Protect Your Cargo With Best Folding Tonneau Covers 2021

Protect Your Cargo With Best Folding Tonneau Covers 2021

Pickup trucks have remarkable cargo capacity but, unlike cars, they don’t have any protection for your load, leaving them exposed to the elements. While the fact that a pickup bed is open means you can have a lot of cargo, putting some type of cover over the bed can protect and secure whatever you’re hauling.

While this protection can be accomplished with a soft cover, a rolling tonneau cover, a truck topper, or even a tarp, one of the most effective, simple, and affordable options is a hard tonneau cover. Unlike toppers, they don’t require tools and they’re easy to remove, although they can be placed permanently if you like. All in all, they’re one of our favorite upgrades for pickup trucks.

Choosing a Hard Folding Tonneau Cover

While tonneau covers, especially hard-top tonneau covers can be expensive, they’re worth it for many for the security and the weather protection they provide. What a tonneau cover really does is protect the bed of your pickup truck, converting it into a hybrid between a traditional automobile trunk and a standard pickup bed. But they’re not all built equally, so there are some factors you’ll need to keep in mind.

Vehicle Compatibility

Unfortunately, most tonneau covers are only compatible with a specific truck model or series of models from a specific manufacturer. While it is inconvenient that you can’t swap a tonneau cover from one truck to another, it does mean that most covers fit nearly perfectly, creating a weatherproof seal around the bed and adding an additional layer of security to your truck.

Ease of Use

Many tonneau covers don’t require any tools for installation, making them convenient for owners. They accomplish this by being designed for only a single, specific model.

Be aware of bed length as well, as manufacturers make different covers that are designed to work with short beds or standard beds, never both.

Security

One of the main purposes of a tonneau cover is to keep your cargo secure. While pickups can hold a mountain of whatever you’re hauling, they’re not closed by design, so you can’t keep them under lock and key as you could with a car or SUV. A tonneau cover can be closed and locked down, covering the cargo area and adding a layer of security to whatever’s in your truck bed.

We also consider weather resistance a part of security: if you’re hauling timber, or groceries for that matter, and they arrive wet even when you’re using a tonneau cover, is it even worth it to have one on your truck? In our opinion, probably not.

Especially with hard tonneau covers (as opposed to soft ones), security and weather-resistance is a huge part of a purchase. A cover that doesn’t protect your cargo isn’t even worth it.

With all of that in mind, let’s get to our picks for the best hard folding tonneau covers on the market today.

Top 10 Best Folding Tonneau Covers 2021

1. Best Overall Cover: Tonno Pro Hard Fold Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

Tonno Pro Hard Fold Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

Why we like it: This hard bed cover is a bit heavier-duty than average thanks to its marine vinyl, aircraft-grade aluminum frame, and an impressive tailgate locking system.

Editor’s Rating:

Vehicle Compatibility: GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado

This hard tonneau cover is meant for GM trucks from model years 2014 to 2018, with this particular version fitting standard and extended cab trucks with a standard bed. From the top, it looks like a single sheet of nylon, creating a sleek look over the back of your truck. On the other side, though, it’s a completely different story, hiding three framed panels that contribute to the product’s high weight of about 70 pounds.

That weight comes with a benefit, thankfully: the cover can hold an evenly distributed load of about 350 pounds, no small feat. But, if you’re looking for a lighter cover, the Xcover Low Profile Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover fits the same vehicles and is much easier to maneuver, but it’s also a bit flimsier.

It also comes with an easy to use hybrid security-clamping system. Thanks to a clever design, if the tailgate is locked, the tonneau cover is locked as well. It’s also easy to set up, as it comes pre-assembled and doesn’t require tools.

The cover has got three length options, one for crew cab models, one for standard beds, and one for extended bed versions. The company also produces some soft covers and a roll-up version, but their most critically acclaimed version is by far this one.

It’s a bit pricey compared to soft tonneau covers at around $500, but compared with other high quality, secure products, it’s competitively priced.

