How to Select the Right Material of a Tonneau Cover

BY Erin C.

Top-quality truck bed protection is a requirement for most pickup owners. From tools of the trade to expensive camping equipment, the bed of your truck is home to many of your most valued possessions. Lucky for you, we’ve compared the benefits of each tonneau cover material to make it as easy as possible to find just the right fit for your needs – and your budget.

When comparing tonneau covers, the first question you need to ask yourself is what tonneau construction best suits your protection needs – a hard tonneau cover or soft tonneau cover? Soft covers are the most affordable way to cover your truck bed. Crafted from a durable vinyl or canvas material, soft roll-up or folding truck bed covers offer quick and easy truck bed access. On the other hand, hard truck bed covers provide maximum security against sticky-fingered thieves, along with enhanced exterior style. But, that extra style and protection comes at a higher price.


Waterproof protection at its best, vinyl tonneau covers provide a durable layer of defense against even the worst Mother Nature has to offer. More than your run-of-the-mill vinyl, these tough tonneaus are often crafted from marine-grade material with equally superior stitching. Vinyl tonneaus are one of the most popular, and they’re available in most opening styles.

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The lightest choice in hard tonneau protection, heavy-duty aluminum panels are generally found in folding or retractable covers, either wrapped stylishly in premium vinyl or hardened with a sleek matte black finish. They provide tough security and ease of operation.

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Fiberglass lids incorporate a resin-filled honeycomb pattern for superior strength and longevity. The honeycomb pattern more evenly distributes stress and weight. The typical fiberglass tonneau cover weight is between 80 and 110lbs., depending on model and bed size. Fiberglass covers are the only completely waterproof cover, since they provide a lip over your entire bed.

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Found less frequently than most tonneau materials, canvas delivers durable, lightweight protection that stays safely in your budget. Used in roll up and folding tonneaus alike, canvas is easy to move for fast cargo access and stays securely open even when you're driving.

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ABS Polymer

Weighing-in at an easy-to-handle 60lbs. or less, ABS polymer tonneau covers boast complete strength and ease of use. The secret is a network of molded lightweight plastic cross bows underneath the smooth top surface that evenly distributes weight and stress.

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Finally, the one area you don’t want to skimp on is quality. And, when you choose from the most trusted names in the game – like Extang, ProZ, TruXedo, TonnoPro, Lund, UnderCover and BAK – you can be sure you’re getting just that. Choosing top-quality products is the best way to make sure you’re getting a truck cover that lasts.

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