The 10 Best Universal Truck Racks
This wiki has been updated 15 times since it was first published in January of 2019. Trucks are designed to carry cargo, but sometimes your pickup bed might not be up to the task, especially when you need to load up long ladders, planks of wood, or piping. Even those who don't use their vehicles for work-related purposes will find that transporting items like canoes and kayaks is much easier with a sturdy universal rack, which is exactly what you'll find here. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
October 15, 2020:
Replaced the AA Products X35-W, the AA-Products APX25-WG-E, and the Thule TracRac TracOne with the Paramount 16601, the AA-Racks APX25-E, and the Thule TracRac SR.
If you're a framer or a contractor, your best options are the Paramount 16601 and the Auto Dynasty SL-A+B. You'll probably be carrying 84-inch 2x4s, beams, plywood and drywall sheets, and long piping. You'll need the large area provided by the Paramount and Auto Dynasty, not only to actually fit these materials, but also for the many more contact and tie-down points you get over models like the Thule TracRac SR or the Apex ATR. The latter are best reserved for carrying ladders and recreational equipment. Apart from the obvious forked tie-down points on each upright, both the Paramount and the Auto Dynasty have bracing on their side rails that allow you to secure objects very snugly to the rails. Just make sure you practice your knots before risking it on the road as some improvised knots can be deceptively awful and can come apart from vibration or being pulled on by a load that wants to shift.
Aluminum racks are great because aluminum forms a boundary oxide layer that prevents further corrosion so even if the paint chips off, it won't break down like steel does. However, there is a steep sacrifice in strength. While this is something to weigh when choosing a rack, it is not particularly easy to approach the weight limits that most of these racks are rated for.
February 22, 2019:
Racks are often needed for both recreational and work trucks, which is exactly why included a variety of styles. If you need to transport heavy gear, the Auto Dynasty SL-A+B, AA-Products APX25-WG-E, and AA Products X35-W, are all good choices, since they feature an 800-pound or higher load capacity. The AA Products X35-W also features a steel grate that protects your rear window from shifting cargo. If you need to carry exceptionally long items and want to make sure they are fully supported, the Auto Dynasty SL-A+B and AA-Products APX25-WG-E are your best options, since they also extend over the vehicle's cab. Those who are hampered by a very tight budget will want to consider the TMS 800LB and MaxxHaul 70423, though these two do have some minor drawbacks. The TMS 800LB does have a sportier look than many other models too, which is nice for everyday drivers. You can achieve that same sporty style with the AA Products X35-W as long as you remove the protective window grate, but if you plan on doing that, then there really is no reason to spend the extra cash to buy this model. Since we realize that even those with toppers may periodically need a rack, we added the AA Products ADX32-C and Vantech M1000 to accommodate them.