Are you tired of your pickup truck and wish to jazz it up a little with a truck bed cover? Not only should this tonneau cover be a stylish upgrade that looks good, but it must also be secure enough to keep your cargo in and the elements out. But what is the best tonneau cover for your truck? You may need to consider a few things before you settle on the cover you wish to buy. One of the crucial considerations is whether it is the best fit for your vehicle model.
Best Tonneau Cover: Editor’s Choice
Reliable tonneau cover reviews will give you the heads up on what to look out for when buying a truck bed cover. They also provide recommendations on the top-rated hard tonneau covers out there. Our review has done the grunt work for you to make choosing your tonneau cover much easier. First, let’s start with the top ten best pickup bed covers.
10 Best Tonneau Cover Review:
1. Tyger Auto TG-BC3D1015 TRI-FOLD Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
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No doubt, your truck bed will be properly covered with one of the best truck tonneau cover solutions – the Tyger soft tri-fold tonneau cover. Designed to meet OE standards for quality, this tonneau cover is already fully assembled to make installation easy. With this tonneau cover, it is quite easy to get to your stuff in the truck bed. At the same time, this Tyger tonneau cover protects your cargo against the elements.
Your Tyger soft tri-fold tonneau cover is sleek and is designed to give your truck a customized appearance. It can be fitted on top of the rails of your truck bed. Once this tonneau cover is installed on your truck, you can achieve around 12% savings on the cost of the fuel you use.
The well-made and sturdy Tyger tonneau cover is appropriate for trucks with beds the length of 5.8 feet. It is also compatible with the 2009 – 2018 Dodge Ram 1500 vehicles but not compatible with the Ram Box. You definitely need to confirm the measurements of your truck bed before you order your tonneau cover.
- The Tyger soft tri-fold tonneau cover consists of a dual coated 24-ounce vinyl that is heavy duty (marine grade), sturdy frames made of aluminum and powder coated, and includes clamps made of stainless steel;
- The horizontal crossbars of the tonneau cover are already assembled to support the cover;
- Tyger tri-fold tonneau cover is very easy to install on the truck, no drilling tools required.
(You may need to cut small holes into the bed liner that is installed over the bedrail for the clamps).
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2. MaxMate Tri-Fold Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
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If you own a 2002 to 2018 Dodge Ram 1500, or even a 2003 to 2018 Dodge Ram 2500 / 3500 then the MaxMate Tri-fold tonneau cover is the right cover for your vehicle. Not only is this soft tonneau cover designed for your type of vehicle, but it is also easy to assemble and remove. For moving cargo that is bigger than your truck bed, it is easy to take the tonneau cover off.
You don’t need drilling tools to install your MaxMate tonneau cover. It is already put together so that installation is a quick and easy process. In addition to the protection, this tonneau cover provides for your load, there is the stylish elegance that enhances your truck’s design. Ideally, this tonneau cover works well with truck beds that are 6.5 feet in length. The MaxMate truck bed cover is not, however, made to accommodate the Ram Box.
While the MaxMate Tonneau cover is supplied already assembled, the installation instructions are quite vague. Notwithstanding this shortcoming, you can install this truck bed cover yourself or with some help if you prefer. You might find that the price is well within your budget so, you won’t need to be concerned whether you are paying enough for the best truck bed cover money can buy.
- The MaxMate tonneau cover is made of a dual coated 24-oz vinyl built for heavy-duty use, aluminum frames that are powder coated for greater durability, and comes with stainless steel clamps;
- The horizontal crossbars of the truck bed cover come already assembled;
- It is easy to install the MaxMate tonneau without drilling tools (although you will need to cut holes into the bed liner for clamps).
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3. Truxedo TruXport Roll-up Truck Bed Cover
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For the best roll-up tonneau cover that suits your vehicle select the Truxedo TruXport Roll-up Truck Bed Cover. Not only is this truck bed cover an attractive solution, but it is also made of high-quality materials that will last for a long time. Furthermore, you don’t have to become broke after you buy one!
It is easy to install your Truxedo TruXport truck bed cover on top of the bed rails, and it is quite simple to use it to protect against wear and tear or the weather. After you install it on your truck, the TruXport adds a distinctive style that makes your vehicle more attractive. Even if your truck uses a fifth wheel hitch, it would not stop you from using the Truxedo TruXport tonneau cover.
