Owning a pickup truck has plenty of benefits, but everything you have sitting in your truck bed is exposed to the outside world. If you want to shield whatever it is you’re carrying from the elements or potential thieves, you need a tonneau cover. A tonneau is a truck bed cover for your pickup truck that sits over the bed, usually mounted either to the sides of the bed. 

There are a variety of styles both hard and soft truck bed covers available. Hard tonneau covers typically mount against the back of the cab, and either lift up like a giant tailgate, or more typically fold up in hinged sections. More flexible soft tonneau covers can roll up when they’re not being used or when you need to access the bed of your truck. Choosing between a soft or hard tonneau cover depends on what you plan on using it for, and how you plan on using your truck on a daily basis. You’ll also want to consider if you need to take it all the way off often, and the weather where you live. Soft tonneau covers are not a good choice if you expect them to support a foot of snow. 

Folding covers offer a popular middle ground between soft roll-up and retractable covers, and hinged hard tonneau covers. We’ve recently seen quad-folding models introduced along with tri-folds, which might be a good choice if you have a longer bed to cover and want more versatility.

In this article, we’ll go over some of the best soft and hard tonneau covers currently available, covering a wide variety of styles and brands. Ideally, this serves as a good starting point for your research on the right cover for your truck’s bed. After all, it can be confusing to shop for a truck tonneau cover when there are so many different styles and brands on the market, all seemingly trying to achieve the same goal.

Below are our picks of the best tonneau covers for your truck on sale today. Picking one out can be confusing, so see our Table of Contents below for some help figuring out which one you need.

1. Editor's Choice: Tyger Auto Tri-Fold Tonneau Truck Bed Cover

tyger auto t3 tri-fold truck bed tonneau cover

Tyger Auto’s Tri-Fold Tonneau Bed Cover is a sleek-looking soft tonneau cover that is available for most mainstream modern-day pickup trucks.

This tonneau cover is made of very sturdy dual-coated marine-grade vinyl. The low-profile design won’t interfere with visibility, and makes a weather-tight seal that will protect your bed’s contents from the elements outside. Each package will come with the pre-assembled tonneau cover, an LED bed light, weather seals, and the hardware needed for mounting the cover to your truck.

Tyger’s vinyl tonneau cover is easy to install and fits different truck beds very well with minimal overhang. The installation process uses clamps that require no drilling into your vehicle.

Tyger also offers a limited lifetime warranty on its tonneau covers and accepts returns if you ordered it for the wrong truck by accident.

Promoted Product: BAK BAKFlip MX4 Hard Folding Tonneau Cover

bak bakflip tonneau cover

The BAK brand has been in the tonneau cover industry for a while now and the impressive BAKFlip MXR became the best-selling hard folding cover in the United States just a few years after it was released.

One reason why buyers took to this American-made tonneau cover so quickly is that it is the industry’s first ever matte-finished, hard-folding cover. Quite frankly, it just looks better than most tonneau covers on the market. Rather than looking like an aftermarket afterthought, the BAKFlip MXR offers a sleek appearance that looks incredibly well integrated into the bed of the truck. And the matte finish means fingerprints and scratches don’t show up like they do on some other tonneau covers.

Beyond looking good, the BAKFlip MXR is loaded with thoughtful features like cab corner caps, rail-end cap, pull latches on both sides, pre-molded bumpers, drain tubes, and full perimeter seals. As well, an integrated buckle system and automatic latching mechanism mean you can drive with the cover partially or fully opened without covering the third brake light. You can also have 100% bed access by simply unlocking the cover from either side of your truck bed via pull latches that allow you to fold the cover against the cab and prop it up with a pair of rods on the underside of the panel.

Should you run out of space under the BAKFlip MXR tonneau cover, you can also carry up to 400 pounds of evenly distributed weight on top of it.

