The Best Power Racks (Power Cages) & Squat Racks: Full & Half Setups Reviewed
If you are a weightlifter, your workout isn’t complete, and definitely isn’t going to give you the best results without a legit power rack in your gym.
In case you were wondering, a power rack is the same as a squat rack, squat cage or power cage. However, it is not a squat stand which doesn’t have a safety mechanism.
A power rack not only helps you lift heavier weights but also gives you the safety you can’t get from lifting free weights off the floor.
With a power cage, you can lift your maximum load to failure and dump it without the help of a spotter or gym partner.
It’s not magic. There are safety pins or straps in the rack that takes the hit of the barbell.
Now you see why you have to make a power cage the cornerstone of your home gym, right?
Next, you need to find one that is sturdy enough for your workout and most importantly—in line with your budget.
In this light, I’ll save you some stress and reveal the best power racks from their respective price categories with a detailed review of their features.
Let’s dive right in.
- Best Power Racks Under $300
- Best Middle-Class Power Racks Under $500
- Best Top Class Power Racks Under $1000
- Best Elite Power Racks Under $1500
- Best Elite Power Cages Over $1500+
- Best Half Rack for Home Gym
- Why You Should Consider Installing A Power Rack In Your Home Gym
- Choosing The Right Power Cage For You
- Wrapping Up
Best Power Racks Under $300
1. Fitness Reality 810XLT
Our Verdict: Best Value Full Power Cage
The Fitness Reality 810XLT is the best power cage (full cage) you can find under $300.
It comes armed with all the basic features you are looking for in a power cage.
First, you can rest easy knowing you can lift as heavy as you like with its 800 lbs weight capacity. Keep in mind that it can start swaying when you hit about 350 lbs.
Unlike other racks in this price range, it comes with a safety bar which is in all honesty, not so good to the eyes. The same goes with its 2” x 2” steel frame which has a shiny finish. At least, the safety bar does a good job of catching the weight if you dropped it at failure.
Likewise, the safety bar spacing is good for standing adjustments, but for benching, not so much. It has a large 3” spacing that makes the bar either too tall or short for many lifters. On the bright side, it is perfect for rows, rack pull, and squatting.
The dimension is just about perfect for an average sized lifter and will fit into any home gym.
Another important feature is its multi-grip monkey chin bar for chin ups and pull ups. Also, it comes with an adjustable weight bench you can use for inclined or flat bench presses.
Good enough, right? Evidence of its low price isn’t obvious in the rack quality itself. Rather it shows in its attachment and adjustments.
The most obvious flaw is the absence of j-hooks that makes a crucial part of a power rack. However, the absence of band pegs, plate storage, and an anchor kit can be brushed aside for its price.
2. Cap Barbell Deluxe Squat Stand
Our Verdict: Most Budget-Friendly Squat Rack
This squat stand from Cap Barbell gives you great bang for your buck.
It is very sturdy for a rack that costs just over a hundred bucks. It’s not much of a surprise since it's made with 11 and 12 gauge steel.
The sturdy construction makes it capable of holding a max weight capacity of 500 pounds on the j-cups for squats or presses. But, it is best to stick to 300 lbs.
With that out of the way, it also has a weight capacity of up to 750 lbs. Of course, someone weighing that much will know better to go for a more solid and expensive rack.
Although its dimensions are somewhat standard (46" wide x 50" deep x 85" high), tall lifters may have some issues. At 6’4”, I can’t perform a sumo squat comfortably in this squat cage.
Nevertheless, its depth and height work fine for me with lunges and pull-ups in the rack.
I also like that it comes in a variety of colors that have a powder coated finish to prevent chipping or fading.
That aside, despite its sturdy construction, its light weight is a hit or miss. It tends to sway if you try any kipping movements on it. However, you can add plates or bolt it down to make it stable.
A major flaw in this power rack is that it doesn’t have safety pins or spotter arms or other attachments.
For the most part, it is a budget-friendly power rack for beginners or lifters that have a lower-intensity strength training regimen.