You might have a concern with the Velcro found on the sides of the truck bed cover – that they may become worn over time. There is also no easy way to replace the Velcro as the loop side is sewn to the cover. The two latches located at the back of the truck bed cover make it very easy for you to roll the cover so that it is out of the way when you are not using it.
- Reasonably priced roll-up tonneau cover;
- Installation is quick using clamps – install within 20 minutes;
- The cover is made to fit trucks with 5.8-inch beds;
- Tension control can be adjusted to keep tonneau cover tight;
- Increase security with the two latches included;
- Tonneau cover adds a distinctive style to the truck.
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4. Tonno Pro Tonno Fold 42-108 Tri-Fold Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
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Secure and protect your cargo with the Tonno Pro Tonno Fold Tri-folding truck bed cover. With this increasingly popular truck bed cover, you can ensure that whatever you have in your truck is not damaged by the elements or removed by thieves. Installation is quick and easy – in a matter of 10 minutes (or less) you can put up this pre-assembled tonneau cover without the need for drilling tools.
It is easy to fold this Tonno Pro truck bed cover as the three sections are hinged together. It is just as easy to take the cover away to allow you to transport loads that are too large. Conveniently, you can also fold your tonneau cover forward and lock it to accommodate small loads. A feature that has become a plus is the rubber flap located near the cab that allows the truck bed to remain dry even when it rains.
In addition to security and protection for your loads, you can enjoy higher fuel economy whenever you travel on the highway and other roads. The well-designed tonneau cover is also stylish and sleek which not only allow for better aerodynamics (that create fuel economy) but also enhance the way your truck looks. So, if you own a Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra 1500, 2500 HD, or a Silverado 2500 in the 2014 – 2018 model years, then this is the best truck tonneau cover for your vehicle.
- The Tonno Pro is made of heavy-duty vinyl that is double sided and tear-resistant with a black textured finish that is unique to the brand;
- The Tonno Pro truck bed cover is supplied pre-assembled, so installation is quick and easy (in less than 10 mins);
- With its patented design featuring the slide lock and E-Z clamps this tonneau cover provides secure storage;
- This tonneau cover is designed to keep truck bed dry with its front flap and weather tight Q-seal gasket.
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5. Gator Soft Tri-Fold Tonneau Truck Bed Cover
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With a reliable tonneau cover, you can shield your truck bed and its contents against rain, dust, snow, and other intruders. What makes this cover one of the best pickup bed covers you should own is the heavy-duty and tear resistant vinyl from which it is made. Not only will you enjoy using this durable soft folding tonneau cover, but you can expect it to add style to your truck’s appearance.
So, transporting your tools, camping gear, golf clubs, construction equipment, or anything in between is easy to do with the Gator Soft Tri-fold truck bed cover in place. This tonneau cover is also adequately sealed against moisture and even the tailgate will be secured with the tailgate seal provided. Few tonneau covers are able to secure the tailgate area like this one.
The Gator Soft tonneau cover is also supported by a frame and cross-bows made from aluminum to give it greater stability. No matter how fast you drive with this tri-fold tonneau cover on, you won’t lose it as it stays securely on the bed rails. Installing your tonneau cover is also quick and easy – you don’t need drills or other tools to do this. In fact, the quick latch system helps your installation and adjustments to fit your cover to the vehicle perfectly.
- The Gator Soft Tri-fold Tonneau cover is made for the Ford 150 model years 2015 – 2017 which have bed size of 5.5 ft.;
- This tonneau cover is an affordable, simple to use, and long-lasting soft folding cover;
- You can unlock this cover from underneath, and use a tailgate lock to secure your cargo;
- The tonneau cover is made from vinyl that is tear resistant and suitable for heavy-duty wear.
- It is supported by frames and crossbows made of anodized aluminum.
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6. Bestop 16212-01 EZ Fold Truck Tonneau Cover
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The best truck tonneau cover for your Chevy Silverado or GMC 1500 Crew Cab truck is the Bestop EZ Fold cover. Not only is this truck bed cover the easiest to install – no drilling necessary – but it is also secure and functional. Keep your stuff protected during all seasons whether rain or shine. Curious neighbors or thieves will also be kept out of this well-secured truck bed cover.
