The majority of those who own a truck have them for one reason – the option to carry more things than a normal sedan or 4×4 could. Doing groceries for the whole family wouldn’t be a problem, the truck bed can carry all of what you need to buy. Needing to transport coolers for your camping, the truck bed is more than enough.
There can be times though, that your regular 6-feet truck bed couldn’t be long enough for your luggage. This is what truck bed extenders are for. They are to increase your load hauling area. Fold them up when not in use or convert them as cargo gate. How you choose them to be, there is the best truck bed extender that will fit your driving lifestyle.
What is a Truck Bed Extender?
A truck bed extender or tailgate extenders are part of a cargo management system for pickup trucks. They are designed as an extension of your truck’s loading length capacity. If you use your pickup truck for business, having a truck bed extender is an advantage. It easily transports your load on long payloads, no need to pay the hauling company extra to carry it for you. Or, if you are a simple truck owner, then having a bed extender means no equipment is too heavy or too long for you.
Best Truck Bed Extender
#1. MaxxHaul 70231 2-in-1 Hitch Mount Truck Bed – Great for larger and heavier goods
MaxxHaul is known to have its products focused on towing solutions. Hence, their tagline “MaxxHaul for the long haul.” They strive to improve the design and efficiency of their towing and truck accessories.
Materials and fabrication: MaxxHaul 2-in-1 Hitch Mount Truck Bed is their answer to your hauling needs for long loads such as ladders, canoes, and kayaks. You won’t just conveniently transport them, you ship them with the guarantee they arrive safely. Made of durable strong stainless-steel, this gear can support a drag load of up to 350 pounds.
Thanks to its 4 quick release clevis pins, assembly and disassembly is a breeze. Need to adjust the length? Its flexible adjustment option gives you a width range of 28.25 inches to 48.75 inches.
MaxxHaul didn’t forget that you may need to drive at night, so they threw in red reflective tapes for you to use. These go very well with the extender’s powder coat finish making you identified easily even at low light conditions.
Installation: To set-up as a bed extender, insert the uprights into the right-angled end of the load extender, to build a long, raised extension. To install as a roof rack extender, insert the uprights into the angled portion of the extender, and set-up the right-angled end into the trailer hitch. Note that the flat bars and goal posts can extend up to 8 inches and can be adjusted as needed.
- Base slides easily into your vehicle’s hitch receiver and the height adjusts to that of your truck bed.
- Its high-mount load bar design allows you to haul load above your bed, or to level with your roof.
- Adjustable width that can accommodate various sizes of cargoes.
- Fits Class III and IV of hitch class type.
|Heavy-duty steel construction with powder coating finish makes it rust and corrosion resistant||Doesn’t come with hitch pin and clip or hitch lock. But, you can buy them separately|
|Helps keep the space of bed completely purposeful vertically and horizontally||Holes were drilled in the wrong position and won’t match that of your hitch receiver|
|Reflective tape provides increased visibility|
#2. AMP Research BedXTender HD Max – Perfect for keeping smaller cargoes enclosed with the tailgate lowered down
Backing on their innovations that came out of “Why didn’t I think of that?”, AMP Research innovates simple solutions to complex problems. They live up to Albert Einstein’s words that said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” So, they have their functional solution very simple. You can guarantee these simple solutions will go a long way, as they have received ISO 9001:2008 certification. This means they have a high standard of manufacturing quality for automotive products.
Materials and fabrication: The classic U-shaped design is what AMP Research came up with for your hauling needs. No need to worry about the class types for the hitch requirements as this utilizes the tailgate as the extended truck bed. This extends the available space for your storage by 2 ft.
Best for Silverado & Sierra models from 2007-2018 with a standard bed, BedXTender is built with a strong 6063 T6 aluminum alloy. Finished with durable power coating great longevity is definite even with prolonged use under harsh weather conditions.
Installation: To install, you will need a torque screwdriver, t25, center punch, tapes, and drill with 9/64 drill. Use the 7” cardboard to mark your offset on the center tubes. Once you are done marking the centerpieces, assemble them together with the side tubes. Assembly is as easy as inserting the side tubes to the center tubes. There is a bumper upright clamshell assembly. This goes to the connection between the side and center tubes. It has 3 ribs on where the tubes will fit to. Do that same step for the other side. The package came with drilling templates, so you know just the size and distance you should drill. Line up the center of the pivot with the center of the bracket. Punch the holes on the templates and then start drilling. Once done, just pop in the extenders and you’re good to go. For more information, watch the guys from CARiD install this on.
- Built from 6063 T6 aluminum w/ composite uprights.
- USA-made with 3-year warranty.
