If ladders are part of your business, then your work van is only as good as how well you haul these essential tools. Sure, you can strap a ladder to a universal rack or maybe store it inside the van, but consider the benefits of a ladder rack instead.
- Safety: A ladder rack enables the safe handling and transportation of these large and bulky essentials. A ladder rack can also make loading and unloading more accessible and reduce the risk of injury.
- Space: A ladder rack frees up space from a van interior or truck bed. More space means there’s more room for other equipment and supplies.
- Security: A ladder rack helps keep ladders secure; there’s less worrying about these objects becoming loose and causing a hazard. Also, properly fastened equipment won’t fall off and become damaged.
Lock-Down Ladder Racks
A lock-down ladder rack is called “Quick Clamp” by Weather Guard and “Clamp & Lock” by Kargo Master. Both systems use a torsion mechanism to lock a ladder in place on a roof-mounted rack regardless of the brand. The truth is both companies offer similar, high-quality products. The choice for a ladder rack may come down to a specific feature and your personal preferences.
Also, keep in mind that both manufacturers do not recommend lock-down racks for high-roof vans. Ladder access with this setup is challenging at best and injury-inducing at worst. Instead, consider a side-access ladder rack (which we cover below).
You’ll need to buy vehicle-specific mounting hardware for a ladder rack; this applies to both brands. Before making any purchase, be sure to use Upfit Supply’s year-make-model search tool to match up your van with the correct components.
Unique to some Weather Guard racks is a front-edge airfoil to help with fuel use. Work vans aren’t known for good fuel economy so any little thing can help. In addition, Weather Guard racks are only available in aluminum; this reduces overall vehicle weight (compared to steel) and minimizes the effect on mileage.
For Kargo Master racks, you may find it easier to match up a product with your particular vehicle, especially with Mercedes vans. Additionally, Kargo Master racks are available in both aluminum or steel. Steel will save you money upfront, but these racks will add weight to the van and may rust later on.
SIde-Access Rotation Ladder Racks
If the idea of reducing workers’ compensation claims is appealing, then side-access rotation ladder racks may be attractive. Both Weather Guard and Kargo Master call these systems drop down ladder racks. Instead of the harder-to-reach roof mount with a lock-down ladder rack, a side-access setup uses a hydraulic assist to lower the rack to the side of the vehicle for easier removal and attachment of the ladder. As a result, these racks can be used on vans of all heights.
In general, drop down ladder racks from Weather Guard weigh less (these are available only in aluminum) than comparable units from other companies, thereby increasing roof storage loads. You’ll also find that Weather Guard units can handle up to 40-foot extension ladders (based on vehicle capacity and local laws).
As with its lock-down systems, Kargo Master offers its drop down racks in either aluminum or steel. In addition, Kargo Master uniquely offers select aluminum drop down systems preassembled as a double rack at the factory. This saves time and effort. Otherwise, the base rack (passenger side) and add-on rack (driver side) need to be bought and installed separately. In addition, Kargo Master offers a broader selection of drop down racks for less common vehicles like the Mercedes Metris and GMC Savana 4500.
Ladder Rack Warranties
Both companies offer limited warranties that cover defects in materials and workmanship. For Weather Guard, that means for the product’s lifetime, while Kargo Master’s coverage extends for three years. The warranty is valid only for the original product purchaser for either brand and excludes coverage due to wear and tear or abuse. In addition, both companies require that the product is purchased from an authorized dealer.