Installing a tonneau cover serves the purpose of providing additional security against thieves and protecting your cargo from bad weather. Installing a truck bed cover can completely transform your truck thus improving the aesthetics and functionality.
The best tonneau cover is the Retrax PRO MX, which features a low profile design and aluminum construction for maximum strength. However, if you are on a budget, the Tyger Auto TG-BC3D1011 is the most popular choice of tonneau cover.
They are often referred to as a truck bed cover and are very popular in the US due to the large quantity of pickup trucks on the roads. There is a wide range of different types available that include hard or soft materials to retractable and folding designs.
Table of Contents
- The Best Tonneau Cover
- Tonneau Cover Buying Guide
Tonneau Cover Comparison
|Tonneau Cover||Type||Weight Capacity|
|Retrax 80467 PRO MX||Retractable||500 LBS|
|BAK BAKFlip MX4||Folding||400 LBS|
|Tyger Auto||Folding||500 LBS|
|Truxedo TruXport||Roll-up||200 LBS|
|Extang 83425||Folding||500 LBS|
|MaxMate 3500||Roll-up||200 LBS|
|Gator ETX||Folding||250 LBS|
Using a tonneau cover makes the truck bed far more versatile. Not only is the cargo more secure and protected but you can also store things on top of the cover such as bikes, rooftop cargo carriers, quad bikes and much more.
Types of tonneau covers include soft or hard folding, roll up, retractable and tri-fold, which all can be constructed in a range of materials.
Below is a list of the best tonneau covers that will keep your cargo protected and secure as well as providing additional functionality.
The Best Tonneau Cover
1. Retrax PRO MX Retractable Tonneau Cover
The retractable tonneau cover by Retrax is a premium option that uses high quality materials and has a lifetime warranty. The 80467 PRO MX is suitable to fit truck beds that range are 5.8, 6.5 and 8 feet in length.
With this retractable tonneau cover, you are able to lock it in any position, which is great for awkward shaped cargo that sticks out. It also has an unlimited hauling flexibility, which for those that use a 5th wheel trailer for towing is ideal.
Other features of the Retrax 80467 PRO MX include:
- Stake pocket cutouts and wide rail options
- Aluminum slats that are powder coated
- Suitable for withstand 500 LBS distributed loads
- Completely UV protected
- Sealed ball-bearing rollers
- Low profile design
- Available as a glossy or matte finish
It is the best tonneau cover on the market today but the premium cost will only make it suitable a small minority. For peace of mind, the Retrax 80467 PRO MX comes with a limited lifetime warranty.Check it Out
2. BAK BAKFlip MX4 Folding Tonneau Cover
BAK Tonneau Covers are another premium alternative but a more popular brand compared to Retrax. Their truck bed covers are available in the standard sizes (5.8, 6.6 and 8 feet) but instead of being retractable, it uses a folding mechanism.
For those that are worried about the installation, the BAKFLIP MX4 is a simple “clamp-on” fit with no drilling required.
Other features of the BAKFLIP MX4 include:
- Can be used whilst the tailgate is open or closed
- Can be opened from either side
- No obstruction to the third brake light
- Flush mount and low profile design
- UV and scratch resistant
- 3 year limited warranty
Many tonneau covers may use up some of the truck bed space when fully retracted or folded up. However, the BAKFLIP MX4 maintains 100% of the truck bed access, with the cover folding towards the cab but still leaving the third brake light visible.
Overall, the BAK BAKFlip MX4 is the best folding tonneau cover with an excellent design that is highly practical and simple to install on your truck.Check it Out
3. Tyger Auto TRI-FOLD Tonneau Cover
By far the most popular and highly rated tonneau cover is the Tyger Auto, which comes at a bargain price and a limited lifetime warranty. It is also one of the easiest to install and requires no drilling because it simply clamps together.
The US designed truck bed cover is constructed of 24 oz marine grade vinyl, heavy duty aluminum powder coated frame and stainless steel clamp for excellent durability.
Other features of the Tyger Auto TRI-FOLD include:
- Suitable for 5.8, 6.5 and 8 feet truck beds
- Lightweight and easy to install
- Watertight fit
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Aircraft grade aluminum construction
Overall, the Tyger Auto TRI-FOLD is the best tonneau cover for the money and is highly rated throughout the US for its superior quality and affordability.Check it Out
4. Truxedo TruXport Roll Up Tonneau Cover
The Truxedo TruXport is an economical soft roll-up tonneau cover that comes with a 5 year warranty against every components (unlike many of the “limited” warranties). Installation of a roll-up truck bed cover is the easiest and Truxedo claim that the TruXport can be installed in as little as 20 minutes.
Unlike cheaper roll-up configurations, the TruXport uses pre-set tension controls to maintain the tight and sleek design of the cover.
Other features of the Truxedo TruXport include:
- Top mount design that sits 1.5 inches above the truck bed
- Leather grained fabric
- Dual latching system for security
- Available in all standard sizes
- Requires no drilling or special tools
- Sits 1.5 inch over the truck bed
The roll-up style is very desirable by many truck owners and the Truxedo TruXport is the best roll-up tonneau cover. It offers great value for money and the tensioning system ensures that it remain tight and keeps the sleek design.Check it Out
5. Extang Hard Fold Tonneau Cover
The Extang tonneau cover is the main competitor to the BAKFlip MK4 and also uses a hard folding mechanism. It is a new and improved design by the brand that includes hard polymer corners, hinge caps and automotive grade thermoplastic skin.
It comes fully assembled and ready to install in just minutes. In terms of the sizes, Extang offer this cover to fit truck beds the size of 5.7, 6.4 and 8 feet.
