Best Racing Simulator Setup – Sim Racing On Any Budget In 2020

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Looking for the best racing simulator setup? I’m sure like me you dreamt of being a racing driver, but for most of us, sim racing is as close as we’ll ever get!

Using our experience and online feedback, we’ve reviewed the very best steering wheels, pedals, shifters and cockpit options for any budget.

Owning your own sim racing setup doesn’t have to cost the earth. I’m going to show you a few options, from the bare minimum setup, to a complete package to take your digital racing experience to the next level.

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You should start your virtual racing career at least with a Logitech steering wheel. On the market at the moment is the Logitech G29 for Playstation 3, Playstation 4 and PC. Its sister, Logitech G920, is available for PC and Xbox One.

Should it be possible for you to grab its predecessor, the famous Logitech G27, preferrably unused, then you can also start racing on Playstation 2, Playstation 3 and PC. I myself have won my first wins and certificates in iRacing on a Logitech G 27. In case you actually get a G27, make sure to buy a Nixim-Brake-Mod sooner or later. The Nixim-Mod makes the feel of the brake more realistic and your driving more consistent, as it empowers the use of your feet’s and leg’s muscle memory (which, as you guess, is good).

The Logitech G27/G29/G920 setup is simple when it comes to mounting it to your desk or any other table. The pedals mount well on carpet; on flat ground, it may be necessary to use Velcro® or some other strong tape.

Also, most rigs (for example Playseat’s) support the Logitech line up.

Last, not least: The G27 was the last to include an H-Pattern Shifter with additional buttons. The shifter hast to be bought separately for the G29/G920.

  • Hand Stitched Leather Wheel
  • 900 Degree Wheel Rotation
  • Dual Motor Force Feedback
  • Adjustable Floor Pedals
  • Optional Shifter Attachments
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The T300RS force feedback wheel allows gamers to really take the plunge into the world of racing, and hone their driving skills for a better performance. In order to achieve this, Thrustmaster has taken great care to create the perfect solution for any gamer trying to go to the next level in their racing games.

The T300RS provides an unrivalled immersion, for a pure connection with the road. A genuine brushless servo industrial Force Feedback motor (with frictionless action), combined with a new 1080 degree dual-belt system delivers super-smooth and quiet Force Feedback with incredibly responsive, realistic Force effects to really feel the road

  • 1080 Degree Force Feedback
  • Detachable GT Racing Wheel
  • Official Race Wheel for PS3/PS4
  • Dual-Belt Brushless Motor
  • Optional Attachments Available
  • Expensive for Entry Level
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While squat rack cages offer versatility and are best suited for bodybuilders looking to shift heavy weight safely, not everyone has enough space to accommodate such larger equipment, especially in the garage gym.

Fortunately, there are quite a few alternatives to power racks, fitness equipment that is designed to do pretty much everything a power rack can do without taking as much space. Let’s look at some alternatives.

Half Racks

Similar to squat racks, half racks are a bit smaller in size but just as useful overall. While lacking the inside depth of a power rack, a half rack uses four uprights as well, which is enough to give the device structural stability.

Some people tend to look at a half rack as a budget alternative to a regular power rack but as long as the manufacturer is reputable, you won’t be saving that much after all.

Interestingly enough, half racks offer onboard plate storage, similar to any good power rack. Unfortunately, due to their size, they lack the pipes that power racks use, thus needing a spotter to help you work out. Because of this, it would help you to look at a half rack as a slightly better squat stand, one that features greater stability overall. Still, although they are slightly more stable than a squat stand doesn’t mean that they possess the same qualities of a power rack.

All in all, half racks do save you quite a lot of space compared to a full-size power rack, but they do not offer smaller footprints by any means. This being said, a good half rack can act as a storage for plates as well, thus being better than your average squat stand or power cages.

Therefore, if you are looking for a space-saving alternative to power racks and power cages then a half rack is the way to go.

Let’s look at some half rack options.

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Dimensions: 46″L x 61″W x 85″H – Weight Capacity: 500 lbs

The FM-8000F deluxe half-rack from CAP was a clear winner for best budget squat rack. Loaded with a number of comfort and safety features, it’s heavy duty construction provides an excellent platform to achieve your best workouts in a smaller package for the home.

