I don’t think any home gym should be without a power rack as it will give you the most flexibility when it comes to weight training your whole body.
But there are two problems with a lot of the lower price range racks.
Either they lack significant weight limits, or the safety features are too limited for training on your own.
So, we tested out different exercises on the most popular racks we could find to come up with some gym equipment to keep you safe.
Here’s the list of best budget power racks that we tested out over the past couple of months.
Our Top Budget Power Racks
1 - Fitness Reality 810XLT Power Rack (Editor's Choice)
The power rack that we all liked the best from a design and adjustment perspective is this Fitness Reality 810XLT model.
It might not have the largest number of height levels, but we found it was easy to make adjustments without interrupting a workout too much.
And it uses high-quality steel to make it sturdy.
- 800 lbs capacity
- 19 adjustments
- The frame has pull-up bars for a wider range of exercises
- Suitable for squats and bench presses
- The stability bars seem to do a good job at avoiding wobbles
- Positive comments that the assembly process is pretty easy
- The frame doesn’t have weight plate storage pins
The only thing I’m missing is some pins on the back to store the plates for easier access.
2 - Body-Solid Fitness BFPR100
This is one of the power racks we recommend for a home gym where users won’t be planning for heavy weight exercises.
But the 500-pound limit is still plenty for the average user.
You may choose from 23 different heights, which should give enough flexibility for the height of the user as well as the types of exercises.
- 500 lbs capacity
- 23 adjustments
- The optional bench seems to nicely integrate with the frame
- The high-quality safety bars seem to be easily adjustable
- Assembly only takes about 30 minutes and minimal DIY skills
- The chin-up bar is a bit limited for hand positions
I would just prefer a different type of pull-up bar that allows for a broader range of hand placements.
3 - Merax Athletics
This budget power rack comes with some extra features that may help you do more in your home gym.
We found the cable pulleys worked smoothly, and it’s easy to adjust even into a low row functionality.
The solid steel safety bars support up to 800 lbs, which is plenty for a cheap power rack.
- 800 lbs capacity
- 21 adjustments
- Plenty of storage pins on the squat rack for weight plates
- The safety bars look very sturdy to allow for heavier squats
- Includes a cable system for lat pull-downs
- You’ll need to invest a bit more time for assembly with the cable system
The only thing we’d highlight is that getting the pulley cables fully set up seems to be a little bit tricky.
4 - Body Power Deluxe Squatting Rack Cage
This is one of the squatting racks where the designers put good effort into the pull-up bars. They are designed to provide flexibility from chin-ups to wide-grip and everything in between.
With heavy-duty safety bars, you’ll have confidence in squatting up to 800 pounds.
- 800 lbs capacity
- 17 adjustments
- There may be more than enough storage space for plates
- Dip bars are included as well with a quick adjustment system
- Provides one of the best multi-grip pull-up bars for more flexibility
- Some people have commented that this squat rack might be a bit narrow
Having compared the dimensions, the steel frame just seems to be a few inches narrower than other models.
5 - HulkFit Adjustable Power Cage
We were impressed by this cheap power rack because of the maximum weight limit of 1,000 lbs. At that level, you’re into the professional power squat requirements.
I also liked the powder coated frame as it may stand up against constant knocks pretty well.
- 1,000 lbs capacity
- 17 adjustments
- It has one of the highest weight limits for serious bodybuilders
- Positive comments about the dip bar design for different hand placements
- The pull-up bar has foam handles for better grip and comfort
- Some of the hole alignments seem a bit off
The only thing we noted in online comments is that some people thought the hole alignment could be improved for faster adjustments.
6 - Valor Fitness BD-7
What we liked about the Valor Fitness squat rack is the solid steel construction, which seems to make it very rigid.
The safety bars should be easy to adjust for squatting and bench press exercises, which means you won’t need to rely on a spotter.
