When shopping for a back rack for your pickup truck, you’ll see two materials primarily used across the industry: steel and aluminum. Both are man-made alloys. Some headache rack manufacturers choose steel and others aluminum. Both have their pros and cons. So, which is better for you and your truck? Well, that’ll depend on our priorities but at Spyder Industries we build our racks using high-quality steel that we believe is the best choice for several reasons.
Here are some things to consider when choosing the best truck rack for your needs.
Strength and Durability
Purchasing a truck accessories is an investment. You want to know products are going to be strong enough to do the job and how long they're going to last. While technology now makes it possible to extrude aluminum to make it sturdier than it used to be, steel still comes out the winner for strength and durability.
Since the purpose of a headache rack is, first and foremost, to protect the truck cab and its occupants, tie down cargo, and better allow you to haul long loads, it’s essential to use strong material. For heavy duty jobs where strength and durability are the most important factors, steel is a better option. And, with its unique inner-outer frame construction, a rack by Spyder Industries will outlast many of its aluminum competitors.
One of aluminums’ biggest advantages is that it’s lighter than steel. This could make an aluminum rack a little easier to handle while installing it and perhaps offer a tiny, tiny advantage in gas mileage, but that’s about it.
While aluminum might score a point on weight, we think the advantages of steel still outweigh it.
As with all purchases, cost is a consideration. Generally, you can find a safety rack made from either material at a price that will suit your budget. Of course, there’s more that goes into determining price than just the material. Steel tends to be less expensive and easier to work with, which keeps costs down.
We live in a time when you don’t have to settle for function over form. If you don’t like the design of a rack (and frankly, there are a lot of ugly ones on the market) there’s no need to buy it. You can still find a high-quality rack that you love and that complements the look for your Chevy, Ford, Dodge, Nissan, or Toyota pickup.
With that said, aluminum and steel truck racks may appear strikingly different. Because bare steel can rust, steel racks must be coated with something to prevent rust. At Spyder we use a high quality two-stage powder coat process. After the steel has been properly prepped, a tough epoxy coat is applied and baked, followed by the topcoat which is also baked. Since powder coat is tougher than paint, it provides a durable finish that prevents rusting and keeps it looking great for many years.
Aluminum will typically not have a coating so it will appear naturally metallic. Otherwise, they are painted or powder coated for cosmetic reasons. While uncoated aluminum won’t rust, it can still oxidize and even corrode under some conditions.
Which is Better?
Naturally, the decision to use a steel or aluminum headache rack in your truck is up to you. We are dedicated to building tough, long-lasting back racks that combine outstanding form and function with the kind of rugged quality we insist on for our own vehicles - the kind of quality you expect and demand, day in and day out. That’s why we choose the strength and durability of steel with a powder coat finish to preserve its good looks.
Be sure to check out our unique line of Signature Spyder and WerX Series pickup truck headache racks.