The Essential Guide to Tonneau Covers

Thursday, May 30, 2024
The Essential Guide to Tonneau Covers

Today's tonneau covers are available in a wide range of designs – including lightweight soft covers, and hard covers that offer added protection and durability. We have tonneaus available for nearly every truck bed size on the road today, ensuring a snug and secure fit.

If you have a pickup truck, a tonneau cover is important. It can protect your tools, give your truck a better look, and keep your belongings hidden. It's a must-have accessory for any truck owner.

This guide explains different tonneau covers, their advantages, and how to pick the best one for you. Whether you're a first-time buyer or looking to upgrade your existing cover, this guide will help you make an informed decision.

What is a Tonneau Cover?

Tonneau covers are protective accessories designed to cover the bed of a pickup truck. They serve multiple purposes, from enhancing your vehicle's look to providing practical benefits like security and weather protection. They come in different styles and materials to fit various preferences and uses.

Hard Tonneau Covers Vs. Soft Tonneau Covers

Soft Covers

Soft tonneau covers are popular for their affordability and ease of use. They are typically made from durable vinyl or fabric materials, making them lightweight and easy to handle. The downside of soft covers is that they offer limited protection from theft since potential thieves can cut through the vinyl.

We offer two main soft tonneau covers – the TruXedo Lo Pro soft rolling cover, and the Extang Trifecta 2.0 soft tri-fold cover.

Hard Covers

Hard covers are known for their durability and enhanced security. Manufacturers mainly use aluminum, fiberglass, or ABS plastic, providing a sturdy barrier against theft and weather. The downside of hard covers is that they are often more expensive, and can also be much heavier than vinyl covers.

Our best-selling hard tonneau covers are the BAKFlip MX4, Extang Solid Fold ALX, and RetraxPRO MX.

Types of Tonneau Covers

If you've been shopping for a bed cover you will have seen countless different styles, which can make picking the right one a pain. The three main types we install are roll-up, folding, and retracting covers. Each style has its pros and cons – depending on what you need.

Roll-Up Tonneau Covers

Roll Up Tonneau Cover

These covers roll up towards the cab of the truck and are simple to use – providing easy access to your truck bed. However, they typically are not as weather-resistant as folding covers. Roll-up covers are a great choice if you need quick and easy access to your bed.

Folding Tonneau Covers

Folding Tonneau Cover

Folding truck bed covers are typically available as either tri-fold or quad-fold. Choose between a soft folding, or hard folding tonneau depending on your desired security. Not all folding covers give you full access to your bed. Models like the BAKFlip MX4 fold up against the cab for full bed access, but you lose rear visibility. Meanwhile, the Extang Trifecta and the Extang Solid Fold ALX tri-fold covers only give you roughly 70% of bed access above the bed rails, but allow full visibility from the rear window.

Retractable Tonneau Covers

Retracting Tonneau Cover

Retractable covers are a premium option that slide along rails into a canister toward the back of your bed. They are usually constructed with aluminum for exceptional build quality and durability. Retractable tonneaus provide the best security and weather resistance. Some models such as the Retrax EQ have an electric motor that allows you to open and close your cover remotely, or with the press of a button. The main drawback of retractable bed covers is the price, as well as the canister occupying some of your bed space.

Benefits of Tonneau Covers

Tonneau covers are the most popular pickup truck accessory – for good reason. There are a ton of benefits to adding one, and hardly any downsides. The main benefits of adding a tonneau cover are the following:

  1. Security and Theft Prevention: Keep your cargo out of sight and secure. Many hard covers lock with your tailgate for added protection.
  2. Weather Protection: While no tonneau cover is 100% waterproof, they go a long way to keep your cargo dry.
  3. Enhanced Appearance: A bed cover gives your truck a more complete look. Models like the BAKFlip MX4 sit flush with your bed for a seamless finish.
  4. Increased Resale Value: By investing in a high-quality tonneau cover you can increase the resale value of your truck.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Will a tonneau cover work with a ladder rack?

  • Answer: Specific ladder racks like the TruXedo Elevate are designed to work with select tonneau covers

Question: Do tonneau covers improve gas mileage?

  • Answer: Tonneau covers minimize air resistance in the bed of your truck, reducing drag. This can lead to a slight increase in gas mileage.

Question: Are tonneau covers waterproof?

  • Answer: No tonneau cover is completely waterproof. Hard covers with drain tubes provide the best protection against water getting into your truck bed. 

Browse Related Products



The BAKFlip MX4 is a heavy-duty, hard-folding tonneau cover designed to perform in extreme conditions.

Learn More
BAKFlip G2

BAKFlip G2

The BAKFlip G2, is the smartest investment when you need full bed access and maximum cargo protection.

Learn More
Extang Trifecta 2.0

Extang Trifecta 2.0

The best selling soft Tri-Fold cover just got better.

Learn More
Extang Solid Fold ALX

Extang Solid Fold ALX

The Solid Fold ALX is a lightweight hard folding tonneau cover that can be easily removed.

Learn More
Revolver X4s

Revolver X4s

The Revolver X4s is a Hard Rolling bed cover engineered for real-world durability with a modern, stylish appearance.

Learn More
RetraxPRO MX

RetraxPRO MX

The RetraxPRO MX Tonneau Cover is a top-of-the-line, retractable tonneau cover.

Learn More
TruXedo Lo Pro

TruXedo Lo Pro

Introducing the #1 top-selling roll-up tonneau cover: the TruXedo Lo Pro.

Learn More

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