In addition to being secure and functional, the Bestop tonneau cover is attractive for your pickup. An added benefit of the Bestop cover is the fuel economy it brings as you save gas for every mile you drive. Forget about your tonneau cover coming loose as the latches have been integrated into the fabric to allow you to lock it tight so that it remains in place no matter how fast you drive.
The material that makes up this tonneau cover is a heavy-duty vinyl that has been treated with UV-ray protective coating to keep it weatherproof. It is also quite durable as it keeps its shape no matter what nature and tough driving conditions had to throw at it. Furthermore, the Bestop truck bed cover is supported by an aviation grade aluminum frame that is not only strong but lightweight. Trusted by truck owners nationwide the Bestop EZ Fold tonneau cover is your solution for a secure and effective truck bed cover.
- The best cover is made of high-quality leather-grain vinyl/polyester fabric that keeps flexible even during freezing weather conditions;
- Designed with a low-profile rail and hinge as well as corners that are reinforced to keep cover stable;
- Suitable for trucks with 5’.8” beds;
- Comes with aluminum frames that keep the tonneau cover supported;
- Frames also give the truck bed cover its smooth look;
- Buckle straps help to keep your folded truck bed cover together to the bed rail in front. You can also remove the cover completely to access your truck bed.
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7. BAK Industries 48126 Tonneau Cover
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BAK Industries has produced a tonneau cover that can be ranked among the top rated hard tonneau covers on the market. The BAKFlip MX4 folding truck bed cover is a folding cover that is hard as well as durable. It is made for truck owners and drivers who put their trucks to the test every time they are on the road.
Not only is this heavy-duty tonneau cover the best protection against the elements, but it is also secure against any attempt to steal what’s inside. It also features a tailgate seal that is integrated so that you can close the tailgate whether the cover is down or up. You won’t have to trouble yourself to access your truck bed whenever you want – just unlatch the cover and put it away.
Its sleek and modern style also enhances the appearance of your Chevy Colorado pickup. Furthermore, with this tonneau cover on, your fuel mileage improves. The BAKFlip MX4 truck bed cover is also very easy to install yourself, or if you prefer, you can get professional help to install it.
- It is easy to clamp this hard folding truck bed cover without the need for drilling;
- BAK Tonneau cover offers excellent protection against snow, rain, the sun, dirt, and theft;
- Suitable for the short bed (5 feet) Chevy Colorado model years 2015-2016;
- Made with aviation grade aluminum panels;
- Although this cover is lightweight, it is quite durable.
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8. Lund 96893 Genesis Elite Roll-Up Tonneau Cover
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Perhaps the best roll-up tonneau cover for your make and model of the pickup truck is the Genesis Elite Roll-Up truck bed cover. This low profile and soft tonneau cover feature a premium quality, luxurious twill fabric that provides durability for your truck. Not only does this truck bed cover provide functionality and protection you need, but it also offers a sleek top for your vehicle.
You can roll your cover-up in seconds to get to your truck bed whenever you need to. With its gauges to adjust the tension and its reliable Velcro side seals the Genesis Elite tonneau cover remains tight yet secure. The aerodynamics of your truck also improves with the installation of this Genesis Elite cover. This feature accounts for the savings in fuel consumption you will enjoy.
One feature you will appreciate is the rolling of the cover along with the bows and bars toward the front of the truck bed. When it is rolled, the truck bed cover takes up very little space and you can strap it together with nylon straps. In addition, the vivid color and specially designed twill weave fabric contribute to the Genesis Elite’s luxurious appearance that you don’t have to do much to maintain. Dirt is not trapped in the fabric, so you can easily dust it off.
- Keeps what you have in your truck hidden;
- Improves fuel economy and reduces drag;
- The material is made of a high-quality twill weave to protect against mold, water, dirt and UV damage;
- Controls for the tension are easy to use to keep your tonneau cover tight;
- Your truck bed cover comes already assembled to make installing it much easier;
- The tonneau cover is easy to clean – no need for chemical cleaners;
- The texture of this truck bed cover is made of a one-of-a-kind fabric that cannot trap dirt.
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9. Hard Folding Tonneau Cover
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The Extang Solid Fold 2.0 is among the top rated hard tonneau covers you can find on the market. This dent-resistant tri-fold tonneau cover with snap-on seals is your solution for secure and effective protection against the weather and unwanted intruders.
