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Power Rack / Squat Rack Review & Ultimate Shopping Guide

Squat rack and Power rack shopping guide

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? – Check not only for the necessary floor space, but also make sure to not choose a rack higher than your ceiling will comfortably allow. Remember to factor in head clearance 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 how many 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 cross-compatible.
  • Is it the right size? – If you’re a tall guy, don’t buy an 85″ high rack. If you’re unusually short, maybe don’t buy a 108″ high rack. 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, straps, or drop-ins. 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; it’s both optional and removable; as it should be.

Rogue's optional and completely removable stabilizer bar. You will probably hate this bar so make sure it can be removed on the rack you choose

  • 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.

Footprint and price difference between a squat rack and smaller power rack

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 suggest avoiding squat racks. A power rack is a much better purchase in so many ways

True commercial squat racks offer almost no versatility. They take up more space, cost more money, but offer no safety adjustments or pull-up bar.

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.

Basement Gym?

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!

Folding Racks

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.

Powerlifters and those who enjoy just happen to enjoy heavy-duty accessories will want a full-size rack over stands or half racks. Accessories like the adjustable Monolift, nylon safety straps, reverse hyper attachments, and lever arms require true power racks, not stands.

King Racks – The Rogue R6 and RML-690 Power Racks

The Rogue Classic R6 Power Rack and RML-690 Power Rack

The Rogue Classic R6 Power Rack (left) and RML-690 Monster Lite Power Rack (right) – $1495 and $1568

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 multi-grip crossmember is standard equipment on the R6

The Rogue Multi-Grip Crossmember.

The R6 is built using industry standard 2″ x 3″ 11-gauge steel, and 5/8″ hardware for both assembly and the optional accessoriesThe 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

Legend 3133 Commercial Power Rack

Legend Fitness 3133 Power Cage – Made in USA – MSRP ~$1400’ish

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 Standard 3×3 Power Rack

The 3×3 Standard Rack by Vulcan Strength is very similar to the RML-490 that I cover following this unit. It uses 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′).

Vulcan Standard 3x3 Power Rack

There are a couple of things that set this rack apart from the Rogue. For starters, the feet of the Vulcan Standard are at 9″x9″ – a massive footprint that will allow you to use this unit without anchoring in most cases. Of course you can still anchor if you plan to use accessories that require anchoring; 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 of the USA. There is also a decent list of accessories available from Vulcan, as well as compatible accessories from other vendors.

Rogue R4 Power Rack and RML-490 LE Power Rack

Rogue R4 and Rogue RML-490 Limited Edition Power Rack

The Classic R4 Power Rack (left – $960) and RML-490 Limited Edition Rack (discontinued – see 490C below.)

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 spacing). 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.

Rogue RML-490C Power Rack

The Rogue RML-490C is the beefier, colored version of the classic Rogue R-4. Instead of using 2×3″ 11-gauge steel like the Infinity line, the RML series (Rogue Monster Lite) uses 3×3″ 11-gauge steel. This upgrade makes for a heavier-duty, more stable rack – both in reality and in appearance.

The new Rogue RML-490C Power Racks

There is a RML-490 that is offered in black powder coat for about $100 less ($983 versus $1075) and they both have the same technical specifications, but there are some minor cosmetic differences (other than the obvious color choices). For instance, the 490C uses black zinc hardware instead of bright zinc, and the rear crossmember is a classy black nameplate with ‘ROGUE’ stamped in stainless steel. In terms of accessories, all standard Monster Lite accessories work with the 490C, and they look pretty badass too since the accessories are typically black.

RML-490C Frame Colors - 10 currently available

Rogue R3 and RML-3 Power Racks

The Rogue R-3 Power Rack is one of Rogue’s Westside-inspired power racks, and easily one of their best selling products. The R3 is the smallest rack in the Infinity line in terms of needed floor space. It has a footprint of  34″ x 53″ and rises 90″ above the ground. It’s made with the standard 2″x3″ 11-gauge steel, is assembled with 5/8″ hardware, and ships 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.

Rogue R3 and RML-3 Power Racks side-by-side

The classic Rogue R3 Rack on the left and the beefier RML-3 Power Rack on the right. Prices start at $695 and $755.

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 accessories available for the Infinity line of racks. You may even be able to get away with no anchoring this rack so long as you don’t try to use any accessories that extend outside the rack (trawler, spotter arms, etc.) The R3 should be on the short list for all garage gyms with limited space and/or budget.

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. Just about everything that applies to the R3 applies to the RML-3, though the accessories are not cross-compatible.

Rogue RM-3 Bolt Together and RM-390 Flat Footed Rack

Even beefier than the R3 and RML-3 covered above, the RM-3 and RM-390F are as solid as they come. Both of these racks are variants of the standard RM-3. All Monster racks use thick 3″x3″ 11-gauge steel for the uprights and are assembled with massive 1″ hardware. Monster racks also have the heaviest-duty accessories available including monolifts, safety straps, drop-ins, and more.

Rogue Bolt Together and Flat-Footed RM3 Power Racks

On the left, the Rogue RM-3 Bolt Together, and the Flat Footed RM-3 on the right. Starting at $1050 and $1200.

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, and pin and pipe safeties. The uprights can be ordered in three heights (90″, 100″, 108″), you get to choose all of your cross-members (pull-up bars/crossbeams), and the RM-3 is available in about a dozen colors. It even ships with two Monster wrenches for assembly. Sweet, space-saving rack with no max load capacity.

The RM-390 Flat Foot is for those who cannot anchor their rack down for one reason or another, but still want a slim and beefy power rack. This rack uses the same steel and the same hardware as the RM-3, 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. A lot of the same upgrade options are available for the Flat Foot model.

Titan HD Imported Power Rack

The Titan HD vs the Rogue R3 Power Rack

It wants to be an R3, but it’s not.

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.

Valor BD-11 Economy Power Rack

I’ve decided to include one full-size economy rack as a way to sort of illustrate why I prefer the mid- to high-range power racks. I selected this Valor rack out of the hundreds of cheap, imported racks because if you straight up can’t afford an American-made rack and are inevitably going to buy an import, at least this is one of the better options. It’s not perfect, but it will do until you need and can afford better.

Valor Pro Fitness BD-11 Power Rack

The Valor BD-11 Power Rack does have a lot of features for its low, <$500 price tag. It comes with two pairs of bar catchers (makeshift J-cups), a set of safety rails, wide pull-up bar, and four standard plate storage horns. This rack also has a base rather than feet, so you won’t need to anchor it. There are no band pegs nor the ability to use them even if you had them, but Valor has a hefty selection of accessories including a lat cable tower; which many people seem to desire.

The BD-11 made from thinner steel than all the other racks on this page, but this is typical of imported power racks. It’s 12-gauge versus 11-gauge, and while that doesn’t seem like much on paper, you will notice the difference. Even though 12-gauge isn’t the weakest steel that’s used for Chinese power racks, it does impact the max capacity. In this case, that capacity is 500-pounds on the catchers, 800-pounds on the safeties and 400-pounds on the pull-up bar.

So in terms of function and affordability, it’s not awful, but it does have its share of negatives. For instance, the bar catchers suck and should have just been J-cups (image below). Also paint and decorative chrome is not at all durable, so this whole rack will chip and rust with use. The storage pegs are useless – you cannot have these mounted and loaded if you intend to use the rack, as the stored plates will be in the way. Finally, this rack lacks Westside spacing. Don’t dismiss that 1″ spacing – it’s a huge feature.

Standard 11-gauge J-cups versus economy post-style bar catchers

The verdict? Stronger lifters need an 11-gauge rack. 500-pounds on the hooks and 800-pounds on the safeties is too low for someone will a 400+ pound squat. Remember that these are static load maxes, and a failed rep is not always controlled. Also Valor doesn’t have any hardcore accessories, and compatibility with Valor and the American companies does not exist. It’s a fine beginner rack, and maybe even into the early stages of an intermediate, but it’s not an end-game unit by any means. Still, I’d rather see you with this than a $200 unit from the chain store.

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Half Racks

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.

Valor Pro BD-58 Half Rack

The Valor Pro BD-58 is an interesting half rack option. It’s basically an imported variation of the HR-2 that I’ll discuss next. A lot of accessories that would cost extra with the HR-2 are included with the $700 price tag of the BD-58.

Valor Fitness Pro BD-58 Half Rack - about $700

The Valor is made with 11-gauge steel, comes with spotter arms, two hooks for storing your barbells, and has six 10″ plate horns for plate storage. These plate horns are spaced far enough apart that every one of them can hold 450 mm discs (45-pound bumpers basically.) Additionally, there is a multi-grip pull-up bar, and 2 pairs of band pegs.

Drawbacks include lighter-duty J-cups than you’d find on a Rogue or comparable rack, short overall height of 85″ (pull-up bar looks to be about 83″ according to schematic), no accessory compatibility, and a complete lack of customer reviews. Since the J-cups clearly aren’t 11-gauge like the rest of the rack it does make me wonder about the spotter arms, but at least they don’t look obviously thin or anything.

While not as high quality as an American rack, this one at least looks better than the average import. Not bad. Be sure and compare features to the other half racks listed – especially the HR-2.

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). Just 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.

The Rogue SML-2 conversion to the HR-2 Half Rack

On the left is the SML-3 Squat Stand, on the right is the HR-2 Half Rack. The conversion kit runs $245, or the complete half rack can be purchased for $650+.

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.

I am convinced that the HR-2 is one of the best rack options for a garage gym. It takes up a minimal amount of space considering all of its features and add-on options, and as a base rack it’s reasonably priced. Accessories can be added down the road and as needed, and there is no reason that this rack would ever need to be replaced. Complete versatility, no anchoring required, and it’s compatible with a ton of accessories.

IronMaster IM1500 Half Rack

The IronMaster IM1500 Half Rack is pretty solid half rack for the money. For $699 shipped you’re looking at a unit with spotter arms, pull-up bar, bar storage, and plate storage already included in the price. There are also band pegs, numbered holes, and anchor holes should you choose to use them. The two uprights are 11-gauge with a 1000-pound capacity, but I’m assuming a good portion of the rest of the rack is probably 12-gauge based on verbiage in the product description.

IronMaster IM1500 Half Rack System

So yeah, lot’s of good stuff for only $700, but what about the cons? Well it is relatively short at only 84½” tall – not a great height for tall folks when it comes to chins. It also has 2½” square uprights instead of the standard configurations, which means you’ll probably not be adding much in the way of accessories. Also, the product description says the plate horns hold standard or Olympic plates, and that means the poles are 1″ and they have those silly plastic slide-on sleeves for the Olympic plates. Finally, this is an import, and I know how some of you feel about that.

End of the day this is a pretty good deal, and loaded with enough build-in features that you don’t have to worry about accessory upgrades. The HR-2 is certainly a beefier half rack and an American-made half rack, but you won’t walk away with an HR-2 with the same accessories for only $700. Not even close.

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Squat Racks

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

The Rogue RML-3W Foldable Wall Rack

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 squat 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″ from the wall 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 vertically folding wall racks like 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! 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

American Barbell Powerhouse Pull Up Squat Rack

The slim American Barbell Powerhouse Pull-Up Squat Rack. $650

The American Barbell Powerhouse Pull Up Squat Rack is not the cheapest squat stand + pull-up option by any means, 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, which is probably fully included in the price.

Rogue SM-2 Monster Squat Stand

Rogue Fitness monster squat stand

Rogue SM-2 Monster Squat Stand – Made in USA – Starting $595

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

The Rogue Monster Lite Wall Mounted Power Rack

Rogue MLW-4 Wall Rack – Made in USA – $686

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

The Rogue S-2 Squat Stand

Rogue Fitness S-series Squat Stand – Made in USA – Price starts at $345

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

Body Solid Multi-Press Squat Rack on Amazon

Short Commercial-Style Squat Rack, ideal for basements with low ceilings.

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

X-Mark Multi-Press Squat Stand with Plate Storage

Not the most versatile rack on the market, but it’ll let you squat and bench in a basement gym with low ceilings. Ignore that dudes squat form!

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.

Rogue Fitness - the leader in Crossfit and home gym equipment

{ 248 comments… add one }
  • Gary April 24, 2014, 4:38 pm

    Awesome guide! I’m probably going to go with the Rogue R4. I just feel like 30″ between the uprights would bug me.

    • jburgeson April 24, 2014, 6:23 pm

      Thanks Gary. Yes that’s exactly how I felt about it and why I too went with the R4

  • Mark Haskew June 18, 2014, 8:09 am

    Great, thorough review! (Your barbell review is excellent as well.) I’ve used Legend Fitness racks and can recommend them: good quality at a decent price. Sorinex also makes some good racks, and of the ones I’ve used, their stabilizer bar juts back behind the rack to avoid the foot positioning issue.

  • bert July 19, 2014, 9:19 pm

    recommendation for short racks based on height issues in the room. also thoughts on sumo racks as well?

    • jburgeson July 20, 2014, 10:51 am

      Most of the decent full-size racks are going to be at least 7′ tall. You can find some closer to 6′ on Amazon and maybe even a sporting goods box store, but you’re not going to be overly impressed with them. Shorter generally means cheaper with full-size racks.

      Not a lot of companies make sumo racks anymore; I guess there wasn’t much of a market for them since they are just glorified squat stands and have footprints more or less the same as a rack. Most people have floor space issues, not height issues, you know? That’s not to say there is anything wrong with them if that’s what you need to lift.

      York makes one for about $300, but I don’t know where to buy one. Rogue has the SML-1 that is a 6′ high single piece squat stand with spotters, so it would serve the same purpose. And of course, Amazon has their share of sumo and half racks. I’d say look at squat racks, but that’s all it would be good for; squats. No adjustments for benching.

      • William August 27, 2014, 9:59 am

        Great article, however, I would like to see more recommendations for height issues. On the contrary, I think a lot of people who set up home gyms in their basement-myself included- have height restrictions! A seven foot rack is too high ( who wants a flimsy 6ft)!
        What do you think of the XMark Fitness Commercial Multi Press Squat Rack with Olympic Plate Weight Storage?

        • jburgeson August 27, 2014, 10:41 am

          Hey William, so like I mentioned up there at the top, I’m not a huge fan of squat racks. Having said that, I wasn’t really thinking of 6′ or 7′ basement ceilings when I said that.

          I’m a little surprised by that XMark. I’m generally not a fan of their products as they aren’t always made with the best materials, but this rack is constructed with 11-guage 2″x3″ steel, so that’s good. I would try to find out how adjustable those spotter arms really are though. They show nothing in the images I’ve found that indicates how or how many adjustments are possible. Plus, those arms are like really tiny. Looks like they stick out about 8″, not very far. Good for rack pulls and probably fine for bench, not going to be great for squats.

          I don’t hate it, but I’m glad I don’t have to consider it personally lol. Did you see the Vulcan V-Task stands? Same price, longer arms, smaller footprint, obvious adjustments? It might also be good for your situation.

          I will be more mindful of low ceilings in the future and keep an eye out for more racks that are constructed well and have heights under 6′. It’s a valid point.

          • William August 27, 2014, 11:45 am

            Thanks for the speedy reply! The Vulcan V task seems like a great option-I will look into this. Thank you.

          • Mike W September 19, 2014, 4:39 pm

            I’ve been corresponding with the guys from Rogue, and they said that for about $50 per pair of vertical posts, they can cut down to whatever size you need. Not sure how they go about sorting out the hole pattern, but gonna speak to them about it. So for a 4 post power rack, that’s an extra $100. Ceilings in my basement are 84-1/2″ from my 5/8″ rubber floor pads, so I’m looking at cutting to 84″.

          • jburgeson September 19, 2014, 5:54 pm

            Ya I hadn’t thought about that, Mike. That’s pretty cool that they’ll do that. I would be curious how that works with the crossmembers though as the holes are spaced much further apart on the sides of the uprights than the 2″ holes on the front/back of the uprights. You know, the holes for the front and back pull-up bar.