- Torque-resistant clam-shell design.
|Materials are lightweight, therefore is easy to flip or remove||Need higher quality metal instead of plastic truck bed latch clips|
|Package includes all the hardware needed for installation||Not designed for wide loads|
|Easy assembly and installatio|
#3. Darby Industries 944 Extend A Truck – Ideal for hauling of long loads behind or above the vehicle
A family-owned business, Darby industries has been into designing, manufacturing and marketing their own product line for automobile accessories for almost five decades. They have long been linked with high-quality products that mirror the resourceful essence of their customers
Materials and fabrication: Darby’s Extend-A-Truck feature an effective design of bed extender that is reliable and sturdy. Its minimalistic approach should not be taken lightly as they are built with heavy, durable metal.
Conveying a swift mix of value and efficiency, it highlights 4-inch wide support with the help of its strong casing and reliable restraint framework. This gear is versatile, you can use it as a truck bed haul of an extension of your roof rack. Its powder coating doesn’t just add up to the durability of the pole but to the overall aesthetics of the vehicle. It feels as if it is part of the truck.
Installation: Long neck slides to the hitch receiver and should line up with the holes. Pass through the hitch pin and then lock it with a cotter pin. Pull down the tailgate to proceed with the installation of the T-top. This should be either level with your bed or a bit higher, so it can accommodate long loads such as boats with curvatures at the bottom. Slide the T-top, find the appropriate height, and lock it with the hitch and cotter pin.
- Can slide into your 2″ trailer hitch and can be switched vertically for use with a roof rack.
- Package includes foam block that you can attach to load extender. This gives contoured and cushioned leaning place for your cargo.
- The support and crossbars are fabricated with durable powder-coated steel.
- USA-made with limited lifetime warranty.
- Fits Class III and IV of hitch class type.
|Secure and safe hauling of long loads.||Tie-down straps are sold separately|
|Red flag on the tailgate for improves visibility|
|Easy to store when not in use|
#4. Erickson 07600 Pick-Up Bed Extender – Best for moving goods that extend past your truck bed
Would you believe that Erickson Manufacturing started with a two-person operation in a tiny two-car garage? And now, they have prospered to become North America’s leader in Tie-Down straps. Constantly looking for new materials and ideas, they have ventured their line into products that service hauling and have been successful.
Materials and fabrication: Erickson Manufacturing when they described this as Big-Bed as it really is a big bed. Its big benefits will surely suit your hauling needs with that 400-pound rating. Compatible with any pickup trucks, load safely your lumber, ladders, canoes, kayaks, and even construction materials. This customizable bed extender allows you to lower or raise its height as necessary.
What makes it sturdy and durable is its black powder-coated steel built that is both durable and rust-resistant. Erickson is closely studying any vehicle’s working load limit, so it isn’t a surprise that they can come up with one that has got that 400-pound rating. Since they also started with tie-down straps, be sure to find its built-in tie-down points to secure your cargo.
Installation: Put out about 30 and 1/4 inches past our tailgate. You will notice several integrated anchor points on each end, these will keep the extender secured. You can adjust the height settings by removing bolts and sliding the poles up or down. Once settled with the appropriate height, look out for the pin to secure it. Remove the clip, fold it down, put back the pin and then clip. Putting it down is just as easy as putting it up. Simply reverse everything you down. No drilling or screw driving required.
- Base can slide into your vehicle’s hitch receiver and stretches out 4′.
- Adjustable pole allows you to set arms at various heights to match bed height.
- 3 Integrated tie-down points to secure cargo.
- USA-made with a 90-day warranty.
|Lightweight and as heavy and sturdy as it is, very portable. Can be stored easily||The attachment for the T-Top shakes and rattles if empty, while on the go|
|Can contain highway speeds given that it is heavy enough||Some have reported having holes to pass through the pins misaligned|
|400lbs rated for distributed weight|
#5. Lund Hitch Mounted Truck Bed Extender – Just the right bed extender for your heavy loads
Lund International has been around the auto accessories line since the 1930s. Known for their aftermarket accessories, they cater to heavy trucks, SUVs, vans, and off-road vehicles. Their products have been well engineered and tested at their facilities within the United States.
Materials and fabrication: When you need to carry a load longer than your truck bed and heavier than you can think, there’s no need to improvise. The engineers of Lund International put your thoughts into their product. 601021 Hitch Mounted Truck Bed Extender allows you to have up to a massive 750 pound of distributed weight carried at the back of your truck. Seamlessly.
With its patented heavy-duty material, it makes a safe journey with a 7-inch distance from the floor, enabling you to transport anything you need to carry. The side wings can be adjustable with a range of 24 inches to 49 inches giving space to your big cargoes. Worried that the black powder coating will make other drivers miss you in the night? You will be visible enough with the red flags and strikers you can attach to your extended bed as well as to the edge of your load.