Pros

  • Comes with a hybrid security-clamping system
  • Fits both standard and extended cab trucks
  • Three framed panels can hold up to 350 pounds
  • Fits GM trucks from 2014 to 2018
  • If the tailgate is locked, the tonneau cover automatically locks as well

Cons

  • High price compared to soft tonneau covers
  • The comparatively high weight of about 70 pounds

2. Best Budget Cover: DNA Motoring TTC Hard Truck Bed Top Tonneau Cover

DNA Motoring TTC Hard Truck Bed Top Tonneau Cover

Why we like it: At a low price and with a considerable weight capacity, this cover isn’t just impressive in terms of structure, but has a series of great features as well.

Editor’s Rating:

Vehicle Compatibility: Ram 1500 – 3500 / 6.5 foot bed.

While folding tonneau covers are incredibly effective for protection, fuel efficiency, and more, there are also some drawbacks. Along with limiting cargo space, a tonneau cover also restricts your freedom with your cargo space, especially for rigid cover that can’t really be stored or set aside easily.

Although it is incredibly structurally sound and rigid, this cover doesn’t break down at all, making it hard to store. If you’re carrying it, it’ll have to go on or in the bed of your truck, unlike the Gator ETX Soft Tri-Fold Truck Bed Tonneau Cover.

This specific model fits Ram trucks, specifically Ram 1500s, 2500s, and 3500s. Thankfully, they also make models that can cover Chevrolet Sierras and Silverados, along with models that are compatible with the hyper-popular Ford F150 series. (There are a couple more niche models available as well.) We love the look across the product range, with matte paneling and black powder-coated aluminum structure. Tension is adjustable across the cover so that a perfect fit is always easy to achieve.

Pros

  • Good for protection and fuel efficiency
  • Structurally sound and rigid
  • Black powder-coated frame and matte black structure
  • Has models in the series compatible with Ford F150s, Chevrolets, and more

Cons

  • Restricts your cargo space
  • Doesn’t break down, making it hard to store
  • Will have to be transported in the bed of your truck

3. Best Waterproof Cover: Xcover 5.6 Ft Hard Folding Truck Bed Cover

Xcover 5.6 Ft Hard Folding Truck Bed Cover

Why we like it: This low-profile tonneau cover seals flush against the bed rails, locks automatically, and is completely waterproof.

Editor’s Rating:

Vehicle Compatibility: Ford F150 / 5.6 foot bed

While this Xcover bed cover isn’t as expensive as the highest-end, thousand-dollar models like the Bak BakFlip MX4, at over $500, it still comes in at a slightly premium price point. And it backs up that price with a host of features that less expensive covers don’t offer. It’s weatherproof and durable, designed to be UV-resistant and protect cargo from all precipitation. A high-quality seal even prevents dust and dirt from entering.

While an automatically locking latch makes sure your cargo always stays locked up, it’s frankly a bit inconvenient when you close your tailgate without realizing it as there’s no way to unlock it via the tonneau cover itself. That does improve security, though, and might be a plus if you’re a bit forgetful. And that ‘low-profile’ designation isn’t just for show: this tonneau cover lies completely flat against the rails of the bed, making it sleek and improving the seal.

Pros

  • Not as expensive as the highest-end models
  • Weatherproof and durable with UV-resistant coating
  • Protects cargo from all types of precipitation
  • Tonneau cover lies completely flat, yielding a good seal

Cons

  • Tonneau cover inconveniently automatically locks up

4. Best Premium Cover: Bak BakFlip MX4 Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

Bak BakFlip MX4 Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

Why we like it: This folding cover is incredibly pricey, but it’s impermeable by weather and thieves alike thanks to aircraft-grade paneling.

Editor’s Rating:

Vehicle Compatibility: 2015 – 2020 Ford F150 Short Bed

Let’s get one thing out of the way first: this pickup bed cover costs about twice as much as versions from other competitors. So how does this F150 short bed cover justify its high price?

First of all, it’s both durable and weight resistant: while some other tonneau covers can barely hold a two-by-four without caving in, this cover, equipped with aircraft-grade aluminum panels can hold a good couple hundred pounds without so much as a squeak.

