How to choose the best tonneau cover for your pickup truck
There are plenty of tonneau covers on the market, but choosing the right one for your pickup truck doesn’t need to be rocket science. Ultimately you want an easy to remove tonneau cover.
We’ve put together a quick overview to help you in your search for the best tonneau for your truck. Before you cover your truck bed, let’s cover the basics:
Why do you need a tonneau cover?
If you’ve made it here, you might already know you need a tonneau cover to get the most out of your pickup truck. Maybe someone swiped your tools, you ended up with wet gear, or you’re just tired of bungee cords and tarps. Tonneaus are designed to cover your truck bed for a secure fit. If you’re like us, you want to protect your cargo, keep your truck looking sleek and deter theft. There’s really no question about it: Your truck isn’t complete without a tonneau cover.
Now let’s get down to your decision. The two main things to consider when choosing the perfect truck accessory are material and style.
Which material is best for you?
First, you’ll need to choose which material will best fit your hauling needs. You’ll have to pick a hard or soft tonneau cover.
Hard tonneau cover
Hard tonneau covers are known for their security and sleek look. Some have extra secure locking systems that prevent any tampering with cargo inside. This may be the right choice if you want the most uniform look and a custom paint match. The cons are simple: these covers are heavier and more expensive. Hard covers are best for cargo that fits below the bed rails, since carrying anything above that height will require you to fold up or even remove the cover entirely.
Soft tonneau cover
Soft tonneau covers are the most popular and flexible options. Aside from being lighter and more budget friendly, soft covers allow flexibility while still providing protection from rain, wind, and dust. They cover your cargo from prying eyes and certain styles are able to lock securely just like hard tonneau covers. The cons of soft tonneau covers are they can be cut and, other than the Sawtooth adjustable tonneau cover, they cannot stretch to cover loads taller than the bed walls.
What styles are out there?
Most tonneau covers on the market fall into four categories. Here’s a quick overview:
Retractable tonneau covers are typically powered and open and close with the touch of a button. They have a low profile and can be opened to various positions to accommodate large cargo. However, you lose truck bed cargo space towards the cab with a retractable tonneau.
With a little more effort than a retractable tonneau, a folding tonneau option still allows multiple open positions based on what you’re carrying. A tri-fold design is the most popular with panels that can be easily opened or closed with one hand for quick access. Unfortunately, many foldable covers block your rear window and vision when they are folded up. Some also take up bed space towards the cab preventing you from using your entire truck bed.
Roll-up covers, like retractable and foldable tonneaus, allow easy access to your cargo and can be secured with a lock or rolled up behind the cab. They can take up a bit more space when out of use in the rolled up position.
Hinged tonneau covers are only sold in hard materials and create a very streamlined look. These tend to be the most secure covers, but also make your cargo hardest to access and need to be removed entirely to haul large or tall cargo. They also may not accommodate your other truck accessories. It is more complicated to install these tonneau covers.
The new type: Expandable tonneau cover
When we set out to find the best tonneau cover we knew we needed a soft cover for the affordability, weight and flexibility, but we found all the standard options lacking. Often we needed to haul cargo that was higher than the top of the truck bed rails. Unfortunately, no other truck bed cover was able to expand over tall cargo. We would have to either remove the tonneau entirely or leave it rolled up or retracted, and what’s the point of having a tonneau if it just takes up space by the cab? Cargo nets didn’t fit the bill either, because although they hold loads down, they don’t conceal or protect them from the elements. If you still don't think you need a tonneau cover check out our blog on the 10 Reasons you Need a Tonneau Cover.
We wanted the benefits of a tonneau but the flexibility to haul more and keep our cargo covered no matter its size. We couldn’t find what we needed, so we built something new. The Sawtooth tonneau cover is the first-of-its-kind expandable tonneau that’s flexible enough to cover your taller loads, but still creates a sleek profile and provides protection from the elements. Contact our tonneau experts today!