If you’re serious about working out at home, then you’re going to want some form of power rack or squat rack in your gym in order to get the most out of those workouts. You’ll need somewhere to rack the bar for overheard presses and heavy squats, and you’ll also want something with spotters for your bench press and back squat so you can safely go heavy when alone. You absolutely need a pull-up bar, and that’s already built into a power rack. So, call it a power rack, power cage, or squat rack; call it whatever you want just so long as you own one.
When it comes to buying power racks, there are many different manufacturers and many levels of quality available. Some racks have tons of available features and add on accessories, and some have very few. There are features you know you want, and there will also be things you may not have thought of yet. I’m going to show you a bunch of different power racks, cages, and squat stands in this article, and also give you some things to watch out for when shopping for one, all with the goal of improving the chances that you get everything you want the first time around.
Things to consider when buying a power rack
- Will the rack fit? – Make sure that not only the floor space is available for it, but make sure you don’t buy a rack higher than your ceiling will comfortably allow. Remember to factor in head clearance space for pull-ups.
- Will it really fit though? – Also consider the equipment space needed. Are you left with any space around the perimeter of the rack? Can you move around the rack to load the bar? Will the bar rub against the wall? Olympic barbells are over 7′ long, so measure twice.
- Does the manufacturer offer the accessories you want? – Who cares which add ons they have if they don’t have the ones you want. Some have dozens of accessories, some have only a few, and the worst have none. In some cases, accessories work among different brands.
- Is it the right size? – If you’re a tall guy, don’t buy a short rack. If you’re unusually short, don’t buy a rack that has a pull up bar 9 feet off the ground. Consider all the dimensions: the depth (the space between uprights where the bar will travel), the height, and the width (the opening). Generally the cheaper the rack, the shorter and narrower it is.
- Does the rack offer anchor holes? – There are only a handful of power racks that are not intended to be anchored to the foundation or a lifting platform. If you perform kipping pull-ups or want to attach a dip station, you should probably make sure you can anchor the rack down somehow.
- Is the rack easy to use and adjust? – Some standard equipment is annoying to use. For instance, the pin and pipe safety system is what you get with a number of racks by default. It’s slow and horrible to use, and you will probably upgrade sooner rather than later to spotter arms or straps. It may be cheaper to select the option you prefer when you buy.
- Does the rack have a stabilizer? – Again, most racks are intended to be anchored down. Despite that fact, some racks have a stabilizer bar that runs along the bottom backside of the rack that keeps the rack stable when it’s not anchored. These bars are a hindrance and get in the way of both your feet and your bench. Make sure this bar is either not present, is removable, or is thin enough to almost be flush with the ground. The image below is Rogue’s stabilizer and it’s both optional and removable; as it should be.
- How is it shipped? Make sure the parts fit where you want to assemble it. Some racks are in pieces, others are completely welded except for the crossmembers. Will you be able to get those parts through doorways, curved stairs, narrow hallways, etc?
- How much is shipping? Racks are big and heavy and expensive to ship, and they almost always ship via LTL freight. You may find one with a price you like but the rack costs half as much more just to ship. Some retailers ship certain units for free. Check that shipping rate before you get too attached to any particular rack.
Power Rack vs Squat Stands
There are two typical reasons why someone would consider purchasing a squat stand over a power rack. First is budget. Yes, you can get a squat stand for less money than a power rack. However, for squat stands that offer pull-up bars and safeties, the price difference isn’t really that great; as I’ll show you below.
The second reason people look for squat stands over power racks is because of a perceived lack of space for a full rack. Actually, a squat stand takes up more space than you may think… or rather, power racks can take up less space than you may think. Look at the image below.
The squat stand (Rogue SML-2) on the left has a footprint of 48″ x 49″ and sells for just over $600 with the spotter arms. The power rack (Rogue RML-3) on the right has a footprint of 30″ x 49″ and sells for $750. So while the power rack costs a bit more, it also takes up less space, is more stable when anchored, and has more accessory options.
So it’s one thing to prefer squat stands for some reason or another, but don’t automatically assume you have to settle for squat stands because you’re working with limited space. Check out some of the smaller power racks and half racks before you commit to a squat stand. If you are unsure which to buy, check out a discussion on this topic here.
