If you are a pick-up truck owner you have undoubtedly at some point thought about what you could do with the bed. Some people just add a bed liner, others want to put a cover and still, others might want a cap. Others might go for some mixture or other bed accessories. Oftentimes the cover can be the most cost-effective solution as they can be easily added for an additional layer of security, keeping your gear out of the sun and rain. The best tonneau truck bed covers are ones that can be quickly removed when needed but are easy to put back on.
In this article, we at VehiclesForAll.com have done the hard work and tracked down six outstanding options for the best tonneau truck bed covers that will work with a wide variety of trucks. These are highlighted in our tonneau truck bed cover reviews.
After that, we have a buyer’s guide that will help lead you through some of the points that make a cover one of the best tonneau truck bed covers. At the end of the article, you should both have an idea of why you would want to go with a particular cover and which of our top choices you want to add to your truck.
Tonneau Truck Bed Cover Reviews
As you go through our tonneau cover reviews keep in mind that we have done the legwork for you. We have gone through the options and each of these six is a standout. You will have to consider your particular situation and preferences when looking through the options. The best truck bed cover for you might not be the same as even your neighbor with the same style truck.
We have gone through and highlighted our picks for both the best overall product and the best value to give you some outstanding choices that are even easier to find. We have also gone through and before each truck bed cover review highlighted the style and important details.
Tyger Auto T3 Soft Tri-Fold Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
Tyger Auto Tri-Fold Tonneau (TG-BC3D1011) – Our Best Truck Bed Cover
- Price: Approx. $230
- Hard or Soft: Soft
- Style: Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover
- Material: Vinyl
If you are looking for the best tri-fold tonneau cover on the market today, you will need to take a look at our pick for the best product, the Tyger Auto Tri-Fold Tonneau Truck Bed Cover (TG-BC3D1011). It is important to note that this particular link is for a 2002 to 2018 Dodge Ram 1500, 2500, or 3500, with options for the 5.8-footbed, 6.5-footbed, and 8-footbed. They do have a wide range that will cover other trucks that can easily be navigated to, allowing you to find the one that will fit your truck perfectly.
This model is a tri-folding soft top cover, made out of vinyl with heavy-duty aluminum powder coated rails that allow for a strong and solid foundation for the cover. The top is divided into thirds, allowing you to fold up just the top third and get access to your gear without removing the entire cover. This way you can quickly pull out what you need and leave the rest secure.
Tyger Tri Fold Truck Bed Cover Features
Installation is simple and designed to be a no drilling setup. If you have a bed liner that goes over the rails you will be required to cut a few holes in the liner for access to the rails. The bed liners that end under the rails need no modification to be used with this cover. Also, the company offers a lifetime warranty for its cover.
What You Get – Kit Contents:
- Cover Assembly
- Mounting Hardware
- Seal Strip
- LED Light
TruXedo TruXport Soft Roll Up Truck Bed Tonneau
TruXedo TruXport Soft Roll-Up Dual Latch (246901) – Best Roll Up Tonneau Cover
- Price: Approx. $250
- Hard or Soft: Soft
- Style: Roll-Up Tonneau Cover
- Material: Leather grain fabric
One of the nicest points about the roll-up style tonneau truck bed covers is how easy they are to store. Since they can just be rolled and stowed near the bulkhead of the truck bed they are always ready for you to deploy at a moment’s notice.
And our choice for best value just happens to also be the best roll-up tonneau cover that we’ve come across, the TruXedo TruXport Soft Roll-Up Dual Latch Tonneau Cover (246901). Now, this particular style isn’t made for any given make and model, just sized for a 6-foot 4-inch truck bed. Of course, other sizes are also available – just find the one that fits your bed.
Best Roll Up Tonneau Cover Features
The rails clamp on for simple installation that should require no drilling or cutting. The company claims that most installations take a mere 20 minutes. With the rails in place, you can roll out the bed cover and secure it with industrial strength Velcro. One thing to note with roll-up covers is that as the seasons change you will need to adjust the tension to keep the cover nice and taut.
This model comes with a manual tension control knob that will require no extra tools to use. The setup lets you tweak the tension in seconds, meaning you can always have the cover looking just right.
