There are two problems with a lot of the lower-priced racks.
Either they lack significant weight limits or the safety features are too limited for training on your own.
So I spent many hours researching the most popular weight racks and consulting other fitness experts. I tested over 20 power racks together with a group of my clients. We checked their safety, price, build quality, and more.
Here’s the list of the best bang for your buck power racks.
The Best Budget Power Racks
- Best Overall Budget Power Rack: Fitness Reality
- Cheapest Budget Power Rack: Body Power Deluxe
- Best Budget Power Rack for Beginners: Body-Solid Fitness
- Best Budget Power Rack with Cable System: Merax Athletics
- Best High-Capacity Budget Power Rack: HulkFit Adjustable Power Cage
- Best All-in-One Budget Power Rack: Valor Fitness BD-7
- Best Space-Saving Budget Power Rack: Titan T-3 Series
- Most Affordable Power Rack for Intense Training: TDS Mega Squat Rack
- Best Budget Power Rack for Athletes: Goplus Adjustable Power Rack
- Best Budget Portable Power Rack: Marcy Platinum Power Rack
Our Top Budget Power Racks (December 2023)
1 - Fitness Reality 810XLT Power Rack (Best Overall)
During my home workouts, I've come to appreciate the design and adjustability of the Fitness Reality 810XLT. It's been a reliable companion for my strength training sessions.
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 (Best for Beginners)
I started with this rack in the early days of setting up a home gym. It's ideal for those not diving into heavy lifting just yet, and it served me well during those initial training days.
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 - Body Power Deluxe Squatting Rack Cage (Cheapest Option)
I've trained on various racks, but this one caught my attention with its pull-up bars. It felt like the designers had users like me in mind, offering a range of grip options.
The rack gave me flexibility to do everything 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.
4 - Merax Athletics (Best with Cable System)
I was pleasantly surprised by the additional features of this budget rack. It added variety to my home workouts, especially with the smooth cable pulleys.
It was 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 I'd highlight is that getting the pulley cables fully set up seems to be a little bit tricky.
5 - HulkFit Adjustable Power Cage (Best High-Capacity)
When I first tried the HulkFit, I was skeptical given its price. But its 1,000 lbs weight limit proved me wrong, handling my heavy lifts with ease.
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 I noted in online comments is that some people thought the hole alignment could be improved for faster adjustments.
6 - Valor Fitness BD-7 (Best All-in-One)
I've always been a fan of sturdy equipment, and the Valor Fitness squat rack didn't disappoint.
Its solid steel construction gave me confidence in every lift.
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
I just noted that some taller athletes commented that the bars at the top could be a bit higher.
7 - Titan T-3 Series (Best Space-Saving)
Space was a concern in my apartment gym, so I opted for this wall-mounted quality half-rack rack. It's been a space-saver without compromising on functionality.
The short power rack can 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
I just noted a few people commented that they thought some of the steel tubing could be a heavier gauge.
8 - TDS Mega Squat Rack (Best for Intense Training)
I relied on the TDS Mega Squat Rack during my intense training phases. Its safety bars gave me the confidence to push my limits.
It claims to hold up to 1,000 lbs, which would be more than enough for most athletes.
I 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 (Best for Athletes)
I used this rack when I was on a tight budget.
It's affordable, and its 600-pound capacity and half-rack design were perfect for my moderate lifting routine.
If your goal is beyond 500 pounds, then I’d suggest picking something else, as you might outgrow this squat stand.
- 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
10 - Marcy Platinum Power Rack (Best Portable)
The final cheap power rack for our list comes from Marcy. I had the Marcy Platinum in my previous apartment, and its mobility was a lifesaver.
The wheels made it easy to move around, optimizing my limited space.
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.
How We Test Best Budget Power Racks
Here's how we chose the best budget power racks:
1. Assembly & Installation
Before diving into the workouts, we began by assembling each power rack. This gave us insights into the ease of installation, the clarity of instructions, and the quality of included tools and hardware.