The BAKFlip MXR is offered in a wide variety of sizes to fit pretty much any truck on the market. It’s a snap to find the cover you need for your specific truck and each one is backed by a five-year, hassle-free warranty. 

 *This is a sponsored placement.

2. Truxedo TruXport Roll-up Truck Bed Cover

truxedo truxport soft roll up truck bed tonneau cover

The Truxedo TruXport Roll-up Truck Bed Cover is a lot like the product from Tyger above, but whereas that cover folds up in three separate sections, this cover rolls up.

The roll-up operation allows you to roll the cover up and keep the bed completely exposed as you drive. This way you don’t have to remove the tonneau completely if you are transporting taller objects or just don’t want to use it at that time.

This tonneau is easy to install and requires no drilling. It affixes to your truck in 20 minutes or less and is made of a durable vinyl material. Dual paddle latches provide extra security and easily unlock for when you need quick access to your truck bed.

With a slim design, this tonneau cover is not too bulky and won’t ruin the look of your pickup—most passersby won’t even realize it’s there.

One downside to this cover is it does not seamlessly affix to some trucks along the tailgate, which may let some water in. This particular version fits certain GM full-size pickups from 2014-2019, but there are models available for many other trucks. Just use the fitment guide provided

3. MaxMate Tri-Fold Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

maxmate tri-fold truck bed tonneau cover

The MaxMate Tri-Fold Truck Bed Tonneau Cover is bargain-priced soft tri-fold tonneau cover available for a limited variety of truck makes and models.

This soft tonneau is also made of dual coated marine grade vinyl and also features rust-preventive powder coated frames and stainless steel security clamps. It comes preassembled and is easy to install, requiring no drilling and coming with all necessary instructions and hardware.

MaxMate offers a 10-year warranty on its tri-fold tonneau cover.

A downside to this tonneau cover is that it’s not as slim and sleek looking as some other soft tonneau covers, such as the two products listed above. There are also two plastic buckles on the cover which can throw off the uniform look many truck owners desire when looking to get a tonneau.

4. Lund Genesis Elite Roll-Up Tonneau Cover

Lund Genesis Elite Roll-Up Tonneau Cover

Lund was one of the first companies to make truck bed caps back in the 1970s, and has been making tonneau covers for a long time. That’s important peace of mind as you move up the ladder to more premium, if still affordable covers. The Lund Genesis Elite Roll-Up Tonneau Cover is made of a premium twill weave material that’s been engineered to resist water, mold, UV rays and dust and dirt. It’s easily washable with water and won’t trap dirt in its fabric weave.

The tonneau easily rolls up and thanks to a set of plastic buckles, it can be fastened that way if you need access to your truck’s bed for a longer period of time or need to transport taller objects. A set of latch fasteners keep the cover fixed down when it’s not rolled up.

Lund offers a limited lifetime warranty on its tonneau covers protecting against any defects in material or workmanship.

This tonneau isn’t as easy to install as some others, taking about an hour to install, and doesn’t have as slim a profile as some soft vinyl covers. That said, it offers a unique fabric construction and is made in the USA. Their Genesis line of covers includes different soft roll-up covers, soft tri-fold and hard tri-fold bed covers.

5. Extang Solid Fold 2.0 Hard Folding Tonneau Cover

extang solid fold 2.0 hard folding truck bed tonneau cover

Our first hard tonneau cover on the list comes from Extang.

This tri-folding solid tonneau cover comes fully assembled and at 50 pounds total with hardware, is relatively simple to install. It has lightweight hard polymer panels that make opening and closing the cover very easy, along with rubber corners for soft-close operating and protective hinge caps. It claims to be the “most water resistant hard folding cover on the market,” and will keep your belongings shielded from the elements outside.

This USA-made cover is available for a wide variety of truck makes and models and is backed by a three-year factory warranty. Our link is to the 2014-2018 (and legacy 2019 model year) Chevy/GMC Silverado/Sierra 1500s with a 5’9″ (69.3″) bed.

