Whether you're a devoted DIYer who needs to carry around a ladder every now and then or an adventurer who loves to go on kayaking, a high-quality ladder rack is a good investment. With this accessory, lugging around a long ladder becomes a hassle-free task. Plus, you don't have to worry about damaging your vehicle or the ladder as you drive along bumpy roads. But how do you weed out the bad racks from the good? Here are some tips on how to do just that:
Make sure your vehicle can handle the cargo capacity.
Before you grab the first shiny ladder rack you see, check first if its weight and load capacity fits the cargo load requirements of your vehicle. Keep in mind that overloading your truck or van will wear out engine and suspension parts faster and put your road safety at risk. Depending on the material they're built from and their purpose, racks can weigh from a mere 22 lbs. to as much as 233 lbs. As for their load capacity, it can range from 200 lbs. to 1000 lbs. Also, see if the length of the rack fits the length of your ladder and vehicle.
Choose the most suitable installation type for your needs.
A ladder rack can be mounted in several ways: on the roof, on the sides of a vehicle, and on a framing system that's attached to a truck bed. A roof-mounted or side-mounted rack is best used on a van or any vehicle with a long roof, while a frame rack is best suited for a pick-up truck.
Opt for a rack built from high-grade materials.
When looking for a durable rack, look for these words when reading package labels: stainless steel, anodized aluminum, or powder-coated material. All these words mean that the material used is engineered to withstand constant exposure to damaging elements such as extreme temperatures, humidity, and friction. A rack made from these materials won't easily corrode, helping keep your metal ladder in top condition while it's mounted on your vehicle.
Select the right features.
Just as a ladder rack comes in various sizes and lengths, it also comes with a variety of nifty features. But how do you figure out which feature is worth the extra buck? If that feature makes mounting, using, and moving a ladder more convenient and easy, then it's worth it. Plus, if that feature lets you prolong the lifespan of the ladder, then it's definitely a plus. Features worth looking for include anti-wear strips that protect both the ladder and rack from friction, adjustable frame posts with swivels that allow you to easily position the ladder, and easy-to-remove-and-attach frame rails to make reinstallation a breeze.
Go for a reasonably priced ladder rack.
As with any purchase, you get what you pay for. A ridiculously cheap rack might help you save money during purchase, but it might also cost you in the long run because the welded joints are poorly built or the rack easily corrodes. To get the best deal, choose a rack that's reasonably priced and is made by a reputable manufacturer.