Do you feel embarrassed going into a gym and prefer working out at home?
When it comes to building a home gym, most people think adding in a power rack can be one of two things:
First, it’s the best investment you can make.
Second, they are just for powerlifters.
Don’t be fooled into thinking power racks are just for the powerlifters, it’s one piece of equipment that’s so versatile that you’ll find yourself using it for various training routines. (or all of them)
Best Power Racks for the Average Joe/Jane/Beginner/Parent You!
- Valor Fitness BD-7 Power Rack (Budget/Beginner & Beyond)
- Titan Power Rack: T-3 (For The Serious/Budget)
- Fitness Reality 810XLT Power Cage (Budget/Beginner)
- TDS Squat Cage for 6′ Ceiling (Short Power Rack)
- Rep Power Rack with Dual PullUp Bars (Add Dip Attachment/Budget)
These are in no particular order, although I fancy the Titan.
**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. At no cost to you , of course 🙂
But don’t overwhelm yourself:
Not all power racks are built the same.
Generally, as a concern, most people worry about how large it is, the cost, will it fit the ceiling height of your home or how sturdy will it be?
Here’s the deal when looking for the best budget power rack:
You’ll need to bolt it down if you want absolutely no shaking or possible tipping.
However, we’ve read the reviews, and we evaluated the best power racks that provide the best bang for your buck.
If you want something that’s easy to assemble, built to be strong, then you definitely have a few good options out there.
Or you can even build your own:
— Jerred Moon (@Eo3FIT) July 26, 2016
It took me a while to choose a power rack that was perfect for me, that is:
- It fit where I needed it to in the limited room I had to work with.
- Needed to provide me with an exact workout at home as I would have at the gym. (I just didn’t want to end any workout with a “I should’ve gone to the gym”.
- Sturdy, durable, and was going to last.
If any of the above weren’t a go with the power rack I was looking at, then it would have negated why I wanted a power rack at home, anyways.
Since it took me so long to choose which power rack was right for me, I ended up doing a lot of research and shopping. I’m hoping that I’m able to pass on all that knowledge here…
What Is A Power Rack? (Or Called A Power Cage)
The First Thing I learned:
There are a lot of options to choose from for building a fully fleshed out home or garage gym. (You literally have to figure out, exactly, what your goals/focus are.)
For me, I’m geared more towards bodyweight training.
So, to start, I went with a stand alone pull-up bar, gymnastics rings and a sandbag.
BUT if I had to do it over again, I would’ve gone with a full power rack instead of that pull-up bar. (I wanted to incorporate deadlifts and squats into my training as well.)
So, why spend your money on a power rack over something more specific?
I just gave a perfect example above!
Having a power rack is basically your own personal, non-human spotter.
Unlike its close cousin, the Smith Machine, your standard power rack doesn’t have any movement restrictions, allowing you to adjust as needed while still having the bar catch that help support you while lifting.
However, while this rack made for lifters, it actually can be used for multiple training exercises.
(Granted, when/if they come with specific attachments. For example, dip attachments or even gymnastics rings.)
What to Consider Before Buying Your Cage?
Sure, I was a little bit picky (at first) when I was deciding which rack to buy but I found you get what you pay for.
Owning your own power rack is vastly different than using one at the gym.
Playing devil’s advocate for not getting one:
- You don’t need to maintain the one at the gym and…
- You don’t need to make sure it’s safe to use.
Then why even bother?
Because you’re strapped for time, don’t want to drive to a gym, don’t want to pay for a gym membership, you simply feel secure at home and you get to kick it and work out with the kids. (no guilt there).
It’s becoming a more ideal situation to do your “gyming at home.”
Here’s what you need to consider before buying:
- Do You Have the Space?
Even if you’re still undecided on which power rack you want, you need to check to make sure you have space for it.
Like I mentioned above, not many people bother to measure the height of their ceiling.
A sign of a great power rack seller is they’ll have the exact measurements of their racks easily available.
With that information, you simply need to compare the two heights. (important)
If the height of the pullup bar sits just below the ceiling, you might just crack your head!
Tip: You can attach gymnastics rings to do pullups if this happens.
Also, consider your surroundings, you don’t want a tight squeeze with other equipment or worry about dinging other stuff when maneuvering heavy weights or bars.