Some users say this cover is not as easy to install as some soft tonneau covers as you have to align it properly to the bed of your truck. It also does not come with instructions for installation.

6. Undercover Flex Hard Folding Truck Bed Cover

undercover flex hard folding truck bed tonneau cover

The Undercover Flex hard folding truck bed cover is called “undercover” for a reason. With a low-profile design that easily integrates into your pickup bed, this hard tonneau will look as though it was installed on your truck from the factory.

It’s easily installed, requiring no hole drilling of any sort, and folds in three different sections—giving you full access to your truck’s bed when you need it. It also comes with built-in prop rods for keeping it tilted upward in the fully folded up position, when you are loading or unloading cargo from the bed. The cover can also be completely removed without the use of tools.

Additionally, this tonneau allows you to drive around with one, two or all three of the folding sections tilted upward. This may be useful if you are transporting large objects but don’t want to have to completely remove the cover from your truck.

This tonneau is also made in the USA and is backed by a factory warranty. Our link is to a variety of 2014-2018 (and legacy 2019 model year) Chevy/GMC Silverado/Sierras 1500s with a 6’7″ (78.9″) bed. 

A downside to this tonneau is it may leak small amounts of water in the rain or in winter months—it’s not quite as airtight as some of the soft tonneaus on this list.

7. Undercover Elite LX Tonneau Cover

Undercover Elite LX Tonneau Cover

If you want ultimate security, weatherproofing and durability, then you want a solid hinged truck bed cover. Undercover’s USA-made Elite LX Tonneau Cover comes painted to match your factory paint, struts to help with opening and hold it open, and a cargo retrieving tool to reach the back of the bed that stores inside the bed cover. An included battery LED light kit detaches from the tonneau and can be magnetically mounted wherever you need it to see your cargo. The underside of the tonneau is even carpeted to protect both it and your cargo.

A Strattec Bolt automotive lock latches into both sides to prevent entry through prying, and a double lip seal helps keep water out. Expect to spend an hour, with help to lift it into place, to install this one-piece tonneau. Once it’s installed, there’s a quick-detach mechanism to remove it in a minute or two without affecting the rest of the hardware.

You’ll definitely pay more for a solid hinged folding truck bed cover, but you’ll get the safest and most secure storage for your cargo. They’re perfect for people who might not be full-time farmers or contractors and often carry expensive cargo like sporting and camping equipment. They can also help with the resale value of your truck. 

The Undercover Elite LX tonneau cover has a lifetime warranty on paint and structure, and one year on parts & hardware.

How do I Get the Right Cover for my Truck?

Measuring a truck bed for a tonneau cover

If you’re trying to find a tonneau for a 1969 Ford F100 Ranger, you might have some issues.

Manufacturers sometime don’t make it easy. Some brands are semi-generic for different bed lengths, while others are specific not only to your make, model and year, but trim level and even color. There can be many very similar models that don’t appear to be very different and in fact, eight of the most popular brands are all owned by the same company and may make the same truck bed cover with different names.

Fortunately, you don’t need too much information to get the right one. Your first job is to make absolutely sure you know your truck bed length. This is the inside dimension, from end to end, at the top rail. As different manufacturers have slightly different lengths (like a 5’7″ vs. a 6′ bed), you really do have to be sure you know this. If you have a bedliner, don’t count this! You have to measure steel to steel (or aluminum, Ford drivers). 

For a direct fit truck bed cover, that and your make, model and year is all you need to plug in to the relevant fitment guide. If it’s a generic cover, you need to get the width the same way.

As you can see from our photo, older work trucks get Bed Spread. Wear and tear pushes the sides apart, and can easily add an inch or more. Most tonneaus have a little wiggle room but if you have a bad case of bed spread, look for a generic fit cover that matches the odd dimensions of your old workhorse.

What are the Different Types of Tonneau Cover?

