I recently added a Vulcan H-Basic squat stand to my garage gym, and since I’m obviously incapable of acquiring any new equipment without telling you what I think about it (it’s just what I do), here is my short and sweet review of the H-Basic. Try not to get too excited. ;)
Last updated December 2017 – price revisions
Note: Vulcan changed the name of this rack twice due to the introduction of a new rack line. It was the Bravo, then the V-Hammer, and now the H-Basic. I tried to replace any instance of “Bravo” or “V-Hammer” in the text to avoid any confusion, but please forgive me if I missed it somewhere.
Vulcan H-Basic Squat Stand Review
So why a squat stand over a power rack? Well there are a number of reasons why one may opt to own a basic squat stand rather than a full sized power rack. It may be budget issues, space or height limitations, wanting something that can easily be moved around or dragged outside on nice days, or even because you only care about squats (typical of many Olympic weightlifters who could care less about the bench press.) Even though a power rack offers more versatility, squat racks have their place too.
Then of course you’ve got weightlifting gyms and smaller commercial gyms. They obviously need multiple racks, as there are many people trying to get their training done at the same time. There’s always going to be people wanting to squat, and there’s no reason to have 10 or 15 full size power racks when half of those could just as easily be squat stands. Even a garage gym that tends to have multiple people training at once could benefit from having an extra place to rack a bar – which incidentally is why I have one.
Regardless of what your reasoning is for wanting a squat stand over a rack, it likely doesn’t change the fact that all of us expect a certain level of safety, reliability, and performance out of whichever unit we choose. We all also have some expectations in terms of features too. Here some of the things that I personally found important.
- I didn’t want to commit much space, but I also didn’t want independent squat stands; or two piece. I’ve simply never enjoyed using them.
- I wanted 11-gauge steel for the stability and security that comes along with it. 14-gauge has weight limitations too near to what even relatively strong people train with, and in my opinion that makes 14-gauge a liability.
- I needed the unit to be tall enough for me. Many of the cheapo stands barely reach 6-ft tall, and that’s not even factoring in that the cups sit lower than the hole they’re pinned into.
- I wanted compatibility with my existing accessories. The Vulcan H-Basic is made with 11-gauge 2″x3″ steel, so all of my Rogue accessories work with it.
- Of course price needed to be both reasonable and competitive; I didn’t want to spend a ton. The H-Basic has a very appealing price when compared to similar units.
Vulcan H-Basic Squat Stand Specs
- Industry-standard 2″x3″ 11-gauge steel uprights with 5/8″ holes.
- 2″ hole spacing for J-cups.
- Heavy-duty 2″x2″ 8-gauge base.
- Black powder coated steel, black oxide coated hardware.
- Pair of UHMW-lined J-cups.
- 50″ x 53″ footprint, 73″ tall.
- No maximum capacity.
- Priced at $325 including US-shipping.
Vulcan H-Basic Review: To Reiterate…
The Vulcan H-Basic Squat Stand is priced like an economy unit, but boasts the same high-quality, 2″x3″, 11-gauge steel uprights as the Rogue Infinity line of racks and squat stands (the R- and S-series); as well as a handful of other reputable brands out there. This steel choice meant two important things to me:
First, knowing that 11-gauge steel was used makes me comfortable about using this squat stand with any amount of weight. I will never in my life squat so much weight that I couldn’t safely use this unit, and that matters to me (and presumably to anyone else that uses it as well.)
I’ve used the 2″x2″ 14-gauge stands before, and while many folks use this inferior build of equipment simply because it’s dirt cheap and “hasn’t failed yet”, the safety issue and risks would always be in the back of my mind. Honestly, it takes a lot of the joy out of training to have to worry about crap like that.
Second, as I briefly touched on above, the uprights of the Vulcan are completely compatible with all of my existing accessories. From my J-cups to spotter arms, I will not ever have to run out and buy the same thing again just because I want to use it on the squat stand rather than my power rack. Granted, squat stands don’t offer the same accessory versatility as a full rack does, but that doesn’t mean there are no useful accessories for squat stands. It’s a little thing, but then again it’s not.
The H-Basic works perfectly for me. I have a rack, and I have a squat stand. I didn’t need it to have a second pull-up bar, and I didn’t need any extras that it didn’t already come with so I didn’t need to spend a ton of money.
Vulcan H-Basic Squat Stand – Pros and Cons
- Assembly is quick and easy. You can have this assembled (or disassembled) in 10 or 15 minutes.
- The price is more than reasonable, and it’s extremely competitive with similar squat stands. I’ll show some below.
- Shipping is included in the price, and because it ships flat, it comes FedEx ground.
- This squat stand is very secure. The base is of a nice size that doesn’t rock or tip when you slam the bar back into the unit, and the uprights don’t move around like stands that are made with a thinner steel.
- As I mentioned already, most 2″x3″, 5/8″ hardware accessories will work with the Vulcan H-Basic. I say most because some are just not appropriate for squat stands; though you could still attach them technically.
- For me, being able to have the squat stand in a location that doesn’t steal precious real estate is a giant plus as well. When it’s not it use, it’s easy to pretend it’s not even there because of the way I have it set up.
- Only one really… the black plastic caps that fit into the ends of the steel tubes are pretty cheap. There are four of these caps for the base and one at the top of each upright. I’ve got one of the six that looks warped, and another that won’t stay in very well because it is broken. I’ll probably just trash them since there’s no real reason to try and make them work. This is cosmetic and unimportant; I really only care about the steel, but I mention it so you won’t be surprised if this is the case with yours.
Similar Squat Stand Comparisons
Here are some very similar squat stands for comparison purposes. I have also looked at a handful of the stands that can be found on Amazon and the online fitness outlets (an online box store basically), and it may come as no surprise to you that I found nothing there that I would consider buying. I even saw one with 1½”-square 14-gauge tubing! Nope!
Rogue has a similar squat stand to the Vulcan; the Infinity S-1 Squat Stand. The footprint and height are close enough to the Vulcan Basic to be the same, and like the H-Basic it comes with J-cups and is stronger than it needs to be, but unfortunately the S-1 is more expensive. It sells for about $20 more than the Vulcan and requires you pay the shipping; which looks to be a flat rate of $45 to anywhere in the USA.
The S-1 is the only basic squat rack to have Westside hole spacing, but the question is do you want to spend $70 more for Westside spacing on a squat stand. I didn’t, but that’s me.
American Barbell also has a similar squat stand to the Vulcan; the Mammoth Squat Stand; though it’s not even remotely competitive in terms of price (it is $400 + shipping.) It has the advantage of being the beefiest squat stand of all of these, but it’s only marginally better when it comes down to it. Going with 3″x3″ steel doesn’t really change much other than the the cost and shipping of the unit. It looks nice, and it’s made in the USA, but almost $450 to the door just isn’t competitive.
So these are just a couple of the mainstream examples, and you could easily find more on your own. I already know what’s out there, and while any of the squat stands that I talked about are fine, the Vulcan just has the right price at the moment. If it jumps up $50 or more down the road, well that’s another story.