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A power rack is one of the most essential pieces of strength training equipment for anyone looking to increase strength or get into bodybuilding, weightlifting, powerlifting or Olympic lifting. However, most power racks, even those that are designed for home use, are quite expensive. If you are trying to outfit your home gym on a budget, it can be prohibitively expensive to buy this foundational piece of exercise equipment, especially when you factor in the additional cost of buying the necessary weightlifting accessories such as weight plates and a weight bench. Adjustable Dumbbell Set
The good news is that with the increase in the popularity of at home workout routines, there’s been a surge in the number of manufacturers producing high-quality budget power racks and squat racks at a much more affordable price point. Although even the best budget power racks usually lack some of the specs and special features of more expensive premium products, there are quite a few decent options for relatively inexpensive power racks that are suitable for users of most fitness levels.
In this article, we share our picks for the best budget power racks as well as a comprehensive buying guide with information about how to buy a budget-friendly power rack, factors to consider and pros and cons power racks vs. squat racks.
If you have low ceilings in your home gym, basement gym or garage gym, finding any power rack that fits, let alone a budget-friendly one, can be extremely difficult. The Rep Fitness PR-1050 Short Home Gym Power Rack’s short height makes it an especially great option for those with a home gym setup with low ceilings and/or limited floor space. This compact squat rack stands just six feet tall, four feet wide and four feet deep, making it a workable option for garage gyms and home gyms that necessitate equipment with a small footprint.
However, what it may lack in size (and price!) does not carry over into the quality of the machine. Like all Rep Fitness exercise equipment, the PR-1050 Short Home Gym Power Rack is a sturdy, high-quality piece of strength training equipment suitable for beginners and more experienced athletes alike.
It features steel uprights that, like most home power racks, measure two inches by two inches, and the unit supports a maximum rackable capacity of 700 pounds. It should be noted that the steel frame is constructed with 14 gauge steel, so it is thinner than high-end power cages. However, there are weight plate storage pegs on the back of the rack, which increase the stability of the unit as well as the utility and will save you from having to purchase other weight plate storage racks.
The REP Fitness 1050 Short Power Rack features dual pull-up bars of varying thicknesses (1.25 inches and two inches), allowing you to perform pull-ups simultaneously with your workout partner at your home gym or giving you more variety in the grip to challenge your muscles.
The holes along the uprights are spaced two inches apart, and every fifth hole is numbered using laser engraving for quick and accurate height adjustments of your J cups and the included chrome-coated safeties. One nice feature of the safeties is that they extend out beyond the cage to hold an extra barbell. To protect your barbell and the finish on the power cage from scratches, rust and dings, the included J-cups are lined with plastic.
Finally, one of the best features of this affordable REP Fitness power cage is that it is compatible with tons of different add-ons, such as dip bars, landmine attachments, weight horns, cannonball grips and pin safeties. Note that this unit cannot be bolted down and you cannot add band pegs to it.
The Sunny Health & Fitness Power Zone Squat Rack is a dual upright squat rack rather than a full power cage, but unlike most budget squat racks, it features six band pegs to take your exercises to the next level. The steel frame is powder coated for durability and has 18 holes along the uprights for adjustability for a multitude of exercises and users of different heights.
The Sunny Health & Fitness squat rack functions as a fully loaded power tower with a pull-up bar that features eight height settings, and it comes with durable J-hooks, spotter arms and two Olympic weight plate storage pegs. You can purchase the Sunny weight bench to go with the unit as well as Sunny bumper plates at an affordable price to build out the system for your home gym.
Featuring a small footprint measuring 53 inches from side to side and just 38 inches from front to back, this is one of the best compact squat racks for users with small spaces. The weight capacity is 805 pounds, which is significantly higher than most cheap squat racks at a similar price point.
The Synergee V1 Plus Squat Rack is a sturdy, yet affordable, home squat rack. Note that it is a squat rack rather than a power rack, so it features just two uprights instead of the four uprights of a power cage. The footprint is relatively compact, measuring 40 inches wide (side to side) by 48 inches deep (front to back), making it one of the best budget-friendly compact squat racks for those with limited floor space in your home gym. With that said, it stands 90 inches high, so if you have low ceilings, there’s a good chance your space won’t be able to accommodate this rack. However, the height does permit full pull-ups for even taller users, which is a benefit over the shorter squat racks and power cages.
