The Headache Rack Buyer's Guide

Thinking about outfitting your truck with a headache rack? Here’s everything you need to know about headache racks and the safety benefits they offer.

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What is a Headache Rack?

A headache rack is a vertical rack that attaches with a variety of mounting methods to the sides, bed or front wall of your truck bed. Its purpose is to protect the rear window, cab, and occupants from shifting payload. Some high-quality headache racks, like those designed and sold by Royalty Core, allow for more airflow, include high mounted taillights, back-up lights, or bed work lights, and reduce heating of the interior of the truck from sun rays.

Headache racks got their name because they prevent headaches, or much worse! More specifically, when you haul around cargo and materials without a headache rack installed on your truck, you’re running the risk of these things launching forward through the back window and injuring someone. They also prevent accidental impact on the back window when working in the truck bed or when loading and unloading cargo.

What are the Features on a Headache Rack?

Headache racks come with a variety of features and options:

  • Load stop knobs
  • Multiple mesh design concepts
  • Extra height or cab height
  • Integrated taillights
  • Bed work lights
  • Accessory mounting holes and brackets
  • Space for toolbox mounting
  • Custom emblems for your hobby or business logo

When you have a headache rack custom built, you can choose as many features as you’d like. Read more about each feature here: What You Need to Know About Each Headache Rack Feature

What are the Safety Benefits of a Headache Rack?

A headache rack offers many safety benefits, the three main ones being:

  • Protection for you and your passengers from the shifting payload in the truck bed
  • Increased visibility at night with additional brake lighting
  • Added security because the headache rack blocks the rear cab window

Read more about each safety benefit here: 3 Important Safety Benefits of a Headache Rack

Is a Headache Rack Worth the Cost?

Headache racks are cool and all, but are they actually worth the cost? They absolutely are if:

  • You haul a payload often
  • You’re concerned about break-ins
  • You value additional brake and clearance lighting

Even though headache racks cost quite a bit upfront, they can actually save you a lot of money in the long run because they prevent:

  • Body damage from a payload breaking through the rear cab window or denting the cab
  • Theft from break-ins through the rear cab window
  • Accidents as a result of poor visibility

Read more here about what makes a headache rack worth the cost and how you can get one for half the price: Is a Headache Rack Worth the Cost?