Powertec Power Rack review


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Powertec Power Rack review

I picked-up a Powertec power rack the week after Christmas and, as promised, here are my initial impressions.  Unfortunately, the high-low pulley add-on has not arrived yet, so I cannot yet say a lot about it.

Comments on selected issues, pro and con:

Tubing dimensions: about 2 3/8” square – most sites advertise it as 2.5” and it should accept 2.5” attachments.  No, it is not the 3” some heavy-duty units have, but it is adequate.  The more reasonably priced heavier units typically do not have a lat attachment (or have a poor one).

Spotters: I definitely wanted saber spotters – they are nearly an industry standard and allow for attachments from other vendors.  The units that use sliding cross beams, while faster, are limited in what attachments you can add.

High-low pulley (“lat”) attachment: I briefly considered a stand alone lat unit so that I could look at some other power racks, plus a walk through rack would be nice.  However, my space is limited and a lat attachment is simply more space effective than adding a stand-alone unit.  The Powertec lat attachment looks well made and has a leg hold-down (missing on many other power rack systems).  

Pull-up bar: The pull-up bars are ergonomically correct, not just a straight bar.

Powder coating: The powder coat is quite thin and one careless moment with a plate went right through it.  The surface has just a slight roughness – maybe this is intentional, but it feels like when you are spray painting a surface and have not quite gotten full coverage.  The thin coat is my one beef with the unit.  Of course, any rack is going to get nicks and scratches, so who knows how important this will be in the long-run.

Pegs: The lip on the bar catches is quite aggressive (about ¾” deep), so you have to press or lift the bar a bit to remove it. I plan to use them mounted high simply to store a bar and am ordering some real j-hooks for lifting.

Dip bars: These looked funky to me at first, but now I consider them sheer genius.  They are angled inward when mounted as directed on the sides, so the width varies from 27 inches at the rack to 18 inches (center to center) at the end of he bars.  This range seems adequate for my uses, but if you want to go wider, you just need to switch them around and they will then angle outward to a maximum width of 36 inches. I do not find the angle so aggressive that it significantly affects dip technique.

Width:  The width is adequate for me at 45 inches inside dimension.  Folks wanting to do sumo stance lifts in the rack might find it too narrow (same applies to most standard-sized power racks, though).

Height: Like most home racks, it is just a bit too low for me (6’ tall) to perform a standing military press inside the rack without a slight squat or wide stance.   Shorter folks may be able to pull it off.  I am currently doing seated presses with dumbbells, so right now the issue is academic.  If there were a need, I imagine I could get enough height by bolting 4x4s to the bottom.

A couple of construction considerations:

Difficulty:  Putting the rack together was easy, though another set of hands is helpful with the very top pieces.  All bolts, nuts, and washers are the same size, adding to the ease of construction.  Make sure you have a 17mm (¾” worked, too) socket and wrench for construction.

Numbering:  The spotter holes are numbered on all four uprights.  I decided that these might be distracting while lifting and opted to construct the unit with them on the outside.  I now find this inconvenient and will eventually flip them around.

Nuts and bolts:  The construction diagrams show the nuts on the inside.  As these protrude further than the bolt heads, I decided to run the bolts from the inside, placing the nuts out of my way on the outside.  This probably doesn’t look as clean from outside, but is safer, IMHO.

Final assessment:  Though a thicker powder coat would be nice, this is a very good unit.  After looking at the other available options, I still consider this the best balance of cost and functionality.

Comparison to Powerline rack:  The place I got my rack also had a Powerline on display, so I got to take a brief look at it.  Smaller (2”) tubing means the unit just does not feel as solid.  Also, just a straight pull-up bar and not as nice a pulley attachment.  Still, it will work and any [safe] power rack is better than no power rack.

Note that Bodybuilding.com has good prices (with shipping included) on both of these racks – the Powertec stuff is $50 cheaper than Powertec’s own site.  Unfortunately, they tell me that they won’t have the Powertec rack back in stock until late January.  Note, also, their no returns policy(!).

I did find the Powerline for $10 less, and the Powertec system (with pulley attachment) for about $3 less on ebay, though.
Great review and thanks for posting it. You have helped me decide to purchase the Powertec rack instead of the Powerline rack once I get my cash saved up.

Please post a review of the high low pully system once you get it installed. I probably won't purchase one when I buy the rack but since I'm also tight on space I might want to add one later if it is worth the money.

Thanks again for the review.
I say from experience that sturdiness is more important than people think. It makes you want to use it. Bad deal for the powdercoat tho. The bodysolid unit I have is bulletproof coated unless you actually hit the edge of a plate on it.

I thought you were using a leverage unit now. Do you also have a power rack stashed somewhere -- or do you mean you have a Body Solid leverage machine?
Leverage machine.

