Do you find it difficult to climb into your truck bed? If yes, you should consider investing in a tailgate ladder for pickup trucks. These are step ladders that make it easier to climb into the back of your pickup truck. They can also be folded up or detached when not in use.

Tailgate Ladders That Get the Job Done

Take a look at our recommendations for a tailgate ladder for pickup trucks if you are on the hunt for the best options.

1. Traxion Tailgate Ladder

The truck bed tailgate from Traxion is a top-grade product suitable for trucks that are 28" to 45" off the ground. The ladder is made from high-quality materials and is strong enough to bear a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds.

The best thing about this product is that it folds up neatly against the tailgate when not in use and helps you save on valuable cargo space. It is also easy to detach the ladder by simply pressing the pins on either side and releasing the ladder from the baseplate.

However, this product is not compatible with Dodge Ram Box, Chevrolet Avalanche, or Cadillac Escalade trucks.

Things We Like:

  • Ladder is long enough for most trucks, and the bottom end can be set firmly on the ground for extra stability
  • Sturdy and can be used to load cargo with a maximum weight of 300 pounds
  • Can be folded neatly against the tailgate when not in use
  • Can be detached easily using the given quick-release pins

Things We Don't Like:

  • You must drill holes to install the ladder, as it does not come with pre-drilled holes

2. Beech Lane Pickup Truck Tailgate Ladder

The Beech Lane Ladder works well with any kind of truck because of its universal design. This tailgate ladder is one of our favorite options for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it has aluminum grip plates on the steps for extra traction for the feet. It also has secure rubber ladder feet that keep the ladder firmly in place so that it does not budge as you climb. Secondly, it has a set of stainless steel self-drilling hex screws for easy installation.

However, the baseplate is not rust-proof, and rain or morning dew can potentially quicken the rusting process. 

Things We Like:

  • Compatible with most trucks because of its universal fit design
  • Aluminum step grip plates add extra traction, making it safer to climb up and down
  • Rubber feet attachment helps the ladder latch onto the ground securely
  • Self-drilling hex screws make the installation process easier

Things We Don't Like:

  • Base plate where the screws are attached is made of metal that is prone to surface rust

3. Chelhead Universal Fit Tailgate Ladder

This Chelhead Tailgate Ladder is made out of stainless steel. The best thing about this product is its adjustable height feature, extending around 15" to accommodate higher tail beds.

It also has a universal fit design that can be mounted on the left or right side of the bed with ease. Plus, the rubber coverings on both feet provide enough friction for the ladder to grip the ground securely so that the ladder does not slip out from under you as you climb. However, this ladder could benefit from additional rungs.

But we have to say that this ladder is also a pretty safe purchase because it comes with a one-year warranty card, so you can test it out to see if it works for you and even request repairs for free if needed.

Things We Like:

  • Tailgate ladder is made out of stainless steel, so it is quite robust
  • Ladder is height adjustable, so it is suitable for most pickup trucks
  • Can be mounted on either side of the tailgate per your needs
  • Has rubber appendages at the bottom to keep the ladder securely attached to the ground

Things We Don't Like:

  • Could use more rungs to make climbing easier

4. Chiying Universal Tailgate Step Ladder

The Chiying Universal Tailgate Ladder is made out of a steel alloy that is extremely robust and capable of bearing 300 pounds. We like this product for two main reasons. Firstly, it is height adjustable and can extend an extra 20 cm to fit trucks that are higher off the ground.

Secondly, the ladder also has power straps on each side. Each strap works like a grab handle, making it easier to climb up or down the track.

An installation kit is also provided with detailed instructions and all the necessary screws. However, you might need to purchase an electric drill, as the screws are not self-drilling.

Things We Like:

  • Made of highly durable steel alloy
  • Height adjustable and can expand 20 cm to accommodate higher pickup trucks
  • Installation hardware included with all the necessary screws
  • Has two power straps to hold the ladder in place

Things We Don't Like:

  • Need additional materials for installation, such as an electric drill

5. HEKA Tailgate Ladder

Lastly, we have the HEKA Tailgate Ladder for pickup trucks. This is a really great product for people who drive a Ford Ranger, as the product is designed specifically for these trucks. The custom design tailgate ladder from HEKA has been made with the tail bed dimensions of Ford trucks in mind, so this product should be the first choice for Ford drivers.

This product has a number of good qualities worth considering. First, it is made out of galvanized steel, making the ladder robust and durable. 

Secondly, it is foldable to be stowed away neatly against the tailgate, making this product space-saving. Lastly, it has non-slip traction ridges on each step to avoid losing your balance as you climb towards the tail bed.

