Smith Machine vs Squat Rack vs Power Rack

A lot of people are wondering what is the difference between smith machine vs squat racks vs power rack. These pieces of exercise equipment are very beneficial. They can help in targeting your legs. You can also use them if you want to build your muscles and strengthen your body. Read More: Half Rack vs Full Rack: Side by Side Comparison

However, if you are not familiar with the equipment and want to learn more about them, then you are in the right place. In this article entitled “Smith Machine vs Squat Rack vs Power Rack: What is This Equipment? Types, Pros & Cons” we will show you almost everything that you need to know about these pieces of exercise equipment.

Without further ado let’s get started!

Smith Machine: What is This Equipment?

A smith machine is a weightlifting exercise equipment in which the barbell is connected upright guide rails. It also has upright weight stops. Actually, you can set them to a certain height underneath which you would want to restrict the downward movement of the barbell.

A smith machine, on the other hand, will guide the path of the barbell so you do not need to worry too much about steadying the bar and the possibility of failure. Even though this equipment does not activate your stabilizing muscles, still, it is a good workout for the legs.

Furthermore, this equipment comes equipped with safety catches or pins along with the whole extent of the upright rails. Such hooks will let you lock the loaded barbell at any time of your exercise’s range of movement. To latch the barbell, twist it bit by bit from the motion of your wrist. 

Lastly, some of the exercises that you can do with a smith machine are as follow:

  • Deadlifts
  • Bench presses
  • Squats
  • Incline bench presses
  • Behind the neck press
  • Decline bench presses
  • Military presses

Types of Smith Machines

As you narrow down your research, there are many different types of smith machines where you can choose from. Here are some of the most popular types available on the market.

  • All-in-One Smith Machine

This type is more like an innovative home gym that will cater to a person who wants to add free weight elements to his/her training. An all-in-one smith machine may include a number of stations that will include the footprint and height.

  • Residential Smith Machine

This type of smith machine is usually made of a lighter grade frame, bars, as well as other materials. A residential may be either bought as a standalone unit or an all-in-one unit that comes with additional features such as:

  • Lat pull-downs
  • Butterfly attachments
  • Squat cages
  • Crossovers

Further, some residential machines come with a nylon bushing system where the bar will ride up and down. The nylon bushing will travel on chromed square steel tubing or chrome guide rods depending on the manufacturer.

  • Commercial Smith Machine

This working out equipment is specially designed for all-day usage in dues-paying amenities as well as commercial gyms. Usually, a commercial smith machine comes a standalone unit that doesn’t come with any stations aside from the weight plate storage for easy and quick plate changes.

Since they are made for commercial use, commercial smith machines are made with superior quality materials. Also, most of them come with adjustable height safety arms. There is also a walk-through design to lessen tripping hazards.

  • Selectorized Smith Machine

This type of smith machine is not common but you can find one in the market. Nevertheless, the machine comes with a centralized bar that’s attached to a weight stack as well as dual guide rods on every side. Also, you can adjust the height of the bar to cater to your needs.

  • Counterbalanced Smith Machine

The main purpose of this smith machine is to lessen the weight of the steel Olympic bar. Additionally, a counterbalanced smith machine comes with counterweights, bushings, guide rods, cables, and pulleys. It also features protective shrouds to protect the user and even the bystanders from moving things connected with the counterbalance system.

Pros
  • It will not easily slip off.
  • Add weights to every half of the barbell more rapidly without any problem. However, you need to be careful about your limitations. Don’t add weights that you can’t handle as it may cause accidents.
  • It has a stable design that will reduce the user’s overall risk of accident and injury while using the machine.
  • A smith machine only needs small space, in fact, it is smaller than a power rack. It even comes with weight hangers thus you do not need further space for them.
  • It is easy to setup.
  • Easy to use.
  • It will offer you with utmost comfort and safety. With a smith machine, a bar is connected to the equipment with a pulley-like structure, unlike other pieces of gym equipment, the squat rack for instance where you’re not working with a free weight.
  • It is a piece of strong and durable gym equipment.
Cons
  • Though it offers a lot of benefits, the price of a smith machine is hefty. So, if you’re on a tight budget, you may possibly exclude it from your list.
  • You cannot use this to perform dips. This is because the mechanism is a bit small and doesn’t have additional bar latches in order to do such an exercise.
  • The barbell only moves in an upright plane which isn’t natural and can be dangerous.

Best Smith Machines That You Can Get

1) MiM USA Hercules 1001 Commercial Smith Machine

MiM USA Hercules 1001 Commercial Smith Machine

This smith machine from MiM USA comes with everything you need from a piece of workout equipment, except the Olympic weight. The smooth gliding system of Hercules 1001 will allow you to safely lift without the need for a spotter. However, if you want to lift outside this working out equipment, you can always do it but make sure to use the safety spotter arms which are included in the package.