2. Safety Features
We tested the sturdiness and reliability of safety bars, J-hooks, and other safety mechanisms. We simulated failed lifts to ensure the safety features worked as intended.
3. Flexibility & Adjustability
We evaluated the number of adjustment levels each rack offered.
Different exercises and user heights require varying setups, so we tested how easy it was to move J-hooks, safety bars, and other components.
4. Durability & Build Quality
Over a span of several weeks, we subjected the racks to regular workouts, checking for signs of wear, tear, or damage.
We also assessed the quality of materials used, welds, and finishes.
5. Additional Features
Many power racks come with added features like pull-up bars, dip stations, or even cable pulleys.
We tested these features for functionality, sturdiness, and ease of use.
6. Space & Footprint
Understanding that many users have limited space, we evaluated how much room each rack occupied and how easy it was to move or store if needed.
7. Price vs. Value
Lastly, we compared the price of each power rack with the features and quality it offered. This helped us determine which racks provided the best value for money.
Power Rack Buyer’s Guide
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. The safety bar is designed to catch the barbell if you struggle 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 a 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, my advice is to add at least 200 pounds to the limit you choose.
Also Read: Best Sissy Squat Machines
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.
According to a study published in the Journal of Physics, you should aim for 11-gauge steel or higher to ensure long-lasting equipment .
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
If your budget is limited right now, you might still want the option to expand the functionality of the rack at a later time.
That means your ideal power rack should have the mechanics necessary to facilitate these upgrades later on, such as a way to attach a squat stand or something similar.
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.
9. Space Optimization
Measure your space and compare it with the dimensions of the rack you're considering. Ensure there's enough room around the rack for safe movement and other exercises.
Utilize vertical space by adding storage pegs or shelves above the rack for equipment.
Consider foldable or wall-mounted racks if you're extremely tight on space; they can be stowed away when not in use.
Lastly, keep the surrounding area clutter-free. Not only does this make your workouts more efficient, but it also reduces the risk of tripping or accidents.
How to Maintain Power Racks
Maintain power racks by routinely inspecting the bolts, nuts, and any movable parts for signs of wear or loosening.
Tighten any loose components and consider replacing parts that show excessive wear.
Cleaning is essential too; wipe down the rack with a damp cloth to remove sweat and dust, preventing corrosion.
If your rack has any upholstered sections, such as a bench, vacuum and spot-clean them as needed.
How to Incorporate Power Racks Into Different Workouts
Beginners can start with basic squats, bench presses, and pull-ups, ensuring they get a full-body workout. As you advance, incorporate exercises like rack pulls, overhead presses, and barbell lunges.
For those looking to mix strength training with cardio, try circuit workouts: do a set on the power rack, followed by a minute of jumping jacks or high knees, and repeat.
The adjustable safety bars also allow for partial-rep training, targeting specific portions of a lift.
Finally, according to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, you can even use power racks to improve swimming strength and performance .
Are Budget Power Racks Worth It?
Yes, budget power racks are worth it as long as they don’t sacrifice safety. They might have a limited number of features, but if you want to focus on free weights, 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. If you’re taller than average, you may want a rack closer to 50 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.
Can You Deadlift in a Budget Power Rack?
Yes, you can deadlift in a budget power rack. You can either use the J-hooks to raise the bar off the ground a bit or use the safety bars if you don’t want to bend down to the ground fully.
How Much Weight Can a Budget Squat Rack Hold?
A budget squat rack can hold up to 1,100 lbs depending on your chosen model. We have found that a good average is about 800 lbs, which should be more than enough for most athletes.
Our Verdict on the Best Budget Power Rack
I've personally tried various power racks over the years, and I can confidently say that the Fitness Reality 810XLT stands out.
Setting it up is straightforward, so no need to be a DIY expert.
It's been a staple in my home gym, offering the perfect blend of weight capacity, durability, and safety.
If you're looking to elevate your home workouts, this is the rack to go for.
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