Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED

There are a handful of things that might transform a home gym to the extent that you’d probably never need to visit a commercial gym again.

One of these items is a power rack, ideally in a cage-like setup that would allow you to use it for bench presses as well as a squat rack.

The problem with a lot of power racks on the market is that their design is either too limited or they aren’t sturdy enough to be safely used.

So, we did some testing to see which ones might work best in a home gym configuration.

Below are our best power rack recommendations.

Our Top Power Racks

1 - Merax Athletics Fitness Power Rack (Editor's Choice)

Merax Athletics Fitness Power Rack Olympic Squat Cage

The Merax is one of the squat racks that might provide great flexibility due to the lat pull cable system that is included.

It has 19 height settings with hole spacing that seems to be giving athletes plenty of flexibility.

And because it includes two weight storage pins on each side, it should be a great option if you have a large selection of plates.

  • 500 lbs capacity
  • 19 levels
  • Pull up bar
  • Lat pulldown
Pros
  • Seems to be easy to adjust the J hooks for inside and outside the cage use
  • May be configured for rowing movements
  • Lat pulldown attachment is included for more exercise options
Cons
  • The pull-up bars are a little bit limited in grip flexibility

It has a pull-up bar, but not the multi-grip kind for more targeted strength training.

2 - Circuit Fitness Walk-in Power Cage

Circuit Fitness Walk-in Power Cage

We liked the simple design, and there were quite a lot of comments that said you didn’t have to be some sort of DIY genius to get it set up.

It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but that may make it more affordable if you just need a simpler piece of equipment to do some training at home.

  • 300 Lbs Capacity
  • 19 Levels
  • Pull up Bar
Pros
  • Positive comments about it being easy to assemble
  • It’s an affordable option but still delivers good features
  • Safety bars seem to be solid and easy to adjust
Cons
  • Only has a 300 pounds weight limit despite the solid look

The limiting factor with this model is that you might only be able to go up to 300 pounds of weight, but for some people, that might be more than enough.

3 - Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage

Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage

The first thing that stood out for us is that the Super Max Power Cage seems to have designed a heavy duty steel frame structure. It’s not the highest weight limit, but at 800 pounds it should be more than enough for the majority of people.

We put the J cups and safety arms to the test, and found that they were solid and should withstand a lot of pressure.

  • 800 Lbs Capacity
  • 19 Height Levels
  • Pull up Bar
Pros
  • Steel frame structure uses 2x2 steel
  • Top of the frame is a multifunction pull-up bar
  • Assembly instructions seem to be easy to follow
  • Safety bars seem to be solid even when weights drop
Cons
  • It might be a bit top-heavy without weights

Just keep in mind that the frame of the Super Max Power Cage seems a bit top-heavy when there aren’t any weights loaded on.

4 - Murphy Rack Wall-Mounted Folding Power Rack

Murphy Rack Fold Up Squat Rack, Wall Mounted Folding Power Rack

Technically, this would be classified as a half rack, but the design might be a good choice for anyone that has limited space.

It might also be one of the best power racks available for tall people as it comes with 28 level settings and is 90 inches tall. That should make it flexible enough for bench presses and pull-ups.

You can also use it as a squatting rack, but you won’t have safety bars due to the design.

  • 1,000 Lbs Capacity
  • 28 Height Levels
  • Pull up Bar
Pros
  • Wall-mounted so that it may take up less space in a home gym
  • 90-inch max height for more flexibility and suitable for tall people
  • Can be folded up to save more space when not in use
Cons
  • Assembly and attachment to the wall might be a bit tricky

Securing it to a wall is a little bit tricky, and you’ll need a few DIY skills and tools to do this.

5 - Fitness Reality X-Class Light Olympic Power Cage

Fitness Reality X-Class Light Commercial High Capacity Olympic Power Cage

If space is not an issue, then looking at Olympic size power cages like this one could give you maximum flexibility.

The lat pulldown attachment has a cable system that looks to be heavy-duty, and you may also switch it to a low rower position.

The multi-grip pull up bars should give you some added flexibility in your exercise routine as well.

