2022 Best Tonneau Cover Buying Guide
Rain, snow, sleet and the wind can play havoc on anything in the back of your truck. Not only that, but anyone can steal whatever you put in your truck bed without much effort. That open truck bed also means a ton of wind drag, making your truck less fuel efficient.
A tonneau cover solves all of those problems. Depending on what it is made out of, a tonneau cover keeps the items in your truck bed dry, many can be locked to keep thieves out and they cover the bed, meaning a few extra miles per gallon which saves you money in the long run. Those benefits aside, tonneau covers just make a truck look cooler, giving it a more sleek, polished finish.
All tonneau covers are not the same, however. Before latching onto the first tonneau cover you see, read on to see the subtle differences in truck bed covers that could make one them the best tonneau cover to buy for you and your truck.
What Types Of Tonneau Covers Are There?
There are really two basic types of tonneau covers - hard and soft. Both hard and soft covers can offer decent protection of equipment in your truck from the elements and they both are excellent for ensuring that your gear does not fly out of your truck bed when you are driving. There are significant security differences, though.
Soft tonneau covers are the least expensive tonneau covers and are usually made of heavy-duty vinyl stretched over foam pieces. Although they can keep your tools and equipment out of sight, they can easily be cut with a knife so they can't really be used if you plan on keeping valuable tools and equipment in your truck in an unsecure location. They also fade and stretch over time, leaving the valuables in your truck bed susceptible to water from rain and snow that leaks in through the gaps.
Hard tonneau covers are more expensive but much more secure than soft tonneau covers. They are made of a variety of materials and when locked, make it extremely difficult for criminals to get to the valuables in your truck bed. They also do not stretch so they are much more watertight than soft bed covers.
Because long lasting value is important to us, we sell only hard tonneau covers on this website. Choosing the best hard tonneau cover will come down to several factors:
There are four styles of tonneau covers and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Some of these styles are available as soft or hard covers:
Hard Folding Tonneau Covers - These are hard covers made up of multiple panels that fold on top of each other. The slats allow you to keep some of the bed covered, all of the bed covered or none of it, giving you a lot of flexibility - especially if you are transporting larger items.
Roll-Up Tonneau Covers - The most popular type of truck bed cover, roll-up tonneau covers open at the rear of your truck and then roll up to any point on the truck bed, giving you easy access to part or all of your truck bed. The majority of them are soft covers that roll up, however some companies, like Access and BAK Industries, make roll up covers that are made of metal slats, forming a hard, more secure cover.
Retractable Tonneau Covers - These can often be the most expensive type of tonneau cover - especially if they are electric. Usually made with hard, heavy duty aluminum slats, the tonneau cover retracts from the end of the truck bed into a cannister near the cab and can be stopped and locked at any point in between. Retractable truck bed covers are the only hard type of cover that gives you 100% rear window visibility at all times, retracted or not. Simple one-hand operation allows you to manually slide the cover into any retracted position or, for the ultimate in convenience, electric retractable tonneau covers are available that let you retract the cover with the push of a button.
- Hinged Tonneau Covers - Hinged tonneau covers are available as hard covers only and are, perhaps, the best looking truck bed cover type because there are no seams. A simple one piece design that is hinged to your bed near the cab, you simply lift at the tailgate end and tilt it up. They are not practical if you want to drive with larger items that need to protrude higher than your truck bed, however, and they are "all or nothing" - either fully up or fully down and require considerably more effort to lift than than all other covers.
Will The Tonneau Cover Fit My Truck?
The best tonneau cover for a Ram 1500 may not be the best one for a Ford F150 and it certainly would not fit both trucks.
A perfect fit is essential so that your truck bed cover not only fits securely, but also keeps the rain and snow out. Unless you own an ultra-new truck model with significant changes from the older model, there is an extremely good chance that there is a tonneau cover made specifically for your exact truck.
We have made it extremely easy to ensure that you get the perfect fit for your specific truck. Just click the "Select Your Vehicle" button near the top-right of any page of this website, fill in your year, make, model and bed size, and you'll see all of the different tonneau covers that we carry in stock that fit your truck exactly. Or, if there is a tonneau cover that you know you already like, you can fill out your vehicle's information directly on that cover's page to see if it is available for your particular truck.
Don't see your truck's year/make/model/bed size? That's fine. We don't list every single tonneau cover we carry on this website. Just Contact Us and we'll let you know if there is a tonneau cover available for your truck (there probably is).
Can I Have A Toolbox Or Rack With A Tonneau Cover?
The answer to this question is not only vehicle-specific but it also depends greatly on the type of tonneau cover you select.
There are some tonneau covers that do not work with attached truck tool boxes that are mounted at or above the height of the truck bed. Fortunately, when that is the case, we have made a notation to that effect on any tonneau cover you select.
If you don't already have a truck toolbox and want to know for sure that your tonneau cover will accommodate the toolbox you add, your best bet is to purchase a BAK Revolver or BAKflip tonneau cover. They were designed to work perfectly with a BAKBox 2 Tonneau Toolbox!
