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, although 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 huge, but if you’re thinking of finding the best tonneau cover for your truck, the very first thing you need to do is check fitment – 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.
Table of Contents
- Best Truck Bed Covers Reviewed for 2018
- So Many Different Types
- Benefits of Good Tonneau Covers
- 1. BAKFlip G2 Hard Folding Tonneau Cover
- 2. BAKFlip MX4 Hard Folding Tonneau Cover
- 3. Gator Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover
- 4. Tonno Pro Tonno Fold TRI-FOLD Tonneau Cover
- 5. GatorTrax Retractable Tonneau Cover
- 6. Truxedo TruXport Roll-up Tonneau Cover
- 7. BAK Revolver X2 Hard Roll-up Tonneau Cover
- Remember …
Best Truck Bed Covers Reviewed for 2018
So Many Different Types
Before we get too deep, it’s worth understanding that there are lots of different types and styles of tonneau covers – soft, hard, rigid, rollup, framed, and then we get to construction material – cloth, rubberized cloth, vinyl, metal, fiberglass, nylon … the choices are never ending.
However, with a little knowledge, you should be able to decide on what works for you – a rugged tonneau cover, simple, lockable … the choice isn’t just “what color do I want?” (which could be one of hundreds!).
So how do you know what will be the best tonneau cover for you?
A lot 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.
Benefits of Good Tonneau Covers
First up, I happen to think that any truck with an open bed just looks incomplete, although I understand that it can actually be practical – just being able to throw stuff in the bed is quite neat, and of course, it means that you can carry more items, or large items – a fixed or rigid tonneau cover won’t allow you to carry something taller than the bed depth, which is definitely worth remembering.
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’s to do with aerodynamics, although some experts will tell you that driving along with the tailgate down (for those without a tonneau cover) will do the same (this is all assuming that the truck bed is empty).
It 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, but choose a secure metal one and 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 a professional installation, and it’s worth remembering that the quality of installation is important – get it wrong and it may not be as secure as you’d like, or even watertight. If you’re looking to fit it yourself, make sure you have the skills appropriate to the job or you could just be wasting a whole chunk of dollar bills.
It’s not really possible to give fitting instructions – with hundreds of different trucks, covers and styles, you could look at ten different covers and have ten different methods of fitting. But the simpler soft tonneau covers are typically the most easy to fit, the roller style or retractable tonneau covers can be the most difficult, thanks to having to get everything lined up to ensure smooth operation, even more so if it’s a metal shutter style.
It’s worth noting that some trucks come with rails attached that can be used for fitting a simple tonneau cover – something like a vinyl cover that uses elastic to keep it in place, you should also ensure that if you have a bed liner fitted, that your chosen cover will still fit or work as it’s intended (or that you don’t need to spend extra dollars on having a bed liner fitted).
1. BAKFlip G2 Hard Folding Tonneau Cover
This solid-core, folding tonneau cover is designed for the 2014 – 2018 GM Silverado and Sierra trucks. Thanks to it’s design, 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 so offer quite 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 which allows for easy opening and latching of the panels – 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 – relatively simple and straightforward, and once 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 in fitting other items after this.
2. BAKFlip MX4 Hard Folding Tonneau Cover
Just the same as the G2 from BAK Industries, this hard folding tonneau cover is designed for the GM Sierra and Silverado trucks manufactured between 2014 – 2018.
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.
Installation time is the same, and uses an identical clamp-on system, which of course means no drilling or extra holes. The MX4 comes with a 3-year warranty.
3. Gator Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover
Designed for the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 2014 – 2018.
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 which sits on top of the truck bed rails and needs no tools to fit – simple and easy quick latches are used, they just need adjusting 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. Due to 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, but as it’s so easy to remove, this shouldn’t be a problem.
There are cross-bows fitted to the cover that help to reduce flapping of the vinyl at higher speeds, but by its very nature, 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 that comes with a ten year warranty on the vinyl, and if you’re looking for something for occasional use, it will be perfect.
4. Tonno Pro Tonno Fold TRI-FOLD Tonneau Cover
Designed for the 2002 – 2018 Dodge Ram 1500 and 2003 – 2018 Dodge Ram 2500 & 3500.
Another tri-fold design which 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, which Tonno claim to be of the highest standard in the industry.
The Tonno Fold needs no tools for installation and comes completely assembled – you literally just need to clamp it on to the underside of the bed rails using the patented slide-lock designed clamping system, and thanks to the aluminum framework, the whole cover seems pretty taught and fuss-free. As a bonus, Tonno include some free gifts with each purchase, and 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.
5. GatorTrax Retractable Tonneau Cover
Fits the Ford F150 2015 – 2018.
Unlike the other models listed here, the GatorTrax is a retractable tonneau cover – the whole cover slides backwards. This does mean that you lose a little load space – as the mechanism to allow it to retract takes up some of the cargo area, 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 … yep. 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.
Just the same as other high-quality tonneau covers, the GatorTrax doesn’t need drilling to fit it, but you will need some tools to tighten the clamps, and installation is a little more time-consuming purely because everything has to be lined up just right to make it slide smoothly, and it’s worth taking that extra time to get it right.
6. Truxedo TruXport Roll-up Tonneau Cover
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, although you can adjust the tensioners should 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 soft cover 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 offer 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.
7. BAK Revolver X2 Hard Roll-up Tonneau Cover
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, and the materials used in construction – heavy-duty aluminum 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 it’s 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, but it comes with great fitting instructions and there’s even a YouTube video so you can actually visualize the process – my advice would be to fit this with a friend rather than on your own (although it is doable).
While I’ve included the specific models, it’s entirely possible that they may fit other pickup trucks, and that other model specific tonneau covers are available in the same range, but be sure to check the dimensions and model fitment if you aren’t sure.
There is no such thing as a 100% waterproof tonneau cover, but some models (when fitted correctly) come pretty close, the weak spots are usually in the area of the corners, and 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.