Commercial Squat Racks
I’m not a fan of squat racks for a home gym. I couldn’t find a single squat rack that had adjustable safety pipes for anywhere near the price tag that would warrant buying it over a power cage. Freemotion Fitness makes a squat rack that adjusts for $1300. No reason to spend that kind of money and not get a pull-up bar, or not have the option to bench or adjust for height. Squat racks are for commercial gyms. Buy a power rack, not a commercial squat rack.
I have one exception to my stance on true squat racks, and that is for the few of you out there that have basement gyms rather than garage gyms. There are some basements out there with incredibly low ceilings, and a power rack is just out of the question. So, I have started to keep my eyes open for basement-appropriate racks so that you’re not stuck with only the “classic” squat stand option. Jump!
There are a number of wall-mounted, folding racks on the market that serve as full-size squat stands when set-up, yet fold away in mere seconds and take up so little space that you can still pull your car in. These folding racks are strong, generally very affordable, and offer a lot versatility. In an effort to not over-crowd this article, I opted to make a separate page for these folding racks and you can see that here.
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Full-Size Power Racks
The first section is made up of your standard, full-size power racks. Some will have four uprights, and some will have six uprights; the rear two being for plate and accessory storage. What separates these from the half racks and squat stands further down the page is the fact that you generally work out inside these racks, and outside half and squat racks. Also, these will tend to require slightly more floor space, although that is not always the case.
King Racks – The Rogue R6 and RML-690 Power Racks
Of the three base models of Infinity power racks from Rogue (R3, R4, and R6), the Rogue R6 has the largest footprint. This beautiful rack is essentially an R4 with two extra uprights for plate storage. These two extra uprights eliminate the need for a separate piece of equipment for plates, bands, and chains. Having that storage on board also makes getting the weights on and off the bar quicker and easier as they are just inches from the bar.
The R6 is built using industry standard 2″ x 3″ 11-gauge steel, and 5/8″ hardware for both assembly and the optional accessories. The R6 comes with a ton of plate storage (8 horns, to be exact), 2 different pull up bars including the multi-grip bar (shown above), protective J-cups, band pegs, spotter bars, and it also has Rogue’s famous Westside hole pattern (1″ hole spacing through the bench region). The total footprint of the R6 is 52″ W x 81″ L, and it is 90″ tall. $1495
The Rogue RML-690 on the other hand is more or less a beefier, cooler looking version of the R6. Rather than 2″ x 3″ steel, the 690 is assembled with giant 3″ x 3″ 11-gauge steel, making it an ideal choice for institutions, commercial gyms, etc. This thing is so sturdy and massive it doesn’t even require bolting to the floor or a platform. Other than the steel, the rack is essentially the same, although this one doesn’t come standard with the multi-grip pull-up bar. It still has the Westside hole pattern. $1568
Not everyone has the space for such large racks, but if you do I seriously suggest putting either of these racks on your short list. These racks are solid and I don’t think there is another company on the planet that makes as many accessories for their racks as Rogue does; stuff like spotter arms, straps, dip stations, landmines, reverse-hypers, and on and on. If for some reason you don’t think this is enough rack for you, try the full-on Monster RM-6!
Legend Fitness 3133 Power Cage
As with all Legend exercise equipment, you can’t really go wrong. Made with 3″ x 3″ steel tubing, the Legend 3133 Power Rack is 88″ high, and has a 60″ x 68″ footprint. It has the standard 2″ hole pattern, J-hooks, pipe safety system, pull-up bar, and built in plate storage. This cage, as with all Legend Fitness equipment, is custom order; meaning you get to pick your frame color, but you get to wait for production. A large variety of accessories are available for this unit: Dip attachment, spotter arms, step up attachment, landmines, band pegs, two tone paint, and more.
While definitely a tough, commercial power rack, I’m not a fan of this rack when compared to the R6 by Rogue. My main reason is the R6 has the 1″ hole spacing (Westside) through the bench and pull region rather than 2″ from top to bottom, and that’s a fantastic feature! Also there is a 6 to 8 week lead time on Legend gear. It used to be that you had to go with a commercial vendor for colored racks, but now even Rogue offers the RLM-690 in a multitude of colors.
