A tonneau cover is described as a covering for an area that’s open at the top. We naturally assume that it means a truck bed cover, and that’s what we’ll be reviewing here. But, dependent on where you are in the world, it could be different.
As you might expect, with hundreds of different trucks out there, and hundreds of different tonneau covers, the selection can be huge. But, if you want the best tonneau cover for your truck, the first thing you need to do is check whether it will fit or not. Not all covers fit all trucks, and some are model specific. Hopefully, this article will help guide you in choosing the most suitable tonneau cover for you.
Best Truck Tonneau Covers Reviewed
So Many Different Types
Before we get too deep, it’s worth noting that there are lots of different types and styles of tonneau covers – soft, hard, rigid, rollup, framed. As far as construction material there’s cloth, rubberized cloth, vinyl, metal, fiberglass, and nylon.
So how do you know what will be the best tonneau cover for you?
It depends on just why you’re looking to fit a cover. Whether it’s for looks, security, to just stop stuff blowing out the truck bed when you’re driving along. A contractor, for instance, will more than likely want something that offers extra security so they can store tools and equipment in the truck without risk of losing it. Whereas others may just want to improve the look of their truck.
The Benefits of a Tonneau Cover
A fixed or rigid tonneau cover won’t allow you to carry something taller than the bed depth, which is definitely worth remembering. However, there are definitely benefits to having one.
It’ll help with fuel economy. Many tests have been done over the years to show that a pickup fitted with a quality tonneau cover will always get more miles to the gallon. It has to do with aerodynamics. However, some experts will tell you that driving along with the tailgate down (for those without a tonneau cover) will do the same. Of course, that is assuming that the truck bed is empty.)
It also gives you a safe and secure storage area. Even the soft tonneau covers that use a snap clip style of fixing offer an advantage over having no cover. It at least stops casual prying eyes. And if you choose a secure metal one it’s as safe as the rest of the truck.
Some tonneau covers need very little ‘fitting’, especially if your truck has rails fitted as standard. Whereas other covers may need professional installation.
The quality of installation is important. If you get it wrong it may not be as secure as you’d like or watertight. If you’re looking to fit it yourself, make sure you have the skills appropriate to the job. Otherwise, you could just be wasting money.
The simpler soft tonneau covers are typically the easiest to fit. The roller style of retractable tonneau covers can be the most difficult. That’s you have to get everything lined up to ensure smooth operation. And even more so if it’s a metal shutter style.
Some trucks come with rails attached that can be used for fitting a simple tonneau cover. You should also ensure that if you have a bed liner fitted, your chosen cover will still fit.
This solid-core, folding tonneau cover is designed for the 2014 – 2018 GM Silverado and Sierra trucks. It allows for complete access to the truck bed. The vehicle can be driven with the cover closed, flipped-up, or folded and it won’t obstruct the third brake light.
The panels feature a solid-core of aluminum. It offers a good degree of security and it uses a high-quality perimeter seal to keep the elements out. The G2 uses a patented latching system that allows for easy opening and latching of the panels. It’s all covered by the truck bed cover itself, which means you need to open the tailgate to gain access.
Installation takes around 30 – 45 minutes and uses a clamp-on system. So, there is no need for drilling. It’s relatively simple and straightforward. And once it’s fixed, the whole cover sits flush with the top of the truck bed, giving it a sleek finish.
It’s also worth noting that this quality tonneau cover works with most accessories designed for truck beds, so you shouldn’t have problems fitting other items after this.
Similar to the G2 from BAK Industries, this hard folding tonneau cover is designed for the GM Sierra and Silverado trucks manufactured between 2014 – 2019.
Using the same aluminum-based heavy-duty solid-core paneling, the MX4 is nearly identical to the lower-priced G2. Aside from an upgraded latch housing featuring all-new components. This means that the MX4 can be closed or opened while the tailgate is open or closed. The G2 can only be operated while the tailgate is open.
The installation time is the same. It also uses an identical clamp-on system so no drilling or extra holes. The MX4 comes with a 3-year warranty.
Designed for the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 2014 – 2019.
Unlike the BAK Industries cover, the Tri-Fold from Gator is a vinyl tonneau cover, but the low price reflects that. It’s built on an aluminum frame that sits on top of the truck bed rails. You don’t need tools to fit it. It uses simple and easy quick latches. They just need to be adjusted by hand.
It’s the ideal tonneau cover for one-person installation that can be removed or fitted within ten minutes, meaning that if you really need to remove it for that last bit of space, it’s easily done.
Because of its design, the Tri-Fold only gives you full access to two-thirds of the truck bed. The last third (nearest the cab) is where this vinyl tonneau cover sits when folded back. However, it’s so easy to remove, this shouldn’t be a problem.
There are cross-bows fitted to the cover that helps to reduce flapping of the vinyl at higher speeds. But, you’ll always get some movement when driving along at 50+ mph. If this is likely to be an annoyance, you really need to invest in a solid tonneau cover.
