In this article: We'll review 5 different categories of must have accessories to put in your pickup truck.

Pickup trucks are designed to work. That's why the manufacturers boast about payloads. Throw stuff in and take it where you want. Snowblowers, lawnmowers, firewood, mulch, surfboards – whatever you need. What you also need are some sensible accessories that help you work less and your truck work harder. You need accessories that protect your truck from damage, help you load and unload without injuring your back or your knees, and keep your cargo safe. This is what we'll be covering in this guide of the best pickup truck accessories.

Pickups: The Vehicles That Earn Their Keep

People who own pickup trucks know what it is to be popular. “Can you help me pick up the grill I just bought?” “I'm moving apartments at the weekend. Think you could help?” And of course, “I inherited my Great Aunt's dresser but I don't have a way to move it.” If you've invested in a smart and capable pickup truck you won't mind helping out. In fact, you're probably glad of a chance to show it off. It's also an excellent excuse to fit it out with some useful pickup truck accessories.

And then there are the people who use a truck every day for work. Landscapers, construction workers, mobile mechanics and so on. If that's you, you expect your truck to be useful, and what better way of adding some utility than with the best pickup truck accessories around?

In this guide to the best pickup truck accessories we'll look at the things you really need: accessories like tie down straps, loading ramps and a cushioned bed liner. And don't overlook the tie down anchors and bed lights, both of which help make your pickup truck even more useful. Keep reading to find out what you need and why. (We've left out toolboxes though. That's such a big topic they deserve their own “Best” guide.)

Best Accessories for Making Your Pickup Truck Even More Useful

Best Tie Downs

Tie Down Straps

You can't leave heavy items to slide around in the bed. They'll get damaged and they'll probably damage your truck. So tie them down. You could just use rope, but you'll need cleats in the bed to wrap it around. You'll also struggle getting it really tight, and it's hard to know if the rope you use has the strength for the job.

Bungee straps and cargo nets are alternatives, but they're not particularly strong. You need to know that the 300-pound snowblower you just loaded is going to stay put while you take a tight turn, (or swerve out of trouble!)

A much better alternative is ratcheting tie down straps. These are scaled-down versions of the straps you'll see used on flatbed semi-trailers on the highway. Usually made from a nylon or polypropylene material, these come in two parts. One is a long strap with a hook at the end, the other is a shorter strap with a hook at one end and a ratchet at the other.

To use a ratcheting cargo strap, secure the hooks to sturdy anchor points in the truck bed, and thread the long end over your cargo and through the ratchet. Then crank on the ratchet to pull the straps really tight.

Two key features to look for when you’re buying a ratcheting tie down straps are strength and length. Strength is often expressed in terms of maximum breaking strength: as a rule of thumb, this is three times the maximum working load. Length is important because, well, it needs to be long enough.

This is a pack of four straps and ratchets. The straps are 1” wide polyester/nylon webbing and have a maximum breaking strength of 1,823 lbs. ( Working load is approximately 608 lbs.) The ‘S’ shaped hooks are coated for durability (and to prevent marking.) The whole set comes in a black bag that makes storage easy. (When not needed just drop the bag into your lockable toolbox.)

  • Working load: over 600 lbs (per strap)
  • Length: 15′
  • Anodized ratchet with padded handle

Price Comparison

These attention-grabbing red/orange polyester straps are 1” wide and 15′ long. Working load is 500 lbs and breaking strength 1500 lbs. Supplied in a pack of four.

  • Working load: 500 lbs (per strap)
  • Length: 15′
  • Padded ratchet handle
  • 180 degree hooks for security

Price Comparison

Best Tiedown Anchors

Tie Down Anchors

The best tie down straps will be of little use if you don’t have somewhere to hook them on to. That’s the role of tie down anchors. These take on many forms, but for use with tie down straps, you want the ‘D’ ring style. These can be folding or retractable, or they just stick straight up. Sticking up is okay for anchors on the tops of the bed rails, but elsewhere you will want to fold them flat.

Two things to consider when buying anchors are mounting hardware and safe working load. Mounting hardware should include some kind of reinforcing plate that distributes the load and stops the anchor from pulling out. Safe working load is how much load you can put on the anchor. Don’t forget, you could have more than one straps hooked onto a single anchor! Here are two products we like.

With a safe working load of 2,000 lbs, these should be enough to keep all your cargo safe. The kit includes all the hardware you need to mount these anchors in the bed on sidewalls of your pickup. Note that mounting these will entail some work on your part.

  • Safe working load: 2,000 lbs
  • Galvanized steel
  • Recessed pan design (fold flat when not in use.)

Price Comparison

It’s unfortunate that you have to buy these two components separately because they really go together. First, there’s a track system that mounts to the bed or sidewalls of your truck. These tracks are powder-coated 12 Ga steel measuring 5′ x 5″. Into the track you slot the ‘O’ ring components. The rings themselves are have a 2” inner clearance and a safe working load of 1,500 lbs. (Remember though that the track must be firmly secured to your truck.)

The downside is that you have rails permanently mounted, but the plus is a highly flexible system for securing whatever cargo you need to carry.

  • ‘O’ ring safe working load: 1,500 lbs
  • 12 Ga steel track, each piece 5’ long
  • Track black powder-coated for durability
  • Galvanized steel rings

Price Comparison

Best Truck Loading Ramps

Loading Ramps

Pickup trucks ride pretty high, so lifting your stuff in and out can be awkward. That’s especially true if you’re transporting something like a ride-on lawnmower or a motorcycle. For these situations, loading ramps are the solution. They’re like using a couple of long planks, (or just one for loading a motorcycle,) but with the advantages of being stronger and foldable. That means they’re easily stowed in the bed so you have them with you for unloading too.

