Pickup trucks are designed to be tough enough to stand up to hard work, but they are still made of materials that can be damaged through normal use. And as anyone who has owned a vehicle knows, even a small scratch or dent in your vehicle’s paint can be enough to allow water, dirt, and salt to seep underneath and sow the seeds of corrosion.

To protect against such a situation, a cargo bed liner is a common solution. However, even a liner, whether it’s a composite bolt-in type or a spray-in material, is susceptible to damage.

That’s where a truck bed mat comes in. These products not only provide an extra measure of protection for your truck, but they also serve to pad the surface of the truck bed, which can reduce noise generated by cargo moving around as you drive over rough roads. When it comes time to load or unload, the mat adds a measure of comfort if you have to kneel in the bed or on the open tailgate.

If any of these issues are of concern to you, a truck bed mat could be a simple, cost-effective answer to helping make your pickup last longer and a little bit easier to live with.

For more information on the best truck bed mats, refer to our table of contents.

1. Editor’s Pick: BDK Heavy Duty Truck Bed Mat

BDK Heavy Duty Truck Bed Mat

Our Editor’s Pick for best truck bed mat is this option from BDK, a heavy duty universal-fit rubber mat that provides durable protection for any pickup truck. One of the reasons we named this product our Editor’s Pick is that it comes as a bed mat, a tailgate pad, or a set containing both so that you can choose the arrangement that best suits your needs.

BDK makes its truck bed mat and tailgate pad out of heavy ridged rubber 1/2-inch thick for the tailgate pad, while the bed mat is 1/3-inch thick to protect against dents caused by your heavy cargo.

Because this is a universal fit product, you may have to trim it to fit your truck. The bed mat measures four feet by eight feet, so it’s long enough to cover your pickup bed’s full length, but may end up being narrower than the bed at its widest points, ahead of, and behind the wheel wells. The tailgate pad is 60-inches long and 19.5-inches wide, so it should cover the entirety of most tailgates.

You can secure both pieces to your truck by drilling holes for the screws included in the kit.

2. Caterpillar Ultra Tough Tailgate Mat

Caterpillar Ultra Tough Tailgate Mat

Our next recommendation is this Caterpillar tailgate mat. Caterpillar makes this mat out of heavy-duty rubber, but does not say how thick it is. However, the company says you can trim this universal-fit pad with either a utility knife or scissors.

Once you’ve trimmed the mat to fit your truck’s tailgate, secure it in place with the 24 screws that come with it. Caterpillar says you’ll get the best results by pre-drilling the holes with a 9/64-inch drill bit.

According to the manufacturer, this mat fits virtually all pickup tailgates, including popular mid-size models like the Toyota Tacoma; full-size light-duty trucks including the Ram 1500, GMC Sierra, Chevrolet Silverado, and Ford F-150; and heavy-duty pickups from Ram, General Motors, and Ford.

Caterpillar’s one caveat is that you should only install this mat on an all-metal tailgate, and not plastic ones. This mat’s rubber is formulated to be non-toxic and odorless, and will withstand all weather conditions without becoming brittle.

3. Bedrug Tailgate Mat

Bedrug Tailgate MatNext, we’ll throw you a change-up with this Bedrug tailgate mat, which provides a surface more like a carpet than a rubber mat. Made of polypropylene, this mat features a rubberized backing that keeps it from slipping on your truck’s tailgate, while the fibers on the top help create a cushioned, knee-friendly surface.

Despite its more upscale appearance, Bedrug says its mat is made for exterior use, so you don’t have to worry about it getting wet or staying exposed to the sunlight. It is also resistant to stains and UV rays.

This particular product is designed for a custom fit on the second-generation Honda Ridgeline sold from the 2017 model year. However, Bedrug also makes a full bed mat for the Ridgeline that still allows you to access its innovative in-bed trunk.

Unlike many other truck bed mats, this one does not use screws to hold it in place. Instead, you apply hook-and-look fasteners to the bed surface with the supplied adhesive and affix the mat to them.

Whatever truck you drive, Bedrug probably makes a mat to fit, including ultra-popular domestic brands like Ram, Chevrolet, GMC, and Ford.

