Updated 2022 with current rack features and to emphasize the Monster Lite series.
Rogue has so many models of power racks and squat stands that choosing between them is overwhelming at first. I’ll be narrowing it down to just a few racks that in my opinion are the right choice for 90% of people.
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Rogue has an excellent reputation for build quality, customer service, and overall reliability. Their products are well-designed and tested. They make all racks in their huge facility in Ohio while other companies mostly import from China.
Out of all brands, Rogue easily has the best resale value. It’s the most recognized top-tier brand of rack in the consumer market. A Rogue rack you might be able to resell after a few years for 80% of its retail price if it’s in great shape.
They have innovated dozens of new accessories to add to power racks. Other manufacturers have copied Rogue’s rack sizing to be compatible with their accessories, but sometimes there are slight incompatibilities. When you get a Rogue rack you know you’ll be in a good situation for adding accessories later on.
All of Rogue’s power racks are a “walk-through design”, meaning built without a lower rear stabilizer bar that would only get in the way of the proper positioning of a weight bench.
Their range of rack models is extensive, to the point of being overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for. It also means you can get exactly the right rack for you when you get some good advice (which hopefully you’ll get here!).
Squat Stands and Wall-Mounted Folding Racks
See my lengthy guide on choosing between power racks and squat stands.
I’ll probably write an article soon about Rogue’s several squat stands.
Also see the folding wall-mounted racks guide going over Rogue and other companies.
Rogue’s Power Rack Lines
The first thing you should know is the difference between their Echo, R Series, Monster Lite, and Monster racks, so that I can guide you through eliminating a good chunk of them as possibilities and make it clearer what your best pick is.
The main technical difference between the four lines is their tubing size and hardware size (ie: bolt thickness).
|Echo||2″x2″ Tubing, 1/2″ Hardware|
|R-Series / Infinity||2″x3″ Tubing, 5/8″ Hardware|
|Monster Lite||3″x3″ Tubing, 5/8″ Hardware|
|Monster||3″x3″ Tubing, 1″ Hardware|
While Rogue does mention the above somewhere on their site, I’ll tell you the real reasons you should choose one over the others. Bigger isn’t always better here.
The R-Series were Rogue’s first racks. 2×3 racks were common before Rogue, and that’s what they went with. It’s a good tubing size for reducing wobble, and it makes for reasonably heavy racks that stay in place. This series is being phased out, and newer attachments are not available.
Echo is the budget option that Rogue has for several other categories of equipment. These racks are nearly like the Amazon and eBay off-brands of racks, with the difference being that Rogue’s design and consistency is very good, USA-made, without stupid design flaws that hit you by surprise, and the 11 gauge steel used on Echo racks is a notably good spec.
Bigger tubing in the Monster Lite means a more heavy duty rack overall. You get less wobble in all directions and less risk of tipping with the added weight. Great things. On the downside, you’re paying more, and you’ll be paying more on the back end with more expensive attachments.
The Monster goes a step beyond the Monster Lite with bigger 1″ hardware. Why 1″ hardware? Technically that makes it stronger.
Top Pick: RML-390F
I featured this rack in my Best Freestanding Power Racks article.
Rogue makes hardly any freestanding racks like this, meaning one that isn’t meant to be bolted to the floor to be stable.
With the RML-390F you don’t have to worry about drilling holes into concrete or making a plywood platform for it. Just set up and go. This is a popular, basic rack that you are unlikely to regret getting.
The stability of a freestanding rack like this isn’t exactly due to the “flat foot” design so much as it is the feet that extend past the uprights to create a counter-force against tipping when you re-rack a loaded barbell. Without the extended feet, there is no counter-force and the rack can easily tip.
On that same principle, be careful about adding front spotter arms to this rack. The extended feet do not provide as much of a counter-force to prevent tipping when the spotter arms extend past them.
This rack does come with band peg holes, but without band pegs. You can inadvertently lift up the rack if you’re using heavy enough bands. Test your bands out carefully with an empty bar to make sure the rack is heavy enough to handle them. Also consider that the bands are a counter-force to the weight of the rack and may cause the rack to tip when you re-rack a loaded bar, as if you’re using a lighter rack.
Basic Floor-Mounted Pick: RML-390C
Based on the 10 year classic R-3! A good basic floor-mounted rack.
The rack comes standard with band pegs and a choice of colors. Optionally you can add numbered uprights, strap safeties, and concrete anchors.
It has the signature “Westside” hole spacing, which is 1″ hole spacing in a lower area of the rack for the bench press area, and 2″ hole spacing above.