      • rob February 18, 2015, 4:49 am

        Try fitness Avenue

  • Ryan August 2, 2014, 4:23 pm

    Just a note on your great article. Rogue ships your entire order free if you buy a “RIG” not a “Rack”. I ended up buying the “shorty” Rogue R3 rack thinking I would receive free shipping on everything. That said, I think their shipping prices are reasonable. :)

    • jburgeson August 2, 2014, 8:52 pm

      Thanks, Ryan. Ya back at the end of last year when I posted this article, they actually did ship racks as well; anything but squat stands. I hadn’t noticed they changed it to rigs only, but I probably should have looked since some other free shipping deals have vanished that I actually did notice. I will make that change here to keep things current. Grats on the rack!

  • Devin August 25, 2014, 7:07 pm

    Excellent reviews. Thank you for the info. I’ve used your site a lot for your excellent information.

    Regarding the Rogue R4, and you’re desire to have a Rogue R6, I am pretty sure you can convert the R4 into an R6 with the addition of the plate uprights and cross members. You might want to contact Rogue if having the R6 is that important to you.

    • jburgeson August 25, 2014, 9:13 pm

      Thanks Devin! I appreciate that.

      Yeah Rogue offers the uprights on their site. It’s mostly a dream for now as I am seriously running out of floor space! Plus, I think of the other stuff I can buy with what those uprights cost and it suddenly doesn’t seem important again… for a while =p

  • Avigdor Loeb November 30, 2014, 8:42 pm

    A great article. I’d just like to add the CFF squat stand that my coach, Emily Socolinsky of Fivex3.com, recommended for our home which has no space. The new version appears to be a bit beefier than the Fringesport product.

    • jburgeson November 30, 2014, 10:48 pm

      That’s a lot of shout outs! =p

      I’m so glad I have room for a rack. I always hated using free-standing squat stands.

  • Mikael January 13, 2015, 8:40 am

    Has anyone tried Rogue’s Spotter Straps? Trying to decide whether to get those or Spotter Arms like he recommends in the R4 review.

  • Glenn E. February 1, 2015, 10:55 am

    This really helped me get a grip on the world of racks. With that said, I almost went all out with fringe sports. However, after reading forum thread on the subject I found Rep fitness, which has an incredibe deal. $1150 out the door. Powder coated half rack with J-hooks and 24″ spotter arms, 2″ fat pull up and a regular pull up bar, band pegs and dip pegs, flat bench, wood gymnastics ring, 20k black zync coated barbell with 230lb of rubber plates, and clips…. fantastic deal!

    • jburgeson February 1, 2015, 11:48 am

      I know of that rack, not a huge fan; it’s not compatible with any accessories. I like Fringe’s because it’s heavier duty, and compatible with the Infinity line for accessories. Matter of fact, if it weren’t for the compatibility, I would probably not be behind the Fringe rack either. They’re both imported, and neither is as good as an American rack (and both have too much footprint), but I’d still choose the Fringe over the Rep any day. In any case, this is more of a package thing than about racks anyway. This would be fine for a beginner, but an experienced lifter would probably prefer a different bar than the Sabre.

  • Mase March 7, 2015, 11:32 pm

    How does the EliteFTS 3×3 or 2×2 stack up against the Rogue?

    • jburgeson March 8, 2015, 12:08 am

      I don’t know of anyone with an Elite rack, but the steel itself will no doubt be the same assuming the gauge is the same. In order to compare, you gotta look at the accessories you might want in the future, the pricing, the welds, and the hardware size. I looked at them (Elite) a while back, and although the color options are nice, I found the pricing to be a bit on the high side, and delivery times of 6 weeks a bit much. Also, shipping has to be a ton since their racks ship almost entirely assembled except for cross-members (their racks are mostly welded.) Maybe they’ve changed it up some though… I was pretty turned off by pricing though and never bothered going back.

      In their defense, Elite makes a lot of really cool powerlifting equipment, and they are probably the go-to for that kind of stuff. Not bars so much, but the actual power benches and monolifts.

    • Mike W March 8, 2015, 8:35 am

      I’m not entirely sure about Elite FTS, but I did look into it awhile ago. I decided on Rogue…I just got the sense that it was a higher caliber company and product (although that is totally just my un-informed gut sense). In October 2014, I bought a RM-6 monster rack from Rogue (higher end 3×3) and I couldn’t imagine Elite FTS is as good. The front four vertical posts on the RM-6 are actually 7-gauge steel, with awesome laser-cut hole numbering, which is ridiculous overkill, but very very nice. The j-cups are hefty; the dip attachment is rock solid, and the spotter arms are so heavy it’s almost a workout taking them on and off. The whole rig is uber heavy-duty. Also, I think because the Rogue equipment is essentially an industrial-strength “erector set”, assembled with nuts-and-bolts which seem like they would hold a battleship together, (a) you don’t need to worry about welds at all, and (b) it is very modular and customizable/configurable, given the number and variety of different attachments, cross members, etc. Also, as supplier to crossfit games, I think as a company they are really solid and the customer service is great. Now, my attitude was “screw the cost, I’m getting everything I want”, so I didn’t really do a cost analysis…but suffice to say Rogue ain’t cheap. But if you want literally a “monster” of a rack, I doubt you’ll beat rogue.

      • Mase March 8, 2015, 12:14 pm

        Thanks. The price point between the EFS 2×2 (with shipping and accessories) and the Rogue RM-6 were similar but Rogue seems to have more customization available and teir customer support appears top notch. I’ll likely go with the RM-6 as yourself and others rave about it.

  • Mark C April 2, 2015, 2:24 pm

    Does any one have any comments on the XTC Fitness XSS3 squat rack. It looks like the rogue SML-3 in connection style but uses a 2×3 steel Which I think would be fine. It’s $600 Canadian including shipping to my place in Manitoba. Lifetime warranty to. Seems like a great deal

  • Kaden Baker May 14, 2015, 3:14 pm

    Has anyone heard anything or reviewed the slim-gym rig from pure strength? Really looking to get one because of its size, and it is so cheap with some features that I like. Any feedback would be appreciated!

  • Eric Oltersdorf May 26, 2015, 11:14 am

    I know I’m late to the party but recently found your website which has been fantastic. I was leaning towards Rogue for our power rack but recently came across Texas Strength Systems in San Antonio. Have you had any experience with them? This was the rack I was leaning towards. http://www.texasstrengthsystems.com/products/racks-stands/galvanizedunpainted-power-rack I’m in Austin so the thought of driving to San Antonio to pick equipment up is really appealing. And that price is pretty sweet too. The only thing I’m a bit concerned with is accessories.

    • jburgeson May 26, 2015, 11:30 am

      I have not actually. That rack doesn’t look too bad if you can escape shipping charges, but you’re right about accessories. They are using a steel size that you’ll never find anywhere else (2¼” 12 gauge), so you’ll never be able to use other accessories except theirs.

      It’s an interesting unit. Galvanized is definitely different, and 1″ spacing is a plus. It looks like you have to pay extra for that plate storage section, and the pulley, and the multi-grip pull-up, and most things in that picture actually if I’m reading that right. Matter of fact I don’t think there is a single picture that shows what you get for the base price. Also unless you just have a beater bar, you’ll want to talk to them about lining those J-cups with some plastic.

      I don’t think there is anything wrong with the unit, but it doesn’t look like its any cheaper. Still though, saving shipping charges can make all the difference in the world.

      • Eric Oltersdorf May 26, 2015, 2:48 pm

        I have to agree the website is a bit of a mess. My guess is the base price unit is closer to this used rack they have for sale. http://www.texasstrengthsystems.com/products/racks-stands/used-25-x-25-power-rack
        I also think they missed the boat on their hole diameter/pattern. I would have mimicked Rogue’s hole pattern and plastered “Compatible with Rogue accessories” all over the site. It does say they’re working on some crossfit equipment so might be interesting to keep an eye on them.
        Sigh, now if you’ll excuse me it’s back to endlessly obsessing over which Rogue rack to get. :D

        • jburgeson May 26, 2015, 2:54 pm

          Lots of these places do alright and don’t really try that hard to grow. They get used to doing it a certain way and that’s how they do it. I’m sure that since they offer a lot of the same accessories, why would they want you to go to Rogue for them. /shrug.

          I’ll probably take a close look at the whole site in the next day or so, see what they do that may be interesting/unique/competitive, etc. I definitely don’t like the way they showcase a much larger purchase in those pictures though. Probably not intentionally misleading, but misleading nonetheless.

  • Dustin H. June 7, 2015, 1:25 pm

    Not sure if you aware, but Legend now offers the Louie Simmons Combo Cage with 1″ hole spacing. Thanks for the Review http://www.legendfitness.com/products/racks_cages_platforms/racks_cages/louie_simmons_combo_cage_3230.aspx

    • jburgeson June 7, 2015, 4:35 pm

      I wasn’t. Hadn’t been back to check on Legend in a while. Looks nice; probably pricey too!

  • Dustin H. June 7, 2015, 8:04 pm

    Not bad. under $1500 when you go direct.

  • Mark C June 11, 2015, 2:58 pm

    I am waiting on a recently purchased an XSS3 Rack from XTC Fitness in Mississauga Ontario Canada. The specs appear to be very similar to the 108″ tall Rogue Monster Lite SML-3 in terms of bolt together hardware and design. This rack uses 2″x3″ Steel in place of the 3″x3″ that Rogue uses but is otherwise the same. This seems like a great rack for Canadian buyers since it is built in Canada and is only $625 delivered (price is in CDN dollars which is great). I will post a follow up once i have it set up and put it through a workout.

    • Mark C June 11, 2015, 3:02 pm

      BTW … Thanks JBURGESON for the great reviews on this site. I don’t think i have found a more comprehensive set of reviews anywhere else!

      • jburgeson June 11, 2015, 11:34 pm

        Not bad. I know you Canadians have a hard time with gear choices sometimes. Does that thing anchor down? It’s tall. Oh, and thank you very much Marc.

  • Shane July 14, 2015, 1:37 am

    Ok I get that you hate squat stands, but I’m converting my garage to a more Oly specific gym. I currently have a 4×4 wall mount, but i am thinking about loosing it to add anouther lifting platform. If pick up 3 sets of the fringe stands (one for each platform) and get a stud bar for pull-ups. Do you think the fringes will hold up, and any reason you couldn’t squat more than they’re rated at?

    • jburgeson July 14, 2015, 9:41 am

      Squat stands are great in that kind of environment. Easy to move onto the platform, easy to get rid of again. It’s squat racks that I really dislike.

      I’d personally be reluctant to buy free-standing squat stands that didn’t have a max capacity higher than the type of weight I planned to be lifting. I wouldn’t want the $199 FS stands that have a 400-pound capacity if I knew people with 500-pound squats intended to use them. I’d just spend more for the 11-gauge that can hold 800-1000 pounds and know that I never had to worry about anything. I talk about one from CFF that has I believe a 700-pound capacity for a bit less than what the FS pair sells for http://www.garage-gyms.com/garage-gym-on-a-budget/#squats

      • jburgeson July 14, 2015, 3:57 pm

        I should probably further clarify. By squat racks I mean those full-size, non-adjustable commercial units like I show a picture of at the beginning of this article. Not the stands + pull-up bar racks.

  • Frank July 29, 2015, 1:12 pm

    Hey there! Some days ago you helped me choosing the rogue chan bar for my Homegym! Now i watched this Power Rack guide and think it’s amazing! Been searching a long time for a Power Rack and ended up with the RML-390F (because i can’t bolt it to the floor) and again the costs here in Germany for Rogue are very big (1055€ inc. Shipping). But i think again Rogue is worth it for me and my Homegym. But there’s a German Developer named Barbarian Line and they made this Rack http://www.megafitness-shop.info/Kraftsport/Kraftgeraete-nach-Marken/Barbarian-Line/Power-Cage-inkl-Latzugstation-mit-integrierter-Monkey-Chin-und-Dips-Barren–2368.html it comes with 3×3 Steel, Monkey Chin, J-Cups, Dip station and a Plate loaded lat attachment and a better System for the Safetys for the same Price like the RML390F. I really love the look of the rogue and the Westside Whole spacing is great. Which one do you think i should go with?

    • jburgeson July 29, 2015, 4:55 pm

      That rack doesn’t look bad. I’d want to know how thick the steel used is though. 3×3 is only half of what’s important, need the gauge as well. There are a few connection points that can be seen in the images and they look pretty thin, but so long as it’s 11-gauge it should be fine. I couldn’t find that info in the product details, but that could also be lost in the page translation. I do prefer those drop in safeties though; Rogue doesn’t offer those yet (though Black Widow custom makes them for any rack). So if it saves you money and it’s not built with super thin steel, by all means go for it.

  • Cody August 1, 2015, 9:43 am

    Out of curiosity, what do you think of the Get RX’d Goliath rack? Due to schedule changes I am not able to make it to the gym. I’m looking to build a home gym so have to purchase everything and this rack looks like quality at an affordable price.

    • jburgeson August 1, 2015, 10:22 am

      I’ve come across feedback on the GRXd racks here and there and word is that the economy model (the Pro) is no better than a Titan (it probably is a Titan), and the Guillotine has all the standard issues common among cheaper imported racks. Now the Goliath I’ve never heard any feedback on, but that’s probably because it’s too close in price to some of the better American-made models at nearly $600. Granted, it’s more affordable than a Rogue R3/R4, but the SML-2 with spotters is so close in price to something like this that I’d wager one would go for the Rogue over the import 9 out of 10 times because of the access to accessories, Westside hole spacing, 3/8″ joining plates and larger hardware, and so on.

      I’m not suggesting there is anything wrong with this rack, and being imported isn’t automatically a bad thing, but I can tell you a couple things just based on the product description… 84″ will feel like a short rack unless you’re a pretty short guy, and the steel may be 3×3, but the gauge is clearly thin (you can see certain joints and angles of the frame in the pictures).

      To be fair, if you’re not working with a lot of weight, and you’re not an exceptionally heavy guy that would test the strength of a pull-up bar, it will probably be fine for years. If you plan to permanently transition into a garage gym lifter rather than going back to the gym, I recommend making sure it offers you everything you want now, and will want down the road. You kind of want your rack to be a one-time purchase, or at least modular so changes can be made inexpensively. I also tell people looking at racks to ask themselves why they aren’t looking at full-size squat stands (squat + pullup with spotter arms) and half racks. They have the same footprints generally, but make better use of space while offering access to all the same lifts (while also being less expensive.)

  • Tracy August 6, 2015, 11:31 pm

    Thanks for the great article. I am looking for a rig with a small footprint for my preteen boys that will last for a long time. I came across this one and wanted to see if anyone has any feedback on any potential issues or flags I should look in to. http://store.prxperformance.com/the-profile-series

    I like this one as it folds down vs swinging across the floor like the Rogue system.

    • jburgeson August 7, 2015, 12:01 am

      I’m aware of this rack, though I’ve yet to find someone who owns it. It’s a really neat idea, but it is extremely over-priced. Actually I would have included it on this page if it were not for the fact that it costs twice as much as it should. I mean, Rogue is not an economy retailer, yet even their folding rack is under $500. It’s only two uprights after all.

      Having said that, if the way this folds up works out better for you and the price doesn’t offend you, the only thing you would have to consider (and maybe ask PRX) is what it costs to replace the wearable parts. Shocks will wear, and depending on how well they’ve assembled the sections on hinges, those too could be a problem area over time (though for a grand you’d expect it to be assembled pretty damn well.) Other than that, USA 11-gauge steel isn’t going to give you any issues, and the paint looks well done. Depending on the diameter of the holes in the uprights, Rogue ML accessories may even be compatible as well.

      So, I guess I can say that I personally wouldn’t spend that much on a foldable squat stand, but I can see how someone might if space is a major problem, but money is not.

      • Shane August 7, 2015, 1:00 am
        • jburgeson August 7, 2015, 10:42 am

          Huge price difference there. Just goes to show ya =p

        • Tracy August 7, 2015, 1:55 pm

          Thanks for the link. I like it but I’m leaning towards a folding rig.

          • jburgeson August 7, 2015, 3:09 pm

            If you end up with that PRX, let us know what you think. It would be nice to have some feedback on it; appearance, ease of use/assembly, quality of construction, etc. Btw, that’s awesome that you’re exposing youngsters to strength training. I sure wish my folks had done that. That and maybe the piano =p

  • Carl August 13, 2015, 8:54 am

    I have a rack I got off amazon. Sufficient.
    My question is on the stability if a full box cage vs. square uprights vs. “U” uprights. When I rerack a heavy squat the cage takes it well even without being mounted. Do the upright versions handle reracking a squat as well or negligibly different?