- 800 lbs capacity
- 27 adjustments
- The storage pegs should be large enough to keep your plates organized
- Getting it set up seems to be easy and doable on your own
- Cable pulleys are included to give you a border range of exercises
- The pull-up bar may not be high enough for some athletes
We just noted that some taller athletes commented that the bars at the top could be a bit higher.
7 - Titan T-3 Series
If you don’t want fitness equipment to take up too much workout space, then this wall-mounted half-rack might be the right choice. The short power rack may even fold closer to the wall when you’re finished with it.
It also comes with the most adjustment holes (39 in total), which isn’t something you’ll find on other squat racks.
- 1,100 lbs capacity
- 39 adjustments
- Provides the largest number of adjustment settings
- Wall-mounted design takes up less space and folds away
- Positive comments it’s stable and doesn’t seem to wobble
- Some people say that 14-gauge steel would be more suitable for the max weight
We just noted a few people commented that they thought some of the steel tubing could be a heavier gauge.
8 - TDS Mega Squat Rack
Here’s another fitness power rack with safety bars that may be more suitable for professional level heavy weights.
It claims to hold up to 1,000 lbs, which would be more than enough for most athletes.
We also liked the knurls on the chin-up bar, as they may provide quite a bit more grip, especially if you’re using a weighted vest.
- 1,000 lbs capacity
- 31 adjustments
- The hole numbering is helpful if you regularly make changes during your workouts
- Includes solid steel safety bars for added protection
- Knurls on the chin-up bar may provide better grip
- The assembly instructions seem to be a bit difficult to follow
Just be prepared for an assembly process that’s a bit tricky and may require a second person to help.
9 - Goplus Adjustable Power Rack
This is possibly the most affordable budget power rack, and for some athletes, the limited 600-pound weight capacity and half-rack design might be more of an advantage.
- 500 lbs capacity
- 30 adjustments
- Has a compact design that shouldn’t take up too much space in a home gym
- The pull-up bar height should suit most athletes
- Positive comments about the J-hooks being easy to adjust
- The lower weight limit might not suit more advanced athletes
If your goal is beyond 500 pounds, then I’d suggest picking something else, as you might outgrow this squat stand.
10 - Marcy Platinum Power Rack
The final cheap power rack for our list comes from Marcy. It could be helpful if you need to move your home gym equipment out of the way, thanks to the wheels on the frame.
People like that it doesn’t take up a lot of space and that a bench is included.
- 600 lbs capacity
- 13 adjustments
- The steel frame has wheels to make moving the rack a bit easier
- The set includes a weight bench with a steel frame
- Includes a multi-grip pull-up bar for more training flexibility
- The dip handles might get in the way when bench pressing
I would just suggest taking the dip bars off when you’re not using them, as they tend to get in the way a bit.
1. Safety First
The first thing to check with all power racks is the quality of the J-hooks and safety bars.
The J-hooks are where you would place the barbell before you start lifting. And the safety bar is designed to catch the barbell if you struggled to get back to your starting position.
Unfortunately, we saw quite a few racks that didn’t use solid steel safety rods, and those could buckle and bend.
“If you exercise on a treadmill, stationary bicycle, elliptical machine or with exercise balls, free weights, or total body resistance (TRX) suspension bands, check before using them to ensure they are safe and working properly.”
- Summit Medical Group.
While a J-hook should be easy to move, it still needs to be secure in place where it wouldn’t accidentally knock off.
You don’t want to be at the end of your set only to see that the hook has come loose.
2. Maximum Weight Capacity
Even an affordable power rack should provide you with a weight range that allows you to build up strength.
You’ll have a much better and longer-lasting workout experience when you don’t have to worry whether your progress will mean that you outgrow your equipment.
That could limit your training options, or you’ll have to spend more to buy one with a higher limit.
If your plan is to squat above 500 or 600 pounds, I suggest adding at least 200 pounds to the limit you choose .
It’s just a better safety buffer to have.
