Best ladder racks for trucks – buyers guide

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Truck racks are often seen as an integral part of a truck. However, trucks often come without one, allowing the owner to either install the racks or leave the truck rackless. But if you do decide to obtain racks for your track, how do you decide which one is the best?

Well, in this article we will discuss truck racks. We will talk about nine products, discuss their strengths and weaknesses, what makes them unique, and so forth. More importantly, we will provide you with buyer’s guide. The purpose of this guide is to help you learn more about truck racks, ranging from compatibility to weight capacity.

The purpose of this article is informational: we want to share our knowledge and view with you. We hope that the given information will help you select the rack that fits your truck, that is if you decide to get it in the first place.

Products List

AA-Racks Model ADX32 60 – Lightweight, adjustable and compatible with virtually any truck.

ECOTRIC Adjustable Full Size Truck Contractor Ladder – Robust, reliable and compatible with short/long bed pickups.

EAG Hauler Utility Cap Racks – Adjustable, sturdy and tubular, great noise reducer.

EAG Adjustable Truck Contractor Ladder Rack – Customizable, robust and elegant.

Apex ATR-RACK Ladder Rack – Extremely lightweight, interesting design and highly durable.

AA-Racks Model APX25 – Lightweight, inexpensive and very durable.

TMS 800 Truck Pickup Rack –  Safe, reliable and the most inexpensive.

VersaRack Aluminum Ladder & Utility Rack – Sturdy, inexpensive and reliable.

Knaack 1450 Rack – Highly adjustable and removable, featuring tubular and compact design.

AA-Racks Model ADX32 60 – for fiberglass pickup trucks caps

The ADX32 60 is a lightweight, and aluminum made roof rack. The bars (you have the option to select two or three bars) attach to the fiberglass caps, best fit for pickup trucks.

Each bar is 60 inches long and very easy to install. Note that you will receive all the necessary hardware to mount this rack. Drilling is required during the installation process (obviously, you need to have one).

The bar is 3.5 mm thick, aluminum made, very lightweight and robust. Load capacity is 600 pounds, which is very favorable. This product is also highly durable.

The product comes in two colors, black and with. The paint used for these bars is powder coated and anodized, meaning that it protects the aluminum from harsh weather conditions and rust.

Another benefit of this rack is its adjustability. Due to its design, the ADX32 60 features something called height-reduced design. In essence, you have the default 7.5 inches height (without the ladder stopper), and below 12 inches with the ladder stopper. Ladder stopper gives you more maneuverability and flexibility when you adjust the racks.

We suggest installing the ladder stopper, for it will allow you more adjustability, and you will still meet standard height restrictions.

Pros:

  • value for money
  • made of lightweight, quality aluminum
  • powder coated paint (anodized, preventing oxidation)
  • flexible and highly adjustable
  • compatible with almost any truck
  • very easy to mount (clamping knobs)

Cons:

  • somewhat new product with very little reviews
  • the optional ladder stoppers could have been easier to mount/unmount

=> Click here to view pricing and availability for AA-Racks Model ADX32 60 on Amazon.

ECOTRIC Adjustable Full Size Truck Contractor Ladder Rack

Ecotric pickup rack is robust, reliable and durable. The rack is steel made, being 60 x 138 x 34 (WLH) inches in dimensions, with the ability to hold up to 1000 pounds.

This rack is compatible with any pickup truck (short and long bed). You also can install this rack using “no-drill” method, or you can drill the holes and permanently install the rack.

Due to its robustness and carrying weight capacity, this product is best fit for shopowner, contractors and other professionals that have a lot of equipment to tug along with them.

The rack is made of solid steel and is painted with powder-coat to prevent the steel from oxidating. Once installed, you will see that Ecotric pickup rack features tie-down holes for multiple ropes, stripes.

The rack’s leg and feet (bottom steel bars) are adjustable. If needed, the rack can be adjusted to act as an over-cab rack if you decide to mount heavier and longer cargo on it. Upon purchase, you will receive all the required hardware installation equipment.

If we could change something, we would change the instructions. The entire manual is poorly written and very confusing, so you might experience difficulties installing this piece.

Pros:

  • reliable and robust rack
  • powder-coated solid steel design
  • adjustable legs and feet
  • able to withstand up to 1000 pounds
  • compatible with short and long bed pickups

Cons:

  • poor instructions
  • some hardware might be missing (like bolts and screws)

=> Click here to view pricing and availability for ECOTRIC Adjustable Full Size Truck Contractor Ladder Rack on Amazon.

EAG Adjustable Truck Contractor Ladder Rack

EAG Adjustable Truck Contractor Ladder Rack is 63 x 6 x 15 inches in dimensions, fairly lightweight (weighing only 60 pounds), and can carry up to 1000 pounds.