Vulcan Stanard 3×3 Power Rack
The 3×3 Standard Rack by Vulcan is very similar to the RML-490 that I cover following this unit. It’s 3″x3″, 11-gauge steel tubing that’s assembled with beefy 5/8″ hardware. It’s power coated, comes with safeties and J-cups, and has a very similar footprint (4’x4′).
There are a couple of things that set this rack apart from the Rogue version. For starters, the feet of the Vulcan Standard are 9″x9″ – a massive footprint that will allow you to use this unit without anchoring. That is, assuming you don’t attach a trawler or something like that. Of course, you can still anchor if you choose – the holes are there. The Vulcan also has 2″ hole spacing up all four sides of each upright which gives you a lot more versatility when using attachments. You’re not limited to only two sides of your rack like with so many other units.
The Vulcan Standard sells for $1100, and shipping is free to many regions, and only $45 to the West Coast (Vulcan is on the East Coast.)
Rogue R4 Power Rack and RML-490 LE Power Rack
I personally own the R4 Power Rack and I absolutely love it. The 4 series is slightly deeper than the 3 series (R3, RM-3, and RML-3) and feels much more like a rack you’d use at the gym. This rack is 43″ between uprights both width and depth. It is 90″ tall and has a 53″ x 53″ total footprint. The frame is 11-gauge 2″ x 3″ steel.
The R4 has a 2″ hole pattern like any rack, but it also has a 1″ hole pattern through the bench and clean zone (Westside hole pattern). This power rack comes with a pair of J-cups, pin and pipe safety system, 4 band pegs, and a fat/skinny pull-up bar. A stabilizer is offered as an option (shown in the picture), but you won’t need or want it once you anchor it down. There is also a massive assortment of optional accessories including a dip attachment, landmines, hyper attachment, spotter arms and straps, multi-grip crossmember, and many more.
I highly recommend this power rack. It is probably the most well-rounded rack for a garage gym considering size, options, available accessories, and price. I also highly recommend you purchase spotter arms rather than use the pin and pipe safety system. I have a full review on this rack that you can read here.
The RML-490 Limited Edition is the Monster Lite version of the R4 (above). There are only a few differences between this rack and the classic R4. First of all, the RML uses 3″ square 11-gauge steel rather than 2″ x 3″ 11-gauge steel. The other major difference between the R4 and the RML-490 is the cosmetic options. You can choose from 2 different powder coatings (high gloss black and clear coat finish) and you can change the color of your pull-up bars to neon green. In other words, for about $100 you can have a shiny, glossy, slightly beefier R4 (well, for a limited time).
New Rogue RML-490C Power Rack
The RML-490C is the first power rack from Rogue to be released in anything other than black. The LE from above was the closest thing to having a color choice, and let’s be honest, a green pull-up bar doesn’t make the rack look that different.
The technical specifications of the standard RML-490 and the colored 490 are the same. Other than the obvious difference in frame color, there are a handful of other small cosmetic changes made as well. Black zinc is used for all the hardware and the band pegs rather than bright zinc, and the rear crossmember is a fancy black nameplate with Rogue in stainless steel. All of the standard Monster Lite accessories work with this rack and they should look pretty bad ass since all that stuff is in black.
Rogue R3 and RML-3 Power Racks
The Rogue R3 Power Rack is one of Rogue’s Westside-inspired power racks. The smallest rack in the Infinity line (R3, R4, and R6) in terms of needed floor space, the R3 has a footprint of 34″ x 53″ and rises 90″ above the ground. It’s made with 11-gauge 2″x3″ steel, is assembled with hefty 5/8″ hardware, and comes standard with a pair of J-cups, pin and pipe safeties, double pull-up bar, and four band pegs. Because it’s a Westside rack, it has 1″ hole spacing through the bench and clean zone.
The R3 is a well-known rack and has found homes in thousands upon thousands of garage gyms, affiliates, and schools across the country. It’s compact, sturdy, and affordable, and there are countless optional accessories available for the Infinity racks that just make the whole line appealing.
