A quality power rack can allow you to safely perform all the classic barbell exercises from your home, but it can also grow and expand over time through the addition of attachments.
Basically, a high performing power rack can function as a complete home gym system.
And luckily, you don’t have to take a second mortgage out on your home to afford one- there are plenty of great, affordable racks out there.
The key, of course, is knowing what to look for.
And if you’ve found your way here, don’t worry- I got your back.
In this guide, I’ll discuss the key specs and features you should look for when choosing a power rack (regardless of price range).
I’ll also share my top picks for budget friendly racks based on the specs we discuss.
After reading, you’ll know everything you need to in order to find the best affordable power rack for your home gym.
Oh, before we move on, we should set some ground rules- for the sake of this guide, “affordable” will be defined as any power rack costing under $500.
Some of the racks mentioned below fall well under that ceiling, others only fall under it technically based on their cost before tax.
But rest assured, all of these racks are very budget-friendly when compared to the higher-end racks out there.
|Uprights||Rackable Capacity||Included Attachments||Warranty|
|#1 Titan T-3 Series||2" x 3", 11-gauge||1,100 lb||Dual pull up bars|
Pair of J-hooks (plastic lined)
|#2 Titan T-2 Series||2" x 2", 12-gauge||800 lb||Dual pull up bars|
Pair of J-hooks (plastic lined)
Pair of safety bars
Pair of weight horns
|#3 Force USA MyRack Modular System||2.4" x 2.4", 12-gauge||2,000 lb||None||Lifetime frame|
|#4 REP PR-1050 Short Power Rack||2" x 2", 14-gauge||700 lb||Dual pull up bars|
Pair of J-hooks (plastic lined)
Pair of weight horns
|#5 Fitness Reality 810XLT Power Cage||2" x 2", 14-gauge||800 lb||Multi-grip pull up bar|
Pair of J-hooks
Pair of safety bars
Choosing A Home Power Rack
I know this is hard to believe, but not all power racks are created equal.
I know, shocking.
Despite what marketers for every power rack supplying brand might have you think, not every rack is “heavy duty”.
To be fair, I guess that depends on your definition of that term.
Personally, I don’t consider a 14-gauge rack with a 300 lb rackable capacity to be “heavy duty”.
But, hey, you can’t blame these marketers for trying. On the other hand, what are they supposed to do, be honest…
“This rack is super lightweight and will wobble every time you look at it, but hey- it’s cheap, so why not give it a try?”
As refreshing as that would be, I don’t think it would bode well for the brands trying to sell those racks
Jokes aside, as I mentioned in the intro, there are some legit racks out there that are very affordable, but you have to know what to look at to discern the decent options from the crap.
In order to successfully do this, I suggest you compare the following specs and features when comparing budget racks:
When it comes right down to it, power racks are very simple devices. I mean their primary function is to just sit there and hold weight.
But in order to be good at holding weight, a rack needs a stable support system- which in the case of our home power racks, turns out to be the uprights.
The uprights are the 4 vertical posts at each corner of the rack and they’re responsible for the majority of the rack’s weight bearing capabilities.
Racks with larger, thicker uprights are going to feel more stable (and usually be able to hold more weight) than racks with smaller, thinner uprights.
It’s true- cheaper racks usually come with smaller uprights. After all, there are reasons budget racks are budget to begin with.
But even so, some cheaper racks score a lot higher than others.
When comparing the uprights, you’ll want to consider both their size and thickness (gauge).
In terms of size, you’ll see racks with uprights that are 2″ x 2″, 2″ x 3″, 3″ x 3″, or something in between (I’ve never seen a rack with uprights smaller than 2″ x 2″ or larger than 3″ x 3″).
Again, larger is better in terms of stability.
When it comes to the gauge, keep in mind that with steel, a smaller gauge indicates thicker steel.
Home racks are made out of 14-, 12-, or 11-gauge steel; with 11-gauge being the thickest and 14-gauge being the thinnest.
Since we’re talking about budget racks here, most will be made out of 14-gauge steel, but you might be surprised what you can find out there.
Overall, when comparing uprights, look for the largest, thickest ones your budget will allow. Because even if the weight limit is the same, a rack with larger uprights is going to feel more stable and wiggle less during use.
Speaking of weight limits, let’s talk rackable capacities.
This spec tells you how much weight the rack (and J-hooks) can safely hold while the barbell is on it.
In other words, this tells you the maximum amount of weight you’ll be able to safely lift while using this rack.
This is a very important spec to look at for a couple of reasons.
For one, you need to make sure the rack can hold enough weight to accommodate your workouts, especially if you’re a skilled weight lifter.
Another reason though, is because seeing higher weight limits is indicative of a stronger, more stable rack.
And even if you’re not going to be reaching anywhere near those max limits, most of us like the idea of having a heavy-duty rack (especially when said rack is responsible for ensuring your safety during lifts).
The rackable capacity is often directly related to the size of the uprights, where racks with larger uprights are able to hold more weight.