Why Do You Want A Tonneau Cover?
The reason you want a tonneau cover has a major impact on the type of tonneau cover you will want to buy.
If you just want to keep things covered temporarily as you drive and are not concerned with thieves stealing what is in your truck, pretty much any tonneau cover - hard or soft - will fit the bill.
If you decide that a hard cover is the only way to go, you can rest assured that we probably have the right tonneau cover for you. All of our tonneau covers are hard covers (we don't sell soft ones), but there are many other characteristics that may make one better than another for you. These factors include durability, ease of installation, maximum security, ease of operation, how easy they are to clean and more.
Read on to see some of the other factors you should consider before making a purchase ...
How Durable Is The Tonneau Cover?
Naturally, soft covers are not nearly as durable as hard tonneau covers. They also cannot handle anywhere close to the weight that hard covers can have placed upon them. All hard covers can handle at least 300 pounds of weight evenly distributed, many can handle up to 400 pounds and a couple of our retractable tonneau covers can handle up to 500 pounds of evenly distributed weight.
PLEASE NOTE: "Evenly distributed" means just that. A 300 pound man would surely be able to lay down across a tonneau cover but even a tonneau cover rated at 500 pounds would not hold up if he tried to stand on it, since all of the weight would be concentrated in the same small area.
What Is The Tonneau Cover Warranty?
Different tonneau covers have different warranty terms and lengths, even within the same brand. Typically, the more durable covers have longer warranties.
- Access Original Roll-Up Tonneau Cover: 5 Years
- Access LiteRider Roll-Up Tonneau Cover: 3 Years
- Access Vanish Roll-Up Tonneau Cover: 3 Years
- Access Tonnosport Roll-Up Tonneau Cover: 2 Years
- BAKFlip MX4 Folding Tonneau Cover: 5 Years
- BAKFlip F1 Folding Tonneau Cover: 5 Years
- Revolver X4S Roll-Up Tonneau Cover: 5 Years
- BAKFlip G2 Folding Tonneau Cover: 3 Years
- BAKFlip FiberMax Folding Tonneau Cover: 3 Years
- Revolver X2 Roll-Up Tonneau Cover: 3 Years
- RetraxPRO MX Retractable Tonneau Cover: Lifetime Warranty
- RetraxPRO XR Rack Integrated Retractable Tonneau Cover: Lifetime Warranty
- PowertraxONE MX Electric Retractable Tonneau Cover: Limited Lifetime Warranty, prorated after 3 years
- RetraxONE MX Retractable Tonneau Cover: Limited Lifetime Warranty, prorated after 1 year
- RetraxONE XR Rack Integrated Retractable Tonneau Cover: Limited Lifetime Warranty, prorated after 1 year
Is The Tonneau Cover Waterproof?
As previously mentioned, soft tonneau covers start out being fairly decent at keeping rain and snow out of your truck bed but over time, they stretch, causing them to not only flap in the wind, but once that happens, all kinds of water will come pouring into your truck bed.
All of the tonneau covers sold on this website offer excellent protection against rain and are either completely leakproof or offer a seal kit to make them air tight.
How Easy Is The Tonneau Cover To Use?
Ease of use is especially important when you are alone or have something in one of your hands. It can also be important with some tonneau covers if the person operating the cover does not have a whole lot of strength.
The easiest cover of them all to use is an electric retractable cover. The push of a button on a key fob allows you to open or close the cover automatically to any state of openness.
The next easiest is a manual retractable cover, followed by a roll-up tonneau cover.
Because there are usually only three main foldable slats, each one weighs a few more pounds than some weaker individuals might be able to lift, so folding tonneau covers are one of the more difficult hard tonneau covers to use - especially with one hand. The hardest of all are hinged covers because the weight of the entire cover is in your hands as you lift it.
How Easy Is Tonneau Cover Installation?
A lot of cheaper tonneau covers require you to drill holes in your truck bed or rails which not only makes installation difficult, but it increases the potential for leaks, rust and actual damage to your truck if installed incorrectly.
Fortunately, the tonneau covers sold on this website are all designed to be installed without the use of any drilling. Clamps and screws hold the cover or the tracks that they glide on in place, which not only makes them easier to install, it makes them more waterproof and incapable of doing major harm to your truck bed.
PLEASE NOTE: Some truck models' bed configurations may require a moderate amount of drilling with certain tonneau covers. We have noted those cases on the product pages when that is the case for your particular year/make/model
How Much Does The Tonneau Cover Cost?
As is the case with everything in life, you get what you pay for with tonneau covers. The more durable they are, the more they cost. The easier they are to use, the more they cost. Better security also means added cost.
If you have an unlimited budget, the decision is easy - get whatever one has every single feature you want. If you're like most people, though, you'll need to weigh the various considerations listed above and decide what is most important to you. Then, find the covers that meet the most important criteria that are still within your budget and make a choice.
If money is the sole consideration, you can use the "Sort By" box near the top-right of any group of products and list the products on that page by price, going from low to high (descending) or high to low (ascending).