Whether your pickup truck is a daily workhorse or your sidekick for weekend projects, making sure the equipment you haul stays secure should be a top priority. Without a tonneau (AKA truck bed) cover, expensive gear is left exposed to potential damage from inclement weather like rain, snow, or hail. Leaving valuables in plain sight also puts them at a greater risk for theft.
Tonneau covers keep your cargo out of sight and damage-free while also keeping dirt out of your truck bed. This explains why they are some of the most popular aftermarket truck accessories. With so many different types of tonneau covers offered at a wide range of prices, choosing the right one can be a challenge. We'll break down the most common types of truck bed covers and the ones we'd choose for some of the most popular trucks on the market.
Types of Tonneau Covers
The 4 most common types of tonneau covers include roll-up, retractable, high-impact, and tri-fold. While there are pros and cons to each, we find tri-folding covers strike the ideal balance between ease of use, security, and affordability.
- Roll-up Covers
Roll-up covers are simple to install, easy-to-use, and the most affordable option, but there are some downsides. Roll-up tonneau covers are made from a soft, flexible material that doesn't last as long as the other types and doesn't offer much protection against theft, heavy rain, and snow.
- Retractable Covers
Retractable covers are usually made from aluminum, polycarbonate, and vinyl and offer excellent protection for your truck's toolbox, especially if they come with a locking function. However, retractable covers can be harder to install and more expensive than roll-up and folding covers.
- High-Impact Covers
High-impact covers are best for truck owners who need the toughest protection for their gear. They are highly durable, stand up to any weather, and offer the best protection from theft, but they are also expensive and heavy which can make them difficult to use.
- Tri-Fold Covers
Tri-fold covers are a practical solution for most pickup truck owners because they offer a mix of usability, theft protection, and affordability. You'll find folding covers come in soft and hard materials, but choosing the latter gives you added security against theft because they can't be cut into. Folding covers are easy to install and use daily, and are less expensive than retractable and high-impact covers. Here are our picks for tri-fold tonneau covers for Ram, GM, Ford, and Toyota trucks.
Ram 1500: Tyger Auto Hardtop Tonneau Cover
The Tyger hardtop tri-folding tonneau cover ($620) is constructed from alloy aluminum panels and supported by heavy-duty aluminum frames. Thanks to a quick-release clamping system, this tri-fold tonneau cover offers easy installation (no tools required), plus theft protection and a weather-tight seal to keep valuable gear from getting stolen or damaged. Before purchasing, make sure you select the correct bed size and note that this cover is not compatible with Ram 1500 models that feature the Ram Box, multifunction tailgate, or utility rails.
Chevy Silverado: BAK BAKFlip Tonneau Cover
Made in the USA for the Chevy Silverado or GMC Sierra pickups, the BAKFlip MX4 tonneau cover ($970) has aluminum panels that automatically latch as the cover is closed for ease of use and the ultimate protection for your cargo. This tri-fold cover doesn't restrict access to your truck bed or tailgate and allows you to drive with it fully closed or flipped up. A matte finish on the panels not only looks stylish but is also resistant to damage from scratches and UV exposure.
Ford F-150: Gator Hard Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover
Designed for 2015-2020 Ford F-150 trucks, the Gator Tri-Fold tonneau cover ($650) will shield your cargo with heavy-duty panels that lock automatically when closed. Installation does not require tools and takes less than half an hour to complete. Thanks to an integrated water management system, even severe weather won't threaten your truck bed or the gear you keep inside. Perimeter rubber seals and inner drain tubes carry water away from the bed keeping it safe and dry.
Toyota Tundra: Extang Hard Folding Tonneau Cover
If you drive a 2015-20 Toyota Tundra, the Extang Hard Folding tonneau cover ($773) will work hard to protect your truck bed and everything you're hauling inside. Its lightweight and scratch-resistant polypropylene panels shield your cargo against damage from water (thanks to watertight seals), dents, UV rays, and the threat of theft. The cover can be closed and locked in place, or you can drive with it partially open if you're hauling taller items. Installation is a no-brainer since the Extang comes fully assembled.
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