best-power-racks

Best Power Racks For The Money : Cheap Yet Sturdy

Are you searching around on the internet, trying to find some quality power racks that are affordable?

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Recently, a buddy was looking to upscale his garage gym, and much to our surprise, he got fixated on the term ‘cheap power racks.’

For us, nothing could be more annoying.

Personally, we’d never touch any equipment that’s advertised as cheap, even with a barge pole.

You absolutely cannot cut corners while buying exercise equipment, particularly power racks and benches, lest you want to end up pinned under the barbell with 400 lbs. on it.

Moreover, cheap is subjective. What’s cheap for us can be as pricey as a crown for you and vice-a-versa.

Affordable would be a much better way to look at it.

‘What’s a power rack that you can buy without paying through the nose?

Thankfully, there are many. Some of them are priced under $200.

Did we catch you drooling?

Having helped set up home gyms for many a friend and colleagues, we’ve had the fortune to research, analyze and even get our hands on power racks of all sizes, configurations, and prices.

Here are some of the best power racks that give you the most bang for your buck based on our firsthand experience.

#1 – Rep Power Rack

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The PR 1000 is one of REP’s entry-level power rack models that can stand its own against many higher-priced units in the market today.

It has a reasonably compact footprint (48 (W) x 48 (D)) and is made of 14-gauge steel that’s 2mm in thickness.

With a maximum weight rating of 1000 lbs., you can do some serious lifting with it.

It comes bundled with a pull-up bar (rated up to 400 lbs.), and there’s the option to expand its usage by adding a bevy of accessories like dip bars and a bench.

The caveat is that it would only work with one of REP’s products unless you grease your elbows and find a workaround.

That’s not to take anything away from it.

Out of the box, it is as good a product as any.

Easy assembly

The PR1000 comes with detailed schematics that take the guesswork out of the assembly. If you aren’t mechanically inclined, there’s a YouTube video that shows you every step of the assembly process.

It’s a one-man assembly job.

And you should be set up in less than two hours.

Sturdy and wobble-free (Mostly)

Thanks to the 14-gauge steel construction, the rack does not feel flimsy once assembled.

It feels as sturdy as a rock and will not wobble or budge a millimeter unless you are loading more than 550 lbs. on it. If you are moving more than 500 lbs, we recommend adding a plate holder and throwing in some plates to keep it stable.

It has a uniform, powder-coated finish, and there are no sharp edges or shards anywhere, a problem commonplace with lower-priced power racks.

Excellent safety features

It comes with padded J-hooks for the bar and a bunch of durable spotter bars that stay rock solid when you re-rack the bar.

You can stretch your max by a few extra pounds even when you go solo without the fear of being pinned under it.

Summary: It is completely worth every dollar that you pay for it. If a cheap power rack is what you seek, the REP power rack is one of the best options.

#2 – Titan T-3 Folding Power Rack

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The T-3 is Titan’s successor to the wildly popular T-2 power rack.

One could also say that it’s Titan’s answer to power-rack woes in space-constrained setups.

This wall-mounted power rack will fit right into the most compact of spaces. An unused wall in any room is what it takes.

And when not in use, it can be folded flat against the wall, further reducing its footprint.

Yet, it gives you great functionality with an excellent maximum weight rating to boot.

This Folding Power Rack is hard to beat at this price.

Heavy-Duty construction

The T-3 is made from an 11-gauge steel tube that’s 2″ wide x 3″ deep. It comes with a powder-coated finish and weighs around 150 lbs. when fully assembled.

It is rated for a maximum rack weight of up to 1100 lbs. which is more than what the REP PR1000 offers. When you rack the bar, there is a little side play, to be fair, especially at heavyweights.

But it doesn’t affect the functionality one bit. Nor is it unsafe.

Assembly isn’t the easiest as there are no videos.

Just a couple of pages of text and diagrams that could have been better, especially for first-timers.

But with a little trial and error and some common sense, you should be able to set it up in no time.

Perfect size for home use

At 50” wide and 21” deep, T-3 provides users with ample room to walk in and perform those lifts.  

If anything, the 91” height might be a concern to someone looking to install this in a low-ceiling basement. But on a positive note, even a tall user can get the full range of motion while performing overhead presses inside the cage.

There are 4 J-hooks included in the setup that allows the bar to be racked easily.

A 2-inch diameter pull-up bar and T2 Titan dip bars complete what a well-rounded, value-for-money package is.

Summary: Great package at less than 50% of the price of the competition. Unless you are looking at serious powerlifting, this is a great choice.