    • jburgeson August 13, 2015, 8:57 am

      Hi Carl. I’m not exactly sure what you’re asking. Can you elaborate on what you mean specifically by square upright vs U upright?

      • Carl August 13, 2015, 9:44 am

        With a full cage you’re standing inside of a cube of metal bars. With a square the vertical part of the stand is a metal “square”, two uprights with a cross piece at the top. And with a ” U” the stand is missing the top cross piece. Seems like these differences would affect stability when the weight is slammed back into the rack after a heavy lift.


        • jburgeson August 13, 2015, 10:00 am

          Ok I gotcha. Sorry I get used to calling each of these configurations some specific, and it’s early for me =p

          There is some noticeable difference when racking forcefully into any of these rack styles. Of course having 4 connected uprights allows you to be as forceful as you want when re-racking. The squat stands with connecting pull-up bar are almost the same. They have such a large footprint and are still more than stable enough to eliminate any fear of tipping or warping, but of course a lot of that has to do with the quality of the steel used. 11-gauge doesn’t give at all, but I can see how you could create some sway in the rack if it’s made of 14-gauge steel.

          The fewer uprights and cross-members that your rack has does change how you should treat the unit. When using basic squat stands (independent stands) or even the one-piece stands with no cross-member aside from the base, probably is a good idea to be more graceful with your re-racking. If you think about it though, guys squatted massive amounts of weight using nothing but old school independent squat stands for years. If you can guide a bar back into those, you can guide it back into anything.

  • shane August 21, 2015, 2:48 pm

    I was really intrigued but that PRX fold down rack, but not the price tag. so I went to a buddy of mine that builds rigs for gyms in the PNW. We sketched out a design and he his building me one custom to my garage/lifting platform dimensions with the pull-up bar at the perfect height for me. building it all out of 11 gauge 2×3 american steel. no hydraulics, but a more sturdy simple design. He quoted me $450 to do it. if it kicks as much ass as I think it will, I’ll send you in pictures and a review

    • jburgeson August 21, 2015, 2:54 pm

      That sounds awesome. Yeah I’d love to see it.

      Yeah go figure on that PRX price. It’s too prohibitive; needs to come down some.

  • Gaylen August 24, 2015, 4:09 pm

    I just saw the Prx Performance racks. How would these compare to the Rogue RML-3W. Been looking at the collapsable racks, and trying to come to good winner.

    • Gaylen August 24, 2015, 4:10 pm

      Sorry, didn’t see your response on the PRX one above. Ignore the comment.

  • Mark August 30, 2015, 7:00 am

    great article and exactly what I was looking for in regards to research. Gone over it all a few times, but what would you recommend if you’re in a rental and are unable to securely anchor to the ground? Have my current set up in a large double garage but am now looking at getting some sort of rack to allow me to do bench, squats, pull ups and dips if possible? Ceiling would be around 2.7m high I think of a guess and not measuring:)

    • jburgeson August 30, 2015, 9:39 am

      Dips are probably the one thing you won’t be doing on a unit that’s not anchored unless it’s just a huge rack, or you can fit the attachment inside the rack rather than outside. You might could get away with it on something like the HR-2 Half Rack if you do in fact use the rear uprights for plate storage… you know, weigh that sucker down, but generally dip stations and most band work go out the window if a smaller rack is just sitting on the ground.

      As far as everything else goes; your squats, bench, etc; you can use anything from a squat stand + pull-up to one of the flat-footed Rogue racks, or again the half racks. Rogue has the RM-390F that has giant rubber feet on it and those feet sure makes it look stable, but it’s an ‘M’ series, or Monster, and those are a bit much for a home; and definitely more expensive than I’d ever really suggest spending for personal use unless cashflow is just not a problem. Just about everything is going to be under that ~9 foot ceiling by default though, so you’re not going to have to eliminate any options because of that.

      • Mark August 30, 2015, 10:10 am

        Thanks heaps for the quick reply. Much appreciated and great site by the way. Just discovered it and very impressed and very comprehensive. Cheers.

        • jburgeson August 30, 2015, 11:11 am

          Thanks Mark, much appreciated.

      • Carl Gilbert August 30, 2015, 11:24 am

        If it has a pull-up bar you can probably buy a set of rings and do ring dips. That’s what I do.

        • jburgeson August 30, 2015, 11:28 am

          Yeah that’s true too. My mind always goes to the attachable dip stations for some reason and I forget about the rings. Great point.

  • Dorje August 30, 2015, 9:52 pm

    AWESOME Guide! I already purchased a RM-390 prior to reading your guide. It should arrive sometime this week. EXCITED and can’t wait. I’ve owned two other power cages through the years.

    • jburgeson August 30, 2015, 10:25 pm

      Thanks! You got a Monster eh? Those things are rocks.

  • Bruced September 3, 2015, 9:58 am

    Great informative site. I’m debating between a hr2 and the rml390f. I have a garage and can accommodate more but don’t want to bolt anything down yet… Any recs one way or the other regarding the 2? Thanks!!

    • jburgeson September 3, 2015, 10:34 am

      I like both of these units, but personally I like the HR-2 for the on-board storage option. Its hard to state how nice that is to have around, and how it almost never matters to be in a cage vs in front of a rack. HR-2 will cost more in the long run though because of the plate horns and spotter arms. Aside from that, they’ll both get the job done and last longer than we will.

  • Jon September 16, 2015, 8:32 am

    Great review! I’m stuck deciding between the RML-3W and the R3. I have a feeling I will go with the RML-3W simply for the space saving feature, as I still would like to park my car in the garage at night. My only concern would be the stability without the legs bolting to the floor.

    • jburgeson September 16, 2015, 10:20 am

      I’ve not had a chance to use the wall mounts yet, so I can’t really give you any guidance based on experience. However, I have a feeling that it’ll be sturdy as it needs to be and then some, but you will also experience a little movement laterally simply because of the way the thing pins into position. I doubt that it would matter though because even basic squat stands move around a little and it’s not really an issue with those. I think the space saving advantage for someone trying to still park in the garage makes up for most of the minor drawbacks vs the R3. Its a trade off.

      • Jon September 16, 2015, 10:38 am

        Thanks for the quick response! Love this page by the way, just stumbled across it a few days ago.

  • Dustin C September 23, 2015, 1:34 pm

    Rogue has some of the monster lite racks on closeout what do you think about the 390 for this price http://www.roguefitness.com/monster-lite-racks-closeout. As always thanks for all your insight

    • jburgeson September 23, 2015, 2:08 pm

      It looks like they are what, about 10-15% off normal black prices? I mean, I don’t have a problem with Rogue’s rack prices as they are, so any savings is a good thing. I know the RML line looks like it’s a lot more expensive than many of the imports (and technically they are), but if you ever get a chance to side-by-side a Rogue rack with just about anything else, you see clearly that they’re not nearly as expensive as they look. Also they’re way less expensive than other American commercial units that aren’t any better just because they carry a commercial name (Legend, Hammer Strength, Precor, etc). Matter of fact, I’d argue that because of the accessory options available for Rogue racks that the Rogue racks are actually far superior. So yeah, any savings is just better so long as it’s within ones budget to begin with. A Rogue rack will be around long after we’re all dead and buried.

  • Dustin C September 23, 2015, 3:26 pm

    Ok thanks for the reply I’m just building my garage gym and making purchases basically on what I read on here….on this rack I should be able to store some plates on it correct? Sorry if this is a dumb question

    • jburgeson September 23, 2015, 4:21 pm

      Which one specifically? Plate store on the rack tends to only work on units with a third row of uprights like the 690. Putting them on the rear uprights of the 3 or 4 series ends up being in the way of most lifts unless you back up pretty far away from them.

  • Marc September 30, 2015, 4:38 pm

    Nicely written, than you for the excellent guide. But I have to say there is another reason for individual free stands in comparison to a full blown power rack:

    I was 1 second away from placing the order for a rogue rack. Then I crosschecked the inner width of the rack since one also wants to benchpress inside using the safeties. I am 6.4 (194cm) tall and when I take the usual benchpress arm positions and angles i measure 107cm from elbow to elbow exactly at the height where the safeties would be.

    The cheaper racks usually only have 105cm inner space, even the more expensive ones like Rogues only have 110cm. That leaves 1,5 cm space for me, something that is easily inside the normal “shifting on the bench” limits. As a result, one often touches, sometimes even really hurts the elbows badly when pressing 256+ pounds. At the end, I would be to much concentrating on this problem where I should concentrate on get that damn weight up. I can’t figure I am the only one with this problem but never read about it. How about you guys? Anyway, here, free stands seem to be just the solution…

    • jburgeson October 1, 2015, 9:45 am

      I’m actually 6’4″ myself. I’ve never measured my wingspan or the distance between elbows during a bench, but I can tell you that the 43″ opening of the Infinity line is just barely enough distance for me with bad form while still being enough, and more than enough distance with good form. Every once in a while if I don’t get centered and my form gets soft up I’ll brush a spotter, but never so hard to do any damage. Sure the rack could be a little wider, but no one really builds anything for super tall people. It’s hard to find clothes; and we all wear clothes. Imagine trying to find tall ppl equipment!

      • shane October 1, 2015, 10:29 am

        I am 6’3″ with monkey long arms and extremely wide chested. I had issues with spotter arms while bench pressing until I fixed my form. I worked with some power lifting specialist and quickly learned flaring elbows are a big problem. I’d buy a Mark Bell slingshot and work on keeping your elbows in. This was a life saver and what finally helped me get passed the 180kg barrier.

        • Marc October 1, 2015, 2:46 pm

          I can see that in the discussion of the correct benchpress form many do not advocate 90degrees angles between upper arm and chest. This would certainly help to reduce the elbow problem.

          But what about shoulder press, e.g., behind the back? To do this using a correct form, there will be 90 degrees and hence max width from elbow to elbow, wouldn’t it? And again, the safeties would be around the same height as the neck which brings them level with the elbows when the weight is about in the middle of the movement.

          • jburgeson October 1, 2015, 3:05 pm

            Behind the neck is probably the only thing that would put your elbows completely out to your side like that. But I think the point is still valid regardless of proper/improper form; there are ppl even taller than 6’4″, and they’ll run into this problem more frequently. So what do they do? Either find a rack as wide as a bar will allow (more than 43″), or find a workout partner and ditch the safety bars that cause the problem altogether.

            • Marc October 2, 2015, 1:35 am

              We are here on “garage-gyms”, I guess that somehow contradicts “find a training partner” at least a bit, wouldn’t you say? One important goal for many users of the whole idea of a garage gym is to use spare time in-between a busy life to get things done. This in-between makes timing with a partner almost impossible.

              About your idea to “find a bar wider than 43” i have to say: good luck. That is where I started and came to this site and the reviews here (after reading tons of different articles about the right rack). I wanted to suggest to maybe add the inner width to the items to check racks for, since honestly, 6.4 is not super duper tall and anyways, exactly for the even taller people the information about the inner width will become even more important. But you often can’t even find this information at all and have to guess from outer width.

              As I said in my first post: This is exactly where free stands come into play, but they are not as rigid and always make you think if you want to go for the last rep…

  • Gaylen October 30, 2015, 11:59 am

    Have you looked at the Northern Lights versions sold by fitnessdepot.ca. They are in Texas and charge for shipping, but thought I would get your thoughts on these before I would order.

    • jburgeson October 30, 2015, 12:14 pm

      Are you in Canada? Do you have a specific model in mind? I’ve looked at a few of them, and some are better than others. How long any of these last will really depend on your level of strength and the types of loads you expect the rack to handle. Some have 14-gauge parts which is not overly impressive, but others have configurations that “could” be completely 11-gauge, in which case that would last longer. Also how much they charge you for shipping is important as well.

  • Michael November 15, 2015, 8:55 am

    Anyone using the wall mount MLW-4 rig with only 4 foot arms off the wall instead of the standard 6ft arms? I’m concerned the 6 ft will just take up too much space, especially with spotter arms.

  • scott November 19, 2015, 1:19 am

    I have the low ceiling problem (< 80") and didn't think I could find a good cage. I then saw your info on the Body-Solid Multi Press Rack and thought this would be a good alternative. I'm waiting for Black Friday to come around to see if there are any deals.

    The thing is, I chanced upon Titan Fitness' Short Rack. Less than 72" tall, has chin up bar included, and free shipping. Since I'm just starting out, the 700 lb. weight capacity wouldn't be a problem. It's just that I saw someone mention Titan in an earlier post. And the implication was you get what you pay for. Implying their products are okay but nothing to get excited about.

    Are there any other short racks which may be more suitable? Or should I forego the thought and stick with the Body-Solid?

    • jburgeson November 19, 2015, 1:55 am

      There is an X-Mark that I linked to in smaller text under the Body Solid. I don’t like it much because it has no cross-members for the legs; which is probably exactly why it has a 400-capacity. You know I don’t remember what Amazon does for Black Friday. Though since it’s Body Solid it could be found elsewhere on sale.

      The Body Solid is the closest thing I found to a sturdy, commercial squat rack that didn’t cost as much as an actual commercial squat rack. There are a couple Valor units, but I don’t care for the Valor racks; most are too tall anyway. York has one I believe but it couldn’t be used for anything but squats. They used to call it a sumo rack, but now I think they’re calling it a half rack, but it’s not actually a half rack.

      Basements are a pickle, for sure. I’d see what you can find for deals in a week or so on the Body Solid. I don’t like Titans at all so I’m not going to recommend that. If you come across something that you’re not sure about, give me a link and I’ll check it out. You probably have a good idea what to look for after reading this post though, but I’m glad to help if you have a question.

      • scott November 19, 2015, 3:10 am

        Thanks for the quick reply. Besides the Body-Solid, the only other rack that interests me is the Rogue SML-1. But for the life of me I can’t figure out why they didn’t make it so you could have a pull-up bar. Their other two models are the exact same material and footprint (except for height). And they have this feature. *grumble*

        I’m going to call them up today to find out if this can be modified in some way. Either that, or maybe get an extra pair of j-hooks, put them at the top and just use an Olympic bar? *shrug*

        • jburgeson November 19, 2015, 12:39 pm

          It’s only because it’s so short. That’s exactly why there is the SML-2, 3, etc. It does not look like it even has the holes drilled for a pull bar. I didn’t even think of the SML-1 last night. It’s actually a couple inches shorter than the Body Solid.

          But ya, unless you’re a super short fella, you probably don’t want to attach a pull bar to the SML-1 anyway; those bolts take a while to take on and off. I mean, not that long, but I don’t think you’d want to do it on a regular basis. Your idea of using a bar in J-cups is better as it’s easy to disassemble. It’s no different than what you’d so with the Body Solid. Price after adding spotters isn’t that different though.

  • Michele November 23, 2015, 10:43 am

    Do you have any thoughts on Extreme Training Equipment (ETE)? They make a deluxe squat stand that caught my eye (I’ve emailed them for specifics that aren’t on their website). I was torn between the Rogue S-1 and the HR-2. My intended use: deadlifts, squats, bench press, and rack pulls. I am not interested in olympic lifts. I like the ETE rack because it includes plate storage (which is extra on the Rogue products). I can’t tell if spotter bars can be added to it, but they are another add-on I’m interested in. I need a rack for my basement (I’m getting ready to buy a bumper plate package, bar and some kettlebells) and I don’t want to bolt the thing down. If you have a recommendation for me, your input would be welcomed. :-)

    • jburgeson November 23, 2015, 11:32 am

      I don’t know anything about that company, no. Zero feedback of any kind. It doesn’t look like a bad unit… there is no cross-compatibility though; hole configuration is unique to this company. Spotter arms can be added for $150. That particular unit seems promising. You get a shipping rate yet? Sometimes that ends the appeal lol

  • shane November 23, 2015, 1:31 pm

    OK as a rule of thumb, not a huge fan of AgainFaster, but there new squat stand 3.0 with half rack conversion seems enticing. at less than $600 delivered with black Friday discount/free shipping om intrigued. It’s 11 gauge and used 5/8 holes so rogue accessories should fit, and comes with 8 plate storage pegs. That would free up some valuable space for me. Thoughts?

