Using a truck bed extender will provide additional loading space by extending the length of the truck bed. The different types include a conventional U-shape tailgate extender and a hitch mounted alternative for additional length.
The best truck bed extender is the Darby Industries 944 Extend-A-Truck, which comes with a receiver hitch to make it compatible with most vehicles.
The majority of extenders will be able to increase the length of your truck bed by an extra 2 feet. This can make a huge difference when loading large or long items such as a kayak, ATV, snowmobile and much more.
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Best Truck Bed Extender
|Truck Bed Extender
|AMP Research BedXTender
Many people will attempt to make a DIY truck bed extender but often fail to make build something that works. Considering they are relatively affordable, easy to install and safe to use, they are a worthwhile investment.
The most popular extenders are trailer hitch mounted types due to the ease of the installation and they provide extra stability. However, the most important factor is whether or not it will be compatible with your truck.
Below is a list of the best truck bed extenders that are compatible with a range of trucks and can be installed with ease.
Darby Industries 944 Extend-A-Truck
By far the most popular truck bed extender is the Darby Industries 944 Extend-A-Truck. It is compatible with the majority of trucks or SUV’s and includes a receiver hitch, which allows you to connect the extender with ease.
An intuitive feature of the Darby truck bed extender is that it has an adjustable height. This means you can transport loads over the truck bed and onto roof racks or have it set low down for extending the truck bed length.
Other features of the Darby Industries 944 Extend-A-Truck include:
- 4 inch wide support and adjustable height
- Easily dismantled for easy storage
- Includes a receiver hitch
- Heavy duty construction
- Compatible with the majority of vehicles
Overall, the Darby Extend-A-Truck is one of the best hitch mounted truck bed extenders available. It also offers great value for money with a receiver hitch, red flag and all the hardware included within the kit.
AMP Research Truck Bed Extender
An alternative to the hitch mounted truck bed extender is the AMP Research BedXTender HD Max. It uses a U-shaped design that sits on top of the tailgate to provide an additional 2 feet of enclosed cargo area.
AMP Research state that the BedXTender HD Max will fit a wide range of standard truck beds but they do offer vehicle specific models.
Features of the AMP Research BedXTender HD Max include:
- Available in black or silver
- Heavy duty aluminum alloy tubes construction
- Made in the USA
- Includes a 3 year limited warranty
- Easy to assemble and install
- Fits standard truck beds
Although it is one of the most expensive extenders available, it is certainly a truck bed extender that will be long lasting. The heavy duty construction and warranty make it a worthwhile investment that will not disappoint.
ReadyRamp I-Beam Full-Sized Bed Extender
Another U-shaped truck bed extender is the ReadyRamp, which doubles up as a ramp to the bed of the truck. The brand state that it is capable of holding dirt and street bikes up to 600 LBS. It is a new and improved design that is 15% lighter than the previous model of the ReadyRamp.
Features of the ReadyRamp I-Beam Extender include:
- Compatible with full sized trucks
- 6061 T6 aluminum construction
- Installed or removed in seconds
- Includes hardware to mount to tailgate
- Can be used for multiple applications
The ReadyRamp is the perfect truck bed extender for those with bikes or need a helping hand to load items. The unique design has multiple uses and can be installed to the majority of full sized trucks. However, it does come with a premium price tag, which may not be viable for many.
Lund 601021 Hitch Mounted Truck Bed Extender
The Lund 601021 is a popular truck bed extender that fits a standard 2 inch receiver and is DOT approved. As with most of the other hitch mounted extenders, the Lund design allows for an adjustment of height and width.
Other features of the Lund 601021 Hitch Mounted Bed Extender include:
- 7 inch ground clearance
- Distributed load capacity of 750 LBS
- 1/4 inch steel construction
- Includes reflective tape and safety flag
- Fits standard 2 inch receivers
A unique feature of this truck bed extender is the extra 7 inches of ground clearance. A major flaw of hitch mounted extenders is that you catch the end of it whilst driving upon an incline or bumps. However, this intuitive design resolves this issue and can make a big difference.
Overall, it is an expensive alternative but if your truck is fairly low to the ground, it will make driving with the extender far easier.
ECOTRIC Pick Up Truck Bed Extender
The ECOTRIC is another hitch mounted truck bed extender but is far cheaper than the Darby alternative above. It features the same adjustable functionality and installs easily by attaching it to the vehicles receiver.
In term of the compatibility of this extender, it is designed to fit into 2 inch square receiver hitches. However, you can use an adapter to attach it to 1-1/4 inch receivers.
Features of the ECOTRIC Truck Bed Extender include:
- Max weight capacity of 750 LBS
- Adjustable width and height
- Includes safety flag
- Heavy duty steel construction
- Easy assembly and installation
Overall, the ECOTRIC Truck Bed Extender is the best option for those on a budget and require an adjustable extender. It may not be as high quality as the Darby extender but for hauling kayaks and other long objects, it is more than ideal.
Truck Bed Extender Buying Guide
Extending the length of your truck bed is made possible by using an extender. These include tailgate extension that can add an extra 2 feet to hitch mounted truck bed extenders that can add even more length.
Most are compatible with the majority of tonneau cover configurations and can be adapter to fit a range of receivers. They can also be installed in a matter of minutes and fold down for easy storage.
To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding truck bed extenders.
Different Types of Extenders
By far the most popular type of truck bed extender are the hitch mounted setups. They are compatible with the majority of 2 inch receivers and can be adapted to fit other sizes. Once installed, the height and width can be adjusted.
Many people adjust the height to match the height of the roof cross bars but you can have it lower down for extending the length of the truck bed.
One drawback of this type of extender is that you may have the possibility of grounding out on the floor during steep inclines.
Another popular type of extender for your truck bed are U-shaped tailgate extensions. They can add up to 2 feet of extra length and are usually made of a heavy duty steel or aluminum. The only main drawback is that they are the most expensive type and some may not be compatible with certain truck beds.
There are other custom types but the U-shaped tailgate extension and hitch mounted truck bed extenders are the most common.
Extenders are made from a range of materials that include aluminum, steel, plastic and even DIY alternatives made from wood. We strongly advise that you buy a heavy duty aluminum or steel extender.
Aluminum is the best option as it will resist corrosion and often comes powder coated in a color of your choice. It will cost slightly more but its worth the extra.
Depending upon the type of extender you choose will determine whether it is compatible with your truck. Hitch mounted truck bed extenders usually fit a 2 inch receiver with some offering adapters to fit.
U-shaped tailgate extensions are more problematic as not every truck bed has the same width. Many may state that they are universal but it is highly advised that you check the dimensions and how it installs to your tailgate.
When deciding between different truck bed extenders, you will will want to check what is included. The hardware required for the installation is essential but other extra items included ratchet straps, reflective tape, safety flag and much more.
Many states have specific laws regarding overhanging loads and you will require a safety bag or reflective tape. Failing to do so may result in a fine and finding an alternative method of transporting your load.
If you regularly find yourself running out of room, investing into the best truck bed extender is a worthwhile investment. They are relatively affordable and easy to install without the need of any special tools.
All of the recommendations cover both hitch mounted and U-shaped tailgate extension that vary in price. You may be tempted by the cheaper plastic alternatives but if you want something that lasts, buy an extender made from steel or aluminum.