Building a gym at home is not something many people decide to do. However, some people simply have to do it. The truth of the matter is that not everyone has access to a public gym, nor a desire to a part of that environment. They might be living too far away from one, don’t find it feasible to cover long distances to reach the closest facility, or just don’t want to deal with the many inconveniences associated with exercising in a public place.
One of the solutions on the table is to build a home gym. Just like it is the case in any commercial gym, a proper squat rack is the king of every home gym as well. But, which are the best squat racks among the sea of products available? And, how do you go about finding the right one for you?
Well, we’re here to help: In this article, we’re going to share our top picks for the best squat racks for your home gym.
Once we go over these awesome rigs, we will discuss why having one of them in your garage or spare room can completely change the way you work out at home. As you’re about to find out, a squat rack is one of the best investments you can make at the moment.
- Best Squat Racks for Your Home Gym At a Glance
- The 5 Best Squat Racks for Your Home Gym
- Should You Get a Squat Rack for Your Home Gym?
- Choosing the Right Squat Rack
- Frequently Asked Questions About Squat Racks
Best Squat Racks for Your Home Gym At a Glance
The 5 Best Squat Racks for Your Home Gym
1. Rogue SML Series of Squat Racks
It should come as no surprise that Rogue is sitting at the top of our list. They are, after all, a top tier gym equipment manufacturer with a spotless record. Rogue’s SML Series of Squat Racks represent a perfect choice for home use. This series consists of a number of models, starting with the more basic short rack and ending with more advanced rigs that have pull-up bars and progressively taller uprights.
No matter which one you choose to go with, you can always count on that proven Rogue quality. This company is one of the few that proudly manufactures its products in Ohio and offers great warranties on anything that leaves the factory floor. With that said, the quality of Rogue’s products is on a level where their warranty services are rarely called upon, if ever.
This particular series of squat racks are made of 11-gauge steel that pretty much exceeds the needs of home users. Rogue also rates the entire series at 1,000+ lb weight capacity. SML racks feature J-Cups with protective UHMW plastic inserts that will protect your bar. Best of all, SML racks are quite affordable as well depending on which one you go for.
- Rogue’s standard build quality and impressive warranty
- Built tough using 11-gauge steel and the proper hardware
- Comes with UHMW protected J-Cups
- Reasonably priced across the entire range
- Spotter arms aren’t part of the package and need to be bought separately
2. Rep SR-4000 Heavy Duty Squat Rack
By all accounts, Rep’s SR-4000 is one of the best budget options on the market. This rack is aimed at those who need a more affordable setup that is still meeting the quality standards necessary for proper home use. In fact, Rep is up there with Rogue, only falling behind in certain aspects. Rep Fitness has designed SR-4000 to be the ultimate choice for those operating on a tight budget. It’s a rack that pretty much has it all.
All the bells and whistles are included with this build. We’re talking spotter arms with pegs that can also serve as dip arms, two pull-up bars, weight horns in the rear of the rack for improved stability, J-Cups with a plastic lining, the whole 9 yards. So, what’s the catch?
There really isn’t one. This rack isn’t without its flaws, but they are far from being deal-breakers. In terms of build quality, you are looking at 11-gauge steel all around. Uprights on this rig are 2.5” x 2.5” instead of the much preferred 3” x 3” and that is probably the biggest flaw of the whole setup. However, you’re still getting a 1,000 lb certified rack that will easily get the job done.
If your definition of the best squat rack is that which offers the greatest value for money, then look no further than the SR-4000.
- Great bang-for-your-buck value that’s perfect for budget users
- Comes packed with all kinds of useful features right out of the box
- Features 11-gauge steel construction
- Very easy to assemble
- The only real flaw of this rack is in the slightly thinner uprights compared to the Rogue SMLs
Next up is the Garage Series squat rack from Fringe Sport. This is another awesome budget rig that offers great back for the buck value. Fringe Sport, much like REP, is right up there with Rogue in terms of quality. Their Garage Series racks are simple, built to last and relatively flexible. The one we are looking at today is a perfect choice for those who want a decently compact footprint and a rack that is designed to accommodate a bench press station as well.
As far as build quality goes, Fringe did a great job putting together a robust rack. They have used 12-gauge, one-piece 2×3” uprights. Even though we definitely would have loved to see 11-gauge steel instead of a somewhat thinner 12-gauge, there is no denying that this rack is properly reinforced in all the right places. With that said, it is tested for 450 lb weight capacity and it is highly recommended that you don’t go outside those specs. 450 lb is still more than enough for home use.