It’s still not as structurally rigid as a body panel, especially considering that it attaches to the bed with no drilling, creating a durable seal that’s both impermeable and impermanent. That means it keeps out rain, sun, snow, extreme weather, and thieves.

At a total weight of 71 pounds, it won’t affect the handling or performance of your vehicle. It can be closed with the tailgate up or down, meaning you can carry oversized lumber and still keep it covered. If you’re hauling something a bit taller, the cover can be folded against the back of the cab, obstructing your rear view a bit but giving you full access to your bed (rolling tonneau covers can’t do this).

It’s held upright with durable prop rods that don’t give out over rough terrain. All of these great features, however, reflect back on the insane price point, which is worth it for some, but completely out of reach for others. If you’re not concerned with getting the best of the best, the DNA Monitoring TTC Hard Truck Bed Top Tonneau Cover functions nearly as well for a much lower price.

Pros

  • Can hold several hundred pounds on top without complaint
  • Total weight of 71 pounds is light for a tri-fold cover
  • Keeps out rain, sun, snow, extreme weather, and thieves
  • Can be folded up against the cab to give access to your bed
  • Held in place by durable prop rods

Cons

  • Price is about five times as much as competitors
  • Cover can marginally obstruct your view

5. Best American-Made Cover: Rough Country Hard Tri-Fold Folding Tonneau Cover

Rough Country Hard Tri-Fold Folding Tonneau Cover

Why we like it: This American-made tonneau cover sits at a mid-range price point; it’s also easy to use, secure, and has a lifetime guarantee.

Editor’s Rating:

Vehicle Compatibility: Ford F150 2015-2020 / 5.5 foot bed

Not the most expensive tonneau cover and certainly not the cheapest, this model from truck outfitter Rough Country is durable, strong, and easy to use and install. Each of the three panels on this tri-fold cover is constructed with aircraft-grade aluminum, although the textured black design on the panels makes them appear more like carbon fiber than anything else.

It’s really easy to use compared to other covers that require some serious elbow grease to get moving. With a series of sturdy latches, an articulated design, and even a system for partial opening, it’s a piece of cake to use.

Security is great as well, as the aluminum panels are hard to bust through and the cover secures with a We’re partial to American-made products, and this cover is certified made-in-the-USA. But that’s not the only guarantee Rough Country provides, as they also include a lifetime warranty with their product: not too shabby!

That provides some significant value over other covers that aren’t guaranteed and will last around two to three years. Just watch out for installation, as it can be a bit tricky to line up properly. If you don’t want to fuss with tricky setup, you might want to consider the Gator ETX Soft Tri-Fold Truck Bed Tonneau Cover instead.

Pros

  • Durable cover is made with aircraft aluminum
  • Textured black design looks great with a carbon fiber-like coating
  • Has a system for partial opening
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Installation can be a little tricky

6. Easiest Cover to Use: Gator ETX Soft Tri-Fold Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

Gator ETX Soft Tri-Fold Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

Why we like it: This cover from Gator is a bit less sturdy than a hard tonneau cover, but less pricey and easier to install as well.

Editor’s Rating:

Vehicle Compatibility: Ford F150 2015 – 2020 / 5’7 bed

At 24 pounds, it’s much lighter than other hard-shell products like the Bak BakFlip MX4, but it’s not as structurally rigid either.

While the advanced alloy materials in heavier folding tonneau covers have no problem holding weights of around 150 pounds, you probably shouldn’t set anything on this tonneau cover over 50 pounds. It’s still more rigid than soft covers, but doesn’t have their same flexibility regarding storage.

Installation is simple as well: manufacturer Gator claims that it can be installed in about 10 minutes, quick enough that you can take it off and put it back on at your convenience, similar to a soft-top tonneau cover. It accomplishes this by clamping onto the existing rails without the use of any tools.

While it’s convenient that you can do everything by hand, the hardware is a bit cheap feeling, and you should be careful about stripping the aluminum fittings or breaking plastic pieces. If you want durability and protection over ease of use, you’d probably be better served by the Tonno Pro Hard Fold Bed Tonneau Cover.