Best Middle-Class Power Racks Under $500
1. Rogue SML-2 Monster Lite Squat Stand
Our Verdict: Best Under $500
The SML-2 is one of Rogue’s cheapest squat racks and unsurprisingly, one of the best-selling as well.
Rogue products are always top-notch regardless of the price, and the SML-2 is an example.
This squat stand is rugged with a lifetime warranty from Rogue to vouch for it.
It is built with 3” x 3” 11 gauge steel that supports up to 1000 lbs of weight, and finished with a black powder coating that gives it a military-grade look right from the box.
Rogue SML-2 has a simple design with a fat bar and skinny bar at the top of the frame. The leg stand offers enough stability but may start to sway as the weight and movements get more intense.
If you kip or lift extreme, you can buy it with the floor mounting feet for an extra $20, or add plates to the back for stability.
The dimension of the squat stand is compatible with most users. A footprint of 49” x 48” won’t take up space and is also enough for wide stance workouts like squats and deadlifts.
Plus, its 92” height is tall enough for even taller users to perform pull-ups.
Additionally, there are lots of add-on attachments you can purchase to transform this stand from simple to sophisticated whenever you like. From spotter arms, to dip attachments or bar holder for storage.
Adjusting the barbell to your preferred height is a breeze with its Westside hole spacing.
If safety bars are a necessity for you, try considering other options. If not, you can still add the safety spotter arms for added safety while bench pressing.
2. Valor Fitness BD-7 Rack /w Lat Pull
Our Verdict: Best For Intermediate Lifters
The BD-7 power rack from Valor Fitness is pure gold with the value you get from a rack under $500.
If you doubt that, it is one of the most popular power racks on the market.
The reason isn’t so far-fetched. It packs a range of features and extra exercise options all at a reasonable price.
It has sturdy construction with special attention to user experience in its design. At first sight, you’ll notice its 2” x 2” steel frame has a rubber capped base not just for stability but also floor protection.
Also, it comes with two (2) heavy-duty safety bars that take all the damage from dropping the barbell instead of your ribs.
Even though this rack has a solid design that can support up to a total of 1000 lbs, it is better suited for beginner and intermediate lifters.
To keep your gym tidy, it has four weight storage 1” pegs that can support any standard sized weight plate.
Even better, its pull up bar has a knurled grip which allows you more reps and reduces the chances of getting a callus.
One unique feature in the BD-7 is its lat pulldown station. The cable pulley allows you to perform exercises like seated rows, shrugs at a max weight capacity of 250lbs.
The BD-7 has unusual kind j-hook, but works anyways. The rack is compact and will make a good fit for a home gym as long as you aren’t taller than 6'2".
Best Top Class Power Racks Under $1000
1. Rogue R-3 Power Rack
Our Verdict: Best Under $1000
The Rogue R-3 is a steal at its price and is not even close to the price cap in this category.
It offers the durability and functionality comparable to that of squat racks that are hundreds or thousands of dollars more expensive.
Not to be salesy, but Rogue Fitness doesn’t compromise quality no matter the price of their product.
That said, the frame is built to last a lifetime of abuse with its heavy duty 11 gauge steel. It weighs a lot (210 lbs), but it still needs to be bolted to be floor to maintain stability.
Also, it has a black powder coated finish to prevent it from rust and chipping.
For easier barbell adjust and better safety, it has Westside spacing in the bench and clean zone, and 2” spacing below and above.
What’s special about the Rogue R-3 power rack is its portability. The squatting area has a footprint of just 49” x 24” and an overall footprint of 53” x 34”.
This dimension is not only enough for most lifters that perform exercises in a wide stance but also portable for any home or school gym. If the standard rack is too tall for your garage or basement, it has a Shorty Version that measures only 7ft.
Better yet, Rogue R-3 offers attachments found in more expensive Rogue rigs. I like the arrangement of its fat and skinny bar better than those in more expensive Rogue racks like the R-6.
If you want to personalize the rack, you can get a multi-grip bar, bench, dip attachment and more along with it.
To sum up, the Rogue R-3 is affordable, portable and most importantly, safe and durable. If your gym can accommodate a larger footprint, you can add a plate rack, spotter arms and other rogue attachments.