The RML-3 Power Rack is the Monster Lite version of the R3. Made with 3″ x 3″ 11-gauge steel, it’s basically just a beefier, heavier version or the R3. It comes with the same accessories, has the same footprint, and still has the Westside hole pattern. Yes, it also looks cooler. Both units need to be anchored to the ground or a lifting platform because of their smaller footprints.
Rogue RM-3 Bolt Together and RM-390 Flat Footed Rack
Even beefier than the previous two R3 racks covered above, the Monster racks are as solid as they come. These two racks are variations of the standard RM-3. Monster racks use 3″ x 3″ 11-gauge steel and are assembled with massive 1″ hardware.
The RM-3 Bolt Together is intended to ease transport and installation in tighter locations that wouldn’t allow fully welded rack pieces to fit through, like stairs to a basement for instance. It comes standard with laser etched numbers for each pin hole, a pair of J-cups, pin and pipe safeties, and a fat/skinny pull-up bar. The uprights can be upgraded to 7-gauge steel, and you can choose to leave off the laser etched numbers if you wanted to (why I don’t know.)
The RM-390 Flat Foot is for those who cannot anchor their rack down for one reason or another, but like the size of the R3. This rack uses the same steel and the same hardware, but sits on top of the Monster Squat Stand base which has four giant 3″ x 3″ rubber feet. This set up keeps the rack from shifting excessively and also protects your floor. These rubber feet add nearly a foot in depth to the racks footprint, but the rack itself offers the same space to workout in.
Titan HD Imported Power Rack
I get asked about this rack often enough that I figured I should just add it and talk about it. The Titan HD is basically an imported copy-cat of the Rogue R3, and for significantly less money. The specs on paper are almost completely identical, but the quality is literally night and day. There is a lot wrong with this rack that can’t be seen in an image.
I found an excellent video review of this rack. This guy has both the Titan HD and the Rogue R3 and compares both of them side-by-side. It’s alarming how inferior the Titan is to the Rogue. So much so that the reason the guy has both racks is because he’s replacing his Titan with the R3; the rack he probably wishes he had bought in the first place. I strongly suggest that you watch this video before you blow your cash on this poorly designed power rack.
For those of you who can’t be bothered, here are some of the key points. The J-cups can scratch your barbell, the safeties are hard to use and will probably eventually break, the rack isn’t powder coated and it will rust (just a coat of spray paint), the pass through plates on the cross-members and pull-up bars, and the feet are all razor thin and do not sit flush, there is only four total anchor holes (one per foot) rather than three per foot, the steel is dimpled from being drilled rather than laser cut, the steel is low quality, and the list goes on and on.
You couldn’t give me this rack. Buy at your own risk.
Powertec Fitness Workbench Power Rack
The Powertec Rack is your basic power cage that measures 50″ x 60″ and 84″ high. The height on this rack will offend people anywhere near 6′ tall (I know, I’m 6’4″ and my 90″ Rogue rack could stand to be a tad taller.) There are lots of extra accessories out there for this thing, including a lat pulldown, and it does come with a dip station and chin-up bar for no extra cost.
It has a maximum rack load of 1000 pounds, and 400 pounds for the chin and dip bars. The documentation on it implies it cannot be anchored to the ground, so this rack should only be considered if you can’t attach it to the ground for some other reason. The reviews look good and it is a heavily searched rack on Google, but it has gone up in price by nearly $200 since I first included this rack, and honestly, it’s not much a deal anymore since that increase.
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Half racks have very little inside depth to the rack itself, but are still four uprights like a normal power rack rather than two like you’d see on squat stands. It’s best to think of a half rack as a glorified squat stand in that they’re slightly more stable and they offer on-board plate storage. As with squat stands, all the work is done outside the rack, and exercises that utilize safeties usually do so with spotter arms rather than the pipes between uprights like in a standard power rack.
Half racks really do not offer smaller footprints than standard power racks. However, a half rack is a space-saving alternative to power cages with plate storage in that those require six uprights (like the R6 at the top of the page). So if your goal is to have your rack and storage in one unit, a half rack is the way to go if space is an issue.
