Best Power Rack Under $500 for 2018
If you want to build some serious muscle, you need to do some serious exercises. We have nothing against curls and pushups, but we all know what are three reign kings of bodybuilding- squats, deadlifts and bench press. You can do variations of these exercises without one, but if you want to do them properly, and safely, you will need a power rack.
In this article, we will present you our top five picks for the Best Power Rack Under 500, in our opinion. But first, we will explain you a thing or two about power racks, and share some advice.
What is a power rack?
Power rack concept is simple- this is a device specifically designed for free weight training, without a spotter. It has one primary function – safety.
Power racks are often confused with squat stands. Although they look similar, their purpose is different – squat stands are about convenience, power racks about safety. A squat stand makes it easier for you to load and unload weight while doing squats (especially back squats). They don’t have stoppers and safety bars. But if something goes wrong, you better have a spotter to help.
Power racks (or cages) have safety bars. You are supposed to set these up just outside of your full range of motion. And if something happens, and the barbell slips, safety bars will hold it, and you will not injure yourself, or cause other damage (the loaded barbell won’t slam on your house floor). So for squats, you adjust the bars just below your deepest squat position, for bench press just above your chest, etc. But don’t restrict your movement- you still want the full range of motion, to do the exercise correctly.
One more thing- power racks are not Smith machines. Yes, Smith also shares safety-first concept, but the bar inside them is fixed. Power racks are a safe way to do free-weights exercises- the safety of Smith machines combined with the flexibility of free weights, an ideal solution for every (home) gym.
Things to keep in mind when shopping a power rack
Price would be the number one criteria, but since we have already narrowed down to racks $500 or less, we will focus on other things:
- Space- power racks need a lot of space. The cage itself is big, but you need room around it too, to load the barbell easily (something most gyms neglect). This is why power racks are only viable if you have a dedicated room for your home gym- you can’t really move power rack every time you are not using it. And let’s face it, power racks look ugly, you don’t want one in your living room.
- Height and width – be careful about the height, especially if you have low or tilted ceiling. And since most power racks have pull-up bars, you need to consider that too; you don’t want to bang your head. You actually want your rack as wide as possible- wider ones are far more stable. Good tip- get the biggest power rack your home gym allows- it will mean more stability, and you will have more room inside it to do the exercises.
- Supported weight- power-rack should be a long-term investment. Think about the future- you are building your home gym to get stronger, so you want a power rack that can handle the weight not only today but in a couple of years too. But don’t get too far, getting a 1000+ lbs power rack is probably overkill.
- Material- steel is the best option, the thicker, the better. Lower gauge number means thicker steel tubes, so 5>10. Try to get stainless; it will never corrode and last a lifetime.
- Extras- under $500 you can only get essentials, but having a chin-up bar is always nice. Also, some racks have plate storage pegs, and on most, you can add attachments for dips. Some even have lat pulldown attachments. Also, you will need a bench, but you probably have that in your home gym anyway.
- Safety pins- the whole point of power racks. You want as many holes as possible, so you can adjust safety bars to fit your range of motion perfectly. You want bench-level holes, and even lower than that, for deadlifts.
- Lift-offs- especially useful when squatting, you want your rack to have adjustable lift-offs both on the inside and outside of your rack.
Top 5 Power Racks Under $500
If you search diligently, you can find excellent power racks under $500. To help, we will suggest five racks that are the best in our opinion. Even if you decide to pick something different, these five can serve as a benchmark, since they all meet high standards.
Best Fitness Power Rack
The biggest strength of this power rack is simplicity. You will not find anything fancy here, only the essentials, but we like it this way. This rack has a red, durable powder coat finish, and it looks good.
This power rack is made of steel, 14 gauge, 2×2 steel mainframe to be precise. It has 23 adjustment positions, more than enough to cover any exercises. These are spread apart by three inches. These holes serve two purposes- both for safety bars and for lift offs. Having this many positions is excellent it fits every body type, you will be able to do every exercise with full range of motion, safely.
You will have two adjustable lift-offs and two full-length safety bars. The whole rack is all-steel, including the lift-offs, no plastic. Companies tend to put plastic into the lift-offs, making them smoother, but that always breaks, sooner rather than later. BodySolid did not make the same mistake.
The rack is 46.5”W x 45.5”L x 82”H, weighs 117 lbs. Although less weight means cheaper delivery, and less hassle when assembling, it would be a slightly better if the rack was heavier- if you are big, pull-ups will feel a bit shaky. It can support up to 500 lbs of weight. It has a pullup/chinup bar. You can purchase additional attachments, such as an adjustable bench, dip attachment, or lat pulldown attachment.
- Simple design, all-steel
- 23 positions
- Up to 500 lbs of weight
- Too lightweight, it could be more sturdy
PowerLine PPR200X Power Rack
This great power rack comes from BodySolid, a company well known in the fitness industry. It has a broad base that offers excellent stability, and plenty of room for side to side movement. The rack is quality built and can support 600 lbs of weight.
