What are the best cheap power racks and squat racks on the market today in 2021?
If you want to get bigger and stronger, you need to squat. Squats are arguably the best exercise not just for building your lower body, but your upper body too. A set of heavy squats triggers a cascade of anabolic hormones that will affect every muscle in your body, leading not just to bigger legs, but all-over muscle growth.
But, as great as squats are, they’re not always the most convenient exercise to perform. Whether you do back squats or front squats, you need to start your set with the barbell on your shoulders.
But, if you’re lifting heavy weights, these feats will be impossible.
Also, if you’re squatting heavy weights close to your one-repetition maximum, there is a real risk of getting stuck at the bottom of a rep and being unable to stand up. This is what powerlifters call being stapled by the weight. Needless to say, this could lead to SERIOUS injury.
The good news is that all of these problems have a solution – using a power rack or a squat rack.
In this article, we’re going to differentiate between these two different types of equipment, and also reveal five of the best cheap power racks and squat racks so you can choose the perfect option for your home gym.
Power racks vs. squat racks – what’s the difference?
You can use power racks and squat racks for safer, easier squats, but they’re different enough that they need to be discussed separately. Use this information to determine whether a squat rack or power rack is right for you.
Power rack 101
Power racks, also known as power cages, are basically metal frames that you can stand within. With two or four vertical columns, power racks have horizontal safety bars that can be moved up or down to stop your barbell from descending below a predetermined point. They also have J-hooks to support your barbell so you can start your rep from a convenient height.
Power racks can be used for not just squats, but overhead presses, bench presses, deadlifts, and bent over rows. Some also have built-in pull-up and chin-up bars, and even lat pulldown stations too. They are very versatile!
But, this versatility comes at a cost – size. Power racks are invariably tall and also have a fairly large footprint. They may be too big for some home gym spaces. Plus, once assembled and in position, they’re not all that easy to move, and some lighter models need to be bolted to the floor or a wall to stop them from tipping over.
Squat racks 101
Also known as squat stands, squat racks are adjustable pillars with J-hooks to support your barbell. They save you from having to lift your bar off the floor at the start of each set. Some squat racks consist of two separate stands, while others are one single unit.
Squat racks are usually smaller than power racks, both in height and footprint. They’re also easier to move and can even be laid flat for storage. However, while squat racks are perfect for squats and can also be used for overhead presses, they aren’t always suitable for other exercises. Also, they won’t protect you if you should fail to complete a rep.
If you’ve got plenty of space, and want to do more than just squats, a power rack is probably your best home gym option. Combine a power rack with an adjustable bench and a good barbell, and you have pretty much all you need to get bigger and stronger.
But, if you are short of space, only want to squat, and don’t need the added safety of squatting in a cage, squat stands are what you need.
Whichever you choose, make sure it will fit your training area (both footprint and height) and also make sure it’s strong enough to support the weights you’ll be lifting. Some products are only rated up to 300-400lbs, while others can safely support 800lbs+.
5 Best Cheap Power Racks and Squat Racks for Sale in 2021
Power racks and squat racks can be expensive, especially if you go for products designed for commercial use. But, for home and light commercial settings, you don’t need to break the bank to buy a good product.
Here are five of the best budget-friendly power and squat racks around!
1. Ollieroo Multi-Function Barbell
Do you want the functionality of a power rack, but only have space for squat stands in your home gym? The Ollieroo Multi-Function Barbell Rack could be just what you are looking for. It’s technically a half rack and combines the versatility of a power rack with the compactness of a squat rack.
- Made from steel
- Maximum load capacity 480lbs
- Adjustable height and width
- Can be used for dips, bench presses, and squats
- Small footprint
- Non-slip rubber feet
This multifunction rack is ideal for squats and can also be used for bench presses. But, unlike a true power rack, it won’t be much help if you are unable to complete a rep. However, for the price, it’s a great compromise between a full-sized power rack and a compact squat stand.
- Light and compact
- Very budget-friendly
- Reasonably strong
- Easy to assemble
- Easy to use
- Not the most stable design
- No safety bars to prevent accident or injury
You’ll have to be careful when using this rack. It would be all-too-easy to knock it over when you are putting your barbell back on the J-hooks at the end of your set. For that reason, it’s worth putting it against a wall or buying the more expensive Ollieroo Barbell Rack (by $10!) model with a built-in weight plate rack, which will help make it more stable.
2. CAP Barbell FM-8000F Deluxe Power Rack
CAP makes good value strength training equipment. This FM-8000F Deluxe Power Rack isn’t the sturdiest or the strongest power rack around, but it is compact, light, and very budget-friendly. It’s a good option for anyone looking for a power rack for a smaller space.
- Heavy-duty 14-gauge steel construction
- Available in seven powder-coated colors
- Adjustable J-hooks and bar catchers
- Built-in weight holders
- Built-in band pegs
- Overhead pull-up bar
- Maximum weight capacity on j-hooks – 600lbs
- Maximum weight capacity on weight catchers – 300lbs
At just 103lbs, this is a very light power rack, but it’s still strong and sturdy enough for most home gyms. The band pegs and pull-up bar make this a very versatile product, and you should have no problem fitting this rack into even a modest-sized home gym.
- Versatile design
- Very durable
- Suitable for lower body and upper body training
- Nice range of colors
- A lot of power rack for the money!
- Not as stable as a fully enclosed power rack
Unless you are setting powerlifting records, this CAP Barbell FM-8000F Deluxe Power Rack is perfect for home use. You can use it for almost all barbell exercises, and also build your back with pull-ups and chin-ups. It’s smaller than a full rack, making it perfect for home use.