The Extang 83425 has a range of features that include:
- High strength frame and lightweight panels
- Jaw grip clamps and EZ lock clamps
- 100% access to truck bed when folded
- Can be used with the majority of accessories
- Extra secure as clamps can only be accessed via an open tailgate
Overall, it is a heavy duty tonneau cover that works out cheaper than the BAKFLIP MX4 alternative, which has a very similar design. The Extang 83425 is also the easiest truck bed cover to install too as it comes already assembled.Check it Out
6. MaxMate Soft Roll Up Tonneau Cover
The MaxMate cover is an affordable option for truck owners and is available in sizes from 5.7 to 8 feet long. it’s a soft roll up type that is made from a heavy duty 24oz marine grade vinyl, which is designed to withstand the toughest of conditions.
The brand state that installation is straightforward and requires zero drilling with all the mounting hardware included.
Other features of the MaxMate Roll Up include:
- Available for a range of trucks
- Sizes range from 5.7 to 8.0 feet
- No-drill installation
- Marine graded vinyl construction
- High quality aluminum side rails
- Stainless steel mounting clamps
It’s a cheap tonneau cover compared to the alternatives, the brands 10 year warranty is proof that it’s built to high standards. The MaxMate roll up is an excellent all-rounder that won’t disappoint and offers the best value for money.Check it Out
7. Gator ETX Soft Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover
The brand offer the Tri-Fold design as a 5.6, 6.6 and 8 feet long cover and state that it’s completely tool-free to install.
Other features of the Gator ETX Soft Tri-Fold include:
- Clamps straight onto the rails with no drilling
- Multiple configuration available
- Top mount design with two driving positions
- Tear resistant vinyl
- Extra strength stitching
- Made in the USA
- Long warranty
Overall, the Gator ETX series are affordable tonneau covers that tick every box. The brand claim that you can install it in less than 10 minutes, which is proof to the ease of installation of this cover. For peace of mind, Gator provide a limited lifetime warranty of the frame and a 10 year warranty on the tarp.Check it Out
Tonneau Cover Buying Guide
Tonneau covers (often called truck bed covers) are used to improve the protection, security, utility and aesthetics of your truck. There are a range of materials and designs available to suit all trucks and satisfy even the most savvy truck owners.
If the protection and security benefit is not enough to persuade you to purchase a tonneau cover, what about saving money?
Using a truck bed cover will improve your miles per gallon by at least 5 to 10% as the air/drag does not get trapped in the bed of the truck.
To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding tonnea covers.
Types of Truck Bed Covers
You will notice in the table above that each tonneau cover has a specific type. The main types are folding, retractable and roll-up tonneau covers where each have their own benefits. Below are brief descriptions of each type.
Folding Tonneau Covers
Folding tonneau covers are the most popular type and actually become split again into soft and hard folding types. The hard folding tonneau cover provides more security compared to the soft alternative but they are more expensive.
Folding truck bed covers are usually a “tri-fold” setup where there is 3 folding points. However, there are many that include more folding points and some are lockable at a certain fold, which is great for hauling around awkward loads.
Retractable Tonneau Covers
Retractable covers are very similar to a roll-up style but the mechanism is different. This is because it moves in and out of a canister that is mounted to the trucks bulkhead. It will only expose the cargo area that you require and they are often a low profile design.
Roll Up Tonneau Covers
As you would expect, this type of cover simply rolls its way to the bulkhead of the truck in a similar fashion to rolling up a mat. It is then secured in place with a heavy duty strap. This type is the easiest to install without and complex fitting procedures.
Installation and Maintenance of a Tonneau Cover
Rewind a decade or so ago and many of the tonneau covers were notoriously difficult to install on your truck. However, nowadays they are much easier to install by yourself and this is thanks to clamps and limited drilling. Some installation even require no drilling whatsoever but those that do will only require drilling to the tailgate.
The difficulty on the installation really depends on the type of cover you are having fitted. The tri-fold is usually one of the easiest to install.
In terms of maintaining your tonneau cover, there is not that much to do that is essential. All of the recommendations above are UV treated and all you will really need to do is clean it with soapy water from time to time. Keeping the joints and other moving parts lubricated would be ideal but this is not required on a daily basis.
Compatibility with Truck Bed Accessories
Installing a tonneau cover also allows you to purchase a range of additional accessories. However, you may have already purchased other accessories that you may think are not compatible. However, roof racks, bed extenders, bed racks and much more are all compatible with a tonneau cover.
It add additional usability because you can use the flat surface of the cover to your advantages. For example, you can install an aftermarket roof rack and much more for further functionality of your truck.
Truck Bed Length
The majority of tonneau cover manufacturers design the covers to work for most of the standard sizes. These include are 5.8, 6.5 and 8 feet.
As a truck owner, you should know the length of your trucks bed, which is vital to get the correct sized truck bed cover. If you do not have a clue, this length comparison for each truck may provide the help you require.
To ensure that you are not breaking the law, you will want to ensure that the tonneau cover does not block the third brake light whilst driving. This will be dependent upon the placement of the brake light and the type of cover. Blocking the third brake light is not legal and may result in a fine.
Tonneau covers or truck bed covers (which ever you prefer to call them) are extremely popular in the US and hundreds of thousands are being sold each year.
Adding a cover to your truck bed really does improve it aesthetically and increases the practicality. We highly recommend that you invest into a higher quality example rather than the cheapest you can find. Trucks that we feel look best with a tonneau cover include:
- Dodge RAM 1500
- Chevy Silverado
- Tundra Crewmax
- F150 Supercrew
- Toyota Tacoma
- Nissan Titan
- Honda Ridgeline
- Chevy Colorado
- Nissan Frontier
- … and much more
It is fairly rare to see the above trucks without one because they look the introduction of a tonneau cover transforms it. They are a worthwhile investment that provides extra security and protection as well as increase the resale value of your truck.