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The centerpiece for just about any garage gym is going to be your squat rack. This is where you’ll perform most barbell movements, where your pull-up bar will likely reside, and also where many rack attachments will live. The power rack you choose will, in a way, determine the rest of your gym equipment, based on its footprint and utility.

When choosing the right rack is that important, it’s nice to have a bit of customization to make sure it fits your needs just right. But what if you had all of the customization options? One company, Bells of Steel, has set out to provide you with any and all customization options you can think of…except colorways (more on that later).

In our Bells of Steel Hydra Rack review, we’ll go over this particular rack series and just about all of its customization options and a myriad of power rack attachments. Still, with that much customization, is the BOS Hydra Series worth it? GGR founder Coop Mitchell got to test out this power rack, and let us know his opinion on its overall value.

Powerful Testing on Power Racks

We at Garage Gym Reviews have tested quite a few power racks, squat racks, and half racks throughout the years. In fact, they’re one of our most tested pieces of gym equipment, perhaps behind Olympic barbells and adjustable dumbbells. In his testing, Coop was able to test out the rack through multiple barbell exercises, along with testing out a majority of rack attachments available.

Along with that, our testers consist of certified personal trainers, lifting coaches, and lifelong athletes. Through our experience, we can help you decide which power rack would be best for your home gym, be it the Hydra rack or something else.

Bells of Steel Hydra Series

Bells of Steel Hydra 4-Post Power Rack

GGR Score: 4.25 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Fully customizable
  • Free shipping and 30-day money back guarantee
  • 3" x 3" 11-gauge steel
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Fully customizable
  • 3" x 3" 11-gauge steel
  • Choose your own height and depth
  • 5/8" holes with 1" and 2" spacing
  • Compatible with a number of attachments
  • Free shipping
  • 30-day money back guarantee

Cons

  • Add-ons quickly increase price
  • Only attachments made precisely for 76.2mm x 76.2mm uprights will fit
  • Assembly may be challenging to do alone

Bottom Line

The Hydra Rack is a great option for home gym owners looking for a fully customizable rack from a trusted brand.

A Quick Look at the Bells of Steel Hydra Rack

Bells of Steel is a fitness equipment company founded in 2010 in Canada, and now with showrooms both in Canada and the USA. With a broad range of products available, Bells of Steel focuses on providing quality products at budget-friendly prices.

The Hydra Series of racks certainly leans towards budget pricing, although by how much will be discussed shortly. Along with the pricing, the Hydra Series is extremely customizable, and “almost annoyingly so,” as Coop jokes. Each rack—four-post, six-post, flat feet, folding, wall-mounted, and half racks, among others—has multiple options on the height, depth, and even width. 

Additionally, there are a ton of rack attachments, including a variety of J-cups, safety bars and straps, lat pulldown, dip attachments, band pegs, weight plate storage, and lever arms. Attachments are easily added in the customization process, which is a nice feature of the checkout process. Most of these attachments are reasonably priced, although they will keep adding to the total price of the rack.

Before You Buy

  • Bells of Steel imports their steel, but unlike other companies, their imported steel uprights and crossmembers are true 3-inch-by-3-inch pieces. Most imported steel uses metric measurements, so the true fit uprights allow for tighter fits on rack attachments that have the true dimensions. 
  • Most Hydra racks have a choice in width of 47 inches or 49 inches on the outside of the uprights. While the options are great, Coop warns that most attachments are made to fit the 49-inch option best.
  • The customization options are fantastic, but it’s helpful to have an idea of what size rack you’re looking for; otherwise, the options might overwhelm you a little bit. Measure out the space you have in your home gym to help determine what your options are.

Video Review

Is the Bells of Steel Hydra Rack Worth It?

Well, yes and no. There are a lot of nice perks to the Bells of Steel Hydra Rack. With tons of customization options and a plethora of reasonably priced attachments, the Hydra Rack provides a lot of versatility for lifters and gym owners, especially if you’re looking for a true 3-inch-by-3-inch rack.