3. MENCIRO Barbell Squat Stands
- 【𝐌𝐀𝐗𝐈𝐌𝐔𝐌 𝟒𝟓𝟎 𝐋𝐁𝐒...
- 【𝐅𝐔𝐋𝐋𝐘 𝐀𝐃𝐉𝐔𝐒𝐓𝐀𝐁𝐋𝐄...
- 【𝐀𝐋𝐋–𝐑𝐎𝐔𝐍𝐃 𝐒𝐓𝐀𝐁𝐋𝐄...
These MENICRO Barbell Squat Stands won’t take up much space, and you can move them and put them away for easy storage. Best of all, they’re VERY budget-friendly. But despite being small and cheap, they’re still strong enough for some serious squats and bench pressing.
- Two separate barbell stands
- Adjustable J-hooks
- Adjustable barbell supports
- Non-slip feet
- Maximum weight capacity 450lbs
- Can be used for squats, bench presses, overhead presses, and other compound barbell exercises
There is no need to break the bank to buy a serviceable squat rack. This MENICRO squat stand model is well-priced, reasonably strong, and very compact. Plus, when you aren’t using it, you can put it away to free up space. It’s not built for record-breaking squat workouts, but it’s more than strong enough for most beginner and intermediate lifters.
- Easy to use
- Compact design
- Competitively priced
- Not as stable as a full power rack
You’ll need to take care not to knock these squat stands over when racking or unracking your bar. There is no way to fix them to the floor or weigh them down. But, providing you are careful, this is a very budget-friendly, space-saving option for home exercisers.
4. Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage
This Fitness Reality Power Cage is what most people think of when they’re imagining a power rack. The four-columns and horizontal safety bars are design classics! It’s quite compact, making it perfect for home use, but despite weighing just 148lbs, it has an impressive 800lbs weight capacity.
- Heavy-duty 2×2” steel construction
- Two adjustable safety bars
- Adjustable straight pull-up bar
- Adjustable J-hooks
- Angled and neutral grip pull-up bars
- Non-slip feet
- Can be used for most barbell exercises, including squats, bench presses, and rack pull deadlifts aka rack pulls
This model 810XLT is a real power rack that won’t break the bank. It’s bigger than many other home workout squat racks, so make sure you’ve got space to accommodate it. But, if it fits your home gym, this power rack should provide years of worry-free barbell strength training.
- Very strong and stable
- Easy to assemble
- Perfect for serious home trainers
- May be too big for smaller workout spaces
If you are looking for a “real” power rack but don’t want to spend a fortune to buy it, this Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage could be the product for you. It’s everything a good power rack should be – strong, stable, and versatile – but buying it won’t break the bank.
5. HulkFit Multi-Function Adjustable Power Rack
This HulkFit Power Rack is very versatile. With nothing more than a barbell, weight plates, and a bench, you’ll have everything you need to train every muscle in your body. The weight capacity is 800lbs so it’s plenty strong enough for even the most intense workout.
- Made from 12-gauge 2.5” steel
- 800lbs weight capacity
- Straight pull-up bar
- Pegs for resistance bands
- Built-in dipping bars
- Built-in weight plate holders
- Adjustable J-hooks and safety bars
- Suitable for squats, bench presses, overhead presses, deadlifts, etc.
- Non-slip feet
This open power rack looks great! It’s well-made, strong, and very well priced too. Because it’s not enclosed, it’s relatively light, and fewer construction materials help keep the cost down. But this is still a versatile power rack and is ideal for most home gyms.
- Strong and sturdy
- Very versatile
- Great color
- Easy to adjust and use
- Requires some self-assembly
- May be too tall for low-ceilinged home gyms
This power rack is very stable and well-made. It’s robust enough for even the strongest home exerciser, and yet it’s not too expensive. This HulkFit Multi-Function Adjustable Power Rack is a serious piece of weight training equipment for a home gym, and it’s designed to make your home workouts safer and more productive.
Best Cheap Power Racks and Squat Racks – Final Thoughts
A home power rack or squat rack can add a lot to your workouts. For starters, they make squats a lot safer and more convenient, saving you from having to clean the bar (lift the barbell to your shoulders) from the floor each time you want to do a set. Some can also be used for other exercises, such as bench presses.
Both power racks and squat racks can be useful, but in most cases, power racks take up more space and have to be left where they are assembled, even when you aren’t using them. Squat racks tend to be more compact and easier to put away between workouts.
If you’ve got the space, a power rack would arguably be the best choice because they’re stronger, more stable, and more versatile. But, if space is an issue, a squat rack will definitely suffice. If you can, try both options to see which is best for you. If that’s not possible, make sure you measure your workout space to see which one you can best accommodate.
Even after you have set up your home gym with a power rack or squat rack, you still need to focus in on perfecting your squat technique. The most common squat weak points and their chief causes are:
1 – getting stuck at the bottom (weak glutes and hamstrings)
2 – getting stuck half-way up (weak quads)
3 – hips rising faster than the weight ( inadequate core strength)
4 – knees caving in (weak hips and glutes)
5 – left to right weight shift – (one leg stronger than the other)
The next time you train squats, video your workout or ask someone knowledgeable to observe your performance.
Analyze your performance and identify your weak points.
Then, once you know what you need to work on, select one of the appropriate Top 10 Squat Accessory Exercises for a Bigger, Better Squat, and start working on your sticking points!
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