Honestly, it's a great machine, but were I to do it again, I'd be buying a power rack, freeweights, and a lot of the same accessory gear. The one saving grace I need with the machine is the lever squats...they save my lumbar injury. I figured out I'm using 20% more weight than I can actually squat freeweight, but the backward lean keeps my abs tighter, supporting my back. This could have been perhaps avoided if I'd been doing abwork all along. And companion exersizes for the back, instead of just BB'ing exersizes. The machine is also nice in that there are safety stops in all exersizes, so you can't hurt yourself with it. But I hate to START a bench from the BOTTOM! Since I Don"t bench anymore I don"t need it
I just ordered this rack from dumbbellbuddy.com but I did not get the pulley attachment. Dumbbellbuddy.com said they sell the pulley attachment separately for $339 shipping included which is only $10 more than buying the system. So I figured I would add it later if I decide I want it.

I was going to buy the Powertec bench too but decided to get the cheap Powerline PFID125W FID bench from Jesup Gym for $115 shipping included. That saved me $114 and this bench should work just fine.

I guess I'll find out if they still have a long backorder on this rack like they did a couple months ago. I was told that they are now in stock but only time will tell.
I ended up passing on the pulley system also.  You can always do rows with BB or DB.  As for pulldowns, the pullup attachment is so good that the pulley system is not needed.  The way the pullup bars curve, you can do supine chinups, pronate pullups, or parallel hammer grip pullups.  If you need an assist, they are also ideally set up to hang a rubber tube over.

I think that you will be happy with the unit.
$400 directly from Powertec (with free postage), but others on the net sell it for less.  Bulldog apparently got his here: dumbbellbuddy.com.  Looks like a good deal.

Bodybuilding.com had it for about $350 before Christmas, but I note it has gone up to about $400 there (and no returns!).
I got mine at a nearby Play It Again Sports who was just getting them in.  They jacked the price WAY up on the floor, but sold it to me for the regular internet price -- I got it quick and was able to support a local business.  I figure the only way to get local stores to carry this sort of gear is to buy some.
Yeah I ordered mine from dumbbellbuddy.com and paid $369 U.S. shipping included.

I went to my local play it again sports a month or so ago when I really started looking for a rack.  The only rack they would order for me was the Body Solid Powerline rack and he wanted $299 for it which is about $24 more than I could have gotten it from Jesup Gym delivered.  If I could have found the Powertec locally I would have purchased it from whoever had it even if it was a few bucks more just to support the locals as Ruthenian did.
Not surprised. I have a Marcy bench that is fairly solid, but the uprights are right where you need to put your hands! I'm thinking of rewelding it to oly width as soon as I find some steel. Those plates you got ARE nice!
<div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Where do you guys gets your plates?</div>
I get mine from a local exercise equipment store.  $0.50/lb for regular olympic (Ivanko or Gympak), $1.50/lb if you want rubber coated.  The Ivanko stuff has a better baked-on coating, but they have started getting some crap from China that apparently isn't as good.  Things rust easy here in the Pacific Northwest and I have started to look at rubber coated and bumper plates more seriously.  There used to be a local rubber manufacturer that made bumper plates, but he sold his stuff and now it is harder to find 'em for a good price.

Like a lot of folks, the locals had a 300 lb with bar starter set for a good price (I can't remember exactly how much, right now) -- I started with that.  The bar is an OK Ivanko unit, but the ends are hex bolted -- I see that Pendlay doesn't think this is good enough for bars you are going to drop (not a problem for me yet, but someday...)
My next purchase will be a high-quality competitive standard olympic bar. The majority of 'olympic' bars sold in stores are pieces of junk! They wouldn't last a day in a real powerlift meet. I have been annoyed with my junk bar for awhile now, although I am not strong enough to bend it yet.

Quote from &quot;starting strength&quot; by Rippetoe and Kilgore:
<div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Bars are the place to spend money, if you have it. If you don't, raise it somehow, because cheap bars are dangerous, unpleasant to use, and a bad investment. Cheap bars will bend, even under normal use....Expect to pay $250 or more for a good bar. There are lots of cheap imported bars available for under $100. They are junk. Do not buy them.</div>
Rock on!  My rack shipped out last night and I'm supposed to have it on March 1st.  That would make a 13 day turnaround from the day I ordered.  Looks like they have worked out their back order problem.  Although I have seen that people have recently purchased from BB.com and are still having problems getting their Powertec racks for some reason.
I got my rack yesterday. I have been so busy with work that I haven't even been able to get a workout in in the last couple of weeks. But hopefully I will get this rack put together by the end of the weekend and figure out how to squeeze my workouts back into my schedule.

Do your pull-up bars have a black rubber sleeve over the bars?  Mine do and one of them is not tight on the bar and twists when doing pull-ups.  I'm hoping they are a heat shrink material and I can just heat it up and it will tighten up.

Overall this is a great rack. The knurling on my dip bars is good on one and barely there on the other. Their quality control must not be very good.
Heating the rubber tube covers didn't do anything. I guess I will have to call them to see what they recommend to fix it.