get stuck in the hole, then you’re definitely going to want to go with something more heavy duty and higher quality. Why? Because bailing on a lift, and dropping a 300+ lb. bar onto your rack generates a helluva lot more force than lowering it in a controlled fashion.
Pretty much any power rack can handle static weight, that’s not the issue. It’s the applied force behind failed weights that necessitate a rack with a better design and higher quality construction that won’t shear or bend.
The Rogue R-3 and it’s Monster Lite variant, the Rep Fitness PR-4000, as well as the American Barbell Mammoth Racks are perfect for safely pushing your lifting limits at home. They’ll fit your needs now, and provide plenty of room for you to grow into.
What’s your budget?
This is a bit of a no-brainer, but price must be one of the first and most important factors in deciding which power rack to go with. If you’ve got the cash spare, then going with higher quality equipment is almost always the right decision, even if you’ll be lifting well within your 1RM.
As we say in nearly every review we do, you get what you pay for when it comes to fitness equipment. The Rogue and Force USA power rack are pricey, but they’re also the best quality overall. That said, Rogue do make the RE-3 Echo Rack, which is easily one of the top budget power racks.
The PR-4000 strikes a very nice balance between affordability and quality, as does the OneFitWonder Kip Cage. The T-3 Power Rack from Titan is very very affordable, but it comes with a higher risk of defects.
How much space do you have in your home / garage gym?
As far as the 5 power racks above are concerned, this consideration will very quickly determine whether they’re suitable for you or not.
If you don’t have an abundance of space for your rack, then the fully kitted out PR-4000, with it’s whopping 50″ wide x 50.5″ deep footprint, is probably not going to be the one for you. The R-3 and T-3 racks, on the other hand, are much more compact, especially in terms of depth (34″ and 32″ respectively). They’re your best bets if you’re looking for space-savers. The other racks fall somewhere in the middle.
Another thing to consider is obviously ceiling height. 8′ ceilings are about the lowest you’ll be able to work comfortably with, and even then you might be pushing it with some of these racks. Bear in mind that you’re going to need at least 6″ – 12″ clearance above your pull-up bar if you’re going to be using it a lot. You can go with the shorter racks, or move your pull-up bar(s) down a notch, but if you’re on the taller side this will force you to bend your legs considerably when doing pulls.
If you do find that your home gym just doesn’t have the necessary space for a full power rack, then a good quality squat rack or stand is a legit alternative.
Frequently Asked Questions About Power and Squat Racks
What are power racks and squat racks used for?
They’re used for safe and effective barbell training.
Power and squat racks provide the means to unrack and rack loaded barbells at the height needed to perform Powerlifting exercises like squats, bench presses, and overhead presses. The bars or straps that run between the uprights (known as safeties) also create a safe means of pushing your weight limits for those same exercises. For example, if you try squatting a weight that’s a little too heavy for you, you’re able to dump the bar onto the safeties, thus preventing it from crushing you.
Many power racks can be bolted to the ground, which allows you to use resistance bands. These bands go around bands pegs attached to the power rack, and then around the barbell you’re lifting. This creates maximum resistance for lifts like squats and deadlifts without the need for lots of weight plates.
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.
Do you really need a squat rack?
No of course you don’t need a rack. If, however, you do barbell exercises such as squats, bench presses, and overhead presses with any significant amount of weight, then a rack of some description is highly recommended to ensure you’re able to lift safely. Squat racks are good options if you want a relatively cheaper rack that doesn’t take up too much space. Alternatively, go with a good power rack or half rack if you have enough funds and plenty of space to put and use it comfortably (if you can drill and bolt into your floors, go with a power rack as this makes them solid as a rock).
Well, there it is: The 10 best power racks and squat racks for your home or garage gym. No matter your lifting goals, budget or space-restrictions, you should be able to find the equipment you need to take your strength training to the next level. And take it to the next level you will.
A good rack is, without question, the most valuable addition you can make to your home gym. It is the furnace in which the strongest version of you can be forged.
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As always, best of luck with your home workouts. Remember: When it comes to working out, we can make the effort or make excuses, but we can’t make both.
THFF (The Home Fit Freak)