The squat rack is an important part of a home gym. If you want to train with free weights, it’s almost mandatory to have one. But if you only have a small space available to build your home gym, what’s the best squat rack? Here is what you need to know.
The 5 best compact squat cages for home gyms are;
- Rogue RE-3
- Titan T-3
- Rogue RML390FULLW
- Fitness Reality 810XLT
- Rogue RML390C
To see why those are the best options, keep reading below.
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What is a squat rack?
FYI: This post is about squat racks/power cages. Not about squat stands. If you want to know more about squat stands, click here.
Before we dive into the best options for your home gym, let’s define what a squat rack is. A squat rack is also commonly known as a power rack or power cage. It’s made of four upright posts and bracing at the top and bottom, connecting the four posts. The main purpose of a rack is to rest the barbell in the correct position so you can start your exercise without having to lift the bar from the floor every time.
A squat rack also provides a lot more safety than squat stands or lifting from the floor. For starters, starting a lift in the right position leaves much less room for things going wrong and getting injured.
Lifting inside the cage is where a rack provides the most safety over separate squat stands. If you are inside the four upright posts, you have the most safety possible while lifting alone. (provided the safety pins are set up correctly.) the upright posts will limit your movement but only when you fall over or something else happens.
Once you lose your balance, the weight will take you to the floor. That can be very dangerous. The upright posts will limit the movement forwards or backwards. Combine this with safety pins (metal bars or sometimes nylon straps). You set those up a little below the lowest point of your lift. So for squats, you set them up a little lower than where the bar is at the bottom of your lift.
Now, the upright posts and safety pins mean you have a good safety net for if you fail a rep. They allow you to fail without getting pinned under a heavy barbell. In home gyms where people often work out alone, this is especially important.
Squat racks can also be used for pull-ups, and attach pulleys, dip handles, plate storage pegs, etc. It’s what a free weights home gym is set up around so getting it right is important.
Best small squat racks
Free weights setups are usually quite compact to begin with but of course in all the equipment changes you make, you can choose bigger and smaller equipment. And choosing the smaller equipment across the board will result in a more compact home gym.
1. Rogue RE-3
The Rogue RE-3 is a very compact squat rack for a reasonable price considering the Rogue nametag. It’s hard to go wrong with Rogue products. They are awesome but have a price tag to match that awesomeness. The Echo series has some more affordable products although they are still a bit more expensive than comparable products from other manufacturers. You do get some things for that money that other brands don’t offer.
While it’s not the narrowest rack, it is quite shallow. It just has the bar minimum amount of space to do exercises inside of. That shallow depth does make it great for small spaces though.
- 90”H x 53” w x 32” D
- 2” x 2” upright posts
- High load limit
One downside of this rack is that there are not that many accessories and add-ons available. So if you want dip handles or other things. That might not be possible. Rogue is slowly releasing more accessories that fit this series of racks so check out the website if everything you’ve got is available.
Rogue also has the R-3. The main difference with the RE-3 is that the upright posts are 2” by 3” on the R-3 instead 2” by 2” on the RE-3. That means the R-3 is 2” deeper but quite a bit stronger as a trade-off.
Need a small bench to go along with your compact rack? Check out the best small weightlifting benches in this post.
2. Titan T-3
The T-3 is the basic rack I recommend for most home gyms is perfectly suitable for compact home gym. (I recommend it in part because it is suitable for compact home gyms). It’s a bit larger than the previous rack which is why it isn’t in the number one spot.
However, it does many of the same things while also being priced a bit friendlier and having bigger (stronger) upright posts.
The T-3 is available in different heights and depths so you can always find something that fits your space. The shallow version has a footprint that’s only marginally larger than the RE-3 while having 2” by 3” upright posts.
There are a ton of add-ons available to tailor the features of this rack to your needs. Storage pegs, dip handles, different pull-up bars, etc. Countless home gyms have been outfitted with versions of the Titan T-3 without problems.
There are also different heights available so if you’ve got a lower ceiling, you can find a version that fits your room.
- 82” H x 32.75” D x 54” W (Short and Shallow version)
- Rackable capacity: 1100 lbs.
- 2” x 3” upright posts
- Lots of accessories available
- Comes with J-Hooks
- Comes with different pull up bars
3. Rogue RML390FULLW
This is a very interesting option in some situations. This is a full sized, fully functional power cage that folds up. In general I’m not a big fan of folding power racks because they aren’t fully functional. This one is different.
This rack has four upright posts, a pull up bar and band pegs where other folding racks usually only have two upright posts and don’t always have a pull up bar.
When folded out, this cage is slightly larger than the standard RML390C but when folded to the wall, it only protruded a couple of inches into the room. That means you can’t
Another benefit is that you don’t have to bolt this rack to the floor. On the flipside, you’ll have to bolt it to a wall. That wall needs to be able to handle the stress this rack puts on it and that’s not possible everywhere.
The place where this rack will be the best, is locations where there are multiple uses for the same space. A garage for example. Many home gyms are built in garages. But, at the same time people want to park their car there. So the space has multiple uses. Want to park the car? Fold in the rack and you’ve got plenty of space. Want to work out? Pull the car out/back and fold out the rack. This way you can have your cake and eat it too.
- 90.75” H x 49” W x 45” D (depth is from wall to front)
- Only protrudes 7.25” into the space when folded in
- Comes with J-cups
- Comes with mounting brackets
- Comes with pull up bar
4. Fitness Reality 810XLT
The first squat cages all had to be bolted to the floor or wall. If you don’t want to do any of that, this Fitness Reality cage is a great option. Racks that don’t have to be bolted to the floor will usually have a slightly larger foot print because you need stability. That stability is created by extending the bottom braces/feet a little more outside the rest of the cage.
The braces sticking out means the footprint is a bit larger. If you don’t want to bolt down your rack, that’s a trade-off you’ll have to accept.
Besides that trade-off, this is a good rack for a home gym. The load capacity is plenty for the vast majority of home gyms and the quality is comparable to the Titan rack. You can also attach a high pulley system which is an awesome addition to many home gyms.
- 50.5” L x 46.5” W x 83.5” H
- 800 lbs. load limit
- 2” by 2” upright posts
- Optional lat-pulldown
5. Rogue RML390C
If you want something awesome in your home gym that will last forever, can handle everything you throw at it and still be compact? The RML390C is what you want. Yes, it does come with a bit heftier price tag than the other models in this list but you get what you pay for.
It’s from the ‘Monster Lite’ series from Rogue which means very heavy duty hardware, frame and add-ons. If you want to lift heavy, this cage has got you covered. It’s actually more compact than the position on this list would make you think. However, while you get what you pay for, the price is pretty high which I can’t place it any higher. You get about 90% of the quality and functionality for about half the price with other racks from this list.
So if you don’t need something that’s incredibly sturdy and can handle more than 1000 lbs., you’re better off with one of the other racks on this list. If this amount of money is not an issue for you, by all means, go for it.
- 90.375” H x 53” w x 34” D (depth for shallow version)
- 3” x 3” uprights
- Very high build quality
- Available in different colors
- Comes with pull up bar
- Comes with J-Cups
- Plenty of attachments available
Power cage dimensions list
Take a look for yourself what the home gym power racks with the smallest footprints are;
|Brand||Model||Height (in)||Width (in)||Depth (in)|
|Titan Fitness||T-2 Short||71.5||58||48|
|Titan Fitness||T-3 Short||82.25||53.25||44.75|
|Titan Fitness||X3 Short||82.00||48.00||50.00|
|CAP||Full Cage Rack 6'||72||43.65||47.5|
|CAP||Full Cage Rack 7'||84||43.65||47.5|