The sturdy steel frame of the Synergee Squat Rack V1 Plus is welded with gussets to add extra-reinforced stability and it can be bolted into the floor to further increase stability and safety. The frame is constructed from 12-gauge steel and is capable of supporting a maximum weight capacity of 750 pounds, which should be adequate for most beginners and intermediate athletes, but is likely not sufficient for bodybuilders, powerlifters or those looking to do heavy max-effort weightlifting workouts.
Another safety feature of the Synergee Squat Rack V1 Plus is that all open frame ends are capped to make sure there are no sharp or open edges to get caught on. A real selling point is that this squat rack also comes with a pulley system, essentially allowing you to have the versatility of a functional trainer or cable machine without needing to have space for a wall mounted system. In most cases, pulley systems have to be purchased as a separate attachment and mounted onto your existing power rack unless you are going to buy a designated functional trainer, so this dual package is an even better value. The included pulley system even has a tricep rope and it comes with a 60-inch cable, four carabiners, a loading pin, extender strap and the mounting strap. You can purchase a lat pulldown attachment and other handles separately to increase the range of exercises you can perform. The pulley system utilizes a one-to-one ratio.
The squat rack also comes with numerous accessories, including J-cups, safety arms, a barbell holder, a pull-up bar, built-in weight plate or bumper plate storage, landmine attachment and step-up plate.
The Force USA MyRack is a customizable modular power rack that provides additional features not found on most standard power racks, such as a monolift, lat pulldown seat with a knee holder and globe grip chin-up bar to work different muscles and improve grip strength.
The versatility of the Force USA MyRack affords a ton of different training options with over 20 attachments. There is also an option to buy a pulley system to transform the unit into a functional trainer. Another benefit is that you can either use the unit as a freestanding power cage or you can bolt it down for added stability.
The Force USA MyRack features heavy-duty 12-gauge steel uprights made using automated laser cutting and robotic welding technology to optimize consistency, reliability, durability and stability. It has a massive loadable weight capacity of 2,000 pounds, making it the best budget power cage for serious weightlifters. Plus, the holes on the uprights feature Westside Spacing with 54 different numbered adjustment points to precisely position your barbell and safeties no matter what size you are.
As a modular unit, you can outfit your Force USA MyRack with any number of possible attachments, such as a chin-up bar or various pull-up bars, dip handles, a landmine attachment, a lat-pulldown attachment, a monolift attachment and more, giving you control over how to outfit your home gym based on your workouts and training style. It doesn’t come with the attachments, but if you’re on a budget, it’s helpful that you can pick and choose exactly which add-ons you get without wasting money on attachments you won’t use. Another great benefit is that the MyRack is backed by a limited lifetime warranty for the frame.
The Fringe Sport Squat Rack with Pull-Up Bar is designed for garage gyms with low ceilings, so the uprights are shorter. The pull-up bar can be adjusted from a maximum height of just over 83 inches down to 70 inches. The uprights are a little wider than most cheap squat racks, measuring two inches by three inches, and have an attractive black powder coat finish, though the unit only has a maximum weight capacity of 450 pounds. Therefore, it is an entry-level squat rack best suited for beginners.
The compact squat rack features Westside spacing, but there are also low holes in case you want to add a landmine attachment. For safety, the Fringe Sport Squat Rack uses commercial-grade J-cups and there are weight pegs for storage. You can purchase compatible add-ons, such as dip bars and spotter arms.
For those with limited floor space, having a foldable wall-mounted power rack is a space-saving way to get the functionality of a power rack in a super compact footprint. Our top pick for a folding power rack is the Titan T-3 Series Folding Power Rack, which comes in a Short (82-inch) and a Tall (91-inch) model, as well as two different depths (21 or 41 inches) that extend from the wall to fit your home gym needs.
Besides having an ingenious space-spacing design, the Titan Fitness T-3 Series Power Racks feature a durable frame made from heavy-duty two by three-inch 11-gauge square steel uprights. There is Westside hole spacing through the bench and clean pull zone to help you get a precise positioning of the bar and the included reinforced J-cups for your lifts. Outside of the bench and clean pull zone, there is two-inch spacing along the rest of the uprights.
