Those serious about getting stronger know that the best way to get there is through lifting heavy. This means squats, deadlifts and bench press exercises. The best cheap power racks lets you do your workouts at home without having the need for a training partner to spot you all the time.
One of the biggest benefits of these training equipment is they cost under $500, with many around the $300 or so price range.
They offer a good amount amount of weight capacity to be loaded on bar, have heavy duty steel frames and safety spotter bars to keep you safe even when lifting alone.
That said, all you need to do is a get a good quality bar and the weights that you need to begin your weight training program. Of course, don’t forget to include proper nutrition so you gain lean muscle.
Our Top Picks
- Very Low Cost Option: NYB Super Power Squat Cage
- Value for Money Choice: Titan Power Rack Squat Deadlift HD Lift Cage
- Affordable Option: PowerLine PPR200X Power Rack
- High Weight Capacity: Titan Power Rack Squat Deadlift HD Lift Cage
- With Lat Pulldown Attachment: Valor Athletics BD-7 Power Rack with Lat Pull
Power Rack vs. Weight Bench: Which Do I Need?
Power racks are the best weight lifting equipment if you plan on lifting heavy without a partner. They are able to more weight than a bench press. And, provide you with more safety. Additionally, they let you do all the exercises you’ll ever need to get big and strong.
Power racks let you do all the major lifts including:
- Bench press (with an additional adjustable bench)
- Squats (all types)
- Pull Ups (most cages have a pull-up bar setup in front on the rack)
- Overhead presses
Weight benches on the other hand are great for bench pressing. With an adjustable bench, you’ll be able to do flat, incline and decline presses of various degrees. But, because of the its set up, weight benches aren’t ideal for squats or military presses.
Additionally, the posts aren’t built to hold as much weight as those in power racks.
Pros and Cons of a Power Rack
As with most gym equipment, power racks have their advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a quick list so you can decide for yourself.
- Safest way to lift heavy without a partner
- It lets you do all the major lifts without buying lots of equipment or getting a gym membership.
- It’s probably the fastest way to get big and strong.
- They can hold a lot of weight.
- Power racks take up a lot of space.
- They are expensive.
- You still need to buy weights and a bench to make full use of it.
Choosing a Power Rack: Buying Guide
1. How Much Weight Do You Plan to Lift?
Ultimately, the reason you got a power rack is you need to lift heavy weights. The power rack is designed to support a lot of weight, whether you’re doing squats, deadlifts or pull ups.
Each product often comes with a maximum weight capacity. This tells you how much the arm catches can support. The heavier you lift the higher capacity you’ll need. Because higher capacity power racks require thicker (lower gauge) steel, they are more expensive. And, they weigh a lot more, making them hard to transport.
On the plus side, they ensure that you’re always safe even during failed lifts. Skimping on the weight limit can put you at risk of injury should you miss a lift. That’s because the catches won’t be able to support the weight.
Similarly, they’re more stable and durable. A high-quality rack can easily last you a lifetime if you take care of it.
2. How Much Space Do You Need for the Power Rack?
With power racks, you need to consider all three dimensions of the physical product. This includes the length, width and height.
Besides the floor space it takes up, you’ll want to put a ceiling or roof over your rack. Leaving it in the open makes it susceptible to the elements, which can cause it to rust prematurely.
If you plan on doing pull ups with the rack, make sure there is at least 2 feet of free space above the top of the rack. This lets you safely pull yourself up without hitting your head on the ceiling.
In general, the bigger the lifter, the bigger the rack you need. Big, muscular powerlifters will need a lot of leg room so you’ll want something that’s long and wide. If you’re over 6 feet tall, make sure that the rack isn’t just 6 feet or so, because you won’t fit.
Finally, don’t forget the weight. By weight we mean the physical weight of the rack plus all the plates and accessories you’ll be putting on it. And of course, your body weight. The surface you place the rack on needs to be able to support the combined weight of all the equipment and you.
3. Do You Want a Half-Rack or Full-Rack?
A Half-rack is what it sounds like. It is one-half of a power rack. That is, you get the back-half of the equipment. So, you don’t get to stand in the middle of the cage so to speak. Instead, the two catches (supports) extend out to the sides in front of the half-rack. This gives you some of the safety of the full power rack.
The advantages of a half-rack is that it is cheaper and doesn’t take up as much space. For some lifters, it also gives them extra freedom to position themselves and move, which can be an issue inside power cages.
4. Weights, Bars and Other Accessories
While it’s tempting to spend all your money on a high-quality rack, don’t forget you’ll still need to buy a bench, barbell bar, weight plates, dip belt and probably resistance bands. Make sure you leave enough cash for these accessories.
Due to their size, power racks and cages need to be assembled on site. The good news is, they’re very easy to do so. And, the manufacturer often provides you with the tools. If not, it will often involve simple work tools.
Just as importantly, make sure to choose a location where you’ll be able to anchor the rack to the ground. Heavier racks need to be anchored to the ground to keep them steady and safe.
Racks can vary significantly in price.
- Cheap power racks range from $200 to $350. These are great for beginners and those who don’t plan on lifting more than 500 pounds. They’re ideal for anyone who wants do the main lifts without spending a lot of money.
- Mid-range racks range from $350 to $800. These are sturdier and made from heavier gauge steel. They allow for more weight and are often bigger in size and height.
