Best Headache Rack of 2020
Are you looking to buy the best headache rack for your truck? You’re probably trying to decide which one will best exceed your expectations. There are a few things to consider before you make this important decision. What type of truck you own and what you haul are two of them. You should also think about how you want it to look, and how you want to install it.
The term headache rack might create confusion. In reality, truck racks save you a lot of headaches when you want to use your truck at its maximum capacity and still keep it and the passengers safe – with this thing in mind they have been invented. Besides providing safety benefits for you, the passengers and the vehicle itself, headache racks help to block sun rays from heating up the interior or support the long cargo. Plus, many truck owners install them for purely aesthetic reasons because they make the vehicle look powerful. Headache racks are a must-have accessory for your truck.
Since there are several headache racks you can choose from, we’ve completed your homework for you. We want to make things easier for you so we’ve listed our picks for the top six headache racks and we’ve put together a comprehensive buyer’s guide. Each rack was chosen based on specific needs and functions so you can make an informed decision.
Best Headache Racks of 2020
1. MaxxHaul 70234 – Best Adjustable Headache Rack
Made from commercial-grade steel, this headache rack is surprisingly light and easy to install. Most people say it only takes them around thirty minutes to an hour to mount it on the truck. Plus, its materials make it durable against the wear and tear caused by usage or weather.
The rack is crafted in the style of a screen, so visibility won’t be sacrificed. It is made to fit most pickup trucks, so drilling isn’t usually necessary. Is this your first headache rack? It might be the perfect one to start with.
- The no-drill feature makes it easy to install.
- It protects the entire back window.
- Durable commercial steel can help it last through wear and tear.
- It fits most pickups; however, it requires drilling if not.
- Some complain it hits their back window when they throw heavy wood or chains against it.
- The rack may not protect against major damage from dirt bikes or off-road vehicles pushing up against it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need to remove the bed rails to install it?
You won’t need to remove the bed rails to install this headache rack correctly.
Will this rack fit if I have a toolbox in my truck bed?
Yes, it should fit just fine when you have a crossover bed toolbox.
What size base will I need to make sure this fits my truck bed?
The headache rack will fit most bases ranging between 62 and 74 inches.
2. ARIES 111000 – Best Protection
Do you use your truck for hauling your kids too? This could be the best choice for you. You want to protect that precious cargo. The center of the rack is completely louvered to protect you and your family.
It is constructed with one to two-inch steel tubing, which makes it incredibly strong. Plus, the black powder coat finish is made to protect the rack from chips and rust.
*green*As a bonus, the louvers block the hot sun and help keep your truck cab cool and comfortable.
- It fits most pickups.
- The rack is constructed with a heavy and solid frame.
- It’s resistant to chip and rust damage.
- It takes a little longer to install.
- It requires drilling during installation.
- Some customers say it requires clamps to stabilize it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does this item come with all the necessary mounting brackets?
It comes with all the brackets you will need.
Will this headache rack fit any pickup truck?
You won’t know for certain if it will fit unless you measure accurately. However, it is made to fit most standard truck beds.
Will this rack allow me to pull my truck into my garage?
It shouldn’t be an issue. On the other hand, it depends what type of truck you own. If your truck is a standard model, you should not run into any issues.
3. Backrack 10500 Safety Rack – Best for Stability
If you are looking for a rack that won’t make as much noise, this one might be the best fit. The strong metal mesh design keeps it stable and reduces rattling sounds.
Plus, you won’t have to worry about a piece of plywood going through your back window. Some racks don’t come with a mesh back, so there are open gaps that could let small pieces of debris through.
*yellow*The rack is lightweight and easy to install. The installation only requires a three-step tool process. However, the hardware kit is sold separately. This has caused some buyers distress, but the cost of the rack is low enough to provide room to purchase the hardware kit as well.
- This quiet rack is made with quality design and materials.
- It’s lightweight and easy to install.
- The mesh rack provides full back window coverage.
- The hardware kit is sold separately.
- Some customers have complained that it arrived in poor packaging.
- Customers have shown concern about which mounting kit to use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does this headache rack include mounting brackets?
It does not. The entire hardware kit is sold separately.
Can you install a lightbar on this headache rack?
It is possible to do so, but you must use the proper brackets.
Is this rack crafted with aluminum or steel?
It is made of high-quality steel.
4. Aries 111001 Commercial Steel Headache Rack – Works Best for Toolboxes
This heavy-duty rack helps to protect your cab with its steel construction. Are you looking for something that is compatible with your toolbox? You might give this one a try. The rack is made to fit cross-bed toolboxes.
It is slightly heavier than the previously mentioned models. Regardless, the installation is rather easy. Like others, it’s made to fit a plethora of truck beds. Additionally, the center of the rack is fully louvered.
*red*Some people have complained that this rack arrives in poor condition due to its packaging. I would consult with the seller about this issue before buying it. You’re better safe than sorry.
- It’s made with heavy-duty steel.
- It fits most trucks with or without cross-bed toolboxes.
