Best truck bed cross bars are the key to making your truck more practical, and you should add them to the top of your shopping list.
Whether you are planning to carry bikes, go on a road trip, spend a day kayaking, or need that extra space for luggage that won’t fit elsewhere – truck bed racks with crossbars on top are the solution.
I have prepared the review of the most popular truck bed crossbars, along with the buyer’s guide that will help you choose which bed racks are for you and your vehicle.
|Product||Material||Size||Compatibility Rating||Our Rating|
|YAKIMA – HD Bar, Heavy Duty Crossbar, Medium||Aluminum||55’’, 60’’, 68’’, 78’’||5/5||
5/ 5 Stars
|Hooke Road Truck Bed Bars Bike Rack Crossbar Rail Kayaks Load Cargo Carrier||Aluminum alloy with ABS plastic||53’’||3/5||
4/ 5 Stars
|Thule Xsporter Pro Pickup Truck Rack||Aluminum||73’’||4/5||
5/ 5 Stars
|INNO Racks – Truck Bed Rack System||Aluminum||16.2’’||4.5/5||
4/ 5 Stars
|TMS 800 LB Adjustable Fit 2 Bars Utility Ladder Truck Pick up Rack Kayak Contractor Lumber Utility||Steel||51’’||2.5/5||
3/ 5 Stars
Buyer’s Guide: How to Find the Best Cross Bars for You
Not all truck bed cross bars are made the same. You’ll find that some of them excel in particular areas and that there are many various kinds.
For your convenience, I’ve broken down all you need to know into a couple of categories.
The most popular materials for the truck bed rack and crossbars are steel and aluminum.
While steel is, of course, durable and rust-resistant, my vote still goes to aluminum.
Namely, aluminum crossbars are lightweight and have an aerodynamic shape that gives you improved mileage performance – not to mention how convenient it is.
Most importantly, it does not come at the cost of longevity since aluminum crossbars are equally strong and rustproof.
Capacity limit is another factor to have in mind when getting crossbars for your truck bed.
There’s no reason to go for a low weight capacity, and you should ensure that the system can endure whatever you want to carry – bikes, kayaks, cargo boxes, cargo baskets, or anything else.
You should choose the crossbar that has the possibility to adjust its height and size so that you can carry various items as needed.
Compatibility with the Truck Bed Rails
Before you get crossbars, you should check their mounting requirements.
Some bars use the C-channel track systems or similar attachments so that you can install them and won’t require drilling, while others will. If so, you’ll have to drill holes in the sides of your truck’s bed.
Also, some are universal truck crossbars, while others require compatible gear mounts that are sold separately.
Most of our picks are compatible with the factory rails of the most popular truck models, such as Toyota Tundra, Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, and Chevy Silverado. Also, they come with precise installation guidelines in the user manual.
Last but not least, the price tag of your new accessory for the truck bed also comes to the equation.
You won’t be buying this system every day, so it’s a wise idea to invest in a better, premium pair of crossbars.
But if budget is a problem, I’ve made sure to include crossbars for tonneau covers for everyone’s wallet below!
Best Truck Bed Cross Bars – Individual Reviews
YAKIMA – HD Bar, Heavy Duty Crossbar, Medium – Top Truck Rack
5/ 5 Stars
YAKIMA hit a home rum with their heavy-duty crossbar that climbed to the very top of today’s list.
Let’s break down the details.
Armed with the sturdy powder-coated aluminum construction, this addition to your bed rack is exactly what I’d recommend to all drivers.
It includes rubber infill that you can use for the top T slot for wind noise reduction and load protection.
Another compelling feature is that it has integrated tie-down points on the end caps that account for securing your gear.
You can get these crossbars in a variety of lengths, ranging from 55” to 78” for any custom setups and track systems. To adjust its height, you just need to loosen two bolts on each side.
Due to the telescopic design, the mounting places are easily clamped, and the whole kit comes with a small hex wrench. If you have StreamLine towers, it will integrate with the HD Bar SL Adapter.
- Excellent load rating
- Seamless integration
- Sleek black powder-coat finish
- Good for roof top tents
- A convenient height for easier loading and unloading gear
- Some may find it expensive (though it is in the mid-price range)
I can really say much more but give credits to YAKIMA for making such a high-quality and balanced heavy-duty product!
Hooke Road Truck Bed Bars Bike Rack Crossbar Rail Kayaks Load Cargo Carrier – Budget-Friendly Pick
4/ 5 Stars
If you are primarily looking for truck crossbars for tonneau covers that come with a low price tag, the Hooke Road crossbar might be it.
It packs a good load rating for the price, reaching the limit of 88 lbs atop of your rack. This means you can transport kayaks, snowboards, fishing poles, bikes, or any other gear that can’t be stored in the vehicle.
Made of lightweight aluminum, it will nicely complement any bed cover. To be more precise, it is an aluminum alloy with ABS plastic, but I didn’t notice that its durability was significantly compromised (of course, if you have the money, it’s better to invest in an all-aluminum crossbar).
This cargo rack is specifically designed for Toyota Tacoma all models (2005-2021), but it will also fit other popular models such as Toyota Tundra, Ford Ranger, or Nissan Titan – as long as you have the factory track systems.
The whole installation process will take around 40 minutes with T-slot nuts that attach to the rails.
- Easy installation
- Satisfactory weight capacity
- Won’t interfere with your tonneau cover
- Can be used for a rooftop tent
- Not as durable as some other picks
- You can’t install it without the factory rails
Hooke Road’s crossbars are a real bang for the buck in this category – just make sure they are compatible with your vehicle!