    • jburgeson November 23, 2015, 1:40 pm

      Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

      That’s what I think! =P

      • shane November 23, 2015, 1:52 pm

        so are they in the outkast boat with Bendlay’s?

        • jburgeson November 23, 2015, 3:16 pm

          haha I like that. Well played.

          It’s not that. No one rates as high on the shady meter as you know who. No one can compare to them!

          With AF, it’s the combination of things being imported and there not being much in the way of QC. I get more complaints about them than I do with those other guys, but I don’t think those other guys sell anything anymore outside of their collegiate contracts so who is going to complain anyway. Still though, while they aren’t my first or second choice, they aren’t my last either. You can do better or worse. I don’t recommend their bars; that’s for sure, but maybe the new rack is the bomb.

  • Mike November 29, 2015, 12:22 am

    Hello John,
    after I thought about it for weeks of I just have decided to buy the SML-2.
    I have already ordered but forgot to ask which pull-up-bar-option is better.
    I have taken the single pull-up bar because I don’t think using the fat/skinny makes sense? Yes for the stability may be, but for pull-ups the lower bar will make it difficult to use the upper bar, right?

    • jburgeson November 29, 2015, 1:12 am

      fat/skinny is silly on squat stands. I only like it in racks where it can be mounted horizontally. On squat stand, you put the side you want down; can’t use the top.

  • Mike November 29, 2015, 12:54 am

    By the way:
    The SML-2 was the only interisting Black Friday Special (10 units, all sold) on the Rogue Europe homepage – except you love Compression Socks…
    This Squat Stand won my final selection anyway and this “Black Friday shove” made it even easier ;-)
    So I still have possibilities to convert it in a HR-2 or even a RML-390F Flat Foot, if I would need it someday.
    As you know, first I wanted to have two squat/bench possibilities at the same time for my son and me.
    Still a good idea, but if I would move there could be serious space problems.
    And this solution has the advantage that one can help and control the other – sometimes a important argument.
    Finally the SML-2 is the most mobile and adaptable solution for me perhaps – also if I think about possibly future changes…

    • jburgeson November 29, 2015, 1:22 am

      I like the SML-2. They were in color here for Black Friday. I almost bought one, but I don’t need it so I fought the urge. I actually haven’t purchased anything from Rogue this BF. It’s all the same racks from last year, and all of the same basic bars like the Rogue 2.0 and Bella. I thought it was nice of them to throw some bulk deals out there for the boxes like 1000 pound bumper sets and 10-packs of bars, but I sure don’t need that!

      You know, with you and your son; just the two of you; switching in the rack is pretty good timing for sets. I think you’ll be fine with one set-up. It’s like when one person squats the other typically stands there as not to be distracting anyway, right? Just like in an Oly gym. One at a time, even though everyone has their own platform.

      I assume your son is a teenager ya? It’s an awesome thing to get your kid into weight training. My parents didn’t do that with me and I wish they had. Good for you.

      • MIke November 29, 2015, 10:27 am

        Yes my son and I we appreciate this time together. It strengthens the relationship and sometimes leads to more exchange of ideas and views.
        And I can preserve him from doing mostly “stupid exercises” for the biceps ;-)

        • jburgeson November 29, 2015, 11:54 am

          That’s awesome. Hey one set of curls a week is okay, it’s the whole day for it that gets a bit excessive. “Arm day!”

  • Mike November 29, 2015, 10:11 am

    That’s crazy, please delete my last two comments – after having sent it everything appeared suddenly?
    But in the older window still the last comment is:
    jburgeson September 3, 2015, 10:34 am
    I like both of these units, but personally I like the HR-2 …………..

    • jburgeson November 29, 2015, 11:41 am

      yeah sounds like a caching thing. All is good now?

      • Mike November 29, 2015, 11:43 am

        Yes everthing is good now :)

  • Mike November 29, 2015, 10:18 am

    I know what happend…. it is very embarrassing :-(
    I’m sorry for the stupid waste of your time John!

  • john doe December 9, 2015, 12:17 am

    I am in eighth grade and have gotten serious about lifting this year. Right now Im on a 5×5. I go to the gym sometimes, and use my workshop sometimes. I currently have a cheap bench and rack that I got from academy, but as far as academy equipment goes it is top of the line. I have sawhorses set up to catch my squats and bench. I have decided that once my squat reaches 300 i will upgrade my home gym. I am not into cross fit or any of that,I just want to get stronger. Im thinking I will buy a power rack, a new bench and a beater bar. It only needs to last me and my brother through high school. I have steel plates right now, and I think thats all I need because I don’t plan on ever doing olympic lifts. The rouge power racks look great, but I think i can get bye with paying way less for my needs. Please recommend some equipment. Also the floor is wood so idk if i can bolt it down

    • jburgeson December 9, 2015, 9:06 am

      So eighth grade now thru HS is still four years; more if your brother is younger than you. Whatever you buy needs to last that long, and really there is no reason for it not to last longer.

      Since you can’t bolt down and you don’t Olympic lift, you probably want to consider either a half rack like the HR-2, or a single piece squat stand like the S-2/SML-2 (I’m throwing the Rogue models at you because it makes it easier for you to go look at, but you don’t have to go with the Rogue brand obviously.) These don’t need to be anchored down, they have spotter arms available, pull-up bar, accessories galore, all that stuff. So these can handle 5×5 now, and they can handle whatever else you end up doing in a year or two (linear programs like SS and 5×5 will plateau and you’ll require training variation. Could be a year or more, but it it will happen before you’re out of HS.)

      You could technically buy any full size power rack, but you’ll pay more for a power rack of decent quality, and power racks really want to be anchored to be stable. You can technically get away with not anchoring since you currently aren’t kipping, dipping, swinging, or doing any of the typical craziness that causes racks to tip, but it’ll never feel secure without anchors unless it’s a massive rack. The only real benefit of a full-size rack over a half rack is the feeling of security inside the unit with spotters rather than outside a stand with shorter spotter arms, but the shifting of the non-anchored rack will eliminate a lot of that security. SML-2 is a very good option for your situation I think.

      For a non-Oly strength bar look at the $275 zinc Ohio Power bar. The B&R is also a nice choice for 5×5, or any of the 28.5 mm dual-marked multi-purpose bars (California Bar, Rogue 2.0, Ohio, Vulcan Standard, and the list goes on.) These are all lower-cost, mid-range bars than can handle those heavy squats and deadlifts. They all have bushings instead of pins, high tensile strength shafts that won’t bend, and long warranties.

      Hope this helps, let me know if you need some more specific feedback.

      • John Doe December 9, 2015, 6:30 pm

        Thanks for all the feedback. Im confused. Does a power rack have to be bolted in to concrete or would a wood floor work? Also I still am not sure what to buy. I was wanting a power rack, but you said a half rack would work just fine. Why does everyone buy power racks if half racks do the same job? Do half racks not have to be bolted in? Also are the spotter arms shorter on a half rack rather than a full power rack? Will it be worth it for me to buy a power rack if I am considering eventually getting a cable attachment? Also about the barbell, the Rogue Beater Bar still sounds like the best option. It looks durable but people say it is a cheaper option. If it is flimsy, who cares? Rogue gives a lifetime warranty so why not go cheaper. There is a man on craigslist selling his buddy caps texas power bar for 200 30 minutes away. Would that be worth it? Im thinking I will also check craigslist everyday since Im not in a hurry to buy anything, and snag a power rack if a deal comes up

        • jburgeson December 9, 2015, 7:18 pm

          Power racks generally need to be bolted unless it’s just a massive unit; something like the RML-690. Small racks like the R3 will definitely rock and slide around without anchors. Like I said, not bolting down smaller racks is an option, but it will not feel stable. It won’t be stable.

          Now you can bolt a power rack into the foundation, a lifting platform, whatever. However, wood flooring is generally just 1/2″ planks sitting on top of the foundation with adhesive. You’d have to bolt deeper than just the wood flooring to keep it in place. So yes, you could bolt it to your wood floors, but it’s still actually bolting into the foundation.

          The reason half racks and squat stands don’t have to be bolted down is because they have like 4-foot long feet rather than just legs like a power rack, that and the weight is centered on those legs rather than being equally distributed on all for corners of the unit. Functionally; aside from the inability to add some attachments like a monolift; half racks and power racks are the same. Can still bench, squat, pull-up, whatever. Both have safeties, one costs a little less. I think power racks will always be more “popular” just because it’s old school, and that’s what the gyms have. Half racks are almost always preferred when anchoring is not an option.

          Let’s see. Yes power rack spotters run the whole depth of the rack. Safety Spotter arms are usually around 22-24″ on the real brands. The cheap shit has some shorter ones of course, but shorter is too short. I wouldn’t buy a rack based on the cable attachment thing, but that’s just me. Especially now that there is that Spuds Inc pulley system that attaches to any rack.

          Take a look at the Kip Cage at fringesport.com. It’s a smaller power rack that’s compatible with Rogue accessories, but it has long feet like a half rack so it doesn’t need to be bolted. It’s a much higher quality than the Amazon garbage, but it’s still very affordable because it’s not American made. It’s a nice compromise between quality and price.

          Finally, the bar. TPB is a good option, especially if it’s a real TPB. I’d run from that Beater though. If you won’t spend over $200 on a bar, look at the Echo or used bars, not the Beater. And it’s 1-year on the Beater, not lifetime. Only Rogue Bar 2.0 and up have lifetime warranties.

        • Carl December 16, 2015, 7:37 am

          I went with a full power rack because it had a pull up bar and would be more stable due to the box configuration plus extended feet. A half rack might swing more at the top but would probably still work. I do kipping on mine sometimes. Plus I has a place to sit weights on the rear so if it gets wobbly I can put 45s there.
          I would either get a damn nice Olympic bar to just a cheap POS. If you’re not doing Olympic I really don’t see the point in spending any money on a bar or a warranty. I’m sure you’ve visited an old ratty gym with rusted crappy looking bars. They work just fine for power lifting.
          Well except one thing. The knurling makes a helluva difference. I squatted this summer at an LA Fitness in Columbus. The bar was so smooth it felt buttered. I couldn’t go heavy because I couldn’t keep it on my back for low bar…

  • John Doe December 9, 2015, 7:01 pm

    Actually, I changed my mind. The ohio zinc bar looks like the best option. What do I have to do to maintain it? Thanks

    • jburgeson December 9, 2015, 7:34 pm

      Zinc, nothing really. Brush chalk out if it needs it, and when the zinc starts to wear down the road, put oil on the bar a couple times a month. Zinc is mostly maintenance free.

  • John Doe December 9, 2015, 7:39 pm

    Im thinking of just putting down a stallmat to deadliest on and do everything i would do outside a rack. Why do people suggest you put wood in the middle of two mats? Why not just use the mat if its big enough. It seems like lifting on the bare ground is bad for your knees. Also the wood floor is not finished or anything, it is just a workshop. Could I bolt down a power rack? And power rack seems like the way to go for me unless I can’t bolt it down

    • jburgeson December 9, 2015, 9:28 pm

      The wood platform is for the Olympic lifts; feels more like the stage. Isn’t even necessary for most people, and if you aren’t even doing those two lifts than it matters even less. Most garage gyms are solid stall mats, just like in a gym or CrossFit box.

      Yeah I thought you meant hardwood floors; like indoors somewhere. Yeah you can bolt down into a bare wood floor. If that floor is 3/4″ plywood and you put a couple anchors per foot, you’ll be fine.

      Powertech is fine too. Only thing I’d say to keep in mind is that no third-party accessories will work with the Powertech, though they are one of the few to make a lat attachment I think. They used to anyway. In any case, when you get closer to buying it re-check all the prices. who knows what will be available at that time.

      • John Doe December 10, 2015, 10:26 pm

        I just found A new Powertech rack with the cable attachment on craigslist for $600. Thats at least $1500 new. I was going to have to buy the cable eventually, so this is a snipe. I am definitely going to buy unless there is some huge problem with powertech.

        • jburgeson December 10, 2015, 11:15 pm

          Which model? I’m pretty sure their racks + lat attachment is no where near $1500. I mean, $600 is what the rack costs right now, and $400ish for the cable, so it’s still a decent price if its barely used. Still though, I can see it being a good option for you since it requires no bolting and Powertech offers some of their own accessories.

          • John Doe December 12, 2015, 12:19 pm

            So I actually have no restrictions besides budget. I have a tall ceiling, lots of space and I can bolt it down. I need a high quality rack for around $600 that has a lat tower option(that won’t cost something outrageous.) The R3 looks great, but not $700 great. From what I’ve read it is a step up from it’s competitors, but the only things that make it better are its safety hole options and the fact that its made in the U.S.A. To me, the price upgrade isn’t worth it. Right now the best rack i have found is the power tech, but it is kinda short. This shouldn’t be a problem because Im pretty sure you can just cross and bend your legs when doing pull ups. Also power tech sells some sort of extension but I don’t really know anything about it. I need some suggestions on other racks for what I need. Thanks.

            • John Doe December 12, 2015, 12:20 pm

              Also the R3 doesn’t have a lat tower option that I have found so…

            • jburgeson December 12, 2015, 2:08 pm

              No one really has lat towers; it’s considered a rather useless accessory. Powertech is your only real option for that. That requirement kind of stops me from having any suggestions. It has to be the Powertech if you must have the lat attachment. You could potentially rig up their lat attachment to another brand, but it wouldn’t just “fit” on. It would take some customizing on your part.

    • Carl December 16, 2015, 7:47 am

      I squat in my power rack on concrete. Not sure why that’s supposed to be bad for your knees. I’m not jumping. The next room is my stall mats for Olympic lifts. I do deadlift there too only because I have 1 pair of 45s that are iron…

      However, I’m going to buy mats for my rack area too. When using a lot of hip drive on bench press the bench actually slipped a few times. Mats would eliminate that…

  • john Doe December 9, 2015, 7:45 pm

    That kip cage looks great, but the power tech looks like a beefier version with better reviews. Thanks so much for all this advise.

  • John Doe December 13, 2015, 4:46 pm

    So the $600 power tech cage and lat tower sold before I could buy it. I found a deal for just the lat tower for $200 but then I would have to buy the power tech rack new. Now that I wouldn’t be getting an incredible deal no the rack and lat tower, Im considering the R3. Can y’all tell me the advantages of the R3 over the Powertech? Can you tell me reasons not to buy a lat tower? Would an $800 power tech rack with a lat tower be a better deal than the $700+ R3 that wouldn’t come with any accessories or lat tower options? Are there any other racks to consider? Thanks

    • John Doe December 13, 2015, 9:01 pm

      Ok so I decided not to get a lat tower attachment. Now my options are the $800(with shipping) R3 not including accessories or the $600 (with shipping)powertech including accessories. Also, I live near Texas Strength Systems, so I wouldn’t have to pay shipping for any of their racks. Please give me a review of their racks (they have like 4). All of their racks look high quality for a low price. Also they have a used 2.5×2.5 for $515 which sounds incredible. Also while I’m their I could pick up a Texas Power Bar with no shipping.

      • jburgeson December 14, 2015, 1:07 am

        I don’t know much about TSS. I have yet to hear of an individual buying anything from them other than the Texas PB. I’ve reached out to them before and not heard back so I have kind of left them alone. That said, there isn’t going to be anything wrong with their 11-gauge racks. That’s as strong as you want, and it’s exactly the same gauge as Rogue uses for the R/S’s, and RML/SML’s. Now you’ll be locked into TSS accessories, but if you don’t think you’ll need anything they don’t make, then that’s whatever. Picking up a rack is definitely good savings, and if you’re near SA then go for it. Still be aware of their anchoring requirements though.

        To answer your other question, the difference between Rogue and PowerTech is all about quality. Quality in racks comes down to grade of steel used along with gauge, the diameter of the holes and of course the size of the hardware used for assembly, and how everything is cut. Rogue laser cuts their holes, and all holes from upright to upright will always line up. No hole will be too big or too small, and no hole will have flashing (flashing sucks a lot, and import racks are riddled with it.) Import racks holes are punched manually by hand and often times don’t line up, and the units are also painted rather than powder coated. Paint is garbage, and it will chip and the rack will rust. Also look at the max load on the Powertech. 400 pounds? That’s a joke, and it’s because it’s basically sheet metal formed into tubes. There is so many differences, many are subtle, many are in your face.

