Small Home Gym? No Problem! Discover The 3 Best Folding Squat Racks Here.

If you are serious about building muscle and getting into the best possible shape, you will already know that a quality squat rack can make a huge difference to your workout regime, allowing you to tone up, gain strength, and build muscle.

While this is usually not a problem when you visit a gym - apart from the frustration of waiting for someone to finish with the equipment - it can be more of an issue when you are working out at home or building your own home gym or fitness center.

The 3 Best Folding Squat Racks

One of the main issues with squat racks is that they tend to be on the large side - some of the top-end models can reach up to eight feet in height - and are often very heavy and bulky. This means that finding a model to fit your garage or home gym can be a serious issue.

Fortunately, a number of quality folding racks have hit the market, and these are easy to store, fast to set up, and allow you to enjoy a high-quality workout in the comfort and convenience of your own home. All you have to do is kick back, relax and choose the best option.

OUR TOP PICK

For a squat rack that allows you to combine convenience with strength and durability, this adjustable unit from X Fitness is ideal for ticking every box. As well as a quality squat rack, you can also enjoy a range of other workouts, and the rack blends perfectly with barbells, dumbbells, and weight benches for a comprehensive full-body workout.

Full adjustability means that you can enjoy this unit no matter your height - choose from one of five height options, and four width options for the ideal fit - you can adapt the size according to your training needs and unique body type.

Safety and security are assured thanks to the steel construction, and the inclusion of plastic anti-slip caps on the base, keeping the rack firmly in place while you are working out. As an added bonus, high-quality metal nuts are used to construct the rack, and these require a wrench to tighten for added peace of mind.

For small garages and restricted spaces, this is a compact, easy-to-store rack, which can be pushed away when not in use - there is no need to worry about your exercise equipment taking up the entire space. Whether you are just getting started with weight training, or consider yourself a seasoned pro, this is a sound, solid investment.

Pros:

  • Solid and secure - allowing you to work out with total peace of mind.
  • Compact and easy to store - making this perfect for restricted and small spaces
  • Heavy steel construction helps ensure that your product is built to last
  • Multifunctional - offering the chance to enjoy a full-body workout
  • Lightweight enough to move around

Cons:

  • May be too narrow for those with very broad shoulders 

EDITORS CHOICE

TKO 6000 Squat Rack

Complete your home gym system with this quality squat rack, and make sure that you can maintain your training and fitness from the comfort of your own home. Durability and stability are guaranteed thanks to a heavy-duty steel construction, and this offers the chance to support up to 500 pounds in weight.

The powder-coated finish is designed to stand the test of time and resist rust, and all of these factors help to ensure that your initial investment is a sound, solid one.

Safety is also considered thanks to a locking system that allows you to adjust the rack to your ideal height, and lock it firmly in place, preventing the risk of accidents. The entire unit is stable and firm thanks to the “H” shaped construction, and the tube in the main frame keeps things firm and in place.

In addition to staying super safe, this squat rack stand also proves that it is versatile thanks to the inclusion of two barbell storage racks - you can carry out dips, squats, overhead lifts, shoulder presses, and bench presses, eliminating the need for multiple pieces of equipment in your home.

As an added bonus, this entire rack can be collapsed and put away for easy storage, making this an ideal option if you are seriously limited for space.

Pros:

  • Comes with Olympic Bar, plates, bench, and spring collars.
  • Weight capacity of up to 500 pounds at a time - making this a great investment to grow in fitness
  • Very safe thanks to an “H” frame and steel construction and spotter arms
  • Versatile, multifunctional unit - carry out a range of exercises

Cons:

  • Can be tricky to put together - you may need another pair of hands

BEST VALUE

Durability and reliability are two of the key buzzwords associated with this AKYEN squat rack stand, and the brand comes with a rich history of producing reliable, first-class fitness equipment.

This rack is crafted from heavy-gauge steel, offering a super-strong finish, and this is great for allowing you to push yourself to the limits in every workout, without fear of causing injury or damage to either your equipment or yourself.

The surface is powder-coated for extra safety, allowing you to maintain a sturdy grip. With the ability to support up to 850 pounds in weight, this is a rack that can really grow with you, and which is suitable to support a wide range of body types. 

As well as being able to handle plenty of weight, this is also a multi-purpose, super versatile investment. Choose from an impressive fifteen heights, at 5cm increments, as well as four totally adjustable widths to suit any body shape and size.

