- 1 What is a power rack?
- 2 Best power racks and squat racks by price
- 3 Top 10 squat racks / power racks for home gyms
- 4 Best squat rack brands
- 5 Power rack alternatives
- 6 Top 10 power rack design features
- 7 Top 5 benefits of power racks
- 8 How to use a power rack
Being able to lift safely is an important part of any home workout. That’s why a power rack or squat stand can be such a valuable piece of fitness equipment.
But with so many types to choose from, how do you know which one to buy?
It’s not always easy. We’ve seen over 100 different racks and stands on Amazon alone, without counting the hundreds of configurations offered by the Rogue Fitness racks.
That’s why our guide is designed to take you from start to finish, offering independent advice on the best brands, which features to look for, exercise options, and much more. We’ve even included a top 10 shortlist of the best power racks and squat stands on the market right now.
We offer a series of in-depth reviews, where we rate and compare bestselling racks from big names like Body Solid and Valor Fitness. Each rack is then rated based on the pros, cons, and affordability, to help you find the perfect rack for your own home gym.
So whether you’re on a budget or simply looking for the best power rack money can buy, you’ll find it here in our comprehensive buying guide.
What is a power rack?
A power rack is a piece of weightlifting equipment, usually constructed from 11 or 12-gauge steel, with four uprights and a pair of safety bars, designed to function as a spotter during free weight barbell exercises.
The ‘walk-in’ section at the front of the rack is open, with no cross-brace steel across the base. This is to enable a workout bench to be positioned inside the frame, allowing you to perform variations on the barbell bench press.
Wall mounted versions are available, but your standard power rack (also known as a power cage, squat cage or squat rack) will be freestanding, but bolted to the floor for improved stability.
Variations to look out for:
- Distance between safety bar height settings
- Style of pull-up bar
- Attachment options (lat attachment, ‘land mines’, dip bars, etc.)
- Weight capacity (on the internal bar catches, external bar catches, and safety bars)
- Whether the rack is fitted with Olympic weight plate storage pegs
These are just a few of the top 10 design features to look for, which we’ll look at in much more detail later in the guide.
Best power racks and squat racks by price
- Cap Barbell FM-CS7000F Power Rack – 500+ Reviews
PRICE RANGE: $200-$500
PRICE RANGE: $500-$1000
PRICE RANGE: $1500+
Top 10 squat racks / power racks for home gyms
Best squat rack under $250 – Atlas Power Rack
Usually priced between $200 and $300, it’s not surprising that the Atlas Power Rack has quickly become a bestseller on Amazon, with over 350 highly rated reviews.
The 800 lb capacity makes this an affordable option for all strength levels, with detachable J-hooks that allow you to perform free weight exercises inside and outside the rack. Saber style safety rods can be set at any of the 28 height settings, supporting a wide range of user heights and exercise options.
For pull-ups and chin-ups, the knurling on the top bar provides some useful grip assistance, while the 59”W x 48”L footprint leaves you plenty of space to setup a workout bench inside the frame.
Distance from the floor to the first safety setting is 12.5”, so there’s just about enough room to perform floor presses. You also get two Olympic weight plate storage pegs to store your weight plates when not in use. When loaded, they work together with the 137 lb frame weight to prevent any unwanted movement in the rack.
Best squat rack under $500 – Valor Fitness BD-7
Between $200 and $500 is the most competitive price range for power racks and squat stands. It represents the sweet spot between the lighter weight capacity of lower priced racks, and the high-end features of more expensive full commercial designs.
If the SAML-24 safety spotter arms were included as standard, our top choice would have to be the Rogue SML-2 squat stand, but the $160 price tag means a $445 stand jumps to over $600. Outside of our price range, but perhaps still worth a look thanks to its 1000 lb+ weight capacity, fat/skinny pull-up bar combination, Westside spacing pattern, and solid 3” x 3” 11-gauge steel frame.