Installation: Lund 601021 comes with installation guidelines but here are some points you can follow. Insert the primary support tube into the receiver. Then pass hitch pins through the hole. Please note the hitch pins are bought separately. Attach secondary support tube over primary support tube and install lock pin. Attach T bar into a secondary support tube. Secure in place with lock pin. Connect wings into the T bar. Lock in place with (2) lock pins. Mount the safety flag to the secondary support tube. Secure in place with lock pin. Note that, wings can be removed, rotated up to 90°, and reinstalled to allow flat workspace support.
- Up to 750 lb. distributed load capacity.
- Can adjust from 27” to 49” to accommodate not just heavy but wide cargoes like plywood and drywall.
- Fits standard 2” receiver hitches.
- USA-made with 1-year warranty.
|Has integrated side support which can also be folded down if not needed||Poor painting gets chipped off easily exposing the racks to rust and corrosion|
|Comes with reflective tape and red flag for improved visibility, day and night||Reflective tapes don’t hold strongly and can be blown off at driving speeds|
|Can carry timber, pipes, canoes, and kayaks|
Our Top Pick: MaxxHaul 70231 2-in-1 Hitch Mount Truck Bed
With all the promises truck bed extenders promises, it can be hard to keep up with deciding which one to pick. The features advertised can dumbfound any first-time buyer. But, once you get the right truck bed extender for you, you sure will be contented with all the advantages it can bring you.
We have a list of truck bed extenders that we reviewed. Based on these analyses, if you don’t want to be breaking your budget and you won’t be carrying anything beyond 400 pounds, then MaxxHaul 70231 2-in-1 Hitch Mount Truck Bed can serve you best. The guys from eTrailer came up with a video showing just how amazing this product is.
However, if you are hauling lumbers, timbers, and anything that goes beyond 400 pounds, and you can make financial arrangements, add about a 100 more dollars to what you will pay MaxxHaul for. This will give you an extra storage room that will hold up to 750 pounds. Not bad, if you really need it.
Read on below and see if other truck bed extenders tickle your fancy.
Do You Need A Truck Bed Extender?
If adding a couple of feet to your truck bed when you need it sounds convenient, then yes, you need a truck bed extender. Most bed or tailgate extenders can be easily hooked up to the truck when needed and removed effortlessly after use. There isn’t much fuss in putting them up or taking them down. Better to have those extra couple feet to haul everything from point A to B than take two trips to transport everything, don’t you think?
Look at these two photos. Can you tell what’s wrong?
For the first picture, I can’t agree that hauling is his business, or he could have gotten a more decent truck. One where he could put an extender at least, so he can distribute the weight well.
The second one, I can’t even start to think about how the driver (or whoever’s responsible) untangled all the fixtures from getting tied up. If only there were a better tailgate extender, these would’ve been transported in a more organized manner.
Buying Guide: What to Consider in Getting Your Truck Bed Extender?
On any trip, you want as much as possible to leave no important things behind. Road trips are more fun if you equip yourself with everything you need. Same with just transporting stuff from one city to another. It’s not fun at all to keep coming back because you must leave something behind. Extra luggage to a short truck bed shouldn’t be a reason you leave anything behind. For just a fraction of a price, you can extend your tailgate and make it useful. There are a lot of extenders you can use but you must make sure it fits your needs and of course, your budget.
Here are some pointers in getting a truck bed extender.
Know what you need these truck bed extenders for.
There are types of tailgate extenders you can choose from. But, don’t just pick. Make sure it fits what you need. The standard type or the U-shaped bed is a great pick for you if you need them to transport items that aren’t longer than your truck’s bed length. That extra 2-feet of cargo should be enough.
The second type is the bed loader. This one is operated with a hitch mount configuration that attaches to the rear receiver hitch of your pickup truck. The bed loader allows greater load capacity that goes beyond the tailgate length.
The cargo slide bed extender acts like a drawer to your truck bed. It switches the whole truck bed into a sliding drawer, so you can easily access the items you’ve loaded to the truck.
Knowing which type of bed extender that you need is a huge factor in deciding which truck bed extender to get.
Compatibility with your pickup truck.
As wide as the array of truck bed extenders are, so are the different sizes and built of pickup trucks. These shouldn’t be difficult. Focus less on what the truck extender can do for now. Instead, make sure it is compatible with your pickup truck. There could be the most advanced extender out there but if it’s not well-matched with your pickup truck, it’s going to be of no use.
No one knows your truck better than you. After all, you are the one who picked it at the auto shop. So, try not to believe when manufacturers say the bed extenders are universally fit. Study the extenders, know if they are really meant for your truck.
