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What Are the Most Popular Types of Tonneau Covers? Which One to Get?

After discovering all the benefits tonneau covers can offer, I was really interested in getting one. And, the question of “what are the most popular types of tonneau covers” got in my head.

So, after doing proper research, I found out four types of tonneau covers are the most popular. However, they all fall under the two main types, soft and hard tonneau covers.

In this article, I will discuss each of them.


The 4 Most Popular Tonneau Cover Types for Your Truck

So, there are four most popular types of tonneau covers. And the things that separate them are the design and materials.

Now, let me walk you through each kind to give you a better idea regarding the topic:

Retractable Tonneau Cover – Manual and Electric

A retractable cover will let you expose only the part of the bed that you want to. That means you can carry different-sized items and lock the cover in any position you want to keep some parts of the bed open.

They offer better overall protection to the truck bed. And the weight range is from 300 to 500 pounds.

You’ll find both manually operated and remote-powered models. Remote-controlled covers rely on electric power for the opening and closing mechanism.

They come with a remote, which you can use to operate the cover and is very easy to use. Unlike the manual models, you are not required to open or close the cover manually.

Folding Tonneau Cover – Hard and Soft

Folding covers can be both soft and hard. The hard folding models are popular due to their protection level. Nonetheless, most of these will have a tri-fold design.

As you might have guessed, the tri-fold designs will fold in three places. There are bi-fold and quad-fold designs available as well. And the weight range for these is from 200 to 500 pounds.

Now, the main advantage of these folding covers is that you can quickly access certain bed parts. So, you can carry different items without exposing the whole bed area.

Roll Up Tonneau Cover – Hard and Soft

These tonneau covers are more like a mat. They roll up and offer you access to the truck bed. They also come in both soft and hard versions.

Soft roll-up covers are the most affordable. However, the hard roll-up models cost more than the soft ones. Their weight range is from 50 to 200 pounds.

Roll-up covers are easy to install and available in various options. You will not be limited to panels or folds, so you can precisely roll the cover and access the bed when you want.

Hinged (One-Piece) Tonneau Cover:

This type of tonneau cover will have just a lid supporting the hinges.

Although they have a one-piece construction, they will not fold or retract. Instead, you will need to push the hinge.

So, what is the advantage of having a hinged tonneau cover? Well, it offers a particular visual attraction due to the hinge mechanism.

However, for the design, you will not be capable of carrying awkward-sized cargo in your bed.


What Material Are Tonneau Covers Made of?

Here are different materials that tonneau covers are made of:

Aluminum: Hard covers are made up of metals. Aluminum is your way to go if you want something that will ensure 100% security against intruders and extreme weather. 

The good thing about this material is that it is very versatile and doesn’t weigh as much. You will be able to reach the truck bed from all directions even if the things are covered up.

Vinyl: It is very easy to fold vinyl since it is very flexible and lightweight.

One good thing about this particular material is that it is waterproof, so it will give security against rain and snow. They are quite cheap as well.

Keep one thing in mind, vinyl doesn’t give out protection as good as the hard cover materials do.

Canvas: This type of material is lightweight and is quite affordable as well.

I would recommend this to people who use covers from time to time and not on a daily basis. This is because the installation is time-consuming. 

ABS Polymer: They are known to be the most amazing material for lightweight covers. They are quite strong and provide protection against extreme weather.

Fiberglass: Fiberglass is hard and has a very smooth finishing. This is attractive and goes well with any truck. They are premium and very good at providing extra protection.


Hard Tonneau Covers Vs. Soft Tonneau Covers – Which One Is Better?

Here I will be discussing which tonneau cover would be better for you. 

Hard Tonneau Covers

This type of tonneau cover is perfect because of the security that they provide. A powerful barrier is formed between the environment and the bed of the truck with the help of many metals.

You should know that this kind of cover is towards the expensive end of the spectrum. These can be hard to install as well. They are quite flexible.

Soft Tonneau Covers

Soft Tonneau covers come at moderate pricing and will provide you protection from extreme weather conditions. 

Since it’s soft, it can quite simply be ripped by any intruders. So, it most likely won’t provide you as much security.

Which One Is Better?

The answer to this question is subjective and depends on what you want. If you want something flexible, soft, and affordable, then you should go for the soft tonneau cover.

If you want the ultimate protection and are willing to spend some extra money for that, then I would suggest that you buy the hard tonneau cover.


Tri-Fold Vs. Roll-Up Tonneau Cover – Which One Is Better? 

You will get to know the difference between a tri-fold and roll-up tonneau cover in this section.

Tri-Fold Tonneau Covers

Tri-fold covers have two types; soft tri-fold cover and hard tri-fold cover. One plus point of this cover is that they will permit you to carry complex things. The security that they provide is phenomenal as well. 

With the help of this, you will be able to transport heavier items easily. 

Tri-folds can be costly and are quite hard to install. They are generally quite heavy themselves.

Roll-Up Tonneau Covers

The best thing about roll-up tonneau cover is that they are lightweight, and the price tag isn’t as staggering as the tri-folds. They are easier to move around with due to their weight.

The downside of roll-up is that the security is not that great and is not that durable. It takes more time to open this up.

Which One Is Better?

There is no definitive answer to this. If you want more security and are willing to pay more for covers, then tri-folds should be your choice.

If you are worried about space availability and have a tight budget, then you should definitely opt for roll-up covers.

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Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief at F150Lab

Kevin Shaw has a vast knowledge of pickup trucks, especially the Ford F150. He has been doing various DIY fixes, upgrades, and modifications to pickup trucks for more than five years now.

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