Next to the barbell and weights, a power rack is one of the most important investments you make when building your garage gym.
Even if you are a beginner lifter, the safety and utility of a good squat rack cannot be understated.
A squat rack gives you a safe place to lift solo, and most also include a pull-up bar.
That’s why I did serious research and created this list of the 15 best power racks for 2021 so you can pick the best one for your gym.
I also show you a few power rack workouts and what to look for before you chose the best squat rack for your home gym.
- 15 Best Power Racks and Squat Racks of 2021
- Rogue R-3 - Best Power Rack
- Rogue RML-490C Power Rack - Premium Choice
- Rogue RML-3WC Power Rack - Editors Choice
- Rogue SML-2C Squat Stand
- Rogue R-4 Power Rack
- Fringe Sport Squat Cage
- Fringe Sport Squat Rack
- Fringe Sport Wall Mount Garage Gym Rig
- Rep Fitness Power Rack PR-1000
- Rep Fitness Power Rack PR-1100
- Rep Fitness PR-4100 Wall Mount Power Rack
- Rep Fitness SR-4000 Squat Rack
- CAP Barbell FM-8000F Power Rack
- HulkFit Multi-Function Power Cage
- Weloloe Adjustable Squat Rack Stand
- How Should I Choose the Best Power Rack for My Home Gym?
- Difference between Power Racks, Squat Racks, Squat Stands and Smith Machines
- Power Rack, Squat Cage, Squat Rack FAQs
- Why Buy a Power Rack or a Squat Rack?
- What is the Best Power Rack for Home?
- How Deep Should a Power Rack be?
- How Tall Should My Power Rack be?
- Can You use Squat Stands for Bench Press?
- Can You Deadlift in a Power Rack?
- What to do if You don’t have a Squat Rack?
- Power Rack Workout Routines You Can Use Today
- That all Folks! Now Make Your Decision
15 Best Power Racks and Squat Racks of 2021
How Should I Choose the Best Power Rack for My Home Gym?
How Much Space do You Have?
Think about the amount of space you have and what you’re looking to accomplish. If space is a serious concern, look into a folding rack like the REP PR-4100 Wall Mount Squat & Power Rack that folds flat against the wall when you are not using it.
Another compact option is the Fringe Sport Squat Rack which is shorter and more compact than a full cage, and plenty stable to boot.
If you have a lot of space, clearly your options are more open. I prefer a rack or cage over a squat rack and especially over squat stands.
You’ll be able to do any and every lift with a power rack. The only problem is, while they’re excellent value for money when you consider their versatility, some of them are expensive and they do take up more space.
Power racks are a better value overall. They’re safer than the squat rack and offer more possibilities.
Don’t go Cheap! A Power Rack Must be Stable and Durable
You need your power rack to be durable and stable.
An inexpensive rack is likely made from inferior quality or thinner metal.
It may not last long, and worse than that, it won’t be as safe and stable.
It may wobble or sway, which will feel unsafe during heavy lifts and pull-ups.
Don’t go cheap – you will progress fast and outgrow it!
You may outgrow a cheap low max capacity power cage or rickety squat rack way faster than you think.
You can build muscle and strength pretty quickly when you start out, and a lot of lifters end up surprising themselves when they progress in months, what they thought would take years.
Don’t get stuck with a rack that does not meet your needs. Look for a rack that has a higher capacity than you think you will need.
All good power racks are an investment.
Because the cost of the equipment is high, you may be hesitant to invest.
Alleviate your fear by talking to people who were once in your shoes. Invariably they will tell you the investment is worth it!
Don’t go with a subpar rack. The guys who have gone before you will tell you that. They know from experience so heed their advice.
Once you understand what you need and you know what to look for in a quality piece of equipment, it becomes easier to narrow down all of the offerings and find the perfect rack for you.
Now that you have the knowledge to choose -you are ready to go.
If you are on a tight budget, there are some good options. I have two articles here to help you out. First, find the best budget (cheap) power racks here.
Second, learn how to set up a budget gym at home by reading this article.
I assume you already have an Olympic barbell and weights, right?
If not, pick up a set of Olympic weights here.
How Much Does a Squat Rack or a Power Cage Cost?
On average the price of a home or garage gym squat or power rack can be anywhere between $250 to $1500 dollars or more depending on the rack.
The price of a squat rack or a power cage depends on several factors:
- The brand.
- The equipment and accessories that come with the rack.
- Quality of the rack.
- Weight capacity.
- Guage of metal used and amount of metal used.
- Style of rack.
Overall, you know what you need, your budget, your space constraints, and what you intend to do with your equipment.
See below to get a look at the difference between a squat rack, a power cage, a squat stand and a smith cage.
Once you know which one you’re interested in purchasing, all you have to do is choose the power cage you want and you are golden.
