Kit comes with ample material that can heavily coat 6-foot truck beds multiple times. Very thick and durable material. Includes 2 rollers, a smaller brush for tight spots and corners, and an abrasive pad. Resists chipping, flaking, and peeling.
Included foam rollers won't stand up to multiple uses. A fairly messy application process.
The 16.5-oz can is large enough for touchups, repairs, and light coatings on smaller truck beds. Adheres to wood, metal, or fiberglass. Very intuitive and affordable.
One can does not supply enough coverage for multiple coats on larger truck beds.
Durable coating comes in aerosol cans. Although it takes a little time to cover the entire surface, the application process is easy. Dries to the touch in as little as 1-2 hours. Available in packs of 2 cans.
Nozzle tends to clog, but shaking the can before application will help. Large areas will require multiple cans.
This liner paint is easy to apply with a variety of hand tools like paintbrushes and rollers. Fully waterproof and stain-resistant for easy cleaning. Remains flexible after application.
One-quart can is best for touchups and small areas.
A one-gallon kit that provides enough coverage for an average truck. Extremely durable and resistant to wear. Can be applied with a spray gun or with a brush. Works on metal, plastic, wood, concrete, and other surfaces.
Spray gun is sold separately, which may necessitate another purchase.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
There are several options when it comes to protecting the bed of your truck, but modern coatings have one major advantage: when applied properly, they form a tough, flexible second skin over the entire surface, delivering superior protection that reaches into all those nooks and crannies where otherwise rust could start.
There are other benefits, too. A truck bed coating provides excellent wear resistance and a high level of grip, not just for you but for any equipment you’re transporting. It also deadens sound and reduces vibration. What’s more, most can be used on a wide range of materials, including metal, fiberglass, and wood, allowing you to protect and provide grip on all kinds of surfaces from boat decks to industrial floors.
Historically, truck bed coatings were two- or three-part products (typically paint, hardener, and tint) that needed to be mixed carefully before use. They also had quite a short shelf life, though that’s no longer a problem in many cases. While this type of coating is still common, there are single-part products that are ready for use right out of the can.
Urethanes and epoxies are used for their toughness. They are considered safe as long as they’re used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
In the past, volatile organic compounds (VOC) were included, but they are bad for your health and the environment. Today, these are tightly controlled, and only low- or zero-VOC products are permitted. However, they might still find their way onto the market through discount stores. We would advise against buying from that kind of outlet unless it’s a recognized brand and you can check content carefully. If labels are missing or obscured, don’t be tempted. You have no way of knowing how long old stock has been lying around.
Professional: Some truck bed coatings can only be applied using professional spraying techniques. Skilled individuals can produce a very uniform thickness, but the setup is painstaking and masking is usually required to protect the rest of the truck from overspray. Inexperienced sprayers tend to waste a lot of material.
Spray gun: A spray gun is supplied with some kits. It has a large nozzle to cope with the viscosity of truck bed coating. You’ll usually need a compressor capable of producing 60 psi or more in order to be effective.
Brush: Applying the coating with a brush or roller is much easier for most people, and the majority of products can be used that way. If you’ve chosen a coating with a textured finish, any tool marks will be all but invisible.
Spray can: Spray cans are also relatively easy to use and very good for small areas and repairs but doing a whole truck bed will be very time-consuming.
Note the drying time carefully. The surface can be dry to the touch in a matter of minutes, but it might take as long as a week to fully cure (perhaps less if you’re using a spray booth and infrared lamps).
Cleanup requires solvents in many cases, though a number of water-based polyurethane truck bed coatings are now available. Some are toughened with the addition of Kevlar. We also came across one in which the texture was made with rubber from recycled tires.
All truck bed coatings that we checked are completely waterproof when applied properly. They have high levels of adhesion, so they don’t peel. Many are stain-resistant and don’t scratch easily, though as with any coating, damage is possible under extreme conditions. Fortunately, patching up small areas is easy.
Most truck bed coatings have good levels of UV protection, so the color won’t fade. Several offer good resistance to chemical, solvent, gasoline, and even salt water, making the latter popular for marine applications like decks (on fiberglass, steel, or wooden boats), ladder treads, and dock areas.
Normally, we like to give price guidance for the products we review in categories of inexpensive, mid-range and expensive. That’s difficult to do with truck bed coatings for two reasons.
First, the coverage is different from one product to another. For example, one might suggest two coats, while another recommends three or even four. Second, these coatings come in all different sizes, such as 16.5-ounce spray cans, liter bottles (there are 3.78 liters in a gallon), plus quart or gallon tins. To make matters worse, the same product might be $80 a gallon at one supplier and $140 a gallon at another! Instead, we’re offering an approximate cost for materials (not labor), based on a standard 6-foot truck bed.
Using aerosol cans, it’s possible to cover that area (based on manufacturer recommendations) for about $100. Many spray-on truck bed liner kits can do it for around $120 or $130. While it’s difficult to be precise, we would estimate spending no more than $180, even with the most expensive product we looked at.
Manufacturers don’t always provide accurate coverage figures, and, to be fair, it’s difficult to do because each person will apply a different amount. It’s worth checking online customer feedback. The opinions of real users often prove very helpful.
Each manufacturer provides its own usage instructions, but there are a few suggestions that are pretty much universal for preparing the surface and applying these products.
Q. Is truck bed coating better than a drop-in plastic liner?
A. It’s a tough question, and you need to weigh the pros and cons, plus the cost for your vehicle. Although cheap drop-in truck bed liners might seem like an economical option, they don’t have great durability. Even with quality models, there’s always that gap between the liner and the truck bed where dirt and water can get in. Some people have removed a drop-in liner only to find the truck bed underneath is rusted through. A spray-on coating, when properly applied, provides a similar level of protection, and if there’s any damage, you can see it straight away and rectify it before the problem gets worse.
Q. I see lots of black. Are there other truck bed coating colors?
A. Yes, but options vary. Many are only black, some come in gray or tan, and some can be tinted using automotive paint products. Caution is needed, though. Some manufacturers warn against it, saying it will upset the chemical balance of their product. On the other hand, we found one that’s available in 18 colors! There’s also the possibility of painting the coating after application. However, you need to pay careful attention to the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s something best thought through at the outset.
Q. Are truck bed coatings toxic?
A. Again, it depends on the product. Some two-part components can cause irritation and allergic reactions but are safe when mixed, applied, and dry. Many companies now produce nontoxic truck bed coatings. Nevertheless, fumes aren’t always pleasant, so it’s a good idea to wear gloves and a dust mask if you’re applying it with a brush or roller and a proper respirator if spraying it on. The maker should provide safety advice. Don’t skip it. It’s there to protect your health.