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There are indeed many great cardio equipment that you can buy but for strength training you can’t do much without the quality power rack.
Power rack are like a centerpiece of any great and well built home gym, they are big, versatile and allow you to train all muscle groups.
One downside of power racks is they’re a little more expensive than all other gym equipment but today we’re taking you through everything you need to know about buying a power cage for the money.
P.S. You will see various names I used for power rack in this article like power cage, squat rack, squat cage and so on, so don’t confuse if I used a different name.
If you are in a hurry, here is a quick table of the best power rack for both home and gym use starting from the best one!
Our Top Power Racks For The Money
Benefits of Power Rack
Power rack is one of the best fitness equipment you can buy for losing fat and building strength.
Due to various benefits of power rack, you don’t need much barbells, machines and dumbbells like you need in the gym.
That being said, here are some awesome benefits that Power Cage Provides:
- Versatility: Due to the design and features of the power rack, you can literally do any exercise for any muscle group.
If you don’t know which exercise you can perform with the help of a power rack, just search it on Google and/or YouTube and I’m sure there will be one.
Although basic power rack allows us to do main compound exercises but if you purchase other accessories along with it, power rack can allow all shorts of exercises.
For example, if you purchase Dip Bar handles, you can easily perform chest dips at home. same for the Lat Pull attachments and landmine attachment.
Due to the way power racks are built, they are much safer than any other gym equipment.(Make sure to configure properly).
Most power racks come with the safety pin on each side so set whatever height you find yourself comfortable, these allow the power rack to catch the barbell if anything goes wrong.
One of the biggest advantages of having a power rack is you don’t need a spotter, you don’t need one like you need in the gym.
Things to Look For When Buying Power Cage
Before buying anything costly, you should always look for what to look for before buying that item as often you buy something else you don’t need in that equipment.
1. Is it the right Size?
Power racks come with various heights, you should look for this if you’re shorter as you don’t want the power rack which is 8 or 9 feet off the ground.
They come in mainly three sizes 90″, 100″ and 108″, if you’re shorter in height, go with the former option.
2. Will it Fit?
This one is super important!
The biggest disadvantage of a power rack, apart from the cost, is they are big.
If you haven’t made a space for it or measure the space you’ve in the home, you have a problem.
Some manufacturers provide return and replace, while some only provide return option, so if you bought the wrong one, you’re wasting your time.
3. Is it Easy to Adjust?
Most power racks are easy to use and adjustable, but there is a time when you bought fitness equipment and when it arrived, you found it quite difficult to assemble or even use.
Some power racks have more functionality and due to that you might want to change the pin and pipe safety system.
4. Does it Come with the Right Accessories?
This is again very important!
If you just bought after reading the power rack’s review online, you may need to think twice before buying anything online.
Because there are few power racks which do not offer all the accessories you want.
Don’t get fooled by all the great features manufacturers listed on the product page, make sure you see does this power rack provide what I really want?
Does it have Anchor Holes?
There are very less power racks which provide this feature but make sure your desired power rack has this feature.
Because this feature allows you to do kipping pull-ups and you can also perform chest dips.
Stabilizer is something very important, without it, you can’t buy one!
Most racks have a stabilizer bar positioned along the bottom backside of the racks, keeping the rack stable when it is not anchored.
How is it going to Deliver?
You bought a power rack, and you’re now waiting for it to deliver.
When it arrives, it comes welded not in pieces.
Now what do you do? Return or replace?
Rather than wasting time and money, you should check whether the power rack comes in pieces and you’ve to assemble it or it comes welded?
On the basis of the delivery, the shipping cost may increase.
Choose Best Power Rack For You
Now, you know what to look for when buying a power rack but how do you choose the best power rack for you?
Let’s find out!
Like I said before, if you bought 8 or 9 feet taller and your height is between 5-6 feet, you will not be able to do pull-ups on that power rack.
Apart from the height of the power rack, you also need to think about the height of the ceiling.
Your power rack will not be fit if the height of your ceiling is shorter, and the same can happen when you change your home.
So make sure not to buy a power rack whose height is much higher than your height.
This is something I do not talk about till now but the depth of a rack is really important in terms of how much forward and backward space you and your bar need to travel.
If you’re a powerlifter, you don’t need to worry too much about it as your training involves the bar travelling in a straight line.
But if you train in the bodybuilding style, depth of the power rack is very important for you as body building exercises involve arc movements such as extension and curls.
For the Bodybuilder, you should buy a power rack with at least 23″ depth , you can also go for 30″+ if you’ve budget.
P.S. The depth of the rack I’m talking about here is the Inside depth not the outside depth.
You don’t have to think much for the width of the rack as most racks are standard width because of the olympic bar length.
This is something very important, you should look first before buying a power rack.
Ideally, you want to look for 800+ lbs on the safety bars but having higher weight capacity allows room for you to grow.
If you use power cages continuously, you will be surprised how much your strength improves over time.
5. Weight/Frame Gauge
Weight game is the second most important thing you should look for when buying a power rack.