But you’d be surprised- 14-gauge racks can still hold a lot of weight, sometimes as much as the 11- or 12-gauge racks.
But a 14-gauge rack is going to be a lot lighter-duty than an 11-gauge rack and this is going to be obvious when racking/un-racking the bar.
Because a light rack is going to move a lot more with you (unless it’s bolted down).
Something else to look for when comparing weight capacities is that some budget racks will disclose their “whole rack” capacity and try to make you think this is its “rackable” capacity.
A whole rack capacity counts the storage weight the rack can hold as well, which might be something to consider, but it’s not nearly as important as the rackable limit.
A power rack itself is a very basic piece of equipment, but through the addition of attachments, a rack can expand into a versatile home gym system.
Most budget racks won’t come with much included- most will only come with a pair of J-hooks and a pull up bar.
But it’s a good idea to consider what kind of/ how many optional attachments the rack is compatible with in case you want to expand your rack over time.
Some brands offer a lot of attachments to choose from (like Titan and Force USA), others not so much.
But if you like the idea of being able to add lots of attachments, definitely something to consider.
Some brands offer things like leg press attachments, lat pulldown systems, functional arms, landmine stations, and all kinds of dip and pull up bar options.
Ok, I decided to include the warranty as something worth considering and I stand by that, but most of the racks in this price range are going to come with really short warranties.
Even the ones that score pretty highly in the other areas often fall really short in the warranty department.
Again, there are real reasons why some some racks cost more than others.
We can’t expect to have our cake and eat it too when opting for budget fitness equipment.
But still, I still think it’s a good idea to check the warranty out before purchasing- but when it comes to these racks, I don’t think it’s the most important spec to consider.
Especially since there isn’t that much that can go wrong with these racks anyway.
I mean, they’re just steel cages- there aren’t many moving parts or things that can break down.
And the chances of even a budget rack breaking is rare as long as you stay within the weight limits provided by the manufacturer.
The most likely incidence would be something being damaged or missing on delivery and in that case, it would still be under warranty (even a short one).
Lastly, I wanted to mention size- these racks can take up a fair amount of space, so it’s a good idea to measure your room and know exactly how much space you have to spare.
You can check out the dimensions for any rack before purchasing, but make sure to take into account the extra space you’ll need to access plates, move around the rack, as well as being able to just exercise comfortably.
It’s good practice to have at least a few extra feet available in every direction around the rack.
Ceiling height is another factor to consider.
Luckily, even if you do have short ceilings (under 8′), you can still find racks that’ll fit because some of these racks come in different height options.
It’s a good idea to consider the depth of the rack too because these racks vary greatly on how much room you have inside the cage.
A lot of affordable racks come with narrow, 24″ depths that don’t give you that much room inside.
Others come with deeper, 30-36″ depths and some might even let you choose.
Either way, it’s a good idea to know exactly what the depth is and think about how much room you want. Doing this is a great way to avoid being disappointed when your new rack arrives.
Ok, I think that’s enough of that – now you know what to look for when searching for power racks.
Now it’s time to check out my favorite racks based on the info we just discussed.
The 5 Best Power Racks Under $500
#1 The Titan T-3 Series Power Rack
Titan’s T-3 lands the top spot here because it’s got the best combination of specs I’ve been able to find in this price range.
Now I know that Titan doesn’t always have the best reputation and I know they get blasted a lot for quality control and things like that, but the reality is those concerns are common for all budget brands.
And Titan is, without a doubt, a budget brand- that’s their speciality.
But again, the T-3 is sporting some legit specs.
Most impressively the fact that it comes with 11-gauge, 2″ x 3″ uprights.
This alone is enough for it to beat out the other racks on this list because it’s the only rack I’ve seen in this price range that uses the thicker, 11-gauge steel.
These uprights allow the T-3 to come with a rackable capacity of 1,100 lb, which is pretty amazing for a $500 rack.
With the T-3, you only get dual pull up bars and a pair of high-end J-hooks, but Titan offers a ton of compatible attachments that can be purchased separately.
And this rack comes in 2 height options (82″ or 91″) and you get to choose your depth as well (24″ or 36″).
Full disclosure- if you opt for the taller and deeper rack, your cost will be a bit over $500 (but not much).
The biggest downside to the T-3 is the short, 1 year warranty, but it also comes with Westside hole spacing, something not usually found on budget racks.
Overall, if you’re looking for a surprisingly heavy-duty rack, the T-3 is as good as it gets in this price range. See full review.
#2 The Titan T-2 Series Power Rack
Yup, another Titan rack made the list. Hey, I told ya – budget racks is what they do.
The T-2 is significantly lighter-duty than the T-3, but with a sales price under $400, it’s also quite a bit cheaper.
There are several differences between the T-2 and the T-3, but most notably is the fact that the T-2 comes with smaller, 2″ x 2″, 12-gauge uprights.
These smaller uprights come with a smaller rackable capacity, but at 800 lb, the T-2 can still handle the type of weights most of us home gymers are working with.