  • 1,500 Lbs Capacity
  • 24 Levels
  • Pull up Bar
  • Lat Pulldown Attachment
Pros
  • Commercial size cage with lat pulldown cable system
  • 11 gauge steel safety bars should take quite a hit
  • Multi-grip pull up bar may provide more flexibility
Cons
  • Size and dimensions would take up a lot of space

Just make sure that you measure out your floor space to make sure that it will comfortably fit in your gym.

6 - HulkFit 1000-Pound Capacity Multi-Function Adjustable Power Cage

HulkFit 1000-Pound Capacity Multi-Function Adjustable Power Cage

This is one of the higher weight ranges we could find, and this might be needed for any powerlifters out there.

We liked that it came with four J cups, which might save you some adjustment time in between sets.

There are dip bars included as well, and if you need the ultimate gym setup, then you could also order the lat pull-down cable system.

  • 1,000 Lbs Capacity
  • 17 Levels
  • Dip and Pull up Bar
Pros
  • Claims to use 11 gauge steel for a sturdy frame
  • Rubber feet may reduce the risk of accidental slipping
  • Optional attachments available for lat pulldown
Cons
  • Some people have reported that the weight plate holders might be a bit too low

The only thing we noted is that some people thought the plate pins might be a bit low for some larger weights that you might have.

7 - Sunny Health & Fitness Power Zone Squat Stand Rack Power Cage

Sunny Health & Fitness Power Zone Squat Stand Rack Power Cage

This is another affordable and simple design in a half rack.

It may be suitable for squats as well as bench presses, and there are some spotter arms included as well for added safety in your home gym.

It has a decent 800 pounds limit despite being such an affordable option, thanks to the solid steel uprights.

  • 805 Lbs Capacity
  • 18 Levels
  • Pull up Bar
Pros
  • Includes hooks for attaching exercise bands
  • Has quite a small footprint making it suitable for smaller home gyms
  • Nicely positioned plate holders to keep things tidy
Cons
  • Max height for the pull-up bar may not be high enough for tall people

The only downside we found is that the height may not be ideal for tall people trying to do some pull-ups.

8 - CAP Barbell FM-8000F Deluxe Power Rack

CAP Barbell FM-8000F Deluxe Power Rack

I won’t say who on our team insisted on adding this because of the cool color options.

But I guess there are some style-conscious athletes who may want to get everything matching at home.

It’s a good half-rack design with welded anchors that you may want to use to bolt it to the ground.

We also like the wider J cups and spotter arms that just seem to give you some added confidence in the safety.

  • 500 Lbs Capacity
  • 17 Levels
  • Pull up Bar
Pros
  • Includes hooks on the feet to use for resistance bands
  • Seems to be a solid squat rack that doesn’t take up too much space
  • Available in different color options to match up with other equipment
Cons
  • Limited positions for your pull-ups

Just keep in mind that you’ll be a little bit limited in your grip position for pull-ups with the CAP Barbell.

9 - Body Flex Sports Body Champ Power Rack System

Body Flex Sports Body Champ Power Rack System

Here’s another one of the space-saving half racks on the market that we liked. It also has the safety bars that would make this one of the safer squat racks that we found.

It is a lower weight range model, but for many folks, that will still be more than enough for normal training. And the welded frame anchors should make it more secure when doing pull-ups.

  • 300 Lbs Capacity
  • 12 Levels
  • Pull up Bar
Pros
  • Sturdy enough for moderate weight home use
  • Easy to adjust to different levels in between sets
  • The floor anchors allow you to bolt it to the ground for added safety
Cons
  • A bit limited in the number of levels you can set

We just found that it was a bit limited in the level adjustments for a half rack.

10 - Body Power Deluxe Rack Cage

Body Power Deluxe Rack Cage

The final one on our list of best power racks is another full-size cage that should be able to take quite a heavy load.

It seems to be a high-quality design with enough levels and decent hole spacing to make it suitable for the more serious weight lifters.

It includes two dip bars as well, and there are multi-grip pull-up bars for a wider range of bodyweight exercises.

  • 800 Lbs Capacity
  • 17 Levels
  • Pull up Bar
Pros
  • Has six weight plate pins for easier access
  • Includes solid floor mount anchors that are welded to the frame
  • Dip bars included for more exercise options
Cons
  • It’s quite a bulky design that might take up quite a bit of space

The downside is that it might take up a lot of space, even for a cage design.

What To Look For In Power Racks

1 - Measure Out The Dimensions

dimensions

Very few people are fortunate enough to be able to take over large spaces for their home gym.