Still, this power rack series is comparable to many other budget-priced racks, most notably the REP PR-4000 and the Titan X-3 Series. All racks use heavy-duty 11-gauge steel, and all use 5/8-inch holes for rack attachments. All three power racks also have Westside spacing for bench press adjustments.

RELATED: TItan Squat Rack Reviews

Still, when compared to these other two companies, Bells of Steel is slightly more expensive. When ordering a six-post rack with the same height, J-cups, and safety straps, the Bells of Steel was a few hundred dollars more than each of its competitors. This may be due to its true 3-inch-by-3-inch dimensions, but if you’re looking for budget-priced value, true fitting may not be a concern.

Whether the Hydra Rack is worth it is largely based on what you’re looking for. For true measurements, this is probably one of the lowest-priced modular racks available. Still, if you’re looking for the lowest price, and the most value, the Hydra Rack may not be the best choice. 

Great for:

  • Those wanting a lot of customization in their power rack
  • Lifters needing a high-quality build on their squat rack at a decent price
  • People wanting true 3-inch-by-3-inch for better-fitting rack attachments

Not recommended for:

  • People looking for the absolute lowest price
  • Home gym owners not concerned about true upright measurements
  • Those that may not want too many customizable options

Bells of Steel Hydra Rack Specs

Weight capacity1,000 lbs
FootprintVaries
WeightDepends on customization
Material11-gauge steel
True 3” x 3” uprightsYes
Hole width5/8″
Hole spacing2” with 1” Westside spacing in the bench zone
FinishPowder coat
Colorway optionsBlack
WarrantyLimited lifetime

Workout Experience/Using the Bells of Steel Hydra Rack 

Using the Bells of Steel Hydra Rack felt good. With 11-gauge steel and solid uprights, having weight and attachments on the power rack felt solid.

The rack uses 5/8-inch holes, which means the rack is compatible with 5/8-inch rack attachments (if you’re not buying the ones from Bells of Steel). Still, something to consider is that the Hydra rack uses tubing that is 3 inches by 3 inches, truly. A true measurement of this isn’t always the case, as companies like Titan and REP use metric measurements for their imported steel. 

RELATED: The Ultimate Squat Rack Guide

Because of its true dimensions, if you have attachments that you want to add on to the Hydra Rack, you should also make sure they fit a true 3-inch-by-3-inch upright. The Bells of Steel racks may be more compatible with Rogue attachments, and less with REP attachments,due to these measurements. The true measurements do help help the rack attachments from feeling loose, or having “slop,” as Coop calls it.

Man loading weight onto a barbell on the Bells of Steel Hydra rack

The 5/8-inch holes allow for Westside spacing of holes along the bench zone. This 1-inch spacing allows for more accurate placing of J-cups for bench press, or safety bars while squatting. Additionally, this can allow more accurate placement when you’re performing rack deadlifts. 

Construction

The Bells of Steel Hydra Series is built like many heavy-duty power racks—with 11-gauge steel. The imported steel is actually measured to a true 3-inch-by-3-inch measurement, making the uprights more compatible with American-made attachments from Rogue and Sorinex. Less give on these attachments will provide a better feel while in use, as well as better longevity.

RELATED: Rogue R-3 Power Rack Review

Man performing pull-ups on the Bells of Steel Hydra rack

The steel construction allows for a high weight capacity of 1,000 pounds, which should be more than enough for most people’s weightlifting routines. The welds are strong, and the material is durable, finished with a black powder coat. The one option for a colorway was one complaint of Coop’s, as many competitors to Bells of Steel offer color options.

Rack Attachments

Coop was able to test almost every attachment available to the Hydra rack. If we didn’t test it, it means the attachment was out of stock at the time of purchase—like the lever arms. Still, here are a few standout attachments Coop liked or had to call out.