The wall-mount rack kit is a space-efficient way to stabilize the RML-390C by mounting it into the wall, should you prefer that over drilling holes in your concrete floor. One way or another, it should be mounted.
If You Have the Space: RML-690C
You have to store your plates somewhere, and if your floor plan allows it, having your plates on the rear of a 6-post rack like this is more convenient than on a plate tree. It’s also more stable.
Technically, this rack is meant to be bolted down, but the extended rear portion of the rack provides so much counter-force leverage against a barbell being re-racked, as illustrated, and extra frame weight (+160lb), that people have found that they can get away with leaving it freestanding without issue. On bare concrete it could slide. Rubber flooring holds it in place fine.
Like the RML-390C, the rack comes standard with band pegs and a choice of colors, and optional numbered uprights, strap safeties, and concrete anchors.
Here’s what you’re looking at in the Monster series racks over the Monster Lite:
|Hardware Finish||Black Zinc||Optional Bright Zinc|
|Height Options||90″||90″, 100″, 108″|
|Pullup Bar||Regular||Regular + Fat and other options|
|J-Cups Upgrade||No, you have to buy the standard and pay full price for the upgraded ones.||Yes, upgrade for reduced price.|
|Flip Down Safeties or Strap Safeties Upgrade||No, you have to buy the standard and pay full price for the upgraded ones.||Yes, upgrade for reduced price|
The 1″ hardware is made for a tank. Very hard to justify that logically. Same with the bright zinc hardware finish option. These are glamour features.
The height options start to make sense. If you have the ceiling room, it’s nice to be able to do overhead presses inside the rack with no restriction, and to get a full hang on the pull up bar.
Speaking of the pull up bar, the Monster gives you a fat pull up bar option for a more challenging grip.
If you’re going to be getting sandwich J cups or some strap safeties or flip down safeties, they let you upgrade to those without forcing the standard ones on you the way they do with the Monster Lite. The price savings there barely cuts into the overall price difference of the rack, but it’s worth a consideration.
Other than those upgrades when you buy the rack, the attachments will cost you a little more on the Monster.
It doesn’t look to me like there are any attachments right now for the Monster that aren’t available in Monster Lite, but I believe I have seen a Monster version of one or two attachments made first, kind of a perk for the Monster owners. If that appeals to you, well then go for it.
Tubing Size and Safety
There is one downside to 3×3 racks. Above is an R-series rack with the 2×3 tubing, meaning 2″ wide and 3″ deep, the portion of the bar shaft that hangs outside the rack. In this example the bar is pulled a little to one side. With the bar centered the marked space will be only about 2.25″.
You do not want to be too far off-center when you’re re-racking a heavy barbell. You also don’t want the plates to bump against the upright because you’re off-center. Either one catches you off-guard, you get confused, you try to look to the side to figure out what’s going on, and that’s not a good thing in that precarious situation. The heavier the weight, arguably the more likely you are to find yourself off-center in a set of squats.
Now consider Rogue’s 3×3 racks. You’ll have less lateral space. The way Rogue designs the 3×3 racks, they extend the width of the tubing outwards. That is to say, while the R-series racks are 47″ wide, the Monster Lite racks are 49″ wide. Now your bar only has 1.125″ of space on each side to move laterally before you’re in trouble! Try to use some point on the wall or whatever as a visual spot to keep things centered while you re-rack.
A way to mitigate this is with sandwich J-cups. Yes, they are expensive. Think about getting them later on, at least. In this situation, because they are narrower than regular J-cups and stick out from the uprights, you get more lateral movement space for your bar, making it as safe as using an R-series rack.
The above is kind of a bad illustration of my point because they have the bar slid all the way to one side to butt the shoulder up against the J-cup here for some crazy reason so it looks like you have no space, but in normal use the thinner design of this J-cup gives your bar more lateral wiggle room. I wrote about these more in my article about J-cups.
You may notice that I did not suggest Echo or R-Series models.
I’m not a fan of 2×2 racks like the Echo. It’s too wobbly and light for a $600 rack. Once you’ve used a 2×3 or 3×3 rack, you’ll never want to own a 2×2 rack again.
The R-Series is kind of being phased out. They still make them, but many of the newer attachments are not offered for them. This was an extremely popular series of racks for years. Nowadays it’s just that most people are preferring 3×3 racks for their superior rock-solid feel.
As I said in the beginning, this article is not meant to be an exhaustive comparison of all Rogue power racks. But at this point you understand the basic considerations, and if another model catches your eye you’ll be able to put it in the right context. Don’t spend too much time waffling on it when one makes sense to you. They’re all great racks. Just get one, and start lifting!