In the days of yore, when people worked hard in the fields, chased wild buffalo across the plains with the goal of taming them, and carried heavy loads of firewood for preparing dinner, workout equipment wasn’t really necessary.
Indeed, after a hard day’s work, a yeoman or just your regular farmer would probably be way too pooped out to even think about performing repetitive motions with weights in order to increase his muscle mass.
The point here is – simply trying to survive and perhaps thrive in the past was enough of a workout, to begin with! No additional equipment required!
In the world of today, the tides have changed. Incessant worrying about matters not easily soluble by sheer physical labor or force has imposed quite a taxing mode of living on our bodies.
Whether it’s sitting at a work desk for 8 hours straight, with little to no pause, or doing a repetitive task in a factory that produces a workout-like routine, but which affects only one part of your body (the back usually), leading a modern-day lifestyle and working hard doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be physically fit as a result.
This is why humans have devised a breed of contraptions we use for increasing the well-being of our bodies, as well as the strength of our, well… bodies. Our muscles.
In this article, we’ll talk about squat racks – a piece of essential workout equipment that can turn a weakling into a rugged, manly person who’s ready to take the world on! (Even if ‘taking the world on’ pretty much amounts to sitting at a cubicle for hours on end. And also, women can benefit from squat racks, too – just pointing that out here.)
Anyway, we’ve prepared for you here a short buyer’s guide, so you can acquaint yourself with the ins and outs of squat racks in case you’re new to these workout appliances. Also, there’ll be a top 10 list of the best models we’ve managed to dig out on the Internet. Best of the best here, folks, make no mistake!
Alright then, squat racks – let’s see what they’re all about!
Best Squat Rack – A Compact Buyer’s Guide
Maximum Weight Capacity
Pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it?
Weight training, in general, consists of two major concepts, so to speak. The first one is the amount of weight you’ll be lifting. The more weight you lift, the stronger your muscles will be – that’s the main idea.
On the other hand, the number of repetitions you do in a single set also plays a role in how well your muscles will form, how strong they’ll end up being after the workout, and also the time they will take to recover.
Now, while this latter category is something you’ll decide on your own, what you should be interested in when it comes to buying a squat rack would be the maximum weight it can handle without collapsing. (Remember, you can’t afford to have a squat rack collapse on you. This can cause serious injuries or worse still – you can even die If a weight falls on your head or breaks your neck!)
So, the weight limit is a serious matter folk.
Make sure to pick a squat rack with a weight limit that suits your workout goals and your current strength, and then once you get it, don’t, whatever you do, put more weight on it than it can support!
Width of the Rack
Squat racks nowadays come in all shapes and sizes. From the ‘bare bones’ models, which pretty much give you a couple of welded metal bars and a pair of hooks to support a weight, to the more elaborate models with special markings for Olympic measurements and other niceties, you can find these workout rigs in a wide variety of configurations.
Width of the rack is a parameter that you need to take into consideration. The distance between the far ends of a squat rack, horizontally, determines the minimal length of a weight bar, because you can’t rest a bar with or without weights on it if the whole thing is smaller than the rack itself.
So, if you already have some weights you’d like to use with your new rack, take some time to do your homework properly, so that you can end up buying the perfect squat rack for your needs! (If you plan to buy brand new weights, as well, then see to match the width of the rack with the length of the bar for the weights. The devil is in the detail you know.)
The Spotter Height
The simplest form of squat racks has only a couple of hook-like metal formations that allow you to rest your weights. With these racks, you need to be a certain height to fit perfectly under the weight, which is bad news for people who’d like to use such a contraption in their gym, where there are users of different heights.
So, the height of the spotter under the rack determines the starting position that someone assumes when lifting weights from a squat. The more options you have here, the more people will be able to use it. (Also, even if it’s just a singular person using the rack, more positions means more ways of doing the same exercise!)
As is the case with many pieces of workout equipment, squat racks also have the potential to create problems for the floor beneath, simply due to their immense weight. Indeed, wherever you have a heavy metal contraption and a soft floor surfaces underneath, you’re running the risk of damaging the floor sooner or later.
Therefore, when buying a squat rack, make sure the frame is secured with rubber feet at its bottom. This way, you’ll be able to do many squats over a period of years without ever worrying about damaging the surface underneath the rack!
Even though squat racks fall into a certain category of heavy-duty goods, so to speak, many manufacturers of these contraptions issue warranties on their products. (This may come across as a bit of an overkill, but it doesn’t hurt either.)
Since they’re there, aim to get a squat rack model that gives you a lifetime warranty on the frame and other parts. This way, in case something goes wrong, you can rest assured that you’ll be protected by that guarantee and helped out by the manufacturer’s customer service team.
Best Squat Rack – Top 10 Products
1) Valor Fitness – BD-9 Power Squat Stand
You know how we mentioned that you need to pay attention to the width of the squat rack you’re buying? Well, with this model, you don’t have to worry about that. The thing is – this squat rack comes in two separate pieces, so you can set it up to whatever width you so desire!
