Like most aftermarket accessories, vehicle-specific tonneau covers are crafted for each individual make, model and year because no two rigs are ever exactly alike. And, when it comes to deciding which tonneau cover is right for you, the decision is highly personal and includes a wide variety of factors. For example, what do you typically use your truck bed for? Are looks important to you? Are you building a show truck? Do you need a tonneau that can be easily removed? These are just a few of the main things to consider when shopping around. And here’s what to keep in mind when you’re looking to answer these questions for yourself.
Also known as truck bed covers, tonneaus date back to the days of horse-drawn cargo wagons where a tarp was used to protect cargo from dust and weather. We’ve come a long way since the days of the prairie, with hard-top and soft-top varieties that each offer unique benefits to dramatically increase the functionality of your truck bed.
The Benefits of Hard Tonneau Covers
The hard-top variety has consistently remained among the most popular for its clean appearance and rugged durability. Hard bed covers for trucks are manufactured from fiberglass or hard plastic and painted or paint-ready to match your truck’s existing finish, making them highly-customizable for those looking to build a show truck. In addition, hard bed covers for trucks are much sturdier in construction and can also be locked, enabling you to secure your cargo when you have to step away.
Ford tonneaus, BAK tonneau covers, a Ranger tonneau cover and similar hard-top models are much sturdier than the soft-top variety. However, due to their heavier weight, this type of hinged tonneau cover often requires gas struts to assist in opening and closing, similar to the hood of your vehicle.
The Benefits of Soft Tonneau Covers
The other main variety is a soft-top tonneau. Also known as retractable bed covers, soft roll up covers for the F150, like Extang truck bed covers, utilize technology that allows them to open and close with the push of a button. Constructed of materials that provide a smooth, sleek appearance that matches most truck bed liners, retractable bed covers and truck folding tonneau covers enable you to haul oversize loads by providing full access to your truck bed.
These handy, lightweight models also provide reliable protection against rain, snow, UV rays and dust, safeguarding your gear against anything Mother Nature throws your way. Like their hard-top cousins, many also come with optional locking devices.
Finding the Right Tonneau Cover for Your Truck
But no matter which model you select, tonneau covers serve as a highly-efficiency upgrade to you truck… as you’ll see in most of the tonneau cover reviews you’ll find online. That’s because tonneaus give your fuel efficiency a big boost by making your rig aerodynamically-efficient, allowing air to slide off the cover rather than collect in the bed where it creates drag. Tonneau covers serve as the perfect touch to any truck, delivering safety, security and a finished look to your exterior.