BAK 26309 BakFlip G2 Truck Bed Cover
BAK BakFlip G2 Truck Bed Cover (26309) – Best Hard Folding Tonneau Cover
- Price: Approx. $780
- Hard or Soft: Hard
- Style: Hard Folding Tonneau Cover
- Material: UV Protected ABS Laminate Panels
While soft covers have an important place, sometimes you just want the added protection of a hard panel protecting your precious cargo. If that is the case you should take a look at the best hard folding tonneau cover out there, the BAK BakFlip G2 Truck Bed Cover (26309)
Best Hard Folding Tonneau Cover Features
This setup lets you easily flip up some or all of the panels over your bed. The last set of panels even has a hinged lift feature to make sure that the entire bed is accessible if you want it to be. And then it can fold back down and add a nice firm layer of protection. Their “living hinge” system has been specially developed to keep as much water as possible out of your bed.
This is another tonneau cover that is designed to be drill-free when it comes to installation. The side rails clamp on and if you need to pull it off for any reason it’s a snap. There are just two knobs that you’ll have to loosen and since the panel assembly only weighs 40 pounds it is easy to lift out, even if you don’t have help nearby.
Extang Trifecta 2.0 Soft Folding Truck Bed Tonneau
Extang Trifecta 2.0 (92475) – Best Folding Tonneau Cover
- Price: Approx. $365
- Hard or Soft: Soft
- Style: Folding Tonneau Cover
- Material: Vinyl
Moving on with our tonneau cover reviews, we couldn’t avoid mentioning folding truck bed tonneau covers. Perhaps the best folding tonneau cover on the market is the Extang Trifecta 2.0 Folding Tonneau Cover (92475). It is important to note, this link is to a model made to cover a 5 ½ footbed on a 2015 to 2018 Ford F150. There are a number of other options available to cover various other trucks with different-sized beds.
This is another soft tri-fold cover, letting you access some or all of your truck bed as needed. The vinyl covering is paired with a lightweight aluminum frame for strength without weighing you down.
The system installs simply and the cover connects in with new and improved clamps. The jaw grip ones ensure that the bulkhead end of the system is firmly connected to the cab, while the EZ-lock ones make disconnecting the tailgate end easy enough for anyone to take on.
Best Folding Tonneau Cover features
The system also includes a setup that lets you clamp down the cover in the folded open state to give peace of mind while driving around. The cover also comes with a lifetime warranty, letting you know the company stands behind its cover.
Roll N Lock M-Series Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau
best Retractable bed Cover
Roll-N-Lock M-Series Tonneau Cover (LG221M) – Best Retractable Tonneau Cover
- Price: Approx. $1,400
- Hard or Soft: Soft
- Style: Retractable Tonneau Cover
- Material: Vinyl
Perhaps the best retractable tonneau cover that we have come across is the Roll-N-Lock M-Series Tonneau Cover (LG221M). While a roll-up tonneau cover has its niceties, there are some benefits to stepping up to a retractable system. With a simple turn of a lever, the cover can retract back on its own, meaning you don’t have to worry about rolling it up, especially if it is wet or dirty, and you don’t have to wonder if you secured it properly.
Best Retractable Tonneau Cover Features
Like some other products covered in our tonneau cover reviews, this cover also has a simple installation that has been designed with a minimum of drilling in mind. The setup consists of an aluminum frame that is connected to your truck bed and a vinyl cover travels over the frame to cover the bed of your truck. This cover can be held in place at intervals of ¼, ½, ¾ and completely closed. This gives you the ability to cover what you need and have easy access as required.
The setup is sleek and stylish once it is fully installed. All handles and levers are mounted to be flush to add to the aerodynamics of the truck bed cover. It has also been designed to keep out the maximum amount of rain, provided that the system is latched closed at the fully closed position.
Undercover Lux One-Piece Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
Best Hard Painted Tonneau Cover
Undercover Lux One-Piece Truck Bed Tonneau Cover – Best Hard Painted Tonneau Cover
- Price: Approx. $1,400
- Hard or Soft: Hard
- Style: Hard Painted Tonneau Cover
- Material: ABS Composite Materials
This hardcover tonneau cover is designed to flow with your truck just like it was added at the factory. Perhaps the best hard-painted tonneau cover on the market, the UnderCover Lux Hard Tonneau Cover (UC1116L-41, Black) is made to give you all the protection you could possibly want, for whatever you might want to store in your truck bed.