The frame features an attractive powder-coated black finish, a single pull-up bar and easy assembly via a bolt-together design. When not in use, you can fold the rack using the hinge and pin system into the closed position wherein the rack only extends five inches out from the wall, truly making it an effective space saving design. Perhaps best of all, there is an impressive 1,100-pound weight capacity for the unit, making it one of the best budget power racks for advanced athletes, whether or not you specifically are looking for a compact power rack.
When you are working with a really small budget but still want to be able to perform some basic lifts at home, the Weider Platinum Squat Rack is one of the best affordable squat stands for beginners. This budget model can only support a maximum of 310 pounds, so it is an entry-level unit. As a squat stand, it does not include a knurled chin-up bar or pull-up bar. However, it does include weight plate pegs for storage and integrated spotter arms for safety.
The Weider Platinum Squat Rack is compatible with standard Olympic barbells and most weight benches and it comes with a trial of the iFIT membership, which gives you access to thousands of on-demand workouts led by personal trainers to help you master proper lifting form and technique and have some structure and guidance to your training routine. Like most cheap squat racks, the warranty on this unit is quite short, at only 90 days.
The CAP Barbell FM-905Q Power Rack routinely gets praised as one of the best budget power racks. At under $175, this inexpensive unit is surprisingly well-made, functional and highly reviewed by users. It is extremely lightweight, weighing less than 60 pounds, but it does use 11- and 12-gauge steel for stability And the uprights are double gusseted. The recommended maximum weight capacity of the unit is 500 pounds, so it is certainly intended for recreational home users rather than competitive weightlifters looking for a commercial-grade power cage.
With that said, it’s well made at an affordable price and features a durable powder coat finish. You can even choose the finish color between red, orange, yellow, green, blue, white or gray to customize the look of your home gym space, and all of the hardware is constructed from industrial zinc to improve durability. There is built-in weight storage and built-in bar storage, as well as J-cups to safely hold the barbell.
The Get RX'd Two-Piece Squat Rack is a good option for those with minimal space or who don’t have a designated home or garage gym where you can fit a full power cage. Having a two-piece squat rack gives you the ability to easily move and store your rack. Plus, at only $160, it's one of the best affordable squat stands for beginners who are just getting started with weightlifting but don’t want to yet commit to a more permanent or costly setup.
The height can be adjusted from 37 inches to 67 inches, and there is also a lower, secondary set of arms on the rack for different lifting options as well as barbell storage. The steel uprights are relatively small, with dimensions just shy of two inches in length and width and just two millimeters in thickness. Because the unit is not particularly robust, it can only support a maximum of 500 pounds. Additionally, the hole spacing along the uprights is two inches, so you do not have as much control over the precise positioning of your bar. Ultimately, this is certainly not the best squat rack for serious athletes, but if you are on a tight budget and just getting started, it’s a good entry level option with the added convenience of easy transport and storage.
The HulkFit Pro Series is a great value because the rack setup includes numerous attachments to increase the versatility and number of exercises you can perform. It comes with circle dip bars, a multi-grip pull-up bar, J-hooks and either safety straps or safety bars but not both. HulkFit is transitioning the safeties from bars to straps, so some units will come with safety bars and others will have safety straps depending on which warehouse your unit ships from and the current inventory. The uprights are also slightly larger than most cheap power cages, measuring 2.35 inches by 2.35 inches rather than two inches in each dimension, giving you a little bit more stability, durability and robustness. The unit is constructed from 13-gauge steel, so it is relatively lightweight at 140 pounds. However, the power cage can still support a maximum weight of 800 pounds, making it suitable for most recreational users.
To protect your flooring, there are rubber feet at the bottom of each upright. Although the unit doesn’t come with a pulley system or lat pulldown attachment, it is compatible with lat pulldown or low row attachment and has an anti-slip, angled diamond step on the bottom cross bar to keep your feet in place if you’re doing low rows. HulkFit offers many additional attachments you can purchase that are compatible with the power cage to increase the range of exercises you can perform.