2. Buying This Online?
A power rack is a HUGE and heavy piece of equipment.
It might be costly to ship.
But from what I’ve seen, shipping is free from Amazon… Also, I just went to Rogue Fitness and their charge was based on your zip code.
Don’t be afraid to go with your second choice rack if the shipping ends up almost as pricey as the rack itself.
Did you want this shipped assembled?
That’ll cost you even more. (my opinion, build it yourself!)
If you do decide to assemble it, do you have all the tools or does it come with it?
Have a basic 32 piece tool set… metric and standard sockets, ratchet (3/8 drive), screwdrivers (phillips/flat head) etc.
3. What Size Do I Need For Me?
Power racks aren’t a one size fits all.
The correct size of a power rack will be different for a 6 foot man than for a 5’5” woman.
When choosing a size, make sure the squat cage is large enough for your dimensions, but don’t be persuaded by the fact that the short and more narrow the rack is, the cheaper it will be.
This is one area where price shouldn’t affect your choice, but you don’t want to overpay for a size of cage you don’t need either.
4. How Do You Make Adjustments?
Almost all power racks these days have the ability to make adjustments depending on the exercise you are doing, except for the very cheap ones.
The cool thing about the adjustable models is it’s easy to do.
No one wants to stop, think (who wants to think?!) and figure out how to make a switch to a new exercise while training.
Important To Note:
When choosing a rack, make sure there are frequent hole settings for the safety pins. Ideally, spaced about an inch apart.
You don’t want to be at the end of a rep and have to lift that bar an extra inch higher to set it down.
If you can’t find a rack within your set specs, then the best you can do is get some 1″ plywood or thick rubber mats and set it under your bench for that extra height you need. Safety First!
Adjustments made to power racks should be intuitive and simple to do.
5. Is a Stabilizer Included?
Some power racks need to be anchored to the floor, while others don’t: so long as they have a stabilizer bar included.
Typically, for a home gym (inside the home), you want the stabilizer bar so you don’t have to bolt your rack down.
However, if you choose a model without a stabilizer bar and don’t bolt it down, you are playing a dangerous game and increasing your risk of injury.
Benefits of Having Your Own Rack
From those crazy gym machines that most people can’t figure out. Wasting time fiddling around when you need to get home to your kids!
Why not be home training with them.
Safer Weight Lifting:
A power rack’s primary purpose isn’t just to help you do different exercises, but allows you to do them safely.
Designed with safety pins on each side that can be adjusted to your squatting/lifting needs.
This means that if something doesn’t go as planned or you take on too much weight, you can just let go of the bar, and the rack will catch it.
Check out this video below for squat safety using a power rack:
A well-rounded workout encompasses just a few bodyweight compound exercises, but with a little creativity, you can also do bench presses, dips, australian rows, pull-ups, and chin-ups.
Want To Know The Best Part:
The real benefit of owning this, it’s yours and yours alone.
You can make your own adjustments and they will be exactly the same when you come back to it, you don’t need to worry about it being covered in the sweat of half a dozen other people, and because only you are using it, it is equipment that can last a lifetime.
In No Particular Order: 5 Best Power Racks
Lets help you decide by adding some modifiers to distinguish between these racks.
- Serious > Intermediate > Daily Driver > Beginner
- Budget > You get what you pay for
Let’s Dive In:
#1 – Valor Fitness BD-7 Power Rack
Simple and solid: Valor Fitness
The BD-7 Power Rack (With Lat Pull Attachment) offers the stability and sturdiness of high quality professional lifter power racks with a great affordable price.
With a solid steel 2” x 2” frame and stability bar, you get an all-around solid power rack, but what sets this rack above all the others is it includes a lat pull and lower row attachment built in for no extra price. (just mentioning, might want to invest in better wiring or chains for this because reviewers stated they are weak.)
I read that this rack does sway a bit when doing pullups and use an olympic barbell for all lifting because a standard doesn’t sit right.
Hard to assemble?
Unfortunately, while reviewers like Brett S. and Joel (not sure who they are, found this info on Amazon) loved the added utility that comes with the lat pull attachment, both found that the Valor was a little confusing to put together, yet others found it simple.
Invest in some tools:
You’re going to need a basic socket set and a solid two hours to put this rack together with the diagram instructions, but what’s two hours of assembly compared to a lifetime of use?