Pros

  • Light weight of 24 pounds
  • Installation is impermanent and simple
  • Can be stowed easily in your truck cab or pickup bed
  • Installation timeline of just about 10 minutes

Cons

  • Aluminum and plastic fittings are cheap feeling and are easy to break
  • Won’t support weights of over 150 pounds

7. Best Long Bed Cover: Lund Hard Tri-Fold Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

Lund Hard Tri-Fold Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

Why we like it: This rigid truck cover solves the problem of creating a structurally strong bed cover for a long truck bed

Editor’s Rating:

Vehicle Compatibility: Ford F150 2004-2008 / 8-foot bed

Creating a tonneau cover for a long-bed pickup is an interesting manufacturing challenge, as the structural rigidity decreases with the weight of added material and the lack of support. This tri-fold cover solves the issue with aluminum panels coated with marine grade vinyl, all supported by a rigid but folding internal structure.

That all yields a product that can withstand 350 pounds of weight across the cover, no small feat: on top of that, it is incredibly convenient compared to soft tonneau covers that won’t support more than 15-20 pounds without caving in.

The manufacturers promise a five minute install time; back up their weather seal with a quality promise, and have a simple locking system that gets you on the road quickly. These same features also extend to their model for a 6’7 bed as well as their short-bed 5-foot version. That’s a great thing in our book, as we’ll always take some additional security and rigidity for our covers.

Our only complaint is that the manufacturer doesn’t cut MSRP on their standard-length models, which feels a little unfair—if you don’t have a long-bed pickup, there’s really no reason not to select a more affordable and equally good option.

Pros

  • Rigid tonneau cover for a longer bed pickup truck
  • Five minute install time
  • Weather sealing tech comes with a quality assurance from the manufacturer
  • Cover can support up to 350 pounds of evenly distributed weight
  • Simple locking system for sealing up your cargo

Cons

  • Five-foot version isn’t any cheaper than long-bed varieties

8. Most Durable Cover: Proven Ground EZ Hard Fold Tonneau Cover

Proven Ground EZ Hard Fold Tonneau Cover

Why we like it: This tri-fold cover with an aircraft-grade aluminum frame will be good to go for whatever you throw at it.

Editor’s Rating:

Vehicle Compatibility: Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and 2000, 2019-2020

With a tri-fold panel design, an aircraft-grade aluminum frame, and a marine-grade vinyl to cover everything up, this cover from Proven Ground holds up fantastically well to years of hard use and hard weather. It’s a tri-fold design, proven to be effective when designing tonneau covers, constructed with hard panels coated with black epoxy for rigidity and UV protection.

It does fall prey to a flaw of many modern trucks, a lack of compatibility. It’s only compatible with two specific models of Chevrolet trucks, and those two only in two specific model years. It’s not the end of the world, as most people aren’t frequently buying and selling trucks, but if you’re buying covers for fleet vehicles, or you’re planning on an upgrade, consider the fact that it won’t be compatible with anything made after 2021.

Thankfully, though, with a hard-panel tri-fold design and that aircraft-grade aluminum we touched on, it should be good to take many years of whatever you can throw at it.

Pros

  • Aircraft-grade aluminum frame for structure
  • Uses a black epoxy coating for rigidity and UV protection
  • Marine-grade nylon vinyl for cover
  • Holds up well to hard use and weather

Cons

  • Not compatible with truck models after 2021

9. Xcover Low Profile Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

Xcover Low Profile Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

Why we like it: This mid-range tri-fold cover has silicon seals to keep out the weather, although it’s still easy to remove and reinstall.

Editor’s Rating:

Vehicle Compatibility: 2007 – 2013 GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado

This user-friendly, mid-range tri-fold cover has a slick look and a weatherproof seal. Once clamped on, the silicon seals align perfectly with the rails of the bed to keep weather out. Unlike with some tonneau covers that can be pretty tricky to uninstall thanks to tight and nearly-permanent attachment systems, this cover is designed to be secure but simultaneously easy to use.

