Top Half Rack | Squat Rack | Review
There are a lot of Half Racks in the market today and I am going to showcase some of the Top Half Racks available for 2021 and why you might want to consider one for your Garage Gym, Fitness Facility, Local Box, or Workout Room.
Before you buy, remember the garage gym motto, “BUY ONCE, CRY ONCE”. Meaning don’t buy cheap, because you will probably want to buy a better one sooner than later.
The idea is simple, take a traditional 4 post Rack used for Squats, Deadlifts, and even bench and shrink it down to a more manageable unit that takes up less space.
Most half racks are designed to lift outside the cage, meaning you will not be using safety straps or safety bars that are normally found inside cages.
The main key elements to look for in a half rack are
- Price Point: prices can vary wildly, but expect to pay between ($1000 to $3500)
- Height: (90, 95, 100, and 110 inches)
- Color Options: Varies by company, with Black usually being a base model.
- Available Accessories: Varies by company
- Compatibility with other brands – I have found that racks with a 3×3 have the most compatibility.
- Build Quality and Materials (11 or 7 Gauge Steel): – 11 gauge is the norm.
- Expandability: Some racks offer the ability to expand by adding other attachment tubes.
- Self Standing: Ability to stand without having to be bolted down
- Folding: Some companies are making collapsible or folding Squad Stands
There are a lot of different half racks on the market today, and there can be a lot of confusion as to which offers the best overall performance.
Our two top pick for half racks are the Alpha 7 Half Rack by Arsenal Strength and the Oak Club Manufacturing ASSOCIATE.
The Alpha 7 Half Rack comes in a 7 gauge 5 x 3 setup and it is a beast. It comes equipt with a very innovative attachment system designed for quick changing of rack height and accessories.
The Oak Club Associate offers details that can’t be matched and looks wicked cool.
For those looking for a fantastic half-rack at a more affordable price point, the Rogue Monster Collegiate or Rep Fitness 5000 series are pretty stellar.
Currently, the best overall value goes to Rep Fitness 5000 Half Rack. You get a lot of bang for your buck and for what you get, it really does stand out from the crowd.
- Price Point
- Space Savings
- Less Flexible
- Less accessory options
- Possibly less stable
In our review we only considered companies that are US based and also cater to the home gym / garage gym community. There are plenty of other companies that make half racks, but we felt the ones we featured have done a fantastic job.
Top 8 Companies Making Half Racks
|Oak Club Manufacturing|
|Sorinex||Base Camp Half Rack|
Off GRID Rack
XL Half Rack
|Rogue Fitness||Rogue Monster Collegiate Half Rack|
Rogue SML-2 Squat Rack
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Why Choose A Half Rack?
Half Racks are designed to be used outside of the cage. In other words, most exercises are generally done outside of the 4 posts rather than inside with a traditional cage. Obviously this may be a deal-breaker for some who prefer being inside a cage and using safety straps or safety bars.
One of the biggest draws to a half rack is space consideration. Most half racks take up less space than their larger full cage brethren. For people who own garage gyms or home fitness studios, space is always at a premium, so anything that can reduce its footprint is usually welcome.
Another big draw of half racks is cost. With less materials being used, the racks end up costing less.
Brandon Campbell who has over 200k subscribers on youtube has a 6 part Half Rack video series where he walks you through his thought process of choosing a half rack.
Spoiler alert (He chooses the Rogue Monster Half Rack). Honestly, the biggest choice seemed to come down to availability and shipping costs. I believe if the Sorinex XL had been available and could have been shipped in time, he might have chosen that.
- What to Look For In A Half Rack: https://youtu.be/piYkD2xeKXY
- Rep Fitness HR-5000: https://youtu.be/u52HCuPUpyI
- Sorinex XL Half Rack: https://youtu.be/CCHqN2ueFCA
- Rogue Monster Half Rack: https://youtu.be/xyHuoGdMAPQ
- The Rack I Picked: https://youtu.be/OeytYTLBf4M
- Check Out My Rack: https://youtu.be/mX7yuqPrzwk
HALF Rack Materials
Half Racks usually come in 2 flavors, 7 gauge or 11 gauge steel. You will typically find 7 gauge half racks in commercial gyms and athletic facilities where the racks get a lot of use. As you go up on the gauge scale, the thinner the steel becomes.
Companies Making 11 Gauge Steel Racks
- Arsenal Strength Bravo
- Oak Club Manufacturing Associate
- Sorenex XL™ Series
- Rep Fitness 5000 Series and Rep Fitness Omni
- Rogue Fitness Monster Series
Companies Making 7 Gauge Steel Racks
- Arsenal Strength Alpha 7 Series
- Sorenex Base Camp
Gauge is an industry term used to specify the thickness of a piece of sheet metal. Gauges are a unique measuring system and are neither standard nor metric.