- An installation kit is included.
- Some buyers say it arrives in damaged condition.
- It is heavier.
- A few customers said they needed to drill holes for it to fit.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does this rack take to install?
It usually takes around an hour or so to fully install.
Will the top bar block my rear cab light?
It is possible that it won’t be tall enough for larger trucks. However, if you own a standard truck it should not block your rear cab light.
Will I have to modify the fit?
Some buyers have complained they needed to modify the fit by drilling a few extra holes. Many of these people own trucks that are larger than the standard. Proper measurements and company consultation are recommended when you’re unsure of the fit.
5. BackRack 12300 – Best Rack for Style
There is a dipping process this rack goes through to prevent any type of cosmetic damage. The rack is coated twice for additional corrosion resistance. It provides great protection for your rear window but isn’t too heavy to deal with.
It would be a great headache rack if you’re thinking of using it for your show truck. However, it could also work if you just like to keep your truck looking good.
*yellow*It’s important to note that the installation kit is not included. However, you can purchase it separately here.
- It provides excellent protection against corrosion.
- This rack looks amazing on most trucks.
- It’s lightweight.
- It does not come with an installation kit.
- The material that it’s made from is unclear.
- It is a bit pricey.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need brackets to install my toolbox to it?
Yes, it is recommended that you have brackets to attach your toolbox.
How do I know if this headache rack will fit my truck?
This rack requires an installation kit sold separately.
Is this rack hollow?
It is hollow. If you want a tighter fit, it is recommended that you purchase some extra washers.
6. AA-Racks Model X35-W – Extendable Pick-up Truck Rack
Are you looking for a headache rack that does almost everything? This one could be your best bet. It comes with a steel frame and a wire screen. These can help shield your rear window and your cab frame. Additionally, the screen can be removed for whatever purpose. This is the best rack if you do heavy hauling.
*green*Equally important, it’s crafted with heavy-duty commercial-grade steel to protect your truck from any weighty materials you haul. It’s also powder coated to prevent rust damage.
This rack is the best of both worlds. It comes with a screen and a frame protector. It is made with quality materials and created to fit most truck beds. It comes in black or white as well. The full hardware install kit is also included when you purchase this rack.
- Your truck’s window and frame are both protected. This rack has a commercial steel frame and a removable wire screen.
- It has a universal fit for most truck beds.
- This headache rack protects against large amounts of pressure.
- It isn’t made to fit truck beds with soft bed covers.
- Some customers complained they didn’t receive all the necessary hardware for installation. This was rare.
- It is on the pricier side, but the cost is fair when you consider how good the quality is.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of self-tappers are needed for installation?
You shouldn’t need to use any self-tappers. Instead, drill a hole to install the bolt.
Do I need to drill holes in my side rails to attach it?
You do not need to drill holes in your side rails. This shouldn’t be an issue during installation.
Will this headache rack work with tonneau bed covers?
It will not work with tonneau covers.
Headache Racks – A Buyer’s Guide
If you’re a newcomer to the truck game, buying a headache rack may seem like a whole new world to you. However, it’s very simple. The headache rack you choose will install behind your rear window, protecting it from debris and items you choose to haul. When you’re carrying a large load, items can come crashing through your rear window if you slam on the breaks. This can also happen when you’re rear-ended. These reasons and more show how important it is to have one.
If you’re an expert on headache racks, you don’t need to be told how or why to use one. However, this guide will make it easier to figure out which one you need.
Here’s a list of a few things to consider while shopping for the right headache rack.
1. Universal Fit
Most headache racks are made to fit about any type of truck bed. However, there are exceptions. It is vital to check the dimensions of your cab and truck bed to make sure your favorite will fit alright. If you have one, it’s equally imperative to check if the rack will fit a soft bed liner. Several brands have a website you can check out to see if your truck will work with your chosen headache rack. Amazon also has a fitting guide to help you.
2. Hardware Kits
There are some racks that do not come with installation kits. That’s why it is important to read carefully. However, if any listed above do not, we made sure to let you know. Sometimes, the installation kit may be missing a few parts, or it isn’t the best quality. Keep your toolbox nearby just in case.
The materials your headache rack is made to make all the difference. Commercial-grade steel is the best you can get. Other materials can work just fine, but when you haul heavy items it’s essential to have a rack that can do the job.
If you’re worried about how your rack will look, make sure to choose one that goes through a multiple-dip process. This extra feature will help protect your rack from the elements and keep it looking nice.
4. Wire Screens vs. Metal Frames
While both features are important, they can each serve separate purposes. Wire screens enhance visibility while shielding your windows and metal frames protect your cab. Some metal frames go across your back window. This helps keep heavy objects from penetrating the glass. However, they don’t always protect you from small debris like lumber or metal pieces.
If you are concerned about both, a combination headache rack could work well. Check out number six on our list. If you’re against the wired screen, try a commercial-grade steel frame rack. It is important to choose one that has several bars to protect your rear window.