While it’s semi-permanently attached with the tool-less installation method, it’s got a one-finger guarantee: once you’ve unlocked it, the whole thing can be opened up with a single digit. But that semi-permanent installation feels a bit more flimsy than with other models, as the hardware isn’t as impressive as other models and doesn’t have the rubber covers to protect your truck bed rails from scratches and minor aesthetic damage.

But more than anything, we value the phenomenal warranty that this hard tri-fold cover includes. It’s got five years of coverage against all of the materials and workmanship. While that’s not the no-questions-asked, lifetime warranty that the Rough Country Tonneau Cover has, it will cover you in pretty much all cases of damage or wear.

Pros

  • Slick look with a weatherproof seal
  • Secure but easy to attach with a tool-less installation method
  • Five years of warranty coverage against materials and workmanship
  • One-finger guarantee promises easy operation

Cons

  • Hardware is cheap feeling and may not last long
  • Clamps and bolts don’t have rubber covers to protect from wear and tear

10. Tyger Auto T3 Soft Tri-Fold Truck Tonneau Cover

Tyger Auto T3 Soft Tri-Fold Truck Tonneau Cover

Why we like it: While it’s technically a soft tonneau cover, the inclusion of a dual-coated marine-grade vinyl makes this phenomenal for those looking for a bit more flexibility.

Editor’s Rating:

Vehicle Compatibility: 1988-2007 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra

With no metal paneling placed throughout the cover itself, this is technically a soft tonneau cover, although a metal aircraft-aluminum frame paired with dual-coated marine-grade vinyl is good enough for us to give it a chance on our list.

While that makes it slightly less secure (and less heavy) than options with metal paneling, it’s still equally structurally rigid when weight is placed on top, although it is more susceptible to punctures. If you plan on doing that regularly, try a harder cover like the DNA Monitoring TTC Hard Truck Bed Top Tonneau Cover.

It attaches to the bed with stainless steel clamps that are corrosion resistant: this means a long lifetime and no drilling (or tools at all) required for installation. There’s one exception for that tool-less install, however: if you’ve got a bed liner that extends over the rail of your pickup bed, you’ll have to cut some holes to properly fit the tonneau cover. Any other bedliner, though, and you’ll be good to go.

Like most tonneau covers, it comes in one color: black, which is a plus in our book. While the company that produces this cover has a limited lifetime warranty to back up their product, make sure you’re properly measuring your product before a purchase: you’ll have to pay for oversized shipping if you end up purchasing the wrong product for your truck.

Pros

  • Equally structurally rigid as metal truck covers
  • Uses lightweight dual-coated marine-grade vinyl
  • Stainless steel clamps don’t require drilling and are corrosion resistant
  • No tools needed for installation

Cons

  • No returns if you pick the wrong size
  • No metal paneling for security and protection
  • Vinyl cover is more susceptible to punctures

Buying the Best Hard Folding Tonneau Cover

Protecting your pickup bed has tremendous benefits, and not just for your cargo. A tonneau cover doesn’t just protect your load, but also protects the pickup bed itself and increases fuel efficiency. Finally, it increases the value of your truck and presents a positive signal to potential buyers that it’s a vehicle that has been taken care of.

Tonneau Cover, Truck Topper, or Something Else Entirely?

As there are tons of many types of truck owners, all with different needs, there are also many tools used to cover up a truck bed: are you just looking for weather protection, do you need security, or are you primarily thinking about aerodynamics and aesthetics: keep in mind that there’s no wrong answer, just a solution for your specific needs.

We’ll help you out by describing four drivers, each with a different need and ideal solution.

Driver 1: Hard Tonneau Cover: A truck owner with a hard tonneau cover is an urban or suburban driver that sometimes uses his pickup for big hauls, but mostly uses it for commuting and occasional smaller trips.

A hard tonneau cover is one of the most popular truck cover options, probably thanks to the fact that it’s a middle ground option. It’s impermanent; you can remove it in just a few minutes, but it’s secure and can be securely locked.