- Expensive power racks range from $800 to over $3,000. These are used in commercial gyms as well by college and NFL football teams. They are top of the line with a lot of accessories and sometimes even electronics attached to them.
If you don’t have space at home or want to spend a lot of money, there are other options available. These include:
- Weight Bench. This is a bench with a barbell stands attached to it. They are the most basic and take up the least space. They’re great for bench pressing (flat or incline), And, you can often use the posts for squats.
- Squat Stands. These are another cheap option. Unlike the weight bench it is specifically for standing exercises like squats. Stands are more affordable, but less stable than a rack or squat stand.
- Squat Rack. This is another option to a power rack/cage. It is somewhat like a half-rack but it takes the lower half of the full rack, whereas the half-rack takes the back-half. So, squat racks give you the benefit of safety thanks to their catches. But without the top half of the rack, you’re able to do less exercises.
Best Cheap Power Rack Reviews
Here are our reviews on the products that will help you gain strength and size without having to leave the comfort of your own home. They’re all budget friendly and are designed to take heavy loads so you can train till you get big and strong.
Cheapest Power Rack: If you’re looking for a low cost unit that’s built by a reputable manufacturer and with a high weight load capacity this is it. Priced much cheaper than many similarly rated power racks this offers much better value for money.
Weighing a total of 135 lbs. with a black coated exterior, this offering from New York Barbells comes with a high 1,000 pound maximum weight limit. This allows you to load your Olympic bar with all the weight you want for your max lifts and still have enough to spare, at least unless you’re a world class powerlifter that is.
The unit comes with a well illustrated instruction manual that tells you how to install the uprights as well as the upper and lower bars. One nice addition to the unit is that the uprights are lined with big numbers. Each number corresponds to one of the 31 hole positions you can set the bar catches and safety bars to.
The numbers make it easy to remember and position the bars and catches for each of your main lifts. So there’s no more counting or marking the posts to remember where the slots you like them inserted to.
Next up in our best cheap power rack reviews is this Power Rack from Titan. This is another low cost, high value piece of lifting equipment that allows you do get a full strength workout at home without having to have a training partner with you.
The adjustable spotter bars let you set it between 28 different hole positions to give you the security in case of a failed lift. While not made to hold as much weight as the unit above, this still offers a high maximum capacity of 700 lbs., which, for most of us, is more than enough even for max rep squats.
The unit is very easy to put together with around 5 steps in total. You will want to take your time to align the bars and uprights correctly as well as tighten the bolts properly though to ensure full safety. Like the other racks in our reviews, if you’re lifting heavier loads, you will want to bolt the unit to the ground for stability and to always be certain nothing will move it.
The cage itself has a wide opening that lets you get a good footing as well as wide stance for your lifts. It also offers 26 inches of space from front to back so you can move inside. The rear of the unit is set up with vertical pegs for storing plates.
With the 2 units above having pretty much the same footprint in terms of floor area they take up, the PPR200X is another affordable unit that can fit in smaller spaces. It measures 46 inches deep and is 44 inches wide, giving it a few less inches on the sides and from front to back. This allows it to fit if you have less free space for your home gym equipment.
Made from 12 gauge steel its frame is 2” by 2” in terms of the thickness of the posts. This allows it to hold as much as 500 lbs. as rated by the manufacturer. This makes it something that’s made for beginner to some intermediate lifters.
If you lift close to 500 lbs. on the bigger lifts or are coming close to that, then the heavier gauge, thicker steel units with mid-level weight capacity like those above are better suited for you.
The PPR200X is solid and stable with a base that doesn’t move nor rock when you’re doing your lifts. It offers a full cage design with full length spotter bars and a wide range of settings for positioning the bar and safeties.
This is the same Titan Fitness Power Rack as the unit above with the same specifications and construction. It can be loaded up to 700 lbs., has a chin up/pull up station and adjustable safety bars.
However, one difference it does have with the unit above is that it comes with adjustable dip attachment bars. You can see the dip attachment set up at the front of the cage in the image covering the front side of the opening.
You can of course attach or detach then anytime depending on the exercises you’re going to do. They do offer the ability to use the cage for all exercises so you don’t need to get a dip station or make do with some other equipment. The set up of the dip bars are very similar to the J-hooks where you use a set of the 28 different mounting holes of the front uprights.
The dip bars are rated to hold as much as 500 lbs. so you can use it for weighted dips. It is made from 1.6” steel tubing and easily attached to the cage’s frame.
Like the unit above this is another unit that includes extra attachments. The BD-7 comes with a lat pulldown attachment that gives you the ability to isolate your back muscles using the pulley system that’s integrated with the device.
The lat pull apparatus includes the cable system that lets you use the lat pulldown from the top end of this power rack, as well as a low row apparatus as the bottom of the unit to focus on your middle back muscles.
The lat device lets you load it to as much as 250 lbs. by adding plates to its plate pegs located at the bottom of the pulley system.
Meanwhile, the entire cage is rated up to 500 lbs. giving it a similar capacity limit as the PowerLine PPR200X above. For its part it offers 17 different hole positions to put the rack pegs as well as the safety bars.
The BD-7 also include weight plate storage pegs positioned on the rear upright. These work not only to store you weights when you’re not lifting but also can be loaded as stabilizers so for when you do pull ups.