J-Cups

Man benching on the Bells of Steel Hydra rack

Overall, Coop says the J-cups are okay; the finish is alright, but the options available are expansive. There are a total of four different options for J-cups when customizing your Hydra Rack. Coop’s favorite were the roller J-cups. They had a plastic roller that helped position the barbell on the rack easily in between sets of bench press or squats. Reasonably priced, they worked well and were smooth in positioning the bar. 

Image of a monolift arm on the Bells of Steel Hydra Rack

One callout was from the monolift arms; Coop recommends avoiding these. They’re mostly feasible only for benching, as the arms don’t extend out far enough to properly be used for squatting without having to step back and forth to unrack and re-rack the weight. Additionally, the monolift arms are spring loaded, which is a nice feature, but seemed to only work on one of the arms we purchased.

Safety Straps

Close-up image of the Bells of Steel Hydra rack safety straps

Out of the safety bars and spotter arms, Coop’s favorite was the safety straps. These straps aren’t anything fancy, but are durable and priced well. Plus, the straps have color options, which is a nice feature to have, especially when the rack itself doesn’t have color options. It’s a simple way to help make your power rack stand out.

Center-Mount Lat Pulldown

Man using lat pulldown on the Bells of Steel Hydra rack

The Bells of Steel Lat Pulldown is mounted in the center of the back of the power rack, which Coop liked for its compact design. The plate-loaded lat pulldown has an additional trapezoidal rear cross member to set the pulley system and cable away from the inside of the rack. This helps keep the rack functional even with this attachment. Still, the low row foot plate is not adjustable, so it can be a little in the way at times.

Seal Row Pad

Coop said the Seal Row Pad was a standout of the attachments tested, and it probably deserved its own review. Along with a weight capacity of 500 pounds, the seal row pad has seven different adjustment angles to help you get plenty of lat and back exercises in.

Attachment Pins

Close-up image of the attachment pins for the Bells of Steel Hydra rack

The rack attachment pins Coop tested out were made of stainless steel and had the “BOS” logo laser cut into the ends. While it’s a neat and unique concept, Coop feels they could have been executed better. The edges of the pins were sharp, and certain spots of the pin were thin metal, which was pretty easy to bend in our testing.

Comparison to the REP Fitness PR-4000 and Titan X-3 Rack

REP PR-4000

REP PR-4000 Power Rack

GGR Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Heavy duty 11-gauge steel
  • 3" x 3" uprights
  • Rated for 1,000 lbs

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Affordable, high-quality rack
  • Several color options available
  • Laser-cut holes and logos
  • Uprights are numbered every 5 holes
  • Westside hole spacing
  • Can be built out to include weight storage, pull-up bar, strap safeties, etc.
  • 3x3-inch 11-gauge steel

Cons

  • Accessories for the PR-4000 and PR-5000 racks aren’t as good as the competition
  • Some of the welds and powder coating aren’t up to par

Bottom Line

The Rep Fitness PR-4000 Power Rack is honestly one of the best value power racks on the market. This rack has garnered excellent reviews from us and others and it's largely due to how great it's features are for the price point. This is still a pretty expensive rack for those on a tight budget and trying to build a home gym, but this is the type of rack you never have to upgrade. Is it better than the Rogue Monster Lite? No, but it is cheaper and very similar quality, although it is imported. We are big fans of the PR-4000 and recommend it.

Titan X-3 Rack

Titan X-3 Series Power Rack

GGR Score: 4.3 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.3 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 3" x 3" 11-gauge steel uprights
  • Fat (2") and Skinny (1.25") pull up bars included
  • Walk through design
  • Laser cut upright holes with Westside hole spacing
  • Pair of UHMW padded X-3 J-hooks included
  • 4 band pegs included
  • 4 Olympic Weight plate holders included
  • 2 Pin-Pipe Safeties included

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 11-gauge steel
  • Band pegs, safety pins, and weight plate holders included
  • Westside hole spacing
  • Square uprights allow attachments from any side

Cons

  • Can't customize depth
  • Not compatible with some Titan accessories
  • Some complaints of parts being scratched during shipping

Bottom Line

The Titan X-3 Series Power Rack is built with strong 11-gauge steel and high weight capacity, making it a solid choice for your gym. The rack has 3-inch-by-3-inch uprights, making it compatible with many attachments from other companies. At a lower price point, this is one of the best value heavy-duty power racks available in this style.