This smith machine, on the other also comes with a high-quality and adjustable commercial-grade bench. In fact, it is beneficial for performing a wide variety of exercises such as bench presses. In addition to that, MiM USA Hercules 1001 Smith Machine features a chin-up station, pulley system, and other crucial attachments.

The only advantage of this smith machine is that you need to buy the Olympic weight separately.

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2) MAXXUSS Smith Machine

MAXXUSS Smith Machine

MAXXUSS Smith Machine is a must-have piece of equipment at a fitness studio and any gym. With this smith machine, you will be able to a lot of exercises such as inverted rows, squats, reverse calf raise, and incline shoulder. Not only that, but you can also target several parts of your lower and upper body.

MAXXUSS Smith Machine is powerfully constructed with oversized tubing for greater stability and durability. There are also 4 convenient chromed weight plate holders on every side. For smoother bar operation, this smith machine comes with accurate linear bearings.

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Squat Rack: What is This Equipment?

A squat rack comes with two poles whose main goal is to support and hold the barbell you are working out with. The stand, however, comes in a number of various setups.

The straight bars on the side will prevent the barbell from falling on you. Squat racks, on the other hand, are both affordable and versatile. What’s more, some units are very easy to store.

With this piece of gym equipment, you will be able to move within the frame freely. As a result, you will be able to manage your form depending on the type of your body as well as the technique.

One more thing, with a squat you will be able to do a lot of exercises such as:

  • Upright rows
  • Bench presses
  • Barbell curls
  • Close grip bench presses
  • Barbell bent-over rows
  • Overhead presses
  • Inverted row
  • Rack lockout
  • Barbell shrugs
  • Rack pull

Types of Squat Racks

There are different types of squat racks. To help you decide which one you should get, we will define each one of them below.

Squat Stand

Basically, it is an open squat rack that is versatile and comes with a number of safety features. Since it is small in size, it is relatively cheaper compared to other types of squat racks.

Combo Rack

It is a specialized type of squat rack that is designed to be utilized in powerlifting meets. A combo rack comes with a bench that will lock in and adjustable uprights. Despite the fact that is it designed to primarily used in home gyms, in fact, it can be also utilized for powerlifting to meet events and gyms.

If your main focus is on the bench, squat, and deadlift and wants to utilize the same gym equipment that you will be using on the day of the event, then look no further than a combo rack.

Fold Away Squat Rack

As the name implies, a fold-away squat rack will fold away almost flush with the walls where it is mounted. If you don’t have enough space, but you want to perform many exercises like squats and overhead presses, then a fold away squat rack is perfect for you. When you are not using the equipment, you can completely fold it out. Meaning to say, it is not only a piece of versatile equipment but a space-saver on as well.

Pros
  • With a squat rack, you don’t need to stay in the same direction as you’re on a smith machine. It means, you will have the opportunity to move around and of course, adjust your feet when needed.
  • Among the three pieces of gym equipment, smith machine vs squat rack vs power rack, squat racks are the most affordable options.
  • Light in weight and it will not take a considerable amount of space.
Cons
  • One major drawback of a squat rack is that it is not as safe as a smith machine and a power rack. While it helps in supporting and holding the weight you will need to focus on balance and form.
  • This piece of gym equipment can be frightening unless you’re an experienced or professional lifter.
  • Some squat racks are tall, it means they are not suitable for low ceilings and basements.

Best Squat Racks That You Can Buy

1) Merax Barbell Rack

 Merax Barbell Rack

Merax Barbell Rack has all-steel construction and comes with compact and effective size. As a matter of fact, its size can be adjusted with ease so that you will be able to just according to your needs.

With 2-inch hole spacing on the barbell rack you will be able to get the spotter arm customized at the right height for performing shrugs, curls, decline and incline bench presses, squat, and among others. There are also eight-inch weight pegs on ever side that offer convenient storage for usual weight plates. In fact, it will provide compact solutions for fitness studios, home gyms, and garage gyms.

One more thing, the beautiful and color red base of this squat will surely motivate you to do workouts. Last but not least, Merax Barbell Rack has assembled dimensions of 43.5-inch to 67.5-inch (H) by 19.5-inch (W) by 27.5-inch to 45.5-inch (L).

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2) HI-MAT Adjustable Power Tower Squat Rack

HI-MAT Adjustable Power Tower Squat Rack

HI-MAT adjustable power tower squat rack comes equipped with a U-shape base that has a total dimension of 40.5-inch by 41-inch. For greater durability and stability, this squat rack also comes with four non-skid foot sets.

When you buy this product, you will not only get a squat rack but a power tower as well. With that in mind, you will be able to a lot of exercises using this equipment such as squat, knee raise, pull-ups, dips, and push-ups.