It really comes down to what you’re looking for from a workout. If it’s heavy, compound lifts like squats and overhead presses, we recommend the Titan T-3. Like the Rogue SML-2, it has a 1000 lb capacity, Westside spacing, and set of fat/skinny pull-up bars. The lack of crossbeam at the base also gives you complete freedom of movement, which is most important during front and back squats.
However, if you’re looking for a rack that combines compound movements with isolation exercises, such as tricep extensions and cable curls, our top choice would be the Valor Fitness BD-7. The 800 lb capacity on the safety bars, weight plate storage, and lat pull attachment with high and low cable pulleys makes it the perfect solution for affordable full body workouts.
Best squat rack under $1000 – Rogue Fitness R-3
Once you go above $800 you’re only looking at specialist brands, such as Rogue Fitness and EliteFTS™. Through their websites, you can often take one of their racks and customize it with various accessories, right down to the color of the frame for the EliteFTS™ racks.
Our top choice would have to be the Rogue R-3 Power Rack, with its Westside hole spacing, Infinity J-Cups, built-in band pegs, and Pin Pipe Safeties. The R-3 has a smaller footprint than the R-4, but is essentially the same design. You can even opt for the R-3 Shorty version if you want to save 6-inches on the height (brings rack height down to 7ft).
It’s one of Rogue’s bestselling power racks, and one of the designs that’s compatible with their X-43M Multi Grip Crossmember pull-up bar. This addition usually adds around $145 to the price though, so if you want to avoid the additional expense, you can still use the pair of fat/skinny bars provided.
If you’re interested, the closest match from EliteFTS™ in terms of balancing features and price would be their Scholastic 3×3 Full Power Rack. It offers a similar style of Pin Pipe safety bars, with high and low anchor points for resistance bands. You also benefit from a variety of weight plate storage pegs, provided you have enough space for the larger footprint.
Best squat rack under $1500 – Rogue Fitness R-6
If space isn’t an issue, we would recommend the Rogue R-6 Power Rack. The weight plate storage extends the length of the rack to 76-inches, which is 15-inches longer than the more compact R3 3×3 rack from EliteFTS™. The R3 would be our top choice if you’re looking for something a little more compact.
The Rogue R-6 took the top spot in this price range due to its solid base design and range of upgrade options. Westside hole spacing is included for more control during the bench press, with 6 pegs to support the use of resistance bands if needed. Rogue also include 3 pull-up bars; one 2″ ‘Fat’ bar, one 1.25″ ‘skinny’ bar, and the multi-grip Monkey Chin Bar.
Infinity J-cups can be used inside and outside the rack, with no crossbeam at the base to provide maximum freedom of motion when you’re squatting, or positioning a weights bench.
If you want to extend the rack in the future, you can also fit Rogue Landmines to the base, which act as a sleeve for an Olympic barbell, enabling you to perform T-bar rows for developing your upper back muscles.
As we mentioned earlier, the EliteFTS™ R3 3×3 rack is a more compact alternative, offering many of the same features but managing to shave 15-inches off the length of the footprint. This includes the Westside hole spacing, Olympic weight plate storage, open frame, and J-hooks. Unfortunately there are no band pegs and only one pull-up bar, but it does include a set of dip handles and Plyometric platform.
Best squat rack over $1500 – EliteFTS™ Signature
Almost every home gym power rack we’ve seen is priced under $1500. But if you’re looking for a professional setup where money is no object, there are a few luxury racks worth talking about, all of which are available from EliteFTS™.
Unless you workout with a training partner, power racks that include a monolift, such as the EFS Monorack, are probably out of the question.
If you’re looking for a complete powerlifting setup, the EliteFTS™ Signature Power Rack is the best money can buy. Prices start at around $4800 for the rack itself, and it’s certainly not the lightest (weighs upwards of 1500 lbs), but you can also build off the main rack with a range of upgrade options.
Upgrades include a completely unique set of safety spotters, multi-grip pull-up bar, bumper weight plate storage, Signature Deadlift Platform, and Signature 0-90 Dumbbell Bench.