If your vehicle is a Dodge Ram between 2009 to 2018 this hard folding truck bed cover is the perfect fit. It fits even better if your bed size is 5’ 7”. It is not hard to install your Extang Solid Fold 2.0 cover as it is fully assembled and ready to connect to your truck. With its textured matte finish, this tonneau cover adds style to your Ram pickup.
Lightweight yet strong, this cover’s panels are EnduraShield with polypropylene core that keeps it durable for a long time to come. An added benefit is that this material is cool during days of sizzling temperatures and the color does not fade. Trust the professional engineering of the Solid Fold 2.0’s durable panels and stiff frame.
- The tonneau cover is pre-assembled so, you can install it immediately;
- The cover is light and easy to open and close;
- Mount on top of your bed rail;
- Spring loaded locks and latch secure your cover also to the tailgate;
- Features a new design that uses solid Polymer rubber corners and hinge caps;
- Also features Thermoplastic skin made for your motor vehicle.
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10. Retrax 80467 PRO MX Retractable Truck Bed Cover
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No doubt, the Retrax 80467 Pro MX Retractable truck bed cover is among the best truck tonneau cover solutions for your Chevy and GMC Long Bed pickups. Your RetraxPRO MX tonneau cover is constructed with high-performance aluminum slats that are covered with a coating of black matte powder to provide strong support for your loads.
With sealed ball-bearing rollers mounted onto every section, it is easy to do retractable opening and closing (you can do this with one hand!) without springs, snaps or straps. Ball-bearings prevent this retractable cover from being stuck when you open or close it.
Your pickup’s appearance is even enhanced with the patented low-profile design, and it is matched by the RetraxPRO MX’s black matte finish. The tight seal of your tonneau cover not only provides security for your cargo, but it also keeps your truck bed watertight and dry. It also looks good! The RetraxPRO MX is supplied with the stake pocket holes removed from the side rails provided so that you can install accessories requiring access to these areas of your truck’s bed.
- The tonneau cover is very strong thanks to its industrial-strength aluminum structure;
- It is easy to install and use – closes and opens freely with sealed ball bearings;
- Does not scratch easily thanks to its hard matte finish;
- You can lock this cover in any position to keep your load safe;
- You can also keep it open when and where you choose;
- Works even when you have to tow with your 5th wheel;
- Helps you to save fuel mileage up to 10 percent.
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Buying Guide: Things To Consider Before Choosing a Tonneau Cover
OK, so you are looking for the right tonneau cover for your open back pickup truck. It is not so easy to pick out one without first checking things out on reliable tonneau cover reviews and buying guides. That said, you will find your solution among the top brands on the market.
Without a truck bed cover, your open back pickup leaves everything exposed. Not only are your contents open to the public eye, but they are also unprotected against the different weather conditions. Snow, rain, and dew can cause your cargo to become damaged by being wet or exposed to moisture. Also, your cargo can become exposed to dust and other foreign particles. Wind can also blow items away, especially if they are not secured in your truck. Items can also bounce around when you drive. Furthermore, without the tonneau cover, your load if left unattended for an extended period will fade as the sun beats down on it.
So you see, there are good reasons to want to buy a tonneau cover for your truck. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to consider when choosing your next tonneau cover. Check out our another top review Article Best Jeep Wrangler led headlight.
If you are most concerned about the security of whatever you transport in your pickup, then a hard tonneau cover is your best bet. The truck bed covers you select must first protect against the harsh weather conditions – that is from snow, rain, and heavy wind. Every tonneau cover on the market is designed to provide some protection against ultraviolet sunrays and to keep the powerful wind from disturbing your truck’s bed.
For keeping your cargo dry, the tonneau cover to choose must provide superior seals that keep water out. You have the option also to choose covers made with sophisticated drains to channel rainwater off your truck. This kind of tonneau cover is ideal if you live in an area that receives several inches of snow each winter. Certainly, to manage snow conditions, a hard tonneau cover is the preferable choice. Even if you are shown a soft tonneau cover that has adequate braces, it might not be suitable for handling heavy snowfall in your location.