        I know full well why at a quick glance one sees a rack on Amazon for $400 and then the $800 Rogue rack and wonders why in the hell anyone would spend the $800, but it’s basically because the Rogue rack will be the last one you ever buy, and the BodySolid or PowerLine or Titan or Powertech is at the very least the second to last rack you’ll buy. Rogue isn’t the only good rack manufacturer, but they are probably the best at their price. COmparable brands would be American Barbell, Legend Fitness, and most of the commercial vendors. Those make Rogue look pretty cheap.

        Finally, you’ll probably only get free shipping on an import, not an American rack. There is a ton of margin in the imports because they cost nothing to make, the same is not true for the better racks.

        • John Doe December 14, 2015, 5:42 pm

          Since you own this website, I think you should definitely read this article http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=159534011 so you can warn you’re forum users about Texas Strength Systems. Now I am deciding between the R3 and the EliteFTS garage line. I have kind of just accepted the huge cost of these guys. I also have a question about rear plate storage for the racks. Why do people like it? I heard a guy say if you are squatting heavy you will need rear plate storage. Is this for rack stability or just to store all your weights? thanks.
          Also, I need help with the order of buying things. I currently have a cheap bar with 200lbs of plates. I also have a membership to the neighborhood club gym which is convenient and quick, free for me since my parents are members, but I would much rather work out at home. If I can’t come up with the money all at once, what order should I buy the rack barbell and plates in? Since Im doing a 5×5 I can’t go without plates, but right now i am only squatting like 175 so it will be a month or two before I need them. thanks

          • John Doe December 14, 2015, 6:16 pm

            The EliteFTS looks like a better deal, but shipping costs more than a hundred dollars more than rogue shipping. It seems like I could get the same 3×3 steel with the RML R3 for $755 as oppose to the Efts for $645. Would it be worth it for the Efts?

            • jburgeson December 14, 2015, 8:44 pm

              Are you looking at the R3 or RML-390? You don’t need the RML btw. Its overkill. 2×3 11-gauge will handle more weight than any person can squat.

          • jburgeson December 14, 2015, 8:43 pm

            Thanks for pointing that article out. Elite is a similar company btw, only more expensive than all of them. If you didn’t notice, I don’t bring EliteFTS up very often either. I have a problem sending readers to companies that have a fairly good chance of causing my readers a headache.

            With the storage, that’s one of the reasons I originally suggested the HR-2 Half Rack btw… it has the plate storage with only two rows of uprights; much less of a footprint. It’s just a convenience. You get to put your plates on the same unit, so you don’t need a separate plate storage thing, and you don’t have plates all over the floor. I don’t know what that guy was saying about having plates on the rack with heavy squats… If the rack is anchored or intended to not be anchored, it doesn’t matter. You can’t lift outside of a power rack (like as with a half rack or squat stand) unless it’s anchored down. The weight of the loaded bar needs to be within the rack, not outside of it. You also can’t put plate horns on a normal rack unless you have the 3rd row of uprights (R6 style). The plates are in the way if you mount plate horns on a square rack.

            If I remember correctly you use steel plates. Buy more off Craigslist; cost almost nothing compared to new. Since you at least have access to a gym to fill in what you can’t do at home, you can pretty much buy in whatever order you want. I’d probably get the rack out of the way though since you at least have a bar and plates for now. Sounds like a better bar will be last.

            • John Doe December 14, 2015, 9:09 pm

              So Rogue it is. Now the question is R3 or R4. As I said I would be using it for powerlifting, so the R3 looks a little crammed. I have also never heard of anyone powerlifting in a half rack so I would rather not use the spotter arms. I have space for either, so that is not an issue. Yes, budget is an issue, but for this big of an investment $200 is worth the upgrade if it is worth it. I know you have had both, so I am excited to have you compare them based on my uses.
              As far as order, I was planning on going Rack, Bar, Plates. I am planning on getting a Texas Power Bar. I have read a lot about them and they are pretty much the old trusty classic. Im not getting one over the ohio power bar because of convenience, but I won’t have to pay shipping, and I won’t have to worry about waiting and buying the rack with the bar to save on shipping. As far as plates go, there is a guy selling 6 plates for 100 bucks which is a steal, but I won’t have enough so i will be forced to just buy what I need as I go through the 5×5. Btw thank you so much for all your advice, you have helped me out a lot.

              • jburgeson December 14, 2015, 10:12 pm

                The R4 is sized like power racks in a commercial gym; pretty much a perfect square. The R3 can be had in 24″ or 30″ depth.

                I went from the R4 to the R3 because the R4 is a massive waste of space. Nearly four feet of depth is unbelievably unnecessary if you aren’t going to add a monolift. Of course, this is opinion, and it’s completely fine to want all that space, but nobody walks back 2-feet after unracking for a squat, and that’s how far you’d have to walk back to bump the front upright of the smallest R3. Even if you think 24″ is too small, 30″ is so much space for taking a step back and moving the bar straight up and down.

                Also, since you want full spotters and not arms, keep in mind that placing those pin and pipe safeties gets easier as the rack gets smaller. It’s one of those little things, but when I first got the R4 those pin and pipes pissed me off.

                • John Doe December 15, 2015, 6:14 pm

                  What is the difference between the Texas Power Bar and the Rogue Ohio Power Bar?

                  • John Doe December 15, 2015, 8:18 pm

                    ^^^ Never mind I looked into it and the ohio looks the best for me

                • John Doe December 15, 2015, 9:34 pm

                  So Im going with the R3. Now I need advice on flooring. I am going to bolt the rack to two layers of 3/4 inch plywood. I am going to use stall mats as well but Im not sure where. I want a platform to deadlift on outside the rack. Should I use the traditional olympic platform style with 2 layers of plywood in the middle and a layer of stall mat on top of plywood on the sides or should I just put the stall mat going across the whole platform? My only concern is it being hard on the knees to lift on wood, but I’m not sure if that is true or not. Would you recommend building a separate deadliest platform, or should I make a deadliest platform that continues past the rack like this guy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WI7r_C-obn8 and many other people do? Thanks

                  • john doe December 15, 2015, 9:44 pm

                    the only thing i am worried about is the outside bolts would have to go into the stall mat then the plywood as he shows at 2:20 in his video

                  • jburgeson December 15, 2015, 10:49 pm

                    Truthfully if I were you I’d build the exact same platform as in that video. It’s a typical 8×8 platform with 2 layers of 3/4″ plywood crisscrossed and a third lay of one 3/4″ plywood with two 2′ strips down the sides. It is noise-dampening with the rubber, and you really want to be squatting on a hard surface anyway. That knee theory is nonsense unless you plan on jumping up and down on your platform for hours on end. You can’t just two layers total though. It’s not deep enough for the rack to be bolted into. Buy 4 pieces of budget 4’x8′ 3/4″ plywood and a slightly nicer piece for the top. Pine or something.

                    Word of advice, depending on which platform guide you follow, some have you use liquid nails between the plywood layers. Don’t do it. Just use screws, and don’t screw in anything until you’ve got all of the first two layers 100% flush and flat on the ground. Use plates and dumbbells and kettlebells or whatever you have to make that plywood sit flat before you stick screws in.

                    Doesn’t matter if one screw on each leg goes thru the mat, it still has washers and still goes thru to the 2 layers of plywood underneath. Not sure if you’ve seen those stall mats up close; they are pretty hard.

                    • John Doe December 16, 2015, 6:45 pm

                      Im sorry I’m really confused. Can you give me the exact dimensions and placements of the wood and stall mats?

                    • John Doe December 16, 2015, 7:24 pm

                      I am thinking 5 3/4″x4’x8′ plywood pieces and two stall mats. The fifth plywood piece will be the top middle, and the stall mats will be 2×6 after i cut them. Is their any reason to get higher end plywood for the middle if I am going to be painting it?

                    • jburgeson December 16, 2015, 9:05 pm

                      Sorry if i confused you there. Yes you’re exactly right. Two 4×8 pieces side by side facing North/South make up the first layer, two more pieces facing East/West make up the next layer, then a single piece going North/South right in the middle for the third layer, with stall mats running that remaining 2 foot strip on either side of the middle board. Most folks use a wood stain on a nice board, but if you’re going to just paint use whatever grade of wood you used for the other pieces.

                    • John Doe December 19, 2015, 8:49 pm

                      What is your opinion on echo vs infinity vs ml vs m?

                    • jburgeson December 20, 2015, 1:23 am

                      Echo is too light and rickety for my tastes, RML is for those not on a budget, and Monster is pointless… 7-gauge is just too much. Infinity is ideal for 99% of people. Personally I’d only buy RML squat stands, not a full rack. Just isn’t necessary. Costs more, and so do the accessories.

                    • John Doe December 20, 2015, 2:56 pm

                      Really? It seems like the $50 upgrade is worth it for RML. At what point would the infinity fail you?

                    • John Doe December 21, 2015, 1:14 pm

                      I found a gently used http://www.performbetter.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product2_10151_10751_1004647_-1_2018528_2018521_2018521_ProductDisplayErrorView for $850 with a bunch of plates. Would this be a better deal than the R3 new? Seems like it to me

                    • jburgeson December 21, 2015, 1:58 pm

                      You didn’t want a half rack I thought…
                      It’s an okay price; gets better the more weight is involved. Don’t let that MSRP where you linked fool you though, it’s not $2300 worth of rack. Also keep in mind that the cups and spotters settings are 3″ apart rather than 1-2″ on a Rogue.

                      To answer your other question, an Infinity rack wouldn’t fail. That $50+ upgrade to RML is just a choice to make simply because you can afford to and you want to, not out of necessity.

                    • John Doe December 25, 2015, 9:37 pm

                      What about the fortis 3 and 4? I found some in the closeout section for great prices. They seem like monster racks for the infinity price. I like the plate storage add on option. Also i would probably get the four, so can you tell me the problem with the rod pipe safties for the 4 you had?

                    • jburgeson December 26, 2015, 5:15 pm

                      They’re just inconvenient to use; hard to line up from the front upright to the back when the back upright is 4-feet away. It’s not that they don’t work, they just aren’t fun or user-friendly. It’s not an issue on the 3’s because the uprights are fairly close together.

                      Fortis racks are no different than the other lines. Just another option; less bolts if I remember correctly, more welds. Its a Christmas thing those Fortis racks, I don’t pay much attention to them.

                    • John Doe December 25, 2015, 9:54 pm

                      Never mind what i said before. I found the fortis 3 on the closeout section for a great price, and shipping is also a fifty bucks cheaper. It looks like a monster rack for an infinity price. I also really like the rear plate storage option. What is your opinion on fortis?

                    • John Doe December 30, 2015, 2:10 pm

                      So I ended up getting a powertec off Craigslist for three hundred. I’m sure the rogue would have been top off the line, but eight hundred was just too much for me. The powertec is a solid rack, and I can’t find anything wrong with it for my purposes except the j cups are bare steel. I am going to cut up an old lifting belt to pad them or Mabey I will just leave them because I don’t touch the bar that far out where the knurling would be getting scratched. I know the powertec doesn’t measure up to the r3, but if I ever do end up needing an upgrade I’m sure I will be happy to get one and will get my money back selling the powertec. Mabey by that time I will have a job and be able to afford a king rack Mabey even EFTS.
                      So since I’m not bolting it down, do I need three layers of plywood in my platform? Also, i have a crappy bar from a weight set right now. I have the money for an Ohio power bar but I’m not sure if I need it because I’m not lifting that much weight yet. When should I get it? Thanks

                    • jburgeson December 30, 2015, 6:19 pm

                      No you don’t have to do three layers if you don’t want. All those layers serve one of two purpose.. for anchoring, or for noise dampening for the Olympic lifts. You can throw down nothing but rubber mats if you want.

                      Replace the bar when the amount of weight you put on there stops the sleeves from spinning, the bar bends far too much with the weight on there, or you notice that the bar is actually permanently bent. All three of these become more likely to happen the heavier you can lift. You may not notice a slight bend, but when you go to deadlift and the bar corrects by itself in your hands (as in the bar rotates in your hands in order that the low end of the bar points due south), it’s bent and needs to go.

                    • Carl December 31, 2015, 5:24 am

                      I have a similar rack. Works well but I’m looking to upgrade. I need the snatch grip to stay nice. Plus I’d like the Westside spacing. Doesn’t look like that rack requires or even can be bolted down.
                      It worked for me so I think you’ll be fine.
                      As for when to drop your generic bar. I think these are often sold with a set of plates having one of each usually totalling ~220#…

        • Carl December 16, 2015, 8:07 am

          I basically have a Titan which seems sold under several different names. Had it for a while now and its a solid rack. The pull up bar lacks any true knurling and the paint instead of powder coat makes it a bit slippery but I still use it.
          The J hooks are sucktastic. They have to waxy cushion so over very short time they wear your bar. AND they paint comes off them. So I wrapped mine in duck tape…
          I would have preferred the westside? Hole spacing too since my wife also uses this and would make easier use of the safety bars.
          Other than that its worth every bit of its price comparatively.
          I do crossfit so I use rogue and other professional rack a few times a week. This is a good compromise but if I had a bigger budget is go for the Rogue.

          Note: I couldn’t go for the rogue because the ones with pull up bars were all too tall for my basement. This rack was unique in its slightly shorter height will a pull up bar.

          • John Doe December 19, 2015, 8:17 pm

            So what is your opinion on echo vs infinity vs monster light vs monster?

            • Carl December 21, 2015, 3:07 pm

              I think the standard R-3 (Infinity) is the way to go. I don’t see much value in the features the other racks offer. Thicker steel, wider pipes doesn’t mean much to a home user. Maybe it won’t sway as much but really I don’t care.
              If I had it to do again (and I might) I’d go with the R-3 or the bolt together R-3. A pull up bar is a must for me. The Squat stands seem more pricey I suppose because you don’t have to bolt them down. The Echo doesn’t have the hole spacing I like except for the larger one that that one is too big IMHO.

  • John Doe December 13, 2015, 5:37 pm

    How much am I going to pay for shipping? Are there any that come free?

  • John Doe December 13, 2015, 5:51 pm

    Even If I don’t buy a lat tower, Im leaning towards the power tech. As far as powerlifting goes, it seems equal to the rogue. Mainly. It is $600 including shipping and the rogue is $825 including shipping.

  • John Doe December 13, 2015, 6:14 pm

    Also Texas Strength systems isn’t far away from me, so I could go pick up on of their used 25×25 high school racks for less than 600. If you can let me know what you think of them that would be great.

  • Andrew January 7, 2016, 8:43 am

    Anyone know if storing plates on the rear of a R4 or RML 490 gets in the way of squatting or benching inside of the rack? Also trying to decide between anchored and flat footed racks, any advice?

    • jburgeson January 7, 2016, 2:11 pm

      They’ll be in the way. Technically you can back up to the front of the cage to squat, but I don’t suggest taking all those steps just to try and work around something that’s in the way. You wouldn’t be able to bench safely at all. You need a half rack with storage or a king rack (6 uprights) to use your rack for plate storage, otherwise just use a plate tree or something like that.

  • Jesse January 10, 2016, 8:04 am

    Any thoughts on the Rep Fitness squat rack with pull-up bar? Looks a lot like the GetRxed Guillotine rack.

    • jburgeson January 10, 2016, 1:48 pm

      It looks exactly like the Guillotine. It very could be imported from the same factory; wouldn’t be much of a shocker. Yeah I’ve heard the Guillotine (I’ve not heard specific feedback on the Rep version) is kind of what you’d expect for the price. It gets the job done, but it’s a little shaky and lacking a lot of the refinement of a higher quality unit. I’d say it’s a step above buying something at the Dick’s or Sports Authority, but still a few steps behind a Rogue-type rack.