You can find some very highly-rated budget power cages for your home gym on Amazon, so if you are more comfortable purchasing your exercise equipment from Amazon, our pick for the best budget power cage is the Fitness Reality Squat Rack Power Cage. At a very reasonable price point of $300, this power rack has an impressive weight capacity of 800 pounds. It was actually ASTM tested at 2,000 pounds, but should only be used with a maximum load of 800 pounds. The uprights measure two inches by two inches. One of the other features that increases the sturdiness of the unit is the twin support braces. The lower brace doubles as a support for your feet when using a low row cable attachment.
This power cage comes with two 23-inch long chrome dual mounted safety bars and two chrome lock-on safety bars, which are compatible with Olympic bars. To increase the stability and safety of the unit, the included safety arms are actually solid steel rods instead of hollow.
The unit comes with a pull-up bar that can be reversed to lower the height of the power cage if you have low ceilings, or installed properly to permit a wide range of upper body exercises such as wide grip, narrow grip and hammer grip pull-ups, as well as chin-ups. You can also attach a suspension trainer or resistance bands to perform many additional exercises.
One of the best features is that there are 19 holes along the uprights, giving you a lot of control and precision in the placement of your barbell and safeties. Plus, all of the holes have a one-inch diameter, so the unit is compatible with standard J hooks, safety arms, dip bars, landmine attachments etc. This gives you the option to build out your home gym with this unit by purchasing additional attachments.
Power racks are designed to be stable and safe for lifting heavy weights. They consist of four uprights, which is why they are often referred to as power cages, as they create an enclosure. Power racks often include safeties or spotter arms, a pull-up bar, plate storage and barbell hooks to hold the bar. You can typically purchase additional attachments to increase the versatility of the unit, such as a lat pull-down attachment and pulley system for low rows.
Squat racks or squat stands are typically much cheaper and smaller than full power racks, but also less reliable, functional, versatile and stable. There are only two uprights so the unit can sway from side to side or fall over more easily and you cannot expand a squat rack with as many attachments, greatly decreasing the overall versatility in the range of exercises you can perform compared to a power cage setup. Squat racks extend all the way up and usually have a pull-up bar at the top, but squat stands just hold the barbell and usually feature an open design at the top of the uprights. They can be ideal for those with low ceilings who do not intend to do pull-ups.
A power rack is one of the most essential and versatile pieces of strength training equipment for your home gym. If you’re looking to safely lift heavy weights, performing exercises like squats, lunges, deadlifts and bench presses, you will need a high-quality power rack.
Power racks allow you to safely perform a variety of exercises using heavy weights. Examples of exercises you can do using a power rack include front squats, back squats, split squats, deadlifts, inverted rows, overhead presses, bench press, incline bench press and Bulgarian split squats. If your power rack includes a pull-up bar, you can also do pull-ups and you can attach a suspension trainer to perform a variety of exercises, such as suspended rows, suspended push-ups, lunges and core exercises. Power racks that come with a pulley system or that enable you to mount a hole in the system further increase the variety of exercises you can do by opening up all types of cable exercises such as lat pull downs, low rows, cable bicep curls, tricep extensions and face pulls.
There are several important factors to consider when buying a squat rack or power rack for your home, basement or garage gym. Here is what you should look for in a home power rack:
Power racks, or power cages, have four uprights whereas squat racks only have two. The power racks are designed to be more versatile and can often be converted into functional trainers with a mountable pulley system, and can facilitate a wider variety of exercises. They are also more stable and safe, but have a larger footprint.
The quality of the construction is paramount when buying a power rack or squat rack, especially when you’re on a budget. Budget power racks are typically made from a higher-gauge steel (the lower the gauge, the thicker the steel). Commercial-grade power racks are typically constructed from at least 11-gauge steel (and potentially down to seven-gauge, which is the thickest), whereas high-end home squat racks are usually 12-gauge steel. Cheap power racks may use 14-gauge steel, but this thinner material results in an overall construction that is less sturdy and stable. Power racks that are constructed from a higher gauge steel will have a lower maximum weight capacity, and there can be some amount of shaking, shifting or wobbling when you rack and on rack your barbells because the unit will be relatively lightweight.
In addition to the thickness of the steel, the size of the uprights and the welding affects the stability and sturdiness of the power rack. The uprights should be a minimum of two inches by two inches, and commercial-grade power racks for home use with a high maximum load capacity will have uprights that are at least three inches for each dimension.