This machine, on the other hand, sports a nice and comfortable design. For example, the dip stand is designed using elbow pads. There is also a backrest that can be adjusted to six different levels. This feature will protect both your elbow and spine as you work out.

Another good thing about this squat rack is that it can support users weighing 1100 pounds. The arm cushion, as well as the dumbbell rack, comes with eleven levels of height adjustment. Lastly, this is very easy to install and it even comes with assembling guides and tools.

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Power Rack: What is This Equipment?

Also called as power cage and rig, a power rack comes with four feet connected by four metal bars, 2 safety bars in order to catch a weighted barbell, and three stabilizing bars located at the foot. Usually, this piece of equipment comes with a square footprint to ensure great stability.

Almost all power racks come with inbuilt safety bars that can help in catching heavy barbells. These bars, on the other hand, will stop you from dropping a weighted barbell on yourself and being crushed. Aside from safety bars, you can also use safety straps when using a power rack.

When it comes to the exercises you can do with this piece of working out equipment these will include

  • Deadlifts
  • Pull-ups
  • Barbell lifts
  • Squats
  • Dips
  • Chin-ups
  • Rack pulls
  • Upright rows
  • Barbell curls
  • Bench presses
  • Inverted rows

Types of Power Racks

Here are the different types of power rack that are currently available on the market.

Wall Mount Power Rack

  • This type of power rack will not use a significant amount of space. The fact that you can attach it to the wall, a wall mount power rack will lessen the chances of insecure setups. Compared to full racks, you’ll be restricted to a spotter’s arm for safety setups. In fact, it is much better compared to a squat stand. However, if you failed to do a rep you are more likely to bury yourself below the weight since it will bounce off the spotter’s arm and from everywhere. One more thing, space where you can store the place is limited.

Half Rack

  • Essentially, it is a small version of power racks that is best suited for people who have a short ceiling or limited space.
  • Among the two types of power racks, a half rack is much more affordable. But there is a flip side when it comes to versatility.

Nevertheless, if you do not like to feel encloses when you are lifting, a half rack can be a great option.

Pros
  • One of the main advantages of a power rack is safety. By setting up the safety catches to your desired height, you will be able to walk away from the rack safely.
  • Power racks are sturdy and durable. If you’re into heavy lifting, it is very crucial that you go into weight training routines feeling confident the equipment you are utilizing.
  • Compared to a smith machine, with a power rack, you will be able to perform dips without any trouble.
Cons
  • It has a big footprint thus it will take a lot of space. This is not practical if you are living in a place that has restricted space.
  • It’s a bit costly, but it is still a good investment because of its features and functionalities.

Best Power Racks That You Can Buy

1) Merax Aesthetics Fitness Power Rack

 Merax Aesthetics Fitness Power Rack

Being able to safely exercise is one of the most crucial parts of home works and that is why the Merax Aesthetics Fitness Power Rack makes a nice addition to your gym equipment.

This power rack can offer you more than twenty-four exercise strength training selections. With durable steel construction, Merax Aesthetics Fitness Power Rack will provide superior durability and strength. That said, it can resist intense workout sessions. Inside this power rack, there is plenty of space where you can perform stance squats comfortably. In addition to that, it comes with an additional spotter for improved safety.

The multiple grip pull-up bars of this equipment is specially designed to let you make use of many hand positions to engage and at the same time enhance arm muscles, back, and shoulder further. 

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2) Kinelo Body-Solid GPR378 Power Rack

Kinelo Body-Solid GPR378 Power Rack

If you want to do strength-training without compromising anything, then you should consider investing in Kinelo Body-Solid GPR378. This power rack is made to work with all kinds of benches as well as engineered for extreme exercises. Kinelo Body-Solid GPR378 is made from 11-gauge heavy-duty high tensile steel frames. As a matter of fact, all four sides have welded construction and are using industrial strength and oversized hardware.

It also has a powder finish that will help in resisting scratching and chipping through the intense workout routines. Nevertheless, if you want to become stronger and get bigger, Kinelo Body-Solid GPR378 can surely help you.

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Smith Machine vs Squat Rack vs Power Rack: Which is the Best One?

In the actual fact, there is no correct answer to this equipment. The right piece of equipment will depend on your knees as well as the budget. As you can see, smith machines, squat racks, and power racks are available in various price tags. So, set a budget and make sure to stick it. However, if the equipment you are considering is not within this price range, you should be willing to spend more, but make sure you are getting the best value for your money.

If you are a beginner, consider getting a smith machine. But if you want to focus on building your muscles and strengthening your body you can never go wrong with either a power rack or squat rack. However, if you have limited space, it is best that you opt for a power rack. Hopefully, you have learned a lot from this article.