      The biggest issue I have with racks like this is that they do not allow for accessories from other dealers (since importers of pre-designed units like this rarely offer accessories). I’ve added countless components to my rack over the years, and I have to say it’s pretty nice to be able to easily find attachments and parts for a rack that has “universal” (for lack of better words) steel frame parts (2×3 11-gauge). Of course not everyone has an R3 or HR2 in the budget, but it’s definitely something to consider if you technically could afford to start with a nicer rack.

      Still though, it’ll get the job done. You’ll likely replace it down the road, but it will work.

      • Jesse January 29, 2016, 3:12 pm

        I changed directions after a shipping charge fiasco with Rep Fitness. I found a Christian’s Fitness Factory Beast 1/2 Rack for sale locally by a “personal training studio.” They set it up once, realized it was not right for their space, and put it on Craigslist. This thing seems massively overbuilt for my needs, but I picked it up for $450 so I’m quite happy!

        • jburgeson January 29, 2016, 5:49 pm

          You got a good price on that at $450. Retail that thing is unbelievably expensive; unreasonably so, but you still paid less than what it should be selling for. I’m amazed someone paid $1400 for a squat stand though. Their loss is your gain it seems.

  • Andy January 11, 2016, 1:23 pm

    Anyone have any experience with the different J-Cups offered by Rogue? The standard vs. the sandwich style. Just bought an RML-390F with the fixin’s and was curious what, if any, benefit the sandwich style are versus the regular? I want to get a second pair of cups, and trying to decide if it’s worth upgrading to the sandwich style. Would be primarily for squatting and bench press, and likely would never even get 300 pounds on the bar, if that makes any difference. Just curious to hear if anybody has any experience or recommendations. Thanks!!

  • Jed January 20, 2016, 6:23 pm

    Great website and information. I’m planning on building a home gym in my basement but my ceiling is ~86″. A full-size power rack will fit but I’ll never be able to do overhead presses or pull ups. So, would this Atlas power rack make more sense (or the shorter rack you recommend)?: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005PNJHTW/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B005PNJHTW&linkCode=as2&tag=stronglcom-20

    If a full-size *only* makes sense for OH presses and pull ups, I wouldn’t mind saving a bit of money on something shorter. I plan on presses while seated. Not ideal but better than nothing? Does anyone have any comments on what they’ve done or some good advice??

    • jburgeson January 21, 2016, 2:44 am

      It’s not a super beefy cage, but the fact that you’ll never be hanging off of it probably is helpful in terms of not feeling the instability of 12-gauge steel. If the 600 pound capacity doesn’t bother you (always expect these numbers to be optimistic in terms of an actual dropped bar) then it should get the job done. I made the small rack recommendations I did simply because of the steel used. I like to recommend 11-gauge as a minimum as I find 12-14 gauge to be limiting and wobbly. There is something to be said for a rack vs a squat stand though, and I wish Rogue or one of these other more reputable dealers would produce a shorter cage for people who have the height limitations but don’t want a box-store unit.

      Also there is nothing wrong with seated press in my opinion. Standing is ideal, of course, but if you don’t have the clearance you don’t have the clearance. Course on nice days, I suppose you could drag the bar outside to press.

      • Jed January 21, 2016, 11:50 am

        Thanks for the reply! I’ve thought about the thinner gauge steel but I’m thinking it *shouldn’t* matter for me (yet). I’m 6’1″ and 160 lbs. 14.5/15″ neck and 34/35″ arms. 18″ shoulders, 39″ chest. Obviously, very slim skeletal frame. I’m going to start the 5×5 training program and I’m essentially new to all of this. So…I won’t be testing the limits on any equipment any time soon (or ever). I’m mostly understand that squat stands aren’t as “stable” as racks. Hence, even the Atlas short rack would be more beneficial to me as a beginning lifter than, say, one of the Rogue SML or SM stands? Plus, I need to save as much money as possible. The Rogue is clearly better quality built and I even like the look better but it’s just seems too expensive for me.

        • Jed January 21, 2016, 12:11 pm

          Oh, also, would you recommend getting one of the weight benches that folds upright to a 90 degree for overhead presses or does that not matter. I was just planning on buying the Rogue bolt together bench and calling it good. Thanks, again.

          • jburgeson January 21, 2016, 9:54 pm

            I do for the seated press, yes. Very awkward on the lower back to press heavy with no lower back support. It’s just not the same as standing. It can be done, but if you can grab at an incline I’d take it. You want that top setting to be 80-85 degrees btw, not 90.

    • Carl January 21, 2016, 7:55 am

      Basically the rack I have. I work out just as much on Rogue and other heavier steel racks. I dont have a problem with the slight wobble at all. It still feels like a very stable and strong rack. It’s not wimpy. I certainly wouldn’t open a gym with it. And if you have clients you may loose some some psychological points with them. Otherwise it’s rock solid. Ive only been up to 315# so far.
      The pull up bar might as well be buttered that knurling is so smooth. But that’ll just build a better grip. The jhooks without padding are going to hose your bar for Olympic lifting.
      If you can afford it I would go straight to the rogue shorty. If not I still love mine. If you’re in Michigan I have one for sale :-)

      • Jed January 21, 2016, 11:54 am

        Thanks, Carl. Take a look above at my response to jburgeson, I’ll probably never test the limits of this rack. At least not for many years. What Rogue “shorty” are you talking about, though. Can you give me the specific model number? Also, and I’m new to this, what do you mean about the jhooks hosing the bar? I know what jhooks are but can’t figure out why. What specific lifts are you talking about? (sorry for all the q’s, but I appreciate it)
        I’m near Seattle otherwise I’d take it!

        • Carl January 22, 2016, 2:33 pm

          The R-3 rack has a shorty version. I have an XMark 7472 incline bench I uses to do press on at 85°. Be careful about benches. Some don’t hold enough weight. I bench 225 which is 400# on the bench!
          I don’t know why you think you have time. If you’re doing SL 5×5 then you are on the fast track. I started with that Fall 2013 squatting maybe 200#. 2 years and I squat about 320#. And I went a few months off and I’m 44. So your strength will go up faster than you think.

          • Jed January 22, 2016, 2:42 pm

            Good points. Thanks, Carl.

        • Carl January 29, 2017, 10:11 am

          Odd I didn’t reply to everything or replied to the wrong message. Anyway, the j-hooks are all metal do they wear your knurling away where they meet the bar. Rogue has some waxy plastic padding in theirs so they don’t wear your bar knurling.

  • Gaylen January 22, 2016, 5:54 pm

    Saw the colapasable titan fitness racks on Amazon for $279 & $349. Are these the same build of the knockoff of the rogue you described above?

    Here is the link to Amazon.

    • jburgeson January 22, 2016, 6:29 pm

      Ya they do look like copies. Titan loves to copy the Rogue racks; I guess that’s a compliment to Rogue. I’d never buy Titan myself, but I know a lot of people do. Certainly not my recommendation, but to each their own.

    • Carl June 22, 2017, 12:55 pm

      I have the crappy old Titan now. It works for me. I’ve been planning on upgrading to the R-3. Then I found out Titan has a knockoff. Looks much better than what is now called “T2”. My main upgrade reason is for the Westside spacing and padded j-cups. This has both. I’ll probably get it…

  • James February 3, 2016, 11:06 pm

    Love this site, thanks for all of the information. I’m trying to decide between a RML-390F and a HR-2 (can’t bolt to the floor). I like that more accessories (spotter arms, etc) work with the HR-2 and that the rear arms are still available for storage, but are there any other pro/cons I should look at here? The footprint should be roughly the same for each. Thanks.

    • jburgeson February 4, 2016, 12:35 am

      Thanks James. Yeah so I’m a big fan of half racks like the HR-2. Power racks are still more popular though, and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that they are what people are used to using in the gym. The biggest advantage to a full rack is a little bit of extra security for really strong lifters. The spotters just feel more substantial and secure since they are strung between two uprights rather than being pinned on only one upright. Power racks also allow a slightly larger variety of attachments, but in the case of a non-anchored unit really what that boils down to is the ability to use the monolift attachment, something that doesn’t really come up much for most of us. I suppose the more elaborate pull-up stations also require horizontal attachment points at the top of the rack, but most people are fine with a standard pull-up bar on either unit.

      Half rack spotters like the ones from Rogue can hold a lot of weight, way more than the majority of lifters will put on their back in their lifetime, and certainly more than they’ll ever bench. Half racks are also a better use of space in my opinion, and the storage option alone makes them very appealing to me. Still though, if you’re a way above average lifter and the safety pipes make you feel better, then I get it. For the average lifter or even slightly above average lifter, there is no reason to not be 100% confident in spotter arms. I’ve put down nearly 500 pounds on those arms before with no signs of trouble.

      I would suggest that in addition to what I’ve said, you take a look at all the accessories and see which ones you’ll ultimately want to add down the road, then see which unit you’d have to have in order to make that work. Some may not be good for either since neither is anchored, but some will only work on the HR-2, and some will only work on the 390F.

      Long answer, sorry, but I hope that it’s helpful. Good luck!

      • James February 4, 2016, 8:21 pm

        Thanks for the response! I definitely will want to look at monolift eventually, is that useable with both racks? Rogue CS wrote that both the RML-390F and the HR-2 can use all of the ML accessories (with the exception of band work), which i found interesting as the website says that spotter arms shouldn’t be used with the RML-390F.

        • jburgeson February 4, 2016, 9:23 pm

          I believe that you technically could attach the monolift to both, but I think most people would recommend only using a mono inside of a full rack. I guess the best way to explain all this is to have you imagine the base of the rack; both the 390F and the HR-2. Since neither of these are anchored, you have to keep weight within (well centered within) the boundaries of that base. When you load one side beyond the base, you risk tipping. That’s why they say not to use bands; and that’s why they say no spotter arms on the 390F (they actually mean no spotters outside the rack, they can be used inside; there just is no point.)

          Anchoring racks eliminates all of this stuff. You can do weighted dips outside the rack, kip to your heart’s content, and use spotters outside a rack like it’s a squat stand or half rack. Racks that don’t anchor are really sort of a compromise in that you can still squat, bench, press, whatever with full security and safety when you don’t have the option to anchor, but you give up a couple things; minor inconveniences. Dip station has to be inside the rack, band work only works with light resistances that doesn’t pull on the rack, and you can’t add any trawler type accessories.

  • Gaylen February 11, 2016, 3:57 pm

    Love your site. So much useful information.

    Saw these today on the Xtraining.com for a folding rack. Any thought on this one for a folding rack:


    • jburgeson February 11, 2016, 4:42 pm

      I haven’t seen that particular unit in person, but it looks like a decent enough copy of the Rogue; though no doubt an import. I don’t have much luck getting info out of XT; they don’t answer my emails, so I don’t really stay current with their selection. Someone else may have it and be able to give you some real world feedback on it though.

  • Capo April 16, 2016, 6:25 pm

    Great website with solid reviews. It has been a great guide while planning out my home gym.

    I just saw that Vulcan is releasing a new line of power racks in mid May and their pre sale prices are discounted. I was wondering your opinion on this new line. It seems like a great lower priced and beefier option to the R3 when you factor in free shipping. The only downside looks like with 3×3 and 1″ holes accessories may be harder to find.


    • jburgeson April 16, 2016, 7:32 pm

      Thank you very much. Glad the site has been useful.

      I saw those Vulcan racks a few weeks ago. There are a couple things that bother me about them. First, no Westside spacing. Such a great feature to have. Also, like you said, 3″x3″ with 1″ hardware lacks compatibility with everything except Rogue Monster stuff, and that is the most expensive route to go for accessories. Finally, and this is just a personal thing, but those 9″-square feet are totally unnecessary. That unit has to be bolted all the same, so why put the feet inside the rack?

      They’re all little issues, and not all of them will matter to everyone, but that’s just my take. I know not everyone can afford Rogue racks and there are lots of affordable alternatives to Rogue that will still get the job done, but for $700 on sale (R3 is $700 as well), it’s just too close in price to something clearly better. If it was $600 all the time and shipped for free, well then it’s getting closer to a “trade a few features to save some money” type of thing. Same price though? Get that Westside and full accessory compatibility.

  • Bills July 24, 2016, 10:56 am

    Seems someone has been getting a hand out from rogue.dont downfall the titan unless youve used it first hand.there titan 3 hd deep is 11 gauge 2×3 and is a very quality built unit.yes maybe back in the day there were problems,but they seem to have cleaned there act up.

    • jburgeson July 24, 2016, 12:40 pm

      “handouts from Rogue”… cute. Rogue doesn’t hand out anything to anyone save for sponsored athletes, which I am not – and even that is limited. I could refer 10 million in sales a month and they still wouldn’t comp me a pair of spring collars. It’s not how they do business. Every Rogue product I own whether reviewed or not was paid for out of my pocket for the exact same price you’d pay.

      Matter of fact, if anyone was going to send me free products in exchange for reviews it would be Titan. Trust me Bill, I could make a lot of money making you believe that Titan is just as good as Rogue. Box-store equipment like Titan sells much, much better than the mid-range products I deal with. The problem is that I’d have to lie to you to market that crap, and that’s not what I do.

      I appreciate your feedback, but again, no, handouts are not how this works – not here. If you believe in Titan and their products, by all means give them your money.

  • Andrew July 24, 2016, 12:11 pm

    Rogue monster 2.0 rack with flip down safeties on the was. Pretty pumped. Exchanging my monster light because I wanted the numbers and flip down safeties. Pin and pipes are terrible on the 43 inch deep racks. I can say that my RML has been one of the only things ever purchased where the quality and finish has drastically exceeded expectatuons. It is so overbuilt it is crazy. Can’t imagine what the Monster will be like. Great site.

    • jburgeson July 24, 2016, 12:45 pm

      Andrew I was just looking at the Monster today for my own garage – to replace my Infinity. I love the drop-in safeties. Used to be only American Barbell and commercial dealers had those, and I’m glad to see Rogue making them now. Much better than straps in my opinion. You go with black or get a color?

      • Andrew July 24, 2016, 2:42 pm

        I got satin clear on the RML and ordered the same on the Monster. U can see welds and the grain of the steel. It’s bad ass and probably makes you lift more. If you look at some of Rogue’s industrial furniture like tables and desks there are good pics of the satin clear. I didn’t know they made furniture but was directed to those pics by the Rogue staff when I asked about satin clear pics. I ordered 90 inch rack with standard pull up bar, beam, flip down safeties. Also ordered Rogue 2.0 flat bench as I think my narrow adjustable bench was holding back my benching. Picked up the new Fringe sport bumpers thanks to your review. Again only negative about my RML was the pin and pipes. They keep me from changing to some lifts just because I don’t want to change the pins. Can’t wait to have the flip downs and numbers on uprights.

  • Andrew July 24, 2016, 2:47 pm

    Also, would like to add my 2 cents about Rogue and Fringe sport. Both have been great companies to work with. Fringe let me exchange color bumpers for black with colored letters and numbers just because they weren’t announced yet when I ordered the color set. They paid for shipping as well.

    • jburgeson July 24, 2016, 3:22 pm

      I started with an R4, then converted it to a half rack for the storage, so I use spotter arms. Even when I had just the R4, I ditched those pipe and pin safeties within a couple months – couldn’t stand them. I probably wouldn’t mind them in a narrow rack like the 24″ R3, but you’re right.. 43″ is too far apart. Interesting what you said about your bench. I have a 10″ wide Legend 3-way, and I love it, but I’m about to order the optional 12″ pad for it. Can’t stand that narrow 10″ thing. Doesn’t feel right to have lats half on, half off.

      Yeah both have great customer service. Rogue has much better equipment – especially lately – but both will take care of you for sure.