You can also transform the unit from a simple squat rack into a more complex exercise machine, carrying out exercises such as push and pull-ups, leg raises, bar exercises, shoulder presses, dips, and squats, and this helps to keep you motivated and engaged, as well as meeting all of your fitness needs.

Pros:

  • Weight capacity of up to 850 pounds - allowing you to really push yourself to the limits, and making this ideal for a range of workout types.
  • Choose from a range of height and width options - to ensure that you get the perfect fit for your needs
  • Enjoy a wide variety of workout and exercise options - turning this from a mere squat rack into a multifunctional exercise machine
  • Stay safe with non-slip foot pads and UVA hand grip

Cons:

  • Dip bar may be a little too far for some users

Best Folding Squat Racks Buying Guide

Now that we have taken a look at the best three squat racks for those with limited storage, just how do you go about making your selection from these options? We have put together everything you need to know to make a smart, informed choice, and help to ensure that you grab the ideal squat rack for your fitness needs.

 When making your purchase, there are a few aspects you will need to consider, and these include:

Safety

It goes without saying that safety is another major concern, and this is one area that you should never be prepared to compromise on. When you are squatting or pressing alone - as tends to be the case with a home gym - it is crucial that the rack you choose can offer the support you need for each movement.

As well as making sure that your squat rack is stable, as we mentioned, you should also look for safety features such as arms, straps, or safety pins. With a high-quality squat rack, these extras will be added to the rack, allowing any fallen bars to be caught before they cause harm, injury, or damage.

In addition to keeping you safe, these extra safety features are also important in helping you to build up and use weights that you would not normally use, as you feel reassured that the support you require is there.

Over time, this is important for progress and can see you advance significantly more quickly than you otherwise would. Remember that in order to grow stronger, you need to be increasing the amount of weight that you are lifting each day, so this is an important feature.

Weight Capacity

In the best squat rack options, you will have a clear understanding of the thickness of steel involved, and this gives you a better idea of the total weight capacity the rack can handle.

Even if this information is not available, however, you should be able to see the weight capacity of each unit. This offers some insight into the length of time you can expect the rack to last for, though you should be aware that this is not an exact science. 

Weight capacity refers to the total amount of weight that you will be able to use on the rack, but you will need to take a close look at this - some racks will offer weight capacity for the J hooks, but this will not refer to the weight capacity of the entire rack.

As an example, the rack may advertise a capacity of 1000 pounds, but will actually only have a capacity for 350 pounds on the hooks. This difference should be clearly advertised, allowing you to make a fully informed decision.

For best results, it is a good idea to opt for a squat rack with a declared capacity of at least 800 pounds, and preferably higher if possible. Ultimately, you should opt for the highest weight that your budget will allow, as this ensures that you have a unit that can grow and evolve as your fitness increases, and the amount of weight you can lift increases.

Not only is this safer, but it also ensures that you will not need to purchase another rack when your fitness increases 0 instead, the original one you opt for will grow with you.

Stability

Stability is one of the most important aspects to consider when investing in your squat machine - this will ensure that your machine is able to withstand a good amount of weight and movement without swaying. Remember that every athlete is different - not everyone will be able to lift the same amount of weight.

It is important, therefore, to ensure that the machine you choose can withstand the needs of your own exercise regime, be that pull-ups or lifting heavy weights, or even simply squatting, without becoming unstable.

To help with this, make sure that you opt for a frame that is heavy and stable, or opt for a floor or wall-mounted option for extra stability - to compensate for this, however, you may have to compromise on the portability and foldability of any unit you opt for.

As a general rule, steel is the only real material you should be considering for squat racks - anything else is simply not going to have the durability or strength to withstand repetitive movement or heavy weights. The thickness, or gauge, of the steel, will be a major consideration here, as will the size of the upright columns.

Steel Gauge

Another, perhaps less commonly known, factor in your decision should be the gauge of the steel used to construct the rack. As we have mentioned, the very best racks, and those likely to last for the longest, tend to be made of steel. 

Not all steel is created equal, however, and this is where the gauge comes in handy. The gauge of steel refers to the thickness of the steel - the thicker the steel, the stronger the bar, and the sturdier the rack.

Ideally, you should opt for the thickest, strongest steel that your budget will stretch to - and, counterintuitively - this means opting for the lowest numbers. The lower the number, the thicker the gauge, and the stronger the steel.

