It’s scary thinking what could happen without a tonneau cover…
There you are, hauling precious luggage of your client to its destination. Midway through the journey, it starts to rain with the luggage out in the open. Now, you’ve two options – either to stop under a shade (and risk being late) or to go on (and risk damaging the luggage).
Don’t want to get into such a situation?
Then you must get the best tonneau cover. In addition to protecting the equipment, it also increases gas mileage by decreasing air drag.
Best Tonneau Cover – Comparison Table
|MaxMate Tri-Fold||Tyger Auto T3||Lund 96872|
|Type||Soft (tri-fold)||Soft (tri-fold)||Soft (Roll up)|
|Warranty||10-year||Limited lifetime||Limited lifetime|
What Are Tonneau Covers?
Also known as truck bed covers, these are protective covers which either shield seats in an open car cargo bed in an open pickup truck. Also, thanks to their aerodynamic design, tonneau covers reduce the air drag your vehicle has to encounter, hence increasing gas mileage to up to 10%.
Another notable advantage of these covers is the value they add to your truck. Since they protect the bed of the truck, it remains safe from any scratches that might need to be repaired in the long run. As a result, the resale value of your vehicle remains intact.
Although they come in various shapes and sizes, tonneau covers have two opening mechanism: hard and soft. For, while the soft covers open by rolling up, you can open a hard tonneau cover by either a hinging or folding mechanism.
Best Tonneau Cover – Top 10 Reviews
As far as Tonneau covers go, the MaxMate Tri-fold isn’t cheap by any stretch of the imagination. That said, if you can afford to pay big bucks, this product won’t disappoint.
Starting with the best this cover has to offer, and its combination of a marine grade vinyl cover and stainless steel clamps come into play. While the vinyl cover guarantees are tear-resistant on its own, the clamps make sure it remains durable.
Supplementing both of them is the aluminum powder coated frames, which allow the cover to maintain its shape even under high duress. What’s more, the horizontal crossbars which come with this cover not are also foldable, hence ensuring full-bed access.
Furthermore, another notable feature of this soft tri-fold cover is to complement your cargo size. For instance, if you have an oversized cargo, you can remove this cover altogether within seconds. Conversely, if your payload is on the smaller side, you can simply fold forward this cover.
Also, provided your vehicle has an under-the-bedrail bed liner, you won’t have to drill holes to install this cover. That said, for over-the-bedrail bedliners, small holes will need to be cut.
Special Feature: Warranty
What truly justifies the astronomical price tag of this model is its warranty. For, it comes with a no-hassle 10-year warranty.
Available in both soft top and hard top versions, the Tyger Auto T3 works for Dodge Rams manufactured between 2009 and 2018.
Starting with a glance at its design, and this soft top cover is made of 24oz marine grade vinyl. Its tear-resistant clothe folds easily for speedy access and is also fade-less. What’s more, the manufacturer even gives you the option to customize the color.
Where on one end the cover folds easily, the pre-assembled crossbars provide full bed access, on the other. Then come the heavy duty aluminum coated frames which are rust-resistant and are supplemented by the stainless steel clamps for easy installation.
Turning our attention to its installation, and this model comes with the necessary hardware and requires no drilling. What’s more, due to the quick release rear latches, you can easily access the truck bed. Similar utility is on offer with the front clamps which – by attaching onto the rail – provide foolproof security.
Special Feature: 12% Gas Savings
You read it right; due to the sleek design of this model, it could save you as much as 12% on the gas costs.
Want a soft tonneau cover whose low profile doesn’t attract much attention – yet its sturdiness helps secure your payload? Then you definitely wand the Lund 96872 tonneau cover.
In case you’re wondering, the reason for this model is low profile lies in its twill weave material. Not as shiny as vinyl, it has a lightly textured matte black finish to prevent unwarranted attention while also making the cover a cinch to maintain.
Regardless of how much payload you secure under it, the model won’t break – thanks to its patented internal tension control system. Supplemented with hook and loop fasteners, it keeps the top tight and secure.
What’s more, both the front and rear side of the cover are provided with rubber seals. Which means that this model won’t allow ingress of moisture and dust. Equally important are the heavy-duty aluminum rails which keep wear and tear at bay.
Furthermore, like most covers in this review, the Lund 96872 has a no-drill installation. Also, it fits bed sizes of up to 5.5’.
Special Feature: Patented Latching System
Want to get the roll up in seconds? Also hoping for easy bed access? The Patented latching system – with its quick release mechanism – does just that.
Think you can’t get better protection against water and dust than what is provided by rubber seals? The Odero Tri-fold with its Velcro strip would force you to think again.
What differentiates the Odero from most tonneau covers in the market is that it provides a tailgate lock in the package. This lock allows you to turn your truck bed into an unbreakable and secure trunk. It also has a key which ensures that nobody besides you could take a peek inside.
Making this cover a stand-out performer is its double layer PVC and excellent tensile properties. Combining with the UV coated top, these characteristics provide maximum protection against sun and everyday wear.