Fits, shape, and size.
Are you getting an extender that goes to your hitch? Make sure it is of the exact match and fit to your hitch slot. Accurate fitting of the truck bed extenders’ shape and size saves you from the hassle of canceling or re-ordering the extender.
Material and construction.
Different manufacturers use several materials for the extenders they make. Some may use metal or plastic. Some go with aluminum. There are alphas and deltas for each material used. Plastics for one, might not be able to stand the weight and could be flimsy. Metals could be too heavy. Aluminum may not stand as strong as metals. But, each has its own characteristics better than the other. Depending on the items you usually haul on your truck, should your decision be on which material to pick.
Load capacity and height and length adjustment.
Check your owner’s manual for the load requirement you have on your truck bed, then calculate if putting an extender won’t go beyond it. Otherwise, it will only create a problem not just on your truck, but on the load that you carry. Take time to familiarize yourself with your vehicle type and hitch compatibility. This gives you a better understanding of your car’s load capacity and if it is right with the extender you will attach to your hitch receiver. Here’s a reference you can always come back to.
|Hitch Class Type||Hitch Weight Capacity||Vehicle|
|Class I||300 lbs||Subcompact
SUV or Van
Pickup (light duty)
Pickup (heavy duty)
|Class II||525 lbs||Subcompact
SUV or Van
Pickup (light duty)
Pickup (heavy duty)
|Class III||1200 lbs||Sedan
SUV or Van
Pickup (light duty)
Pickup (heavy duty)
|Class IV and V||2,700 lbs||Pickup (light duty)
Pickup (heavy duty)
Truck bed extenders aren’t accessories. They are necessities if you need to have extra space to put things into your truck. It adds up to your convenience as you go camping or just a simple loading of grocery bags. The list that we have is based on consumer reviews and research. It may not entirely meet your expectations, so like what I always suggest, read. Research and find out what people are saying about the product. After all, they are the ones who experienced it first-hand. And, the experience is always the best teacher.
You also must always remember that whenever you need to carry an extended load, you might want to check your local laws to make sure if they are legal as some states and countries have rules about it. But, I believe that so long as you practice safety with the red flags and the reflective stickers, that’s alright. Always make sure that everybody knows that it’s there, behind your truck.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
✅ Can a bed extender be used to load kayaks or canoes?
Yes, most bed extenders are now designed to accommodate not just heavy but wide cargoes. The extender should be adjusted to fit the required space for kayaks. No need to worry about the edge sticking out. Manufacturers now include red flags and reflective tapes that you can attach to the back end for improved visibility.
✅ What bed extender should be used for transporting long dimensional items?
Go with the truck bed extenders that are attached to the hitch. Such types are ideal for long sized items. Some brands you can try are Lund Hitch Mounted, Erickson 07600, Darby’s, and MaxxHaul.
✅ Will a bed extender fit my truck that has a bed liner?
Most truck bed extenders are universally fit and can adapt to the sides of your truck bed. If not, then some trimmings on the bed liner may be required. Although, they wouldn’t be as hard as it sounds. Also, there are truck extenders that are hitch received, so if you don’t like the idea of trimming down your bedliner, then that’s your bed extender option.
✅ I don’t feel like the U-shaped truck bed extender really extended my truck bed. What purpose does it serve?
U-shaped truck bed extenders are ideal for small items. These types utilize the tailgate to add a couple more feet of storage to your truck bed. They can hold quite a lot of small things and they secure them from rolling or falling off the truck.
✅ Are bed extenders fixed?
Most bed extenders are designed to be easily set up and put down. This design allows truck owners to be fully in charge of how they need to use their trucks. This is also why most installations of truck bed extenders do not involve drilling. Truck bed extender kits now have molds that are utilized for easy setup.
✅ Is it good to get a truck bed extender made of steel? I go kayaking a lot and I’m worried about saltwater causing rust.
Any material that can bear weight for long driving can work. And, yes. Steel is very durable and sturdy and is ideal for loading cargoes. They have the potential to get rusty and be exposed to corrosion. But, you can always sandblast and coat it to avoid that from happening. Steel is tough and solid and can hold up weight more than most materials (aluminum, metal, plastic).
✅ What is compliance with DOT regulations?
There are rules based on the North American Cargo Securement Standard Model Regulations that tell about security measures to be undertaken for cargo securement. This is a long list of regulations but, the important thing to remember is to always have your tail lights visible even with a truck bed extender. It should be compliant with DOT lighting rules and requirements. If at any instance the truck bed extender may get in the way of your tail light, then you must make use of other safety tools such as reflector strips and red flags.