The Best Truck Tonneau Covers

Sam McEachern
by Sam McEachern
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Even an affordable tonneau is better than leaving your bed open to weather and prying eyes.
Tonneaus keep your cargo secure and out of the weather. Photo credit: David Traver Adolphus /

Owning a pickup truck has plenty of benefits (like making you very popular with your friends when they’re moving), but everything you have sitting in your truck bed is exposed to the outside world. That means weather, thieves, and even just falling out in the wind on the highway. To protect your truck bed, you need a tonneau cover. A cover that sits over the bed, usually mounted to the sides of the bed, keeping everything out of the weather and out of sight.

There are a variety of styles available, both hard and soft. Hard tonneau covers typically mount against the back of the cab, and either lift up like a giant trunk lid or, more typically, fold up in hinged sections. Soft tonneau covers can be rolled 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 the type of cargo you need to conceal and how you plan on using your truck. Consider if you will often remove the tonneau cover completely and the local weather conditions; 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. Recently, quad-folding models have been introduced alongside tri-folds, which might be a good choice if you have a longer bed to cover and want more versatility.

In this article, we will discuss some of the best soft and hard tonneau covers currently available, covering various styles and brands. This serves as a good starting point for researching the right cover for your truck’s bed. As 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 trucks available today. Picking one out can be confusing, so refer to the Table of Contents below for assistance.

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1. Editor's Choice: Tyger Auto T3 Soft Tri-Fold 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.

While we haven't had the opportunity to test this specific tonneau cover, it comes highly recommended by trusted experts and contributors.


Affordable, high quality, easy installation, seamless look


Can stretch over time

2. North Mountain Soft Roll Up Truck Tonneau Cover

This truck bed cover is designed with a 3D modeling process to ensure a precise fit for specific truck models, resulting in a cover that should fit each truck bed exactly. It features a flush surface design when closed, providing a flat appearance. The cover is easy to operate, allowing for simple rolling up and down to grant full bed access.

Installation of the cover is straightforward, taking between 10 to 30 minutes, and does not require drilling, with all necessary instructions and tools provided. The stitching of the cover utilizes OEM grade American & Afird brand nylon thread, which is noted for its high tear strength and weather resistance, ensuring the stitching does not come apart. The cover includes a unique rear seal made of durable vinyl to prevent water entry, and all plastic parts and the vinyl itself are tested to withstand extreme cold temperatures down to -35C/-32F. In addition, the vinyl and parts have been subjected to UV accelerate lab tests for 1000 hours, achieving a class 3.5 rating, for high resistance to UV degradation.

While we haven't had the opportunity to test this specific tonneau cover, it comes highly recommended by trusted experts and contributors.


Flush surface design, high UV protection grade, easy operation


Limited applications

3. Tonno Pro Lo Roll Soft Tonneau Cover

The Tonno Pro Lo Roll is a soft roll-up truck bed cover designed for easy operation and installation. It features a simple unlocking mechanism at the driver's side of the tailgate, allowing the cover to roll towards the cab for full truck bed access. The cover is constructed from tear-resistant, double-sided 24 oz. vinyl with marine-grade stitching and water-resistant seals, offering protection against weather and damage. Its low-profile design ensures it does not disrupt the truck's existing lines.

This cover mounts inside the bed rails, leaving room for additional accessories such as ladder racks and tie downs. Installation is quick, with a no-drill setup that can be completed in under 25 minutes using a 17mm socket and ratchet. The mounting hardware and clamps are designed for durability and a sleek appearance.

Tonno Pro, a U.S.-based brand, backs this product with a Limited Lifetime Policy, emphasizing the company's commitment to quality, affordability, and ease of installation. The Lo Roll Tonneau Cover aims to protect cargo from the elements and potential theft by keeping it out of sight.

The product comes with a frame backed by a limited lifetime warranty and the tarp guaranteed for 10 years. This cover is marketed as a straightforward, reliable solution for truck owners seeking a budget-friendly option without unnecessary extras.

While we haven't had the opportunity to test this specific tonneau cover, it comes highly recommended by trusted experts and contributors.


Easy to operate, good protection, low-profile design, limited lifetime warranty


Limited options, no durability claims or ratings

How do I Get the Right Cover for my Truck?