If you don’t need the option of a deadlift platform and are looking for something a little more affordable, the EliteFTS™ 3×3 Collegiate Multi-Triple rack is the next best thing. This design comes complete with extra deep squatting area, Monkey Chin Bar, Rod and Pipe safety pins, and full safety rails at the front for workouts outside the main rack.
Best squat rack brands
As with any home gym equipment, choice can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to get a clear idea of what to expect from each brand, so you can narrow down your options and get the best value for money.
To help speed up this process, we’ve reviewed power racks and squat racks from industry leaders, including Rogue Fitness, Body Solid, Valor Fitness, and XMark, to help you find the best rack for your own home workouts.
As with Atlas, Cap Barbell specialize in developing bestselling, affordable power racks. The difference here is that Cap have a more varied product line, which includes the FM-CS7000F (lightweight squat rack), FM-CB8000F power rack (300 lb capacity), and the FM-CB8008 power cage.
The downside is that, although they’re affordable and have high review ratings, they’re very much designed for lighter weights. None of the racks can support more than 300 lbs on the safety bar and catches, and each storage weight peg can’t hold more than 150 lbs.
Contrast this to the 800 lb capacity of the Atlas Power Rack, or the 800 lb+ capacity of the Valor Fitness designs, and you’re looking at a considerable difference in strength. Well suited to beginners, but if you’re serious about lifting we would favor one of the designs from the companies listed below.
Although many companies now produce squat racks, not all of them develop an extensive product line. Some will simply develop one multipurpose rack suitable for a wide range of exercises and strength levels.
This is currently the position Atlas is in. They produced a bestselling, affordable power rack with a high 800 lb weight capacity and impressive 10-year warranty that makes it perfect for most home gyms.
In terms of availability, we’ve only found this rack on Amazon, where shipping is usually around $99. But when you add this to a sale price of $220, you’re still getting great value for money.
You might remember XMark from our weight bench buying guide, where they came highly recommended for their wide range of FID (flat, incline, decline) benches. They’re very much a strength equipment company, specializing in home gyms. So how do we rate their power racks?
In terms of price, XMark are between Valor Fitness and Rogue Fitness, with 3 designs to choose from. This includes their most affordable XM-7620 power cage (around $725), the XM-9014 Half Rack, and their top-of-the-line XM-9015 commercial series power rack.
If you’re not looking for a full-sized cage and only need a rack for presses and squats, they also have a more affordable XM-7619 Multi Press Rack, usually priced around $425.
As a general guide, the XM-9015 is best for more advanced lifters, with superior weight plate storage and anchor points for resistance bands. The XM-7620 is better for a mix of compound and isolation exercises, thanks to its range of attachment options, such as lat pull tower and dip handles.
One of the best overall product lines for affordable strength training equipment. Valor has an impressive catalog of cable machines, benches, bars, dumbbells, power racks, and much more. Their squat stands have proven particularly popular on Amazon, due to their unrivalled balance of strength, build quality, and affordability.
Many of their power racks, such as the BD-7, BD-33 and BD-41 can be upgraded with a lat attachment for even more exercise options, and are priced mid-market at between $400 and $550.
Their high-end racks are capable of supporting up to 800 lbs on the internal safety bars, and 650 lbs on the internal bar catchers. You can also benefit from a built-in multi-position pull-up bar and conveniently placed weight plate storage pegs.
A reputation built on quality, affordability, and excellent customer service means you’ll rarely find a Valor Fitness product on Amazon with a rating of less than 4 stars.
One of the best-known names in home strength training equipment, Body Solid have amassed hundreds of highly rated reviews for everything from weights benches to power racks.
No company comes close to having the variety and customization that Rogue Fitness have, but Body Solid does have two very strong power racks that are perfect for home gyms. These are the Body Solid Pro (GPR378) and the SPR1000.
Both can support over 800 lbs, and can be upgraded with a wide range of attachments. For the commercial SPR1000 this means an entire new back section to the frame, with 6 Olympic weight plate storage pegs. There’s even a monkey bar attachment if you want to strap two of these rigs together.