XMark Commercial Half Rack
Made with 11-gauge 3″ x 3″ steel, the XMark Half Rack is pretty damn beefy. It comes with just about everything you’d want standard on a rack; 24″ spotter arms, J-cups, band pegs, numbered uprights, and even a crap-load of plate storage. The multi-grip pull-up bar is even knurled. This rack is pretty tall at 96″, with a footprint of 50″ x 57″.
This rack was clearly designed for commercial use in gyms, institutions, schools, and so forth. For a commercial piece, it has a pretty nice price at just about $1300 shipped. It has rubber lined feet and anchor holes which I find nice, but I’m not a huge fan of slotted adjustments (vs holes) but that’s just me; especially since it means you can’t adjust the plate horns. Nice rack though, and since it’s on Amazon you have the absolute best return policy known to man.
Rogue HR-2 Half Rack
The HR-2 is a half rack that can be purchased as a whole unit, or as a conversion kit for any of the Rogue Monster Lite Squat Stands (SML-1, 2, or 3). Basically like I was saying in the half-rack intro, this is a squat stand with two extra uprights for plate storage. The footprint is the same for the SML’s as it is for the HR-2: 48″ x 49″. Height varies by model, of course.
Assuming you don’t have the squat stand already, the HR-2 runs about $650 for the 92″ high rack and $725 for the 108″ high rack. The height of the rear uprights are 70″ and 90″ respectively. The HR-2 is a Monster Lite, so the uprights are 3″ x 3″ 11-gauge steel and the hardware is 5/8″. The rack comes with a pair of J-cups and pull-up bar, but safety bars (or spotter arms) and plate horns are extra accessories.
If you do already own one of the SML Squat Stands, the conversion kit starts at $245 with all of the same upgrade options for safety and storage. Like the squat stands, this unit does not need to be anchored which is kind of cool.
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Squat racks are just what they sound like. Some have pull-up bars, some don’t, and some are just two independent stands that offer nothing more than a way to get under a heavy bar for squats. Squat stands are much less expensive than half racks and power racks, but unless you already own a wall or ceiling mounted pull-up bar, I do suggest you spend a little extra to get stands with a pull-up bar; worth every penny.
Rogue RML-3W Fold Back Wall Mount
Fancy! You can finally fit a rack in your garage and still park your car at night. This rack is exactly what it looks like, a foldable, wall-mounted rack/stand. It’s a Rogue Monster Lite (RML) so it’s made with beefy 3″x3″ 11-gauge steel, and it can be purchased in two different depths (21″ and 41″.) It only sticks out 5″ when folded up, and takes but a few moments to set it up for use.
This is a really cool idea, and it’s also very affordable when compared to the only other rack on the market that folds away like this (the very over-priced PRX.) It’s only $495 for the rack and you get J-cups, mounting brackets and hardware, detent pins, plastic feet, and a removable pull-up bar. It even has Westside hole spacing! The only thing you’ll need to buy separate is the spotter arms (assuming you want them.) There are some installation requirements, but you can check those out here.
See a larger variety of wall-mounted folding racks here.
American Barbell PowerHouse Pull Up Squat Rack
The American Barbell Powerhouse Pull Up Squat Rack is not the cheapest squat stand + pull-up option, but it does offer a couple of unique features that may be of interest to some of you.
For starters, it has about the smallest footprint of any full-size squat + pull-up rack out there. The depth of this unit is only 34″ rather than 48″ or more, so you can conceivably fit this thing off to the side of your garage and still get the car in. 34″ in not very deep at all, but it’s still about 10″ deeper than independent stands, so there will be stability. Wouldn’t be my first choice for kipping, but for chins and pulls you’re good to go.
It’s also incredibly beefy; it is constructed with 11-gauge 3″x3″ US-sourced steel and assembled with ¾” hardware. Additionally, it comes with sandwich-style J-cups instead of the light-duty cups typical of just about every other rack. Sandwich cups are generally about a $100-$150 upgrade.
You still get access to the same accessories as any other squat rack, and American Barbell’s racks and accessories are all US-products made to the same high quality as Rogue Fitness or any of the commercial rack manufacturers like Legend, Precor, etc. So again, it’s not the cheapest, but it’s one of the best. Total footprint is 34″D x 48″W x 89″H; price before shipping is $575.