4. Dee Zee Bedmat

DEE ZEE Bedmat

The truck accessory specialists at Dee Zee make our list of the best truck bed mats with this recommendation, a custom-fit mat for the Ford Ranger mid-size pickup truck. Keep reading even if you don’t drive a Ranger: Dee Zee makes mats to fit virtually every truck available in the U.S., if you like what we have to tell you, you should be able to find a similar mat for your truck.

Dee Zee makes its Bedmat line of products out of nyracord material that is 3/8-inch thick. Nyracord is a blend of rubber and nylon conceived to be one of the most durable materials available for heavy duty applications. The company says the mat will not crack or break even in extreme temperatures, and resists abrasions, tears, and chemical spills.

Because this is a custom-fit mat, it is designed to fit your Ranger’s bed perfectly, unlike universal fit products that often don’t cover the corners of the bed.

There is no provision for fastening the mat to the bed, but customers who have bought this product say it doesn’t need any: the mat is heavy enough that it will stay where you put it, even without cargo holding it down.

5. Westin Rubber Truck Bed Mat

Westin Rubber Truck Bed Mat

The final product on our list of the best truck bed mats is another custom-fit item, this time from Westin. This particular mat is designed for Ford F-150 models with the 6.5-foot bed, but Westin makes this mat to fit long and short beds in pickups made by Chevrolet, GMC, Dodge/Ram, and Toyota.

This 3/8-inch rubber mat is heat molded and cut for a precise fit in your truck’s bed, and it can be used with or without a spray-in bed liner. Your purchase only includes the bed mat, and not a tailgate cover. All you need to do to install it is unroll it and place it in your truck’s bed; its weight keeps it secure when unloaded.

Along with protecting your truck’s bed from damage, Westin’s mat also provides a grippy surface to keep your cargo from sliding around. It also improves your safety by reducing your chances of slipping and falling if you have to climb into the bed.

Note that Westin also makes universal fit mats out of the same material in case your truck is not included in the list of applications.

Is a Truck Bed Mat Better Than a Bedliner?

Photo credit: Pond Thananat/ Shutterstock.com

In our opinion, a bed liner provides better protection than a truck bed mat because the liner also covers the sides of the bed. However, even if you install a bed mat alone, it will still reduce noise caused by cargo rattling around in the bed.

Your best bet is to install a bed mat over top of your bed liner. That way you get the ultimate in protection along with the non-slip properties of a rubber floor covering.

What is The Best Material For a Truck Bed Mat?

Rubber is most common, and we think it’s the best choice as an all-purpose bed mat material. For one thing, it’s a proven material for applications that will be exposed to the elements.

If you take a closer look at the Bedrug product that placed third on our list, you’ll see it’s more like an outdoor carpet than a plain rubber mat. That’s the type of product we’d recommend if you want to create a bed surface that’s more comfortable, such as an underlay for an inflatable mattress if you like to camp in the bed of your truck.

Should You Also Buy a Tailgate Pad?

Before you make that decision, consider how you ultimately want to use your truck. While many bed liners cover the inside of the tailgate, a rubber pad does add an extra layer of protection against damage that can be caused by setting down heavy cargo on the tailgate before you slide it into the bed.

If you find that you and your friends frequently use the tailgate as seating at picnics and outdoor parties, add a tailgate pad to make it more comfortable. If that’s what you’re after, Bedrug makes its tailgate mat to fit a variety of truck models.

How Is A Truck Bed Mat Held In Place?

With many rubber mat designs, you must secure the mat to your truck by drilling holes and screwing it down, either to the bed liner or the metal of your truck’s body. This may defeat the purpose you set out for buying a bed mat in the first place.

In that case, consider a mat that is held on with Velcro-like hook-and-look fasteners. Typically, you attach these to your truck with adhesive, and then the back side of the mat sticks to them.

However, we can see how you may be hesitant applying adhesive to your truck. In that case, many of the mats you’ll find stay in place simply because they’re too heavy to be lifted up by the wind, even when driving at highway speeds. This is our recommendation because the installation process is as simple as it gets.

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Photo credit: Bedrug