Best Pickup Truck Ladder Racks Reviewed

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A bed on a truck can only hold so many things, and that’s why ladder racks exist.

With the help of one, you’ll be able to haul equipment which is larger than the bed itself, such as, like the name implies, extension ladders, but it can also hold far more than that like kayaks, lumber or really anything you wish.

If you think you can build one by yourself, think again because the material you’ll end up needing to buy still won’t match the affordable price of ones i review on this post.

AA-Racks Model X35

Buy on Amazon

Features

The most crucial factor when deciding what ladder rack can suit your needs best is its maximum adjustable range – i mean, if it can’t fit your pickup truck in the first place, no other feature matters, right?

This specific kind will work on pickups with beds that range from the minimum of 51 inches in width to 71. This is normally just the right amount for majority of trucks out there – if that’s still not enough for your vehicle, there is even a larger rack i talk about next.

You can also get the same ladder rack for smaller pickup trucks too, ones of which beds go from 38 to 51 inches in width.

Requires drilling as it is. A rack that can be bolted to the bed rails is going to be a lot more secure on the vehicle – if you do not want to do anything like that, a separate version can be purchased also which doesn’t require to do that, that is, the construction attaches only by the use of clamps.

Having less of a permanent solution when it comes to racks helps a lot if you ever need to remove it constantly, but if you have a tool box, generally using bolts instead of C-clamps is the only way to go.

Once installed, the height the crossbars on this ladder rack provide is right around 26 inches – normally, this is a standard size for any rack you might find on the market, as it’s enough for the bulk of the pickups.

Weighs 44.6 pounds. Lighter racks are easier to install and remove when needed, not to mention provide better gas mileage, and this one, the AA-Racks Model X35, is just somewhere in the sweet spot.

Can hold up to 800 pounds in weight. Racks which can handle more weight are definitely better, but even then, all of the ones i discuss on this article support mainly the same amount of weight.

Made from steel, not aluminum, so it is cheaper – matter of a fact, this rack is one of the most affordable here.

Has rope hooks which help tying up any sort of load better.

Can be bought in the white color too.

Things to consider before buying

Because the construction is made from steel, there’s a chance it can rust in some places, especially after scratching up the paint, although there’s nothing some anti-rust spray can’t do.

As i already mentioned, it’s not the largest of the ladder racks available, so if your pickup is anything larger than 71 inches in width, the next option is for you.

In conclusion

This ladder rack (link to Amazon), at least in my honest opinion, is the best you can buy simply because it not only matches the proper quality standards, but also doesn’t break the bank.

I know there are truck owners who aren’t shy of spending the most amount of buck for their beloved vehicle, but it is always nice to have an option that shaves off some of the price in my mind, and this product does that without sacrificing any of the quality.

This is the link for no-drill option.

TMS 800 LB

Check it out on Amazon

Features

Can adjust from 60 way up to 84 inches, and that’s quite a bit more than my favorite pick.

Primarily, holes need to be drilled in order to fasten the system to the pickup truck using the included bolts, but you can also buy a separate pack of clamps that’ll let you secure the rack without any drilling.

Just like the AA-Racks, and really any other here, it can handle loads of up to 800 pounds.

It too has tie down points in every corner, which help in securing your cargo.

Things to consider before buying

Once again, the construction is made from steel, so if you’re scared of the potential rust, there are also aluminum options you can look into further down.

Normally not as cheap as the first choice.

In conclusion

Truth be told, this ladder rack (Amazon link) looks very much like the one i reviewed first, although in this case it will fit a lot larger trucks, which justifies the fact it’s slightly more expensive.

Smittybilt 18604

Get the rack on Amazon

Features

What makes this rack unique compared to any other on this blog post is that it’s literally bigger, or in other words, extends over the cab also. Longer racks can hold longer equipment better, as there are more points for securing any sort of cargo you’ll be hauling.

The manufacturer does not specify the limits of the rack’s compatibility, so expect it to work on many of the trucks out there in the world.

Now because it’s such a big and heavy duty ladder rack, it also weighs a lot, 220 pounds to be exact. Because of that, you’ll probably need to recruit a friend or two to help you with the process, particularly when loading the whole construction on the bed.

Having any sort of load strapped to this rack can make it produce some wind noise, thankfully the product has wind deflectors to manage that.

Things to consider before buying

The extra weight definitely proves the accessory’s durability, but having such large and heavy object will impact your fuel efficiency more negatively.

Once secured, it can end up being way too tall for your type of truck, so additional cutting might be necessary to do.

The Smittybilt consists of a lot of parts, meaning the process of assembling and removing it will take a lot more time and effort.

Very expensive.

In conclusion

I think this option (Amazon affiliate link) is made for those people who need a more-of-a-permanent rack solution for their pickups, as it can be a pain to take on and off when compared to the others.

Sure, it’s not of the budget kind, but i think that’s not a bad investment considering that it’s a solid piece of equipment made for a lot of serious work.

MaxxHaul 70233

Amazon link

Features

The MaxxHaul probably fits the ladder rack description the best as it’s made exactly for that purpose; instead of using both sides of the truck bed, it only occupies one.

This way of mounting a rack leaves a lot more room open on your vehicle’s bed, making any other additional equipment hauling a lot easier because of the additional space available.

It can also adjust horizontally from 19 to 34 inches, helping accommodate any sort of equipment, or ladders in this case, better.

Instead of drilling or clamping to the bed rail, the unit fastens with extension – if the bed on your pickup is taller than 17.5 inches, it won’t work unless you buy separate leg extensions.

Weighs 37.5 pounds, and is the easiest to install.

The cheapest rack on this article.

Things to consider before buying

Has a lot less space to secure your cargo in.

Won’t handle the largest of loads, as it’s not a solid construction that uses two of the bed rails.

In conclusion

In my mind, MaxxHaul 70233 (buy on Amazon) would work best for those who want to only haul one or two things at the same time, and also save a bit of money while they’re at it, otherwise i think you should probably consider getting something better.

Apex ATR-Rack

View it on Amazon

Features

Fits on truck beds that are less or equal to 66.5 inches in width. That is definitely not the most, but considering the fact that it’s made from aluminum makes up for it, i think.

Aluminum is more resistant to any sort of rust, and is also lightweight, 38 pounds to be exact.

You might think that because it’s not a full-on steel construction it won’t be able to withstand as much weight, and that is completely false as it can support the same hefty 800 pounds.

Has built-in ladder stops that prevent any sort of item from budging too much when strapped.

Things to consider before buying

Relatively expensive.

In conclusion

If you have the money to spend, i really don’t see why this choice (get her from Amazon) can be a bad one, mainly considering that it’s made from aluminum.

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