  • Bill August 10, 2016, 6:50 pm

    Have you heard anything about Fringe Sports Power Cage Squat Rack (Kip Cage)? It’s $649 + Free shipping.
    -91″ tall – great for those low garage ceilings
    -205 lbs total weight – still able to move around if needs to while still being sturdy
    -Tested for 1000 pound weight capacity
    -Comes with 2 sets of J-Cups allowing for 2 squat positions
    –Comes with safety pins and sleeve mechanism for enhanced stability for squats and bench press
    -2″ x 3″, 11-gauge steel with a powder-coat allowing for great durability and feel.
    5/8″ hole diameter on the uprights

    I’ve heard good things about the bumpers (other then that they are over priced most of the time). I really want a rogue rack but it just seem to be in the budget (especially when you factor in shipping (maybe i’ll hold off till Black Friday or Christmas)). Really just hoping to find value in a solid rack, but need it to be safe. Does the fringe sport rack seem like decent value to you? If not do you have any recommendation of bang for you buck racks (power racks)? Thanks

    • Bill August 10, 2016, 7:04 pm

      Also have you heard anything about their bars? Wonder Bars I believe they are called. I’m a crossfitter and just looking for a solid new bar and maybe plates. Fringe sent me a coupon code for 25% off all gym packages, and one of the packages was the Oly Bar + Bumper Plates. You could choose from the Wonder Bar Bushing (20kg), Bomba V2 Bar upgrade for an extra $53 and the Vaughn Bar 20KG upgrade for $90 (seems like overkill). Heard anything good about those bars? Durability and non-oxidation are my sticking points (but probably shouldn’t be a problem because I plan to take care of it), also hoping to have the closest comfort fit to the Ohio Bar knurling (does vulcan have a bar with similar knurling feel to the Ohio?).

      I was reading your review of the Bumper Plates guide and legitimately that was the most comprehensive and best reviews of the major brands I have ever read. Was really good stuff thank you. Vulcan does seem to be the best value and durability from what I’m hearing, but I’ve also heard people say the OneFitWonder standard black bumpers are made in the same factory and have the same special durability coil in them to help prevent breaking. Is this true? Are the OneFitWonders just as durable as the Vulcan bumpers (for crossfit workouts)? But what I gathered from the bumper guide is that the OneFitWonders aren’t as well price generally, but I was thinking with 25% off gym package they might be comparable to Vulcan?

      Sorry for so many questions. A couple of guys I know have highly recommended your site and said you give best and most honest advice. Thanks ahead of time!

      • jburgeson August 10, 2016, 7:17 pm

        I don’t mind the questions at all, no worries.

        Vulcan plates and OFW are the same model. Vulcan actually developed that model, not that that matters to us I suppose. Price is more consistent at Vulcan, but when FS needs some cashflow I guess they put theirs on sale. The best deal is to catch Vulcan’s when out of stock because they discount for pre-orders (random), but probably not enough to catch up to a 25% off coupon.

        The Vaughn is Fringesport’s best bar by far, but it’s overpriced by today’s standards. It was a good price when it was released because there was less direct competition for bushing-based Oly trainers, but there are so many of them now, and the only other variations that cost $399 or more are stainless steel. The Bomba I don’t care for, and the Wonder is decent so long as you stick with bushings… though like the rack, it was better a month ago when it was cheaper. It’s actually been a long time since I’ve touched an Ohio, but I remember it being fairly moderate. The 28 mm Standard is probably the closest to the Ohio, maybe even the 28.5 Standard. The One Basic will be milder than the Ohio, but it’s still overall a better bar than the Wonder. American Barbell has the trainer on sale for $249 I think – that’s a very durable alternative to the Wonder as well. Built to much higher standards, but knurl is mild/moderate.

        If you’re not pulling super heavy weights, 25% is a lot to save and hard to pass up, and the bumpers will last, but you will likely replace a FS bar within a couple years. So I mean, you gotta weigh that with the savings.

        • Bill August 10, 2016, 8:23 pm

          Just moved to a new area and can’t workout with my buddies in his gym every morning, so I’m investing in my own garage gym. All I’ve ever known was my buddies Ohio Bar haha. I saw Rogue put the Ohio Bars on the closeout gear last week and I was going to buy one but they pulled them from the closeout sale. I called one of their customer service guys about it and they said they gifted some to the athletes and were just going hold onto the rest. Was pretty disappointed.

          So now I’m look at buy packages for equipment but haven’t really seen anything that stands out as a real “deal” or value for $. The Rogue ‘warrior package’ which comes with the basics and a C2 rower for $2,725, just doesn’t seem like value to me considering I could probably piecemeal most of that equipment together with craigslist and buy a better bar + plate package new. (although struggling to find a decent set of parallettes for the $). I was also looking Vulcans packages but none of them seemed like great value either.

          So with Vulcan Bar + Bumpers packages they discount the order if your waiting for the 45lbs bumpers to ship and come in? So its random? 1 order random out 50 orders get a discount or something? Seems pretty nice to me. Thank you for the info. Appreciate it.

          • jburgeson August 10, 2016, 9:35 pm

            Packages actually are rarely deals. Free shipping is usually the best thing to come from them, but then when you factor in pieces you don’t really need or will likely never use, they become more expensive. And you’re right, a lot of the smaller pieces can be picked up used, or even new because you’re more likely to find good prices on the accessories than the core pieces. They can be worth looking at for sure, but I rarely hear of people buying packages.

            And no, what I meant was that when Vulcan is out of stock on bumpers, they tend to put them on sale as a way to generate sales while they are not available. I was trying to say that “it’s random that they do that” but in a way it makes sense… better to continue to bring in 90% of your money on a product than 0% – plus if you sell out of pre-orders you can order yet again… which actually happens with the Alphas. Sorry for the confusion there. Also, it’s just the bumpers they do the sale with I think (pairs and sets), but not packages.

    • jburgeson August 10, 2016, 7:06 pm

      I liked it okay before they raised the price of it, something they are doing site wide lately. The old lower price made up for the inferiority of it when compared to Rogue, but now it’s just too close to what you can buy smaller Rogue racks for – and don’t let the footprint fool you, the working space of this FS rack isn’t much better than an R3 – might even be less. It’ll work, don’t get me wrong, but it’s nothing special. Also, I hate their J-cups – they aren’t level like Rogue’s, so the bar rolls to whichever side of the cup is lower. This isn’t incredibly uncommon with budget equipment, but I actually gave away the FS cups I had because it bothered me so much. Again, it’s not like it won’t work, it’s just not amazing. Probably better than buying a rack off Amazon in most cases though.

  • Bill August 24, 2016, 4:41 pm

    Need some advice. I’m talking to some guy on craigslist for his old power rack. It’s a ‘Strength Gear Tracker 755 power cage system’, comes with a lat-pull down, spotter arms, and a dip station on the side. He wants $175 for the Power Rack and an old adjustable bench. I won’t pay $175 for both most likely. This model is from around 2002 or 2003 I believe. It’s parent company Icon Fitness I believe and supposedly is weighted up 1000 lbs. Can’t find much info about it online.




    How much would you pay (if at all)? Any advice would be really appreciate.

    • jburgeson August 24, 2016, 7:08 pm

      That’s just box-store stuff, and old at that. I wouldn’t take it for free because then now I’m the one who has to deal with getting rid of it. That’s just me though, and if you could talk the guy down to even less than that and be able to work out, then I mean more power to you, but I certainly wouldn’t put anywhere near 1000 pounds on that thing. I can see how thin the rack steel is just from the picture. I’m pretty sure Dick’s has new racks for not much more than that. They wouldn’t be any better, but at least you’d know for sure what it was good for.

  • Brett August 31, 2016, 2:25 pm

    Have you tried out Williams, Hammer Strength, Sorinex and/or Powerlift as well?

    • jburgeson August 31, 2016, 2:45 pm

      Hammer Strength and Powerlift cater to commercial/collegiate facilities. Sorinex is a more expensive Rogue, though they too prefer to market to commercial and collegiate facilities over retail, and I have no idea who Williams is.

  • Tyson September 3, 2016, 9:10 am

    I’m looking at the Slim Gym Rig from Pure Strength – looks like it will be versatile in a small space! http://www.pure-strength.com/collections/red-series/products/slim-gym-rig

    • jburgeson September 3, 2016, 11:28 pm

      Yeah the Slim Gym is a cool rack.

  • Aron November 7, 2016, 12:01 pm

    Thank you for all of your help. I value your opinion very highly. Is this Vulcan Power Rack – Slim Fit (30″ depth) a good rack? I was looking at the RML-3 ROGUE MONSTER LITE R-3, but the Vulcan is much cheaper for me to ship to Hawaii. Is the Vulcan a good one?

    • jburgeson November 7, 2016, 3:39 pm

      Yeah the Vulcan racks are great – on par with the ML series from Rogue. No reason not to consider Vulcan for racks, especially if their shipping rates save you some money. Also, I happen to think those slim racks are a real smart way to outfit a garage gym that also needs to allow a parked car. They are sturdier than wall-mounted folding racks, and allow more accessories to be used safely.

      • Aron November 7, 2016, 5:55 pm

        Awesome. Thanks again for all your help and knowledge

  • B&D November 20, 2016, 2:36 pm

    Amazing info – thank you! We have read through all of your barbell, bumper plate and power rack info and are officially (almost) ready to make a decision once Black Friday deals are announced.
    Setting up at home to let our 5th grader join us for baseball and ski team conditioning! Will probably be mom/son in the mornings and dad on his own (which means spotters are critical) with all 3 on weekends.
    Step 1 is bars for each of us (need a Jr. Bar), bumper plates and a rig or rack.
    Bars/bumpers are most likely going to be Vulcan standards with alpha bumpers plus the rogue jr. bar (though my husband has his eye on the rogue chan bar due to the knurl configuration).
    Rig/rack is where we are still torn. Definitely sold on rogue infinity level stuff, but from a budget standpoint I don’t think we can jump to the R-4 so our options are probably:
    1. R-3 with a kid pull up bar add on and maybe an extra set of j-hooks to set up without safeties on the outside for multi-person use for lifts where spotters aren’t needed (main downside we see is can’t have 2 kipping at the same time-not a big deal for us)
    2. W-4 (infinity wall mount) with spotter arms and probably still a kid pull up bar (man downside we see is no multi person rack option – not a big deal for us)

    We have plenty of floor space so that isn’t an issue. Unfinished basement with a shade over 9′ to the bottom of the ceiling framing so either will fit. Seems the rig may have better flexibility?
    Cost is nearly identical.
    Thoughts appreciated!

    • jburgeson November 21, 2016, 8:31 am

      R3 is a more versatile unit – you can work both inside and outside the rack, and technically even make it a two-person rack. Also four uprights instead of two gives you twice as many locations for accessories. Yeah personally I like the idea of an actual rack over the wall-mounted rigging, but it sounds like either will work.

      • B&D November 22, 2016, 5:50 pm

        Thanks again for a great website and quick reply. Just took advantage of the rogue black matte Friday deal on the R-3!

        • jburgeson November 22, 2016, 5:55 pm

          I saw that it was on sale. That’s awesome, and thank you too!

  • Dylan December 26, 2016, 8:41 pm

    I’m looking at half-racks mainly because as I rent, anchoring is not an option; I don’t have any plans to use a platform in my training either. I prefer a full rack from Rogue (stall bars, one day…), but an unbolted R3 or R4 seems only marginally more stable than an HR-2 which is just as versatile and for much less $.

    The HR-2 is my top choice at the moment, but I’ve reviewed Promaxima’s catalog as well because they’re in-state and commercial grade. I was quoted about $1K shipped from Houston to Dallas for the Promaxima PL-340 Half Rack. It looks like the older brother of the XMark Half Rack. Dumb, beefy, slotted brothers. Those slots are killing me. 1-in spacing or die?

    • jburgeson December 26, 2016, 9:51 pm

      Those slots are probably 4″ apart. That’s old school and ridiculous. HR-2 is a much better option, and also better than the R3/4 as unanchored racks go.

      • Dylan December 31, 2016, 12:49 am

        Today, after deciding to furiously row myself to kingdom come, I’ve decided to ditch the pull up bar (I have one for the door anyway). I’m about 70-80% certain that the Rogue SM-1 Monster Squat Stand 2.0 is the answer. The simplest, highest quality option that I can imagine being satisfied with five or even ten years down the line. I like the idea and feel of 7 gauge, which is why I looked at Promaxima and Reflex, but I think it’d be a waste on a mere mortal such as myself. I’m just not rich, strong, or deluded enough to justify it.

  • Michal January 3, 2017, 11:39 am

    First of all… Thank you so much for all the great and honest reviews. I can’t believe how much useful info there is on this site.
    I’m based in the UK and was looking for a decent power rack with a lat/low pulley option under £800. What do you think about these two and do you think they will last?:


    I’m looking for something that is solid, something that I wouldn’t have to replace in a few years.

    • jburgeson January 3, 2017, 1:39 pm

      The Bodycraft rack is a common box-store rack in the US. It’s not a very sturdy unit (14-gauge steel I believe), and it’s also super short. The one from Gym Ratz looks far more promising, but I am unfamiliar with that brand, and it is 12 gauge rather than the usual 11 gauge. Still, it should hold up, and it appears to be a more versatile unit overall.

      • Michal January 3, 2017, 3:08 pm

        Thanks so much for your quick reply… They say that they built the Gym Ratz Rack according to the feedback they got for the Powertech Workbench Rack from their customers. So, hopefuly it will be the same quality… I’ll give it a bit more thought, will look around a bit more and use this rack as my benchmark. Thanks a lot again.

  • Jason January 3, 2017, 10:48 pm

    Another great guide :) I was wondering if you had any experience with Ironmind Vulcan squat stand / pillars of power. I’m out fitting a small garage gym and need something that is portable but strong (worried less about cost).


    • jburgeson January 4, 2017, 1:05 am

      I don’t, but overall it seems like Ironmind gets decent feedback. They are expensive, and having a squat stand plus the pillars seems less than ideal (it’s a lot of hardware for so little versatility) but if you need to be able to break it all down and move it, you could certainly make it work. You definitely need to not care about price though because what you’d pay for those two would easily cover a nice power rack. $1000+ before tax and shipping (which will easily be another $200-300.)

      They don’t offer much technical data; like the gauge of steel used, but they claim a 1000 pound capacity on the squat stands so at least we know that it’s not going to be super light-duty like say 14-gauge… like something you’d get at Academy or Dick’s. In any case, aside from the price I don’t see anything wrong with going with Ironmind in your situation. If you hadn’t mentioned mobility I’d probably steer you in another direction though, that’s for sure.

  • Adam January 8, 2017, 2:26 pm

    Does anyone know anything about the Steelbody T-Rack. Dick’s Sporting Goods has it on sale for $599 which seems like a great deal. Thanks in advance.


    • jburgeson January 9, 2017, 9:54 am

      This thing looks to be made of 2″x2″ 14-gauge box steel, which would explain the low max capacity that’s listed. What exactly are you hoping to learn about this unit?

      • Adam January 9, 2017, 11:04 am

        Just curious if anyone has seen one, has one, or used one? I have $800 to spend on a rack and utility bench and this one seems to offer a lot of bang for my buck. As far as capacity goes, unless I hit a growth spurt at 40, I don’t anticipate having any loads > 400lbs. Essentially I’m looking for something sturdy enough for kipping, strong enough to hold a 300 lb squat bar, and versatile enough to replace some of the one-off pieces around my garage gym. Thanks again.

  • Adam February 24, 2017, 12:32 am

    Hey John,

    My fiance and I are moving to our new house with a garage in a couple weeks and we can’t wait to ditch the gym and build our garage gym. Your site has been incredibly helpful so thank you very much. I do have a couple questions for you:

    – Power Rack: I am debating b/w the R3 and RML-3 racks. RML-3 has 30″ depth vs 24″ of R3 and the 3×3 legs. Based on what you have said before I’m thinking R3 is the way to go, but wanted to verify as the price difference is only $60 more for the RML-3.

    – Power Rack Setup: This is the current setup that I’m envisioning and I would appreciate your feedback on whether or not it will work or if you have suggestions.
    Bolt down rack.
    One plate post as low as possible on each rear leg.
    J Cups on each rear leg for squats and overhead press (I’m 5’10) inside of the rack.
    Safety spotter arms off the front of the rack for bench and dead lifts outside of the rack.
    Matador dip bar off the side of one of the front legs.

    – Vulcan Standard Bar vs Rogue Ohio Bar? I am in Charlotte, NC so I get a discount for picking up directly from Vulcan so the two are very similar price points. They are out of stock for a few weeks on the One Bar unfortunately, but I do prefer getting an American made bar anyways.

    Thank you for your help. Your site has been an incredible resource that I will continue to use and recommend to anyone that will listen.

