Is buying leverage squat/calf machine for my home gym worth the money or should I just buy a squat rack and do squats with a barbell? Most of the time I work out alone and I like the fact that the machine will prevent me form becoming trapped under all that weight.
definitely a cage. get one tall enough and you can do overheads, bench, and just about anything else that you need to start with a weight off the ground.
Squat rack, bar and weights, no doubt about it.
even if you didn't have a cage and you were squatting, if you begin to realize that you will fail the attempt just dump the bar backwards