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OmniMount RE18 Pre-Built AV Rack Review

OmniMount RE18 AV Rack

OmniMount RE18 AV Rack


  • Product Name: RE18
  • Manufacturer: OmniMount
  • Review Date: December 20, 2015 18:00
  • MSRP: $599.95
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!


  • (1) 18 space rack

  • (3) 2U space shelves

  • (3) 2U space solid blanks

Weight capacity:

  • RE18 supports up to 500 lbs (226.8 kg)

  • 2U shelf supports up to 50 lbs (22.7 kg)

Warranty: 5 years

Color: Black

No matter how simple or complex, expensive or cheap, or big or small your AV setup is, you need a place to store the equipment. While a TV stand or home-made shelf might meet the basic needs of most setups, there are many reasons to utilize a professional AV rack. Racks allow for precise equipment and fan locations, enabling you to keep your equipment cool, which increases longevity. Racks allow you so store equipment in places otherwise inaccessible. For example, a slide-out rack lets you store equipment in small space, or flush with the wall, and still maintain easy access to wiring. They also facilitate neat cable management, which is important when trying to troubleshoot systems or replacing equipment. They are completely modular, so they can be adjust as you change equipment. The benefits continue, yet I believe there are two main reasons consumers and installers shy away from racks.

First, racks are not cheap. $1000+ is a pretty common price range for a nice rack plus accessories. Second, they require specialized knowledge to purchase, assemble, and install. The average consumer likely isn’t up for the task of determining the appropriate shelving, fan, blanking panel, and hardware requirements for their setup. And, even though I’m an AV installer with easy access to all the required parts, I don’t like the hassle of ordering and assembling racks. It’s for the above mentioned reasons that when I needed an rack for my new home, I wanted a unit that came completely pre-configured.

Overview and Features

The OmniMount RE18 is, as OmniMounts puts it, “a cost-effective and fully assembled AV rack enclosure that provides organization for multiple audio and video components.” Cost-effective is probably a bit of an understatement. With an MSRP of $599, I don’t believe there is anything else on the market that can match its features for the same price or less.

It’s a standard 19” rack, so it works with all standard 19” rack accessories. As the name implies, the rack is 18U tall, but OmniMount also makes a 27U ($775) and 42U ($1,299) version. The overall dimensions, enclosure and feet included, are 23.6” W x 23.6” D x 38.9” H.

RE18 Front View

RE18 front view, glass door removed

As the description states, it comes “fully assembled.” It’s packaged with three 2U shelves and three 2U blanking panels, which are also pre-installed but can be removed and moved. Each shelf is rated for up to 50lbs, so they should handle most any modern receiver or amplifier. Omnimount sells the 2U shelf and blanking panel separately, if you need them. They also sell a 5U shelf that includes a rear support rail and is rated for 100lbs.

Unlike skeleton racks that are absent of any sort of doors, panels, or casters, the RE18 is fully loaded. It features a lockable glass front door that can be adjusted to hinge on the left or side of the rack. A solid metal rear access door can hinged on either the left of right side. Metal panels flank the left and right sides of the cabinet. Both the doors and panels be easily removed for easy servicing or improved open-air ventilation. Speaking of ventilation, pre-installed cooling fans on the top of the rack really set the RE18 apart from the competition. When used in conjunction with knock-out panels on the bottom of the rack, cool air can be pulled up from the bottom of the rack and hot air pushed out the top.

The RE18 feature list rounds out with a caster base that provides easy placement inside closets or against walls. When in place, adjustable feet level and stabilize rack without interfering with the casters.

RE18 Analysis

The RE18 arrived at my home unscathed. Even though the box was in great condition, I have no doubt that it could take a beating and the layers of cardboard, foam, and plastic wrap cocooning the RE18 would keep the unit safe.

RE18 Box

RE18 Box

At this point in the review of speakers or an AV receiver, I might talk about how the things sounded, but there isn’t much to say about an AV rack beyond its basic functions. It needs to be sturdy, holes need to be threaded properly, doors and panels need to fit snugly, casters need to roll smoothly. So, right after unboxing, I started taking things apart, swapping around pieces, and in general seeing if I could find anything that didn’t function quite right or wasn’t manufactured properly. I’m happy to say that everything worked perfectly. My only note would be that one of the feet was a little cockeyed, but it still functioned to level and secure the rack.