    • jburgeson February 24, 2017, 11:21 am

      Thanks Adam! So the Rogue site is a little confusing here because the R3 and RML-3 both have 24″ between front and back uprights, which is a 30″ total rack depth. For some reason Rogue shows inner distances on one rack, and outer distance on the other (in the images that is… If you look at total footprint you can see the same dimensions). 30″ between front and back upright used to be an option for the R3 for a small upcharge, but I don’t see it on the site anymore. It still may be possible though by calling Rogue direct.

      Going from 2×3 to 3×3 when sticking with the same 11-gauge doesn’t do much to price.

      If you properly secure your rack, you can lift both in and outside the rack. I would however advise against using spotter arms outside the unit for anything heavy. You can get away with it when you have a ton of weight stored on rear uprights and it’s securely anchored (the counterweight is like a back up in case you snap an anchor), but I certainly wouldn’t recommend using 22″ spotter arms as J-cups to hold the bar up for RDLs day in and day out. I do what you’re talking about with my rack, but I can count on one hand how many times I’ve had to set down weight on the spotter arms, plus I have 4 horns per arm loaded with weight. Those outer arms are only there for safety. If you want to RDL or something outside the rack, buy second pair of J-cups. That way that excessive weight outside the rack is only inches from the upright and not creating a massive moment arm. I hope I’m making sense here btw – let me know if you need any clarification.

      If you’re not talking about the SS Ohio, wait for the Standard.

      • Adam February 24, 2017, 11:51 am

        Thanks John, glad I asked about the spotter arms, that makes a lot of sense. The extra J-cups are cheaper anyways!

        Thanks for clarifying on the racks. It sounds like sticking with R-3 is the way to go. If it is still possible to get 30″ would you recommend it? I can’t imagine it would make that big of a difference.

        Vulcan Standard bar it is.

        I’m not getting a bunch of extra weight so themajority of the time I will be using most of what I have so it won’t do much for stability anyways. I think just grabbing a plate tree and not having to worry about plates getting in the way would be the better route to go and eliminate the need to bench off the front of the rack all together. Would you agree?

        One additional question related to resistance bands – have you used Vulcan’s bands? My fiance has mentioned that bands at the facility where she personal trains have a very strong rubber smell that she hates and some reviews on Rogue’s bands mention that. A review on Vulcan’s bands praises the lack of smell. I was just curious if you had experience with both. A minor thing but hey, happy wife happy life.


        • jburgeson February 24, 2017, 12:11 pm

          Yeah if you can work entirely in the rack, that is certainly ideal – safest and yes, least expensive. And honestly 30″ versus 24″ is unnecessary. The larger R4/RML-4s are only really good for using things like safety straps or adding certain attachments like a monolift, but 30″ isn’t enough for that anyway so why take up more floor space. I started with a big rack and have since downgraded because of how unnecessary they are for most of us – and our garages are only so big.

          All bands will smell at first – it can’t be avoided. How bad they smell when you get them just depends on how long ago they were made and if they’ve had a chance to air out. Sometimes they seal them in plastic bags so they’ll probably smell more at first, sometimes they’re just sitting in a crate and they throw them in your shipping box – they’ll smell less. Either way, it’s a very small amount of material compared to a bumper plate or something like that, so the smell won’t linger for long. But the answer is that doesn’t matter where you get them, they can all smell. Also I’ve noticed that some people are super sensitive to that rubber smell, whereas some people hardly notice it, which is why I tend to ignore the smell complaints in reviews. Rubber stinks. Wait til you bring home stall mats haha

  • Adam February 24, 2017, 1:32 pm

    Awesome feedback – you really helped me make my decisions. Now I’m just ready to get moved into this house and never leave the garage!

  • Dyann March 28, 2017, 12:35 pm

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge! This is such a great site (and the “comments” are really helpful as well.) Couple of questions for anyone who might care to answer: Which model would you recommend for someone of short stature? I’m a petite woman (5′, 90 lbs.) and I’m having trouble finding (or figuring out) which equipment will work for me (i.e., squat/power racks, pull-up/dip stations, power towers). Also, anyone know if there are companies that manufacture equipment for shorter people? Sorry for the silly questions, but this is all a bit new to me. I have several dumbbells/barbells and a bench, but I’d like to add to my home gym. Thanks in advance for any input!

    • jburgeson March 28, 2017, 1:07 pm

      There is no reason that I can think of to not get a standard 86-90″ rack. Got a guy who uses my rack who is only a couple inches taller than you and he has no issue getting to the pull-up bar… and there are J-cup holes from the bottom to the top so any height is easily accommodated. The downside to deliberately buying something super short is that it’s likely that others won’t be able to comfortably use it.

      • Dyann March 28, 2017, 2:53 pm

        Thanks so much for the prompt, informative response. Appreciated it!

  • GM March 28, 2017, 11:15 pm

    Hey so first off, thanks for all the reviews! Your site has been so awesome and my go-to for any garage gym general FYIs and equipment!
    That said, curious if you’ve seen or have much experience with the Vulcan slim fit power cage; the 30 inch depth version. How does it do head to head with the Rogue RML3 or the 390 BT for that matter.
    TIA for any feedback

    • GM March 30, 2017, 12:06 am

      actually head to head against the RML 390 BT as i’ve narrowed it down between those 2 at this point. Either the Vulcan slit fit 30 inch or the RML 390BT.
      Thanks in advance for any feedback/tips etc.

      • jburgeson April 2, 2017, 3:25 am

        Hey Gary so not a whole lot of difference functionally. The 390 has Westside spacing and 5/8″ holes, but the Vulcan has 1″ holes and no Westside, but it does have the advantage of having holes on all four sides of the uprights which can be nice for certain accessories. You’ll be able to do use other companies accessories with either rack as they are both very common configurations. Spotters are a little nicer on the Rogue being that they are pin and pipe rather than just pin, and with a small profile unit you’ll have to probably bolt down so the feet don’t need to be so big as they are on the Vulcan. Also you get a set of band pegs with the Rogue. Seems like the Rogue is just a better package overall, but again when it comes down to function, both will serve the same purpose.

        • GM April 2, 2017, 11:21 am

          Awesome! Thanks for the response and thoughts on them.
          Now if i could just figure a way to make the pull up bar an inch or two 2 higher on either of them :)
          But can’t have it all I suppose; both of these racks seem solid choices so will just have to do as is
          Thanks again!!

  • Marc June 22, 2017, 11:40 pm

    The hours just fly-by when you are reading the articles & comments on this excellent website!
    I wanted to point-out that Rogue now offers their HR-2 Half-Rack Conversion kit for BOTH the –

    – 2×3″ 11 gauge steel S-2, S-3 series squat stands
    – 3×3″ 11 gauge steel SML-1, SML-2 & SML-3 squat stands

    As for the currently available Rogue S-2 v2.0 squat stand –
    What changed going from the S-2 v.1.0 to the S-2 v.2.0?


    • jburgeson June 23, 2017, 1:04 am


      V1 had a little socket frame welded to the base, and the uprights attached by bolt to that frame. Now they have the formed triangle plates. It’s a little more stable, though I doubt they ever had an actual issue with the v1 – probably just wanted to conform it to the other lines. You can actually see a picture of it on this page under the heading “Rogue S Series Squat Stands”.

      • Marc June 23, 2017, 1:27 am

        I appreciate the additional clarity regarding v1.0 vs v2.0!

  • Marc June 26, 2017, 1:21 am

    Remember that Sellers on eBay & Craigslist often misspell words like Rogue (Rouge) and have also been found to list their squat/power racks under the section on Craigslist

    “For Sale – Heavy Equipment”

    (but not under “For Sale – Sporting/Sports Gear”!)

    Go figure!

  • Mike July 24, 2017, 8:38 am

    I found a review of the titan t3 vs. the rougue here:

    I am noticing that your initial review is a few years old. My question is do you know if the Titan T3 has changed or do you still not recommend it? Thanks for any guidance you could give.

    • jburgeson July 24, 2017, 11:52 am

      They have fixed a couple of the more obvious issues over the years like the crappy rubber on the J-cups and I think they stopped welding a washer into the safety pipes. The rack is still pretty much the same at its core – lowest bid scrap metal, paint instead of powder coat, low-grade hardware, and so on. It’s a beginner rack, plain and simple. If it’s what you can afford and its the difference between lifting and not, have at it. If you’re a lifetime lifter you’ll likely replace it. You don’t ever see strong lifters with Titan racks, and for good reason.
      If you do buy one, check for bends, warps, and poor welds on safeties and J-cups. They’ll replace anything as many times as they have to, so don’t be afraid to do what you gotta do to feel safe with their racks. Also, Coop probably had that Titan disassembled within the hour after doing that video.

      • SSevcik July 24, 2017, 1:41 pm

        I own the Titan T-3 and have regretted it from day 1. one of my uprights has a crack along 5 of the holes. It really easy cheap shit. That being said it is a lot of “bang for the buck” but it isn’t an apples to apples comparison to the other power racks like rogues. I squat and bench on mine, weights in the 250kg range, so it will handle the weight……. but i do feel if I dropped 250kg on the pin’s the entire contraption might implode and kill everyone…..FYI

        • jburgeson July 24, 2017, 1:56 pm

          That crack is a perfect example of what I mean when I say low-grade steel. That won’t happen on a Legend, Rogue, Hammer Strength, GP, Cybex, etc.

          Also 250 kg on a Titan is bold! especially when already displaying some damage. Do you have like Rogue or someone other better brand of J-cups and safeties?

          • SSevcik July 24, 2017, 2:19 pm

            the J-cups are actually pretty solid now, but I really don’t need or should use a power rack. I love my bars too much to drop them on pin’s at any weight. and bailing has never been an issue for me. I am thinking about scapping the T-3 power rack (donate it to a crossfit gym) and just buy the Rogue Indie stands for space.

    • Carl July 24, 2017, 3:47 pm

      I bought the T3. It replaces a T2. I do CrossFit many times per week on pro grade equipment.

      I’m very happy with my T3. Once I bolted it down it is rock solid. No wobble. I’m not nervous about any amount of weight. (I actually am because of what I’ve heard but not because of what I am experiencing )The paint is much better than the T2 and hasn’t shown any signs of chipping. The pin pipes are strong. You should insert them before you tighten the rack bolts to ensure the rack aligns properly.
      I do kipping pullups without concern. It has much more quality than I expected at this price. I bought this after a few years of waiting on the right time to buy a rogue R3. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Unlike the T2 I’d even dare to have one of these in a professional capacity.
      It’s simply not fair to compare an unanchored rack to an anchored one even if you mention that fact.

      • jburgeson July 24, 2017, 5:13 pm

        I didn’t really get the impression he was holding wobble against the rack in that review, but you’re right he should have anchored it if he was going to compare them like that. And even though he didn’t tackle that review the same way I would have, I’m glad someone did a more current comparison of the two.

        I am glad you are having a good experience with your rack. Not everybody does. I hope they continue to improve their products. And who knows, maybe some day they’ll even create their own unique product! =p

  • Marc July 24, 2017, 1:42 pm

    I saved about $429* buying my squat/bench press rack setup used.
    ( * vs. a new Rogue S-2 v2.0 with spotter arms delivered for $649)

    While I had rather solid plans to go with a Rogue SML-2 with spotter bars,
    I came across a Texas Strength Systems (TSS) squat rack locally for $125.00

    To give you some idea, this particular TSS squat rack resembles a Rogue S-2 version 1.0, as its overall height is 92 1/2″, appears to be 11-gauge, has 2” x 3” uprights with some westside hole spacing, fat/skinny pullup combo bar and 2 plate storage posts. (Note: it appears that TSS does not offer this config anymore and I am aware of what has been said about TSS on the interwebs prior to purchasing this used unit)

    I then located a pair of Rogue Infinity series spotter arms for $75.00.
    Including the gas used to go pick up the spotter arms, that put my total outlay for my squat/bench press rack setup at $220.00.

    2 weeks earlier, I won a used Body Solid GPR370 Multi-Press Rack on eBay for $125.00 – this rack was featured in the ‘Power Rack / Squat Stand Review’ above. I had only seen this model rack list for $225.00 used, but it was always too far away for a ‘local pickup’ to be considered, in my case. Finding it only 90 minutes away for $125.00 was certainly a good deal, but it was not meant to be. After hitting the “Buy-It-Now” for $125.00, I later found-out that the eBay Seller had already sold the rack locally and ‘forgot’ to cancel the auction – this auction went for 4 days before I won it – I was very bummed.

    In hindsight, not obtaining that Body Solid Rack from eBay was a good thing,
    as I certainly prefer my recent TSS/Rogue set-up!

    With the money saved, I am considering a Rogue Adjustable Monolift for use with my 2” x 3” TSS uprights, as I just discovered (no thanks to Rogue’s website or their search function, I might add) that for an additional $47.40, I could purchase their “MLITE to Infinity Retrofit Kit – Pair” to ‘adapt’ their “Rogue Adjustable Monolift – Monster Lite” (for Monster Lite Series 3” x 3” uprights) to work with the Infinity Series 2” x 3” uprights. For those wondering, in my case, it comes to $384.59 delivered for both the retrofit kit and Adjustable Monolift delivered. This is very cool, as I could later use this same Adjustable Monolift with a Monster Lite series rack, if I decided to go that route in the future. (Yes, I do realize a monolift is a completely indulgent accessory.)

    Out of necessity, (as they were now in the way of the spotter arms) I have gone ahead and moved the 2 TSS plate storage posts from the uprights to the front ends of both feet (pointing upwards – like on a yoke set-up.) I also plan to purchase a pair of Rogue’s “Squat Stand Base Storage for $65.00 to mount on the 2 rear corners of the TSS squat stand for additional plate storage and the benefit of some additional stability, even though it is plenty stable now.

    • jburgeson July 24, 2017, 1:59 pm

      I want to like Texas Strength Systems being that I’m Texan and all, and while admittedly I haven’t seen their racks in person, I have heard some unpleasant things that have kind of kept me at bay. How would you compare yours to the no-doubt worse Titan and the probably superior Rogues? Closer to the Titan, or closer to the Rogue?

      You are quite the deal hunter. Where do you keep all this stuff you buy lol

  • Marc July 24, 2017, 8:26 pm

    One side (of my 2 car garage) is getting full. Spent some time today bringing some box-store grade gear out into the driveway and into the sun to take pictures for craigslist in an attempt to clear-up the main rig. I have limited hands-on exposure to Titan and Rogue racks, to be honest. When I came upon this TSS deal, I could not disassembled it fast enough and get it into my vehicle – the first thing I thought of was you stating that the Rogue 2″ x 3″ Infinity series is more than enough for the garage gym, as I gazed upon the 92 1/2″ tall 2″ x 3″ uprights of this TSS squat rack. I do feel that the Rogue gear will remain a superior product, but I am pleased with my first rack and this should allow me to wait until Black Friday at least… I hope!

    • jburgeson July 24, 2017, 9:49 pm

      Yeah 2×3″ is perfect. Nothing wrong with that. I only vaguely remember what I heard about them that turned me off – had to do with the welds I think. Doesn’t matter anyway, it was some time ago. There’s probably no reason to ever replace that so long as there isn’t anything obviously wrong with it – and it doesn’t sound like there is.

  • Tim August 12, 2017, 9:48 pm

    I’m putting together a basement gym. ~85 inches floor to joist, but about 6 more inches from bottom of joist to floorboards.

    I’d love to have a half-rack or squat stand plus pull up bar if I can comfortably fit it, but the calculus required to try and see where my pull-up bar would need to be is tough.

    Since I can place the vertical posts between joists, the 90 inch clearance of many of the Rogue options is not a problem, but it’s tough to tell from the pictures online whether you could lower the pull up bar. In other words, could I purchase one of the 90 inch Rogue squat stands or the half-rack, but then lower the pull-up bar a few holes?

    Thanks in advance if you have any idea.

    • jburgeson August 12, 2017, 10:11 pm

      In most cases yes, you an adjust the pull-up bar downwards. On the S2 and HR2 you can see about 6 extra holes below the highest install point. On the SML-2 you can lower it into two different lower positions that are about 6″ apart. Just look at what pull-up bar is used for each rack, and look for enough extra holes on the sides of the uprights to move it down. Does that make sense?

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