In fitness, there are many different names for the same basic piece of equipment or exercise. Some names are more descriptive than others and tell you common uses in the name.
However, there are some differences in some of these terms. For instance, while a Smith machine can be a squat rack, a squat rack is not a Smith machine. Similarly, while a power cage is a squat rack, not all squat racks are power cages. You can read more about that in another article that elaborates on the differences.
Squat racks are an essential tool for serious body builders.
For now, here are some of the common names for this type of gym equipment.
Common Names for Squat Racks
- Smith machine
- Power rack
- Squat stand
- Power cage
- Weight rack
- Pull up bar
- Squat bar
- Dip bar
So there are more specifically correct terms associated with each style of squat rack, however in general, these tend to be used interchangeably. For example, a squat rack is definitely not a dip bar, but many gym goers use it as one. Similarly, a power rack isn’t a pull up bar, but again, gym pros use them as one, and certainly the best racks are designed with that in mind.
A rack by any other name, should be as sweet… but the power cage or Smith machine versions of a squat rack are the biggest, baddest of all the squat racks, because they offer the most options.
What we love about the squat rack is that it’s an essential training tool for solo weight lifting because it allows you to safely load and unload your barbell without a spotter. The other thing we love about the squat rack is how it is an extraordinarily multi functional piece of equipment.
If you’re serious about your home gym, the squat rack is one critical piece of equipment that will serve you well.
Frankly, we’d prefer a squat rack, adjustable bench and weights for home gyms above any of the machines with all the ropes and pulleys. Why? Because there’s no maintenance to speak of with weights and racks and it’s much easier to put together than pulleys and cables.
If you’re just getting started, workout some before you buy stuff.
BUT… if you’re just getting started in creating your home gym, we highly recommend you start working out at home first, with the least amount of equipment investment. We all know the jokes about treadmills and exercise bikes becoming clothes racks that end up at yard sales. That happens all the time. To help with home fitness we created some inexpensive and simple workouts for home, outdoors and work.
If you know that you’re seriously ready to invest in some great gym equipment, we highly recommend a squat rack or power rack.
If you’re starting a crossfit or serious garage gym and money isn’t tight, you may want to go ahead and get this top selling commercial grade squat cage. The Rogue Monster Lite RML-690-C Power Rack is big bold and beautiful, in numerous color choices and great for commercial gyms. However, at $1,750 as of this writing, it’s typically too big and too expensive for most home gyms, but we’ve included it for context on how the home gym racks compare to the next level up.1)https://www.roguefitness.com/rml-690c-power-rack
Fortunately, there are much cheaper home gym alternatives that still work very well.
Common Squat Rack Complaints Overall
- Poor packaging / packaging arrived tattered or demolished
- Inconsistency of quality (often happens if foreign made, especially in China where factory output may not be automated to be uniform)
- Low head space for pullups if ceilings are only 8′ or less, such as some basements
- Screws not aligning
- Frame torqueing resulting in wobbling cage units
On the last two points, it’s very possibly not the manufacturing. There are two things that can contribute to an uneven cage that rocks a little, and that same thing can contribute to screws not aligning:
When Squat Racks are Uneven, it may be due to:
- Uneven floors
- Torqueing resulting in wobbling can be also be caused by screws tightened too tightly during building rather than loosely until the unit is fully in place and settled. That’s the best time to then go back and tighten all screws – after the final in-place adjustments.
It’s interesting to note that the majority of squat rack reviewers on many of the various racks stated that the package arrived in very poor condition. This is ultimately a manufacturer issue, because once it becomes known that the boxes aren’t holding up, it’s incumbent on them to improve that quality of the shipping packaging.
To help you in deciding which one might be best for you, here’s a recap of the top 4 best selling squat racks on Amazon.
Squat Rack Reviews
Top 4 Best Selling Squat Racks on Amazon
If you have Amazon Prime, some of these best sellers have FREE SHIPPING! (So if you don’t have Prime yet, but plan to buy a squat rack from Amazon, this would be a good time to get it).
Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial for free shipping on the top 3 selling squat racks!
1. Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage
At a much cheaper price than Rogue power racks, this squat rack with pull up bar from Fitness Reality is a great value buy for a number of reasons.