2. Rogue R-4 Power Rack
Our Verdict: More Room To Lift
The Rogue R-4 is a beast of a power rack and has better depth than the Rogue R-3.
Like the R-3, and all other Rogue squat cages, Rogue R-4 sturdy and built to last a lifetime no matter where it is used. It is a constructed with heavy duty 11 gauge steel and fastened with 5/8” bolts.
In the case that you don’t want to bolt the rack to the floor, you can purchase a stabilizer bar from Rogue to add more stability to the rack. But if you decide to bolt it down instead, you can be sure it won’t budge even if you swing (kip) on it.
As I said earlier, size is the main difference between the R-3 and R-4 power racks, though, their heights remain the same (90”). Now, the R-4 has a larger overall footprint of 53” x 53”. It also has more depth (adds about 20 inches) that increases the range of exercises that can be done in the rack.
If you aren’t too bothered by the limited space in the R-3 (above), I’ll recommend you go for it instead. If not, you can pay the extra $200 it costs to get the R-4.
It also comes with a single pull up bar that isn’t in the R-3 which makes the deal not so bad after all. Asides that, it has a fat/skinny band peg and pin pipe safeties.
If you want to personalize the rack to suit you better, you can purchase Rogue Infinity accessories whenever you like.
In the end, there isn’t much of a difference between R-3 and R-4, except in their size.
Best Elite Power Racks Under $1500
1. Rogue Fitness R-6 Power Rack
Our Verdict: Best Under $1500
At first glance, the Rogue R-6 Power Rack is very durable and will take anything thrown at it.
This isn’t just for show as it is built with 2”x3” 11 gauge steel – The toughest in the industry.
What you won’t see though, despite its sturdy build, is that it’s shaky if you decide not to bolt it down. I don’t know about you, but I’ll definitely drill a rack that will hold up to 1000 lbs to the floor.
Nevertheless, this squat cage is your go-to choice if it’s in your budget range, and if room space isn’t an issue. Its 90” height is standard-sized but is a bit taller when you factor in the multi-grip bar at the top which you can use for pull-ups. It also adds 24” in length to the 43” rig for weight plate storage.
All of these attachments makes it an enormous equipment in your home gym. The Elite R3 3x3 power rack is a more compact and cheaper product if you are looking for one.
With that out of the way, I’ll focus on the good to come with this power cage. Its Westside hole spacing gives you more control and safety during bench presses which allows you bench to your limit without a spotter.
For a better range of exercise, it has two pull up bars (fat and thin) and a multi-grip Monkey Chin bar. Its band pegs (6) also make it compatible for intense band exercises like banded squats.
However, the fat pull up bar seems to be useless since it is placed just above the skinny pull up bar.
It has two (2) double plate storage and four (4) single plate storage for a tidy looking gym. If you want to make the power rack the centerpiece of your gym, you can get other compatible accessories like a bench, bar, plates, dip bar (Rouge Infinity Matador) and more.
2. EliteFTS™ R3 3×3 Rack
Our Verdict: Best Heavy Duty, Compact Option
At its cost, you’ll think it’s too expensive for most users. But funny enough, it’s is Elite’s best-selling rack.
The reason is not so far-fetched.
First, it is sturdy and stable, which are things you can’t miss out on in a power rack. The frame is made with 11 gauge steel and has backer plates on all connection points for greater stability and easier assembly.
If this is too technical for you, it simply means you can rest easy knowing some of the strongest athletes have used weights of up to 1000 lbs on this rack.
One minor issue is that it doesn’t have a Westside hole spacing. But the good thing is, many lifters don’t mind this at all. Besides, its 1.5” to 2” hole spacing, in reality, still allows you to set the safety rod and J-cups at a good height.
Also, this rack is easy to assemble. You only need to attach the k-brace, weight storage and chin bar to the uprights.
The main feature I like about this power rack is its compactness. Its squatting area has a footprint of 43” x 30” which makes a good sumo base for sumo squats. Meanwhile, the rack has a footprint 49” x 61” which is minuscule when you compare it to that of the Rogue RML – 90 Monster or R3 power rack.