Other than that, you are looking at built-in weight horns, a pair of durable J-Cups, staggered holes near the bottom of the rack to accommodate for proper benching height, and more. One thing you do not get are spotter arms. You can get them as an option and we strongly recommend that you do. Lifting home alone more or less demands a set of spotter arms at the very least.
- Space efficient design perfect for garage use hence the name
- Decent quality construction that offers 450 lb weight capacity
- Features built-in weight horns as well as floor bolting options
- Cost-effective design that is great for budget users
- Doesn’t come with spotter arms out of the box, although they are available as an aftermarket part
Last but not the least for our ‘standard’ squat rack recommendations, we have the Titan Fitness X-3 Series of squat racks. If you’re familiar with Rogue’s designs, you will probably find these racks to be similar.
Without going into much detail, we can say that the X-3 series and Rogue’s SML series are nearly identical. However, despite being a borrowed design by all accounts, the X-3 squat racks still offer great value through a decent quality construction at a very attractive price point.
These racks are a great choice for those who like the look and dimensions of a Rogue rig but don’t want to commit that kind of money.
There are two X-3 variants – short and tall – with both built using 3” x 3”, 11-gauge steel tubing which is by far the optimal configuration for home gym use. The short rack stands 72” tall and has no pull-up bar (much like the SML-1), while the tall rack is 92” tall and does have a pull-up bar.
Titan Fitness has used the Westside hole pattern through the bench zone, making these great racks for bench presses (you’ll obviously need a weight bench for this). The overall weight rating for these racks is 1000 lbs, making it suitable for advanced users as well as beginners.
You have the option of purchasing with or without spotter arms. If you’re lifting heavy, we recommend including the spotter arms.
Even though it isn’t riddled with all the bells and whistles, the X-3 Series squat racks from Titan still bring great value to the table.
- A proven design that just works
- Features good quality steel construction and hardware
- Comes with a pair of robust spotter arms
- Reasonably priced setup that offers good value for your money
- Finish and non-essential quality control aren’t always on point
5. Rogue S-4 Indy Stands
No list of the best squat racks for home use is complete without at least one set of independent squat stands; a.k.a. Indy stands.
Indy stands are two-piece squat stands that can be moved around easily and stored away. They’re perfect if space in your home or garage gym is at a serious premium, or if you do Olympic lifts and want a squat rack that takes up minimal room on your platform.
Rogue’s S-4 Indy stands are the best in the business, albeit also among the most expensive. The uprights use 11-gauge steel, while the H-bases are made from the stronger and heavier 7-gauge steel. This makes them much more stabe than cheaper, crappier sports-store Indy stands.
UHMW-lined J-cups are included and can be inserted into holes on the uprights that employ Rogue’s usual Westside pattern. Thus, you can use these stands for benching as well as squats and OHPs.
While they’re not ideal for pushing your limits (due their greater inherent risk of toppling), the S-4 stands are a great option if you want something that you can move around easily and that tale up very little room.
- Portable and take up little space
- Have Westside hole spacing on the uprights
- Built extremely tough – super high-quality stands
- Expensive for Indy stands
- Not suitable for testing and pushing your 1RM
Should You Get a Squat Rack for Your Home Gym?
Building a home gym is a big investment for most people. If everyone could put together a gym that has every machine a professional one has, there wouldn’t be any commercial gyms around. With that said, it pays to be efficient when it comes to the equipment you invest in. Compound barbell exercises such as squats, bench presses, overhead presses, and deadlifts are about as efficient as it gets. Aside from the barbell itself, a rack of some description is another key piece of equipment that will make performing these weighted compound movements much easier.
Squat racks are perfect options for those with less room, less money, or who want absolute freedom in their working area.
On the other hand, whether or not you need a squat rack comes down to the type of workout plan you’re following and the goals you wish to achieve. If you are into powerlifting, a power rack might be a more expensive, but ultimately better investment. Contrary to what many might think, power racks and squat racks are not the same thing. You can look at power racks as upgraded squat racks with additional features and options.
