A power rack is one of the essential equipment if you want to lift weight at home. It is impossible to do such compound exercises like squats or bench press safely without it.
The problem is that a gym-quality squat cage is close to a thousand dollars, for example, the ones from Rogue.
What can you do if you are on a budget and you only have a few hundred bucks to spend?
Well, I have good news for you because there are a few cheap power racks on the market that are perfect for home weight training.
You are maybe skeptic now if an inexpensive rack is worth to buy. And, if they are so good, why an earth everybody would not buy just these instead of the expensive ones.
The typical reasons why they are cheap are the following ones.
- The first is the used materials. I mean the steel gauge. The thicker it is, the higher the capacity and strength of the rack. Cheap stands typically have a lighter and thinner steel gauge and with that less maximum weight limit which is around 500-700 lb. However, unless you are a powerlifter, that limit is enough for most of us.
- The other reason for the lower price is the lack of additional accessories. More expensive pieces come, for example, with a cable system, dip bars, etc. These are useful extras, but if you want to do basic strength training, you can neglect them.
- Finally, stability. Premium squat racks are manufactured in such a way that they are rock solid without the need of any support such as drilling down. Because cheaper racks are lightweight, you may experience a bit of acceptable wobbling. Hence, you may have to drill it down or place weight plates on the base to improve stability. In most cases, manufacturers add pegs to bottom.
To sum up, the difference between a cheap and expensive rack is like the difference between a standard and a luxury car. Both take to you where you want to go.
Moreover, inexpensive equipment is still much better than nothing if you want to lift weight at home, especially without the help of a spotter. It is much safer than using something “else” to substitute.
What to look for when buying a squat cage?
Maximum weight limit & steel gauge
Each rack comes with maximum weight capacity, but I have to say that is somewhat misleading. Manufacturers tell the equipment can stand up to 600 or 800 lb, but that means when the loaded bar rests on the catches or safety bars. However, what if you drop it the bar? Obviously, that is much a higher pressure on the gym equipment, which may lead to falling over, bending, or breakage.
So, when you choose the rack, calculate the dropping as well. For example, if the given rack is said to stand 500 lb, I would use it with a maximum of 300 lb. So, you can always have safe workouts.
The maximum capacity mainly depends on the steel gauge of the construction. As I said, the thicker it is, the better. Although robustness depends on other factors like welding or design. If you cannot decide between two cheap power racks, go with the one with thicker steel gauge.
Dimensions & holes
To get the best workout experience, you need to pick the right size cage for you. That is particularly true for tall people. Even if all the racks are compatible with Olympic barbells, they have different dimensions. Will it be high and wide enough for you to train inside comfortably? I’m a big guy, and when I used a compact squat cage, it was very inconvenient for me. So, if you are tall, you should get a rack with more extended dimensions.
Now let’s talk about the holes where you place the safety catches and bars. Typically, economic power racks have the holes 2-3 inches apart, so you have fewer options to find the optimal adjustment to your height. I think it is just a minor issue; after a few workouts, we can get used it.
As I mentioned before, affordable racks are lighter, and with that, they are more willing to tilt without any support. Weight plates load or drilling down is almost always required. Moreover, I strongly recommend putting a rubber mat under it as well.
Now you know some necessary information about what you should check out when buying a squat cage, let me show you some reliable items.
Best Budget Power Rack Reviews
1. Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage – The Best Buy
810XLT has an unbelievable price, around $250, check out at Amazon, but that does not mean it neglects quality! I do not understand how it is possible to manufacture such a quality rack at this super low price. However, hundreds of positive reviews are the proof.
It is made of 14 gauge still supporting up to 800 lb. Far enough even for advanced lifters.
It also has a unique design. Firstly, the stabilizers are extended running behind and in front of the rare and front uprights. This way the rack is very stable even if you use heavy weights or when you do pull-ups. However, it may be a little disturbing when you want to get inside the cage.
Another feature that I love is the multi-grip pull-up bar. Very useful for bodyweight training to do pull up and chin up variations to focus on different muscle groups.
Fitness Reality 810XLT supports 19 adjustable height levels for the safety bars that are placed by 3 inches. Someone may find it a bit inconvenient such rare placements. Of course, bars are compatible with the standard 7’ Olympic bars.
The rack has a 50 inch deep and 46 inch wide footprint, and the pull-up bar is about 84 inches off the floor. So, a rather large item that is suitable for tall guys as well. The workout area is excellent since there is a 44-inch width between the uprights and 24 inches between the posts.
Also, it is compatible with various attachments such as dip bars, weight plate holders, landmine, J-hooks, and with lat pull attachment. Hence, you can turn it to a complete home gym system.
The only negativity I have to mention is that it does not come with J-hooks, but they are inexpensive.
To sum up, if you are on a budget, but you do not want to neglect quality; this is the best cheap power rack you can get.