Best Hard Painted Tonneau Cover Features
This particular one is for a 2014 Short Bed Chevy Silverado. As they are designed to fit like a glove, you’ll find that each individual model only goes with a very selected truck. But as you look through you will find that there is a wide variety of colors and vehicles that can be covered by such a unit.
One of the top things from a security point of view is that this is one of the few covers that offers you the peace of mind of being able to lock your cover. This means that even if you find yourself in a sketchy part of town, you won’t need to worry about your tools or your other gear getting swiped right out of the bed of your truck.
The Best Tonneau Truck Bed Covers – In-Depth Buyer’s Guide
Covering Your Truck Bed – All the Basics Go First
If you aren’t familiar with the term, you will no doubt wonder what the heck is a tonneau cover when you hear someone mention it. Basically, a tonneau covers anything that covers the bed of a pickup truck. While you can use something as simple as a piece of plywood or a tarp there are a number of different companies that are making both hard and soft covers specifically for the purpose of covering a truck bed.
Tonneau Cover Design
Probably the most important step is to consider some of the different options when it comes to tonneau covers. There are quite a few different options available to an interested buyer. We’ll cover a few of the most popular here.
Roll Up Tonneau Cover
This style is connected to the bulkhead end of your truck bed and can roll out to cover the rest of the bed. The sides are normally secured to the rails that you have attached by Velcro. This makes it easy to pull it out and attach it but then also to disconnect and roll it up.
One thing to note is that this style will need some tension work as the seasons change to make sure you get the best appearance and performance. Usually, this style is available in a soft option, but some companies have come out with roll-up models with a hard top performance.
Soft Folding Tonneau Cover
The soft folding option as the name would imply only comes in a soft version. This setup normally has some bars for stability. This means that it won’t roll to store, but can be folded into a number of sections. Different models will fold a different number of times, meaning that each fold will have a certain size. Fewer folds will mean that each fold opens more of your truck bed.
Hard Folding Tonneau Cover
The hard folding style of the tonneau cover is the hard cousin of the soft version. Almost everything is the same, just swapping out a soft top for something a little harder, adding that additional layer of protection.
Retractable Tonneau Cover
This style is similar to the roll-up option as when the cover is not in use it is stored in a rolled-up position near the bulkhead of the truck bed. The main difference is that this automates the process. Instead of having to roll up your cover, there is a mechanism that will retract it at the push of a button. This style can be either hard or soft. However, it does mean that you will need to have some way to run power to your truck bed.
Hinged Tonneau Cover
A hinged tonneau cover will open like a screen door, but up. This means that you will be limited in the areas that it is easy to access from, but this style of cover can remain in an open state and still give some level of weather protection while it is open.
Hard Painted Tonneau Cover
There are some hard truck bed tonneau covers that have been designed to be painted. Normally these are hinged to open up instead of rolling or otherwise moving out of the way. The ability to be painted allows the owner to have the appearance that the cover is a standard part of their truck, even if it was added aftermarket.
One downside is that this style tends not to be easily removable, so you will be limited on the amount of stuff you could haul in your truck. However, these also normally sport a lock so you can be sure that whatever you have is safe.
Snap Tonneau Cover
The snap-on style of tonneau cover is one of the oldest available and usually one of the least expensive options on the market. This style adds rails with a row of snaps to the truck bed and then the cover snaps to it. They are only available on soft covers.
It can be difficult to use in cold situations. Also, doing all of the snaps make this not the best choice to select if you will be routinely removing and reconnecting it.
VechiclesForAll TIP: If you still don’t know which style of bed cover to choose, this video may be useful!
Truck Bed Cover Materials
Most covers are made from a similar selection of materials. These can be PVC vinyl, aluminum, high-impact plastics, polycarbonate, or fiberglass. For the most part, no matter the material the only maintenance required will be washing it with some good car soap and water, just like the rest of your truck.
If you have a cover that is made of vinyl you will need to add some UV protection at regular intervals for the longest life of your cover.
