Half Rack Vs Full Rack – Differences Compared For Lifting

If you're interested in setting up or enhancing your home gym, then investing in a lifting rack is the way to do it. Choosing the right lifting rack can be a challenge, especially if you're on the fence between half rack vs full rack. 

What does this mean? Well, there are two different types of lifting racks that you can set up in your home gym. Some people prefer a half rack for its compact size, while others refuse to work out on anything less than a full rack. 

What are the differences? Which one is better? In a competition between the half rack vs full power rack, which one wins?

Read on to find out the answers to these questions and more. 

Half Rack Vs Full Rack – Differences Compared For Lifting

What’s A Half Rack?

Rugged Commercial Half Rack

In order to determine which is better between half rack vs full rack, let's first focus on the half rack.

What does half rack mean? To put it simply, a half rack is a piece of workout equipment that’s significantly less wide than a full rack.

It consists of a solid base with two metal bars that extend up to the top. In most cases, those bars connect at the top by a fourth bar, which provides additional stability.

When someone lifts weights in a home gym, they more than likely don’t have a safety spotter present. This spotter would catch the weights should something go wrong, keeping the lifter safe in the process.

A half rack has small bars on the front of it that can catch the barbell and other weights, acting as your own personal spotter. These bars are essential for preventing injuries from occurring.

Recommended Half Rack Exercises

Now you might be wondering, what types of exercises can you do with a half rack? Can you squat with a half rack for example?

Since a half rack is smaller than a full rack, it isn’t designed to handle as many exercises. This is one of the main arguments in favor of full racks in the half rack vs full rack debate.

A half rack can provide enough support to do things like lunges and squats with weights, as well as bench presses and chest presses. Although not all of them do, some half racks have barbell supports. In some cases, these supports come as an additional option that you’ll have to pay extra for.

Half Rack Pros & Cons

There are some pros and cons to half racks, including: 

Benefits

  • A half rack takes up less space in your home gym
  • They are less expensive
  • You have more flexibility when it comes to barbell exercises
  • You can more easily exercise outside of your half rack

Drawbacks

  • They are sometimes made of a less sturdy metal compared to full racks
  • There are a limited number of exercises that you can do with a half rack
  • There are no security bars, although you might be able to purchase them separately

Half Rack Product Suggestions

In order to further emphasize the differences in the half rack vs full rack comparison, here are some of my recommended examples of the best half racks on the market:

1. Rugged Commercial Half Rack Y120

This half rack is made of heavy-duty 11-gauge steel that measures 2 inches by 3 inches wide. It can support up to 1,000 pounds of weight and comes with an in-home lifetime warranty.

The Rugged Commercial Half Rack comes with a set of safety arms and a set of j-cups, and it's finished in a powder coated black. This isn’t the cheapest half rack out there, but as the name suggests, the quality is commercial-grade, so the higher price tag is easily justified. 


2. Cap Barbell FM-8000F

On Sale Today
Cap Barbell Deluxe Power Rack (FM-CB8000F)
  • Heavy-Duty Construction – Steel...
  • Durable & Reliable – 3-Step Powder Coat...
  • Features – 2 plate posts, 3 band posts on...
  • Versatile – Use this power rack to perform...

Despite its name, the Cap Barbell Deluxe Power Rack is actually a half rack. Its base is 47 inches deep by 61 inches wide, while its arms extend up 85 inches tall. The upper bar serves as a pull-up bar and can support up to 300 pounds.

The same is true for the bar catches on the front (they can support 300 pounds as well). This half rack is made of powder coated steel and comes in several color combinations, ranging from sleek white or grey to bright orange or blue.


3. CAP Barbell FM-905Q

CAP Barbell FM-905Q Color Series Power Rack...
5,516 Reviews
CAP Barbell FM-905Q Color Series Power Rack...
  • SPECS - Assembled dimensions are 46 inches...
  • CONSTRUCTION - The 11 and 12-gauge steel...
  • MULTIPLE FEATURES - (1) Built-in bar and (1)...
  • RELIABILITY - Durable powder coat finish and...

The CAP Barbell FM 905Q is a great beginner's rack that offers a lot of versatility with a small price tag. It's fairly compact, but it can be adjusted, so it's taller than most other half racks, making it well suited for larger users.  

This half rack is made from powder-coated zinc, which isn't as durable as some other metals, but it is made by CAP, a reliable name in the industry. It can support up to 750 pounds of weight which is perfect for any beginner or intermediate user, and it has built-in storage for your weights. It's also available in a range of colors, so you can match it to other items in your gym.    