Most of the squat racks that are designed for home gyms will have gauges of between 11 and 12 gauge steel, and this is typically around ⅛” in thickness. Depending on the amount of weight you are planning to lift, this should be more than enough - again, opt for the thickest you can afford for safety.

Most commercial racks will offer gauges with thicknesses up to 7-gauge. Although this has the advantage of being pretty much indestructible it is, as a rule, a little excessive for a home squat rack.

This thickness is generally required for commercial units, as they have to be able to withstand multiple users every single day, and are likely to be in constant use for hours at a time.

This is not going to be the case with your squat rack in your own home gym, so you should be safe opting for a 12-gauge minimum - it is not really advised to go below this figure, as you can quickly move into territory that is less safe. 

When you are buying your squat rack, make sure that you take a careful look to ensure that the gauge is clearly labeled - if it is not listed in the description, you should avoid the unit, as this usually means that it is lower than a 14 gauge, and is never a good sign.

Size of Upright Columns

The size of the upright columns is also going to factor into your decision, and this can often be overlooked. The “upright columns” refer to the hefty steel poles which will make up the majority of the bulk of your squat rack.

The type of rack you select will affect the number of upright columns, though both types will contain some. While both folding and non-folding racks have upright columns as an integral part of their structure, a wall-mounted folding rack will only have two upright columns, while a so-called “power cage” will have four. This difference reflects the weight of the unit itself.

 The side columns play a very important role, as they hold the majority of all the weight that is placed on the rack. For this reason, they need to be incredibly structurally sound, and a large part of this will depend on the gauge of the steel - this plays a huge part in the strength of the side columns.

The size of the column is also important, and this is measured in inches. In simple terms: the larger the upright side columns, the better they will be. The columns may come in a square shape, and typical measurements may be around 2” x 2”, or they can be rectangular, where a typical measurement may be 2” x 3”.

Where possible, you should be opting for columns with measurements of 3” x 3” - these will not only be the largest options but offer the greatest structural stability. When you opt for a squat rack with columns of this size, they are tough enough to handle pretty much any workout you throw at them, not to mention larger weights - ideal if you are planning to lift heavy.

While 3”x3” columns are often cited as the best, they will usually also be more expensive, and this can be prohibitive for some users. For a home gym, you will generally be ok with columns of around 2” x 3” - assuming that you still go for the highest gauge steel that you can, there should be very little difference in terms of structural strength and stability.

Those squat racks at the highest end of the budget will typically offer 11-gauge, 3” x 3” upright steel columns, and this will result in an extremely durable, heavy-duty frame, which will be able to handle a weight capacity of around 1000 pounds without issue. More affordable options, however, may be advertised with 2” x 2” columns, and this is not automatically a no-no, especially for beginners.

Ultimately, it depends on how much weight you are planning to lift - beginners will be able to afford to go a little smaller. If you are a moderately experienced lifter, however, you should opt for 2” x 3” as a minimum, and advanced lifters will need more than this.

Space Considerations

It goes without saying that the space you have available will have a large impact on your final decision. Squat racks are, by their very nature, large and bulky, and even a folding or compact rack will take up a little space in your home gym.

Take the time to really consider the space that you have available, and remember that you not only need a space to actually set up the rack but also to work out - this means you will need a little extra room all around the location of the squat rack.

In most cases, your rack will collapse to be stored neatly, or will fold horizontally - there are a limited number that also fold vertically, allowing you to save even more space.  

A rack that folds horizontally is typically a popular choice, and for good reason - these can simply be stored by removing the pull-out bar and pins, and swinging the columns up to secure them against the wall, ready for the next time you work out.

There are two options here - the rigs can fold outwards, with the columns heading in the opposite direction, or they may fold inwards, with the columns meeting in the middle. In some cases, you can fold one in and one out, allowing you to make the most of the wall space in your unique garage. As a rule, these stick out around 5” from the wall when they are folded, which is a reduction from the 21 or so inches that will emerge when in use.

One of the main issues with racks that fold in this way is that they do require a decent amount of open wall space all around them, and this can be tricky if space is tight or restricted - remember, you need the room to actually work out when your rack is unfolded, and so this is something that you need to bear in mind.

