Best Truck Bed Covers

Updated May 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we decided

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

33 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
479 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

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

Why trust BestReviews?
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.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Shopping guide for best truck bed covers

Last Updated May 2019

A truck is a handy vehicle to have if you frequently carry items that don’t easily fit in a car. Unfortunately, a truck with an open bed is pretty much like driving around with your trunk wide open. All the time. If this is the situation you’re in, you need a truck bed cover.

Truck bed covers provide a couple of benefits: they keep any cargo that you have in your truck bed out of site (and off the radar of potential thieves), and they keep said cargo dry and secure. Also known as tonneau covers, truck bed covers are available in a variety of brands, styles, and materials. They are less expensive and bulky than truck caps or shells and easier to move on and off your truck for those times when you need a cover-free bed.

This guide will help you to navigate some of the features, styles, and other considerations that you need to think about before settling on a truck bed cover. We also dive into some of the pricing considerations and share some of our recommendations on which cover to buy.

Keep your bed cover clean to help to prolong its life. Washing occasionally with mild soap and water should do the trick for most types.

Key considerations

Type

Covers are considered to be “soft” or “hard,” depending on the material. They’re also available in a variety of types that can differ from each other considerably. Some of the more popular types include the following:

  • Roll-up: These covers include a soft material that stretches over a frame, which is then clamped to the truck bed. To access the bed, you roll the cover open; to secure the bed, you roll the cover closed. The cover is usually secured by some form of snap or hook-and-loop fastener. Most soft covers are equipped with tension-control adjusters that you can use to keep the cover material taut. This will improve its appearance and aerodynamics.

  • Folding: Available in both soft and hard versions, folding covers offer a quick and easy way to access the bed. Most folding covers are made of three or four panels. To open the cover, you simply fold the panels together. Some of these covers fit on top of the bed, while others fit flush. (Low-profile truck bed covers sit flush – or close to flush – with the top of the truck bed, giving your truck a clean appearance.)

  • Retractable: These covers are usually made up of a number of panels or slats that glide along a track to open and close. They’re available in several materials ranging from vinyl to aluminum. These covers operate in a similar way to folding covers, but they provide you with access to more of your bed when the cover is fully opened. Like folding covers, these are available in either sit-on-top or flush versions.

  • Hinged: These soft or hard covers open like a door and usually have some form of support rod to keep them propped open. The hinged section usually gives you access to half or three-quarters of the bed when it’s open.

  • Solid impact: These are hard hinged covers – usually constructed of plastic or fiberglass – that offer more durability and security than other covers. The entire cover lifts up to provide you with full access to the bed. These can usually be painted to match your truck.

Durable, full-access hard cover

The BAKFlip G2 is easy to install and offers an attractive, flush-mount design. You can fold it partially or all the way back to allow for a variety of payload types.

Truck bed cover features

Construction

Truck covers can be either hard or soft, and constructed from a wide range of materials, including canvas, vinyl, aluminum, and fiberglass. Whichever type of cover you buy, it should be durable, and the material itself should be water resistant.

Installation

Truck bed covers are considerably lighter than truck caps or shells, and as such are generally easier for one person to install. When shopping for a cover, verify that it also ships with all the hardware needed for installation. Most covers attach using some form of clamping system that secures the cover to the bed. Some may require a minimal amount of drilling, particularly if you have a truck bed liner. Installation time and specifics vary by brand and cover type, but most of them should install easily in less than an hour. Be sure to read the included manual carefully to know what’s involved, what tools you’ll need, and whether you’ll need help.

Fit

Most truck bed covers are available in a variety of sizes to fit a wide range of trucks. So long as you carefully measure your truck bed and match it with the correct size cover, you should receive a cover that fits. Some covers are constructed with specific makes, models, or years of truck in mind, so be aware of this when you’re comparing covers.

Security

Truck bed covers offer differing degrees of security, but they all have the benefit of covering what is in your truck and keeping it from prying eyes. If you want a bit more in the way of security, you’ll need to shop accordingly.