This rack is perfect for home gym owners who are just getting started, have limited space, and don’t want to spend a fortune. It isn’t going to be strong enough for advanced lifters, but it should work well for most people.  


What’s A Full Rack?

Merax Athletics Fitness Power Rack

Then there is the full rack. Just as the name suggests, this piece of home gym equipment is "full" in size compared to the half rack.

A full rack, sometimes also known as a power rack (making this a half rack vs power rack comparison as well) is a large cage that sits inside of a home gym.

It consists of a solid metal base that is usually square or rectangular in shape with four bars rising up from the base, and connecting bars across the top for added stability.

These racks are also known as cages because they resemble a cage that you might see holding wild animals, just without the restricting bars across all sides.

If a half rack is a good substitute for an in-gym spotter, then many bodybuilders believe that a full rack is even better. Don’t rush to congratulate the winner in the half rack vs power rack contest just yet, though - there are pros and cons to both.

Recommended Full Rack Exercises

Any weight bench can easily be placed inside of a full rack, making it much more diverse in terms of the exercises that you can do in your home gym. However, this doesn’t mean that this piece of workout equipment automatically wins.

A full rack can handle a wide range of exercises, and some even function as pull up bars. You’ll find that you can do any number of weight training exercises within one, including deadlifts, barbell lifts, squats, lunges, and more. The general rule of thumb is... if you can do it in a gym with a spotter, then you can do it in your home gym with a full rack.

Full Rack Pros and Cons

Just like the half rack, a full rack (or power rack, depending on your name preference) has some pros and cons, including:

Benefits

  • More workout versatility - you can do far more exercises in a power rack
  • A power rack functions like a human spotter
  • It’s very safe to lift weights while inside one
  • These pieces of workout equipment are very sturdy and high in quality

Drawbacks

  • A full rack requires lots of space in a home gym
  • There is a chance that the top bars of your full rack can damage your walls if there's not sufficient clearance
  • Your remaining workout space can be restricted

Full Rack Product Suggestions

In order to paint a better picture in this half rack vs power rack comparison, here are some examples of full racks:

1. HulkFit 1000-Pound Power Cage

On Sale Today
HulkFit Multi-Function Adjustable Power Cage...
  • Purpose - This rack setup includes Circle Dip...
  • Usage - Improve total body strength in your...
  • Materials - High gloss paint, powder coated...
  • Product Specifications – Total Product...

This power rack is designed to support a whopping 1,000 pounds of weight. It has a square steel frame that encloses the person exercising within of it. The base is shaped like an “H” in order to provide additional support - and that it does!

It comes with two dip bars on the sides, the upper bars double as pull up bars, and there are solid steel safety bars with J-hooks. Overall, this power cage measures 44 inches by 47 inches by 81 inches and comes in yellow with black accents. Our full review can be found here.


2. Merax Athletics Fitness Power Rack

Merax Athletics Fitness Power Rack Olympic...
  • 🏋️‍ 2"x 2" sturdy steel gauge and 4...
  • 🏋️‍ Built in pull up bar, safety...
  • 🏋️‍ 21 variable positions for bar...
  • 🏋️‍ Solid Steel Chrome pull up bar...

This power rack comes with all of the bells and whistles. It even has a foam covered utility bar that can be used for arm curls and other exercises. You can adjust the bar supports in 21 different ways, and it has attachments for low rows, lat pull downs, pull ups, and even safety spotters (the metal kind that can catch weights, not the human variety).

This power rack is 45 inches deep, 85 inches tall, and can support a maximum weight of 800 pounds. Check out or full review of this product in this detailed guide!


3. Fitness Reality 810XLT

Fitness Reality Squat Rack Power Cage with |...
  • 【STRONG ASTM TESTED 800 LBS. WEIGHT...
  • 【SOLID STEEL LONG SAFETY ARMS】- Other...
  • 【MULTI-GRIP & REVERSIBLE PULLUP...
  • 【STANDARD SIZED 1" HOLES】- Makes your...

If you want a full rack that’s reasonably compact and very durable, then the Fitness Reality 810XLT is a good choice. It supports up to 800 pounds of weight, and it's made from solid chrome, which is sturdy and scratch-resistant, so it's easy to clean and maintain.  

This rack comes with two chrome safety bars and 19 different height settings so that you can switch between various movements easily. It also has built-in pull up and chin up bars to help support your movement.  

This full rack works well for users of all levels and can be used for pretty much every type of workout. The downside is that it is an expensive model and won’t be suitable for those on a tight budget. There’s some long-term value to be had here because it will last a long time, but you need to be prepared to spend a little more up front 


Half Rack Vs Full Rack Compared (Which Is Better?)  

