Best Truck Bed Cargo Nets

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

32 Models Considered
9 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
406 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best truck bed cargo nets

Last Updated October 2019

Whether you’re using your truck to move, do a dump run, haul materials on the job, or camp, you’re going to need a way to secure your load. A truck bed cargo net can keep you from leaving a trail of debris everywhere you go, secure your cargo while you’re on the move, and protect the inside of your truck bed from scratches and dings.

Truck bed cargo nets are easy to use and effective at managing the loose cargo in your truck. They can be made of rope, canvas, nylon, or polyester. Regardless of what material you choose, however, you need to be mindful of these three essential criteria: thickness, durability, and flexibility. That’s a lot to keep in mind, and there are also a lot of seemingly great products on the market. How do you choose?

Use this guide to examine the pros and cons of various truck bed cargo nets, including their materials, build quality, price range, available accessories, and any included fasteners.

Tarps shouldn’t be used on their own to secure heavy loads without a cargo net. An uncovered tarp could tear loose in the wind and create a road hazard.

Considerations

Materials

Thickness: The cords or mesh that make up a cargo net can vary considerably in thickness, depending on the net. In general, the thicker the strands, the better a net will hold up over time.

Durability: Both the thickness and the material used in a net’s construction are factors that impact its durability. The more durable the mesh, the more comfortable you will feel using the cargo net with larger objects.

Flexibility: A flexible cargo net is generally more elastic, able to stretch over a larger area and cover both tall items and oddly shaped cargo. Some cargo nets are highly flexible while others offer little elasticity. A flexible net will more easily adapt to the shape of whatever you haul, making it more secure. With a flexible net, you can also easily add items to your load along the way.

EXPERT TIP

A cargo bar can also be used in conjunction with a cargo net to help secure loads.


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Features

Overall size

What size cargo net should you purchase? Ideally, the cargo net should be slightly larger than your truck bed, so it can cover the cargo and still be long and wide enough to reach your truck’s tie-down points. Note that a cargo net’s size is not an indicator of how strong the net is. Don’t buy up in size thinking you’ll automatically be receiving a more durable net.

Mesh size

Another size issue to consider is the size of the individual mesh squares in the net, which can vary greatly depending on the net. A smaller mesh size will secure and hold items that are more compact. Cargo nets with smaller mesh sizes also tend to be stronger than those with larger mesh sizes.

Strength

Speaking of a stronger net, it’s important to know what a cargo net is rated for, pound-wise, before you buy. Some of the flimsier nets are rated for as little as 100 pounds, while others can handle loads of up to 10,000 pounds.

UV protection

The majority of cargo nets offer some form of UV protection to keep the net from breaking down in direct sunlight and becoming brittle over time.

EXPERT TIP

If you need to haul and secure tall items, go with a cargo net that offers more elasticity.


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Hooks and other fasteners

Every truck bed cargo net should ship with fasteners to attach the net to your truck bed. The most common attachment devices are hooks and carabiners, though some do feature straps with cam buckles. Some cargo nets ship with a variety of fasteners. Whichever fastener you choose, make sure they’re the right size or type to work with your truck’s existing anchor points. Also, check the number of fasteners different cargo nets offer.

Color

The standard color of truck bed cargo nets is usually gray or black. The color won’t reflect sunlight, making it less of a distraction to other drivers. Some cargo nets do ship in lighter colors like yellow, which stand out more.

Storage bag

Some truck bed cargo net sets include a carry bag. This is a handy accessory for stowing the cargo net safely and compactly when not in use.

Truck bed cargo net prices

Truck bed cargo nets start out under $20 and can cost $100 or more. The majority fall in the $30 to $40 range. At higher price points, you can expect to find larger and stronger nets. More expensive cargo nets will also provide a higher-quality collection of metal hooks or carabiners, while less-expensive nets often ship with plastic hooks. Lifetime guarantees are available on some of the pricier cargo nets — a big selling point for those who do a lot of hauling.

EXPERT TIP

Truck bed cargo nets can also be used in a car to help keep loads in the trunk from shifting.


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Tips

  • Don’t be stingy and use minimal tie-down points. The more anchors you use on your cargo net, the greater stability and security it will provide.
  • Some cargo nets incorporate a tarp within them to help protect loads from the elements. You could also manually place a tarp between your load and an anchored cargo net for the same effect.
  • You can improve on your net’s weatherproofing and durability by spraying it with a waterproofing solution.
  • The best way to install your cargo net is to first load the cargo, then place the net over it. Starting at one end, anchor the corners of the net with your hooks or carabiners, then. Tighten and secure the net as you go until you reach the other corners.
  • To keep heavy loads from shifting, it is often advisable to augment your cargo net with a couple of strap tie-downs.
  • Some nets include cam buckles, which can be used to tighten the net straps and secure the load.
  • Envelope or organizer style cargo nets feature multiple pockets to hold and store groceries and other items in a section of your truck bed.
  • A grimy or dirty cargo net will not only be unsightly, it will also transfer dirt to your cargo. Keep your net clean by wiping it down periodically with a damp cloth.

Other products we considered

In addition to our favorite truck bed cargo nets, there are many other solid choices out there. We like the Gladiator Cargo Gear Cargo Net, which features a heavy-duty mesh that is rated at 1,200 pounds per inch. It’s available in a variety of sizes. You may also want to consider the Rocket Straps Cargo Net, a highly rated and durable net that can stretch to twice its 4’ x 6’ size. And if you often haul items in poor weather conditions, consider the Towever Bungee Cargo Net. It ships with a variety of hooks and carabiners.

If you want to be doubly sure your load is secure, consider using two tied-down cargo nets, one atop the other.

FAQ

Q. Can I leave my cargo net in my truck bed 24/7?
A.
The majority of quality cargo nets are built to withstand the ravages of UV rays and weather … up to a point. To protect your net and keep it strong for years, store it in a dry area out of direct sunlight when not in use.

Q. Which fastener type is better to use with a cargo net: hooks or carabiners?
A.
The two primary types of cargo net fasteners each have their selling points. Hooks are the easiest to use, allowing you to quickly deploy your cargo net and hit the road. Nets can become easily tangled when using hooks, however. Carabiners tend to be more durable and secure than hooks, although they may take longer to secure a load.

Q. How can I be sure that a cargo net will fit my truck bed?
A.
Some cargo nets are designed for specific truck beds. If yours is on the list of compatible trucks, you’re in luck. Usually, this will not be the case, so you should carefully measure your truck bed — width, length, corner to corner — and refer to these measurements when shopping. Also consider the anchor points in your truck bed, as this can affect your tie-down choices. And if you plan on hauling large, irregular loads, buy a cargo net slightly larger than your truck bed to accommodate these larger loads.

The team that worked on this review
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Kyle
    Kyle
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer

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