Driver 2: Soft Tonneau Cover: A truck with a soft tonneau cover has broad use cases. Some drivers use them permanently, others tuck them away in the cab and pull one out whenever necessary. They’re waterproof and some can even lock up, but they can be cut open without too much trouble.

Driver 3: Truck Topper: Truck toppers are rigid, semi-permanent, and secure with a lock. You’ll have a tough time purchasing one online, though, as they’re big and don’t fold down. While they can store more cargo than a pickup bed with a tonneau cover, for example, you’ll still have a tough time fitting the biggest cargo in. Truck toppers are a bit heavy but great for fuel-efficiency. Like tonneau covers, they can range in price broadly.

Driver 4: Tarp: Our fourth driver stores a tarp in his truck with some tie-downs or bungee cord, only bringing it out when hauling cargo in inclement weather. A tarp won’t produce a tight seal, nor does it protect your cargo, but it should be fine to keep most of the water of your lumber or construction materials. It won’t help with fuel efficiency.

If none of these options sounds appealing to you, well, you should probably think about an SUV!

A Primer on Tonneau Cover Materials

Tonneau covers, as with many car-related products, love to use technical materials to distinguish themselves from other manufacturers. Below, we give you a breakdown of the most popular materials used in tonneau covers and break down the facts from the marketing hype.

  • Aircraft-Grade Aluminum: Tonneau covers like the Bak BakFlip MX4 Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover love to advertise that they have frames made of aircraft-grade aluminum. It sounds impressive because it is: it’s both stronger, lighter, and more impact resistant than standard aluminum.
  • Standard Vinyl: Standard vinyl is a type of plastic that can be made into leather-like plastic sheets. The world’s third most popular plastic, it’s impermeable by water, durable, and inexpensive, which makes it popular for inexpensive tonneau covers.
  • Marine-Grade Vinyl: Marine-grade vinyl is a step up from standard vinyl, coated with a compound that protects it from sunlight, moisture, and abrasion. It’s UV ray, bacteria, and mildew resistant. It’s preferable for tonneau covers, but a bit more expensive, although Lund Hard Tri-Fold Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover covers made of marine-grade vinyl are not any more puncture resistant or structurally sound than typical vinyl.

Tips for Using a Tonneau Cover

As with any truck or car aftermarket part, proper use and installation affect utility in a big way. A poorly installed or constructed cover won’t protect your cover from much. Proper product selection, use, and installation help make sure you maximize the value of whatever product you purchase.

Installing a Tonneau Cover

Installing a tonneau cover is really typically quite easy compared to other car modifications and repairs: some covers don’t even require tools for installation. Follow the steps below to install your cover with minimal trouble and for a good fit, although the process can vary a little bit depending on what type of tonneau cover you purchase.

Fit Your Cover

Tonneau covers require precision, which means you’re out of luck in the unfortunate case you’ve purchased the wrong product. This doesn’t just mean to buy a tonneau cover based on your truck model: take into account the dimensions of the bed (short bed, long bed, or standard bed) and even the model year of your car. Most covers are simply not compatible.

Install Rails

Tonneau cover rails are the metal components that the cover actually slides into. They’re clamped onto the edges of the bed and stay installed even when you take off the cover itself to haul bigger cargo.

Install Rubber Seals

The rubber seals attach to the rail and create a waterproof layer between the metal rails and the cover itself. Make sure these seals are installed flush and properly positioned if you don’t want to end up with wet cargo.

Install Cover

It’s finally time to install the cover itself. Depending on if you have a folding or rolling cover, slide the product into the rails so that it is flush with both the attachment mechanism and the rubber seals.

Install Finishes and Fittings

Your work isn’t over yet: you’ve got to make sure your cover stays in place. Screw in the anchor screws (preferably with a torque wrench) to lock things down, then attach trim pieces and seals. After that, you’re good to go!

Using a Tonneau Cover to Maximize Aerodynamics

A tonneau cover doesn’t just cover up the cargo in your pickup bed—it encloses the bed itself, helping to eliminate the aerodynamic effect that happens as turbulent air gets stuck in the bed. A cover accomplishes this by smoothing the airflow that rolls over the back of the truck, pushing off the back.

