What is the Best Tonneau Cover for My Truck

Types of Truck Tonneau Covers

It can be difficult to find a tonneau cover for your pickup truck. Many styles are available on the market; the covers come have a huge variety of capacities, utilities, and functionalities; and they all have different prices. With this kind of diversity, it’s easy to understand why finding the one that’s perfect for your needs isn’t easy as it might sound. Would you prefer one that’s low-profile and which will save you gas money, but which costs more to purchase? Would you prefer a cover that’s hard and retractable, or one which is soft and which pulls apart easily? Would you like one that stays attached onto your truck, or is it better for you if you get one that you can take off whenever you need to put it away? The type of cover you’re looking for—and the type you eventually end up buying—will determine everything about the cover: what contexts you’ll use it for, how often you’ll use it, how versatile it will be.

Toolbox Covers

The first type of cover we’ll talk about today is known as toolbox cover. This term refers to covers which are designed so that they’re shorter than your truck bed; the extra room allows you to place a toolbox over the rail (hence the name). Some such covers even already include a toolbox directly into the cover.

  • Hard cover
  • Space for a toolbox
  • Some models come with a toolbox

Retractable Covers

Second up is the retractable cover. These are hard, but you can retract them to access your stuff with no problems. You can access the entire bed, and you can even do so with one hand. They can sit inside and outside the rails of your truck bed, although the former provides you with a much more convenient fit. They work efficiently, and their design is aerodynamic as well. They’re made out of aluminum, which is strong yet lightweight at the same time. These covers are stored in a kind of canister form when you don’t need them; the canister needs to be cleaned often, and is stored at the front end of your truck bed. Many models also feature a lock and key, for additional security.

  • Hard cover; can be soft as well
  • Retracts so that you can access your stuff easily
  • Aluminum build
  • Stores in canister when not in use
  • Most models have lock and key

Roll-Up Covers

Another type of cover is the roll-up cover. These aerodynamic covers are made of vinyl—often marine-grade vinyl, which scratch-resistant and very durable—and, as such, they can easily be folded away when not in use. It takes seconds to pull them aside to give you access to the truck; you won’t need to remove them to access your cargo. They’re generally simple to both install and remove. As for closing mechanisms, they offer various means of doing so: they have use snaps, clips, or latches.

  • Soft cover
  • Aerodynamic and low-profile
  • Easy to install and remove
  • Close with latches, clips, and snaps

Hinged Covers

Fourth, hinged tonneau covers are those which function by (you guessed it) hinges. They will keep thieves at bay, on account of both their hinges and because their over-the-tailgate design ensures safer usage. All the while they’re protecting you, they’re also providing you with solid, durable builds and aesthetic appeal, thanks to their contours, low-profile spoilers, and stylized ribs. They also are painted at the factory, with the result that they’ll be the same color as the body of your truck. You can install and remove them to your truck within minutes. Although most hinged covers are hard, some have a soft design which allows for easier manipulation.

  • Hard cover
  • Hinging mechanism offers greater protection
  • Stylish design
  • Safe and secure

Folding Covers

Fifth, there are also folding covers. These allow you to access all the contents of your truck bed at record speed, and naturally you won’t need to remove the cover to do so. They’re easy to install and remove, but their particular forte lies in protecting your stuff against the elements and harsh weather conditions. These covers come in the soft form—made out of vinyl that’s solid but which remains easy to manipulate—and the hard form, in which the construction is strong panels made of aluminum. Hard-folding covers can carry several hundred pounds of weight at once—up to 400 pounds, in some cases. Folding covers often come in the tri-fold form (i.e., they have 3 folding sections).

  • Hard or soft
  • Folds up so you can access goods quickly
  • Easy to manipulate


What Kind Should I Get?

Thus, there remains the question of which tonneau cover will suit the needs of you and your pickup. The answer to this question depends, of course, on what you’re using your truck for. If, for example, you often need to use the bed of your truck without a cover at all—if you carry bigger items (such as furniture and large boxes), for example, or if you need to keep things solid strapped down with ropes—then you’ll want a cover that can easily be removed. Thus, a hard folding tonneau cover is appropriate. A roll-up cover might be appropriate if, on the contrary, you often travel without a cover because of weather conditions in your area.

Another factor is how much you’ll need to access your goods. If you like separating your bed into different sections, then you’ll want a cover which will allow you to access the various parts of the bed at will. A folding cover will be ideal for this, as well as a retractable cover. Hinged covers are a better choice if you access your goods all at once.

The third factor what kind of goods you’re storing. Hard covers—such as toolbox covers, hard retractable covers, and hard folding covers—tend to offer more solid protection than their softer counterparts, so they might be a good choice if you transport more fragile items, like glass products and electronics. In contrast, if you carry only the essentials in your truck bed (rope, a spare tire, and so forth), a soft cover is a good choice.

Fourthly and finally, security issues (and threats thereof) will affect the type of cover you should choose. Soft covers—like soft retractable covers, soft folding covers, and roll-up covers, are easier to remove—makes them easier for thieves to access. The same can be said for retractable covers that don’t have a locking mechanism. Thus, bringing a soft cover out on a camping trip is one thing—but, if you plan to use your truck in urban environments, a hard hinged cover is a better choice.