It has a pull-up bar, and it feels stable even if you are heavy- the rack will not shake, thanks to its wide base. The knurled bar is 41 inches wide, which is more than enough to do all sorts of exercises. You can buy additional equipment too, such as dip extensions, lat pulldown attachment or a bench.
18 holes, three inches apart, are used both for safety bars and lift offs. Safety bars are full length, heat tempered, and feel reliable. Saber-style is a reliable design, the best one for supporting heavy weight. You can move liftoffs on the outer side of the rail too. However, the paint job is not great; the barbell will start peeling it off pretty quickly. You even get a small can of paint with the rack to fix that, but we would like a better paint job in the first place.
Dimensions are 82″H x 44″L x 46″W, but the upright pillars are 24 inches apart, which allows maximum space inside the cage.
- Wide base
- Supports up to 600 lbs
- Feels stable
- Poor paint job
Titan Power Rack
If you need a power rack that can handle serious weight, this one is for you. T2 Power rack by Titan Fitness can support up to 700 lbs, which is more than most racks in the lower price range. And 700 lbs is probably enough, unless you are a competing powerlifter or bodybuilder. This power rack was actually one of the first Titan products, and the most successful one, it put them on the fitness map, and for a good reason- it is top quality.
It has a 2’’x2’’ steel frame, is 83’’ high, 48’’ deep, with an opening 44’’ wide. It weighs 107 lbs. It has a 48 by 48-inch floor space, which provides enough room for comfortable exercising.
This cage has two weight plate holders, which is convenient. They are strategically placed also to increase the overall stability.
It has safety bars and J-hooks, that can be put in 28 different positions, 2’’ apart, giving you maximum flexibility.
Pull Up bar is at 80’’ and you can opt for dip bars if needed. One thing has to be noted- if you are heavy, the rack will shake when doing pull-ups, which is especially noticeable on wooden floors. Adding weight to the plate holders does prevent sliding.
Titan T2 is a solid choice for the price, but if you have a bit more money to spare, go for T3- it is their heavy duty version, more stable and can cope with even more weight.
- 700 lbs
- Weight holders
- 28 positions
- A bit too shaky when doing pull-ups
Valor Fitness BD-7 Power Rack
What makes this Valor Fitness rack stand out from the crowd is having a built-in lat pull, which is something that you will rarely find at this price range. It also has a foam covered bar, for a comfortable grip, a low pulley station with plate loading carriage. The lat pull down station is also loaded with plates. And if you want to go old-school, you can- there is a solid steel chromed pull up bar, with knurled grips. It can support lifters up to 350 pounds. So these attachments will allow you to work many different muscle groups, and we haven’t talked about the rack itself yet.
This power rack is made out of 12-gauge steel, 2’’x2’’. Dimensions are 59″D x 63″W x 86″H. It is very sturdy and can take up to 500 lbs on the outside catchers, 650 lbs on the inside. And safety bars can handle 800 pounds (this is important because a falling barbell produces a greater force than a standing one). You can put your barbell in 17 variable positions. This rack has both the inner and the outer lift offs, which is a much more convenient solution, and saves you a lot of hassle since you don’t need to switch the same pair all the time. It also has 4 plate storage pegs
But, to fully utilize this power rack, you will need to buy certain accessories such as handles, ropes, dip handles, and similar attachments. A Bench would be nice too. But once you have all these, you will basically have a home gym system and not just a power rack.
- Many options- lat pull down, low pulley, pullup bar
- 12 gauge steel
- Plate storage pegs
- You will need to buy some extras
Rep Power Rack – PR-1000
This power rack has all the essentials covered. It can withstand up to 700 lbs of weight on bar hooks, and 400 lbs on pull up bars. And yes, we are talking in plural, it has two pull-up bars, which is nice. One is thicker than the other, to put more tension on your grip. You will have plenty of room inside it- 26-inch depth, and 44-inch width will give you enough maneuverability. Dimensions are 83’’ x 48’’ x48’’. The rack is sturdy, steel made, with 2’’x2’’ square tubing.
You also have two rods for storing weight plates, that also work as stabilizers. And every 5th hole is numbered, which makes it a lot easier to level the safety bars. Also, chromed safety bars are extended, and serve as lift offs if you decide to exercise outside the rack, which is especially convenient for loading up the barbell with weights before deadlifts. This rack has plastic lined j-cups, to avoid damage and corrosion.
You can also purchase some upgrades, made by Rep Fitness. These include an adjustable or flat bench and dip bars. Unfortunately, no lat pull down or similar add-ons some other models offer.
- 700 lbs
- Two pull-up bars
- Weight plate storage rods
- Few upgrade options
In this article, we shared some advice about the Best Power Rack Under $500. We hope that you now understand how important this piece of equipment is. It is always good to invest in your safety. Having that piece of mind, knowing that you are safe even without a spotter will allow you to go even harder, and chase that PR.
All five racks we presented are great choices, but if we have to pick the best one, that would be Valor Fitness BD-7 Power Rack (CHECK BEST PRICE HERE). It is sturdy, but the sheer number of options it has makes it unique. Pull up bar, pulley, lat pull-down, both inside and outside lift offs, plate storage pegs, this rack just has everything you need, at a very affordable price.