There are four basic types of hard and soft pickup bed covers:

Folding Tonneau Covers

These are made either of a hard material or stiffened fabric and typically fold in three or four sections. They tend to be easy to mount, but are heavier and can be hard for one person to remove. They may or may not have locks.

Retractable Tonneau Covers

These roll up into the end of the bed like a window shade. They can be fabric or aluminum, and you need to install guides for them. They’re expensive but very convenient.

Roll-Up Tonneau Covers

There are both fabric and aluminum versions, and they include the lightest and most affordable options. 

Hinged Tonneau Covers

Hinged tonneau covers are the most secure and, depending on your taste, the most stylish, as they can come painted to match your car. These hard lift-up covers are the oldest style of truck bed cover are usually made of ABS and are permanently mounted, including struts to hold them open. Some models may also be made of fiberglass, which is likely to be heavier than molded ABS thermoplastic.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Types of Tonneau Cover?

Unloading a pickup

Photo credit: Virrage Images / Shutterstock

We’ve spent a lot of time loading and unloading pickups and taking truck bed covers on and off, and having the wrong one for the job gets old fast. A good tonneau can be a big investment and you don’t want to be stuck with one that makes your life harder.

Folding Tonneau Covers

Best For:

   Carrying large loads regularly

   Taking on and off easily

   Dealing with by yourself

Not Good For:

   High security

Retractable and Roll-Up Tonneau Covers

Best For:

   Carrying bulk loads

   Leaving on your truck

   Affordability

Not Good For:

   Cold climates

   Weatherproofing

   High security

Hinged Tonneau Covers

Best For:

   High security

   Appearance

   Weatherproofing

Not Good For:

   Affordability

   Easy installation

   Carrying large loads

What is a Tonneau Cover?

A tonneau cover is a hard or soft cover that goes over the bed of your truck. Most truck owners want a tonneau cover for a number of reasons, including:

  • The desire to keep their belongings dry and safe from the elements
  • Preventing theft of belongings from the bed of their truck
  • Extending the life of their pickup’s bed
  • Wanting to improve their truck’s fuel economy
  • Wanting to improve the way their truck looks

Most tonneau covers will work for all of these purposes, although some may focus on one aspect, such as weatherproofing or security, more than others.

A good quality tonneau cover will enclose your truck’s bed, making it weather tight, or at the very least more weather tight than without one. This helps protect the contents in your truck’s bed from rain, snow, dust, or grime. 

Tonneau covers also serve a purpose in helping prevent theft by not leaving your truck’s bed completely exposed to potential thieves. Even a soft cover that is easily removable can make a difference when it comes to deterring potential theft.

Lastly, some truck owners just like how a tonneau cover looks. It can make your truck look more complete and sleek, especially if you get a color-matched option.

How do Tonneau Covers Work?

A tonneau cover is typically installed using bed rails, which affix to your truck’s bed using a series of clips. This prevents the need for drilling or other permanent installation methods that may be difficult to do or affect the resale value of your truck later on.

A soft tonneau cover is sold in two different variations: roll-up and folding. A roll-up tonneau will roll up when not deployed across the length of your bed, almost like a yoga mat. These covers typically use plastic buckles to keep the cover rolled up, which can easily be unlatched when you want to cover your bed again.

A soft folding tonneau cover, meanwhile, folds up in a series of three or four sections. Both of these soft cover types will perform similarly but may offer individual advantages. For example, a roll-up tonneau is more compact and less cumbersome, but with a folding cover, you don’t have to fiddle with rolling it up and buckling it down—it simply folds up when you don’t need it.

Hard tonneau covers, meanwhile, also come in two different sorts: single piece and folding. Single piece hard tonneau covers aren’t as convenient but have the added benefit of looking better on some trucks. They also don’t have any top seams to admit water. A folding hard tonneau is easier to use and folds up in three or four sections, just like a soft-folding tonneau might, but may not look as cool on your pickup. Hard tonneaus are typically more durable than soft covers as well.