However, budget-friendly squat racks typically are able to fall within a lower price range by making some sacrifices in the quality of the construction and materials used. For beginners or those who do not plan to lift much more than 400 pounds, cheap for squat racks and power racks that use 12- or 14-gauge steel should be sufficient, but if you are a competitive weightlifter, bodybuilder, powerlifter or CrossFit athlete, try to choose a power rack that uses 11-gauge steel and has a higher loadable weight capacity. Not all manufacturers will list the gauge of the steel that is used to construct a squat rack or power rack. However, you can typically get an indication of the quality of the materials by the overall weight of the unit. If the squat rack weighs less than 120 pounds or so, it is likely constructed from thin steel and will be less sturdy.
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a squat rack or power rack is the weight capacity, especially if you are an experienced athlete looking to do high intensity strength training workouts at home. Usually the biggest differentiating factor between a cheap power rack and a more expensive one is the weight capacity. Although having a high weight capacity is not necessarily a priority for beginners for those who plan to lift lighter weights, stronger athletes or those with a higher level of fitness should look for a maximum weight capacity of at least 800 pounds, if not 1,000 pounds or more. Keep in mind that having a higher loadable weight capacity is not only beneficial in that it permits you to perform heavier lifts safely, but it is also an indication that the power rack is constructed to be more durable and sturdy, so you are getting a higher-quality product.
The spacing of the holes along the uprights of your power rack will affect how precise you can be with the positioning of the barbell for your exercises. Cheaper squat racks typically have holes that are spaced about two inches apart along the length of the uprights. This is generally workable for weightlifters of most fitness levels, but if you want to have more control and precision over your lifts, choosing a power rack with Westside spacing is more practical. With Westside spacing, the distance between the holes varies along the length of the uprights, usually from two inches near the top down to one-inch spacing in the bench press area to help you be able to better fine-tune your positioning for the bench press. Plus, it allows you to get your spotter arms or safety arms in the best position without being in the way of the barbell or too low to be useful. Some of the best power racks utilize one-inch hole spacing the entire length, giving you maximum control.
One of the nicer features to look for is the inclusion of a pull-up bar. A power rack that comes with a pull-up bar will save you from having to purchase a power tower and will increase the versatility of the exercises you can perform.
Even if the power rack you choose doesn’t come with many add ons, the ability to purchase additional accessories or attachments that are compatible with your rack will increase the functionality and versatility of your home exercise equipment.
A compatible pulley system is typically the most beneficial and desirable add-on to a power rack because it can give you many of the functions of a cable exercise machine or functional trainer while saving a lot of money and floor space. Most budget power racks do not come with a pulley system, but many will support one, preventing the need to buy a wall-mounted pulley system. Even if the power rack that you choose doesn’t come with a pulley system, if one can be mounted to it, having the option down the line will really help you build out your home gym in an affordable and space-saving manner while greatly increasing the range of exercises you can perform.
Buying a squat rack or power rack with included plate storage is beneficial because it not only prevents you from needing to buy additional equipment to store your standard weight plates, Olympic weight plates or bumper plates, but it also helps way down the rack to prevent wobbling or shaking during use.
Obviously, your budget will determine which power racks you can or cannot afford, but even when working within the confines of a tight budget, you want to make sure that you choose a power rack that is a good value for the money. There are plenty of budget-friendly squat racks and power racks at lower price ranges, but you need to compare the features, construction, warranty, user reviews and versatility to make sure that a cheap power rack is still a good value versus one that costs slightly more that is still within your budget but offers more functionality, or is simply a better product.
The warranty on any piece of equipment for home use is important. Fitness equipment is expensive, and you want to make sure that your investment is protected. A good warranty is also indicative that the manufacturer stands behind the quality of the product and has built it to be durable for long-term use. Budget power racks often have a significantly shorter warranty than premium products. However, some of the best budget power racks do come with a lifetime warranty for the frame, such as those from REP Fitness and Rogue Fitness, so it can be a wise decision to spend a little bit more with these brands then choosing a squat rack with a one-year warranty.