Although the GPR378 is slightly more expensive than the budget power racks, it has a weight capacity and warranty that won’t be beaten in this price range.
If you’re looking to design a truly customized power rack, this is the company to talk to. Despite being one of the newer names on the fitness equipment circuit, they’ve quickly established themselves as a market leader, with dozens of rigs, power racks, squat stands, and even wall mounts to choose from.
As well as supplying the CrossFit Games with their rigs, Rogue have developed a series of power racks that are suitable for everything from home gyms to commercial installations.
Unfortunately, their racks aren’t as affordable as something from Titan or Atlas (typically they’re between $500 and $2000), and most of the frame sizes are much taller (90-inches+), but the construction is incredibly strong.
Some of the Rogue power racks (R-3, R-4) also use Westside hole spacing, whereby you have 1” spacing between height settings through the bench and clean pull zone, then 2” spacing above and below for squats, overhead presses, and deadlifts.
Power rack alternatives
Although power racks and squat racks are an excellent investment for anyone serious about resistance training at home, they’re not always the most suitable option. In some cases, you may not have the head space for a large frame, or can’t dedicate that much permanent floor space to its footprint.
You might also be looking for a wider range of exercise options, in which case a smith machine could be a better choice. That’s why we’ve listed a few alternatives to power racks, to cater for anyone that needs a more compact, affordable, or varied home workout solution.
Independent squat stands
If you have limited space or can’t dedicate a permanent location to your home gym, squat stands are often the best option. They’re also much more affordable than power racks, cages, or smith machines.
Valor Fitness is a name to look out for, especially with their ‘BD’ collection, which includes the BD-9, BD-8, and BD-3 squat stands, with the BD-3 available for under $150.
Pay attention to the weight capacity though, as this can vary massively between products. For example, the Valor BD-3 stands can support up to 150 lbs, whereas the BD-9 set can support up to 500 lbs. For anything heavier you’ll need a dedicated power rack.
Adjusting the height of the bar supports is simple, but the safety catches are much shorter than in a cage, so you have to pay close attention to your range of motion, especially when squatting.
A high quality smith machine can be an excellent addition to any home gym, but you have to know what you’re looking for to avoid wasting prime workout space.
Whereas power racks are often designed entirely for free weights barbell exercises, smith machines usually combine barbell workouts with high and low cable pulleys. Some even provide you with a multi-station workout bench, that includes a leg developer or preacher curl pad for more focused isolation exercises.
The Marcy MD-9010g is one of the best smith machines available, and a bestseller on Amazon. We also highlighted it as one of the top home gyms under $1000 in a recent buying guide.
If you want to make the most of limited workout space, the combination of barbell exercises, high and low cable pulleys, pull-up bar, cable crossovers, and multi-function workout bench could be your best option.
These can be a useful alternative to a power rack if you have lower ceilings.
Top 10 power rack design features
- 1. Dimensions
When you buy a power rack, there’s a lot of dimensions to consider, which is particularly important if you have a compact floor space or low ceiling height.
In terms of width, you need to allow a minimum of 9ft (7ft for the length of an Olympic bar, and 1ft each side for adding and removing weight plates). This may increase if the rack you’re buying has Olympic weight plate storage pegs.
The length should give you enough space to slide a weight bench into the rack to perform exercises such as bench press and seated shoulder presses. You’ll also want to add the length of any lat pull attachment to your final dimensions.
Height should ideally be no less than 10-inches from your ceiling. This gives you enough space to get your chin over the bar during chin-ups, and allow you to store the lat pulldown bar in setups such as the Atlas Power Rack.
You should also carefully consider the rear crossbar placement. This is the bar that runs horizontally across the base of the frame, and can get in the way of your toes when performing back squats inside the power rack, unless you have long enough safety hooks supporting the barbell.
- 2. Weight capacity
If you’re buying a power rack to increase your strength, you’ll want a design that’s strong enough to support the weight you’ll be lifting 5 or 10 years from now. If you’re already squatting 500 lbs, look for a rack with minimum 800 lb capacity. Unlike with Bowflex home gyms, there’s no way to increase the resistance without buying an entirely new setup once you hit its limits.
