LAST UPDATED: July 18, 2018

The Best Tonneau Covers (Review & Buying Guide) in 2020

Best Choice Tyger Auto TG-BC3D1015 Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover Tyger Auto TG-BC3D1015 Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover
Premium Pick BAK Industries BAKFlip G2 Hard Folding Truck Bed Cover BAK Industries BAKFlip G2 Hard Folding Truck Bed Cover
Best Value Tyger Auto TOPRO Truck Bed Tonneau Cover Tyger Auto TOPRO Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
If you’ve got a truck, then you really need a tonneau cover. Truck bed covers provide you with a much safer and more secure transportation of your cargo while also improving your fuel efficiency by minimizing the effects of drag. But, picking the right trucker cap for your vehicle can be quite a challenge as nearly every product looks almost the same. We hear you. That’s why we came up with this list of the best tonneau covers to help you out.

Best Rated Tonneau Covers in 2020:

With this tri fold tonneau cover from Tyger Auto there’s really no need to drill any holes on your vehicle to get it installed. Heavy-duty front clamps can be easily installed onto your truck’s bed railings to give you the peace of mind when driving with your truck bed fully covered. The latches at the rear are a cinch to operate, giving you instant access to your truck’s precious space. The cover is a marine-grade, dual-coated vinyl that keeps your cargo well protected against the elements. Supporting these truck covers are a handful of powder-coated aluminum, forming a rigid skeleton to its otherwise soft shell.

These modest yet structurally-superb and super-secure truck bed covers rightfully belong to the list of the best tonneau covers.

Key Features
  • Tri-folding tear-resistant, marine-grade dual-coated vinyl material
  • Anodized, powder coated aluminum frame
  • Secure weather-sealing hinges
  • Horizontal crossbar supports
  • Integrated snap straps
  • Heavy-duty stainless steel rear clamps
Specification
  • Brand Tyger Auto
  • Model TG-BC3D1015
  • Weight 29.8 lbs

It may not have the tough skin of an alligator, but this tonneau cover sure can give your precious cargo the kind of security it needs come rain or shine. Like all the top tonneau covers, this Gator-made trucker cap provides excellent truck bed protection, especially if you’re on the lookout for an easy-to-install, reliably sturdy, and easy to operate tri fold tonneau cover. There’s weather-sealing throughout the entire perimeter of the cap, including a nifty tailgate mechanism that will surely keep the elements out.

Providing additional security to your cargo is a tailgate lock that is surreptitiously built under the heavy-duty, rain-proof, snow-proof, and all-weather shell. And if you believe in the dependability of a Gator product, then this baby is definitely for you.

Key Features
  • Tri-fold textured tear-resistant vinyl panels
  • Heavy-duty anodized aluminum support bows
  • Full perimeter weather sealing with tailgate seal
  • Fully adjustable latching mechanisms
  • Integrated under-the-cover tailgate lock
Specification
  • Brand Gator
  • Model Gator Soft Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover
  • Weight 27 lbs

Looking for a hard tonneau cover that is lightweight yet does a good job protecting your truck bed space? Well, BAK Industries has the solution. The BAKFlip G2 comes with four solid core panels in a tri-fold design. Its solidly-built aluminum panels give vehicle owners the sense of security they need for their vehicles’ truck beds. The panels are also flush-mounted onto the truck bed so you don’t necessarily deprive your vehicle of a more aesthetically-pleasing profile.

One thing that you may need to know is that, while the BAKFlip G2 comes with a sturdy strut to prop the tonneau cover well against the back of your rear windshield, it can definitely block your view of the rear using your rearview mirror. It’s not really a big deal as you still get the full functionality of your top-mounted brake light. 

Key Features
  • Flush-mounted heavy-duty solid-core tri-fold aluminum panels
  • Extra-strong aluminum side rails
  • Sturdy prop rods
  • Easy-open mechanism
  • Injection-molded hidden latch system
Specification
  • Brand BAK
  • Model 226120
  • Weight 61 lbs

Looking from the side of your truck, the TruXport does give your ride a very sporty look, increasing the height of your truck bed by 1.5 inches. Now one may think that this extra space is where the forces of nature can find their way inside the cargo space. That might be true, especially if you don’t secure the Velcro system that’s integrated into the design of these roll-up truck bed covers. Secure the Velcro and you’re guaranteed a safer, weather-tight seal around the shell. Straight cross tubes run the width of the TruXport to make sure that there will be no unsightly sags on its weatherproof cover made of premium-quality leather-grained fabric.