#3 – Powerline by Body-Solid Power Rack

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The Body-Solid Power Rack is one of the oldest budget-priced power racks available in the market. It was around in 2012. And it still outsells a lot of fancier, newer models.

It speaks a lot about the quality.

This is a solid power rack.

It might lack some of the bells and whistles, but hey, if you are looking to lift, this will get the job done.

18-Adjustment levels

At 44” long and 46” wide, the Body-Solid bar is not a space hog. The footprint is perfect for home use and small-gym installations.

The width, in particular, allows easy walk-in without being limited.

It is 81” in height which might be a concern if you are over 6” and looking to do overhead presses or snatches inside the cage.

An easy workaround would be to limit the in-cage exercises to squats, pull-ups, bench press, and the likes.

The overhead workouts can be performed outside.

There are 18 adjustment holes that are spaced 3-inches apart. This allows you to really customize the height for your workouts.

Heat Tempered Lift Offs

The heat-tempered lift-offs make racking and re-racking a breeze. And the safety bars hold up well even to everyday abuse.

There is a little wobble above 500 lbs. Also, the cage does tend to tip forward when you rack heavyweights.

A workaround would be to bolt it down or use some sandbags on the base at the rear to prevent it from tipping forward.

The only probable cons that we could find (if you consider them to be cons, that is) is that there is some knurling on the pull-up bar. Personally, we don’t care a hoot about it because we have rock-hard calluses on our palms anyway.

Summary: Barebones, old-school power rack with a bunch of optional accessories.

#4 – TDS Power Rack squat cage

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For a brand that has been around for more than 42 years, TDS certainly has an affordable product range.

The Power Rack squat cage is one of their flagships and also one of the best power racks for the money that you can find in the market.

Make no mistake; this is an incredibly durable rack with a 1000 lbs. max weight rating. To top it off, it comes with a bunch of pre-drilled holes on the top rear and side beams to attach accessories.

Steel tube construction

The 11-gauge steel tube construction is on par with the best in the business.

If wobble or tipping was a concern with your old squat rack, then this one will stay as steady as a boulder. You need not bolt it down either.

At 48.5″ x 48″ Wide, it is compact enough for home installations. Yet, it is reasonably wide for walk-in and allows ample room for hindrance-free movement.

The only possible niggle is that, just like many other rack cages at this price point, the 82” height might restrict the full range of motion for someone taller than 6 feet.

31 Adjustment points

There are 31 adjustment points spaced 2-inches apart from each other for customizing the J-hooks and safety bars according to the height of the person using them. That’s the maximum number of adjustment positions that we’ve seen in any budget power rack.

We also liked the Heavy Duty J-Hooks with the side brace and hand knob. It makes it so easy to unhook and readjust the position. Also, the bar stays wobble-free when you re-rack it.

The 1-inch diameter solid steel bar will ensure that you are covered even if you fail at the bottom of a rep.

Summary: The cheapest power rack that you can buy. Almost a no-brainer decision for budget-minded shoppers.

#5 – Fitness Reality 810 XLT Super Max Power Cage

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Not everyone is looking to pump out 500 lbs. squats in the racks every day.

Scratch that, a lot of people won’t go beyond 300 lbs. lifts, which makes most of the power racks in this list overkill.

Not the 810XT from Fitness Reality, though.

It has an 800 lbs. max weight limit, which might look tepid if compared with the 1000 lbs. plus racks.

But at this price point, it is right up the alley for homeowners seeking a power rack for general fitness instead of heavy powerlifting.

Wobble free lifting

The 810XT is probably one of the selected few power racks that we’ve seen that stays rock steady even without weights on it.

The 14-gauge 2×2 steel frame construction is top-notch.

The 137 lbs. assembly weight might not sound like too much on paper. But the rack doesn’t move an inch even when you are re-racking or dropping the bar on the 1-inch safety bars.

You won’t even need to bolt it down with 500 lbs. on the rack.

At 46” width, there’s ample room to walk in and lift without feeling restricted. And it measures an even 83 ½ inches at the top, which means that any overhead presses might have to be performed outside the rack.

19-Adjustment positions

The 810XT comes with 19-adjustment positions for the safety bars, which more than suffices to get the height right.

The rack comes bundled with a multi-position pull-up bar. But almost everything else, including the J-hooks, has to be purchased separately.

To be fair, it wouldn’t be possible for any brand to include additional accessories at this price point.

