Fold-Back Wall-Mounted Squat Racks Comparison
- The Problem with Traditional Racks
- Quick Comparison
- Detailed Comparison with Pros & Cons
- The Winner!
- Where to Get Them
This is something I’ve wanted to write about for a long time. I LOVE these types of racks. Good wall mounted racks are like one of the top 5 best developments in recent years.
So many of us are short on space in our garage gym or our back room gym. A traditional power rack, or even an open-ended squat rack, takes up a painful amount of space. Moving it between workouts is not feasible.
In the past, your best option to deal with this was to get a pair of portable squat stands.
3 problems with portable squat stands:
- You have to carefully set them the right 48″ distance apart each time, and aligned properly
- They’re naturally so light weight (being small and portable) that you have to be more gentle when re-racking
- The feet stick out partially in your way, causing a trip hazard
- The bar catches on some of them only have a short vertical stopper above them for you to walk or push the bar into when re-racking, leaving you with the danger of moving the bar right over the top of them if they aren’t set at the perfect height.
So it’s clear that we needed an entirely different solution to save on space.
Behold! A squat rack that installs securely against the wall, folds out with the feet touching the floor for support, and folds back up against the wall for storage. Awesome stuff.
Note that some makers call these wall mounted power racks. Not so fast. A power rack encloses the bar on both sides and has safety bars. These are just squat racks / half racks. It’s a marketing issue, I imagine.
Credit where it’s due – The first one of these was invented in 2014 by PRX Performance, backed by “Shark Tank” businessman and investor Kevin O’Leary in 2016.
The shared features among most of these racks are:
- Quick fold-back design
- Pull up bar
- ~48″ wide to fit 7ft bars (with some variances… see the full details below)
- Adjustable height J-hooks
This contraption was pioneered by PRx Performance. We sometimes make the mistake of thinking Rogue comes up with all this new stuff, but often they just popularize an existing idea by putting their huge market share behind it.
— Beware the details!!
There’s plenty to compare between the brands I’ve selected, and in this case they can’t be explained in a comparison chart. Read on or skip to my final recommendation below.
(click name for detailed look)
|PRx Performance||Rogue Fitness||Titan Fitness||Fringe Sport||Wright Equipment|
|Foldup Style||Up (Patented)||Sideways||Sideways||Sideways||Extended Bar Holders|
|Depth from Wall||24″||24″ or 44″||21.5″ or 41″||25″||16″|
|Steel Tubing||11-gauge 2″x3″ or 3″ Square||11-gauge 2″x3″ or 3″ Square||11-gauge 2″x3″||11-gauge 2.5″ Square||11-gauge 2″ Square|
|Pull Up Bar||7’11” max height,
36″ max from wall
|7’3″ max height,
44″ max from wall
7’2″ max height,
41″ max from wall
|7’4″ max height,
25″ max from wall
|8’6″ max height,
36″ max from wall
Here’s what makes each rack stand out among the others. I’ll sum up the pros and cons of each one.
PRx Performance Profile Rack
In 2014 PRx Performance invented and patented this rack. In 2016 they aired on ABC’s “Shark Tank”, a show for entrepreneurs to pitch to a panel of investors. Investor Kevin O’Leary was convinced to buy into 20% of the company. As it took off, Rogue and others copied the concept and modified the design enough to get around the patent.
Folding Mechanism: Unique gas shock system that makes it effortless to pull out and fold back, with locking pins to make it child-proof. All the imitators below require you to remove the pull up bar and fold the rack parts sideways instead. I think it has to do with the patent that PRx wisely registered for.
The video a few paragraphs below shows the folding mechanism pretty well.
Skip the Upgrade
They have few models. Let me simply it. Their basic model they did on Shark Tank and have marketed most heavily is the Profile. The Profile Pro offers larger 3″x3″ steel construction (vs 2″x3″), color options, height options, and laser-cut number markings. The basic Profile rack is fine if you want to watch your spending. You don’t need those upgrades badly.
Pull Up Bar – Get the Kipping Bar if you Can
3 options – None, regular, or extruded 36″ from the wall for kipping pullups. Get at least the regular. Everyone needs a pull up bar. Keep in mind the kipping bar does not fold back itself, so it’s going to be sticking out 12″ from the wall as you fold the rack in. For most of us that’s not really an issue, as we don’t need to save space that high.
Width Note: The uprights are 48″ wide, just like a normal squat rack. Their product description tells you the whole unit is 52″ wide, but they’re including the brackets, so don’t worry about that.
Depth: 24″ from the wall, folds to 4″ from wall.
Design and Construction: 2″x3″ 11-gauge steel, or 3″x3″ on the Pro. The folding design forces a tad bit of play in some joints, making it not feel as solid as a comparable 2″x3″ rack. That goes for all similar wall mounted racks. They can wobble a little under loads. The design is spot on though, and I don’t think anyone would feel unsafe with it.
