Editor’s Choice
BackRack Louvered Headache Rack

A versatile headache rack that will help keep your cabin cool.

Best Extendable Headache Rack
AA-Racks Model X35-W

A good headache rack for moving kayaks and lumber.

Best Premium Headache Rack
Aries Switchback

A very durable, corrosion-resistant headache rack for your vehicle.

Best Budget Headache Rack
MaxxHaul Adjustable Headache Rack

An inexpensive headache rack that gets the job done.

Also Consider
BackRack Original

A reliable headache rack that’s easy to install and use.

The best headache racks are durable, look good in your truck bed, and allow you to haul objects longer than your truck bed. These racks come in a number of different designs, so finding the right headache rack for your truck can quickly turn into a headache.

In this review, we recommend several of the best headache racks based on extensive research. We’ve tried to recommend headache racks with different styles and price points.

10 Best Headache Racks

headache rack

  1. Editor’s Choice: BackRack Louvered Headache Rack
  2. Best Extendable Headache Rack: AA-Racks Model X35-W
  3. Best Premium Headache Rack: Aries Switchback
  4. Best Budget Headache Rack: MaxxHaul Adjustable Headache Rack
  5. Also Consider: BackRack Original
  6. Best Design: Steelcraft Headache Rack
  7. Best Visibility: Dee Zee Mesh Cab Rack
  8. Lightest Weight: Hauler Headache Rack
  9. Most Stylish: Fab Fours Headache Rack
  10. Best Chase Rack: Stehlen Chase Rack

#1 Editor’s Choice: BackRack Louvered Headache Rack

Pros Keeps cab cool No-drill installation Compatible with a number of BackRack accessories
Cons Can rust over time

BackRack is one of the best-known headache rack manufacturers and with good reason. Not only does the manufacturer sell a variety of quality headache racks, but it also offers attachments like tool holders, light brackets, and toolbox brackets.

We like the BackRack louvered headache rack because the design will help keep your cab cool by blocking direct sunlight from your rear window. This truck headache rack features a no-drill installation and is powder-coated to protect against UV damage.

This is a good pick for those that want a basic headache rack to protect their cab and keep it cool. If you want to install a toolbox or lights to your headache rack, BackRack sells brackets to easily mount these accessories.

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $350
  • Material: Steel
  • Fit: Custom fit
  • One-year warranty on workmanship

What Customers Are Saying

Those that like the BackRack louvered headache rack say that it is very easy to install. Many like the appearance and that it feels sturdy and reliable. Several reviewers note that it effectively kept their truck cab cooler, especially when parked in the sun.

A common complaint is that the product is not well-packaged when shipped. Another issue that some reviewers have is that their BackRack began to corrode over time. This will be an issue with any steel headache rack.

#2 Best Extendable Headache Rack: AA-Racks Model X35-W

Pros Adjustable extension bars improve versatility Durable and tightly secured Relatively inexpensive
Cons May not fit some model trucks Can rust over time

If you want a headache rack that will also allow you to carry items longer than your pickup truck bed, consider the AA-Racks X35-W. The adjustable extension bars can set the rack frame anywhere between 51.0 and 71.0 inches.

The rack is secured with heavy-duty bolts, and the steel has a black powder coat finish for UV resistance. The mesh window guard can be removed for further customization.

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $280
  • Material: Steel
  • Fit: Universal fit for full-size trucks

What Customers Are Saying

Most say this rack is extremely sturdy and appreciate its adjustability. It is popular for people to use this rack to help transport kayaks and long pieces of lumber. Many say the X35-W is easy to install though the instructions aren’t very detailed.

As with any steel headache rack, this one is prone to rusting, though rust is not an especially common complaint. Also be aware that because it is a universal fit, the X35-W may not be perfectly adapted for every kind of truck. At least one reviewer (with a 2021 Honda Ridgeline) complained that it did not fit their truck well.

#3 Best Premium Headache Rack: Aries Switchback

Pros Extremely durable Made from rust-proof aluminum alloy Lightweight
Cons Somewhat decreases visibility out the back window Expensive

For those that want a highly durable headache rack that won’t rust over time, the Aries Switchback is a good option if you don’t mind paying a premium. Aries even guarantees the longevity of this rack with a lifetime warranty.

The aluminum alloy construction makes this headache rack both lightweight and highly resistant to corrosion. The angular design of this rack is also a selling point for many, and the top of the rack has a mounting system to add accessories like roll bars or LED lights.