There are tension controls too, allowing you to straighten the cover and keep it really tight and neat looking. This tonneau cover may be a bit pricier than some, but it sure is great for those who prefer a rollup than a trifold.

Key Features
  • Premium-quality leather-grained fabric
  • Dual quick-release tailgate latch system
  • Easy-clamp mechanism
  • Weather-tight industrial-strength Velcro sealing
  • Adjustable tension controls
Specification
  • Brand Truxedo
  • Model 245901
  • Weight 24.4 lbs

The second Tyger Auto trucker cap in our list is the TOPRO. Unlike the first Tyger Auto product in this list, the TOPRO easily rolls up so you get maximum vertical space on your truck bed. It won’t hamper your view of the rear either. Technically, it has almost the same specifications and features except for its rollup design and the presence of a pull cable latching mechanism at the rear instead of rear clamps. The tension control system on the TOPRO is also fully adjustable, while the Tyger Tri Fold tonneau cover comes with preset tension.

At the very least you’ll be able to determine just how taut, straight, and level you want your tonneau cover to be. The crossbars and the aluminum alloy rails give the TOPRO a reliably sturdy framework, securely protecting your cargo.

Key Features
  • Marine-grade tear-resistant vinyl
  • Extra-strong powder-coated alloy rails and crossbars
  • Heavy-duty pull cable latch lock system
  • Velcro strip secure sealing
  • Fully adjustable tension mechanism
Specification
  • Brand Tyger Auto
  • Model TG-BC1F9029
  • Weight 28.3 lbs

This baby is the second Gator in our list. So, what’s the difference? Well, the first Gator in this list is especially designed for 2015-2019 Ford F-150 trucks. This one is designed for the Chevy Silverado and the GMC Sierra for 2014 to 2018 models. You still get the same reliable construction of these truck covers complete with a really-tough outer shell made of premium-quality, marine-grade vinyl material.

Supporting the shell are bows mated to its sturdy yet lightweight aluminum frame. Weather-tight seals form the perimeter of the trucker cap, making sure unnecessary elements – both man and nature – won’t be able to gain access to your truck bed. Fastening buckles keep your tonneau cover from unfolding when you feel like doing a Schumacher.

Key Features
  • Textured, marine-grade, tear-resistant vinyl with support bows
  • Lightweight yet sturdy aluminum frame
  • Full perimeter weather sealing with tailgate seal
  • Easy-install design with adjustable latches
  • Integrated fastening buckles
Specification
  • Brand Gator Covers
  • Model Gator Tri-Fold
  • Weight 25 lbs

Built for the Dodge Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500 from 2002 and onwards, this tri fold tonneau cover from MaxMate actually has almost the same technical specifications and features of the other contenders in our list. This tonneau cover contraption has a lot of similarities to the Tyger, including the use of a marine-grade, tear-resistant vinyl that has the same density at 24 ounces. Even the frames and clamps of the tri fold tonneau cover are essentially the same. The MaxMate is a few dollars cheaper, however.

Tyger’s tonneau covers come with a limited lifetime warranty. It still makes for a great trucker cap, especially if trust the opionoins of hundreds of users.

Key Features
  • Heavy-duty, tar-resistant marine-grade vinyl
  • Powder-coated aluminum alloy frame
  • Durable weather-sealing hinges
  • Easy-install stainless steel clamps
  • Strong horizontal crossbar supports
Specification
  • Brand MaxMate
  • Model TCD371011
  • Weight 32 lbs

The Tonno Fold truck covers come with several remarkable features, including Q-seal weather-tight rim-sealing technology, Terelyne stitching, and epoxy-coated frames, all of which are intended to provide  a great cover for your truck bed. While it is not really a hard top, its premium-quality vinyl soft shell more than gives the impression that it’s built to withstand whatever Mother Nature has in store. Installing and securing the Tonno Fold is relatively easy.

Gaining access to your truck bed space is also ridiculously simple. And like many of the products we’ve listed, the Tonno Fold comes with a lifetime warranty, albeit limited. It still is a good deal especially if you consider its heftier price tag sans the discount.