There are a limited number of options that allow you to fold your rack vertically, and these appear to be on the rise due to their convenience. Here, however, there are also limitations - you will need a high enough ceiling to allow your rack to extend fully. In total, you will need around 9’ of free wall space in total. 

With most wall-mounted squat racks, you will be offered between 21.5” or 41.5” in depth - this is the distance away from the wall that you will need. For your home gym, around 21.5” will be adequate, unless you are a particularly keen gymnast.

Extra Features

While some squat racks do exactly what they say on the tin, you may be able to expand your repertoire somewhat by opting for one with a few extra features. When making your purchase, take the time to do a little extra research and consider what extras may be involved, and make sure that you prioritize anything that you consider a major must-have, such as a pull-up bar or weight bench.

By making a smart choice with your squat rack, you can reduce the number of pieces of equipment you need to invest in - instead, you can enjoy a number of workout options with a single piece.

There are a number of extra features that may come with your squat rack, and these include:

  • Pull Up Bars

One of the most common “extras” which may come alongside a squat bench tend to be pull-up bars - this is an essential feature of many models. The pull-up bar is a straight bar that is attached to the top of the rack using a set of push pins.

In addition, some options may come with a “kipping bar”. This is a pull-up bar, but one which extends out a little further. If you are looking to complete moves that require a little more space, then this is an ideal option.

  • Westside Spacing

A large number of squat racks will also come with so-called “westside spacing”. This term refers to the holes which are placed near the bottom of the rack. In “westside spacing”, these holes at the bottom are spaced closer together than the holes at the top of the rack - typically 50mm versus 100mm. 

If a good bench press is an integral element of your workout, then this should be a key priority when making your purchase, and especially if you require more exact, precise positioning of the J hooks on the unit. This is particularly important if you are looking to push things to the limit, and max out your workout.

  • J Hooks

J hooks are a very important aspect of any squat rack and are especially important if you are planning to strength train and lift serious weights with your squat rack. They are used to hold the barbell in place, and one J hook can be used across multiple racks, as they tend to be largely generic and widely compatible with most models.

This is good news if you grab a rack that does not come with J hooks - while the vast majority of options will come with J hooks included, there are a few which will require you to purchase this as an extra. Once you have your hooks to hand, they can be easily attached using the holes on the columns.

  • Extra Accessories

In addition to the extras we have looked at above, there are a number of additional accessories that may come with your squat bar - make sure that you do plenty of research if there is something in particular that you are looking for. 

Some of the most popular accessories include those that can be used on both squat racks, and on a full-sized cage or rack, such as safety arms or straps, dip stations for a little extra resistance work, folding benches for weights - in some cases, these will be wall mounted - plate storage - this can also be wall-mounted - and barbells. The accessories you need will depend largely on your motivations and fitness goals.

Price

Price is another important consideration, and is likely to be one of your primary concerns - ultimately the option that you choose will be directly influenced by your budget. The higher the price, the higher the quality of the rack.

While that does not automatically mean that you will need to spend an extortionate amount of money, you should be a little cautious if you see an offer that seems too good to be true.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I look for when buying a squat rack?

There are a number of factors to consider when purchasing your squat rack, and this includes the safety and security, the quality and nature of the material, the gauge of the steel and quality of the construction, the size, space, and foldability of the unit, and any extra accessories or features which may come with the rack you choose.

What is the difference between a squat rack and a power rack?

In the simplest terms, a squat rack is designed to support your weight while you are carrying out a variety of squat moves and exercises.

A power rack, on the other hand, consists of a power cage and four metal posts. These are joined by a horizontal frame, and hooks that are designed to hold the bar. In some cases, the squat rack and power rack may be incorporated into a single unit.

Is a home squat rack worth it?

Home squat racks can be a hefty investment, but they can be well worth it in your journey to strength and fitness.

Squat racks allow you to perform strength and power training in the comfort and convenience of your own home, and help to provide you with a safe, easy and effective way to perform squats and strength training, and eliminate the need for a gym buddy or squatter - instead, you can work out at a time that is convenient for you.

Can I have a squat rack in an apartment?

You can still benefit from a squat rack if you live in an apartment and do not have a garage - you just need to ensure that the rack you choose has the smallest possible footprint, and does not take up too much space.

Bear in mind that you may be unable to bolt the rack from the floor, so make sure that the option you choose is sturdy enough to take the weight. 

Kevin Harris
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