 RE18U rack parts

RE18 rack parts laid out

The built-in fan worked well. It moved a healthy amount of air, keeping my equipment cool, and was pretty quite in doing so. It is AC powered, so it won’t work with any of the DC fan controllers on the market, which is a bit of a downside. It also does not feature an on/off switch. When it is plugged in, it is powered on. If the rack is away from earshot, once solution for powering the fan would be plugging it into a switched outlet on the back of an AV receiver or cable box. Another option would be to purchase something like a Niles AC3 voltage triggered AC outlet that would hook up to the 12v output on an AV receiver. I’m sure there’s a way to hook up a temperature controller so the fan would only kick on at a set temperature, but I’m not aware of any off-the-self products that would achieve this effect with AC powered fans. If you know a method, please mention it in forum section at the bottom of the page.

Buyers should note that the lock on the front and rear doors is not designed to deter determined thieves, nor does it need to be. Its purpose it to keep unauthorized individuals – Joe at the office or your toddler – from fiddling with the equipment. Still, even a basic lack will likely prevent many casual thieves.

RE18 Fan Top View       RE18 Fan Bottom View

RE18 fan

The included shelving and blanking panels worked great for my setup. I fit a surprising amount of equipment in the rack without purchasing additional shelving, including a Denon AVR-X4000 receiver, Oppo Blu-ray player, PS3, 5 port switch, and URC RF remote base station. I did purchase rack ears for my Panamax power center and a 1U blanking panel to go above the receiver. I was able to fit all of the equipment in the rack without issue.

The Competition

There are two other established brands that offer directly competing products, Sanus and Middle Atlantic. The Sanus CFR2115 is a 15U rack with an MSRP of $529. It comes with a 2U shelf, 2U blanking panel, 1U shelf, and 1U blanking panel. It also includes a 3U panel, which can be used either on the front of the rack or attached to the rear panel door (the door has a 3U gap at the bottom). The CFR2115 does not include a fan. Compared directly to the RE18, the built-in fans, extra 3U of space, and additional 2U shelf give the RE18 a substantial advantage. The only plus I see for the CFR2115 is that Sanus offers a wide range of rack accessories, which makes it easier for installers and consumers alike to order everything needed for a rack. That said, because both racks are standard sizes, most Sanus accessories can be used on OmniMount racks.

RE18 Open          RE18 Closed

I left a 1U space open for the yet-to-be-installed subwoofer amplifier for an in-floor subwoofer.

Middle Atlantic makes the IRCS-1824 rack. It is similar to the RE18 in almost every respect, including size, shelving and panels included, and built-in fans (the IRCS-1824 uses DC fans). Like Sanus, Middle Atlantic offers a host of accessories. One of the only notable differences between the two products is the price. While the OmniMount retails for $599, the Middle Atlantic retails for $742.


When purchasing an AV rack, there's no shortage of options on the market. You could go with a cheap skeleton rack, or, if so inclined, a full-size rack outfitted with utility lights,a rack mounted power strip, and an advanced cooling system. However, I suspect that most consumers are looking for a solution somewhere in the middle. The OmniMount RE18 strikes a great balance among price, features, and convenience. It's about the same price or less than the competition. It's outfitted with all of the features a consumer could want in a rack. And, the included accessories and pre-built design make it convenient to install. The only way to make it better would be if OmniMount starts offering more accessories, including a fan controller. If you're looking for a professional AV rack, the OmniMount RE series comes highly recommended.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Cliff, like many of us, has always loved home theater equipment. In high school he landed a job at Best Buy that started his path towards actual high quality audio. His first surround sound was a Klipsch 5.1 system. After that he was hooked, moving from Klipsch to Polk to Definitive Technology, and so on. Eventually, Cliff ended up doing custom installation work for Best Buy and then for a "Ma & Pa" shop in Mankato, MN.

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