Key Features
  • Made of tear-resistant, double-sided marine-grade vinyl
  • Corrosion-resistant epoxy-coated aluminum frame
  • Marine-grade, weather-sealing Terelyne stitching
  • Easy to install E-Z clamping system with quick connect straps
  • Q seal weather-tight gasket
  • Slide lock and snap clip style fasteners
Specification
  • Brand Tonno Pro
  • Model 42-108
  • Weight 32 lbs

Don’t like a tri fold tonneau cover or even a rollup one? Maybe you’d be interested in a retractable tonneau cover. The A-Series from Roll-N-Lock is a neat-looking secure and easy-to-operate contraption that can be installed onto your truck bed in a cinch. There are four key positions upon which the interlocking powder-coated aluminum panels can be opened to give you the versatility as to just how much of your truck bed’s space is left open.

The hinges that connect the adjoining panels are also engineered for maximum protection, guaranteeing safety for your cargo whether you need protection from the elements or from your fellow men. Adding to its security is an integrated locking mechanism at the tailgate section, giving you peace of mind while on the road with precious cargo at the back.

Key Features
  • Ratchet-style 4-position secure locking system
  • Powder-coated aluminum cover
  • Heavy-duty torsion spring drive
  • Impenetrable interpanel hinge technology
  • Clamp-on track design
  • Built-in tailgate locking mechanism
Specification
  • Brand Roll-N-Lock
  • Model BT220A
  • Weight 5 lbs

Truxedo’s second entry into this list is different from the first in terms of the vehicle models that it can fit in. Whereas the TruXport 245901 is built for the 2009-2017 Dodge Ram 1500, the 272001 is purposely built for the 2014-2017 GM truck with a truck bed length of 6.5 feet. Like the other TruXport, however, this contraption also comes with the same elegant, low-profile, and sleek look that will complement your truck’s sexy silhouette.

The tension on the soft top cover can be manually adjusted to give you the chance to determine for yourself just how taught and flat you want your shell to be. There’s also no sweating when installing the TruXport 272001 since it’s especially designed for absolute ease when setting it up.

Key Features
  • Made of premium-quality leather-grained fabric
  • Easy to install with built-in clamps
  • Super secure dual paddle latches for ease of use
  • Fully-adjustable tension controls
  • Sleek and stylish design
Specification
  • Brand Roll-N-Lock
  • Model BT220A
  • Weight 5 lbs

Best Tonneau Covers Buying Guide & FAQ

Things to Consider When Buying Tonneau Covers

Picking the best tonneau cover isn’t exactly a walk in the park. However, if you do keep the following things in mind you’ll find the selection process to be relative easy.

  • Purpose

Ideally you’d pick truck bed covers that best serve your purpose. For many vehicle owners this means protection for the cargo space both from natural elements and from man. If this is your purpose, then you’ve got to really go for products that are very difficult to tamper with and offer excellent weather-protection. However, if your purpose is to add a new level of ‘coolness’ to your ride, then these features hardly matter since you’ll most likely be looking at the overall design and styling of the tonneau cover rather than its protective function.

  • Compatibility

Your truck typically comes with a bed liner, whether it’s the carpet or mat type of installation or even painted ones. The point is that you need to make sure your cover is compatible with your bed liner or at least allows full and easy installation without making any changes to your existing bed liner setup. The same is true with other vehicle accessories like tie down rings, utility track systems, truck racks, bed extenders, and many more. You’d want your tonneau cover to work well with these systems.

  • Ease of installation

Some of the best tonneau covers can be installed in under 10 to 20 minutes while others will require some degree of prep work and additional help or assistance. Some can be easily clamped onto existing bed rails while others require drilling holes. Depending on how much work you’re committed to putting into the installation of a tonneau cover, you might as well get something that’s easier for you to install on your own.

  • Ease of maintenance

These are extensions of your vehicle so proper care should always be observed. Most bed truck covers can be easily cleaned with an appropriate cleaner while others may require some more extensive work.

car tonneau cover

The Advantages of Tonneau Covers

Not all truck owners believe in the need for tonneau covers. However, for those in the know, these vehicle accessories can provide a range of benefits such as the following.