While many truck bed covers offer coverage against the different weather conditions, you must also make sure the best truck bed cover for your vehicle also provides real security against thieves. This is a concern if you know you run the risk of losing your cargo or stock to thieves. Hard tonneau covers that can be securely locked are best in this situation. Even with soft tonneau covers that are locked with the tailgate, full security against robbery is not guaranteed. After all, a thief who is bent on removing your cargo can easily cut through the material of the soft tonneau cover.
Another consideration that is often overlooked is the reduction in fuel use created by the improved aerodynamics of your truck. With a well-designed tonneau cover, that also adds style to your vehicle, you can gain great fuel mileage efficiency, which translates into lower fuel costs for you. Check with your supplier to ensure that the tonneau cover being recommended offers less drag while you drive.
In addition to the functionality offered by tonneau covers, truck owners want to improve the style of their trucks. Well-designed tonneau covers not only offer protection against weather and thieves, they also improve the truck’s appearance. Another benefit of purchasing your tonneau cover is that it conceals an unsightly truck bed. You know, the one that is scratched, dented, and battered. As long as the tonneau cover fits well with your truck, it will do a great job of making even the most dented and scratched truck bed look good.
An important consideration when choosing the best cover for your truck is how you use your vehicle. If you use your truck frequently to haul cargo that is taller than the rails, then the style of tonneau cover you choose would be different from the style you would have chosen if you do not use your truck to transport tall cargo. Whether you prefer hard or soft tonneau covers, the way you use your truck will determine the type and style of truck bed cover to buy.
Of course, whatever tonneau cover you eventually choose would need to fit within your budget. It’s no use taking out a mortgage or a high-interest loan to finance your purchase. There are many great tonneau covers available on the market at reasonable costs. Your research will uncover the best tonneau truck cover that you can afford. Offhand, the rolling tonneau cover is usually less costly than the retractable and hard tonneau covers. You might also find high-quality tonneau covers at ridiculously low prices that are also backed by extended warranty.
Different Types of Tonneau Covers
There are several options to choose from when considering the best cover for your truck. Here are three popular types to consider:
The roll-up tonneau:
This cover is the kind you roll so that you can get to your truck bed easily. It is suitable for you if you regularly need to access sections of your truck bed. It can be partially or fully opened, and it rolls up all the way to the cab. To close your roll up, secure it onto the bedrails with Velcro, snaps, or seals that are tongue-and-groove. Most roll-ups feature a layer of vinyl although others on the market offer support under the top layer of vinyl.
The soft roll-up tonneau cover is made with rails so that it can sit flush with the rails of your truck bed. This is a very low profile roll-up cover that features cross braces that curve and can be bolted below the cover layer. Run these across the truck bed to support the cover against the weight of snow. If you prefer the hard roll-up tonneau cover, then the one featuring the vinyl layer over a layer of aluminum slats is the solution for your truck. When closed fully the slats are aligned and locked into place to form a hard layer that not only provides coverage for your truck but also provides support for up to 400 pounds in weight. If your cargo bounces around a lot below the tonneau cover, the hardcover will prevent things from shifting too much. Also, it is much harder for thieves to break into your truck with the hard roll-up tonneau cover. You will also spend a little more on the hard tonneau cover compared with the cost of the soft variety.
The retractable tonneau cover:
Just like hard roll-up tonneau covers, the retractable tonneau cover consists of a layer of hard aluminum slats that are lined up together to form a uniform barrier. Rather than rolling unto itself (like a sleeping bag), the retractable tonneau cover rolls inside a canister located at the front of the truck bed by the cab. This canister will, however, limit the size and type of cargo you can take in your truck. The retractable tonneau cover, however, offers protection, privacy, and security for whatever you keep inside your vehicle. You can also opt for the power operated retractable truck bed cover that is convenient to operate with a one-touch remote control.
The folding Tonneau Cover:
These types of truck bed cover come either hard or soft. The hard version consists of solid panels that fold either three or four sections. The soft folding tonneau cover features a single layer of vinyl stretching over an aluminum frame. These folding covers can be stored just behind the cab at the front of your truck’s bed. If you carry oversized or tall cargo frequently then the folding tonneau cover is best for you. These folding covers are also strong enough to support up to 400 pounds of evenly distributed weight. Similar to the hard roll-up cover, these folding covers offer privacy, security, and protection for your cargo. The soft folding tonneau cover, on the other hand, is lighter and looks a lot smoother than the hard folding cover.