Why Do They Call it a Tonneau Cover?
The short answer here is to blame the French. As you go back to when automobiles were just coming out many would feature a rear passenger section that was not covered. Oftentimes in the earliest models, this was kind of round and looked similar to a barrel. Instead of just calling it the barrel, the makers of these cars would use the French word for “cask”, tonneau.
Companies would sell a covering for this area to keep it dry in times of rain and to stop buffering while the car was being driven and no one was in that section. As you might suspect these came to be known as tonneau covers.
As time progressed on fewer and fewer vehicles came an uncovered rear passenger section. However, trucks did have a large open storage area. As companies started putting out covers for these sections they needed something to call them and they decided to go with the tonneau cover name.
So despite the fact that most likely neither you nor your truck is French and the bed of your truck looks nothing like a barrel (and you’ve probably not even hauled casks in your truck) the name has stuck. Few people even care where the name comes from and merely accept it as that’s just what you call it.
Do I Need A Tonneau Truck Bed Cover?
When it comes time to select a cover be sure to take a few moments to consider the reasons that you want to add a tonneau cover to your truck. These will help you to determine the exact style that you should select.
Now that you know the history and what this truck bed cover is, let’s take a moment to think about some of the reasons you might want to put one on your pickup truck.
The first thing to consider is adding one for security. An uncovered bed doesn’t do much to stop anyone from reaching in and grabbing anything from inside. A tonneau cover however can at least cover whatever you have in the bed of your truck.
While soft covers might not stop a determined individual, there are some hardcovers some of which even have locks for an added level of protection.
Another point is for the protection of your bed and gear. A cover can keep your stuff out of the elements. While it can totally block the sun, most covers are not completely rainproof. They will keep the vast bulk of the rain off. There might still be some moisture that gets into your truck bed (more on that below!).
Additionally, you might want to add one for its utility of it. Having a pickup truck to haul a load of scrap in over the weekend is great and can be really helpful. But you might want to not look like you were hauling a load of scrap when you go to pick up your date.
Is a Tonneau Cover Waterproof?
One reason that many people put a tonneau cover on their trucks is that they want to keep the things in their beds dry and protected from the sun while going out and about.
Keeping them out of the sun is simple, as the cover provides a solid layer the sun’s rays are blocked from getting to the items that you have placed in your truck’s bed.
VehiclesForAll TIP: Most tonneau truck bed covers are not completely rainproof! But if you are looking for cover against light rain the majority of them will cover you.
Rain though can be a different matter and the short answer to this is a resounding kind of. Most of the materials that these truck bed covers are made of are waterproof. And these bed covers tend to be fairly solid, so the majority of the bed is covered with waterproof material.
Then you start getting into the tricky areas. For example, the edges of the cover where it attaches to the side of your truck might be the weak link in the chain. These sections tend to have some holes or gaps that could let rain or other sources of water in. If you are just looking for mostly covered against a sprinkle or light rain the majority of the tonneau covers on the market will cover you.
On the other hand, if you are looking for total coverage in hard rains you might have to be a little more selective. Since the roll-up models of these truck bed covers have better coverage with fewer gaps. These models tend to cost more than some other options and you will lose some of the storage space for the area the cover needs to roll up. Few of these will be sold as a completely waterproof solution for your truck bed, but this style is still probably the best option.
Do Tonneau Truck Bed Covers Really Save Gas?
Everyone is looking to save money and some companies will tell you that a tonneau cover will save tons of gas for your truck since it is streamlining the bed.
However, looking at the science that answer falls into a bit of doubt. As you drive around, the cab and bed design of most trucks causes a “bubble” or swirling the air in the bed. When you drive the air passing over your truck passes over this bubble as though it were part of the truck as well. Putting a tonneau cover or replacing your tailgate with mesh interrupts that bubble and can actually hurt gas mileage when people do it to help.
VehiclesForAll TIP: At the end of the day any benefit or hindrance of covering your truck bed to your gas mileage will be minor.
The issue is further confused by the fact that many truck owners see an improvement in gas mileage when adding a tonneau cover. There are a few different ways to answer this muddle of science and consumers. The first goes to highway driving versus in-town driving. The higher speeds that you may reach on a highway seem to lend to better mileage with a cover. Lower speeds seem to do better without.