Weight capacity varies greatly between power racks. It’s difficult to rank power rack brands by the strength of their equipment, as they tend to fall into 3 distinct categories.
Up to 300 lbs you’ll be fine with one of the Cap Barbell racks. Between 300 lbs and 800 lbs you’re better off with a rack from Atlas, XMark, Body Solid, or Powerline. Most Valor Fitness racks have an 800 lb capacity on the safety bars, 650 lbs on internal catchers, and 500 lbs on external catchers. Rogue Fitness racks come in all shapes and sizes, but many of their commercial designs are more than capable of supporting over 1000 lbs.
- 3. Frame style
Power racks are available in 3 main styles; full rack, half rack, and wall-mounted. The wall mounted versions don’t have any attachment options, and you lose many of the safety benefits associated with the full cage design.
Half racks are also more limited with their attachment options, but have longer safety bars than wall mounted designs, making them much safer for home workouts. They often feature the same footprint as full sized racks, and because they usually include pull-up grips, you’re not saving much on height either.
Although many companies now produce half cages (Reebok Half Cage, Valor Fitness BD-58, Powertec Workbench Half Rack), our personal preference will always be for a full-sized rack, due to the higher weight capacity, greater range of exercise options, and added peace of mind when lifting.
- 4. Safety bar adjustment system
Most modern power racks use steel saber safety rods. These slide through the frame uprights from front to back, allowing for quick adjustment between the height settings. Racks that use this system include the Atlas Power Rack, Valor Fitness BD-7, EliteFTS™ R3, and Titan T-2.
This system has proven so effective, that it’s rare to find any other designs. However, the Cap Barbell CB8008 and XMark XM-7620 both use a pull-pin style system for safety spotters and J-hooks. In our experience this takes longer to adjust the height, and the increased reliance on moving parts leaves the rack more vulnerable to maintenance problems over the years.
If your workout involves a 4 or 5-day split, this won’t be much of an issue, as you may only need to adjust the height once per session. But if you’re short on time and train with full body workouts, you’ll need to adjust the height settings much more often, between exercises such as incline presses, overhead presses, and barbell rows.
- 5. Spacing between safety bar settings
For most lifters, a 2-inch hole spacing will be sufficient. But for more specialized bench pressing, some racks have adopted a combination of 1-inch spacing and 2-inch spacing (Rogue Fitness R-3 Power Rack being the perfect example).
The 1-inch spacing is known as ‘Westside Barbell spacing’. This is where 1-inch spacing is through the height settings you use when bench pressing and doing rack pulls. The 2-inch spacing is used for the upper and lower height settings, for squats and overhead presses.
Racks with built-in Westside Barbell spacing are generally more expensive than standard power racks, starting at around $700 for the Rogue R-3, and moving up to $1200+ for the EliteFTS™ R3 3X3 rack.
- 6. Pull-up bar available
Almost every power rack will have some form of pull-up bar fitted across the top of the frame. The Valor Fitness BD-41 and BD-33 racks are two of the best for variation, due to their multiple grip positions. Certain EliteFTS™ racks have something similar, and Rogue Fitness have the X-43M Multi Grip Crossmember as an optional upgrade.
Rogue Fitness lead the way in terms of grip training, with some of their most popular racks offering two pull-up bars; one ’fat’ and one ‘skinny’. The ‘skinny’ lower diameter bar is best for training your back, while the ‘fat’ thicker diameter bar is better for developing grip strength.
- 7. Attachment options
Valor Fitness tend to be the best in terms of attachment options. Most of their racks are either compatible with (BD-33 rack) or supplied with (BD-7 Power Rack with Lat Pull) a lat attachment. The BD-7 is also compatible with Valor’s MB-A dip handle accessory set.
The Atlas Power Rack has an optional lat attachment, and the Titan T-2/T-3 racks have optional dip attachment bars. Unless you’re looking at more of a specialist power rack, like the EliteFTS™ R3 with adjustable plyo step attachment, this is the most you can expect.