Ultimately, the tonneau cover you end up purchasing depends on what you’ll use your truck for in the future. But whatever you do, be sure to search carefully, and not to make a decision until you’re absolutely ready; this way, you can make the most informed choice. Best of luck in your search! 🙂

How to Clean a Tonneau Cover Step by Step Guide

If you need to clean your tonneau cover, you might be a bit lost about the specifics of it. Maybe it’s your first time owning a pickup, or maybe you simply never learned how to do it properly and would to know more about this topic. Whatever the case is, it never hurts to get a refresher on the finer points of cleaning a tonneau cover. This guide will help you in that regard. So, without further ado, here is an explanation of how you clean a tonneau cover.

Here are some reasons why you’ll need to clean your cover:

  • You just bought the cover recently;
  • You have the same cover as before, but you’ve changed trucks;
  • You’re taking your truck out again now that winter is over; and
  • It’s your first truck bed cover.

Step-1   Keep the owner’s’ manual handy.

  • There might be some things you’re not aware of, so it’s better to check the manual
  • If the manual says you’ll need help, ask a friend to assist you

Cleaning a tonneau cover can be pretty straightforward—but first, you have to make sure that there aren’t any model-specific instructions that apply to your pickup in particular. To deal with this problem, read the instruction manual to see if there’s a section on cleaning your truck. If there is, follow the steps. Some manuals might require that you have someone else help you, so be sure to take this into account as well.

Step-2   Remove the cover, and find a shady area.

  • You can do it in your garage, or park under some trees

Remove the cover so that you can clean it. To clean your cover in the most efficient way possible, a shady area is preferable. Consider parking your pickup under some trees, or—if you have one—park it in your garage.

Step-3   Spray your cover with water.

The next step is to spray water on your cover To do so, you can use a bucket, but spray the water, rather than dumping it outside the bucket.

Step-4   Prepare a cleaning solution, then clean the cover.

  • To create this you’ll need car-washing solution, water, and a scrub brush.

This solution is easy to make. Simply pour half a cup of car-wash solution inside a bucket, then top the rest off with warm water. However, if you have a soft cover (made of vinyl or other soft materials), use a specialized tonneau cover cleaner, and preferably one with conditioners and protection from UV rays. Next, use a scrub brush to start spreading this solution over the cover. Clean the cover, from the center, outward to the edges. Don’t apply a lot of pressure, and move the brush gently from side to side as you work. If the dirt is stubborn, soak the brush for 5 minutes before you continue.

Step-5   Once you’re done, rinse the cover and leave it to dry.

  • You’ll need clean water for this, as well as somewhere to store your cover.

Rinse off the soaped-up cover; naturally, you should use clean water. Leave it to dry; once it’s dried properly, you can place it back inside your truck. There you go: now you’re done. Great job!

How to Install a Tonneau Cover A Guide to Truck Bed Cover Installations

There are different methods of installing tonneau covers. The specific method depends, of course, on the model of tonneau you have. Here are some examples of methods:

  • Simply fit the cover into your truck bed;
  • Drill holes into the bed so that the cover can slot nicely inside;
  • Use wrenches and other tools so that the cover can fit.

In this guide, we’ll explain a method that can be used to install most tonneau covers.

1- Read the user guide first.

  • The instruction manual comes included with the package.

Be sure to check the user guide that came with your cover. You don’t want to mess up by making an avoidable mistake, after all. It will tell you the tools you may need, inform you whether or not you need a friend to help you out, and give you an idea of how long installation will take.

2- If applicable, attach cover’s rails to the bed of your truck.

  • If it’s an over-the-bed liner, you might have to cut into it.

Not everyone tonneau cover has rails; some of them don’t have frames (soft covers, for example). However—for those that do have rails—you’ll have to attach the rails to your truck bed. This is fine for under-the-bed liners. But in the case of over-the-bed liners, the installation guide might require that you cut notches into it. Be sure to carefully follow the instructions if that’s the case.

3- Align the rails together and tighten the mounting hardware accordingly.

  • The mounting hardware may or may not be included in the package.
  • If it’s not, be sure to purchase the right pieces, as indicated in the guide.

Aligning the rails is necessary so that you can proceed onto the second half of this step: tightening all the mounting hardware. Ensure that they’ve been aligned so that they’re as perfectly parallel as possible. Once you’re done tightening, make sure that the hardware is done up tightly enough so that it won’t come loose.

4- Install the accessories that may have been included.

  • These include seals—both tailgate seals and cab-side seals.

The package may have included tailgate or cab-side seals to hold the cover together and keep everything in place. If your package does indeed have these things, now’s the time to attach them inside your cover. Follow the directions carefully.

5- Place the top above of the rails.

  • Be gentle in doing this, as you don’t want to hurt yourself.
  • The cover should be positioned evenly, and not crooked.

Gently place the top of the cover onto the rails. Remember: the cover should be sitting evenly on top of the your truck bed. If it’s not sitting evenly, then you’ll have to go back and adjust the way you’ve aligned the rails.

6- Look out for any problems in the sealing surfaces.

  • These include bulging or gaps which are clearly visible.

Are there any bulges or gaps which shouldn’t be there? If that’s the case—or if the cover isn’t positioned straight on top of the gasket in a way that doesn’t compress the latter—you’ll have to adjust the rails again. You might have to keep modifying the rails’ position, so that’s something you’ll definitely need to take into account.

7- If drainage tubes were included, connect and reroute them.

  • They must be rerouted to the corners of the bed.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Drainage tubes don’t come with every tonneau cover, but, when they do, they can be a real pain to install. You’ll have to connect them, as well as reroute them so that they go into the corners of your truck bed. If you’re having trouble, you can always ask a buddy for help; two heads, as the saying goes, work better than one.

That was the last step (unless the guide indicates otherwise), so now you have an awesome new cover installed in your truck bed. Amazing! Go out and have some fun on the road ahead.