The EAG rack is very adjustable and customizable, allowing you to remove and add at your convenience. It features tubular steel design and is because of that very sturdy and quiet. The product is finished in black color (gloss).

Like the previous product (also made by EAG), this adjustable rack features center cross piece that helps distribute the weight evenly. Also, you can remove the rear cross piece (this option may prove useful when you carry the high load). This product also features air dam at the front, thus reducing the air noise.

The racks are elegant, sturdy and very easy to install, but easy only for those who are familiar with the installation hardware. The hardware is gold zinc plated for extra durability, and the paint is powder coated, thus preventing the occurrence of rust.

Like with the previous EAG racks, these are also hard to install, mostly because of the poorly written instructions. So, to summarise, we do recommend these racks, but only if you know how to assemble it.

Pros:

  • gold zinc coated hardware
  • sturdy and elegant design
  • customizable
  • able to withhold up to 1000 lbs
  • compatible with short and long beds
  • removable rear cross fit

Cons:

  • poorly written manuals, difficult to install (especially if this would be your first time installing it)

=> Click here to view pricing and availability for EAG Adjustable Truck Contractor Ladder Rack on Amazon.

Apex ATR-RACK Ladder Rack

Apex ATR-RACK Ladder Rack extremely lightweight, 12.6 x 66.5 x 30 inches big rack. It features four upright posts, which you can install on the compatible long/short bed trucks.

The cross bars are very adjustable and good for weight distribution, able to hold up to 800 pounds. The ladder stops are integrated within the bars. Installation requires no drilling because the product features secured clamp system. Moreover, it is because of that secure clamp system that this piece is compatible with most pickup trucks (those with short and long beds).

Due to its design, these racks are best suited for contractors and shopowners, or others that may transport lumber, pipes, or other similar loads. We do commend the excellent aluminum-made frame and the fact that the rack is camped on the truck’s bed.

Apex ATR-RACK Ladder Rack is very cost-effective, sturdy and lightweight, all thanks to the high-quality aluminum design. The downside? You guessed it: poor manual. Apparently, the manual is either outdated or miswritten because the hardware you receive doesn’t correspond with the one in the manual.

Also, you might don’t receive a complete set of hardware you need to install this piece. I’m talking about simple things, ones you can purchase in any hardware store. But still, the Apex promises to deliver all the necessary parts and fails to do so.

Pros:

  • extremely lightweight, aluminum made
  • interesting four post design
  • clamp system allows for more comfortable installation
  • very durable
  • decent adjustability
  • compatible with most short/long bed pickup trucks

Cons:

  • outdated manual
  • some hardware might be missing

=> Click here to view pricing and availability for Apex ATR-RACK on Amazon.

AA-Racks Model APX25

The APX25 weighs 40 pounds and is 71.3 x 15 x 5.5 inches in dimensions. It too features four upright post design in combination with four stops, which allow for more secure cargo transporting.

Installation doesn’t require any drilling. Instead, you clamp the rack to the truck’s bed rail. Once installed, the rack can hold up to 800 pounds of weight and is as such excellent for hauling lumber, ladders or object of similar nature.

The product is aluminum made, fairly lightweight, resistant to oxidation and rust. It is also very sturdy and secure, thanks to the rack’s stops. Upon purchase, you also receive eight compatible clamps, which you should use to install the racks.

Probably the most prominent feature regarding this product is its adjustability: it will more or less fit any pickup truck. We also commend the load stoppers, for they do enhance the cargo’s security. However, the rack’s security is in danger.

To clarify, this product is easy to install and assemble but is also easy to unmount and disassemble. It lacks safety features, and you should consider safety measures if you want to protect this rack (perhaps using more sophisticated bolts would do the job).

Apart from that, we have no complaints regarding the AA-Racks Model APX25. If you are a contractor or shopowner looking for inexpensive, but durable racks with decent load carrying capacity, then this might be the perfect fit for you.

Pros:

  • easy to install
  • value for money
  • highly adjustable will fit any truck
  • cargo stoppers protect the load
  • decent carrying capacity (800 pounds)
  • robust and durable aluminum (powder coated, rust-free)

Cons:

  • you should think of a way to secure the rail

=> Click here to view pricing and availability for AA-Racks APX25 on Amazon.

TMS 800 Truck Pickup Rack 

TMS 800 comes as a set of robust steel, highly adjustable ladder racks. These racks are 51 x 26.2 x 1.5 inches in dimension, lightweight but very sturdy.

The frame can withhold up to 800 pounds of weight. Moreover, due to its design, this rack is suitable for carrying long, and heavy loads. To fit most truck types the rack’s width is adjustable (from 5 to 7 ft). And I do like the adjustability of this piece.