Another point to consider is that most trucks have different designs. Unless you are willing to test every tonneau cover design with every truck design you can’t really make a statement one way or another if these covers help or hurt gas mileage.
At the end of the day, any benefit or hindrance to your gas mileage will be minor. If you are only looking at a cover to improve gas mileage it might not be the best course of action. On the other hand, you shouldn’t be turned away from putting one on your truck as there are many other great reasons to add a truck bed cover.
How Do You Install a Tonneau Truck Bed Cover?
Installing a tonneau cover depends quite a bit on a number of specifics. For example, the style of bed cover that you select will play the largest role in how you go about installing one. There can be some differences based on the particular truck and size bed that you have. You will also need to consider what other accessories you have or are likely to add to your truck bed. Many of the popular accessories can work easily with the best tonneau covers on the market, though some will require special steps.
In general, the first thing that you need to determine to install your truck bed cover is to determine if it has separate rails or not. If it does not come with separate rails it is most likely a version of a soft bed cover. While this style won’t be the longest lasting it is one of the easiest to install and remove. These will generally have some style clamping mechanism. It will most likely swing down from underneath the cover to clamp into place once the cover has been positioned.
If you do have rails, as most of the best truck bed covers will, first you will need to attach these to your truck bed. For most situations, you will not need to drill to get these rails in place. The majority of models just require some bolts, so it will be useful to have something to help tighten them down, as well as an extra pair of hands or some clamps to hold them in place.
In some situations, such as sidestep trucks you may be required to do some drilling into the bed of your truck to securely fasten the rails. Most bed liners won’t interfere with the installation of your cover rails, but if they do you can simply cut a notch in the liner in the areas that you need access to in order to bolt it down.
Now that your rails are in place you can place your cover on. Some setups will have weather stripping or other accessories. For the most part, you will be able to spread out your cover and add whatever attachment method your chosen cover comes with. Most will end up using another bolt, so you’ll want to be ready to tighten it down to ensure that your cover is firmly attached.
Of course, there will be specific instructions for the cover that you have chosen. It is always a good idea to completely review the included instructions to make sure you understand all the steps, have all the pieces, and have all the tools that will be required prior to starting your installation (clamps, drills, screwdrivers, etc). Take special care at any point that will require you to drill in your truck bed. These holes will be forever.
Best Truck Bed Tonneau Covers for Sale – Prices and Where to Buy
When it comes time to consider purchase it is always important to keep your budget in your mind. With tonneau covers in particular there is quite a range. Some of this is based on the style of cover that you select as well as the size are other particulars of the cover. Some models can be had for as low as $200 or so. On the other end of the spectrum, you can get a high-quality option for $1,500 and up.
Now when you are looking at spending that amount of money you want to make sure that you have choices. Not just this is the model that they had on the shelf that day. In order to get that you will need to locate a store that has a wide selection, but you also want to make sure it is a company that you can trust.
Luckily, Amazon offers all the selection you need and has become a very trustworthy business over the years. Going with a large online store such as Amazon means that you will be able to get the style and size cover that you really want and not have to settle. Also, with their ability to buy in bulk you will often find a very competitive price for the choice that you make
Make sure that you properly install and secure your cover. A poorly installed tonneau cover can come off at the worst possible time and might cause damage to your gear but could also easily damage other cars on the road. You don’t want your cover to fly off and cause a serious accident.
Best Tonneau Covers For Your Truck Bed – Conclusion
With that, you should have all the knowledge you need to pick out the best truck bed cover for your particular needs. We started off going over six of the top options on the market today. Out of those in our line up we felt that the Tyger Auto Tri-Fold Tonneau Truck Bed Cover was clearly the best option in the market today.
After that, we launched into a buyer’s guide. Here we covered not only what a tonneau cover is and how it came to be known by that goofy name, but also the different styles and some of the most important considerations to make when it comes time to make a purchase. This means that you won’t only know which is the best but why it is the best tonneau cover available today.
Lastly, we’d love to hear from you! Do you have experience keeping your stuff safe with one of these covers? If so, we’d love for you to leave a note in the comment section below.