Power racks are a centerpiece of any great home gym. They’re a big, versatile, valuable piece of kit that allows you to squat at home. They’re also a big investment, so today we’re talking you through everything you need to know to get the best power rack for the money.
Whether it’s heavy lifting or space-saving that you’re prioritizing, we’ll be rounding up the pros, cons, and most important information for five of the most popular power racks on the market.
Let’s get straight into it…
The Best Power Rack For The Money. A Review
Alpha3000 Power Rack
The design of this product immediately appeals. It’s a simple, no-nonsense power cage with a variety of pull-up bars, and great J-hooks to hold your barbell.
On top of this, it also has a great design for stability that really maxes out the base of support the product offers. This is a great balance between home-gym space-saving and the stability you need for heavier squats thanks to its heavy-duty steel construction.
It looks good while sticking to the fundamentals, and it offers great value for money.
This product offers a lot of the things we’re looking for with a good power rack. Is it the best power rack for the money? Possibly.
We’d like to see a better option for a standard, straight pull-up bar, but that’s a small concern. You already have neutral-grip handles for chin-ups, and – most importantly – stability and quality.
Home Gym Squat Rack
This is a squat rack, not a cage, unlike some of the other products so far. It’s got an ‘open’ design with less actual metal going on, but great design for stability and strength.
The open rack offers a combination of adjustable safety pins and a non-adjustable, low safety arm. This provides 2 layers of security during a squat but may be a problem if you had planned on deadlifting inside the rack.
There are also a few attachments and a rear plate rack which offers additional stability, as well as a cool place to keep your weights. It even has a pulley system as standard for cable exercises like lat pulldowns and cable rows.
This is another great product. It’s got a variety of features that make for a versatile and well-rounded squat rack at home. The construction and stability are awesome and square up with the previous product for the fundamentals.
If you’re short on space, it’s a good choice, but you won’t be able to deadlift in the rack. This is a problem if you’re really tight on space and looking to get everything done in your rack, powerlifter style.
If you’ve got the space and want versatility and good plate-storage, it’s a nice piece and we definitely recommend it.
Fitness Reality 810XLT
Super Max Power Cage
This product doesn’t come with a number of features as-standard but does have options for the lat-pulldown cable system. Otherwise, it’s a standard power cage with a neutral-grip chin-up bar built-in.
The product focuses on simplicity, in this sense, with good stability and build quality. It’s a decent unit that tries to focus on the basics. However, there are some clear oversights to this like the choice of underwhelming, poor-performing barbell holders.
These are the same as mentioned above and contribute to both bar degradation and instability. This is one small change that would make this a great choice for the core functions of a squat rack: holding weight.
This is a product that focuses on the basics but overlooks the importance of the part of the product that holds the bar. It’s a weak link in an otherwise strong chain of features, and it’s why we wouldn’t say it competes toe-to-toe with the Marcy squat rack or the GRIND power cage.
It’s a good product and – if you want to replace the holders with J-hooks – it could be pretty great. However, aftermarket parts are a serious consideration when you’re looking at the best power cage for the money.
This product continues some of the themes from the previous entry: it’s a versatile product with 2 cable attachments, 4 bar supports, a pull-up bar, and weight pegs.
There is a wealth of attachments with this product that opens up the possibility of a wealth of exercises. This is great for smaller home gyms where you need the space, or if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck in a single product or spend.
One of the features we really dislike is the design of the barbell holders. They’re made of uncovered metal with a shallow ‘lip’ and too much space. The result is metal-on-metal friction, churning the knurling (grip) of your barbell over time – and reducing stability compared to a J-hook style holder.
The product is good – it catches up on a lot of the problems associated with less-expensive racks: welding, stability, and overall design. It’s let down by the bar holders that come as stock, as well as some questionable bolts.
Overall, it’s a quality economy choice and offers freedom from some common problems, but at a lower price than usual.
This is a versatile rack with a bunch of add-ons that range from a cable machine to dip handles.