The US-designed truck bed cover is perhaps one of the best value tonneau covers. It comes with a ten-year warranty on the vinyl. If you’re looking for something for occasional use, it will be perfect.
Designed for the 2002 – 2019 Dodge Ram 1500 and 2003 – 2019 Dodge Ram 2500 & 3500.
Another tri-fold design that allows access to 2/3s of the truck bed when folded up. This double-sided marine-grade vinyl tonneau cover features a proprietary black textured finish. Tonno claims that it’s of the highest standard in the industry.
The Tonno Fold needs no tools for installation and comes completely assembled. You just need to clamp it on to the underside of the bed rails using the patented slide-lock designed clamping system.
Thanks to the aluminum framework, the whole cover seems pretty taught and fuss-free. As a bonus, Tonno includes some free gifts with each purchase. While some of them are a bit ‘gimmicky’, the super bright LED detachable Tonno Torch can be attached (using Velcro) inside the load area. More tonneau cover manufacturers should offer this.
On the whole, the Tonno Fold gives great waterproofing for anything inside the cargo area, and the SureSeal Tailgate Seal helps to prevent any other ingress of dust or water from the tailgate area.
Fits the Ford F150 2015 – 2019.
Unlike the other models listed here, the GatorTrax is a retractable tonneau cover – the whole cover slides backward. This does mean that you lose a little load space – as the mechanism to allow it to retract takes up some of the cargo areas, but it’s a minimal loss, and the practicalities far outweigh that small disadvantage.
It’s made from LEXAN (the stuff you find being used as a windshield in jet fighter cockpits). So, you know it’s tough and will withstand all types of treatment. The roller system uses sealed ball bearings, so there’s no maintenance needed and the cover itself can be locked in ANY position.
Need a 2″ gap? Not a problem. Need the whole bed? Also, not a problem. This well-built tonneau cover doesn’t lock every twelve inches or so. It literally will lock anywhere – and with a key – not a fiddly mechanism.
Similar to the other high-quality tonneau covers, the GatorTrax doesn’t need drilling to fit it. But, you will need some tools to tighten the clamps. The installation is a little more time-consuming purely because everything has to be lined up just right to make it slide smoothly. It’s worth taking that extra time to get it right.
For the GM series of trucks, manufactured between 2014 – 2017.
The TruXport is an economical roll-up tonneau cover, that allows access to most of the cargo area when fully rolled up – the space lost is minimal, and probably something that you won’t even notice. It’s made from soft vinyl with a leather grain look, and uses cross supports to help relieve that age-old problem of saggy covers.
It also has pre-tensioners built-in, and typically, this soft tonneau cover will remain taut in all conditions. However, you can adjust the tensioners if you find that your cover is beginning to get a little loose.
The cover needs no drilling, and should be installed in around 30 minutes, with just a ½” wrench and tape measure – it’s easy. Once installed, the softcover uses Velcro to seal the sides, which is OK, but you may find that over the years, you may need to give that some attention, especially if you’re using it a lot.
Having said that, Truxedo offers a full 5-year warranty on everything, including the fabric, so it’s doubtful that you’ll run into issues.
Two release latches (one either side) are easily operated and should need minimal maintenance as they’re covered by the tonneau cover itself.
For the 2015 – 2018 Ford F150.
Similar to the Truxedo, this is a roll-up tonneau cover, but that’s where any similarity stops. The Revolver offers a high level of security thanks to its patented locking rails system that secures the whole length of the cover.
The materials used in construction are heavy-duty aluminum that has been covered by quality vinyl. This is one of the most secure tonneau covers on the market.
Featuring an automatic slam latch, the X2 can be opened or closed from either side of the truck, and you don’t need to access the bed area first – the tailgate can be open or closed and the cover can still be operated. Despite its secure nature, the X2 rolls up to around 6″ so it won’t obstruct the rear window and barely impacts on the bed size.
The difference between this and the other covers is that fitting can take some time. However, it comes with great fitting instructions and there’s even a YouTube video so you can actually visualize the process. Fit this with a friend rather than on your own.
While we’ve included specific models, it’s entirely possible that they may fit other pickup trucks. Also, other model-specific tonneau covers are available in the same range. Be sure to check the dimensions and model size if you aren’t sure.
There is no such thing as a 100% waterproof tonneau cover. However, some models (when fitted correctly) come pretty close. The weak spots are usually in the area of the corners.
Also, it must be said, that the quality of installation can make the difference between water-resistant or leaking like it’s not even there. Take your time when fitting, that extra effort will be worth it in the long run.
Secure tonneau covers offer added protection to anything you’re lugging around, but they don’t offer the same level of security as the vehicle itself. So, if it’s really valuable or important, you may want to think twice about leaving it in your bed.