This article will be designed to educate you on the pros and cons of each type so you can a least narrow down your search.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting Started
There are a couple of questions you should as yourself before getting started:
- Is this your first truck or at least the first truck you have wanted to cover?
- If so, what do you see yourself carrying? How often will your cargo be higher than the bed of the truck?
- If not, what kind of cover did you have before, and what did you and didn’t you like about it?
- What kind of budget are you looking to spend on your cover?
- What is most important to you?
- Water resistance?
Considering the Options Available
The next step is to consider the options available and see what is going to fit the priorities of that last question. Below will be a brief description of the more common types of covers as well as the key points of what makes them more or less beneficial in certain circumstances.
Painted to Match Fiberglass Covers
We deal exclusively with Leer fiberglass covers. They make the best cover on the market for styling, security and daily use operation. Most current model trucks will have a Leer cover that will fit and most of the covers will wrap over the sides for optimum water resistance. Every part, from the hinges to the latches will be attached to a steel plate within the fiberglass making them much harder to break into. They will also come with the best warranty covering you for life against paint color fade and the fiberglass structure. Not all covers will be the same, so if you are looking at someone besides Leer, ask the dealer to explain the warranty.
These are the only covers that will give you any type of additional clearance above the bed rail, but it isn’t much. If you’re carrying anything that is above the bed rail height the cover will most likely need to be removed. If you can turn a wrench, you can remove the cover in 15-20 minutes. They are heavy and you will need at least 2 strong people to take it off the bed. You also need a flat place to store it off the ground to keep from damaging the paint.
With that said, these are our most popular Tonneau covers and most of the customers who purchase these will never take them off once they are on.
These will be covers that are lockable for security but give you an easier way to remove them or get them out of the way if needed.
Undercover makes several great options for removable covers that still keep your cargo safe from theft. They offer a wide variety of hinged one piece covers in a hard lockable design. All of these will wrap over the rails for maximum water security and all of them are designed to be removed in minutes without the use of any tools. They will also come with a wall mounting kit so if you do remove it you have a place to put it without worrying about the exterior surface. They are about half the weight of the fiberglass making it a simple 2 person on and off scenario.
Really not much, the only real drawback is the security of the cover. They all have a locking system that secures the cover, but when you compare the strength to the Leer covers steel Automotive rotary latching system it isn’t nearly as strong. With that said, if someone really wants into the back of your truck they will get there no matter how good the lock is. The biggest advantage to any bed cover is, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Thieves like to know what they are getting, do it quickly with as little disturbance as possible. So unless they watched you load the truck they have no idea if they are working for $10k in tools or an empty bed.
Folding and Retractable Covers
These covers will give you a great advantage if you are frequently carrying cargo above the bed rail. These will give you access to get the cover out of your way when you don’t need it, put it back if you do, all without having to remove anything, great for large cargo, fifth wheel or gooseneck towing.
We prefer Pace Edwards in the retractable covers with models from standard retractable to a fully electronic version.
For folding covers we prefer the Undercover Flex which gives a wide range of usability from closed to full bed access in seconds. We also deal with other manufacturers like BAK, Rugged liner, Extang and Leer.
While you get a tone of extra storage space and flexibility with the retractable and folding covers, you walk away from the wrap over rail design you get with the one piece covers which in turn exposes your bed to more leak points. We believe in full disclosure with anything we sell, so we try to tell everyone what they can expect from the products they purchase. With that said, these covers do their job. When we say leak points, we mean a bead of water running down the tailgate not standing water in your bed.
Soft covers will give you a very economical cover that will do as good or better with keeping you dry as the folding or retractable covers at a fraction of the cost. There are ton of these out there, we prefer to sell the TruXedo and Rugged liner version.
TruXedo’s TruxSport model is a quick and easy to use cover that releases at the rear and rolls up to the front. What sets them apart from the competition is their Velcro system as opposed to the snap on or Ziploc type attachment. They also have the support bars connected to the cover so when you roll it up, you don’t have remove other parts.
The Rugged liner is a folding soft cover that gives a little easier operation when you need your full bed. Both of these require dropping the tailgate to open the cover, so if you can lock your tailgate, you can essentially lock the cover.
While you can lock these covers by locking the tailgate, they are still Vinyl covers that anyone with a knife can easily get into. Otherwise, these are great options, especially if water and price were at the top of your list in the questions mentioned earlier.
We hope this article has been beneficial to you and may have at least given you a better place to start in your bed cover search. If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to ask. You can use the contact us button on our home page or request a quote for pricing. Stop by one of our Houston area showrooms to get a hands on feel for these covers and just about anything else for your truck or SUV.