Half Rack Tubing Width
Beyond the material type, half-rack tubing comes in a variety of widths. The wider the width, the stronger the tubing, assuming the same gauge steel is used. In our review, the Arsenal Strength Alpha 7 is a 5×3 tubing setup and is a beast, but is probably overkill for most individuals wanting to purchase a half rack.
- 3×2 – Example Rogue Fitness Infinity Series
- 3×3 – Example Rogue Monster Series
- 3×5 – Example Arsenal Strength Alpha Series
Right now the industry standard seems to be leaning towards a 3×3 setup over the 2×3. The Arsenal Strength 3×5 setup is the oddball and can be problematic because it has compatibility issues with other manufactures.
The advantage of a 3×3 over a 3×2 or a 3×5 is flexibility. Attachments can be mounted on any of the 4 sides, since they are of equal length.
Rep Fitness says their 5000 series is 3×3, but it is actually 2.95 x 2.95. This means that buying Rep Fitness accessories designed for their racks may not fit on true 3×3 racks like what Rogue Fitness offers.
Half Rack Hardware
In general the bolts that 3×3 racks utilize are 1 inch and the ones that are used on 2×3 are 5/8s inch. It may not seem like much of a difference, but when you see the bolts up close it is surprising how big the 1 inch ones are.
The advantage of 5/8 bolts is they offer is more hole options. In other words, more holes can be added to the posts because the bolts take up less space. This allows for a bit more adjustability between settings.
The advantage of 1-inch bolts is strength and looks. Obviously, the bigger the bolts the stronger the connection between parts can be made. Beyond that though, they just look fricken cool.
ARSENAL STRENGTH ALPHA 7 HALF RACK W/ POWERSLIDE
The ALPHA 7 HALF RACK is a beast of a half rack that makes others seem a bit wimpy. It is made from 7 gauge steel with 5×3 main uprights. The patent-pending PowerSlide adjustment system makes changing heights of components fast and easy. The powerslide allows quick adjustments to the height of both the spotter arms and j-cups.
- 10 weight horns for standard weights
- Sliding J-Cups for easy adjustments
- Multi-grip pull-up bar
- Walkthrough design
- Vertical bar storage
- Lower band peg attachment
- Comes with attachment storage
- Logo panel connector
- Custom logo upright placards
- Custom color options available
- Total Weight: 615 lb
- Width: 74″ (42″ inside), Height: 100″, Length: 64.5″
You have to contact Alpha Strength for a price quote, but expect to pay around $3,200 + shipping.
- Super Cool Design
- Quick Position Change
- Less Compatible With Other Manufacturers
- Less accessory options
- Very Expensive
If you are looking for a super solid commercial quality half rack, the Arsenal Strength Alpha 7 Half Rack is one of the best out there.
One disadvantage of the Alpha 7 is its proprietary attachment system. While most half racks can accept attachments from other manufacturers using 1 inch or 3/4 attachments, the Alpha 7 will require you to purchase attachments from Arsenal Strength.
BRIDGE BUILT PHOENIX SQUAT RACK
To be honest, the Bridge Built Phoenix Squat Rack isn’t what I consider a half rack, but I thought I would include it in the half-rack line because of its cool concept. For those where space is really limited, the Phoenix folds up from the center, providing the smallest free-standing footprint squat rack I could find.
The Phoenix Squat Rack can go from its open footprint of 49”x 48” to its locked footprint of 12”x 48” in less than a minute using pull out pins.
The Phoenix Squat Rack wins hands down for those who are looking to save space. With an initial height of 75″ this rack will fit in almost any room or garage.
I would like to see an option for 1″ holes and hardware for more accessory compatibility with other rack manufacturers.
- American BUILT
- Material: 3×3” 11-Gauge Tube and ¼” formed flat American Steel
- Hardware: ¾” Grade 8
- Total Weight: 150lbs. (with J-Hooks)
- Weight Capacity: 1,000+LBS.
- Width (open/closed): 49”/12”
- Length: 48”
- Height: 75”
- Standard Color: Black (see other color options)
- Compatible with all Bridge Attachments.
- The rack includes 1 pair of Bridge J-Hooks.
- Patent Pending
- Base Cost $550.00
- Nicely Equipped $950.00 (With the addition of multiple colors, extra height 85″, and laser-cut numbering.)
If you do decide to pick up a Phoenix Squat rack, you might want to ask about their very cool Limited Edition American Built and Thin Blue Line j-hooks. They can be ordered with 5/8, 3/4, or 1″ pins.
OAK CLUB MANUFACTURING THE ASSOCIATE SQUAT STAND
While not a full half rack, the Oak Club ASSOCIATE SQUAT STAND had to be included because it is just that cool. By far one of the most dapper racks around, the Associate comes with all sorts of beautiful accents to amaze your lifting buddies.
