Americans love their trucks, regardless if it’s a Ford, Ram, or Chevy. And thanks to modern innovations, they have become incredibly versatile vehicles. One of the ways they are versatile is their open beds, you can stick whatever you want in there.
Of course, that open design comes with downsides. The bed itself and anything in it is completely exposed the elements, especially bad if you don’t properly tie stuff down. This is where Tonneau covers come in. Simple and affordable, these covers can protect your belongings without hindering the use of your truck bed.
There are a ton of options when it comes Tonneau covers, and if you don’t know what you’re looking for it can be hard to make the right choice. So, to help you, we’ve compiled a list of different Tonneau covers and their best and worst aspects.
One Piece Covers
You’ve likely seen plenty of these, these simple covers have been around for a while, but they’re still used today for good reason. They use gas struts to open up, are usually made out of fiberglass, last for years, and are easy to replace. They hold up against the elements great and can be matched to any truck color
When it comes to their negatives, they do limit the height of objects you can place in your bed. And driving around with the cover open is not a good idea. If you regularly haul tall objects in your truck this isn’t for you, but for everyone else, one piece covers are a cheap and route to protecting your truck bed.
Folding Panel Covers
These may look similar to one piece covers on the outside, but their mechanisms are quite different. As their name suggests, they fold up to open your bed. They’re usually made out of softer materials, so they’re not as protective as one piece covers, but they do allow you to easily haul taller items. You can also find folding covers made out of harder composite materials, which are more expensive, but better protect against thieves and the elements.
There’s a lot of variety in how the cover folds up, some allowing you to drive while they’re folded up while some don’t. We recommend closely looking at how the cover you’re considering folds before making any purchases.
These are very popular today. The way these covers roll-up allows for easy access to the bed and are available at many budgets. From cheaper, softer covers to aluminum or composite slats that offer the most protection, for the highest price.
These covers, especially budget ones, can be a bit tricky to install though. They can also be prone to leaking if they use cheap sealing materials such as Velcro, so watch out for that.
Finally we reach our most expensive and protective option, retractable covers. Made out of metal or hardened composite materials, these covers will protect your load from the elements and thieves. They sit evenly with the bed sides, giving a clean appearance from every angle.
You can get manual and powered covers, depending on how much you’re willing to spend. They do connect to the truck end, which is unusual for covers and can prevent the hauling of longer objects. But if you can deal with that, they are the best all-around option when it comes to protecting stuff in your truck bed.