Doing compound exercises like the ones we’ve mentioned above isn’t just for beginners who are trying to build some baseline strength, nor is it just for powerlifters. Many use a routine based on said compound exercises when taking a break from their favorite split. At the end of the day, if you’re into weightlifting at home, do yourself a favor and get a squat rack.
Choosing the Right Squat Rack
Now that we have determined that squat racks are a good investment if you’re serious about weightlifting at home, it’s time to figure out how to choose one that best works for your needs. In order to do so, we will focus on a few key features that every squat rack should have, but also some questions you need to answer before selecting a rack.
Where Will You Work Out?
Gyms are massive spaces with plenty of room for all kinds of machines and equipment. In most cases, that doesn’t apply to our homes. The size of your designated gym space definitely plays into the squat rack selection process. If you can dedicate an entire room for this purpose, all the power to you. However, if you are trying to put something together in a small garage, you might want to pay attention to the size of the rack. Most of our picks on the list above are within the compact range. Aside from the footprint, we also urge you to make sure the height works for you as well.
How Heavy Are You Going to Lift?
Right off the bat, we need to say that lifting heavy at home isn’t always the best idea, especially if you are alone. If you’re pushing your limits and going for that rep max, you might want to either have someone around or simply leave that type of lifting for the gym. With that said, if you plan to lift heavy, you need to check and double-check the weight capacity rating of a rack.
One thing to keep in mind is that certain brands will give you the weight capacity of the rack, but completely disregard the weight capacity of the spotter arms. Things like that usually happen with lower quality racks made by questionable brands.
Once you start assessing the actual rack, its design and build quality, you’ll want to pay attention to a few things in particular. First comes the design of the uprights including the quality of the steel they are made of. Next, are the joints and hardware.
Uprights are the main support element on a squat rack or stand. Because of that, they need to be made of quality materials and be sturdy enough to handle the load exerted by a weighted barbell on a daily basis.
What you’re looking for her are one-piece uprights made of 11-gauge, 3”x3” steel tubing. That right there is the optimal option for home use. Anything thicker than 11-gauge, such as 7-gauge steel is an overkill. The bottom threshold should be around 12-gauge. Also, some steel tubing used for uprights might measure 3”x2” and that is also acceptable.
Joints and Hardware
Uprights get most of the attention when squat racks are discussed. However, joints and hardware also need to be inspected. What you are looking for are good welds that may or may not be pretty. A solid weld is necessary to maintain the structural stability of a rack. Once again, sticking to reputable brands makes this a non-issue.
Hardware such as bolts is harder to check as there are only so many ways to test its quality and strength. The best thing to do is look for a snug, well-machined fit. That is a decent indicator that everything is up to snuff.
Safety is key when working out at home, alone. We highly recommend that you stick to racks that come with spotter arms as standard. Or, if you insist on getting a model that doesn’t feature this component out of the box, we suggest you buy it as an aftermarket part. There are so many reasons why this is a good idea that go past the matter of basic safety. Spotter arms are especially important if you plan on doing bench presses with your new rack.
Frequently Asked Questions About Squat Racks
Do you really need a squat rack?
No of course you don’t need a squat rack. If, however, you do barbell exercises such as squats, bench presses, and overhead presses with any kind of significant weight, then a rack of some description is highly recommended to ensure you’re able to lift safely. Squat racks are good options if you want a relatively cheaper rack that doesn’t take up too much space. Alternatively, you could go with a good power rack or half rack.
Who makes the best squat racks?
This is obviously a very subjective question, and depends entirely on what ‘best’ means to you. Rogue Fitness make, in our opinion, the best quality racks. They’re US-made, have exceptional quality control and customer service, and almost always have a lifetime warranty. All of Rogue’s equipment is top-quality stuff. It’s also the most expensive.
If ‘best’ to you means best value for money, then take a look at the range offered by Rep Fitness, Fringe Sport, or Titan Fitness.
If ‘best’ means the cheapest squat rack, then Cap Barbell make some squat racks that cost less than $200. They’re also the cheapest in terms of quality though. We’ve previously looked at the best budget squat racks, so check that out if you’re working with limited funds.
We did our best to find a set of squat racks that were best suited for home use. One of our main goals was to stick with reputable brands and find proven models within their offer that were suitable for our intended use. As you can tell, there are quite a few racks to choose from. With that said, Rogue is still our brand of choice as their reputation is simply unbeatable at this point. Ultimately, the choice is yours. Get whatever fits your needs and intended use.