Heavy duty commercial and industry standard power rack has 2″*3” 11 gauge steel, it is highly advisable to have this gauge for your home gym rack and with heavy gauges comes stability because of the increased weight of the steel.
If you can afford it look for 11g 2″*3″, good racks weigh 200lbs+.
Before seeing another thing, I suggest if you’re buying a budget-friendly rack to make sure you can bolt it to the ground for extra stability.
6. Hole Spacing
Hole spacing is something most people forget the importance of it when buying a rack for home use.
Hole spacing is measured from the centre of the two adjacent holes on the uprights and it’s this distance that can affect your level of comfort, reach and range of motion.
Hole spacing comes with different spacing like 2″, 3″, 4″, and 5″, however, 4″, and 5″ are pretty useless for pressing movements.
If you’re planning to buy it for home use, I would say go with 2″ or 3″, you can also go with the 1-1.5″ which you will find on top end home gym racks and commercial racks.
The power rack which provides closer holes, they have a higher price tag as they give better quality.
7. Lat Pulley
Lat pull down is one of my favourite exercises when I started back in 2012.
Even if you’re doing or learning pull-ups right now, you will need a lat pulley in the future. So I would suggest you buy a power cage with a lat pulley if it’s fit your budget.
The last pulley comes with a power rack is a much better option than buying a seperate pulley that costs you around $100 to $150 and requires extra space as well.
8. Numbered Holes
Numbered Holes are awesome things, Why?
Because You don’t have to count holes every time when you change the position of safety bars.
Although few power cages have numbered holes but if your power cage does not have one, just use a permanent marker or some paint to write the numbers on yourself.
9. Dip Handles
You can’t buy a power rack without this one!
Because You can perform exercise for three muscle groups using one attachment.
Most racks either have dip handles as an attachment or they come as standard with the rack.
Look below things for the Dip Handles:
- Dip Handle should be spaced 22″ apart and little bit of outward angle so you can easily adjust your grip width by moving closed or farther apart from the handles.
- The wider Diameter of the handle lets you perform grip and tricep work much better, however, you can always add the rubber to it to make it wider.
10. Plate Storage
This feature is not much as important as the last two, but still you have to look for it.
If your power rack doesn’t allow you to load much plates on the weight plate horns, you can easily buy them for less than $100 here.
If you already have less space then you should always go with the power rack that comes with extra plate storage because this will allow you to store more plates on the rack rather than on the floor.
Best Power Rack of 2020 Reviewed
- Fitness Reality 810XLT
There is no doubt that this power rack would be the top on the list.
The reason being it’s a Men’s Health Editor’s choice and we all read men’s health articles about workout, exercising, diet plan and so on.
There is a reason why men’s health editors chose this power rack as their choice.
First of all, this rack not only comes with the lat pull down attachment, it also comes with adjustable leg hold.
Now you can load the plates in the back side of the rack and can do Lat pull down, machine rowing and many other back, bicep and tricep related exercises.
It comes with 4 variant:
- Lat Pull Down Attachment only
- Power Cage Only
- Power Cage with Lat Pull Down
- Power Cage With Weight Bench Combo
If I were you, I would go with the Power Cage with lat pull down, the reason being although lat pull down variant is quite costly than others but if you buy it separately, it would be much costlier.
- Both High and Low Pulley included
- Perform all shorts of exercises
- Easy to Assemble
- Super Stable thanks to Safety Pins
- 270Lbs Weight Plate Capacity Only
- NO Plate Storage
- Needs to Purchase Hooks
- AMGYM Power Cage 1200LB Capacity
Fitness reality 810XT and AMGYM Power cage have fought for first place and Fitness reality wins.
The reason is AMGYM does not offer leg hold for the exercise like lat pull down and machine rowing, although it offers lat pull down.
The Manufacturer’s claim that Lat pulldown can handle weight upto 400lbs but still have to check it manually.
AMGYM is in second place, however, it offers much more attachment than the fitness reality 810XT like Two pairs of J-hooks, pre-drilled bolt holes.
- Need only one person to assemble
- Multi-Position over head bars for Pull-ups
- Include Lat pulldown and low row cable attachment
- 26 Variable position for Bar supports
- Less stable than the Fitness Reality 810XT
- Need something to hold legs while doing Lat Pull down or rowing
- CAP Barbell FM-8000F
It comes with the red and black color and to be honest, Most people love this color combination.
Although they have five different colors, each color can increase the cost of the power rack.
This power cage offers a lot more safety than any other power cage on the list like two j-cup bar catches, two safety catches.
So If you just started working out in the home and want to buy a power rack, go with this one!
- Best for Beginners
- 300lbs Bar Weight capacity
- Comes with Well packaged parcel
- Compact in Size
- Easy to assemble even for the Females
- The cage is not made of heavy gauge
- Some parts may bent during shipping, but you can fix them
- Lovinland 1000 LBS Capacity
Lovinland provides everything you need in order to perform all 5 compound exercises.
The rack does not have a lat pull or leg hold but it does have a hell lot of space for the plates.