- 19 Adjustable height levels
- Large walk-in space
- 800 lb weight capacity
- Solid and sturdy construction
- Easy to put together
- High pullup bars
- Plastic parts are not very durable
- Bench is not the most comfortable
- Metal spotters do not come with padding
- Sometimes shipped with parts missing
This Fitness Reality Power Cage squat rack is thoughtfully designed with all the important features without racking up the price tag. You’ll get two chrome dual mounted safety bars and two chrome lock-on safety.
Solid and sturdy construction is another plus. You’ll get a stable power rack that wouldn’t require you to bolt it in place on top of a large walk-in space so you can easily move from side to side. Weight capacity up to 800 lbs. is also pretty impressive for its price.
The bars offer 19 different adjustable height levels so you’ll be able to enjoy a full range of workout positions right on this squat rack.
When bought with the weight bench, you’ll be able to enjoy the versatility of extending your work out options. From squats to pull-ups, flat bench press and seated military shoulder press, you’ll be able to do them all.
2. Titan Power T-2 Deadlift Squat Rack
If you’re not looking to load up your rack with a1,000 lbs. of weights, this Titan Power T-2 Deadlift Squat Rack is more than adequate for your home gym.
- Easy to set-up and move around
- Very sturdy construction
- Wide walk-in design
- Increased stability so no shaking
- Safety bars for safe weightlifting
- 700 lb. capacity
- 28 positions
- Easy to set up
- Low pull-up bar for tall people @ 68.5″
- Some edges may be sharper
- Not available for free shipping through Amazon Prime
For the price, you’ll get a good quality, sturdy rack made of heavy duty steel that’s easy to set-up, use and move around.
Additional key features that make this a good buy include a wide walk-in design so you have more room for side to side movements, high weight capacity up to 700 lbs. and versatility. This squat rack isn’t just for squats. It’s also perfect for military press, curls, shrugs, bench press and more.
The adjustable rack also offers a total of 28 positions to accommodate varying heights. That also means you’ll be able to perform varied exercises for a full body workout in one session.
Another important factor that sold us to this product is the increased stability. Shifting and shaking while you exercise is a pretty common problem with cheaper squat racks. Fortunately, the Titan Power T-2 Deadlift Squat Rack is reliably stable so that means no bolting on the floor needed.
3. Cap Barbell Deluxe Power Rack (FM-CB8000F)
- Sturdy construction
- Durable finish
- Easy to construct
- Small footprint fits easier in home gyms than cages
- Free shipping with Prime
- Not entirely stable for heavy duty workouts
- Maximum weight – 300lbs. (so may not work for heavy weight bodybuilders)
This rack is a great entry level home gym squat rack, economical in space and your wallet. At 47″ deep x 61″ wide, this is your best bet for a small space.
4. Best Fitness Power Squat Rack
This Best Fitness Power Squat Rack is perfectly adequate for a beginner’s needs. Featuring a sturdy construction made of heavy 14-gauge steel, it can readily handle your regular weight lifting needs up to 500 lbs.
- Sturdy steel construction
- Easy to assemble
- Durable powder coat finish available in bright red
- 500 lb capacity
- Safety bars
- Extra photos showing cage in use
- Possible inconsistency in quality
- Not available for free shipping through Amazon Prime
When it comes to assembly, it’s just as easy to put together as the other squat cages we’ve discussed and includes it’s own “wrench” to go with all the pieces and parts. Just follow the step-by-step instructions and you’ll be able to have this ready in around an hour.
The Best Fitness Power Squat Rack is good investment at a reasonable price.
Exercises You Can Do With the Squat Rack
Here are three Smith Machine or Squat Machine workouts for you from the My Gym Trainer 2-intermediate workout manual. For more, click on the links below this.
For additional squat rack workouts check out:
There are some very adequate squat racks for home gyms. Increasingly, our favorite approach, is to have things shipped directly to our door for free, with Amazon Prime, especially for large items. It just saves time. For that, all things considered, our vote for the best home gym squat rack is:
Best lower budget squat rack: Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage
Please let us know what you choose or what you’re already using. Your experience can help others to decide and we’d be glad to add your input to this article.
By My Trainer Fitness with contributing author, D.G.Segunla
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