- 1/8″ thick tube walls
- 1/4″ and 3/8″ connection plates, all held together with 1″ A325 structural grade bolts.
- 4-Way 1-Inch Attachment holes – Unlimited attachment potential.
- Sensory Overload – One of the best-looking racks on the market
- 1-Inch Spacing for a lot of adjustability
- 1/8″ tube > 11 gauge tube
- Raw Steel Gloss Finish, Sandtex Black and Matte Cream accents
- Made in Canada
- Height – 93 1/4 inches
- Width 49 inches
- Depth 64 inches
- $1,399 + Shipping. The base model with no attachments
- $2,834.00 Fully equipped with James Hook, MagPins, Band Pegs, and Safety Arms
The Oak Club Manufacturing THE ASSOCIATE SQUAT STAND is absolutely gorgeous but it does come at a hefty price tag compared to others in the same category.
Paired with the James Hook and Saftey Arms, the rack is a beauty. In order to make the rack a bit more functional, you would need to add another set of uprights and crossbars.
Oak Club makes some really beefy J-Hooks called the James Hook. They dwarf most j-hooks on the market. They do come at a hefty price of $450, but they will make every other j-hook seem wimpy.
REP FITNESS OMNI HALF RACK
The Rep Fitness Omni Half Rack is a new offering for 2021. This is a 5000 series rack, which means it is beefy and comes with 3×3 11-Gauge Steel with 1” diameter holes. The adjustability of the rack is sick allowing you to configure it up to 15 different ways when paired with the Omni Plus.
Another key aspect of the rack is the flat-footed base. Unlike most racks that may require you to bolt down the rack for stability, the flat-foot design provides stability without the need to bolt the rack down.
- 3×3 11-Gauge Steel with 1” diameter holes on upright.
- Compatible with most 5000 Series attachments including the Lat/Low Row.
- Up to 15 potential configurations when paired with the Omni Plus.
- J-cup, color options, and attachments are fully customizable.
- A long, flat-footed base helps promote stability, no need to bolt the rack down.
- Large stainless steel logo plate for additional rigidity and lateral stability.
- Includes Multi-grip pull-up bar, six-band pegs, and hardware to connect up to six uprights to the base.
- $934 + Shipping for the base half-rack without accessories
- $1200 + Shipping for the base half-rack + REPS J-Cups and Spotter Arms
Sorinex features 3 Half Racks including
- Off Grid
The Base Camp™ Series
The Sorinex Base Camp rack is their premiere rack offering designed for high-end use and commercial gyms. It boasts a 4-way hole design and was designed with expansion in mind.
The XL™ Series
The Sorinex XL Series racks are a downgrade from the Base Camp, but are still exceptional rack setups.
The Off Grid
The off grid is a bare-bones wall mount half rack. Its $399.00 price point makes it the perfect choice for those wanting a squat rack that takes up minimal space.
The Off Grid was created to match the demand that occurred during COVID-19 when just about every piece of gym equipment was out of stock. It certainly isn’t something I would want but for people on a limited budget and those who want a small footprint, the Off Grid might fit the bill.
Basecamp™ and XL™ Rack Series Standard Options Comparison Chart
SORINEX BASECAMP HALF RACK
The Sorinex Basecamp Half Rack features a host of great designs. The flat foot base means you will not need to bolt the half rack down. It comes with a 4-way hole setup and boasts 1,184 total holes offering limitless training and accessory attachment opportunities.
- First 4-Way Hole Design
- Numbered Holes
- Unlimited Bolt Design
- 3″ x 3″ Welded Rack Sides
- 11 or 7 Gauge Steel
- 1″ Bolt Fasteners
- Custom Logo Options
- Numbered Holes
- Depth 64″
- Width 47″
- Height 101.62″
- Weight 422.17 lb | Uber: 571.4 lb
You will have to contact Sorinex for price, but it will come cheap + shipping.
SORINEX XL HALF RACK
Like the Sorinex Base Camp, the XL offers great compatibility with other manufacturers and a great overall setup. It’s essentially a scaled-down version of the Base Camp Half Rack.
The base model comes with a standard pull-up bar, XL Style J-CUPs, and Half Safety Bars. If you choose to bump it up to what Sorinex refers to as the Uber package you get a nameplate, better pull bars, beefier Sandwich J-Cups, Landmine, Utility seat, roller pads, pins, and 2 bar storage.
For all that extra stuff, the price doubles, so I am not exactly sure it is really worth it. If you are going to spend that much I would either bump up to the base camp or look for another company.
- Depth 64″
- Width 47″
- Height 95.4″
- Weight 422.17 lb | Uber: 571.4 lb
- Base Model $1,549.00
- Uber $3,000.00