Like you’d expect from a squat rack in its price range, it’s not all squats and bench presses.
It has a chin-up bar, an ample weight storage space and band pegs. Plus, the j-hooks are not slanted or too deep, which is a feature serious lifters will appreciate.
All in all, it’s a perfect candidate for the centerpiece of your home gym. Not to mention that the racks are also available in a variety of colors.
Best Elite Power Cages Over $1500+
The thing is, there are better racks, like Rogue RM-6, but I’ve limited the list to racks below $2000 for a home gym. But if cash is no problem, you can’t ever go wrong with Rogue RM-6.
1. Rogue RML-690 Monster Lite
Our Verdict: Best Premium Power Cage
The RML-690 Monster Lite is another solid power cage from Rogue which is a hybrid version of the R-6 power rack.
Due to its massive weight (530 lbs), it doesn’t necessarily have to be bolted down to the flow. Although it might sway a bit, it is unlikely to fall. For more assurance, add two cross members to the back, and it won’t budge.
Its extreme stability makes it fit for use on any floor and even outdoors.
One thing I like about this rack is, despite its seemingly beastly size, is that only one person can assemble it in a few hours. However, I’d still advise you find a partner, to make things faster and less stressful.
That aside, this power cage is well built. The uprights are made with 3x3” 11 gauge steel. Even the strongest powerlifters in the world use racks made from this kind of steel.
Its Westside hole spacing makes adjustment almost perfect for bench pressing. It allows you to set the J-Cups and pin-pipe safeties to the height that fits you. It has a 1” within the bench and clean pull zone, and 2” above and below.
However, I noticed a minor, yet, crucial issue in squat cages with Westside spacing. The spacing isn’t numbered, and makes bar adjustment a pain in the ass sometimes.
That aside, this power cage works with lifters of any height or size. Unless you are Andre the Giant or Brian Shaw.
What’s more important is if there is enough room in your garage or basement for this rack. It stands at 90” tall with a footprint of 76”x49” which makes it even smaller than the R-6.
Plus, you get add-ons like plate storage, band pegs, a fat/skinny pull up bar, and a single pull up bar just above the entrance into the cage. If you like, you can purchase spotter arms and dip attachments from Rogue for a wider range of exercises you can perform with the power cage.
In brief, if you have the cash to spend on the RML-690 Monster Power Rack, you can’t go wrong with your purchase.
2. EliteFTS™ R3 Power Rack
Our Verdict: Most Attachments Included
Best Half Rack for Home Gym
1. Rogue HR-2 Half Rack
Our Verdict: Best Half Rack
A half rack is your best option if you have to make efficient use of limited space in your garage or anywhere.
The HR-2 has a sturdy and space efficient design you won’t find in other half racks. It is made with 3” x 3” 11 gauge steel with a compact frame of 90” x 48” x 49” and a back upright that’s 72” tall.
Like most half racks, lifting takes place outside the rack. But you’ll have to buy spotter arms for an extra $162 to catch the bar when you reach your limit.
Unlike other half racks, you have the option of training inside a rack like with the HR-2.
In my opinion, instead of training inside the rack, It’s more useful as weight storage by installing plate storage pegs. Besides, it’s too small for me, but you can add pin pipe safety rails if you prefer using it.
One other reason to install weight storage is that it makes the rack even more stable (not that it isn’t already). For versatility of exercises, you can also install band pegs and the Matador dip attachment.
Its Westside hole spacing also makes adjusting the barbell to a preferred height easy. But this cancels out the option of numbering the holes.
The only drawback to this rack is its price, but I’d go for it knowing I won’t ever need to get another rack.
Why You Should Consider Installing A Power Rack In Your Home Gym
A power rack can prevent a devastating turn of events in the gym if you work out alone. It has a safety mechanism (pipe or strap) on the sides that catch the barbell if you dump it at failure, so much different from how you do your sit up bench exercises.
Once you’ve adjusted the safety bars to your height, you can lift till you reach limit without the fear of being pinned under the bar.
By the way, since we're talking about safety here, the best ez curl bar protects your wrists from excessive pressure. You might want to check one out.
