Best Entry Level Power Racks and Squat Racks for 2020

So you want to buy a cheap squat rack that is still an awesome value? Can’t see investing $1000+ in one of those high-end online fitness company racks that also charge you for shipping? 

You have come to the right place then. I have worked hard to analyze the best cheap squat racks that will give you the same results of a much more expensive rack!

No time to read the whole post? Here are our top 3 picks after our extensive research!

#1 Rep Fitness PR-1100
#2 Titan T2 Squat Rack
#3 HulkFit Power Cage

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Contents

Buying Guide – Best Cheap Squat and Power Racks

Power Rack vs Squat Rack?

A Power Rack and a Squat Rack are two different terms for the same thing!

Squat Rack, Power Rack, Squat Cage, they are all the same thing. It is a metal cage which allows you to safely lift heavy weights.

They have four upright steel posts that you step inside and do your workouts from:

This is a squat rack or power rack. 4 uprights.
This is a squat rack or power rack. 4 uprights.

What about Squat Stands and Half Racks?

Squat stands and half racks have two upright posts rather than 2.

They don’t provide the safety of a true 4 post squat rack or power rack.

Some squat stands do have safety arms and these can be a decent option if you are seriously pressed for space.

What about half racks?

Half racks are squat racks that only have two upright posts instead of four. For this reason they usually take up less space.

For more info see our review of the Best Half Racks for Your Home Gym

J-Hooks

They also always have J-hooks that you use to rack the barbell on:

j hooks example
These are j hooks for holding the bar

Quality J-Hooks will often have plastic or some type of hard rubber padding on the inside of the J-Hook to lessen the sound of the barbell and to protect your bar.

J-hooks can be upgraded.

Keep in mind that you can also usually upgrade the J-hooks on cheaper squat racks with better options. I recently upgraded the J-Hooks on my latest rack and am actually writing an in-depth review on them.

Safety Bars and Safety Arms for Power Racks and Squat Racks

These are Safety Bars:

These are Safety Arms on a half rack:

Why do I need a squat rack?

You need it for safety. Plenty of people have been injured by trying to bench or squat something that was too heavy for them. As an example, take a look at these guys!

You need it because it will make you stronger. There’s nothing like being able to go super heavy because you’re confident you can easily dump the bar on your safeties.

What should I look for in a squat rack/power rack?

The most important thing is to get a rack that can handle the weight you are going to lift. Look for the total amount of total weight capacity it can handle and make sure that includes the j-hooks and the safety bars.

Should I go ultra cheap?

If that’s all you can afford right now then yes, its better to go ultra cheap and have some kind of protection than none at all.

Might be better to wait a few months though and get a decent entry level rack that costs around $300.

Should I build my own wooden squat rack?

No, just no.

Wood will not hold up. Bad things will happen.

How To Squat

First, you can check out our post: Our Tips On How to Squat.

You can also see the below:

If you are looking for a great video on how to squat then check out this one by Alan Thrall:

If you don’t know Alan yet his videos are Amazing. I highly Suggest them.

The Definitive Book on Squatting

If you are the type that learns better from a book or you just want to get more into the details then I can’t recommend Starting Strength enough!

Reviews

1. Rep Fitness PR-1100

Rep Fitness PR-1100

This was the best cheap squat rack I have found and in the end it was the cage I personally decided to go with for my own latest home gym. I think it offers the best possible bang for your buck!

You can take a look at my extended review for this product here.

Assembled Dimensions: 84″ tall x 48″ wide x 47.5″ deep
Weight Capacity: 1000 pounds (453.59 kg)
Material: 2″ x 2″ 14 Gauge Steel Tubing
Hole Spacing: 3 inch

Pros:

  • Very solid construction
  • Different Color Options
  • Safety bars are thick for a rack of this cost
  • Easy to put together
  • Pull up bar that extends a few inches above the top of the rack (great for tall people)
  • Safety bar holes numbered every 5 holes
  • Great add on options like plate holders, cable machine, etc.
  • Fast shipping
  • Responsive customer service
  • Weight can be racked on the ends of safety bars

Cons:

  • Still sways a bit without any racked weight to weigh it down.
  • Unable to be secured to the floor easily
  • J-hooks move around a bit more than I like
  • 3 inch spacing between holes is a little less adjustable than racks with 2 inch spacing

Summary: The best cheap squat rack ($300 or less) I believe you can get on the market today.

2. Titan T2 Squat Rack

2. Titan T2 Squat Rack

This is a damn good rack. It also happens to be the rack that I had in my Garage when I lived in Texas. I didn’t regret anything about the purchase except for maybe the fact that it just didn’t feel quite as solid as some of the other racks I have dealt with now.

Also, it was a bit of a pain to throw together, though this might have been because it was one of the first racks I ever put together.

I would also argue that the safety bars on the rack always felt a little thin to me. I never wanted to drop squats on them. That could just be my impression though.

Assembled Dimensions (6ft): 71.5″ x 48″ x 58″
Assembled Dimensions (7ft): 83″ x 48″ x 48″
Weight Capacity: 700 pounds (317.51 kg)
Material: 2″ x 2″ Steel Tubing
Hole Spacing: 2 inch

Pros:

  • Shipping is included in price
  • Fast Shipping
  • Has a short (6ft) and tall (7ft) version
  • Solid construction
  • Good customer service
  • Can weigh down the rack by putting 45s on back weight holding pins
  • Great add-on options
  • 2 inch spacing between safety bar holes

Cons:

  • Wobbles unless weighted down
  • Pull up bar doesn’t extend high over the rack and so it can feel a bit short for tall people
  • Feels less heavy duty and solid to me than the Rep Fitness Rack
  • Can handle 300 pounds less than the Rep Fitness rack

Summary: A great second place rack. If you have other Titan products and trust them then feel free to go with it.

