A power rack is the pillar a home gym is built around. You want something that is strong, lasts forever and you can rely on even when your lifts are getting heavier.
Recommended power rack: You can spend a lot of money on a power rack. And if you do you’ll get something awesome that will last a thousand years and can handle superhuman weights. For a lot less you can get a power rack is great for normal humans. My recommendation for a home gym power rack is the Titan Fitness T-3. It’s being used in countless home gyms and for good reason. Buy it here for a great price.(Amazon link)
This is the power rack you can rely on for a long time and not many people in this world will outgrow the capabilities of this rack. You don’t have to spend as much on some of the high end options to have a great building block for your home gym.
Alternative: Fitness Reality 810 XLT. This is a great alternative because it doesn’t have to be bolted to the floor while the T-3 does. That makes placing this rack a lot easier. While it’s lacking the 2″x3″ upright posts, the 2″ by 2″ posts and safety pins can still handle 800 lbs. which should be plenty for most home gym owners. Find it here on Amazon.
Both power racks are easy to put together yourself.
Why I Chose the Titan T-3
For me and most other people, this rack is just in the right spot in so many ways. The price, quality, capabilities and accessories are all well balanced.
While you can get power racks from about $200, I can’t advice you get one of those. Those racks often use inferior materials and aren’t well built. They possibly use small tubing, thin steel and weak bolts while the welding is inferior. Since a power rack is something you have to be able to trust with your life, I can’t possibly recommend you get one that cheap.
There have been some quality issues with Titan T-3 racks in the past, for the last couple of years Titan has improved the build quality significantly. New ones are absolutely high quality and have improved the faults that were holding them back in the beginning.
There are a few big benefits to the Titan T-3;
- 1100 lbs. rackable capacity.
- 4400 lbs. total rack capacity
- 2″ x 3″ Steel tubing
- Comes with 1.25” and 2” pull up bars
- Comes with J hooks and Safety pins
- Build quality
- Amazing price for what you get.
- Available in different sizes.
- Tons of accessories available for a very good price.
While it’s meant to be bolted down (and you should) there are plenty of people that use it without bolting down without any problems. They would say that if you want to use it without bolting it down, make sure you have a lot of weight stored on the rack to stabilize. But I can’t tell you to do that of course…
They are not perfect however. Some come with some aesthetic imperfections that don’t impact the integrity or safety of this rack at all. With long term use, the powder coating can come off in places. These aren’t things that impact how you can use it or the structural integrity but it might not look the absolute best. If that’s a problem is up to you.
The Titan T-3 isn’t just one power rack. It’s actually a small range of racks. There are a few things that differ between the models. Most of it has to do with sizing although there is on outlier.
Here are the size options for the Titan T-3;
- Tall (91 1/8”)
- Short (82 ¼”)
- 24” Inside depth
- 36” Inside depth
You can get any combination of tall/short and depth you want.
The footprint of the T-3 is either;
- 53 ¼” x 32 ¾” for the 24” inside depth version.
- 53 ¼” x 44 ¾” for the 36” inside depth version.
If you take the long or short version doesn’t have any impact on the footprint size.
T-3 Folding Rack
As I said, there is one outlier besides those sizing options. That is the T-3 Folding.
This version can be folded away once you’re done with your lifts. This is perfect for if you want to park the car in the same garage you work out in. Once folded against the wall, it takes up very little space.
It offers the same materials, build quality and load limit as the normal racks. That means that for most people this is an awesome solution to the common problem of having limited space.
It’s compatible with the same options and accessories as the normal T-3 which is great. There are a few drawbacks to having a folding rack though.
- You have to take off any accessories before you can fold it in.
- You can’t squat inside the rack. You need some safety pins that can go outside.
- You can’t store the bar and weights on the rack so you’ll have to find a different storage place for those.
Those drawbacks are enough that I would say most people that have the space should go for a “normal” rack. If a normal one just doesn’t fit, this is the solution you’re looking for. And you’re actually paying less for it than the normal ones.
Options and accessories
One of the major benefits of the Titan T-3 is that you can add on so many options and accessories. There is something for everyone. They’ve got at least 5 different options for pull up bars alone.
The best part is that these options are all very affordable. Often they cost less than half of what similar Rogue accessories would cost. That helps a lot since accessories and add-ons can really add up.
There are a few basic accessories almost everyone needs;
J-Hooks. Although the rack comes with one set, it’s useful to have an extra set so you can leave them in place for common lifts.
Pull up bars. The T-3 comes with straight pull up bars but I’m personally a big fan of having the option of different hand positions when doing pull ups. But they have quite a few options. Check out what has your preference.
Dip Attachment. The easiest way to be able to do dips at home safely is with a dip attachment for your power rack. You’ll be surprised how cheap it is on Amazon
Pulley system. (Amazon link) A basic pulley system so you can perform cable exercises in your power rack. Pretty cool and while not as versatile as a full cable machine, it’s a cheap way to be able to perform lat pulldowns and triceps pushdowns as well as some other cable exercises.
What about other options?
One of the other options is the Rogue R-3 rack. This is a rack with very similar specs. Rogue has some advantages like;
- High quality accessories
- Made in the USA
The problem is that it’s almost 50% more expensive and the accessories are significantly more expensive as well. Aside from the benefits, it’s functionally the same as the T-3. So why not go for the cheaper option?
One other option is the Rogue RE-3 which is a cheaper version of the R-3. It has the same benefits as the R-3 but actually slightly less functionality. The steel piping used is smaller (although I have no doubt they can handle plenty of weight), and, the normal Rogue accessories are not compatible. That’s a big drawback for many users. All that while still being about 30% more expensive than the Titan T-3.
So if any of the benefits named above are worth the 30%-50% premium to you, go for it!
Features to look for in a power rack
You might still be a bit lost on what makes a good power rack. Here are some things to keep an eye out for when buying one.
A power rack can save your life or prevent serious injury. A bad one collapsing on top of you isn’t going to help you in that regard. Some possible indicators of build quality;
- Tubing size
- Steel gauge (thickness)
- Bolt size and quality
Some of these are difficult to see from product information so you’ll have to go off of reviews.
Sizing is very important to look at when buying a power rack. It has to fit your home gym and be able to do what you want. There are often shorter racks available that can help you with low ceilings.
Depth is another aspect of size. 24” is the minimum depth you want to get. The drawback of a shallow rack is that other attachments like stored weight plates can get in the way more easily although it isn’t a problem if you manage your plates correctly. If you’ve got the space in your gym a 30” or 36” version will give you a bit more space.
Are the accessories you need available? Missing some add-on can make your power rack a whole lot less useful. Ease of use for these accessories is also important. How easy is it to adjust them or take them off?
Some accessories almost everybody needs;
- Safety pins
- Dip handles
- Plate holders
- J hooks
- Band pegs
You want the rack to be able to handle the weight you’re lifting. Nothing worse than a power rack you’re not able to trust when putting the weight down. It’s also a good idea to leave a safety margin above the weights you’re lifting for two reasons.
- Your lifts might go up in the future. You don’t want to have to get a new power rack once you become stronger.
- Peace of mind for when you’re failing a rep and the weight comes crashing down.
Besides being strong enough there are other considerations for safety.
- Can the rack be anchored? This means the rack can’t go anywhere.
- Are the safety pins adjustable? Having safety pins that are too low or high are useless.
You want to be able to adjust the safety pins and j hooks perfectly for your height and specific lift. A smaller hole spacing is better in that regard.