#3 Weight Plate Storage
Many power racks have weight storage pegs or can be bought as an attachment from the company. This makes your home gym tidy and safe. Plus, it makes the power rack sway less while doing pull-ups.
#4 Easier Free Weight Lifting
Lifting weights off the floor for squats is exhausting and ineffective. With a power rack, you only have to load the best barbell you have with as much weight at a comfortable height and start your set, the same way you do with an ez curl bar routine for your biceps.
Plus with squat racks, you can lift heavier, knowing that the safety rails will catch the bar even if you fail.
Choosing The Right Power Cage For You
#1 Room Space
This is a total no brainer. You need to consider the dimension of your gym to determine if it will fit into it before buying a power rack.
Logically, it should give a space of at least 10 inches from your ceiling. This makes enough room for your head during pull-ups.
The width of should be no less than 9 ft to accommodate the length of a standard barbell and loading and unloading plates. Keep in mind that the size continues to grow as you install attachments, like dip stands and weight pegs.
Also, the length should be enough to accommodate a bench.
If there isn’t enough space in your gym for a full power cage, a half rack is a better option.
#2 Cost of Additional Attachments
The price you pay for a power rack is most times just for the frame. Sometimes, it also includes basic attachments like j-hooks, pull up bars, safety rails, and weight storage pegs.
To be on the safer side, you have to consider such expenses in your budget, especially if you want attachments like spotter arms, dip station and so on.
In the end, it will save you the headache of discovering you have to pay for these items separately.
A power rack is going to be abused with a lot of heavy weights whether in a home gym or commercial gym. It only makes sense that it is equally constructed with quality steel that withstand regular use.
11 gauge steel is the ideal material for a power rack, but 12 gauge will also work fine if that’s out of your budget.
#4 Weight Capacity
Get a power rack with a weight capacity that is way more than you can lift. You’ll be using the rack for almost a lifetime, and you can only get better.
Most racks from top brands like Rogue and EliteFTS can support up to 1000 lbs. If you are going to get cheaper racks, be sure it can support your weight capacity.
Also, sturdy construction means your rack won’t wobble under heavy weight or swinging movements, like pull-ups and kipping.
A power cage is an enormous piece of equipment and will be probably be shipped to your doorstep by a freight truck. Regardless of the size, you need to know how it will be shipped to be fully prepared.
- Are the parts fully welded?
- Can it fit through your doorway?
- How much does shipping cost, or is it free?
#6 Ease of Assembly
In most cases, you don’t need the help of a professional to assemble a power rack as long you follow its manual and have the right tools. If you doubt your skills, check the manual of the rack before purchasing it to be sure of what to expect.
#7 Hole Spacing
Ideally, a 2” hole spacing is good enough for adjusting the barbell and safety rails to your height. But for more personalized bench pressing, some racks combine 1” (Westside hole spacing) and 2” spacing.
The Westside spacing allows for precise J-hook and safety bar adjustment. However, racks with this feature are usually more expensive.
Never settle for a rack with more than 3” spacing no matter the cost.
#8 Pull Up Bar
Except for squat stands, most power racks have at least one pull up bar at the top of the frame. You can also buy one of the best power towers separately which you can also use to work your core.
Rogue Fitness is well known for this feature and offers a fat and skinny pull up bar on most of their popular power racks. Some have an upgrade of a multi-grip crossmember or a pull-up curl bar.
All things considered, I’ll recommend the Rogue RML-690 power rack if you have space and cash for it. Keep in mind that this will be a once in a lifetime purchase, if it will allow you look past the price.
Rogue RML-690 has an infinite weight capacity, and also necessary attachments for more range of exercises or even better when you add more attachments. Plus, the power rack doesn’t need to be bolted to the floor unless you want to.
On the flip side, if you have a very limited budget and you don’t lift the heaviest weight, Fitness Reality 810XLT power rack is a great budget option.
Though it looks a bit flimsy, it has a weight capacity of 800 lbs and will offer you the basic features you need – safety, pull up bar and a wide base.
And if you’re tight on space, you can’t go wrong with the Rogue R-2 Half Rack for your powerlifting needs.
Last Updated on July 20, 2020