Difference between Power Racks, Squat Racks, Squat Stands and Smith Machines
Let’s start here:
What is a Power Rack or Cage?
A power cage is called a cage because like a cage, it has 4 upright posts connected by 4 horizontal beams.
A power cage also, almost invariably, has at least two safety bars to catch a barbell should you fail a lift.
A cage can also have just two uprights, and three horizontal beams if it is mounted to a wall. Note a wall-mounted cage will not have safety bars, but can use safety catches or safety spotter arms to catch the bar if you fail a lift.
What is a Squat Rack?
A squat rack is two uprights, connected by a pull-up bar. A squat rack has a wide stable base that prevents the rack from tipping and makes it safe for pull-ups.
It is a better choice than the squat stands because it is safer, more stable and can hold more weight.
A squat rack is a popular choice because it is usually less expensive than a power cage and functions better than squat stands. It’s a good choice for those limited on space and tight on cash.
What is a Squat Stand?
A squat stand is two upright posts that hold a barbell on top of the post.
Truth be told, sometimes less expensive squat stands are not very stable and yes, they can tip or worse.
If you want a squat stand to save space, I HIGHLY recommend getting the Rogue squat stand because it is very stable, has safety spotter arms, and is almost as good as a cage, with less functionality, of course.
Want more clarification? I wrote an article on the subject! Squat rack vs Power rack, what’s the difference.
What is a Smith Machine?
A smith machine looks like a power cage, sort of. But it’s not quite a power cage.
You see, if you look at the barbell, that the barbell is enclosed or trapped between two metal guides.
These guides prevent you from losing your balance and the safety stops prevent you from crushing yourself.
Sure, you can lift more, and without a spotter using a smith machine.
The smith machine limits the use of supporting muscles, limits core engagement and all sorts of other good things you get with a good old fashioned free moving barbell in a power rack.
To be honest, I prefer power racks.
Still, thinking about getting a smith cage? I compiled a list of the best smith cages here.
Power Rack and Squat Rack go Head to Head
Power racks are generally more expensive because they use more metal and materials, plus they usually include at least a few attachments.
Makes sense, right?
A squat rack is mainly designed for squats, but some can be used for bench press, depending on the design.
The best power racks are designed to provide you with a full range of weight lifting exercises – many of them even come with pull up bars or dip bars to further expand your physique building repertoire.
The only downside to power racks is that, because they are so much larger, they’re generally more expensive and take up more space.
Stop and think…
…how much free space do you have?
Because of the size, you may have a hard time finding a place to put a power rack. They take up a lot of space, and they don’t work very well with low ceilings or cramped corners.
Don’t forget you need space around and behind the rack too!
If you’re building a full home gym, a power rack will work great if you have a place to put it. If you’re working with limited space, a squat rack will fit much better.
Squat racks are great for people on a budget, too. You’ll be able to get some of the benefits of a full power rack for less.
They’re easier to move, assemble, and store than a power rack.
If you have more to spend and a large workout area, you’re probably better off buying a full power rack for that purpose, because you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of a regular squat rack and so much more.
Owning your own power rack or squat rack brings freedom and cost-saving exercise into your home.
Did you know?
Many gyms don’t even offer power racks to their customers. Some only have a smith machine or a squat rack.
To tell you the truth…
Commercial gyms are often skimpy when it comes to equipment for serious lifters. That is why so many hardcore weight lifters build their own home or garage gyms, or join specialty gyms that have the equipment they need.
Don’t go looking for Globo gym, Planet Fitness, or 24 Hour Fitness to get your swole on – it ain’t gonna happen, bro!
Power Racks are the Ultimate All-in-One Fitness Equipment
You need to understand that power racks and squat racks eliminate the need for a host of other workout equipment while making your strength training and muscle building exercises safely.
You won’t need a costly gym membership. You can exercise from the comfort of your own home. Having your equipment at home means you’re free to use it whenever you want.
Just have a ½ hour to spare?
No problem! You don’t have to get ready for the gym only to rush in and rush out.
Of course, it does!
Over time, a power cage will pay for itself.
Since power racks and squat racks allow you to perform an extended range of exercise with a single piece of equipment, you won’t need much else, besides a barbell and a weight bench, to get started.
Instead of a bunch of smaller equipment investments, one large investment will ultimately amount to less money and be easier to maintain in the long run.
Power Rack, Squat Cage, Squat Rack FAQs
Why Buy a Power Rack or a Squat Rack?
If you plan to build any kind of weight lifting gym, even one for beginners, my opinion is this:
A squat rack or power cage is necessary.
Also, the rack or cage must have safeties installed, either safety bars or safety straps which are on the inside of a cage or safety catches or safety spotter arms which are on the outside of a cage or rack.