When comparing the Hydra Series to competitors, like the Titan X-3 or the REP Fitness PR-4000, the specs are incredibly similar, with a few noticeable differences. The Bells of Steel Hydra Series probably is the most customizable, with a streamlined checkout process as well. Still, all three racks use the same hole sizing and spacing, along with the same powder-coated 11-gauge steel to provide a large weight capacity for heavy powerlifting.

The difference between these racks is that, while all three power racks use imported steel, the Hydra Series uses true 3-inch-by-3-inch uprights and crossmembers, whereas REP and Titan both use metric measurements, so their measurements are not truly 3 inches. This can lead to some slack when using American-made rack attachments from companies like Rogue and Sorinex. Bells of Steel won’t have that slack, but also won’t fit REP and Titan attachments well either.

Still, the value may lie with the Titan and REP options. Coop challenged Operations Manager Sam Presley to compare rack prices across the brands, customizing each rack the same: a six-post rack with the same height, safety straps, and J-cups. After comparing prices, the Bells of Steel Hydra Rack came out the priciest, about $300 more than the REP PR-4000, and $500 more than Titan’s X-3.

In addition, the Titan and REP racks offer colorway options, whereas Bells of Steel offers only the classic: Black. In Coop’s words, “If I’m looking at all of these across the spectrum, and I’m like which [power rack] do I want with a 5/8-inch hole, I would have a hard time recommending this one over, say, the REP PR-4000.” 

With an abundance of attachments and customization options still, Titan and REP bring strong value with lower prices than the Bells of Steel Hydra Series. Unless true 3-inch-by-3-inch measurements are important, you may not get enough value out of the Hydra Series.

See more of our thoughts on the REP power rack in our REP Fitness PR-4000 Power Rack review.

Bells of Steel Hydra RacksREP Fitness PR-4000Titan Fitness X-3 Series Racks
Weight capacity1,000 lbs1,000 lbs1,500 lbs
FootprintVariesVariesVaries
WeightDepends on customizationDepends on customizationDepends on customization
Material11-gauge steel11-gauge steel11-gauge steel
True 3” x 3” uprightsYesNoNo
Hole width5/8″5/8″5/8″
Hole spacing2” with 1” Westside spacing in the bench zone2” with 1” Westside spacing in the bench zone2” with 1” Westside spacing in the bench zone
FinishPowder coatPowder coatPowder coat
Colorway optionsBlackMetallic Black, Red, Blue, Clear Coat, White, Matte BlackBlack, Blue, Gold, Red, Gray, White
WarrantyLimited lifetimeLifetime coverage for production defects only1 year

Customer Experience 

Bells of Steel allows for 30-day returns; in addition, the product can still be returned after use, so long as it’s sent back in the original packaging. The company will send you a return label as well, meaning you shouldn’t have to pay any extra shipping costs.

The Hydra Series Racks are backed by a limited lifetime warranty. This “lifetime” warranty ends when the product becomes unusable for reasons outside of manufacturer defects. Also, the warranty can be voided by misuse on the customer’s part. Regardless, that’s a pretty solid warranty.

Bells of Steel has an email and phone number to contact them, as well as a contact form on their website. Those in Indianapolis, Indiana, or Calgary, Canada, can also stop by their showrooms to view products and ask questions.

Ordering and Assembling the Bells of Steel Hydra Rack

The ordering process is great from what Coop saw and emphasizes the amount of customization available to the consumer. First, you choose the style of rack you’d like—four-post, flat feet, six-post, folding racks, half racks, collegiate, and squat stands. From there, Bells of Steel gives you over a dozen customization options (the exact number depends on the rack you choose to start with).