Things We Like:

  • Sturdy structure that is reinforced with galvanized steel
  • Folds up neatly against the tailgate
  • Includes an installation kit with the required nuts, bolts, and washers
  • Integrated traction ridges on the steps make climbing safer

Things We Don't Like:

  • Not suitable for trucks with raised tires

Things You Should Know About Tailgate Ladders

Here are some essential things you need to know about tailgate ladders to make an informed decision when purchasing your own ladder. Each step ladder has slightly different features, so make sure you get one that suits your needs.

Tailgate Ladders Reduce Body Strain

Heaving yourself into the back of a raised pickup truck is a bad idea. Not only will you strain your back, but you also risk falling and seriously injuring yourself. A tailgate ladder is a much safer alternative because the rungs usually have traction pads or aluminum grip plates that drastically reduce the chances of slipping or falling.

Tailgate ladders also reduce the strain on knees and are highly recommended for people with medical conditions such as arthritis.

Makes Loading Cargo Easier

Loading cargo becomes a tedious, two-person job without the help of tailgate ladders. These ladders make it easier to load boxes, cartons, and crates because the steps are wide enough to maintain your foothold as you climb with a box in your arms.

Most of these ladders are made with a steel alloy, so they are sturdy enough to manage cargo with a weight capacity of around 300 pounds.

Can Be Modified for Your Own Vehicle

On the rare occasion that you cannot find a suitable ladder for your own pickup truck, there are a few things you can do. Simply purchase a universal-fitting ladder in the biggest size available, then add a piece of quality metal steel to each ladder foot to make up for the extra height difference. Make sure to add a rubber covering to both ladder feet for traction and grip.

You can also add extra rungs to make the ladder more comfortable if climbing isn't your thing, but make sure these steps have traction pads or aluminum grip plates that help with maintaining a strong foothold while climbing.

Installation Steps

You might need to install the tailgate ladder yourself. The process usually involves drilling holes into the tailgate and attaching a baseplate to it. The ladder itself will be secured to the baseplate.

Usually, a kit with installation hardware is included with the installation manual. It will have specific instructions about drilling holes and the placements of all metal screws provided in the kit.

Prerequisites for Buying Tailgate Ladders

Each tailgate ladder varies in terms of size, height, and the number of rungs or steps. It's imperative to note these things beforehand to choose a ladder that will work well given the height of your truck.

Here are some things that you need to consider before purchasing your own pickup truck tailgate ladder.

  • Structure and material of the ladder
  • Tailgate height and max standing height
  • Aluminum step grip plates for traction
  • Sturdy rubber ladder feet for stability
  • Power straps or safety handles to hold the ladder in place
  • Provision of self-drilling screws, nuts, and bolts for installation


Here are some frequently asked questions when it comes to tailgate ladders:

How Are Tailgate Ladders Different From Regular Step Ladders?

While you could technically use a regular step ladder to climb into your pickup truck, the problem is that you would have to stow these ladders in your trunk, leaving less space for other luggage.

Tailgate ladders solve that problem because they can be attached to the tailgate and folded up against it, leaving more space to keep cargo. Plus, since they are drilled into the tailgate, they are more steady than regular ladders, making them safer to use for climbing into pickup trucks.

Can Tailgate Ladders Be Adjusted for Trucks With Higher Tires?

Yes, tailgate ladders can be modified. You can get adjustable height ladders that can be extended to the full length or get additional rungs attached to the tailgate ladder if you have a truck higher than 107 cm. 

How Do You Safely Detach a Tailgate Ladder?

The safest way to detach a tailgate ladder is to press the quick-release pins. These metal pins will release the ladder from the base plate in seconds. You can re-attach the ladder again when needed.

Best Tailgate Ladder Brands

A few tailgate ladder brands stand out compared to the others. We think you should consider one of the following whenever purchasing your own step ladder.

  • Traxion: A great ladder brand with a load-bearing capacity of 300 pounds makes loading equipment a breeze. Traxion’s ladders can also be easily stowed away when not in use, saving cargo space in the truck bed.
  • Beech Lane: This brand should be your go-to choice because it checks all the right boxes. It has everything from a universal fit design to step grip plates, rubber feet, and even self-drilling screws. So keep your eye out for this one!
  • Chiying: This brand is also quite reliable and a good fit for most trucks because it is height adjustable. It also has power straps to help keep the ladder in place.

Bottom Line

A tailgate ladder for pickup trucks helps you climb into the back of your truck without straining your body. They have traction pads on the steps for extra grip, which is a much safer option than regular step ladders.

You might be worried about carrying around a bulky step ladder, but most tailgate ladders are actually quite lightweight. They can also be stowed away when not needed without compromising on trunk space so that you have more space for your own gear.

Choose from one of the five tailgate ladders for pickup trucks mentioned above and step confidently into your truck!