So to sum up, this rack is the original and is still one of the best here.
Rogue R-3W and RML-3W
These are surprisingly hard to find on Rogue’s site. You have to look in the Power Racks category, not in Squat Stands or Wallmounts where you would expect them.
Rogue put “Westside” hole spacing on the uprights of the R-3W. What this means is 1″ on center between the bar catch height adjustment holes in the height range you would use for bench pressing. Higher than that they are spaced 2″, which is fine for squats or overhead presses. This pattern of spacing was popularized by Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell, hence the name.
They have other marks on the uprights to help you put the two bar catches at the same height and not have to eyeball it too hard.
Folding Mechanism: Rogue, Titan and Fringe all use a similar folding mechanism, so I won’t repeat the whole description every time. To fold it away, you first remove the 2 pins above and pull off the pull up bar. Then pull 4 pins from the rack hinges and fold both arms against the wall. The hinges go both ways, so you can fold them both in, both out, or one in and one out, whatever works for your space, standing out only 5″ from your wall. If you have the wall space available where you can fold at least one side outwards, you won’t have to remove the J cups. Otherwise, not a big deal.
Pull Up Bar: Max height 87″, adjustable down via pop pins. The top wall support arms of the Rogue, Titan and Fringe models all have to attach somewhere too and can get in the way of the pull up bar brackets, so you need to put some thought into it when doing the install.
Need Super Heavy Duty?
For an even beefier rack, they have a RML-3W Monster series rack, ie; 3″x3″ 11-gauge steel. This compares to the R-3W with 2″x3″ steel, just like PRx did with their models. But Rougue has been doing this for a long time. The J-cups on the 3″x3″ are of course wider to fit. Those are the only differences between the two sizes. Note that this makes the 3″x3″ rack two inches wider, to 49″, which is pushing the limits.
Depth Options: Both versions have either a 20.5″ deep or 40.5″ deep option that you select on the product page. Get the 20.5″ unless you need space for movements like kipping pull ups, toes to bar, or muscle ups. The 40.5″ deep doesn’t fold in neatly to the wall and will overlap unless you fold them one in and one out.
Pull Up Bar: For kipping pull ups, you probably want the 41.5″ deep, as 24″ is about the minimum depth you want for enough margin for sloppy form. If you’re 5ft tall, 21.5″ could be fine.
Will Haddad shows you what it takes to install it, unfold it, and fold it, and how does holds up under some heavy lifts (405lb?). Of course, it would be surprising if something from Rogue were not heavy duty and well-tested.
I should note that another of Rogue’s racks is a single-station wall-mount rig, the W-4. They’ve had these for much longer. They’re basically a single station from the existing rig setups that are normally multiple squat racks with pull up bars all attached to each other for group classes. The main caveat with these is they are not foldable and they’re really deep (6ft!). You’re stuck with it as sort of a really big power rack with no safety bars, but a pull up bar that can be mounted nice and high. Therefore it doesn’t entirely fit into this article, but I thought I’d mention it.
Titan Fitness T-3 Wall Mount Power Rack
Titan basically does low-cost Rogue imitations. Sorry, but it’s true. And they do ok at it. They’ve been at it a while and have gotten better and better with their design considerations.
Depth: They make a 21.5″ deep and a 41″ deep model, very close to Rogue’s depth choices.
Pull Up Bar: They put on an unusually thick 1.5″ pull up bar (most people prefer 1.25″). The max height is 86″, adjustable down to any height, but like Rogue, the top wall support arms have to attach somewhere too, so you need to put some thought into it when doing the install. will get in the For kipping pull ups, you probably want the 41″ deep, as 24″ is about the minimum depth you want for enough margin for sloppy form. If you’re 5ft tall, 21.5″ could be fine.
Here I’m talking about the outside width of the rack’s uprights. Normally power racks are 48″ wide.
Titan makes their rack 50″ wide. I don’t understand why. It’s an issue. The problem is virtually all 7ft olympic bars have a shaft length of about 52″ between the shoulders. When setting it on a rack that gives you only 2″ of play side-to-side. NOT GOOD for trying to re-rack a heavy weight safely.
For comparison, as mentioned above, Rogue’s 2″x3″ rack is 47″ wide, and their 3″x3″ is 49″ wide. Even that mere inch difference on the latter gives you another 50% more play when re-racking your bar and can make the difference between a good workout and a hospital visit.
That’s the thing about Titan. They make weird decisions, or they don’t always think things through. Over the last few years they’ve improved some designs, but it reflects an initial lack of understanding of why other brands of equipment are designed the way they are.
Still, they’re way cheaper if that’s your cup of tea.