It’s not only the width that’s been covered thoroughly by the design choices of the engineers at Valor Fitness. In fact, the height is also well thought through in a way, because this rack offers you ten different positions you can choose from to rest your weights on!
Also, there are two telescoping J-hooks that come out of the main tubes from both of the stands. These will give you even more vertical space to work with, as it will raise the level of the hooks from 48.2 inches all the way to 70 inches, which is the maximum height it can reach.
- Comes in two separate parts
- Made out of 13-gauge durable steel
- Features two telescoping J-hooks
- Maximum height of 70 inches
- Maximal load of 350 pounds
- Tends to be unstable without the weight support at the base
- Some users may not like the two separate rack design
2) PowerLine – Body-Solid Powerline Squat Rack
If you’re on a lookout for a simple and easy-to-use squat rack for beginners or people who don’t need elaborate settings, this model from Powerline can be an excellent choice for you. It’s made out of high-quality steel and it will offer you a sturdy and reliable base for your squat-based workouts!
Even though the design of this particular squat contraption is fairly simplistic, you can still use it to do a number of useful exercises including flat, incline, or decline bench presses, curls, rows, squats, and many more other variations on the base idea of a squat.
The starting position has been set at 30 inches off the floor. If this is too low for you, you can expand the telescopic rods inside, so that this thing gives you another 30 inches for a full 60-inch height!
- Made out of high-quality steel
- Perfect for a wide variety of exercises
- The bar can be heightened from 30 to 60 inches
- Comes with a 10-year warranty on the frame
- A small number of height positions
- No pegs for holding weights
3) TDS – Power, Squat & Open Rack Station
Featuring a sturdy build that’s sure to support you well through your tough squat-based workouts, this open rack station from TDS can become a faithful companion in your quest for reaching higher levels of physical fitness and strength!
The concept of this contraption features two different sets of bars. The first one is the front pair of bars comes with 21 holes, each sitting pretty 2 inches apart. The overall height of these front poles is 57 inches.
The rear pair of poles, on the other hand, is taller with its 82.5-inch stature. This rear configuration also enables you to set the weights 2 inches from each other. Also, thanks to their height, these rear poles give you 31 hole to work with, which is more than enough options to choose from, even for the most elaborate of squat workouts.
In addition, this offer also comes with safety pins and J-hooks you can use to secure the weights to the position of your liking.
- Sturdy, 120-pound construction
- Comes with two tall and two shorter pairs of bars
- There are 21 and 31 height positions you can choose from on the front and rear bars, respectively
- Comes with Olympic bar holders
- Safety pins and J hooks are included
- The paint tends to chip off the J-hooks and safety pins fairly easily
- Some customers have reported troubles with shipping
4) Merax – Athletics Fitness Power Rack
Offering a mighty appearance that would complement beautifully any home gym, adjustable weight bar supports, as well as a low row bar attachment, this fitness power rack from Merax is a model that can give you plenty when it comes to the range of exercises you can complete using it.
Indeed, it’s not only the squats you’ll be able to do with this squat rack. There’s also a pull-up bar, lat pull down, as well as the aforementioned low row attachment. Also, when it comes to the squat exercises, in particular, this model gives you plenty of room to adjust your squat ventures to up to 21 different positions.
For a variety of different applications, including for curls, you can use the utility bar situated somewhere roughly in the middle of this contraption. The bar is covered with foam to prevent blisters and give you a comfortable environment to work with.
- Frame made out of solid steel chrome
- Comes with a pull-up bar
- Features a low row attachment
- 21 different height positions
- Foam-covered utility bar
- The cage area is a bit cramped
- Does not work that well with bigger weights
5) Doeplex – Multi-Function Adjustable Squat Rack Exercise Stand
Made out of high-quality steel, this Doeplex multi-function adjustable squat rack is a simple but sturdy contraption that can support you through your most demanding workout sessions. Its frame is reinforced with weight holders and it can hold a combined weight of some 550 pounds altogether.
In order to ensure the weights won’t slip away under their immense weight, the folks at Doeplex have installed a pair of anti-slip grips, which will prevent damage to both the rack and the weights in the long run.
When it comes to the levels at which you can hold your weights, there are 12 options for you to choose from. These heights go from 46.8 inches at the lowest level, all the way to the 70.1 inches at the highest level. Also, the base width is adjustable from 30.3 inches to 48 inches.
- Can support up to 550 pounds
- Made out of high-quality steel
- 12 levels of adjustable height
- Anti-slip grip
- Retractable base
- Does not come with an instruction sheet
- The packaging could have been organized a bit better
6) F2C – Adjustable Height Power Squat Rack Cage Stand System
For those folks in need of an easy-to-use and adjust power squat rack and stand system, this F2C contraption can be an excellent choice. It’s got excellent height-adjusting properties, so if your main concern while working out is increasing the weight of the, well, weights, and increasing the height of the pull-up bar, this model might be just what you’ve been looking for.