Also, since this cover has a tri-fold design, that means you’ve multiple access points to the same cargo. That is in stark contrast with roll-up covers which provide one-point access. Also, despite having compartmentation, the tri-fold cover can be opened and closed without tools.
Finally, while it is true that no tonneau cover in the market is 100% waterproof, the Odero Tri-fold comes pretty close. That is, because, it has a Velcro strip that keeps both water and dust at bay.
Special Feature: Wrinkle-free
In case you’re worried about aesthetics, rest-assured that this cover is wrinkle-free. It is that way because the tailgate latch lock system keeps the cover tight at all times.
In comparison with most tonneau covers in this review, the R&L is one of the most inexpensive ones. Its meager price tag, however, doesn’t mean you’d come across cost-cutting measures.
One thing which differentiates this model from its counterparts is its coverage area. For, while most tonneau covers stop short at 5.5ft, the R&L provides 6.5ft coverage space. That means you can haul-in extra items if you like.
Another notable feature of this model – one which you would expect it to eschew given its meager price tag – is double-sided vinyl coating. That means you can expect perfect weather-proofing from this cover.
Furthermore, the extra-thickness of this model comes across as a double-edged sword. Where on one end it reduces aerodynamic drag – which means more savings – on the other, it also makes the cover relatively heavy.
What’s more, having a groove closure system provides this cover with two advantages. First, it makes securing this cover to the bed extremely quick. And secondly, you won’t have to fumble with any snaps or zippers.
Special Feature: Extra-coverage
As stated earlier, this cover provides 6.5ft coverage – at least 1ft more than most covers in the same price range.
Provided you can afford to pay a bit over the odds on a quality cover – as this model is doubly expensive – only then consider the Rough Country cover.
Justifying the otherwise astronomical price tag of this model is UV-protected top and an excellent tailgate lock. While the former protects the Rough Country from sun rays, the lock ensures that nobody could access the payload apart from you.
What’s more, while this model is no doubt sturdy, it isn’t at the cost of style. It has a nice pebble finish which, in addition to giving it an elegant touch, is also low-profile.
You might be thinking that with its airtight compartment and huge weight, this cover might be intense to install. Not true! As its customers have found out, you could easily get the cover on/off in less than six minutes.
Lastly, its tri-fold design allows compartmentalization of the payload – hence allowing for easy sorting. An all-weather seal, meanwhile, keeps out both rain and snow.
Special Feature: No compulsion
Most tonneau covers require you to close them before embarking on a drive. Not the Rough Country. Whether it is open or closed, you can easily drive without any qualms.
Found the abovementioned tonneau cover expensive? Your perspective might change after a mere glance at the asking price of the Retrax 60373.
Starting with a look at its design, the Retrax 60373 – despite being a retractable cover – has done away with the market favorite marine-grade vinyl. In its place has come a one-piece polycarbonate construction which, without any hinges or joints, doesn’t allow wear.
What’s more, to prevent scratching, the cover has been provided with a tough matte finish. That means you won’t have to spend any money on this cover’s maintenance.
Ultimate flexibility is another high-point of this model, which you’d expect given its astronomical price tag. For instance, it is lockable in any position – which means you decide which part of your cargo stays open (or close) whenever you need it.
Furthermore, its compact storage canister contains a spiral track system which prevents the cover from coming into contact with itself on opening/closing. Also, since the cover stays flush to the walls, you can be sure of a dependable seal.
Special Feature: Key-lock system
In contrast to its name, the “key” lock system has no key. Instead, all it requires for you to access your payload is simply a touch of a button to release the latch. Afterward, the cover would glide out with just one push.
In contrast to average hard-folding tonneau covers, the Syneticusa isn’t ridiculously heavy – as its weight is evenly distributed. So you can easily carry it around.
In terms of design, the Syneticusa has an aluminum panel to shield your bed from scratches. Supplementing the panel is its EPS core which is also insulated. That means that the temperature inside the cover will remain consistent.
Fortunately, knowing that aluminum would look ugly on its own, Syneticusa has provided it with a black powder coating. As a result, it perfectly complements the windows of your ram. Also, this model provides a coverage area of up to 5.8 feet.
Turning our attention to its hinge, it has a well-rounded design which makes it easy to lock in. Also, with its EPDM corrosion-proof rubber, the hinge won’t go anywhere soon.
Special Feature: Even weight distribution
In addition to making the cover easy to carry, its even weight distribution allows it to handle loads better. That means that the cover won’t simply cave-in when under pressure.
Not impressed with the astronomical price tags of the last two models? Looking for something in your budget? Then you’d surely like the Gator Retractable cover.
In terms of design, this hard cover has eschewed vinyl in favor of strong, aluminum slats. That’s not all – as the powder slates have been provided with a textured black finish. So you can rely on this cover to withstand nature’s tough elements.
Even when you won’t be using it, the cover will remain safe. How? Well, it has a custom built canister which shields the entire cover when it is rolled up. So you don’t have to worry that an unused cover will catch rust.