Fringe Sport Retractable Power Rack
Fringe has a 365-day return policy, which I think is the most generous in the whole industry right now. You get free shipping to begin with, and then you can send it back within a year, on a whim, and get all your money back. Or within 30 days and they’ll even pay return shipping. Evidently they don’t get many returns, or they wouldn’t be able to do this.
Fringe split the difference and did 2.5″ square tubing instead of 3″ square or 2″x3″. They only have a single model, and no options. That makes things easy!
Pull Up Bar: The pull up bar can adjust from 70″-88″ from the floor (5’10” – 7’4″). It’s 25″ from the wall, giving you just enough space for kipping pullups with a margin for sloppy form.
Width: 49″ wide, the maximum width you want for a rack.
Depth: 25″ from the wall, an inch deeper than PRx’s rack.
Folding Mechanism: Just like Rogue. Fold either side in or out. It takes the same amount of work, pulling out 4 pins for the pull up bar and 4 for the rack hinges. Like Rogue, you can leave the J cups in place if you’re folding at least one side outward.
Wright Equipment Lean Garage Rack
Wright Equipment has been in business for 30 years. I bought some bumpers from them ten years ago, and at the time they were pretty much known just for their bumpers. They have expanded their selection to other equipment nicely.
So Wright is a unique one. Props to them for trying something weird. Wright had a prior model much like Rogue’s. Then they figured out that maybe it isn’t necessary to make the rack foldable. They have you mount the rack uprights right up against the wall and have long extended bar catches to keep your bar away from the wall.
Design & Construction: It’s an interesting idea. They have 2 big selling points:
- All you have to do for saving space between workouts is remove the bar holders. That’s it. No pins, no folding.
- Easy install, relatively speaking. You can add an install kit for $60. That’s a lot for a couple pieces of wood and some bolts and washers, but on the plus side you might not have to make a single trip to Home Depot.
At first to me it looked like the bar catches were of the cheap squat stand variety, where you better re-rack the bar at the right height or you’ll go right over the top of them. But because they’re extended, the tops of them function as long bar catches too, kind of in the style in safety bars. See the pic. So it works. I don’t really see a problem with it. You can also get (longer) safety bars to put below it.
They use only 2″ square tubing, instead of the 2×3 or 3″ square like other brands. The design itself limits wobble, so that seems to be fine.
The J hooks are rated for 500 lbs, fine for most of us, but less than all the others. For that reason it’s not the best choice for a commercial environment with some strong lifters.
Width: 46″. I’d say that’s the minimum, still fine. Narrower than 46″ and it starts getting dangerous for your pinky fingers when you do an extra wide grip.
Depth: The extended bar holders stick out only 16″ from the wall. That’s less than any other rack here, but it still gives you enough depth.
Pull Up Bar: Two options, 30″ or 36″ from the wall. The 30″ should be plenty for anyone’s kipping pull ups. The reason to get the 36″ would be that it’s also higher at 102″ (8’6″) tall, vs. 96″ (8′).
Here’s a video from Wright of what it takes to install it.
What I like to do is try to start at the lowest priced one and move on up until I have what I need.
The Titan is tempting at a way lower price, but the 50″ wide uprights don’t leave enough room for me and my sloppy re-racking, and they don’t give you a lot of space for kipping pull ups.
Personally I’d go with Fringe’s version. Here is why:
- The price is close to Rogue, but they also have free shipping.
- Fringe doesn’t offer any options, but it seems they’ve figured out what I personally would want and just did that. The 3″x3″ tubing on some models really is not necessary. I’m sure it helps prevent wobble a bit on the higher weights, above any range I’m likely to lift. 2″x3″ is great.
- 24″ from the wall is enough. More space can be nice, sure, but remember the issue with these types of racks is if you go beyond 24″ then you can’t fold the rack sides both inward! You would have to fold one out to the side. That’s why Fringe kept it at 24″, to save on wall space, in the spirit of saving space in general.
- I’m not worried much about getting a high pull up bar for kipping pullups unless it’s going into a room or garage with high ceilings. Being able to do them would just be gravy. For squats and presses I think this rack would be great. If that were important to me, I’d probably go with the PRx.
Honestly the crazy long return period Fringe offers doesn’t affect my decision. If I don’t like it, I’m not going to use it all year and then return it. I’d feel scummy, assuming there’s indeed nothing wrong with it.
Where to Get Them
|PRx Profile Pro||Amazon|
|Rogue 2″x3″||Rogue Fitness|
|Rogue 3″x3″||Rogue Fitness|
|Titan 21.5″ Deep||Titan Fitness or Amazon|
|Titan 41″ Deep||Titan Fitness or Amazon|
|Fringe Retractable Power Rack||Fringe Sport|
|Wright Lean Garage Rack||Wright Equipment|