With everything from plate pegs to pull up bars to a cable machine, the Vanswe squat rack and power cage is a bit of an all-rounder. It offers decent gauge steel construction and a balance between size and value.
On the other hand, it does lack the stability and build quality you’d see at the higher end. A rack is a long-term investment so it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll be lifting off a good one for a decade. A rack that wobbles under 400lbs like this may not be for anyone looking to get powerlifter-level strong!
Honestly, this product represents some of the best and worst of a value squat rack. It’s wobbly from side to side, and the machining quality lacks the care and precision of a better product.
However, it is also available at a fraction of the price of a product with those factors. The result is a product that will hold a bar and is suitable for someone who isn’t likely to be squatting over 400lbs into the future.
It serves the key functions of a squat rack with some blemishes to quality and quality assurance, and is pretty much ‘you get what you pay for’
Our Top Pick, And Why!
The hard part about top picks is that it depends on what you want from the product.
If you’re looking for a power cage that’s stronger than you’ll ever be, we’re going with the GRIND power cage. It’s strongest on the fundamentals with real attention to detail like top quality, cushioned J-hooks and it’s not going to get wobbly before 500lbs+, and that’s a nice squat!
On the other hand, if you’re looking for versatility and space-economy, the Marcy Squat Rack is for you. It’s not a power cage and it does limit the use of deadlifts, but if you want to squat, row, and store your plates, it’s got you covered in a way that builds stability through storage.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Difference Between A Power Rack And A Squat Rack?
A power rack or cage is a full-frame that encompasses you and the bar. It’s the squatting equivalent of a 4-poster bed, being the absolute gold standard. It allows you to do all your heavy barbell work: squats, deadlifts, bench press, rack pulls, whatever.
On the other hand, a squat rack is designed purely for squatting. Featuring low safeties (as in the Marcy squat rack on our list), it may not be appropriate for deadlifting. There’s a spectrum between power cage and squat rack since features overlap and the market has gotten really interesting in combining the two.
Power cages tend to be the more ‘hardcore’ choice, and tend to be more expensive and take up more space. On the other hand, squat racks have more variety on the market but tend to be inconsistent with quality.
It really doesn’t matter too much which you go with – what matters is how the individual product suits your needs. Squat racks are great for space and simplicity, while cages come with awesome versatility for the heavy lifter.
What Are The Benefits Of Owning A Power Rack
If you own a power rack, barbell, and plates, you can get strong at home. It’s a very small amount of equipment with a huge bang for your buck. If you have these simple things you can get immensely strong and build tons of muscle mass at home.
Power racks open up a ton of possibilities for the most important and effective strength exercises from pull-ups to squats. Plus, they tend to be tough as nails and will be a great investment for years, if not decades.
Then there’s independence – you don’t need to listen to gym opening hours or rules. There’s convenience – working out without travel, and without gym fees. Perhaps most importantly, you get to choose the music.
If you’ve got the space, it’s a perfect choice for a home gym.
What Are 3 Qualities To Look For When Choosing A Power Rack?
1. Stability is King
You’re putting your life in the hands of this product. Stability is all about peace of mind and knowing that – when you’re squatting heavy – you’re not going to get hurt.
Prioritize stability and build-quality above everything. It’s the thing that matters most and everything else is a bonus.
2. Good J-hooks
The barbell holders are important for the experience of stability, but also for the effects on your barbell. A bad set of barbell holders will churn the knurling on your barbell, damaging a piece of kit you paid money for.
Bad holders also produce rolling or have a shallow lip that risks the barbell sliding around. Overall, they’re one of the smallest bust most important features. Good J-hooks are worth far more than you think.
The attachments and accessories on a squat rack/power cage are secondary but offer some value. Things like more choice in pull-up bars, additional cable systems, and weight pegs are all good bonuses.
They should be regarded as extras, though – they could be the deciding factor, but only if it’s doing the fundamentals well!
Daniel has developed a passion in the health and fitness after serving in the Military for over 5 years. He continues to share his knowledge and adding value to those who are serious about their fitness goals. His past failures and experience in working out at home has equipped him to helping others achieve results at their own convenience!