In order to ensure excellent quality, the folks at F2C have made sure to protect the metal bars of this contraption with a durable and resistant powder coating. This means that this particular unit will be able to survive a lot of abuse over time, especially the water-induced damages, so to speak.
Although quite simple in its construction, this F2C adjustable power squat rack can work wonders when it comes to body weight exercises such as pull-ups, chin-ups, squats, leg raises, and many other. Now, in order to make this happen the way you want it, you can set up the height to any of the 29 positions available. Both short and tall people can have a great workout using this contraption.
- Made out of durable metal
- Protected with a 3-step powder coating
- The pull-up bar can be used for a wide variety of exercises
- 29 different positions
- Some users have reported some wobbling here and there
- The instruction manual could have been written a bit better
7) Rep Fitness – Rep Squat Rack with Pull Up Bar
Made out of heavy-duty 11-gauge steel giving you some 1000 pounds of capacity to work with, this Rep Fitness squat rack with a pull-up bar is a contraption that can withstand some pretty serious weight loads.
Since its incredible weight capacity enables it to do wonders in the department of weight support, so to speak, it is imperative that the frame remains well-protected against various bumps, scratches, and other forms of injury to the bare metal. For this purpose, the folks at Rep Fitness have equipped their squat racks with a special protective layer in the shape of its black matte coating.
Other than this protective property, the people behind Rep Fitness have also made sure this frame is also well-equipped with all the attachments and features you need for a well-rounded squat rack-based workout. This includes J-cups, spotter arms, band pegs, dip bars, as well as weight storage pegs.
- 1000 pounds of capacity
- Black matte powder coating
- Made out of 11-gauge steel
- Comes with J-cups, spotter arms, band pegs, and other attachments
- The welds are a bit messy-looking
- The handles can start to bend after a couple of months of use
8) Valor Fitness – BD-6 Squat/Bench Combo Rack
With an appearance of a multi-purpose contraption from outer space, this Valor Fitness model BD-6 represents a mighty squat and bench combo that can help a committed gym rat accomplish beauteous feats of physical readiness and muscle-building prowess!
Thanks to its somewhat odd, but more importantly – fairly versatile build, this squat rack can also be used for a variety of other purposes. For example, should you venture to conjoin a utility bench to this contraption, you can turn it into a bench press AND a squat rack machine at once! So, you can organize a 2-in-1 situation for yourself quite easily with only slight modifications. What’s not to love here?
To ensure that the floor underneath this rack will be able to support its weight without you running the risk of damaging it during your workouts, the folks at Valor Fitness have equipped the ends of the metal bars with suitable rubber bumpers, which serve to represent sort of a buffer zone between this rack and the bottom underneath.
- Can be paired up with a utility bench
- Offers 5 solid bar positions
- Comes with an adjustable 10-inch safety bar
- Protective rubber caps
- The welding parts look a bit dodgy
- Some users have reported issues with incorrectly drilled holes
9) TDS – Power Rack and Squat Cage
All the gym rats and fitness junkies who’d like to obtain a piece of workout equipment with plenty of adjustable holes for setting bars at various heights can have a big sigh of relief! (Ehm, in case they were quite passionate about the whole matter, let’s say.) That’s right! – this TDS power rack right here can fulfill the position of a rack AND a squat cage, for good measure.
The designers at TDS purposefully made this piece of squatting equipment, so that it can be ‘amended’ and enriched with various attachments to your heart’s content. For example, included in this very offer is the J-hooks you can use to rest your weights before starting and after finishing a set, for example. Also, there are two 1-inch safety bars, so you don’t need to worry about your weights falling through when you don’t intend them to.
- Comes with a couple of J-hooks
- Solid steel safety bars included
- Made out of 11-gauge steel
- 31 2-inch holes for adjusting the height
- Some users reported problems with holes that are too small (required additional drilling)
- Some customers have complained about poor packaging
10) F2C – Pair of Adjustable Sturdy Steel Squat Racks
There are some quite clear advantages to having two racks instead of just one. For example, organizing the two units into one cohesive weight-supporting contraption is often much more convenient than trying to assemble a single unit from the ground up.
This is mostly due to the fact that the width of this configuration won’t present that much of an issue, really, because it can be resolved fairly easily by simply moving the two pieces further apart or closer together. Of course, you would need to do some fine measurements beforehand, but all in all, as long as you align everything precisely, you can rest assured that this ménage à deux will work like a clockwork.
- Maximum weight capacity of 550 pounds
- Sturdy steel construction
- 13 spotting positions
- Protective rubber end caps
- The bolts are too long
- Some users have reported inconsistent stability
In conclusion, whether you’re an avid workout aficionado who can’t go a day without hitting the gym or a complete rookie who’d like to get back on the ‘fitness’ track, owning a squat rack can be the step in the right direction! We hope you found this article helpful and wish you the best of luck with your purchase!