#2 – Titan Power Rack: T-3 (For The Serious With a Budget)
One thing you’ll notice:
This brand seems to be patterned after Rogue Fitness.
But that doesn’t change anything because when you first touch this Titan T-3 power rack, every piece is as heavy as it is solid!
This is built for the serious, not competition, lifter but leaves plenty of room for growth when it comes to the not-so-serious. (like me, maybe like you)
This stands 6.5 feet high, not the standard seven foot. Built using 2” x 3” mad heavy duty steel tubes, but it doesn’t come with a stabilizer bar.
This is the type of power rack that does need to be anchored to the floor to avoid wobble. (deal breaker?)
While that may not make it suitable for some home gyms (possibly garage gyms are most suited), this is a serious piece of equipment that is meant to withstand serious weight.
With its West Side-style hold pattern, it allows you to move the bar up in 1” increments when using a bench.
I read that there aren’t any markings where the j-hooks are, so you might want to use color tape or color paint sticks to make it easier for the different lifts you (or your family members) will be doing.
As for how easy it is to put together, reviewer Max states, “…I was really surprised by the size of the bolts and nuts. Putting it together wasn’t that hard. As everyone else said, about an hour alone.”
Take that with a grain of salt and how mechanically inclined you are.
I think this is a great alternative the Rogue R-3, which is mad expensive. (great but expensive)
Need help seeing how the Titan T-3 is assembled?
#3 – Fitness Reality 810XLT Power Cage (Budget/Beginner)
For its price, this is truly the personification of providing the most “bang for your buck.”
Featuring a 2” x 2” steel frame with back stabilizing bar, the 810XLT is not only sturdy, but spacious as well.
If there was one downside, it would be the height. With the pull-up bar, it’s 84” in height.
Meaning it may not fit some ceiling spaces, especially basements.
Pro Tip: Do this below at your own risk!
[Saw this on Reddit here.]
The pull-up bar can also be mounted upside down to save vertical space while still having the same functionality.
Reviewers of this power rack are pretty over the moon about it, not because it’s a great rack, but because it has one of the best prices for a beginner rack.
I went trolling around and searched for the best power rack Reddit and saw those guys recommend this also but for beginners. (they also are loving the PowerLine PPR200X Power Rack)
You also have the choice of having it included with the bench, and even then, the price still remains lower than that of the Valor or the Titan.
#4 – TDS Squat Cage
Short Power Rack:
Sometimes you just want a simple, affordable power rack, and this is it.
It does everything you need a power rack to do without all the little attachments that tend to ramp up the price.
The real benefit of the TDS Squat Cage, in particular, is it’s size.
At 6’ tall, it’s perfect for areas short on ceiling space, typically the not so uncommon 7’ ceilings of many basement gyms.
If you are concerned about being too big (tall) for such a short rack, there are adjustable safeties, so you can still do squats and many other exercises safely without being constrained by the rack.
I would say, it might be hard to do weighted pullups or pullups in general being so low.
#5 – Rep Power Rack with Dual Pullup Bars
When it comes to the Rep Power Rack, the keyword is flexibility.
Typically when choosing a power rack, flexibility is not something you want.
It’s not something you want in the frame at least.
However, with a 700-pound capacity, this frame is anything but flexible.
What is flexible is the accessories that it comes with.
You can essentially get this power rack plain or with any mix of accessories under the sun including dip rack, flat bench, or adjustable bench.
Also has numbered uprights.
Combined with the built in chin and pull-up bars, this makes for one of your most flexible options for your home gym.
The best part is that you can just get it plain if you are looking to keep things both simple and super affordable. Boom.
Below is long review for the rack BUT great if you really want to SEE and get a feel for what it looks like and comes with.
Long 16 minute review for the Rep Rack Version 2:
Making the Right Decision – Just Pick One!
When it comes to power racks, it can be pretty hard to choose the right one.
They all do the same thing and look so similar.
As with any product:
It’s about choosing which one suits your individual needs.
All of the above are actually pretty great options, but one may be better for you based on factors like size, weight, price, and even design if you are going for an aesthetically-pleasing home gym.
Ultimately, just pick one, buy it and get moving!
My personal choice was the Titan – I’m 5’9″, female, a buck 40 and wanted the pull up bar and safety for doing deadlifts.
BUT it’s great if I progress to do more.