The Best Power Racks 2017 – Top Picks & Reviews
- Our Top 5 Power Rack Picks
- Factor To Consider When Buying a Power Rack
Strength training leads people down two main roads – bodyweight training or free weight training. Although body weight training requires almost no equipment, the problem is that you must master increasingly difficult exercises.
For instance, if you can squat your own weight, you must then work your way to a pistol squat. If regular push-ups don’t challenge you enough, you must progress to one-handed push-ups. This trend applies to almost every bodyweight exercise. It leads to awkward in between stages and hard jumps between variants.
But, you don’t have to do this. You can develop your muscles to any desired level of strength or size without learning new exercises. All you need to do is add more resistance in the form of free weights and continue with what you were doing.
However, working with weights heavier than your own weight requires the assistance of a safe platform. That’s where the power rack comes in. And, in this article, we will help you find the best power rack that meets your requirements and fits your budget.
Our Top 5 Power Rack Picks
|MODEL||PRODUCT DIMENSIONS||ITEM WEIGHT||USER RATING||PRICE|
|Fitness Reality X-Class Light Commercial High Capacity ||70 x 23 x 5 inches||87 pounds||5.0/5||$$$
Check Latest Price on Amazon
|PowerLine PPR200X||70 x 7 x 5 inches||57 pounds||4.5/5||$$
Check Latest Price on Amazon
|Titan Fitness PowerRack||48 x 48 x 83 inches||107 pounds||4.5/5||$$$
Check Latest Price on Amazon
|Marcy Olympic Strength Cage||75.5 x 15 x 7.2 inches||96 pounds||4.4/5||$$$$
Check Latest Price on Amazon
|Cap Barbell FM-CS7000F||46 x 50 x 85 inches||60 pounds||4.3/5||$
Check Latest Price on Amazon
There’s a lot of information here. So, to make it easy for you to skim through the article, we’ve organized the information into two section. The first section contains power rack reviews that will familiarize you with the leading products on the market. In the second section, you will learn factors that you must consider when buying a power rack. Using the knowledge in the two sections, you can quickly and confidently make the right choice.
#1 Fitness Reality X-Class Light Commercial High Capacity – Our Top Pick
The Fitness Reality X-Class is a high-end power rack that stands out because of its construction, design, utility, upgradability and warranty. The power rack’s 2″ x 3″ powder-coated heavy-duty steel tubular frame is durable, stable and spacious. The solid construction lets you concentrate on your form without worrying about your safety.
Another notable feature of this power rack is that its Olympic Bar compatible J-hooks, dip station, and pull-up station are all adjustable. The freedom in positioning the stations as you like allows you to expand your repertoire of exercises.
The X-Class power cage is also compatible with the Fitness Reality Utility Bench and Lateral Pull-Down attachment. Using these attachments, you can extend the functionality of the power cage. However, these add-ons are sold separately.
Considering the high weight-bearing capacity of all the stations and the robust construction overall, I feel the X-Class best matches the needs of an expert weightlifter. Beginners cannot use such an elaborate setup to its full potential.
Although Fitness Reality prices this product at the higher end of the price spectrum, I believe the price is fair. Especially so because the product comes with a lifetime warranty. So, if you’re ready to transition from intermediate to expert level strength training exercises, then this is the product for you.
- Durable and stable
- Adjustable stations
- Upgradable with attachments
- High weight capacity
- Lifetime warranty
- Not ideal for beginners
#2 Cap Barbell FM-CS7000F – Best For The Money
The Fitness Reality is a high-end power cage built to endure the rigor of an expert. The Cap Barbell Power Rack, however, is purpose-built to suit the needs of a beginner and it’s also the best power rack for the money. But, more importantly, the power rack will continue to be relevant even when you progress to some intermediate or expert level exercises.
This power rack is made of 12 and 14-gauge powder-coated steel tubes. High-quality welds secure all joints and triangular plates reinforce critical joints. With the added facility of bolting the rack to the ground, this model offers excellent durability and stability.
It has J-hooks for racking bars, a pull-up bar, a post for storing the bar, and a post for storing weights. You can place the J-hooks across 30 height settings. The pull-up bar is about 8″ high and is the ideal place for hanging straps, rings, and resistance bands.
However, the total capacity of the equipment is only 300 pounds. Although this is enough for most bodyweight exercises, it may not be suitable for workouts with heavy free weights. I will not hold this against this equipment because this model is designed and priced for beginners. For someone just starting out, the Cap Barbell Power Rack is an amazing match.