It’s not safe to lift, bench press or squat without safeties.
If you need some help properly setting up your weight lifting gym, check out this article outlining the best weight lifting equipment for your home or garage gym.
What is the Best Power Rack for Home?
For home and garage use, most lifters do not need commercial quality racks, unless you are a very heavy lifter.
For most people, a rack that holds up to 1000 lbs capacity is enough.
With this in mind, here are two of my favorite power racks for home and garage gym:
Rogue R-3 Power Rack because it is compact, so it saves space, it is a full, proper rack so it holds a lot of weight and has safety bars so it is safe to lift and squat with.
The Fringe Sport Squat Cage is another favorite of mine. While its max capacity is 700 lbs, that is still plenty for most athletes, and it has a lower price point than the Rogue R-3. It is not as compact as the R-3, but that’s a benefit if you have space because it is more comfortable to use.
How Deep Should a Power Rack be?
Ideally, a rack should be at least 4 x 4 feet, which translates to 48 inches by 48 inches.
Many home and garage gyms are space limited, so getting a shallower rack is far superior to no rack at all, or a rack that does not fit your space.
How Tall Should My Power Rack be?
It depends on how tall you are, and more importantly how tall your ceilings are.
Remember, you need some clearance above your rack for pull-ups and chin-ups, so measure your ceilings before you buy, and give yourself at least a foot extra above the rack for room for your head.
In a garage gym, the ceiling is usually much higher than in the house, which is why you see so many lifting gyms in the garage. Not to mention the floor is more suited for a gym in the garage.
Let’s say your ceilings are 9 feet, or 108 inches. Well, in this case, the Rogue R-3 rack, which is 90 inches tall, will give you 18 inches of headspace above the rack.
If you have 8 foot ceilings, which is just 96 inches, you can see the Rogue racks will not work. If you have 8 foot ceilings, the Fringe Sport Garage Series squat cage, which is 82.5 inches, will give you 13.5 inches of clearance.
Now you can see why the garage is the preferred place for a weight lifting gym.
Can You use Squat Stands for Bench Press?
While I prefer a cage or squat rack, a squat stand with safety arms will work for a bench press.
Just be sure the squat stands have a bar at the bottom that connects the two stands, and that the squat stands have safety catches or safety spotter arms installed.
These WELOLOE Adjustable Squat Rack Stands are a good example of the style of squat stands I recommend.
Can You Deadlift in a Power Rack?
Yes. If you want to deadlift from the floor level, you will need to remove the safety bars, but there is no reason you cannot deadlift inside a squat rack.
Deadlifting from higher than ground level, with the barbell staring in a resting position on the safeties is technically called a rack pull, which is also a good use of the squat rack and has its benefits too.
What to do if You don’t have a Squat Rack?
If you do not have a squat rack there are exercises that are safe to do without a rack, as long as they are done with good form.
Exercises you can do without a squat rack include front squats, goblet squat, dumbbell squats, deadlifts, the snatch, clean and jerk, power clean, lunges and more.
Power Rack Workout Routines You Can Use Today
Ready to get ripped?
Here are a few of the best power rack workout routines
These are 5 simple, yet EXPLOSIVE and critical moves you should master.
These moves cover both upper and lower body.
Exercises using the power rack in this video include Squats, Pull-Ups, Pin Squats, Rack Pulls, Romanian Deadlifts, Overhead Press, Front Squats
These moves build serious muscle and shed fat without risking losing lean muscle.
Using the rack to work your back? Let’s be honest, most people think of the rack as a tool for arms, chest, and legs. But the back?
Check out this Rack pulls video to see you can build traps, make your neck look thicker and work your posterior chain in your power rack.
Looking for more guidance?
Here are the Garage Gym Power tips for a BETTER power rack workout.
That all Folks! Now Make Your Decision
Choose the best power rack or best squat rack you can afford.
A power rack or a squat rack with additional equipment for workouts is a top choice for compact home gym equipment.
You can perform a lot of training workouts on both a power rack and a squat rack, and the equipment itself only takes up the space of a single piece of equipment instead of buying several different machines.
Keep in mind: safety first!
Take precautions to avoid injury and achieve maximum results.
Use a lifting belt, it can save your back. Use the safety bars, safety spotter arms, or safety straps when you are lifting heavy.
So what can you take away from all of this?
The one thing to understand when choosing equipment for your home gym is that you need to INVEST SMART!
This means you want to look for equipment that is multipurpose enough to give many options when you work out. Both power racks and squat racks can provide you with exactly that.
So make the decision on which of the options listed above fits you best and go all-in with your home training program.
Don’t have space for weight lifting equipment right now? Why not consider an all in one home gym? There are several models that can be stored away when not in use and offer good cardio and strength training workouts all on one machine.
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