Several sellers claim their headache racks don’t require drilling during installation. On the contrary, some do require it. The need for drilling varies along with the type of truck you own. If the fit is perfect, drill-less racks should work fine. However, if the holes don’t line up correctly then you may need to drill a few to make it work.
Product Features and Technical Issues
MaxxHaul Adjustable Black Headache Rack
This headache rack comes with great benefits. It is simple and light. It weighs just over thirty pounds. It is a wire screen metal rack made with commercial-grade steel. When it comes to durability and strength, commercial-grade steel can be a great choice. The rack is made so it doesn’t require any drilling. It usually only takes about thirty minutes to install. Plus, wire screen headache racks keep your rear visibility open.
There are only a few possible problems that we should mention. The rack doesn’t line up with all truck beds, so drilling is sometimes required. However, this isn’t a major issue unless you have a show truck. The only other issue is the fact that it tends to rattle and can hit the back window during heavy hauls.
Aries 111000 Headache Rack
The heavy-duty metal tubing this rack is constructed with makes it strong. It would be a great choice for people with families. If you do a lot of heavy hauls, it may be a good fit for you as well. Additionally, it includes a sun-shield bar at the top of the rack. This can help keep your cab cool and cozy inside. It is louvered directly at the center to provide stability and noise-reduction.
This is a heavier rack at around 45 pounds, so it may take longer to install. Plus, drilling is required during installation. The other problem a few buyers have run into is the fit. Some of them needed to apply clamps to stabilize it. This could have been because their truck bed was on the smaller side.
BackRack 10500 Safety Rack
This metal wire headache rack is made a little stronger. It is also very stable. This stability makes it quieter than its counterparts. Not only is it stronger, but it’s also lighter. It’s only around 35 pounds.
This may not be a technical issue, but the mounting kit is sold separately. Customers are unsure of which mounting kit to use as well. The manufacturer’s website may provide more info on that subject. The last issue people run across is product packaging. It seems this seller doesn’t pack accordingly. So, a seller consultation is highly advised before purchasing this rack.
Aries 111001 Commercial Steel Headache Rack
A noticeable benefit of this rack is its great shine. The high-gloss finish can add style to your pickup. The functionality is there as well. It can be installed with your cross-bed toolbox. This rack is also extremely durable. It is crafted with carbon steel tubing for extra strength.
Did we mention it’s heavy? It’s 55 pounds to be exact. However, this can add to the durability factor. Now, some customers have said it arrives in poor condition. Thankfully, most of it was cosmetic damage. The only other issue we noticed is that it had to be modified by a few people. They just ended up drilling a few extra holes to finish the installation properly.
BackRack 12300 Headache Rack
It is dipped twice to ensure maximum corrosion protection. This is a beautiful rack that you could add to your show truck, but it also performs well. It is the lightest rack on the list, so the installation usually only takes about an hour.
The hardware kit is not included. The listing also doesn’t clarify what kind of metal it is made with. It is a bit on the pricier side too. However, the reviews for this headache rack are astounding.
AA-Racks Model X35-W 800 LB Capacity Extendable Pick-up Truck Rack with Protective Screen Set
This is the best headache rack on the list. It is a combination rack, which can help you multitask during your workday. The screen is removable as well. This is an amazing addition. Plus, it’s made with heavy-duty commercial-grade steel. You would love this rack if you do several heavy-weight hauls each day. It also universally fits most full-size pickup trucks. The installation is not too bad. The rack only weighs around 44 pounds. You have your choice of matte black or white as well.
It does not fit soft truck bed covers. There are only two remaining problems that people run into. Sometimes, they don’t receive all their necessary installment equipment. However, the seller works well with them. They usually receive it rather quickly. The last issue is that it is a bit pricey. However, the quality is amazing for what you end up paying.
Do you feel better now about picking a headache rack? We hope so. This guide was meant to show you exactly what to look for. Are you a beginner? Do you have a family? Are you constantly making heavy hauls in your truck? No matter who you are or why you need one, there is a headache rack made to fit your needs. There are a few things to consider before buying one. Your truck dimensions and height are important to measure while shopping. How easy is it to install? What is it made with?
Some racks are made with carbon steel, while others are made with aluminum. The best headache racks are made with commercial-grade steel. They are also different weights as a result. Some racks do not come with hardware kits, so take that into consideration as well. The installation level varies between headache racks.
Some require drilling while others don’t. However, even the racks that are drill-free often require it. So, it all depends on your truck bed and how well it lines up. The seller is equally important. Some sell great products but do not package them correctly. Simple communication is key here. Make sure they understand that you expect your rack to arrive in good condition.
A combination rack is highly recommended for anyone. They are the strongest and most versatile of all. The one we listed at number six is amazing. It’s made with commercial-grade steel and the wire screen is removable. Plus, the finish is made to last a long time.
After careful consideration, you will find the right one. Most headache racks come with a manufacturer’s warranty, so that will take the “headache” of shopping out of the whole equation. If anything goes wrong, contact the seller or manufacturer. Hopefully, we’ve made your decision easier. Happy shopping!