The Advantage of Tonneau Cover
You might figure that installing a tonneau cover on your truck is a good idea because of its advantages. You are right! There are a few advantages to having a tonneau cover installed on your truck bed. Your open back pickup is simply not the same without a well-designed tonneau cover. Sure, you should consider buying a truck bed cover for the many advantages they provide even if you are tempted to pass up the opportunity to invest in a good cover.
Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of owning any of the best pickup bed covers on the market.
The first is that a tonneau cover offers protection for your cargo. Whether the cover is hard or soft, they will keep your load safe from harsh weather conditions and from someone who tries to break in. Of course, the level of protection you get depends on the type of tonneau cover you install. Bear in mind that the hard tonneau cover offers more protection than the soft tonneau.
Another advantage to having a reliable tonneau cover in place is the style it adds to your vehicle’s profile. An open back pickup might be OK, but when you add a great looking yet practical tonneau cover, your truck is instantly transformed into a sleek covered vehicle. You might say that your truck with a tonneau cover not only looks better, its value also goes up.
You might also love that a tonneau cover also keeps things private. In other words, no one can see what you are carrying inside your pickup. When you have a tonneau cover installed on your open back pickup, people will no longer be able to see what cargo you are hauling. If you choose to keep valuable items in your truck, no one will know once you have the tonneau cover in place.
Furthermore, with a tonneau cover, you will also benefit from less gas mileage. As you drive on the road or highway, your vehicle experiences wind resistance, which is also called drag. Without a truck bed cover, an open back pickup picks up more wind as you drive. With a well designed and perfectly fitting tonneau cover, your truck cuts through the wind with greater ease. The drag on your truck is not as much as without a cover, and you see the benefits in the lower fuel cost per mile. Clearly, if you could save money on fuel when you install a truck bed cover, wouldn’t you go for it?
In addition to the security and privacy you would enjoy from having a tonneau cover installed, you will also see an improvement in the value of your pickup truck. Especially with a perfectly matching tonneau cover, your vehicle will look more attractive, and should you choose to sell your truck, you can ask for a higher price. Buyers will not hesitate to pay extra for a pickup that is fitted with a tonneau cover that enhances its style and appearance.
How to Install or Use Tonneau Covers on Your Truck
It is much easier to install a soft tonneau cover than to put a hard truck bed cover on your truck. You can install a soft truck bed cover within one hour, even if you are not an expert at it. You would, however, need some help to install a hard tonneau cover because it is heavier and more cumbersome to get on your vehicle.
Either way, you could do with some guidance on how to install your tonneau cover. So, here goes:
Installing the Rails
- Check whether the cover is a match for other parts: To successfully install your tonneau cover on your pickup truck, you must ensure that it can go well with the other parts of your vehicle. These include the rail bed caps, bed liners, and other items. Confirm with the makers or suppliers of your truck bed cover to make sure everything matches. You may also observe these rules of thumb
- bed liners that get in the way when you install the cover should have notches cut into them to allow clamps or other parts for the cover to be fitted.
- If your bed liner is wrapped over the rails and the tonneau cover sits between the rails rather than on top of them, then both parts won’t fit on the truck.
- Although most caps for bed rails do not affect the installation, the diamond plate bed rail cap can cause some covers to fit badly on your truck or prevent it from creating a tight seal for all types of weather.
- Next, open your tailgate: It is not possible to do a good installation with your tailgate closed.
- Loosely set the side rails on the bed rail: Tonneau covers usually come with two side rails to fit on top or on the side of the rails of your truck bed. Align a side rail with the front of your truck’s bed rail near the cab area. Use a spring clamp to hold the side rail temporarily or ask someone to hold it in place for you. For a cover that comes without rails, there are clamps that swing down from underneath as you put it on. If your cover is a retractable one, it will come with a canister that you would need to position before you set the rails. Place the canister next to the cab on the edge of the truck bed rails. Make sure to center the canister accurately before attaching the rails to it.
- Clamp the side rail: In your installation kit, there should be a number of toothed clamps. Remove one and fit it underneath the side rail next to the cab. Align the clamp’s teeth with the grooves and tighten with your hand. Use a socket wrench or a wrench to tighten the clamp a few times. Stop when you feel the clamp pressing onto the bed rails.
