The Most Important Information
A high-quality squat stand is much more than a convenient tool to spot you on leg day. A good squat stand opens up the possibility to use bars, bands, rings, etc. A squat stand with a pull-up bar can end up being used for a quarter of the weight training you’ll ever do. Naturally, you want to get the best tool for the job.
I’m going to cover everything you need to know to invest in the best squat rack with a pull-up bar.
If you’re an intermediate or advanced athlete, you’re probably in the right place. However, you may get more value out of a half rack or a power rack if you have space for it. If you’re currently a beginner, I strongly encourage you to attend a local gym for 3-9 months before you start building your home gym. Prove to yourself that weightlifting is something you actually enjoy before you make any investments.
You can skip to my recommendations straight away. However, if you want to understand the reasons behind my suggestions please keep reading.
- The Most Important Information
- Weight Capacity
- Hole Sizing & Spacing
- Accessories & Shipping
- Last Words
The best material for a squat stand is steel:
- 8 gauge steel is very strong, quite pricey, and totally overkill unless you’re a high-level strongman
- 11 gauge steel is the sweet spot and what most of you will be best off with
- A thinner 12 gauge steel is acceptable for those who lift under 200 pounds (90.72 kilograms)
- 14 gauge steel is cheaper but runs the risk of breaking within a few years. Oftentimes, these stands will arrive with product defects.
If you can’t afford a higher quality 11 gauge steel, I strongly recommend you save your money until you can invest in something safe.
Painted stands may look appealing but they will chip eventually. Anti-rust sprays aren’t usually compatible with the paint on a typical squat stand. The best option for longevity is a powder coat finish.
The dimensions you choose will be based on the size of the space you’ll be using to store your squat stand.
Length & Width
Typically, a base should measure at least 45×45 inches. If you’re over 6 feet tall you may need up to a 55-inch width to avoid squatting in an uncomfortably tight space. Basically, just get a base that is as wide as you can afford to maximize freedom of movement.
Important note: Remember that your barbell needs to fit too!
As a rule of thumb, a chin-up bar should be 3 inches higher than the highest you can reach with your arms extended over your head. If you already have a chin-up bar in your gym, you may wish to opt for a true squat stand as opposed to a squat stand with a pull-up bar.
In addition to the guage of the steel, the amount of steel (ie: the size of the uprights and the base) determine the structural integrity of a squat stand.
I believe a quality squat stand is built with at least 2×3-inch uprights and 2×2-inch bases.
Many squat stands are ‘safe stable’ but not ‘comfortable stable’. Heavy squat stands with rubber feet are good but, as I said earlier, the ultimate solution to instability is to get a squat stand that can be bolted into the wall, the floor, or both.
Horns don’t just let you store plates. They can be a strategic addition to your squat stand to increase its overall weight and consequently, its stability.
The weight capacity of the squat stand should be no less than 500 pounds (226.8 kilograms).
Note: Just because a stand was ‘tested’ to hold a certain amount of weight doesn’t mean you should trust it with that amount of weight. Take into account the gauge of the steel and the structural thickness to know whether or not you should trust a squat stand.
Hole Size & Spacing
The size of each hole should be ⅝ of an inch. These holes should always be located on the front side of the uprights to accommodate the most accessories. A rack with holes that line the left, right, and/or back of the uprights in addition to the front is even better.
The standard hole spacing for a squat stand is 1-2 inches.
In my opinion, squat stands that deviate from the above hole sizing and spacing should be avoided.
Accessories & Shipping
Most stands don’t come with any accessories other than J-cups. Take this into account when you make your first purchase. Here’s an image of a J-cup:
Note: J-cups should have a plastic lining to protect your upright’s finish from scratches.
Always look for free shipping and a good return policy. When you order a 300-pound (136.08-kilogram) product shipping fees can add a substantial amount of money to the price tag. The last thing you need is to find yourself with a defective product and then need to pay a fortune to return it.
- 11 or 12 gauge steel
- 45×45-inch base minimum or bolted
- Chin-up bar at least 3 inches higher than the highest you can reach with your arms overhead
- 2×3-inch uprights minimum
- 500-pound (226.8-kilogram) weight capacity
- ⅝-inch holes 1-2 inches apart located on the front of the uprights
- Make sure J-cups are added to your order
- Free shipping if possible
Rogue S-2 2.0
This is the best option for those of you who can’t get a wall-mounted squat stand. I wouldn’t trust this stand with any more than 500 pounds (226.8 kilograms). The dimensions are 92x48x48 inches.
This stand has very high stability, comes with J-cups, and accommodates the vast majority of accessories.
There are no horns on the base and you’ll need to pay for shipping.
Rogue SM-2 Monster Squat Stand 2.0
The Monster stand is built with 3×3-inch 11 gauge steel. Its dimensions are 93x50x54 inches. This stand is pricey and takes up quite a bit of space. This is for advanced athletes who need a heavy-duty stand to accommodate weights over 500 pounds (226.8 kilograms) and prefer not to use a wall-mounted stand.
You will be able to use any accessory on this stand. It also comes with rubber feet to protect your floor.
The negatives are the price, no free shipping, and a large footprint.
Fringesport Squat ‘Rack’ With Pull-Up Bar
I know they call it a rack…for my purposes it’s a stand. Fringesport’s ‘racks’ are for athletes on a budget who also understand the need for safety. The garage series squat ‘rack’ with a pull-up bar is available at a very low price and is still built to be very safe. Its dimensions are 84½x49½x46½ inches.
The pros of this stand are its low price and small footprint. It comes with weight horns and floor bolts to increase its overall stability. In addition, you get free shipping and free returns with a 1-year warranty.
On the flip side, you can’t lift anything heavier than 450 pounds (204.12 kilograms) on this stand. Even with the weight horns, you’ll get more sway on this stand compared to the other stands I’m recommending.
Fringesport Wall-Mounted Squat ‘Rack’
If you have the option to mount a squat stand on the wall but are on a budget, the Fringesport wall-mounted ‘rack’ is a good option. Its height is available at 9, 12, or 15 feet. Its footprint is 4×4 feet.
This stand is well-made with 3×3-inch 11 gauge steel so it can handle heavy 500-pound+ (226.8-kilogram+) weights. You don’t pay for shipping or for returns shipping. This stand comes with a 1-year warranty.
Naturally, because of the lower price, you’ll be getting lower quality parts that may arrive dented because of the cheap shipping. My only concern with this stand is it’s likely to have a limited lifespan.
My favorite squat stand out of all of these is the Rogue S-2 2.0. This stand is very fairly priced and will do the best job accommodating the majority of athletes who can’t mount their stands on the wall. This Rogue stand doesn’t sacrifice key attributes such as stability and compatibility with accessories.
If you’re looking for a barbell feel free to check out this article where I break down how to choose a multi-purpose barbell. Click here for a guide to the power bar and here for a guide to the Olympic barbell.
I hope this helps! Please leave a comment if you feel like something was missed or if there’s a topic you’d like to see covered in the near future.