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Which Ladder Rack Is Right For Me?

There’s a lot to consider when selecting a ladder rack for your work van. You’ll want the perfect (for you) blend of function, quality, and price. With this in mind, we’ve put together an overview of the different types of ladder racks. We’ll cover each style’s advantages and disadvantages and look at how these racks can help your business.

Crossbar Ladder Rack

  • Pros: Affordable pricing; simple installation; flexible hauling capability
  • Cons: Difficult to access; modest load capacity
  • Best For: A business that may not need to access a ladder for every job 

Things don’t get much simpler than a crossbar rack for carrying a ladder. Each piece can get installed in a few minutes using the OEM mounts on most work vans. You can also use these racks to haul lumber, piping, or whatever elongated supplies are needed for a job. 

It’s important to note that the ladder (or anything else) is only as secure as the bungee cord or strap that’s used to tie things down. And, access can be challenging, particular with taller vans. There may also be a tendency to overload a crossbar rack, so you’ll need to watch for load limits.

Clamp/Lock Ladder Rack

  • Pros: Simple to use; tie-down straps not required
  • Cons: Difficult to access; reduced cargo flexibility
  • Best For: A company that wants a moderately priced ladder storage system with no-brainer functionality

As the name implies, a clamp/lock ladder rack uses an integrated mechanism to secure the ladder. There’s no fussing with cords or straps and no worrying if the ladder has been tightly connected to the rack.

You’ll spend a little time configuring the clamps, but after that, use is straightforward. Compared to other solutions, you’ll pay a modest premium for simplicity. But, the price can be far less than replacing a ladder or paying for the damage that comes from a ladder becoming a projectile. 

Cargo/Ladder Rack 

  • Pros: Straightforward installation; flexible hauling capability
  • Cons: Difficult to access
  • Best For: Uses where a crossbar ladder rack isn’t enough 

A cargo rack offers an ideal solution for uses where a crossbar setup isn’t sufficient, but there’s still a need for hauling flexibility. You’ll have plenty of space to transport most ladders (which require tie-downs) and the ability to carry bulkier loads.

A cargo rack is a single integrated structure where crossbars are separate components (two or three are used together). So it’s a rigid frame that can handle more gear and supplies, plus the additional crossbars and rails provide extra tie-down spots.

Drop-Down Ladder Rack

  • Pros: Reduces risk of injury; simple to use; easy access
  • Cons: Higher price point; no cargo flexibility
  • Best For: A business that wants an easy-to-use ladder storage system designed for worker safety.

A drop-down ladder rack uses an integrated (usually pneumatic) mechanism to lower the ladder to an easy-to-reach level. The idea here is to limit how far a worker must reach to access the ladder (and reduce the likelihood of strain-related injury). 

A drop-down system is the king of ladder racks; the price tag reflects this. But, keeping employees happy and workers’ compensation claims to a minimum has strong appeal. If ladder use is a regular part of the job, then a drop-down rack can be a smart way to go.

Popular Ladder Racks By Vehicle

Ladder Rack Questions? Let Upfit Supply Help.

Don’t stress about choosing the best ladder rack for your work van. Just reach out to the experts at Upfit Supply. We’ll take the time to learn about your business and recommend a solution tailored to these needs. Contact us today to get started. 

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