This product is perfect for constructional use since the two bars are very robust and reliable. The bases are also steel made, and you’ll need to drill two holes during the installation process. You can clamp this rack, but nor manufacturer nor we recommend this, especially if you are carrying a heavy load.

On the downside, a lot of people reported that some threaded frame parts weren’t properly threaded (removable threaded crossbar). Also, the powder coating was somewhat cheaply done.

Other than that, the TMS 800 performs very well, emphasizing stability and cargo safety. If you are construction worker constantly overloaded with tools, perhaps trying this rack won’t be such a bad idea. Also, all those kayak and canoe lovers may purchase this product due to its reliability and stability.

Pros:

  • inexpensive, cheapest on the list
  • reliable and sturdy
  • simple, yet beautiful design
  • highly adjustable and customizable
  • value for money
  • fairly lightweight

Cons:

  • powder coating was cheaply done
  • some threaded parts weren’t threaded properly

=> Click here to view pricing and availability for TMS 800 on Amazon.

VersaRack Aluminum Ladder & Utility Rack for Full-Size Pickup Trucks

VersaRack Aluminum Rack is compatible with almost all full-sized pickup trucks, from Ford F-Series to Toyota Tundra. The product is very reliable and sturdy, thanks to the rust-free aluminum design.

This product s lightweight (again, thanks to the aluminum), but can hold up to 800 pounds of weight. The product features PocketLok system, which makes it very easy to install.

The aluminum, together with other hardware equipment, is stainless steel, and as such won’t succumb to oxidation and rust. We do commend the product’s straightforward installation process and the capacity to hold up to 800 lbs. This product is surprisingly sturdy and looks very nice.

Though we don’t comment the aesthetics of the truck racks, the VersaRack Aluminum Ladder & Utility Rack looks amazing once installed. There are, however, some issues with it. The most obvious problem was the noise this rack produced. Though this only happens at high speed, it is a problem nonetheless.

Also, you should expect to drill during the installation process if you own Dodge Ram & Toyota Tundra because the PocketLok system is not available for these vehicles. Other than that, this rack does what it is supposed to do.

If you are looking for a rack that will help you transport ladders, plumbing pipes, or even sporting equipment, VersaRack Aluminum isn’t a bad option. Be aware that this product is fit only for long bed trucks.

Pros:

  • value for money, inexpensive
  • sturdy despite being lightweight
  • stainless steel and aluminum made (resistant to corrosion)
  • compatible with almost every long bed pickup truck

Cons:

  • produces a lot of noise at high speeds
  • some pickups aren’t compatible with PocketLok system

=> Click here to view pricing and availability for VersaRack on Amazon.

Knaack 1450 Rack

Knaack 1450 Rack is compact, being 52.2 x 22 x 3.2 inches, and weighing roughly 49 pounds. It is fit for both full-size pickups, as well as for mini pickup trucks.

I believe it is best for us it for mini pickup, due to its compactness and relatively small carrying capacity, which is up to 250 pounds. The product is easy to mount and unmount, which makes it a perfect fit for occasional users.

The product’s upright is easily removable, and the manufacturer suggests removing the uprights if not in use. Knaack 1450 features a tubular design which fits lovely with your truck. It is also good at noise management.

You will have to drill during the installation process. The product is highly adjustable, allowing you to move load bar depending on the length of the load. You also have the option to choose two different styles, horizontal and angular (this particular 1450 version is horizontal).

As stated previously, the product is fit for occasional users and will prove its usefulness when you need to transport ladder or other similar lengthy cargo. It is fairly strong and easy to install. The downside is the 250 weight carrying capacity.

Other than that, we have no complaints regarding this product. If you occasionally need a rack to help you carry the heavy or lengthy load, then the Knaack 1450 Rack might be a good fit for you.

Pros:

  • highly adjustable
  • compact and removable, perfect for occasional users
  • sturdy and reliable
  • tubular design, won’t make a loud noise while you drive at high speed
  • looks fantastic once you install it
  • can be used on multiple trucks

Cons:

  • low carrying capacity
  • somewhat expensive (I think)

=> Click here to view pricing and availability for Knaack 1450 on Amazon.

EAG Hauler Utility Cap Racks

Compatible with long and short bed trucks, the E-Autogrilles Hauler Utility Cap Racks grants their users strength and reliability. The product can withhold up to 1000 pounds and is 79 x 16 x 22 inches in dimensions.

The product is made of steel tubes, colored with stylish black paint. The purpose of this product is to enhance the vehicle’s functionality. This rack turns your truck into the portable workshop and is as such perfect choice for the workforce.