3. Durable Materials
I’ve seen too many power racks that use a steel thickness that would not be suitable for anything more than low weight exercises.
It’s not so much that they might buckle quickly under heavier loads.
But you might find that constant knocks and bumps from the weight bar result in dents. I have seen at least one fitness rack where the same type of movement caused the barbell to knock the exact same spot so many times that it became too weak to sustain the pressure.
Aim for 12 gauge steel or higher to avoid such problems .
4. Frame Size
One thing to always check is the dimensions of fitness equipment to make sure it’ll fit into the space you plan to use it.
Also, keep in mind that you may want to use a training bench as well, and that would need to come out a few feet from the rack.
This might seem obvious, but I’ve seen a few friends who got their estimates wrong, and they ended up severely limited in how many features they could use because there simply wasn’t enough space.
5. Number Of Adjustment Levels
All power racks allow you to move the J-cups or hooks up and down the frame.
They fit into the holes in the frame, and the number of adjustment holes indicates how many different levels you can adjust it to.
You also want to check the hole spacing.
The closer they are together, the more accurately you’ll be able to adjust to a level that suits you best.
6. Weight Plate Holders
One piece of equipment I look to see on the frame are pins to store your Olympic plates.
Now, some people don’t mind stacking them or having them lay around their home gym, but it can get messy.
And if you build up a large enough selection, then they might become a tripping hazard as well.
Accidents happen too often in gyms as it is, so don’t take unnecessary chances and just aim to keep your weights tidy .
7. Additional Accessories
Some people like to see customization options with power racks.
And it makes perfect sense.
If your budget is limited right now, you might still want the option to expand the functionality of the rack at a later time.
Some options we like to see are lat attachments in the form of a pulley system . These might completely transform your exercise routine.
“The lat pulldown is a fantastic exercise to strengthen the latissimus dorsi muscle, the broadest muscle in your back, which promotes good postures and spinal stability. Form is crucial when performing a lat pulldown to prevent injury and reap the best results.”
- Piedmont Healthcare.
But also check for included accessories like a dip attachment and chin-up bars. If they aren’t included in the rack you choose, then put them on your list as extras.
8. Mounting Features
Personally, I prefer the free-standing racks as they tend to give you more flexibility for your strength training exercises.
But you’ll also find options that bolt onto a wall, and these can be helpful if you don’t have a lot of workout space.
If you are thinking about a wall-mounted rack, then make sure that the bar supports are properly bolted into a brick wall.
These are not options for a stud wall where you’d just be waiting for an accident to happen.
If you are not on a budget, check out the best overall power racks.
Are Budget Power Racks Worth It?
Yes, budget power racks are worth it as long as they don’t sacrifice on safety. They might have a limited number of features, but if you just want to focus on free weights, then a simple but quality power rack system should be more than enough.
How Deep Should a Budget Power Rack Be?
A budget power rack should be at least 45 inches deep. This is because you want the ability to use a bench without being limited in the types of bench press workouts you can do. Obviously, if you’re taller than average, then you may want a rack that is closer to 50 inches deep.
Can You Deadlift in a Budget Power Rack?
Yes, you can deadlift in a budget power rack. You can either choose to use the J-hooks to raise the bar off the ground a bit or you might even use the safety bars if you don’t want to fully bend down to the ground.
How Much Weight Can a Budget Squat Rack Hold?
A budget squat rack can hold up to 1,100 lbs depending on the model you choose. We have found that a good average is about 800 lbs, which should be more than enough for the majority of athletes.
What Is The Best Budget Power Rack We Recommend?
We all agreed that the Fitness Reality 810XLT is the best investment to make, as it seems to provide the right combination of weight limit, sturdiness, and safety.
As personal trainers, we’re simply not willing to compromise on safety, and this model convinced us that bit more with the strength of the steel.
Oh, and it doesn’t take a DIY tool wizard to put together.
So order yours today and see how much it has improved home gyms around the country.