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $830
  • Material: Aluminum alloy
  • Fit: Custom fit
  • Lifetime structural warranty and five-year finish warranty

What Customers Are Saying

RealTruck Review Score: 4.6 out of 5 based on over 20 ratings

Online reviews for this Aries headache rack are largely positive, with most simply stating that they like the way it looks and it was easy to install. For many, there isn’t much more to say about the Switchback other than that it works well.

There are a few noted downsides to this aluminum headache rack. For one, the gridded screen on the cab guard reduces visibility out of the cab window. That said, the screen can be removed (though you’ll have to choose between better visibility and full cab protection).

#4 Best Budget Headache Rack: MaxxHaul Adjustable Headache Rack

Pros Grid design allows for cab protection without reducing visibility Inexpensive Easy to install
Cons Prone to rusting

Those in need of a functioning headache rack who don’t want to break the bank might consider the MaxxHaul adjustable headache rack. It is extendable from 62.0 to 74.0 in. and is built with commercial-grade steel.

This rack is easy to install and requires no drilling. The wide interwoven screen will protect your cab without reducing visibility. There is also a rail for easy installation of a light bar or other accessories.

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $140
  • Material: Steel
  • Fit: Universal fit

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.3 out of 5 based on over 550 ratings

The customer review consensus on the MaxxHaul is that it serves its purpose and is generally worth the low cost. However, the low cost does mean a decrease in build quality compared to costlier alternatives. Make no mistake, this rack will provide decent protection for your cab, but is liable to rust quickly unless carefully maintained.

#5 Also Consider: BackRack Original

Pros Unique design offers visibility and protection Easy-to-mount accessories Easy to install
Cons Doesn’t fully screen cab Some customers complain about rattling

The BackRack Original features a unique, low-profile design. Like the BackRack Louvered Headache Rack, the Original is compatible with BackRack accessories, making it easy to add lights and other attachments.

The installation process for this headache rack is simple, as it slots into existing stake pockets so there is no drilling required. The reinforced steel construction is sturdy and reliable.

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $250
  • Material: Steel
  • Fit: Custom fit
  • One-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying

RealTruck Review Score: 4.8 out of 5 based on over 140 ratings

This BackRack headache rack is very easy to install, according to customer reviews. Users like the high quality of BackRack products and say that this is only improving with newer models. The custom fit attaches well to most vehicles. The BackRack Original is also compatible with most tonneau covers.

A few reviewers note that this rack can rattle, though rattling may be the result of improper installation. Some complain that the top bar sits lower than their cab, but be aware that this rack comes in short and long varieties. Be sure to order the right option for your cab.

#6 Best Design: Steelcraft Headache Rack

Featuring full steel construction, the Steelcraft Headache Rack is designed for heavy-duty use. All necessary mounting hardware is included in the box and bolt-on installation makes mounting this headache rack a breeze.

The uprights of this headache rack extend above the crossbar, making it easier to haul long loads without damaging your truck’s cab. It should be noted that this headache rack features a louvered design.

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $250
  • Material: Steel
  • Fit: Custom fit
  • Two-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying

The Steelcraft Headache Rack isn’t the most well-reviewed headache rack, but customers stand by their investment in this product. Many reviewers note the good quality of this headache rack for the price. One man claims he’s a volunteer firefighter and says he loves how his emergency lights look on this headache rack.

#7 Best Visibility: Dee Zee Mesh Cab Rack

The Dee Zee Mesh Cab Rack features octagonal aluminum tubing. This design offers the protection you expect from a headache rack, while also providing more visibility out of your rear window than competing brands.

Installation of this headache rack is simple and straightforward, as you only need to bolt it into your truck’s existing stake pockets. Full aluminum construction ensures this headache rack won’t rust and will last.

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $600
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Fit: Universal fit

What Customers Are Saying

Reviewers predominantly comment on the Dee Zee Mesh Cab Rack’s look and feel. One man claims this headache rack fits perfectly on his 2014 Ram 1500. An individual review with negative feedback states this rack doesn’t fit his Toyota Tundra.

#8 Lightest Weight: Hauler Headache Rack

Designed for optimal protection against flying debris and unstable cargo, the Hauler Headache Rack prioritizes rear cab protection. Besides protecting your truck’s cab, this headache rack also provides a secure place to store ladders and other tools.

What separates this headache rack from its competitors is the fact that it’s adjustable, allowing the rack to fit on a number of different-sized trucks. It should be noted that the polished finish on this headache rack isn’t just visually appealing, but it also provides corrosion resistance.