It features front dam to minimize the wind noise, which only enhances the already quite, circular tube design. If you are looking for a rack that deals best with noise, perhaps this one isn’t a bad option.

The rack’s center cross is adjustable, being able to hold both light and heavy loads. Center cross also helps distribute the weight. Also, you have the rear cross part, adjustable, even removable. Like with the previous, ECOTRIC rack, you can no-drill-install this piece, or you can permanently install it on your vehicle.

This is another product with poorly written instructions. Also, some of the parts might be incompatible.

Pros:

  • made of tubular steel
  • excellent at reducing wind noise
  • sturdy
  • very adjustable center and rear cross parts
  • compatible with short/long bed trucks
  • able to hold up to 1000 pounds

Cons:

  • poorly written instructions
  • the most expensive product on our list

=> Click here to view pricing and availability for EAG Hauler Utility Cap Racks on Amazon.

Buyer’s Guide

Ladder truck racks aren’t easy to choose, especially if you don’t know much about them. In this section, we will explain whether or not you should obtain ladder racks. Moreover, we will discuss the most important features you should pay attention to when you make your choice.

Benefits Of Truck Racks?

Ladder truck racks act as an additional piece for your pickup truck, allowing you to carry more heavy and lengthy load with you. In this article we have included different types of truck racks, focusing on their reliability, carrying capacity and design.

Naturally, your choice has to be aligned with your pickup truck, so keep that in mind when if you decide to look for one. Also, consider your needs and requirements. Are you an occasional user, or contractor or shopowner looking for racks that will boost your work productivity and cargo safety? More on that later.

Technical Details

Here, we will discuss the ladder rack’s most important features: compatibility, carrying capacity, installation process, and other technical features you should look for if you decide to purchase the rack.

Compatibility

All of our products are over-bed racks. Some are fitted for full-sized pickup trucks with long bed rail (like the VersaRack Aluminum Ladder & Utility Rack), while others are best suited for short bed, mini pickups (like the Knaack 1450 Rack).

Most are, however, very versatile and compatible with most pickup trucks, regardless of the bed size. Mind the dimensions, especially the products length and hight. This is where the products adjustability comes into play.

If you aren’t sure whether or not the specific product will fit your needs, go for the one that offers you more maneuverability when it comes to adjustment. If you are looking for the roof rack, then going with the AA-Racks Model ADX32 60 is your safest bet.

In any case, compatibility should be your primary concern. While describing each product, we’ve stated the product’s adjustability and compatibility.

Carrying Capacity

Some of the products on our list can withhold up to 1000 pounds, while are other able to carry up to 250 pounds. This is, naturally, very subjective and personal.

If you are looking for ladder rack because of professional reasons, going for those with maximum carrying capacity isn’t a bad idea. Then again, if you are certain that you’ll never go over the 250 pounds, there’s no need to purchase those that carry more than that.

Installation

Some of the racks require drilling. This means that, once you install them, it is best not to reinstall them. On the other hand, other ladder racks feature clamp system, which allows you to mount and unmount the racks with ease.

I believe that bolted ones grant a bit more stability, but offer little to no second-use. You also have to have a drill and know how to use one properly. If you don’t want this hassle, going with more easy-to-install models might not be the worst idea.

For instance, I feel that Knaack 1450 Rack are the easiest to mount and dismount. They are also best fit for people who have zero knowledge of ladder racks.

Other Technical Features/Issues

Consider the product’s lightweights. Most lightweight ladder racks are aluminum made and tubular, which means that they’ll produce less noise as you drive at high speed.

Also, mind the price. Be aware of the fact that some of the products sometimes ship incomplete hardware kit (intentionally or unintentionally). This means that you will have to spend extra money on hardware equipment, gas to get to the hardware store, and so forth. These are small things, but they do add up.

Furthermore, if you can’t deal with bad instructions, skip the products where we state that the manual is poorly written. While the ladder racks aren’t difficult to install, we do understand that some people want the installation to go smoothly and rapidly.

Conclusion

Although there is a lot more to be said about truck ladder racks, this article did cover all the necessary things, from the product’s compatibility to its usability.

As always, include as many factors as you can if you do decide to purchase truck racks, for it will help you narrow your choices. Once you set your needs and requirements, it will be a lot easier to make the right choice.

We hope this article helped you learn more about truck ladder racks, about their use and purpose. We are so used to seeing pickup trucks with racks that we often forget they come without them; truck ladder racks are truly an essential part of almost every truck.

One thought on “Best ladder racks for trucks – buyers guide

  1. I appreciate that you explained this guide of getting the best ladder racks for trucks. In my opinion, I will go for a lightweight, and aluminum made roof rack. Aside from that, it must also be adjustable and flexible. In that way, it’ll be more useful and can be used in another way if possible.

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