And even if you have a double garage with one half designated as an exercise den, you’ll still need to make sure that all your equipment fits in safely.

Measuring out the space that your squat stand will take up is the first thing you should do.

This is even more important if you’re going for a full-size cage.

2 - Pay Attention To The Weight Limits

You’ll notice that the above recommendations included models that have a weight limit from 300 to 1,000 pounds.

One thing to keep in mind is to not buy something with a limit that is exactly at your current training and lifting limit. 

If you’re serious about doing more regular workout routines done at home, then you need to pick one of the cages or squat racks that you can grow into as your fitness levels and strength increase.

3 - Check For Height Adjustments

power rack height adjustment

There are two things to look out for.

First of all, check that the overall height range of the adjustment holes is high enough to support how tall you are.

Some taller athletes often get caught out with the maximum height and end up being restricted in their workout routines.

The second thing to check is the number of levels you can set and how many inches they are apart.

You would want to see at least 16 holes on the uprights to allow for a broader range of exercises [1].

4 - Look For Additional Accessories

Some people design their home gym with dozens of pieces of equipment. We just think that it might be a waste of money and space.

“Many research studies have shown that exercises that require you to “move your body through space,” show increased and stronger muscle fiber firing than those where your torso remains in place/stable. This is why squats are, in many cases, superior to leg presses, and pullups superior to pulldowns, as examples. Dips fill this prescription as well.”

 

- Eric Broser, Strength and fitness trainer.

By having attachments and accessories on your equipment, you could turn a rack into a solution for multiple workouts.

Look for things like dip bars [2], pull-up bars, and lat pulldown cable systems to really get a good training regime going.

5 - Don’t Ignore Safety Features

The equipment you choose should be at least made with 11 gauge steel. But ideally, go for something higher like 14 gauge. This makes it a lot more sturdy, with less of a chance of shake or wobble [3].

Safety bars should also feature high on your list.

“With a barbell bench press, if you fail, the weight could crush your chest, neck, or face. That’s why people often do this exercise with a spotter, a friend who can help you get the weight back up if your arms start to buckle.”

 

- Beth Skwarecki, Blogger at LifeHacker.com

These would allow you to train without needing a spotter in case you end up struggling to get the barbell back on the hooks.

You’ll often see these listed as spotter arms, and you would set them to a height a couple of inches above your chest for bench presses.

6 - Avoid The Lowest Price Options

Don’t just pick something that seems to fit your needs that is cheap, especially if you’re on a tight budget.

First of all, cheap often means that it’s been designed with limited capacity and safety features.

Secondly, you could outgrow it quickly, meaning that you’d hit a technical plateau in your exercises.

Definitely set a budget, but choose something in a price range that combines flexibility for your workouts and safety.

Not convinced if a power rack is for you? you might want to check our review of the best smith machines

FAQs

FAQs

Do You Need to Bolt Down Your Power Rack?

Yes, generally speaking, it’s safer to bolt down your power rack. If it’s a large cage-style rack, then it might be OK to be working out without securing it to the ground.

How Deep Should a Power Rack Be?

A cage-style power rack should be at least 50 inches deep. You would need that kind of space in order to move your body into a position for squats and deadlifts.

How Tall Should My Power Rack Be?

A power rack should be at least 84 inches tall. The reason for this is that most racks come with pull-up bars, and you need a certain amount of ground clearance for your legs.

Can You Deadlift in a Power Rack?

Yes, you can deadlift in a power rack. As long as it’s not a compact stand, you should have enough room to complete the move without bumping into the uprights.

Our #1 Recommendation

In a very rare unanimous agreement, our entire team came to the conclusion that the Merax Athletics might be the best power rack for a garage gym.

It’s heavy duty and seems to be one of the best when it comes to having flexibility for different types of workouts.

We put it through some safety tests that made it give us the confidence that you’d avoid injury in a worst-case scenario.

Order yours today and see how it could transform your workouts at home.

Merax Athletics Fitness Power Rack Olympic Squat Cage

Merax Athletics Fitness Power Rack

Best Power Rack

  • Seems to be easy to adjust the J hooks for inside and outside the cage use
  • May be configured for rowing movements
  • Lat pulldown attachment is included for more exercise options
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