If you're trying to find a tonneau for a 1969 Ford F100 Ranger, you might have some issues.Manufacturers sometimes 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 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 need to be certain of this. If you have a bedliner, don't include this in your measurement! You have to measure steel to steel, or aluminum for 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 are usually easy to mount, but are heavier and can be hard for one person to remove. Locks may or may not be included.

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 are 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 truck. These hard, lift-up covers are the oldest style of truck bed cover and are usually made of ABS and are permanently mounted, and include struts to hold them open. Some models can 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?

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 choose 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 high-quality tonneau cover will enclose your truck's bed, making it weathertight, or at the very least more weathertight than it would be without one. This helps protect the contents in the truck bed from rain, snow, dust, or grime.

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

Lastly, some truck owners simply like how a tonneau cover looks. A tonneau cover can make a 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 with bed rails, which affix to your truck's bed using a series of clips. This eliminates the need for drilling or other permanent installation methods that might be difficult to do and could affect the resale value of your truck later on.

Soft tonneau covers are available in two different variations: roll-up and folding. A roll-up tonneau cover rolls up when not deployed across the length of the bed, resembling a yoga mat. These covers often use plastic buckles to keep the cover rolled up, which can easily be unlatched when you want to cover your bed again.

Meanwhile, a soft folding tonneau cover folds up in a series of three or four sections. Both types of soft covers will perform similarly but may offer individual advantages. For instance, a roll-up tonneau cover 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.

Meanwhile, hard tonneau covers 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 providing a sleeker appearance on some trucks. They also don't have any top seams to admit water. A folding hard tonneau cover is more convenient and folds up in three or four sections, just like a soft-folding tonneau cover would, but may not look as cool on your pickup. Hard tonneau covers 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?

Regardless of their type, all tonneau covers require one basic thing: A set of mounting brackets are usually clamped along the top of your pickup's bed to hold the tonneau in place. Some folding covers feature brackets, rails, and gaskets built into the top, with bars that clamp across the width of the truck bed. Undoing these sections one by one to fold up the bed cover can be tricky the first time, but once you get the hang of it, they become easy to remove altogether. There may or may not be a single semi-permanent bracket at the cab end of the box.

In some cases, semi-permanent rails are mounted to the top of the bed rails. All rolling, retracting, and 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, prevent them from sliding around against the metal truck bed. After installing the rails, you'll use the included C-clamps to attach them temporarily. However, some have an option to use your pickup's stake pockets, too.

What Should I Look for in a Tonneau Cover?

The first step in shopping for a tonneau cover is to measure your truck bed. Once you have the measurements, you'll know which tonneaus will fit your truck. 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, make sure it includes all the features you need. If you want to access your bed frequently, make sure the cover easily folds or rolls up if it's a soft variant. For a hard tonneau cover, make sure it is either a tri-folding hard tonneau or features a hinge for easy lifting. Some higher-end tonneau covers have a series of hinged arms that allow them to lift directly upward as well, although these may be more expensive.

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

What Should I Avoid When Shopping for a Tonneau Cover?

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

You will also want to avoid buying a tonneau cover designed for a different truck. Although this may seem obvious, some consumers may believe that any tonneau cover can fit any truck. This is not the case; while all tonneau covers are similarly shaped, they are designed for specific makes and models. You can't shoehorn an ill-fitting tonneau cover onto your truck.

You also want to avoid tonneau covers made of cheap materials. When it comes to tonneau covers, since they will spend much of their life outdoors and attached to your pickup truck, you should not cheap out.

Recent Updates

  • February 8, 2024: After speaking with industry experts and knowledgeable contributors, we have decided to reduce our list of recommendations to three products. While our top recommendation remains the same, our second and third picks are new.
  • October 11, 2023: Removed promoted product recommendation.
  • May 1, 2023: Grammar and spelling corrections for better clarity.
  • April 24, 2023: Removed promoted product recommendation, added Synetic USA retractable hard cover.
  • January 3, 2022: Removed promoted product recommendation.
  • December 5, 2022: Updated product links.
  • October 26, 2022: Updated product links and introduction.
  • August 23, 2022: Updated product links.

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Sam McEachern
Sam McEachern

Sam McEachern holds a diploma in journalism from St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario, and has been covering the automotive industry for over 5 years. He conducts reviews and writes AutoGuide's news content. He's a die-hard motorsports fan with a passion for performance cars of all sorts.

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