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $410
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Fit: Custom fit
  • Thirty-day warranty

What Customers Are Saying

The Hauler Headache Rack doesn’t have a wealth of customer reviews online. However, that doesn’t mean that this headache rack isn’t worth your consideration. Its premium build quality and smart design say more about this headache rack than any customer review would.

#9 Most Stylish: Fab Fours Headache Rack

The Fab Fours Headache Rack features the brand’s signature knife edge design. While our team concedes that good looks are subjective, we do think that this is one of the most stylish headache racks on the market in 2022.

This headache rack stands out with its optional modifier, which provides support and style points. The headache rack itself is constructed from 12-gauge steel and dons a flat black powder coat.

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $410
  • Material: Steel
  • Fit: Custom fit
  • Lifetime warranty

What Customers Are Saying

There are certainly headache racks out there with more customer reviews than the Fab Fours Headache Rack, but few are as eye-catching. Our team firmly stamps their approval of this headache rack due to its clever and stylish design.

#10 Best Chase Rack: Stehlen Chase Rack

Highly adjustable, the Stehlen Chase Rack can fit on all sizes of pickup trucks – including full-size, mid-size, and compact. The rugged frame of this headache rack is rust-resistant, so you don’t need to worry about Mother Nature ruining your newest truck accessory.

Installation requires wiring and drilling, which you can do yourself, but Stehlen recommends paying for a professional installation of this headache rack.

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $530
  • Material: Steel
  • Fit: Universal fit

What Customers Are Saying

The Stehlen Chase Rack features rave reviews from customers online. Reviewers are generally satisfied with this headache rack and one man remarks that he loves the included lights. Those with negative feedback complain the mounting hardware didn’t hold up the headache rack itself.

Headache Rack Buyers Guide

There are a number of benefits to installing an aftermarket headache rack:

  • Protection: A headache rack will guard the rear cab window and any occupants from items sliding around in the truck bed.
  • Appearance: Many like the look that a headache rack gives their trucks.
  • Haul long objects: With a headache rack and some straps, you can haul objects that are longer than your truck bed by securing them against the top of the headache rack.
  • Accessories: Other useful accessories such as a truck bed toolbox or lights can be easily attached to most headache racks.

If you’re in the market for a headache rack, in addition to cost you’ll want to consider design, fit, and material.

Design

There are a very wide variety of headache rack designs. In some cases, differences in design are simply visual, while other design elements may confer practical advantages. For example, headache racks with louvered windows can keep your cab cool by blocking direct sunlight.

If you plan to fit additional truck accessories to your headache rack (such as lights or a trunk box), look for a headache rack that has places to mount these add-ons.

Fit

Some headache racks come in one or a few sizes that will accommodate many vehicles, while others are model-specific. Model-specific racks are likely to cost a little more but will fit your truck better.

Material

Most headache racks are made from either steel or aluminum alloy. Steel is heavier than an aluminum alloy and will eventually corrode over time. Aluminum alloys resist oxidation but may be less durable than steel. This depends on the particular alloy. Some aluminum alloys are more durable than steel.

Best Headache Rack: Bottom Line

We think the BackRack Louvered Headache Rack offers the most value for the price, as it performs all the essential functions of a headache rack and will even keep your cab cooler on sunny days. BackRack products are also compatible with many tonneau covers and other accessories such as lights.

If you want the most durable headache rack that won’t corrode, we recommend the Aries Switchback, though it will cost a bit more than steel headache racks. This durability can pay off in the long run, especially if you need a headache rack for a heavily used work truck.

The best headache rack for you will depend on the style and design you like, which is why we also recommend the AA-Racks Model X35-W, MaxxHaul adjustable headache rack, and BackRack original.

Best Headache Rack: FAQ

Our Review Standards

To select the ten headache racks in this review, our team searched retailers like Amazon, RealTruck, and Advance Auto Parts for top products, looking at factors such as customer ratings, prices, and Prime shipping eligibility. We also combed through enthusiast message boards to learn what users find most important.

Why You Can Trust Us

Each year, we review over 1,000 auto products. Our team of product experts thoroughly researches top products and tests items on real vehicles when possible before making our recommendations.

We publish hundreds of product and service reviews to bring car enthusiasts detailed guides on automotive tools, detailing kits, car seats, pet products, and much more. For more information on our testing methodology and how we evaluate every product, check out our methodology page here.

*Data accurate at time of publication.