Some power cages can be bolted into your flooring to anchor it in place. This has the obvious advantage of increasing the stability and safety of the unit. However, the downside is that you do need to drill holes into your home gym flooring. This is not always possible for those who live in a rented apartment or if you are setting up your power rack in your living room instead of a garage gym or a basement gym where you don’t want to destroy the integrity of your flooring. Depending on which scenario applies to you, and whether you are prioritizing increased stability or the need to not have to anchor the unit to the floor, look for a power rack that can be anchored or doesn’t need to be in order to be used safely. It is important to note that if you are going to be doing heavy lifting, bolting the power rack into the floor is recommended, so choosing a unit that can be anchored into the floor and setting up your power rack in the basement or garage where you can properly bolt it down is a good idea.
One of the most important features of a squat rack or power rack for a home gym is the ability to attach safety arms or spot or arms, particularly if you are going to be working out on your own. Some of the best budget power racks will come with safety arms or spotter arms, but even if you need to purchase them additionally, you should make sure that the unit you are interested in enables you to use these key safety features. Safety arms or spotter arms essentially function as a makeshift spotter in case you are unable to complete a lift on your own and you do not have a partner or spotter working with you. Unless you plan to only lift lighter weights and not work on increasing your maximum lifts, or you will always be working out with a partner, this is really a required feature of home power racks that can’t afford to overlook.
There are a variety of accessories and add-ons you can get for most power racks. Examples include dip bars, landmine attachments, pull-up bars, safety pins, chin-up bars and lat pulldown attachment systems. One tip is to choose a power rack or squat rack that has one-inch holes because this will make the unit compatible with most standard attachments. Cheap squat racks often have smaller holes, limiting the number of add-ons you can get or only permitting the included attachments to be used.
To choose the best budget power racks and squat racks for home use, we considered numerous factors about the design, function, usability and function of each product. We looked at user reviews and evaluated each of the top-rated racks from reputable manufacturers based on the quality of construction (size of uprights for the steel frame, steel gauge, welding, etc.), design (squat rack vs. power rack), footprint, maximum weight capacity, safety features, assembly requirements, ability to bolt it down, warranty, price and value, included accessories, versatility, compatible add-ons, weight plate storage, hole spacing and extra features. We read user reviews to discern pros and cons of each rack and tried to choose the best budget squat racks and power racks for users of different fitness levels and needing different attributes for their exercise equipment.
How much you should spend on a power rack largely depends on your fitness level and the type of workouts you plan to do. Beginners who plan to lift lighter weights and don’t need the maximum versatility of exercises you can do should plan to spend at least $200 on a good budget power rack, while advanced athletes looking to do bodybuilding training or more competitive weightlifting will probably need to spend at least $500 to get a power cage that can support the maximum weight capacity you need for your workouts.
Power cages can be used for most strength training exercises, but squat racks are less sturdy and functional, so fewer exercises are usually safe and permissible. For example, you can’t do rows, pull-ups or chin-ups with a squat rack. Depending on the dimensions of the power cage, you may or may not be able to do incline bench presses. You cannot do lat pulldowns or low rows, or other cable exercises, unless you buy a mountable pulley system.
Westside spacing is helpful if you want to maximize the precision with which you can place the barbell and safety hooks, particularly with the bench press. It is not required though, and if you can adjust the height of your weight bench, it shouldn’t be necessary at all. Plus, Westside hole spacing can potentially limit the types of attachments you can use with the rack.
If you plan to do heavy weightlifting alone, buying a power rack for your home gym is definitely a good idea. A power rack will give you more versatility than a squat rack in terms of the range of exercises you can perform.
Buying a squat rack or power rack for your home gym is always an investment, but a necessary one if you want to be able to perform key lifts at home safely. Although power racks tend to cost more money than squat racks, they are more versatile, stable and allow you to build onto them with additional attachments to perform extra exercises. Squat racks have a compact footprint, lower price point and still permit numerous strength training exercises. Choosing the best inexpensive racks involves considering your budget, the features you need, your available space, the quality of the product, your fitness level and the types of workouts you plan to do.
Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.
Adjustable Dumbbell Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, and contributes to several fitness, health, and running websites and publications. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer and USATF level 1 running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, Amber likes running, cycling, cooking, spending time outside and tackling any type of puzzle.This author is writing sponsored content paid for by Pillar4 and not affiliated with Sports Illustrated.