I can only go by what I have experienced and for me leg press could not compare to squats. For me I get an all over leg and butt workout with squats and with a leg press I only feel it in my inner thigh and some quad. I get more cuts in my legs with squats but that is just me...Lisa
No, they are not truly the same. I play college football so I get to do these rather often. Squats are more of a complex dynamic exercise, meaning you have to do more than one thing to complete the overall exercise(using more than one muscle group). With the leg press it is more of an Isolated lift, mainly focusing on your quads. With squats you work more muscles, and just as well. Squats are more of a strengh gaining exercise as well. As much as they SUCK, squats are a good overall "core" lift. Though you can do both if you would like.
There is no leg exercise that does the work as sqauts do. The same muscles are worked when doing both leg presses and squats but it's the movement and the amount of resitance of the weight that differ. Squats are the primary general leg exercise.
I also agree with everyone, squats can't be beat....they also get the gluts really good the press don't do that. I think you can do both, I'd do the squats first because you'll need more strength to balance the weight IMHO.