- Durable and stable
- Easy to assemble and compact
- Great for beginners
- Low capacity
- Only 30-day warranty
- No resistance-band post
#3 PowerLine PPR200X – Another Amazing Power Rack
The PPR200X is a full-cage power rack. In its base form, this model does not offer any more advantages than the Cap Barbell Power Rack does. However, the PPR200X has a 600-lb capacity. So, is the extra weight capacity worth the price? No, you could buy stronger power rack instead of a full-cage rack. Then, what’s the value of this equipment? Well, the value is in its upgradability.
Out of the box, the PPR200X comes with a bar catch and a pull-up station. Not very impressive, I know. But, when you augment the cage with a bench and the lat attachment, the equipment transforms into a multi-exercise platform. Due to the upgradability, this equipment is of greatest value to beginners. Let me explain why.
As a beginner, the base features of this power cage provide enough options to progress to an intermediate level. When you hit that level, you can purchase attachments to help you move to the expert level. This way, you don’t have to spend all your money in one go. So, you get the benefit of staggering your purchases.
Also, this product comes with a 10-year warranty on the frame. The frame itself is made of 12 gauge 2″ x 2″ heavy duty steel. It’s built to last and it will. If you’re shopping for a full-cage model that’s upgradable and reasonably priced, then consider buying the PPR200X.
- High capacity
- Solid construction
- Reasonable price
- 10-year warranty on frame
- Not enough stations for the price
#4 Titan Fitness PowerRack – A Worthy Mention
The Titan Fitness Power Rack is another great full-cage power rack that’s in the Powerline PPR200X’s price range. So, if you’re considering a power rack in the $300 to $400 range, I recommend checking this product out.
Now, both power racks have the same exercise stations in its base form. The equipment comes with a pull-up bar and J-hooks for barbells. The J-hooks are adjustable across multiple height settings. But, the Titan Fitness Power Rack has a capacity of 700 lb, which is 100 lb more than the PPR200X’s capacity. Plus, you can buy the dip station add-on for about $30.
With the dip station attachment and the high capacity, this model is the ideal platform for people using progressive calisthenics to develop strength and flexibility. Unless you’re into competitive bodybuilding, bodyweight exercises are more than enough to gain incredible functional strength.
Plus, you can add a bench into the mix and get an incredible workout station. So, for those going down the bodyweight route, this is the best choice. Now, if you want a platform that’s upgradable, then go for the PPR200X. However, the Titan T2 Power Rack comes with only a year’s warranty. But, it’s not like it needs that much purchase protection.
- 700 lb capacity
- Stable and durable
- Reasonable price
- Not upgradable
- Only a year’s warranty
#5 Marcy Olympic Strength Cage – Another Worthy Mention
Well, the power cage is a simple piece of equipment that allows you to do your squats, bench presses, hanging leg raises, pull-ups, and chin-ups safely. If you throw in a dip station, then you can add dips to the equation. But, when you change the power rack too much to improve it, you sometimes achieve the opposite result. The Marcy Olympic Strength Cage is an example of that.
You see, to improve the functionality of the cage, Marcy added a pulley system to one face of the cage and a weight rack to another face. While this expanded the number of exercises and storage capacity of the power rack, it does so at a price – your safety.
A good power cage has a safety bar that performs the function of a spotter. In case you fail on a rep, and you will eventually, the safety bars keep the weights from falling on you. These safety bars are usually located where Marcy put its pulley attachment and storage rack. That was a bad move.
However, the machine has an overall capacity of only 300 lb. So, it’s not enough for heavy lifting anyway. Maybe that’s the reason they ditched the safety bars. For some people, the added storage capacity and added features will trump safety, if they don’t foresee themselves using this piece of equipment with heavy weights.
- Storage rack for weights
- Pulley station for curls and pull-downs
- Good construction
- Only 300 lb capacity
- Unsafe with heavy weights
Factor To Consider When Buying a Power Rack
In this section, I’ll take you through the details of buying a power rack. First, we’ll discuss what a power rack is and what it is good for. Then, I’ll point you to the essential features every great power rack has. This way, you will be able to tell the difference between the real deal and pretenders. At the end, I will share some of the popular brands you can look up to expand your choices beyond the options here. So, let’s get started.
Is a power rack the right piece of fitness equipment for me?
The power rack comes in two forms: the full-cage rack and the half rack. The difference between the two is easy to spot. A full-cage power rack has four posts, giving the equipment the form of a cage. The half rack, however, has only two posts. Here are the relative advantages and disadvantages of one type over the other.
- Capacity: Full-cage power racks support heavier loads than half racks do. Depending on your body weight and the weight you squat or press, a half-rack may or may not be enough for you. But, a good full-cage power rack will almost always be enough for anyone.
- Safety: Good full-cage power racks have movable safety bars that allow you to press and squat safely without a spotter. For half racks, lifting heavy weights without a spotter is highly unsafe. So, ask yourself, “How much weight do I aim to lift? Can I do that safely without a spotter?” If the answer is “No,” get a full-cage power rack.