Key points to consider with ramps are length, strength and surface. A longer ramp means a shallower angle, which makes loading easier. Second, the ramps must be strong enough to carry your ATV or whatever it is you’ll be loading. And third, for equipment with small wheels or castors a plate surface is often preferable to ladder-style rungs.

Incidentally, most ramps are not intended for golf carts. If that’s what you’re moving, look for ramps designed for that purpose.

These aluminum ramps are 7.5′ long and hinged for easy storage. They feature an arched design that provides more clearance over the back of your truck. Sold as a pair, each ramp weighs a manageable 33 lbs. The weight limit is 750 lbs on each or 1,500 lbs total.

  • Support up to 750 lbs on each ramp
  • Safety straps included
  • Rubber tipped fingers
  • Plate-style surface, but with holes

Price Comparison

These ramps feature ladder-style serrated crossbars that help larger wheels, (like those on a ATV,) grip. Spacing between the rungs is about 4.5″. Unfolded length is 7.5’ with an arched design for extra clearance, and they will fold in half. They are sold as a pair.

  • Capacity: 1,500 lbs total
  • Safety straps included
  • Weight: 32 lbs
  • Ladder-style rungs
  • Rubber tipped fingers

Price Comparison

Slightly longer than the ramps listed above, these form a less steep angle which makes loading easier. An arched design improves clearance but note the end fingers don’t have any protective coating so could potentially mark your truck’s paint. The surface is made up of ladder-style serrated crossbars.

  • Safety straps included
  • Weight: 38 lbs
  • Capacity: 1,200 lbs (for the pair)
  • Black finish

Price Comparison

Best Bed Lights

Bed Lights

There are many different aftermarket lights you can buy for your truck. Here we’re focusing on those that fit under the bed rails and help you see what’s back there. It should be obvious that these are useful when you’re loading or unloading at night, but they’re also essential if you have a tonneau cover fitted. How else will you see what you’re carrying?

These days, almost all bed lights are LED rather than incandescent bulbs. Why would you buy anything else? Bear in mind that more lights/LEDs means broader and more even illumination and fewer shadows. Also look for hardwired lights rather than those with separate batteries. While it takes a little time to make the electrical connections you won’t find yourself out in the wild with bed lights that have a dead battery.

Here are some of the best bed lights and light systems around.

This hardwired kit contains 8 separate light pods, each with 6 bright LEDs that spread plenty of light around. The system is compatible with all makes and models of pickup truck and just about every style of tonneau cover.

  • Kit includes 20 feet of wiring and all mounting supplies
  • 12 month warranty
  • Easy to install
  • No batteries required

Price Comparison

Another hardwired kit, this comprises four lamps, each with two bright LEDs. A particularly cool feature is that the lights incorporate capacitive touch lenses. That means there’s no separate switch to install: you turn them all on and off just by touching one. There’s also an auto-off feature to help prevent you draining your truck’s battery.

  • Wiring harness included
  • IP67 dust and waterproof rated
  • Easy installation

Price Comparison

This hardwired kit features 4 12” long tubes, each fitted out with LEDs. That creates even illumination in the bed and minimizes shadows. The strips are very thin and mount unobtrusively under the rails. They’re also made to IP67 standards for protection against rain and snow. An on/off switch is part of the kit but the lights turn off after 15 minutes so you don’t need worry about DRAINING the battery.

  • Auto off function
  • Wiring harness included
  • IP67 rated

Price Comparison

Best Bed Liners

Bed Liner

The bed takes a lot of abuse in a working truck. Objects and materials of every shape and size are going to be thrown in, and that results in ugly scratches and dents. Plus, it could also damage the cargo you’re dropping in over the rails. Sure, you might argue it’s part of the ‘workhorse’ image, but when you come to sell you truck, or turn it in if it’s a lease, you’ll pay a price for that damage.

A good bed liner is one of the best accessories you can buy for your pickup truck. It soaks up all the knocks and helps keep your truck looking good. There are three approaches you can take to bed protection: get a spray-in liner, buy a custom-fit liner molded specifically for your make and model, or invest in a general-purpose mat. Here we’re going to talk about the mats. The big advantage these have is that when you sell the truck you can transfer it to your next vehicle. In addition to being less expensive anyway, that can save you a ton of money.

Things you’ll want to consider when choosing a mat are: thickness, appearance and ease of installation.

This is basically floor tile for the bed. One pack contains 12 1’ x 1” vinyl tiles that lock together. The surface has 3/8″ x 3/8″ openings so water can drain through and the truck bed dry quickly. Each tile has 284 flexible legs on the underside that cushion impacts and stop it from sliding.

Tiles are available in 12 colors, so you can mix and match, creating whatever kind of cool design you can dream up. The downside is, installation takes a bit more work than just sliding in a big mat.

  • Cushioned surface
  • Range of colors
  • Lets water drain easily

Price Comparison

Another hardwired kit, this comprises four lamps, each with two bright LEDs. A particularly cool feature is that the lights incorporate capacitive touch lenses. That means there’s no separate switch to install: you turn them all on and off just by touching one. There’s also an auto-off feature to help prevent you draining your truck’s battery.

  • Wiring harness included
  • IP67 dust and waterproof rated
  • Easy installation

Price Comparison

Looking Good and Working Harder

No, not you, your truck! That’s what’s achieved by investing in some quality pickup truck accessories. The products listed in this guide help protect against damage so your truck continues looking good and holds its value. They also make it easier to load and unload stuff, and help keep your stuff safe while on the road. Start shopping for great pickup accessories right now!