The T-2 comes with a pair of pull up bars and a pair of J-hooks too, but it also comes with a pair of pin and pipe safety bars and a pair of weight horns in the back (used more to stabilize the rack than anything else).
Like the T-3, this rack can also be bolted to the floor for even more stability.
And since this is also a Titan rack, it’s compatible with a ton of attachments as well.
Oh, this rack is also great for low ceilings because it comes in an 83″ or 71″ height (and there’s not much price difference between them).
And yes, the T-2 comes with the same 1 year warranty as the T-3.
Overall, if you’re working with a smaller budget or are looking for a shorter rack, Titan’s T-2 is a great choice. See full review.
#3 The Force USA MyRack Modular System
Force USA is well-known for their all-in-one home gym systems and this is really the only true power rack they offer (although they also offer it in a folding option).
And to be fair, this rack is at the very top of our budget limit for this guide and it’s a bare bones system that doesn’t come with anything.
If it included a pull up bar and J-hooks, it would definitely have been in the #2 spot (and maybe even the top spot), but adding these attachments does bring the price over $500.
Hence the “modular” part of the name- you get to pick and choose which attachments you get and only pay for what you want.
And when it comes to attachments, nobody offers more options than Force USA.
There are literally like over 20 different add-ons to choose from, including everything from different styles of J-hooks and safety bars to all kinds of pull up bars and leg press options.
When it comes to versatility, Force USA is the premiere option.
Otherwise, the MyRack comes with 2.4″ x 2.4″, 12-gauge uprights, with a weight limit of 2,000 lb.
I can’t imagine why anyone would want to put that much weight on a rack, but it’s possible if you want (just keep in mind different J-hooks come with different weight limits of their own).
What really sets the MyRack system apart from most is that it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Other notable features include Westside hole spacing, choice of color, and the ability to be bolted down to the floor.
If you’re looking for a rack that’s designed to grow and expand over time, the MyRack Modular System can’t be beat. See full review.
#4 The REP PR-1050 Short Home Gym Power Rack
REP’s PR-1050 lands a spot on this list mostly for its ability to fit in rooms with really low ceilings.
Well, that and the fact that it’s a REP Fitness product.
Unlike Titan, REP Fitness offers plenty of high-end, heavy-duty power racks as well.
They have a great reputation and are considered by many to be right up there with Rogue (who are still the gold standard when it comes to heavy-duty racks).
The PR-1050 is part of their budget series and with a height of only 72″, it can fit under pretty much any ceiling.
This rack comes with fairly generic, 2″ x 2″, 14-gauge steel uprights and a rackable capacity of 700 lb, which is still more than most of us will ever need.
The PR-1050 comes with 2 pull up bars, a pair of plastic-lined J-hooks, and a pair of weight horns in the back.
This rack even comes with a pair of included safety bars that can also be used to rack a bar.
The biggest downside, other than it coming with small uprights, is that it isn’t compatible with that many attachments.
But REP does back it with a lifetime warranty, something you won’t see on many $400 racks.
Overall, if you have low ceilings or are just looking for a quality rack that’s really affordable, REP’s PR-1050 is a great choice. See full review.
#5 The Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage
Last, but not least (oh wait, I guess in this case it is least), is a budget rack by Fitness Reality with a really funny name.
I mean, was it really necessary to include the “Super Max” description?
Is this opposed to their “Standard Max” or their “Super Average” cages?
Anyway, silly names aside, Fitness Reality, another budget brand in everything they do, has enjoyed a ton of success with their 810XLT.
Not only is this the most affordable rack on this list (at ~$300), but I dare say it’s the most highly sold one as well.
Last time I checked, this was the #2 ranked home gym system on Amazon with over 8,000 user ratings (and an average score of 4.7/5).
This means a lot of people are buying this rack and a lot of people are happy with it.
Like the PR-1050, the 810XLT comes with 2″ x 2″, 14-gauge uprights. These are small, but this gym still comes with a rackable capacity of 800 lb, which is legit for an affordable rack.
With purchase, you get a multi-grip pull up bar, 2 J-hooks, and 2 safety bars.
It also comes with 2 stability bars that are intended to secure the rack, not be used for exercise.
This rack isn’t compatible with that many other attachments, but it does work with the basics- lat pulldown station, weight storage, dip handles, and a landmine station.
And like most budget racks, the 810XLT only comes with a 1 year guarantee.
Overall though, if you’re looking for a simple rack that certainly won’t break the budget, this is a solid choice. See full review.
Well, there ya have it.
If you’re looking for an affordable home power rack, I hope you found this helpful.
When comparing racks, I highly encourage you to consider the size and thickness of those uprights- this is the single most important spec when it comes to the stability and heavy-dutiness of your rack.
It’s also a good idea to compare attachments and warranties and of course you have to make sure your rack will fit in your home.
Price is always an important consideration too, although I hope, if nothing else, this guide shows there are plenty of great budget racks out there.
I think the above represent the best power racks $500 can get ya, based on the specs and features, but if you know of any racks that should’ve made this list, please share.
Just leave a comment below and I’ll get back to ya.