Simple snap covers like soft roll-ups offer the least amount of security. With these, you’re basically buying the simple out-of-sight security already mentioned. The next step up would be something like a soft folding cover, although you’d probably need a locking tailgate to realize adequate protection here.

Hard covers like hard folding or retractable covers that lock offer an even more secure solution, particularly if coupled with a locking tailgate. The securest covers are one-piece solid-impact covers, which can extend over the end of the tailgate to keep the whole bed as secure as the cab.

EXPERT TIP

When measuring your truck bed for cover size, be sure to measure from the inside of the bulkhead to the inside of the tailgate to get the proper length.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Some covers include drainage tubes that can help move rainwater away from the bed and keep your cargo dry.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

If you love the convenience of powered everything in your truck, consider an electric tonneau cover. This is similar to a retractable cover and operates at the push of a button.


Staff  | BestReviews

Truck bed cover prices

While not as expensive as a truck cap or shell (which can run $2,000 or more), a truck bed cover can still set you back a bit. Soft covers tend to be less expensive than hard covers. You can find a simple cover for under $100.

Pay more and you will find better quality and more advanced features like increased security. Most high-quality covers run into the hundreds of dollars. Several of the ones we recommend are priced in the $800 to $900 range.

Inexpensive yet durable tri-fold

The MaxMate Tri-Fold is a soft, three-panel cover that is affordable and easy to use. The frame is sturdy, and the inclusion of tie-downs is a convenient way to secure the cover when it’s folded up.

Tips

  • Lubricate the rails of a roll-up cover periodically. This helps make sure that the cover can roll open and closed easily.

  • Check all clamps or other hardware for fastening the cover to your truck. Do this periodically to verify that they’re secure.

  • Check the owner’s manual before placing any weight on the cover. Most tonneau covers aren’t constructed to be weight bearing.

  • Apply a UV protectant to a vinyl cover. Do this occasionally to protect the cover from sun damage.

  • Consider a truck bed cover with a built-in rack system. You can use it to carry items like kayaks or ladders.

  • Choose hook-and-loop fasteners for a soft cover if you live in a cold climate. Cold soft covers have little give, and trying to stretch it taut and secure snaps can be difficult in the winter.

  • Consider a special toolbox tonneau cover if you have a toolbox in your truck bed. These are shorter than traditional covers to accommodate a toolbox while giving you the full security and protection of a traditional cover.

Other products we considered

Given the wide variety of truck bed covers available, we weren’t able to include all of our favorites in the matrix. Several more that we like include the Tyger Auto T3 Tri-Fold Truck Bed Cover. This best-selling option is rugged, easy to install, and offers a lifetime warranty. The Extang Trifecta Toolbox 2.0 Soft Truck Bed Cover is a great soft option if you already have an existing 18- to 20-inch tool box in your truck. And the UnderCover Flex Hard Folding Truck Bed Cover is a hard cover option that stands out for its sleek appearance and ultra-low profile.

While most truck bed covers don’t ship with lights, you can easily add third-party lighting to the bed rails if you want to illuminate the bed.

FAQ

Q. Will my truck be more fuel efficient with a bed cover?

A. That depends largely on who you ask. Some studies (usually touted by those selling covers) suggest that it will. Others say that a cover will actually make your truck less fuel efficient. Our take on it is that yes, it will help to cut down on drag, but not in any significant way. Any change in fuel efficiency will be negligible.

Q. Is one type of cover more waterproof than others?

A. Based on the materials they’re made of, all truck bed covers are waterproof to some extent. It’s the areas around the edge of the cover – where it attaches to the bed – where waterproofing starts to fail. The design of retractable covers provides them with the best waterproofing capabilities, while snap-based roll-up covers are the least waterproof.

Q. Will I have problems installing a truck bed cover over my bed liner?

A. The majority of covers clamp on, so it really depends on what kind of bed liner you have. Under-the-rail liners generally don’t interfere with where the cover clamps go, so you shouldn’t have a problem with these (one exception may be retractable covers in the bulkhead area).

Over-the-rail liners may present you with some installation challenges, however. Because these may cover over some clamping areas, you might need to do some drilling or cutting to securely attach the cover to the bed with this type of liner.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Karen
    Karen
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer

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