Coop enjoyed that you could order the modular rack and its attachments all on the same page. The options being there all in front of you can be great. Coop compares it to fast food, “Similar to Sonic drive-thru, you have over a hundred thousand combinations of different accessories, cross-members, depths, widths, and heights of racks that you can choose, which is a good thing for the consumer at times if they know what they want.”

Still, it can certainly cause some paralysis by analysis if you don’t know what you’re getting into. “Sometimes people just like going to Five Guys and saying, ‘I want a burger,’ which is nice,” Coop jokes. Still, the same applies here. The customization is great, unless you aren’t sure what you want exactly.

The product is ordered from the Bells of Steel website bellsofsteel.com and comes unassembled, but assembly wasn’t tough in our experience. Additionally, most reviews said instructions were clear and assembly was simple enough. Shipping is free in the continental U.S.

The price of the modular rack will depend largely on the dimensions and rack attachments you choose. With that said, Bells of Steel does offer financing options through Affirm, as well as Paybright, although the latter is an option open only to Canadian customers.

Customer Reviews

Surprisingly, there aren’t many reviews on the Bells of Steel website. By my count at the time of this writing, there were five reviews for both the Hydra 4-Post Rack and the Flat Foot Rack, with all of the reviews at five stars, except for one 3-star review on the 4-Post Rack.

Most customers enjoyed the build of the rack and construction of it, saying it was “overbuilt in a good way.” The one 3-star review had positives about the power rack itself as well, but the complaint was in customer service. His rack was shipped late and came missing attachment pieces for straps. Bells of Steel did respond to this and said that there was an inventory issue at the warehouse that has been resolved, and shouldn’t be an issue anymore.

Final Verdict of Our Bells of Steel Hydra Rack Review

Overall, the Bells of Steel Hydra Series is a solid, good rack, with lots of customization options available. The checkout process was smooth and streamlined for getting any and everything you needed for your rack, and almost every rack attachment you can think of is ready and available for it. The true 3-inch-by-3-inch dimensions for uprights and attachments makes it a great fit for high-end rack attachments from Rogue and Sorinex.

However, there are comparable products from competitors like REP Fitness and Titan that offer similar perks for less money—plus colorway options. Because of that, we’re not sure if it has as much value as those other racks. Still, the Canadian company might be the better choice if you’re in Canada, as that’ll cut down on shipping costs.

Bells of Steel Hydra Rack Rating

Bells of Steel Hydra Rack

A well-built power rack with solid durability, but is it worth the price? Find out in our Bells of Steel Hydra Rack Review.

Product Brand: Bells of Steel

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: 1179

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
4.25
Construction & Durability – 4.5
Finish – 4
Customization – 5
Attachments Available – 4.5
Materials – 4.5
Value – 3
Check Price

Bells of Steel Hydra Rack FAQs

Is Bells of Steel compatible with Rogue?

Unlike other imported uprights, the Bells of Steel Hydra Series has rack uprights that are a true 3 inches by 3 inches. Other companies that import such as Titan Fitness and REP use metric measurements, which is close to, but not exactly 3 inches. Because of this, REP and Titan racks will usually have some slack when using American-made attachments like Rogue or Sorinex.

However, Bells of Steel Hydra Racks will fit Rogue rack attachments much better because they both use true 3-inch-by-3-inch measurements with their uprights and attachments.

What size are Hydra racks?

The Hydra Rack is fully modular, meaning you can customize the type of squat rack as well as the dimensions. For example, the 4-post rack allows for heights between 72 and 108 inches, depths between 24 and 43 inches, and a width of either 47 or 49 inches. However, their 6-post racks can be larger, and their folding racks and half racks can be smaller as well.

What is the weight limit for Hydra racks?

Bells of Steel Hydra Racks are rated for a weight capacity of up to 1,000 pounds.

How is the steel for Hydra racks?

The uprights and crossmembers for Bells of Steel Hydra racks are made of imported 11-gauge steel.

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