Another small quibble that we have is that if you have a standard 6-feet barbell, you will find that the weights hit the safety bar or the frame.

You need to invest in a 7-feet Olympic barbell to be able to work effectively with this.

Summary: Great power rack for general fitness. Top-notch steel frame construction, 23-inch long safety bars, and wobble-free operation.

#6 – Best Fitness Power Rack

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The BFPR100 is Best Fitness’s entry-level power rack that has a maximum load rating of 500 lbs.

It weighs around 117 lbs. when fully assembled, which makes it one of the lightest power racks on this list.

If you wanted a rack that can be moved around home easily, this one perfectly fits the bill.

14-gauge steel frame

Despite the low max load rating, the BFPR100 is made of heavy-duty 14-gauge steel.

So, movement issues will be minimum. If at all, you find that it skids, use sandbags, or attach a plate holder to the rear vertical bar in the frame.  

The BFPR100 features full-length safety bars made of solid steel and rated up to 500 lbs.

So, you can be rest assured that bar drops will be covered.

23- adjustment positions and a pull-up bar to boot

There are 23-holes to adjust the position of the safety bar.

At 83-inches tall, it will limit the full range of motion for overhead presses and snatches, particularly if you are taller than 6 feet.

Having said that, we’ve seen that anything that’s more than 7-feet tall tends to look oversized in small rooms in homes.

The BFPR100 also features a height-adjustable pull-up bar and can be paired with compatible accessories from Best Fitness, like the dip bar, the lat attachment, or a bench.

Summary: It has a low max weight rating but a solidly constructed rack: one of the easiest assemblies that we’ve seen.

Other noteworthy additions

In addition to the top 6 power racks that we’ve picked, at least three others came perilously close but couldn’t make the final list due to tiny reasons.

 

  • Body Champ PBC530 Power Rack: Max weight capacity of 300 lbs. lets it down slightly. Otherwise, it’s a phenomenally well-built rack with two integrated Olympic plate holders, 4-anti skid feet, and a pull-up bar.
  • Super Open Power Rack: Weighs just 88 lbs. when fully assembled. So, wobble and movement will be unavoidable as you start to move some heavyweights. You will need to add some plates or a sandbag on the bottom if you cannot bolt it to the surface. The manufacturer NYB advertises the max rating as 1000 lbs. We wouldn’t want to test that. If you are looking to lift in the 300-400 lbs. weight slab, this is one of the most affordable racks you can buy.
  • Valor Fitness BD-9 Power Stand: A 300 lbs. max load capacity once again. Features 13-gauge steel construction with catch bars and rubber safety bars. It also includes a 1-plate storage peg on the front.

 

Things to consider to buy the Best Power Rack

As we briefly mentioned, don’t get swayed by the term ‘cheap’ when you buy power racks.

Instead, look for one that’s durably constructed, has a max load rating that’s in tune with your lifting goals, has safety features, and is compatible with accessories that expand its usability.

Understand the importance of a power rack, and you’d never pinch pennies again.

What are power racks used for?

A power rack allows a user to perform compound lifts without the assistance of a spotter.

It’s like a mechanical spotter that ensures that you can lift and re-rack the weight safely.

You can perform a bevy of useful exercises with it like squat, deadlift, Romanian deadlifts, overhead presses, snatches, dips, pull-ups, and so on.

Moreover, you can lift heavier than you ever did, right from the comfort of your home without the risk of injury.

Even if you fail at the end of a rep or want to try one more rep before you rack the bar, it assures you that you won’t need the help of a spotter.

The built-in safety bar will catch the weight without it crashing to the ground.

And yes, a power rack gives you more range of motion as compared to a smith’s machine.

Here are some of the features to consider before you shop.

  1. The type of steel used to construct the mainframe. What gauge?
  2. The maximum load capacity
  3. The number and type of J-Cups
  4. The thickness and variety of safety bars
  5. The number of adjustment holes and the hole spacing (1-2 inches works best)
  6. The average user rating. What do previous users have to say about the equipment?

Can a budget power rack be a good power rack?

Most definitely yes.

You can always find the best budget power rack with weight capacities and features that rival premium power racks.

But that’s not always necessary.

Instead, look for features that you need and will use.

If you are a beginner lifter, even a rack with a 500 lbs. capacity might work for you. You can save yourself some money which can be used to purchase additional accessories.

Having said that, not all power racks are good. Don’t shop pig-in-a-poke.

Always do your research and make an informed decision.

Check out our other budget gym building guides down below!

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