Although not a full cage compared with other squat racks we review, the added pull up station and safety bars provide premium features at a budget price. This deluxe model is available in multiple colors and made from 12 & 14 gauge steel. It’s a great squat rack for bodybuilders who have limited space at home but still require a strong framework for extreme routines.

  • Heavy Duty 12 & 14 Gauge Steel
  • Olympic Bar & Weight Storage
  • Pull Up Station
  • 29 Height Adjustments
  • Available In Multiple Colors
  • Not A Full Cage
  • Limited Weight Capacity
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Power Rack VS Squat Stand
There are two main reasons why people consider getting a squat stand instead of a power rack. The first reason is money, and it makes sense for someone to want to spend less on equipment if possible, but this is quite a wrong attitude to have.

You can, indeed, get a squat stand for less money than a power rack but you will hardly get the same work done with one, not to mention how limited it is in terms of features and overall safety.

Another reason why people sometimes prefer a squat stand rather than a power rack is space. They lack the space to fully accommodate a power rack and they choose a squat stand instead, but a squat stand takes up roughly the same space minus the width. This being said, do not think that a squat stand will magically save you space if you don’t have enough space for gym equipment to begin with.

Commercial Squat Racks
There are some who for some reason choose a commercial squat rack thinking it possesses better features than a regular power rack, well, they’re wrong.

Not only are commercial squat racks more expensive than your average power rack but they’re also quite bulky and take up a lot of space. Furthermore, not only do they not come equipped with better features than an average power rack, but they sometimes miss essential components as well.

For instance, most commercial squat racks don’t even feature a pull-up bar or the capacity to adjust the bench height.

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Dimensions: 46″L x 50″W x 85″H – Weight Capacity: 500 lbs

This squat stand from CAP is a great entry level rack, ideal for the home gym and where space is limited. Despite it’s simplicity, this stand is a serious piece of strength equipment, perfect for performing squats and other exercises.

The double gusseted uprights provide exceptional stability and security, optional j-cup catches and a weight capacity of 500 pounds, you can be confident lifting heavy weight without a compromise on safety. Perform bench presses, overhead presses, pull ups, shrugs, squats and more with this squat stand. Store your barbell and weights with the built-in bar and weight storage features.

  • 11 & 12 Gauge Steel
  • Olympic Bar & Weight Storage
  • Pull Up Station
  • 29 Height Adjustments
  • Available In Multiple Colors
  • Entry Level
  • Limited Weight Capacity
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Dimensions: 21″L x 19″W x (45-70)”H – Weight Capacity: 480 lbs

These adjustable squat stands by Yaheetech are a great alternative option to a traditional rack. If space is limited you can store away these stands easily after use. Although not a rack, these heavy duty stands have a strong tube construction and support a weight capacity of 480 lbs, plenty for most bodybuilders and fitness professionals.

  • 50mm Steel Tube Frame
  • Adjustable Height 45-70.5 Inches
  • Anti-Skid Feet
  • Stores Easily
  • Great Price
  • Entry Level
  • Rubber Grips Constantly Detach
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Hopefully you will find this guide helpful in making your decision on buying a squat rack.

Depending on the chosen manufacturer, quality level and size, your experience with a rack can make you feel over the moon, or wishing you stuck with the gym!

Therefore it’s always best to take a minute and think ahead about your purchase, so you’re not stuck with fitness equipment that you barely ever use.

What Is A Squat Rack?

The main purpose of a squat rack is to provide a reinforced, safety-tested frame for your weight bar and provide added safety whilst you squat. Most racks have safety bars on either side which are designed to catch the bar should you fail or drop the bar during a squat.

Some squat racks have storage poles which allow you to store your weight plates when they’re not in use. Many are also adjustable so that you can alter the bar rack height and safety bar height depending on how tall you are, how deep you can squat and what type of squats you’re doing.

Why Should I Buy A Squat Rack?

The advantages of a squat rack compared with other gym equipment is they allow you to perform compound exercises for both the lower and upper body, involving several muscle groups in one exercise.

Unlike isolated exercise, using for example a leg extension machine, compound movements such as squats or deadlifts with a squat rack work the entire body and trigger the production of two key hormones for muscle development; growth hormone and testosterone.