3. HulkFit Power Cage

3. HulkFit Power Cage

The HulkFit Power Cage is a fantastic new cage that is being sold on Amazon. A friend of mine bought this and I helped him put it together. So far, he loves it. One thing I didn’t like though is that the safety bars didn’t seem thick enough to me. I feel like dropping 1000 pounds on those things would leave them bent. The j-hooks also looked very cheap to me.

Another big problem with the cage is that it can take quite a while to ship. And I will also say is that not a lot is known online about this brand. They don’t seem to have a dedicated website which is a bit sketchy to me.

Assembled Dimensions: 81″ x 44″ x 47″
Weight Capacity: 1000 pounds (453.59 kg)
Material: 2.25″ x 2.25″ Steel Tubing
Hole Spacing: 3 inch

Pros:

  • A lot of great add-on options
  • 1000 pound weight capacity
  • Great pull-up bar that extends out of the rack and above it a bit

Cons:

  • Can Take a few weeks to ship
  • Rack arrived a little scratched up due to poor packaging
  • Strange non-standard frame size of 2.25″ x 2.25″
  • Safety Pin holes are not numbered at all
  • Bright yellow color may be a deal breaker for some
  • 3 inch spacing between holes is a little less adjustable than racks with 2 inch spacing
  • Unknown company
  • Weak looking safety bars
  • J-hooks looked cheap and flimsy

Summary: Overall I passed on this rack. Great value it looks like but I cannot trust a company that only makes low end racks and doesn’t seem to have any higher end products or even a website.

4. TDS Power Rack / Squat Cage

TDS Power Rack

My younger brothers live together in a house in Tyler, Texas and I helped them put this rack together. To be honest I partly suggested they get it just to see how it was.

All I can say is it’s simple but SOLID.

It would be a bit too short for me and I would argue that the safety bars are a bit then for my tastes. One of my brothers though claims that he dropped 300 pounds on them and had no problem. As usual, YMMV.

Assembled Dimensions: 48.5″ X 48″ X 82.5″H
Weight Capacity: 1000 pounds (453.59 kg)
Material: 2″ x 2″ Steel Tubing
Hole Spacing: 2 inch

Pros:

  • 1000 pound capacity
  • Numbered holes for easy safety bar placement on each hole
  • Some add-on options available on the company website
  • 2″ hole spacing
  • Easy to assemble
  • Heavy and doesn’t wobble
  • Fast shipping

Cons:

  • Not a lot of add-on options available
  • white color is a deal breaker for some (like me)
  • Poorly designed company website does not inspire confidence
  • Short compared to other racks
  • Quality issues on some parts

Summary: If you want something simple, solid, white, and short then this is the cage for you.

5. Progear 1600/Fitness Reality 810XLT – Power Rack

Progear 1600/Fitness Reality 810XLT - Power Rack

This used to be the cheapest cage you could get and it’s honestly an acceptable cage. It is sold on both Amazon and Walmart though sold under different product names.

One deal breaker for me with it though is the cross bars on the back of the cage. These bars add support to help the rack not move back and forth as much. However, they also can get in the way when you are racking and unracking weights, especially for squats. Had this happen to me in person when I was trying out one that someone was selling on Facebook Marketplace.

Assembled Dimensions: 84.5″ x 46.5″ x 35″
Weight Capacity: 800 pounds (362.87 kg)
Material: 2″ x 2″ Steel Tubing
Hole Spacing: 3 inch

Pros:

  • Low price for the weight capacity you get
  • Sold by Walmart so you can pickup in store and not deal with shipping issues.
  • Solid add-on options available if purchased through Amazon

Cons:

  • Annoying cross bars that can get in the way
  • No add-on options
  • Super light-weight at 54lbs leads to wobbling
  • 3 inch spacing between holes is a little less adjustable than racks with 2 inch spacing

Summary: If you don’t want to deal with shipping and would like to pickup in store, or if you have a very low budget then this is the rack for you.

6. Fuel Performance Full Cage

6. Fuel Performance Full Cage

In my research, this was the absolute cheapest cage I could find that appeared to be safe and had good feedback from everyone I talked to. The Fuel Performance Full Cage that you can buy from Walmart. This super entry level cage is made by Cap Barbell.

This is the perfect cage for someone who wants to spend as little as possible but still wants the safety of an actual squat rack. If you are already squatting or plan to squat over 300 pounds (ca. 136 kg) then you may want to look at spending a tad more to get a slightly more heavy-duty entry level rack.

Assembled Dimensions (6ft): 43.62″L x 47.24″W x 72″H
Assembled Dimensions (7ft): 43.62″L x 47.24″W x 84″H
Weight Capacity: 600 pounds
Material: steel (frame dimensions not listed)
Hole Spacing: 3 inch

Pros:

  • Cheapest possible cage I could find at time of writing
  • Sold by Walmart and so can be picked up in store instead of dealing with shipping costs/issues.
  • Easy to assemble
  • Comes in 6 and 7 foot heights so if you have a short ceiling, the 6 foot could be perfect for you.

Cons:

  • 600 lb capacity (Lowest of our review group)
  • Safety Bars are very thin
  • Paint rubs off easily
  • May be a bit shakey at weights over 150 pounds (ca. 68 kg)

Summary: The cheapest way you can go. Acceptable but doesn’t leave a lot of room for handling larger amounts of weight as you get better.

Final Thoughts

That’s all I have for my review of the best cheap squat racks.

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