If you’re short on space, finding a rack with a lat pull attachment can make all the difference. The high and low pulley positions enable you to perform a much wider range of isolation exercises than the rack allows on its own.
Power racks with a variety of attachment options don’t have to cost thousands of dollars. The Valor BD-7 supports 800 lbs on the safety bars, includes a plate-loaded lat pull attachment, and is often available on Amazon for less than $500.
- 8. Weight plate storage pegs
Weight plate storage tress are relatively inexpensive and can store a large number of Olympic weight plates, but having the storage pegs built-in is certainly a more efficient use of space.
- 9. Ease of assembly
Power racks can be big, bulky, and weigh in excess of 500 lbs for a light commercial rig. If you’re confident in being able to assemble your new rack, try to download a copy of the assembly instructions before you buy. This will give you a clear idea of what to expect.
Professional assembly services are available, but usually cost upwards of $140, even for a relatively simply rack, like the Valor BD-7.
- 10. Whether the rack is compatible with J-hooks
For some lifters J hooks or J-cups are considered the most secure way to rack a barbell. The raised lip prevents the bar from sliding out of position, and the rounded or flat base to the hook provides a wide enough platform on which to rest even high diameter Olympic barbells.
Top 5 benefits of power racks
Power racks have solid steel safety rods that run the length of the frame, which can be adjusted to a wide range of different heights. This serves to support the barbell if you reach the lowest part of your lift and are unable to complete the repetition, saving you from becoming ‘pinned’ under the bar.
Short pegs are also available for securely racking the bar. This allows you to get into position for each exercise safely, and return the bar to a point that’s within easy reach, regardless of your height.
Power racks can be used with any type of Olympic barbell, and allow the bar to be supported at a range of heights. This means you can switch between squats and bench presses in seconds, simply by adjusting the position of the safety bars and catches.
Squat stands will always have a lower weight capacity than power racks. By squat stands we’re referring to the pairs of individual supports that don’t have any interconnecting framework. Although they’re much more mobile, they have shorter safety bars and a higher center of gravity once you start performing exercises such as squats.
Power racks typically have an 800lb+ capacity. This may sound like a lot and you might think you don’t need to pay for something that strong, but when you consider Atlas produce power racks for under $300 with this strength, there’s really no need to break the bank.
Easier access to compound free weights exercises
Whether you’re looking to build strength, increase muscle size, or improve muscle tone, compound multi-joint lifts that recruit a wide range of muscle groups are key to your progress.
This includes squats, bench press, inverted rows, dips, pull-ups, chin-ups, rack pulls, overhead presses, shrugs, deadlifts, close-grip presses, and much more.
While these can all be performed in a smith machine, performing these exercises with a free weight barbell will certainly recruit more stabilizer and core muscles, as you’re not being guided through a fixed plane of motion.
Some of the biggest names in the business produce strong, high quality, bestselling power racks for just a few hundred dollars. This makes them a much more affordable option than most smith machines and home gym systems, although they often require a much larger floor space.
Before buying any power rack it’s worth bearing in mind you won’t usually get any free weights with your purchase. This means you should factor in the price of a weight plate and barbell set, but it’s still typically less than your average single-stack selectorized multi gym.
How to use a power rack
Whether you’re bench pressing or squatting, the basic technique behind using the power rack safely remains the same. Although there are more advanced strategies for attaching power bands and chains, these are the most important steps to follow.
- Identify the safety bar height. This could change by one or two settings, but it’s a useful starting point.
- If you’re using a weights bench, move it into position inside the power rack.
- Ensure the racked, empty barbell is within easy reach, and can be safely lifted from the safety pins.
- Once you’re in position for your exercise, lift the bar and bring it to the lowest point of the repetition.
- Check that the safety bars will support the barbell if you move any lower. This should allow unrestricted range of motion during your workout, but the safety of support if you can’t return the bar to its starting point.
- Make any adjustments to the safety bar height if they are currently too low or high.
- Load the bar with your starting weight and begin your workout.