What are Some Well Known Tonneau Cover Brands?

Well known tonneau cover brands include:

  • American Tonneau Company
  • Bak*
  • Bestop
  • Extang*
  • Lund*
  • MaxMate
  • Pace Edwards (Leer)
  • Retrax*
  • Roll-N-Lock*
  • Smittybilt 
  • Tonno Pro*
  • TruXedo*
  • Tyger
  • UnderCover*

*These brands are all owned by Truck Hero, and may offer nearly identical products under different names, and potentially at different prices. Most of their manufacturing facilities are in the USA, but there may be some individual models that are made elsewhere. American Tonneau Company, Pace Edwards/Leer and Smittybuilt make their truck bed covers in the USA.

How do I Install a Tonneau Cover?

All tonneau covers, whether they’re rolling, folding, retractable or hinged, require one basic thing: A set of mounting brackets is (usually) clamped along the top of your pickup’s bed to hold the tonneau in place. Some folding covers have the brackets or rails and gasket built into the top, and have bars that clamp in across the width of the truck bed. Usually, you’ll need to undo these section by section to fold up the bed cover, and they can be tricky to line up the first time, but they are very easy to remove altogether. You might or might not have a single semi-permanent bracket at the cab end of the box.

In others, you’ll mount rails semi-permanently to the top of the bed rails. All rolling and retracting, hard hinged and some folding bed covers use this system. They usually have a flexible gasket material along the underside to seal out water and dust and more importantly, keep them from sliding around against the metal bed. Then, you’ll use included C-clamps to attach them temporarily, although some have an option to use your pickup’s stake pockets, too.

What Should I Look for in a Tonneau Cover?

The first thing you want to do when shopping for a tonneau cover is measure your truck’s bed. Once you have the measurements, you’ll know which tonneaus will fit your truck. So, in short, the first thing you’ll want to look for is a tonneau cover that fits your truck.

Once you’ve found a tonneau cover that fits your pickup, you want to ensure it has all the features you need. If you want to access your bed frequently, ensure your cover easily folds or rolls up if it’s of the soft variant. For hard tonneau covers, you want to make sure it’s a tri-folding hard tonneau or comes with a hinge for it to easily lift up. Some fancier tonneaus have a series of hinged arms that allow them to lift directly upward as well, although these can be a bit pricy.

If you are shopping for a soft tonneau in person, you can feel the vinyl material to ensure it feels thick and durable. The same goes for hard tonneau covers—inspect the cover to make sure the plastic or fiberglass is good quality and that the hinges are well-made.

What Should I Avoid When Shopping for a Tonneau Cover?

You may want to avoid buying a tonneau cover altogether if you find yourself going in and out of your truck’s bed very frequently. If your truck’s bed gets used for larger cargo on a daily basis (such as a work truck’s might) it may not be worth getting a tonneau cover, as it can prove to be bothersome always having to pull it back or take it off.

You will also want to avoid buying a tonneau that’s designed for a different truck other than your own. This may seem obvious, but some consumers may believe that any tonneau can just fit any truck. This isn’t the case—while all tonneaus are similarly shaped, they are designed for specific makes and models. You can’t shoehorn an ill-fitting tonneau onto your truck.

You also want to avoid those made of cheap materials. When it comes to tonneaus, a product that will spend much of its life outdoors and affixed to your (likely very expensive) pickup, you do not want to cheap out.

 

Recent Updates

December 13, 2021: Updated FAQs.

October 07, 2021: Added a new promoted product recommendation.

September 16, 2021: Removed unavailable American Tonneau Company cover, added Undercover Elite LX hinged hard truck bed cover. Expanded FAQ section.

June 25, 2021: Removed the promoted product recommendation.

March 30, 2021: Updated the link for the MaxMate Tri-Fold Truck Bed Tonneau Cover.

January 7, 2021: Added a new promoted product recommendation.


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