Squat Rack vs Power Rack – What is the Difference? Choosing the Right One For You!

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Let’s be real here.

There is often a lot of confusion when we talk about squat rack vs power rack and squat stand vs power rack.

Some guys use the terms interchangeably, and that is where the confusion stems from.

Also, two pieces of equipment that have the SAME name, such as squat stand, may function very differently. Eg. Squat Stand vs Squat stand.

See what I mean?

Here I will discuss the difference between the squat rack vs power rack and how the squat stand fits into the picture too.

man lifting heavy barbell on squat rack

What is a Power Rack, Exactly?

A power rack, sometimes called a rig, power cage, or even sometimes called a squat rack, has 4 feet connected by 4 metal bars overhead, 3 stabilizing bars at the foot, and two safety bars to catch a loaded barbell, should you happen to drop it.

They usually have a square footprint.

This TITAN T-2 Rack is an example of a classic, simple, power rack.

A power rack almost always has built-in safety bars to catch a heavy barbell. The safety bars prevent you from dropping a loaded barbell on yourself and being crushed.

You can also use safety straps instead of safety bars on a power rack.

Also, you can use a power rack for squats, and a gang of other exercises, including the bench press, pull-ups and way too much to list here.

In other words, they are multipurpose. More on that in a minute.

Bottom line: A rack has 4 feet and has safety bars.

What is a Squat Rack, Exactly?

It’s complicated.

In my mind, if it is a rack, it has 4 feet, and if it has 4 feet, it is a power cage or power rack, but some guys call this 4 footed contraptions a squat rack.

In my mind, a power rack and a squat rack are the same things!

Now… a squat STAND is something different, but I will get to that in a minute.

Just for fun, I searched Rogue fitness for the search term “squat rack”.

What came back?

You guessed it – POWER RACKS! The 4 footed kind.

The search also returned Squat STANDS, which are different from racks. Even Rogue calls the two-footed guys stands, so I feel vindicated.

But…

Just so you know, some guys call squat stands, squat racks, there really is no solid consensus.

So, with that said, let’s talk about squat stands.

What is a Squat Stand, Exactly?

man work out using barbell and weight bench in garage gym

OK, this too is complicated, but squat stands have 2 feet and are designed for squatting, hence the use of the word SQUAT in the name.

Beware! There are really good squat stands, and some absolutely horrible squat stands.

How can you tell if a squat stand is crap or not?

Good squat stands have safety arms. Good squat stands are connected at the top by a sturdy bar, probably one that is strong and stable enough for pull-ups. Good squat stands have wide stable, non-tipping bases.

This is a GOOD squat stand: Rogue SM-2 Monster Squat Stand 2.0

Rogue SM-2 Monster Squat Stand 2.0

rogue large button

Notice the pull-up bar across the top?

Notice the Safety arms installed?

This squat stand also has a stabilizing bar across the bottom. OK, MOST Rogue squat stands offer safety arms as an added options.

There are less expensive options that also have arms and an overhead/stability/pull up bar. I chose this one as my example because the picture demonstrates what I am trying to explain.

OK, so what does a crappy squat stand look like?

This Yaheetech squat stand, and all others like it, should be avoided.

Sorry, it needs to be said. Yes, it’s cheap, or affordable, or whatever. But it’s not safe nor stable, IMO.

The bases are not wide, it may tip, there are no safety arms in the event you fail your lift, and yeah… Just say no.

women doing squat workout with power rack

What is Better, a Squat Rack vs Power Rack?

As I said, a squat rack and a power rack are the same thing, IMO. What some people mean when they say squat rack is actually “what is better, a squat stand vs a power rack.

In that case, most people say a power rack is better.

But… a good squat stand vs power rack does have some benefits, so keep reading.

Power Rack Pros

  • A rack is versatile. It is not just for squats. You can do pull-ups, use accessories like a landmine, and most importantly, use a bench! Racks are just way more versatile.
  • A power rack has safety bars included. You can also use safety straps with a rack. With a squat stand, the safety arms are usually an add-on feature. Crappy squat stands do not usually have an option for safety spotter arms.

Power Rack Cons

Let’s look at the other side of the story too, just to be fair.

  • A power rack cost more than a squat stand.
  • A power rack takes up more space and has a bigger footprint.

Squat Stand Pros

  • Squat stands use less space. This is their BEST benefit.
  • Not only do they have a smaller footprint, but if you have a really limited ceiling height, you can get a short stand to fit the space. This Rogue Echo Squat Stand 2.0 is a little over 70 inches tall. It does not have a pull-up bar, but it does have the stabilizer bar down below.
  • A squat stand is usually less expensive than a power rack if you compare brands with similar quality.

Squat Stand cons

  • There are a lot of poor quality squat stands out there which can be unstable and have no safety spotter arms.
  • Squat stands are not as versatile and racks. You can do way more with a rack, plain and simple.

So, I hope that clears things up a bit.

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