  • Improved fuel efficiency

One of the most often overlooked advantages of truck bed covers is its positive impact on fuel consumption. Imagine your truck bed like a large bucket because of the 4 walls that make up its sides. As the vehicle moves air flowing from the top of the cabin eventually ends up towards the backend or the tailgate of the truck bed. However, because of the vertical design of the tailgate air flow gets hampered and it is swirled back towards the bulkhead. This airflow is then channeled back into the tail section creating wave-like motion instead of one continuously-moving air. This creates turbulence and it increases the force with which the vehicle will have to work against. To overcome the turbulence or drag, the engine will have to produce more power burning more fuel in the process. Putting a tonneau cover eliminates the creation of turbulence by allowing air flow to move well beyond the tail section of the truck. Studies show that vehicles with tonneau covers can improve their fuel efficiency by as much as 10%.

  • Safer and more secure transport of cargo

Whether it is against the sun, rain, snow, wind, or even unscrupulous individuals, covering your truck bed with a tonneau cover can help protect whatever cargo you put inside. Some covers come with hardtop and tailgate-lockable designs that you’d feel like you actually have a massive bank vault right behind the driver-passenger cabin. Dirt, dust, water, debris, particles, and whatever may be thrown your way will never gain access to your truck bed and destroy or damage its contents. Thieves and perpetrators of vehicle break-ins will have a much harder time accessing the contents of your truck bed so you get to safeguard these and your investment.

  • Better organization of cargo

The problem with loading cargo onto an open truck bed is that it is subject to environmental conditions. A sudden gust of wind can shift items or objects on the truck bed. Eliminating the impact of wind on your cargo makes for better organization of your load.

  • Improved resale value of vehicle

Since tonneau covers effectively protect your truck bed against the elements you’ll have a much higher chance of commanding a higher resale value for it. This is because there will be very minimal signs of the effects of wear, making your truck looking brand new; well, at least as far as the truck bed is concerned. Also, potential buyers will be more than willing to pay a higher price for a car that is well-kept and well-protected from the elements.

Tonneau Cover Types

While it is easy to say that you should choose one that is highly specific to your vehicle type, make, and model, a more important question is related to the type of truck bed cover that you should be buying. Here are some of the most common types of tonneau covers.

  • Rollup covers

As the name implies, the tonneau cover can be rolled up and down the entire length of the truck bed to provide ample coverage from the bulkhead straight to the tailgate. These can come in the fort of both soft and hard rollup tonneau covers with the main difference being the material used. Soft rollups are usually made of tear-resistant vinyl, although it is not unusual for some brands to go with other types of fabrics. Hard rollups are like your window blinds that are made up of overlapping aluminum slats. Because of their design, these slats can be effectively rolled up and down the truck bed.

  • Retractable covers

These are perfect for protecting your load from heavy snowfall as the design provides exceptionally rigid coverage of the truck bed. It is similar to rollups except that the cover moves along a predetermined line, parallel to the truck bed railing. That’s why they call it a retractable tonneau cover. A canister containing the cover is mounted at the bulkhead well below the level of the bed railing. When the cover is pulled or retracted, a mechanism inside the canister spins to roll out the cover along the grooves on the railing. Some products come with fully automatic retracting mechanisms.

  • Folding covers

Folding tonneau covers typically come as a trifold system. It can be either made of soft or hard material. Aluminum frames are used to reinforce the individual folding panels of soft covers which are usually made of vinyl. Hard folding tonneau covers usually rely on aluminum panels, although we’ve seen some made of fiberglass. These are also covered with vinyl to help protect the metal from the elements.

  • Single-piece hinged covers

This type of tonneau cover is the most sought-after when it comes to ultimate protection for your truck bed as there are no folds or seams where moisture and dirt or any other particle can gain entry. These are made of either soft or hard materials that are engineered as a single solid piece. Imagine your vehicle’s hood and this is what a single-piece hinged tonneau cover will look like, except that it will be covering your truck bed and not your engine bay.

Best Tonneau Covers FAQ:

Q:  How can I install tonneau covers on my truck?

A:  Everything depends on the type of tonneau cover you bought for your truck. For example, if yours came with clamps or latches, requiring no tools whatsoever, installation can be pretty quick and easy. These clamps or latches can be mounted onto the lip of the truck bed rails, the cover rolled out all the way towards the tailgate, and then clamped or latched in this section. Like all tonneau covers, it is important to keep the material really taut.

If your trucker cap comes with its own set of specialty truck bed railings, then you will have to install these railing first onto your truck bed. If your vehicle has its own railings and depending on the instructions of the manufacturer you may have to remove the original railing and replace it with the tonneau railing. Otherwise, you can simply mount it onto your existing rails.