Maintenance & Repair 

Both half racks and full racks are fairly easy to maintain if you’ve bought a good quality model. You’ll usually only need to wipe them down with a damp rag to clean them and check them every few months to make sure there’s no damage.  

Half racks are designed to handle less weight, so there's slightly more risk of damage from overloading it, but it’s pretty unlikely if you use it properly. So when it comes to maintenance, there's no real difference between the two types of rack.  

Space Saving

A full weight rack takes up more room because it has 4 metal pillars. The largest full racks will be up to 48 inches deep and take up a significant space in your home. By comparison, a half rack is much smaller and takes up a lot less space. Half racks have been specifically designed for those who have limited space, and they're better suited for those with small home gyms.  

Versatility 

A half rack is easier to move because it’s smaller and lighter than a full rack, but it’s generally considered less versatile for exercises. A full power rack can be customized and adjusted as needed, and has more accessories and fittings which can be used on the weights. This gives you a greater choice of different workouts, so if you are more likely to change up your routine or you have several different people using the rack, then you’re better off with a full rack.  

Accessories 

A full rack is designed to allow you to do a wide range of workouts, and there are a lot of different attachments for people of different shapes, sizes, and abilities. The most popular accessories are squat blocks, benches, and dip bars, but there are a lot out there.  

A half rack is much smaller, so there are fewer accessories you can attach to it to vary your workout. You may be able to add some accessories onto a half rack, but you can do much more with a full rack.  

Durability  

Whether it's half or full, a good quality weight rack will be very durable and should stand up to heavy use. The build quality and brand will impact the durability of the rack, but if you're selective, then you can get a good, long-lasting half or full rack.  

Full racks tend to have a sturdier body because of the way they are built, which means they can last years even if they see a lot of use. In comparison, half racks tend to be a little less durable and won’t last as long.  

Maximum Weight Capacity 

The weight capacity of a rack will impact how much weight you can load and how hard you can train. Half racks can usually accommodate 300-1000 pounds, depending on the make and model, but full racks can support over 1000 pounds in most cases. If you're an advanced lifter, you'll probably want a full rack to support the weight.  

Remember, all half racks and full racks will have an individual maximum weight in the specifications. It's dangerous to go above this, and you can damage the rack, so make sure you aren't exceeding the max weight.  

Ease Of Use 

Racks are designed to be easy to use and let you lift comfortably. Half racks are smaller, so it can be a little more difficult to move around them, but generally, both types of racks are easy to use.  

Stability & Safety 

Both half racks and full racks are safe to use and are designed to stay stable even if they’re loaded with heavy weights.  

Some people are nervous about half racks and worry that they’ll become unstable when loaded with weights. This is almost never the case, and your half rack will be very safe to use as long as you don’t overload it. Make sure you’ve secured it to the floor before you start using it to lower any risk of injury. A full rack has a more solid frame made from heavy-duty metal, which is more stable and safe even with heavy weights.  

Price Range - Are They Worth It? 

Half racks are smaller and cheaper than full racks, and you can pick a good quality one for under $750. Full racks are more expensive because there are more materials used, and you can pay $700-$2000 for a good model.  

Half racks are a popular choice because they’re cheaper, but full racks tend to be more durable. This often means that they offer greater long-term value even though they cost more up front. Full racks can also take more wear and tear, so if you're an advanced lifter, it's definitely worth paying extra for the full rack.  


Half Rack Vs Full Rack FAQs

Should I get a half rack or power rack (full rack)?

Honestly, it's hard to say which one is better - it all comes down to your personal preferences, your budget, and your available gym space. If you're short on space, then a half rack will probably be best for you, but if you have plenty of square footage in your home gym and want more workout variety, go with a full rack. 

Do you have to bolt down a half rack or full rack?

Many racks come with the option to bolt them down to the floor or wall for additional stability and support. While it's not entirely necessary, it's definitely a good idea if you plan on using your rack for heavy-duty lifting. 

What do you put under a power rack?

To protect your floors and keep the rack from sliding, it's recommended that you place the frame on top of a weight-friendly mat. Not only will this protect your floors, but it will also protect your weights and keep the rack from sliding if you've chosen not to bolt it down. 


Conclusion 

Now that you know the differences between a half rack vs full rack, you’re probably ready to choose one for your home gym.

You have your choice, of course, now that you know the differences between them. The pros and cons have been analyzed, and even some examples of each have been suggested. The final thing to do is choose a half rack or full rack that's suitable for your home gym space

Last Updated on March 1, 2022

Paul J