So, if you’re a powerlifter or want to be this rack is best for you.
- 1000lbs Total Weight capacity
- Best for Powerlifters and beginners
- Regular overhead bar for Pull-up
- Need extra attachments for more features like lat pulley
- ProGear 1600 Ultra Strength 800lb Weight Capacity
ProGear 1600 is a type of power rack you can see in every commercial gym.
It has J-hooks, multi-position over head bars and 19 adjustable height levels for safety bars.
- Total Weight Capacity is 800lbs
- Large space inside and outside, best for the big guy
- No Handles for Weight Plates
- TITAN FITNESS Short Power Rack T-2 Series
Titan Fitness is one of the most reputed brands in sports equipment.
If you’re shorter in height and beginner, this is the power rack you should buy for your home gym.
It also provides J-hooks and safety bars like others in the list.
- Can Support weight upto 700lbs in total
- Best for home gym, basement, garage due to the compact nature
- Excellent packaging from the Titan Fitness
- Cheaper than most racks on the list
- Need extra hand for assemble
- Need few attachments for more features.
- Sunny Power Zone Squat Stand Rack
If you’re a fan of doing pull-ups along with the main compound movements, then this power cage is for you.
This cage provides 8 different positions and angles to do pull-ups.
This cage comes with two options, and the second option provides a cage with the bench, so if you need the bench, you can go for that variant as well.
- Pull-up Bars is adjustable and reversible
- 6 Resistance band pins for more versatility and extra resistance
- 18 Point Adjustable J-Hooks
- 805lbs Weight Capacity
- Regular plates won’t fit in the olympic plate storage
- Hard to find the attachments
- CAP Barbell Power Rack
There are many color options provided by this brand but keep in mind that price may increase depending on the color.
If you’re confused with all the power rack information and just want to do squats and pull-ups, this cage is for you.
If this is your first time buying a power rack, just go with this one as it is a lot cheaper and you can have an experience of it.
- Comes in 7 different colors
- Total weight capacity is 1000lbs
- Well-Known and trusted brand
- Need attachments for more features
Feature That Come With All Power Racks
1. Hole Spacing
The distance between the holes on the upright side of the power rack, where we insert J-cups and safety catches is called Hole Spacing.
There are various sizes of hole spacing but typically comes between 1 to 4 inches.
As I said before, most will not need a power rack with 3 or more inch spacing, so just go with 1,2 or 3″ hole spacing power rack.
Now some power cages provide J-cups, while others do not.
If your power cage does not have a J-cup(which has the least chance to happen), you can buy them from here.
J-cups come in a pair and sometimes people also call them as J-hooks or simply pins.
If you just want to hold a barbell and weights, then go for the basic metal J-cups but if you need more like a small lip before the J-cup ending go with the Higher quality one.
3. Safety Catches
Safety catches are long pieces of metal that come in a pair and you can insert them on the left front and left rear uprights, while another catch will insert on the holes in the right front and right rear upright.
Safety catches act as a spotter, so make sure to set it properly if you’re going to lift heavy today.
Like the J-cups, safety catches also come with different types.
- 1″ Diameter Metal rod
- Pin Pipe Safety catches
- Rectangular Safety catches
- Nylon Strap catches
4. Weight Capacity Rating
You may have noticed in a review of each power rack that I mentioned different weights for different power racks like total weight capacity and/or total barbell weight capacity.
So When I talked about total weight capacity, I mean Your weight + the Weight you load and opposite for the barbell weight capacity.
What I would suggest you do is go for more than 800lbs+ barbell weight capacity if you’re not strapped on cash.
Accessories: You May Need
1. Pull Up Bar
Most, but not all, power racks come with the standard type of pull bar, but if you’re a fan of a multi-positioned pull up bar, just go with the few I mentioned in the above list.
Below are some variants of pull up bar that most racks offer.
- Straight Bar
- Curved Bar
- Fat Bar
- Multi-Grip Bar
- Multi-Positioned Bar
2. Dip Bar station
Now, there are very few power cages that offer dip bar handles as accessories.
Keep in mind that the cost of this type of power racks would be higher than the regular power racks.
If you’re going to buy it separately, just check before buying whether this dip station fits in your rack or not?
3. Plate Storage
Plate storage is a very important thing for the home gym since you don’t want to remove extra space you’ve bought spreading your plates all over the room.
Some racks provide handles to store the plates, while some do not.
So if you’re going to lift heavy or you’re a powerlifter where you need more plates than the regular ones, you need this accessory.
4. Band Pegs
This is an awesome thing to have in the power rack.
Because it allows you to do some resistance band exercise.
Most power racks do not have this feature and most of the time you can’t do much about it.
The Bottom Line
I hope this article covers everything you need to know before buying any kind of power racks.
Power racks are an important piece for your home gym, so I would suggest you do your own research(By clicking on each Power rack) and see which one suits you.
If you’ve got any unanswered questions, please ask them in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to answer you as soon as I can…
…Otherwise, it’s time for you to go and order your rack now!