A retractable tonneau cover will usually be installed just like installing a manufacturer-specific railing system except that the cover will be housed in a separate canister which needs to be mounted onto your bulkhead. The edges of the cover will then have to be fed through the railings.

If you happen to have a hinged-lid tonneau cover installation may require some help since you’re talking about a single solid slab of hardtop. The bed rail should be prepared first before the cover is installed. The inner rail can be secured from the inside so you’ll be crawling your way into the space between the truck bed floor and the hardtop.

Technically, all truck bed covers come with very specific instructions on how they should be installed. Reading the manual will help save you a lot of time from figuring out how to get one onto your truck.

Q:  How should I clean my tonneau cover?

A:  Manufacturers of tonneau covers usually provide or recommend a specific kind of cleaner for their products. Many of these come in spray applications so it’s all a matter of spraying the solution onto your cover and wiping it down using soft cloth. If you happen to be more adventurous than others and you’ve really taken your vehicle to places where no other vehicles dare go, then a simple wipe just won’t cut it. You’ve got to wash your cover using warm water and car wash soap. Let it sit for about 5 minutes so it can break down stubborn dirt. Next, get a sponge, brush, or towel and rub the surface of the cover without putting too much pressure; lest, you damage your tonneau. Rinse the cover and allow it to dry. Lastly, apply the tonneau cleaner and wipe it off. You can even add tonneau protectant to give your cover that added shine.

Q:  Can I use my tonneau cover with a bed liner?

A:  As long as your tonneau cover is compatible with your existing bed liner, then you can use such a system. Bed liners protect the floor and walls of your truck bed while tonneau covers provide the protective roof. Your major consideration here is whether or not your existing bed liner covers the bed rail as well. If so, then your problem will be in the mounting points for your tonneau cover. You can still use it, though, by creating small notches right through your liner so you’ll have something to attach the tonneau clamps in. If the bed liner is a spray-on or painted-on type, putting a tonneau cover shouldn’t be a problem.

Q:  How much cargo security will my tonneau cover provide?

A:  The level of security afforded by tonneau covers is dependent on the material used in its construction. Vinyl or fabric materials can be punctured or slashed with a sharp object. Hardtops and retractable tonneau cover units, on the other hand, make it a bit tougher to crack. Some even have integrated lock systems at the tailgate to improve security. Regardless, simply covering the contents of your truck bed should reduce the risk of theft.

Q:  Will my tonneau cover protect my cargo from rain and snow?

A:  One of the essential benefits of a tonneau cover is protection from the elements. However, different types afford varying degrees of protection. There are those that are equipped with water-channeling mechanisms while most will come with weather-tight seals especially at the junction between the cover and the bed rail. If it’s the ultimate protection from rain and snow you’re after, then a hardtop is your best choice, especially one with full-perimeter weather sealing.

Q:  Can I use accessories like bike racks and crossbars with my cover?

A:  This depends on your tonneau cover and the model of truck you’re driving. Some covers actually work with specific vehicle accessories. Sadly, if your truck or your tonneau doesn’t offer such versatility, there’s really no way you can use such accessories. While some may actually resort to modifying their covers to fit vehicle accessories, this is not really recommended unless you don’t mind voiding your warranty.

car tonneau covers

Our Top Pick

With a price tag that will never create a gaping hole to one’s wallet plus an ingenious design that is being copied by other manufacturers, Tyger Auto’s TG-BC3D1015 TRI FOLD tonneau cover narrowly runs away with the title of the best tonneau covers. While the featured product is designed specifically for the Dodge Ram 1500 from 2009 to 2018, the brand has other models that are specific to other vehicle makes. It’s lightweight, very easy to install, and very easy to operate. Its design is primarily intended to secure your truck bed space and its invaluable cargo while helping you enjoy the many benefits of improved fuel efficiency in a modern truck.

Tonneau covers are designed not only to give your truck bed the protection it needs whether it’s from natural elements, those made by man, or man himself. These also help reduce the effects of drag and improve fuel economy, allowing you to travel greater distances for the same amount of fuel in your tank. It’s also a great way to add a different kind of appeal to your otherwise ‘bland’-looking truck. Whatever your reason for buying a tonneau cover, one thing is crucial – you’ve got to choose the best one.

Sources:

  1. 5 Benefits of Tonneau Cover for Your Truck – DS Automotive