Rogue SM-2 Monster Squat Stand
The Monster squat stands are about the best option for squat stands. They are thick 3″ x 3″ steel with massive rubber feet, and they have a pull-up bar (3 out of the 4 available models do anyway). This unit is available in 4 total heights up to a very tall 108″. Unfortunately, the spotter arms are optional and an extra expense.
If you’re looking at squat stands because of limited space, not necessarily budget concerns, this may be the way to go. You have access to most of the monster line accessories (including the matador dip station). I say most because with only two posts, there really isn’t anywhere to attach things like plate storage. This is by far the coolest squat stand I’ve seen.
Rogue MLW-4 Monster Lite Wall Rack
One of the most space saving options for getting a rack in the garage is a wall mounted rack like the Rogue MLW-4. This unit is 9′ tall and has a footprint of 4’x6′. It’s not that much smaller than a rack, but because it’s “backed up” to a wall leaves more floor space around the rack. The MLW-4 is made with 11-gauge 3″x3″ steel and uses 5/8″ hardware. Like other Rogue racks, it has the Westside 1″ hole spacing through the bench zone.
This rack comes with a pair of j-cups and an adjustable pull-up bar. This rack must be anchored to the ground (and wall, of course). Please note that this 9′ rack may be too tall for older homes’ garages, although it does make a great place to hang gymnastic rings if you can fit it.
Rogue S Series Squat Stands
This is the economical Rogue squat stand option. This model uses 11 gauge, 2″ x 3″ steel and is available in 4 heights (3 of which have a pull-up bar attached.) This unit is simple, affordable, and takes very little space. Floor mounting feet, different pull-up attachments, and spotter arms are all optional. This model is surprisingly popular, so take a closer look at it if you plan to go with squat stands.
Body Solid Multi-Press Rack for Basement Gyms
This is my basement gym recommendation. At only 74″ high, this squat rack is over a foot shorter than most power racks and should fit in most basements. Of course, you better measure and make sure!
I’m not normally a fan of the Amazon brands, but this rack is made with the same 2″ x 3″ 11-gauge steel found in many commercial racks so it should be pretty damn tough. It has 14 different rack positions and it comes with spotter arms so you can still bench on this rack, but I’ll bet you need to be fairly strict as the spotters are shorter than what you’d find on a true rack. Downside of a basement gym, I suppose.
Total footprint is 45″L x 64″W x 74″ H. Reviews are great, shipping is included in the price, and you even get some plate storage built into the rack. $550
XMark Multi-Press Squat Rack for Basement Gyms
An even shorter option for low ceiling basement gyms would be the XMark Multi-Press Squat Rack. At about 70″ high, there is no ceiling so low that this shouldn’t fit. It has 9 pre-set, gun rack style positions, short adjustable spotter arms, and horns for plate storage. This squat rack is built with 2″x3″ steel and has a 400-pound maximum capacity; which I’m not saying you should exceed, but with an 11-gauge frame it’s probably fairly conservative.
While not the hugest fan of the box-store brands like XMark, this particular unit is rated very well and looks to be an acceptable alternative to the higher-end brands for those of you who simply cannot fit anything else in their basement gym. The XMark Multi-Press Rack sells for just under $400 and ships for free from Amazon.
Power Rack Review Summary
My suggestion for most people with normal one or two-car garages with an average budget is going to be the Rogue R3 Power Rack, or even the R4 if you have the space necessary for the additional depth. The price along with the fact that you can order it how you want it and be done with it is great. Get the parts you want, not the ones you don’t. For smaller budgets I would suggest looking at the S-series squat stands or other similar units.
No matter which rack you are interested in, I hope this power rack review gave you a clearer idea of what would work best for you; specifically your space and budget. There are many other power racks out there, especially when you include the economy models found in chain stores and on Amazon. I didn’t talk about those because I think that if you’re serious about your workouts and your gym equipment, you’ll want to buy something that will last and be safe for you, your friends, and your family. If you found this post helpful, please share it. I greatly appreciate those likes and shares.