All in all, a tonneau cover improves aerodynamics by approximately 10% to 15%, which over time can save you thousands of dollars: less expensive tonneau covers can probably pay for themselves with gas savings alone in under a year.

Locking up Your Tonneau Cover

While many soft tonneau covers don’t have the option to be locked, many hardtop versions lock with an internal lock or have a keyed/combination U-lock. This lock is typically placed close to the liftgate of the truck, and although it’s more secure than a soft cover or an option without a lock, it’s definitely not as secure as your truck cabin. Still, out of sight means out of mind, and that goes a long way with opportunistic thieves.

Tonneau Cover Maintenance

First of all, hard tonneau covers last longer than soft ones, so you should get somewhere between three and five years of use out of your cover, depending on how hard you are on your cover.

The cover itself typically isn’t what fails first, unless you get in the bad habit of placing heavy objects on top of it. It’s the plastic trim that decays first, and you can’t do much about that aside from using a plastic/rubber conditioner like this one every couple of months.

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to make your tonneau cover last even longer. It’s not water and snow that wear out the cover, but dirt, dust, and road salt that slowly wear out your cover. Sun can be problematic as well, so if you can park your truck in the shade, you can extend your tonneau cover’s lifespan significantly.

Routine Maintenance

We recommend performing routine maintenance once every several months if you don’t drive much or once every oil change if you do a lot of highway driving. It doesn’t have to be too involved, but takes a little bit of time and effort. Make sure you’re not treating your tonneau cover with the same materials as the rest of your vehicle paneling and trim.

Start by rinsing down the surface, then pat the surface down. Use a spray nylon cleaner like the Tyger Tonneau Cover Cleaner, then agitate the solution with a brush, cloth, or sponge. If there’s a stain, you can let the product sit for a few minutes. Afterward, rinse clean and let it air dry. Once every other cleaning you can apply a rubber conditioner. This 30-minute process can lengthen the life of your cover by upwards of a year if done frequently and correctly.

Tonneau Cover FAQ

How Much Does a Hard Tonneau Cover Cost?

Tonneau covers range wildly in price. While you can typically pick up a soft tonneau cover for around $100, hard tonneau covers start out at around $200 at the low end and can cost well over $1000 for versions made with exotic, lightweight, and thus expensive materials. These more expensive covers are typically longer-lasting, produce a stronger seal, and have a higher resistance to weight.

What’s Better, a Hard or Soft Folding Tonneau Cover?

Looking at price, a hard folding tonneau cover is definitely more expensive, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better for all users. While hard tonneau covers are certainly more durable and longer-lasting, soft-folding tonneau covers are easier to put on and remove, which has its advantages.

As they take up less space, you can store a soft folding cover for occasional use when the weather turns somewhere in your cabin. If you want a permanent solution, however, and you’ve got a larger budget, a hard cover will typically serve you better and protect your cargo.

What’s Better, a Roll-up Cover or a Folding Cover?

As far as folding hard covers go, there are different types for different users. If you’re looking to minimize price and weight, think about a roll-up cover that uses synthetic compounds as opposed to metals to maintain rigidity. Tri-fold and bi-fold covers are better at maintaining rigidity and can hold more weight but they’re generally a bit more expensive, they’re harder to maneuver, and they are almost always heavier.

Where Does the Word “Tonneau” Come From?

Tonneau is a technical term for any open cargo compartment of a truck or car. It comes from the French word that means ‘cask’ or ‘barrel.’ Any pickup bed or open truck bed can be referred to as a tonneau, thus, any covering for that cargo compartment can be called a tonneau cover.

Keep Your Cargo Safe

As a truck driver, there are few things more important than the cargo you haul in your pickup bed. So it’s important to keep that cargo protected, and while there are many ways to do that, one of the most effective protection methods is a hard tonneau cover.

Hard tonneau covers attach semi-permanently to the rails of your pickup bed, providing a lockable yet removable method to secure and protect the contents of your bed. While they’re a little bit pricey, they can pay for themselves over time by protecting your valuables and even making your truck more aerodynamic.