2. Rep Fitness Power Rack – High Weight Capacity
The Rep PR-1000 is my personal favorite for its excellent price-value ratio. It costs a little bit more than $300, check the current price at Amazon, but provides an excellent workout experience.
Its weight capacity is 1000 lb on the bar hooks and 400 lb for the pull-up bars. The construction is made of 14 gauge steel. Hence, it is suitable for more advanced weight lifters.
The dimensions are: 83″(height)x48″(width)x48″(depth). So it is a rather big rack suitable for taller guys. Although, if you have a low ceiling, you may find it too tall.
On the uprights, throughout the training area, the holes are placed by 2 inches. Therefore, you can tweak the height of the barbell slightly for your height. Also, every 5th holes are numbered. It is easy to change padded the J-hooks, no jamming, and scratching.
Moreover, Rep power rack comes with optional adjustable dip bars and lat attachments that you can buy at an affordable price. If you get them, you have a home gym machine for total body training.
Because of extended dimensions, the used materials, and the rare plate holders, users do not experience wobbling while training inside. Although, if you use the dip bars since they are on the sides, a bit of tipping is experienced, so weight plates are necessary on the other side.
To sum up, this is a well-made, inexpensive power rack suitable for even advanced level weight training. Cap Fitness put together a great item without a doubt which is backed up by hundreds of positive reviews.
3. Body-Solid Powerline (PPR200X)
The powerline PPR200x power rack is another popular budget equipment among home gym owners, because of its low price (around $300), check current price at Amazon, and reliability.
The maximum weight capacity is 600 lb, less than the previous, but still enough for an average level trainer. The frame is made of 12 gauge steel, so it is not heavy (about 133 lb.)
PPR200x Dimensions: 44 by 46 by 82 inches (L x W x H), a bit more compact, but it has 24 inches wide walk-in design, so it is convenient to move between the upright bars.
The item comes with 18 adjustment levels with 3 inches apart where you can place the two saber style bars and the heat tempered lift offs. The distance between the holes is a bit far but acceptable.
This Body Solid power rack system can be expanded with various accessories. For example, DR100 dip and PLA200X lat attachment that you can purchase at an affordable price.
To conclude, it is one of the best budget power racks available today that provides a good user experience.
4. Titan Fitness T-2 Squat Rack – For Short Ceiling
If you want to get a sturdy rack for the basement with a low ceiling, Titan T-2 is the solution for you. While other, weight lifting equipment is about 80 inches in height, the total height of T-2 is just 71.5”. So, you have enough room when you do pull-ups. The bar is 68.5” off the floor.
The max capacity is 700 lb, which is an acceptable limit. The entire machine is made of heavy-duty steel for durability.
The holes are 2 inches apart, and there are 20 adjustments you can choose from. The opening is 44 inches, so you have plenty of room to move.
The Titan power rack is simple equipment that is easy to assemble and costs around 300 bucks, check price at Amazon.
5. Merax Athletics Squat Cage with Lat Pull – The most versatile
If you want to add cable exercises to your strength training routine besides the free weight lifting, this cage is an excellent choice for you. Even if it is very versatile, it is still affordable, check price at Amazon.
The capacity for weight lifting is excellent. 500 lb for the bar catches outside, 650 for the catches inside, 800 lb for the safety bars.
It also provides a functional workout space since it is 43” wide, 47.5” deep and 47.5” height. Although, because of the pulley system, you may not find that area as much.
The high and low pulley system is a useful addition, with the help of it, you can make your training more versatile. Short and lat pull bar is included. The weight holder is made for 1-inch standard plates, but with an adapter, you can use Olympic weight plates as well.
There are 21 positions you can choose from. The lowest hole is at 17.5,” and the highest is 68”. So, it is suitable for tall men.
The only complaint I have to mention is the bar catches at the front, which let the bar rolling forward. However, for a few bucks, you can get J-hooks instead.
To conclude, if you are searching for a more versatile budget squat rack with a pulley system, Merax is something, you should check out. You can find more racks with lat pulldown here.
5. TDS Squat Cage – Perfect for Heavy Lifters
TDS is a low priced item with high capacity supporting 1000 lb made of 13 gauge steel tube. It is a robust rack that is suitable for even powerlifters. Still, the price is unbelievable low, see at Amazon.
The holes are placed 2 inches apart, and you can choose from 31 adjustments. Each of the adjustments is numbered. Thanks to this feature, you can tweak the barbell for maximum comfort. Although the J-hooks are a bit short.
For maximum stability, the rare stabilizers are extended to the sides, and side ones go further the uprights. There are no complaints about wobbling and tilting even if it used with heavy loads.
To conclude, it is a sturdy rack that is made for tough workouts and serious lifters.
These are the top cheap power racks that I recommend you to check out. Even if they are inexpensive, they are heavy-duty and have all the features that are required for safe home weight lifting. If you are interested in more professional models, check out my Rogue Fitness power cage comparison here, or the best power rack reviews for a home here.