A power rack is a quintessential piece of fitness equipment for any home-gym owner looking to bring their strength training to the next level. Whether you are looking to do some heavy squatting, bench pressing, or Olympic lifts, you will want the best power rack to hit your fitness goals. It is the framework for any good barbell workout and probably one of the best investments you can make when building out your home gym. A good power rack, sometimes called a power cage, is versatile, tough, reliable, and sturdy.
If you have started your search for a power rack, you know that there are a lot of options out there, available in a variety of price points with a great range of features from basic safety catches to fancy racks with all the bells and whistles. Truthfully, it can be overwhelming. To really narrow down your search, you need to know what to look for and what features are most important.
Here is where we step in. We have compiled a list of the best power racks on the market and will give you the lowdown on everything you need to know before buying. Because, my friends, not all power racks are created equal.
The ACTIVE Reviews Team is made up of fitness experts that include athletes, coaches, and certified trainers who bring years of knowledge and experience to each review. More importantly, each member of our team is a fitness enthusiast. Fitness may be our job, but it is also our passion. Therefore, we strive to bring you products that we trust and would personally use.
What to Consider When Deciding on a Power Rack
Finding the right power rack to fit your needs is paramount. Before making the investment, you need to consider several things: features and accessories desired, price range, size and space, quality, construction, safety, and functionality. Let’s take a deeper look into each area.
Size and Space
The most important thing you need to know before buying any piece of equipment is how much space you have to dedicate to it. Regardless of quality, features, or versatility, if you don’t have the floor space, it just won’t work. Larger power racks with all the fancy extras are wonderful, but the reality is that not every gym lover has the space to store it. Before you begin your search, measure out the floor space you have so you don’t waste your time.
This kind of goes without saying, but knowing your price point is imperative. It is easy to get swept up by all the bells and whistles found on more expensive racks, but if you don’t have the cash flow, it’s pointless. With the plethora of racks on the market today, it is possible to find a moderately-priced rack and achieve all the benefits you desire. Lower-priced power racks may not have the same accessories and features, but it is all about how you intend to use it.
Quality, Construction, and Safety
Alright, this is a big one. When you are looking to lift heavy, you need to be sure you are doing it on a piece of equipment that is made with quality components. In a power rack, that means looking at the types of holes, steel thickness, and safety features. A squat rack essentially becomes your spotter when performing heavy lifts home alone.
Safety features to consider include: Is the rack anchored to the floor? Is there a stabilizer? Can the safety bars be easily adjusted to various levels? What kind of hooks are used to rack the barbell? You want to make sure that the safety bars can be easily adjusted as their primary purpose is to catch a dropped bar and protect you. Additionally, see if the rack can be anchored to the floor or if you need a stabilizer to maximize stability.
Just about all racks are made of steel. The thickness of the steel is referred to as the “gauge” which can range from 14 gauge to 3/8 of an inch gauge. The smaller the number, the thicker the steel. For home use, an 11-gauge rack is plenty thick enough for most users (unless you are a competitive, world-class Olympic lifter).The construction and design of the holes are more important than one might think. It is the holes that hold the safety pins which allow for barbells to be placed at different levels. Inexpensive racks usually have holes that are punched into the steel which can compromise the integrity of the build down the line. Instead, you want laser-cut holes that won’t affect the structural soundness of the power rack. Additionally, consider the spacing of the holes. Many racks offer a uniform 2-inch spacing. But, more recently, racks have integrated what is known as Westside Hole Spacing. In short, this spacing uses either a 1-inch spacing or combination of 1- and 2-inch spacing throughout the rack allowing for more precise hook placement.
Functionality, Features, and Accessories
Power racks are extremely versatile and come with many features often dependent on your budget. Accessories to consider are pull-up bars, lat-bar pulleys, dip stations, weight storage, and band pegs. Knowing how you intend to use the rack will help you narrow down the features most important to you. Regardless of accessories, you probably want something that allows for different exercises (think bench press, squat, etc.).
The Force USA MyRack Modular Rack is constructed with 12-gauge uprights. This is important to note because most power racks today use 11-gauge uprights. In part, the 12-gauge steel is what makes this such a budget-friendly rack, and truthfully, these uprights will be plenty strong enough for most users. Additionally, Force USA has added backer plates at all bolted joints to prevent potential damage and increase sturdiness giving it an impressive maximum weight capacity of 2,000 pounds.
Force USA adopted the popular expanded Westside Hole Spacing which provides 1-inch hole spacing in the bench area and, in this case, a bit above, as well. In fact, the MyRack offers 54 numbered adjustable points which is higher than even pricier competitors. This allows for more precise barbell placement and can accommodate multiple users of different sizes.
The MyRack is a freestanding power rack but does offer bolt-in options. If you plan on using the spotter arms outside the front of the rack, we recommend anchoring the rack. Otherwise, the MyRack is plenty heavy and deep enough to stand on its own.