- Cost: Half racks are considerably cheaper than full-cage power racks. If you’re on a limited budget, maybe a half rack is what you can afford. But, given the advantages of the full-cage type, saving up money to buy one is a smart move.
- Floor Space: The full-cage type occupies a lot of space. This is because this type of power racks is designed to be spacious. So, before you buy one, identify a place to securely place the equipment. Also, make sure you have 3′ to 5′ space around the equipment. Half racks, however, occupy very little space. If you’re constrained by space, this type may suit your needs better.
- Upgradability: Many full-cage power racks offer additional attachments and accessories to expand the functionality of the equipment. Half racks don’t offer as many extensions. If you plan on using the equipment as it is, no problem. But, if you’re thinking of upgrading your equipment later, go for a full-cage model.
- Fitness Level: Half racks are best suited for beginners. At this level, beginners can choose to buy a power tower instead of a power rack. The power tower provides stations for many beginner and intermediate level exercises. But, the power rack is a better option if you want to press or squat weights. For people at an intermediate or advanced level, a full-cage is a must because a half rack will severely limit the scope and intensity of your workouts.Now, whether you go for a full-cage power rack or a half rack, the equipment must be durable, stable, well-designed, and easy to assemble. It must also come with a good warranty cover. So, let’s discuss all these points and more.
What are the features I must consider when buying a power rack?
We’ve covered a lot of the essential features of a power rack previously. But, I’ll bring it all together in the form of a handy checklist you can refer to when shopping for a power rack. So, the features that you pay attention to are as follows:
- J-hook Capacity and Adjustment: The J-hook that catches the barbell should be rated 20 to 30 percent above the maximum weight you intend to lift. Use your final goal to guide you, and not your present ability. Also, check the range of adjustment, the number of slots, and the space between the slots. A good equipment has slots placed every 2 to 3 inches.
- Safety Bar: If you’re lifting without a spotter, this feature is a must have. The safety bar prevents the weight from falling on you when a repetition fails. The safety bars are easy to spot. They are two adjustable bars that are parallel to each other. As you walk into the cage, you will find them on the left and right faces of the equipment.
- Stability: The power cage must stay put even when you subject it to strenuous exercises, such as kipping or windshield wipers. For added stability, look for power racks that have holes drilled into them for bolting the equipment to the floor.
- Durability: Look for power racks that are made of powder-coated heavy duty steel tubes that are at least 2″ x 2″. Also, the material thickness of the main frame must be 12-gauge or less. Remember, the thickness increases as the gauge number decreases.
- Pull-Up Bar: In low-end equipment, the pull-up bar is a plain rod across the top face of the equipment. Better models offer multiple grips for different hand positions. Some full-cage power racks even allow you to change the height of the bar. Now, these are not essential features but they are nice to have.
- Dip-Station: A dip station is extremely useful for bodyweight workouts. But, if your primary need is to press or squat weights, the dip station isn’t important. Besides, you can give your chest muscles an incredible workout by pressing weights, pull-ups, or push-ups. So, the absence of a dip station isn’t a deal breaker.
- Accessories: The only accessory that I feel you must buy is a bench. Without it, you cannot use the power cage to its full potential. But, in addition to a bench, you could buy straps, rings, or resistance bands to increase the functionality. So, before you buy, check the list of compatible accessories.
If you scrutinize each prospective rack using the above parameters, you will never make a mistake when buying a power rack. So, now that you’re ready to spot a winner, let’s put your knowledge into action.
Great, I could use a power rack. What are my options?
Before you scout for products on your own, I recommend revisiting the products listed here. You’re most likely to find what you need after applying what you learned in this section to the products on the list. However, if you can’t find a compatible product, you should check out power rack models from Body-Solid, Cap Barbell, Titan Fitness, and Fitness Reality.
The reviews of power racks tell us that no single piece of equipment is perfect for everyone. The Fitness Reality X-Class is durable and functional. But it is also expensive. The Cap Barbell Power Rack is inexpensive. However, it falls short in maximum weight capacity.
The Body-Solid PPR200X and the Titan Fitness T-2 Power Rack are affordable full-cage models. Although they have a significantly higher capacity than half racks do, the two machines don’t come half as close to the X-Class’s maximum weight.
These are just some of the most notable power racks on the market. But, your options aren’t limited to the ones listed here. If you’re planning on doing your own research, you will find there are plenty of models out there and each model offers a different mix of features.
The variation in what these models offer gain relevance when you look at them through the lens of your own fitness goals. A clear idea regarding how heavy you want to lift and the path you’re planning to take to develop that strength will guide you to the best choice. So, use your personal situation and aspirations in conjunction with the information here to buy the perfect power rack for you!