Thule Xsporter Pro Pickup Truck Rack – Best Premium
5/ 5 Stars
For those among you that are true truck aficionados, I have selected the crossbars that have “premium” written all over them – Thule Xsporter Pro Pickup Truck Rack.
From the superb all-black aluminum design to the features, this product does not disappoint.
Two bars are very sturdy, and you can use them as roof top tents or transportation for literally anything with 450 lbs load capacity. Pretty amazing, huh?
Bear in mind that that’s very heavy and that you should always make sure that the weight is distributed evenly, but other than that, you shouldn’t worry about your gear with this bed rack system.
The revolutionary WindDiffuser technology means that the Thule bed rack cuts through the air efficiently, thus minimizing your fuel consumption. It is paired with AirTrip bar technology that redirects airflow.
- Durable construction
- Premium design
- Easy installation
- Nicely fits any bed cover
- Outstanding load rating
- Secure lock same key system to lock the rack
There’s the elephant in the room: These Thule racks carry a hefty price tag. But you won’t find better universal truck crossbars on the market!
INNO Racks – Truck Bed Rack System – Best C-Channel
4/ 5 Stars
These Inno Racks are compatible with both square or round bars, which makes them a versatile pick. Most universal truck crossbars for tonneau covers will fit this truck bed rack that hooks up to the C-channels.
However, note that – while these are incredibly versatile – you’ll need the crossbars themselves to complement the system.
What you will get with this kit are four attachments for truck beds that you can mount pretty much anywhere you wish.
It will work with all the major models of trucks, such as the Toyota Tundra and Dodge Ram. It also won’t interfere with your tonneau cover.
When you mount high-quality crossbars, the fully-loaded weight capacity can go up to 250 lbs.
The installation process is not much of a hassle, as long as you can access the underside of the truck bed in order to tighten them.
- Sturdy build
- Versatile bed rack
- Easy to attach
- It might not be compatible with your crossbars (recommended models are Thule and Yakima)
- If you need the whole system, these won’t work for you
Are you only looking for sturdy and safe crossbar stays? Then you should get this pack of four Inno racks.
TMS 800 LB Adjustable Fit 2 Bars Utility Ladder Truck Pick up Rack Kayak Contractor Lumber Utility – Stay Away Pick
3/ 5 Stars
Okay, maybe “stay away” was a bit too harsh.
I’m just adamant that the aluminum truck rack is a much better pick than a steel one.
Albeit TMS 800 features very sturdy steel construction, it is too heavy and robust, which makes it inconvenient. It also contributes to high fuel consumption.
But what ultimately made me give it a relatively low grade is its versatility or the lack thereof.
I’d only recommend it if you are going to be transporting kayaks often because that is clearly what it has been designed for.
Also, the installation process is tedious, and it requires you to drill two holes on each side to fix the rack. You’ll also have to remove C-channel tracks if you have them to install these crossbars.
- Adjustable width
- High-quality steel
- Comes with all the necessary attachments for installation
- Complicated installation process
- Not so versatile
- On the heavy side
- Increases fuel consumption
In spite of its popularity, I wouldn’t recommend this TMS rack for it isn’t convenient and versatile – and that’s precisely what truck bed crossbars for tonneau covers should be.
Q: Do I need truck bed cross bars? What can I use them for?
A: If you are reading this, it’s already a good sign that you need them! Crossbars installed on your truck beds can act as luggage carriers, bike racks, rooftop tents and can handle heavy loads – anything, from kayaks, surfboards, and bicycles to sports gear. Other accessories that are most useful for trucks include a tonneau cover (bed cover) and high-quality running boards.
Q: What are the benefits of crossbars?
A: Sometimes, you’ll need more space than what your vehicle provides. These inexpensive investments are the perfect addition to your truck bed racks and truck bed rails because they act as cargo carriers, allowing you to take everything you need with you without cramming your vehicle. There’s no need to compromise or leave some stuff at home! Load security and stability are some more benefits of these vehicle accessories.
Q: Should I purchase aluminum or steel crossbars?
A: There are pros and cons to both of these types of crossbars. On the one hand, aluminum bars are lighter, so you might want to use them if you are paying attention to the total weight of your vehicle. They are also easier to move around. Some may think that steel bars are more durable and stronger – but this isn’t a rule of thumb anymore. Aluminum bars can be even stronger, and our top pick is a true testimony of that. Also, aluminum bars can be quieter because they cut through the wind more efficiently due to their aerodynamic shape, which, in turn, also means less fuel consumption because they crate less drag than steel crossbars. Both of the materials are resistant to rust, so you can utilize them in all kinds of weather.
Q: How to install truck bed crossbars?
A: The installation process will vary with different models of crossbars. While some may require drilling, most won’t. That said, I’ve made sure that all of my top picks include hassle-free installation. Some models come with mounting hardware to your side rails or with C clamps for your bed side pinch seams. Sometimes, if your tonneau cover relocates the factory rail away from the original position, you may need attachments to mount crossbars that are sold separately. All in all, all of our picks come with precise installation guidelines.
Conclusion: Expanding Your Storage Space with a Roof Rack System
Next time you are taking a road trip, camping, or kayaking – well, doing anything that requires carrying gear or luggage, really – these truck bed cross bars for truck bed rack system will come in handy.
And because they are so secure, you won’t have to worry about losing your load.
But one thing’s for sure: Whichever cross bars you choose from this list, it will finally never seem again as if you don’t have enough space in your vehicle.
I am Dave McCurdy I am the content developer on the ecodrivingusa.com website. I have 6 years of experience in marketing as an automotive major.