Therefore, if you’re looking to build a home gym or if you’re limited on space, a squat rack enables you to perform a varied, quality workout, to help you achieve your muscle development and fitness goals more efficently.

How Do You Use A Squat Rack?

Correct setup is vital to prevent serious injury. For correct setup, adjust the height of the weight bar so it sits around an inch below your shoulders.

The reason why this is best is it enables you to rack and unrack the bar safely. Another important tip, position the bar centrally on the rack, so that the weight is balanced either side.

Before exercising, make sure any safety bars, if included, on each side of the rack are secured and at the correct height for you. If you’re unsure of which height they need to be at, do some practice squats without weight and position the bars about an inch below this height.

What Exercises Can I Do With A Squat Rack?

Many exercises can be performed using a squat rack, working the entire body. Here are some of my favourites:

1) Squats – Included in almost every lower body workout and why you’re interested in squat racks. It’s an excellent toning and strengthening exercise for your quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.

2) Deadlifts – The total body workout. You need good flexibility in your hips, spine and ankles to properly perform deadlifts with the correct form. This exercise will increase your overall strength, core, lower body and upper body muscles, all in one compound movement.

3) Overhead Presses – As seen in any upper body workout, this compound exercise works your upper body hard and is seen performed in all gyms on power racks.

4) Barbell Lunges – A great addition to traditional squats. It’s good for strengthening, but also work on improving the flexbility in your hips and your core stability.

5) Chin Ups – These next two remind me of the army! Chin ups are excellent for working your upper body and core muscles and are a simple easy exercise to perform on a rack.

6) Pull Ups – Where chin ups work on your biceps, pull ups work on your triceps, just by placing your hands in a different position. Overall, pull up exercises are as effective and beneficial as chin up exercises.

7) Hanging Leg Raises – One of the best ways to build a six pack! A simple exercise you can do which works your lats, the muscles of your midsection, your lower and upper body.

What Size Squat Rack Should I Buy?

The two key points to consider is the maximum weight capacity of the rack and it’s assembled dimensions.

If you’re looking to build a home gym, you might be limited on space, or you might want to use a smaller weight bar (4ft, 5ft or 6ft). In which case smaller racks can usually handle between 200kg and 250kg, depending on which one you get.

Larger commercial racks can handle anywhere between 250kg and 300kg respectively, but also require 7ft olympic weight bars and are not adjustable.

If you have the luxury of lot’s of space, a much bigger rack with additional addons enables you to perform more variety of exercises and has more flexibility in weight capacity.

As a rule to note, usually cheap squat racks are shorter and narrower than more expensive ones. Always check the rack’s dimensions before buying to make sure it will fit in your home.

Are Squat Racks Adjustable?

Almost all squat racks or stands are adjustable but it’s worth double checking to be sure. To perform different workouts, you will need to be able to adjust the height of your weight bar.

As you progress towards your fitness goals, you want your gym equipment to adjust to you and fit your needs, so it’s vital you check your choice is adjustable.

Can You Bench Press Using A Squat Rack?

Yes! Pretty much all racks can be used for bench press, just make sure you have your squat stand setup correctly and to not go above the maximum weight capacity of the rack.

Can Squat Racks Be Kept Outside?

Unfortunately, racks can’t be left outside. It’s important for safety you take care of your squat rack and always ensure all the bolts are secured tightly and free from damage.

Smaller squat stands can be setup for outside use, but they must be stored in a dry environment.

Do Squat Racks Come With Accessories?

Some larger racks have optional addons for extra exercise stations or additional weight plate storage etc. If you have the room, purchasing a rack which has the potential for additional addons, enables for more expansion in the future.

Can You Use A Squat Rack Upstairs?

We strongly recommend you don’t put a squat rack upstairs. Using heavy weights requires a solid concrete floor. If you’re looking to train at home, it’s best you do so in your garage.

Smaller squat stands with little weight can be used upstairs, but be mindful to not damage the floor.

Can A Squat Rack Be Bolted To The Floor?

Yes! Almost all squat racks have the capacity to be bolted down. Depending on your setup, this may be a great option for you.

If you intend to perform pull ups or attach a dipping station, you should definitely ensure that you can first anchor the rack down.

GT Sim Racing