Impressively, you don’t have to insert a key or push a button to open the cover. Instead, all you have to do is to simply pull the quick release handle – which is located on the driver side – and the cover will automatically open up.
Making sure that dust and debris can’t touch the cover’s belongings is the “No Profile” front canister cover. It supplements the cover to give an extra layer of protection by forming an almost water-tight seal over the cover.
Special Feature: Unlimited locking positions
Thanks to the movable latch stops, you’ve unlimited locking positions with this hard cover.
One could easily note on comparing this cover with its competitors that it’s the most cost-effective option. Therefore, if you’re on a budget, consider this one.
First things first, despite coming at a below-average price, the Tri-fold cover has gone for an above-average marine-grade vinyl material. Weighing 24 oz, it also has a stainless steel clamp system whose 3 folding flaps make opening/closing the cover a cinch.
Moreover, instead of going for the common frames, this cover has gone for reinforced aluminum frames. The usage of aluminum has allowed this model to hold up 6.5’’ of heavy snow. So, when it can handle snow, you could assume how easily it would deal with dirt and rain.
One feature of this cover which impressed us the most was its sleek and stylish design. It has a pitch black texture which complements brilliantly the windows of any vehicle. So you won’t have to worry that it would look out of place.
Special Feature: Secure folding flaps
Thanks to the secure folding flaps, you can drive with the cover open. All you have to do is to fasten 2 of the 3 buckles, and some portion of the payload will remain accessible at all times.
Types of Tonneau Covers
Scour the market, and you’d come across four types of tonneau covers. Let’s have a brief look at each of them.
How to Install a Tonneau Cover
Here’s how you can install a tonneau cover without any external help:
Step 1: Go through the manual
While it is true that you’d need no parts or tools for installing a tonneau cover, it’s a good idea to double check. Go through the user manual and make sure no additional installation equipment is needed.
Step 2: Attaching the rails
Before attaching the rails, first, open the tailgate – as a closed tailgate might make installation difficult.
Then, position the side rail onto the bed rail before attaching it to the bed. If your rail liner is over-the-bed, you might have to drill notches in it. Otherwise, the clamps of the tonneau won’t poke through.
Step 3: Align and check
Since you’d be attaching multiple rails, make sure they are aligned. Next, loosely tighten the mounting hardware and re-check the rail alignment. If everything is okay, tighten the mounting hardware fully.
Once you’ve done that, set the cover atop the tonneau rails and ensure that the cover covers all the parameter. If that isn’t the case, you would have to recheck and realign rail adjustment
Step 4: Installing additional items (optional)
Some tonneau covers come with card-side seals or tailgate. Install them by following steps 1 and 2 if you’ve them in your package
Step 5: Inspecting
Every cover has sealing surfaces to prevent the water and other environmental irritants from passing through it. Inspect them and make sure that the tonneau is sitting perfectly on its gasket. If that isn’t the case, make adjustments to the position of the rail.
Step 6: Final Step
Some tonneau covers – particularly the more expensive ones – come with drainage tubes to channel the water away from the top. If your cover has them, connect the tubes and direct them to the corner of your truck’s bed.
Buyers Guide – What to look for in the best Tonneau covers
Before you know the features which differentiate the best tonneau covers from the riffraff, here’s a small reminder: check the size of the bed whose cover you’re going to buy. Otherwise, even if the company gives you a replacement, it would be a waste of time.
Here is what to look for while buying a tonneau cover:
Materials & Durability
Tonneau covers come in various materials, including vinyl, fiberglass, canvas, ABS polymer, and aluminum. While vinyl is undoubtedly the softest of the lot, you could get covers made of marine-grade vinyl material which last quite long.
Covers made of aluminum – which are mostly roll-up covers – are generally the most durable of the lot. They are in the shape of slats and can hold up to several hundred pounds. Also, since you can’t cut open them like a soft cover, they are more heat-resistant as well.
Needless to say that when it comes to ease of maintenance, hardcovers rule the roost. That is, because, these covers don’t sag under weights. As a result, even when you’ve snow over them, a swipe of the brush will make them clean.
That said, since they are retractable, hardcovers would require mechanical maintenance from time to time to stay in working condition. Some of them might also need to be lubricated to help with their movement.
On the flip side, while a soft cover doesn’t require mechanical maintenance or lubrication, it does require UV protection – otherwise, its color will fade. Therefore, before you buy a cover, check its maintenance requirements.
Obviously, the more money you can afford to spend, the better product you’ll get. That, however, doesn’t mean that you’ll have to break the bank to land a high-end product. Instead, provide you take help from this article, you can have an above-average product at a competitive price.
For those of you who want us to select for them the best tonneau cover, our choice is undoubtedly the Lund 96872 cover.
Apart from coming with a formidable lifetime warranty, this twill weave cover has a patented internal tension control system to allow it to withstand any weight. Also, in addition to its rubber seals – which prevent ingress of irritants – it has hook and loop fasteners to keep itself tight and secure.