- If necessary, add shims: Check below the rail for any gap between the truck bed and the rails. Put shims along the bed rail as evenly as possible to close the gaps. Shims are rubber or plastic spacers that you can stick onto the bed rail directly. If, however, the gaps are bigger than 10 mm or 3/8 of an inch, shim brackets should be used instead. To insert these shim brackets, take the clamps off the rail, slip the shim brackets onto one end and after spacing them out evenly, reattach the clamps to the rails.
- Apply more clamps: Installation kits usually include eight clamps, that is four clamps for each side of the truck bed. If your truck’s bed is short, you might only need six clamps. Put these clamps on the same way you did the first one, making sure to space them out evenly along the bed rail. If you are installing a soft tonneau cover, you may do this step last to make the final adjustments easily. If, however, your cover is a hard one, you would need to do this step now because hard covers require a firm base.
- Do the steps above with the second rail: Put the second rail on your truck the same way you did the first one.
- Make adjustments to the rails until they are flat and centered: This is an important step as the tonneau cover will not install correctly if the rails are crooked and not centered. You may need to slightly loosen the clamps to adjust the rails until they are perfectly aligned parallel to each other. When you are satisfied, tighten the clamps again. To correct a tilted rail, raise or lower the clamp’s position, or push the raised end of the rail down as you tighten the clamp. You would need to be patient here so that you can do a good job. If a gap remains between the bed rails and the cab, the side rails must not go beyond this gap (this prevents your cover from being misaligned to the rails and create more headaches for you.)
- Fully tighten every clamp: When you are satisfied that the rails are perfectly aligned on your truck’s bed, use your wrench to finish tightening the clamps at the front of the rails. Repeat this step with the other clamps as you move to the back of your truck.
Now that you have completed the first steps by installing the rails, you are ready to install your tonneau cover.
Installing the Cover
- If they are included, install the rubber seals: For tonneau covers that are weatherproof, seals made of rubber are usually included in the installation kits. Use these rubber seals to cover the spaces between the tonneau cover and your truck’s cab. First, wipe the area with rubbing alcohol so that bonding is easier. Remove the backing paper from the rubber seals and stick the seals to the cab between both side rails. Start from the driver’s side. Cut off the extra ends and throw away when you are finished. Certain brands of tonneau covers also come with extra seals for the tailgate and the sides as well as bigger plugs for the corners to weatherproof the back corners.
- Look for the other parts in your installation kit: Installation kits may also include other components that you can easily install before you put your cover on. Look for the following items:
- Tension adjuster screws – to tighten the cover by hand and are usually attached to the side rails. They may also come already installed.
- Storage straps – that are to be fed via holes in the tonneau cover.
- Rods to prop hard folded or hinged covers open. This rod is usually snapped or screwed into place on one of the side rails with a cradle holding the other end.
- Set the cover over the rails: It will be much easier if you have someone to help you with lifting. Put the folded or rolled tonneau cover on the rails, starting at the ends near the cab. The cover should be a perfect fit on the rails. You might need to push it down to set it in place. Before you continue, make sure that the cover is completely aligned, centered and slotted on the rails. If you are unable to align the cover onto the rails at this stage, remove it, set it aside, and adjust the rails again until they are perfectly aligned. Remember that the hard tonneau cover is very heavy and would need more persons to help you to get it on or off.
- Unfold or unroll the tonneau cover: Close the tailgate first. Taking your time, unfold or unroll the truck bed cover along the side rails until it reaches the tailgate. Adjust as necessary to ensure that the cover lies flush with the tailgate and the end of the side rails by the cab. Check for a small screw (tension screw) that will allow you to hand tighten to stretch the cover tight across the truck bed to completely cover it.
- Attach the tonneau cover onto the side rails: How your tonneau cover is attached to the rails depends on your vehicle’s model. The cover may snap onto the rail as you let it out. Many covers are supplied with elevator bolts or larger bolts for added security. Match the bolt holes of both the tonneau cover and the side rails. Tighten the bolts with the nuts and washers.
- Tighten every clamp: This is the point where you confirm that all your clamps on the cover rails are tightened. If not, tighten them. Also, check that every attachment point is firmly set and is not easy to shift or loosen. Again, tighten if any point is loose.
- Install the final parts: Some truck bed covers also include drainage tubes to siphon off rain, bump stops to keep your cab from nicks and scratches whenever you open your hard cover or other parts that are optional. If after you have installed your cover there are parts left over, and you cannot tell what they are, call your supplier, the manufacturer or your mechanic.
Top Tonneau Cover Brand Available on The Market
There are quite a few brands of tonneau covers on the market, some of which are very familiar to you. You might have had experience with some of these brands before, and you can endorse them for their products. You might even find that the best cover for your vehicle is supplied by the makers of these brands. Here is a list of these top brands you can choose from:
- UnderCover LUX SE
- BAK Industries
- Extang Trifecta
- Pace Edwards
- TruXedo TruXport
- Tonno Pro
Whatever the brand on the market, you are sure to find the best pickup bed cover for your model year. Some of these brands are specialist in the type of tonneau cover they produce, whether hard or soft covers. Some brands of tonneau covers are also made exclusively for certain vehicle models. Of course, the above list is not exhaustive of the many top-rated brands of truck bed covers you can buy.
Frequently Ask Question About Tonneau Cover
1. Can I use my tonneau cover with bed liner?
The short answer is yes, you can. The majority of tonneau covers that are available can be used with bed liners that are under-the-rail and spray-on. There are no hassles in using tonneau covers with these types of bed liners. If you are using a retractable tonneau cover, you may need to trim the bed liner at the bulkhead. It will also require more effort and time to install a tonneau cover on an over-the-rail bed liner.
Bed liners that are over the bed cover the lip of the bed which is where most tonneau covers need to be fastened. You will need, in these cases, to cut small notches in your bed liner to match the points where the clamps for the truck bed cover are to be attached. If you are installing both bed liner and truck bed cover on your pickup from scratch, start with the bed liner first.
2. How much Security will my tonneau provide?
Depending on the type of truck bed covers you install on your vehicle, you can get security from harsh weather conditions, curious eyes, and thieves. The tonneau cover that is a one-piece, painted design provides the best security. These covers are locked into position and also overlap the tailgate so that only when you unlock the cover can you then open the tailgate of your truck.
You can keep your valuables in your truck without worrying about whether you will lose them. Security is even better if your cover is a hard folding, hard rolling, heavy-duty, or retractable cover. These covers work well with a tailgate that locks (although they also help with tailgates that do not have a lock in place).
3. will my tonneau cover protect my cargo from snow and rain?
For the most part, a tonneau cover will protect your cargo from rain and snow, but it is not a guarantee. While your truck bed cover will keep your stuff dry most of the time, there are places where water or moisture can seep through. Areas on the truck bed cover you might not have noticed before allowing water to enter your truck.
These include across the front of your truck bed, the corner connecting the front and the side of your truck bed, and around the tailgate. Although these spaces allow water to enter, you can block them with seal kits to make your cover more waterproof. A hard tonneau cover that overlaps the edge of your tailgate is one of the best tonneau cover solutions to keep water and snow out.
4. Is a tonneau cover waterproof?
Your tonneau cover is not totally waterproof, although it can be water resistant (there is a difference!) Whereas waterproof is the ideal, in that water won’t penetrate your cover, the best you will get is water resistance, in which your truck bed cover will keep water out but not totally.
Most tonneau covers on the market are water resistant. You would need to confirm what you need your truck bed cover for, and then select the best cover that meets your needs.
5. How do you open a roll and lock?
If you are talking about the roll and lock retractable tonneau cover, it is easy to open. First, use your key to unlock the cover. This will release the lock. Then, with one hand, pull the handle to the tailgate and with the other hand turn the lock clockwise. Next, open the cover and allow it to roll slowly into its housing. The cover is open. Of course, to close it, use both hands to pull your cover over the truck bed until it clicks into the locking mechanism. Lock it with your key.
There you have it – our review of the ten best tonneau covers available for your pickups, and other useful information to help you make up your mind. What else is there to know before you make your choice? Whether you are buying a truck bed cover for the first time or are replacing a tonneau cover with a new upgrade, this review will be helpful to you. If you still have doubts as to whether you are choosing the best cover for your truck, check in with your supplier and look up other reviews to avoid any pitfalls when buying your truck bed cover.