Black Series soft trifold tonneau cover Dodge Ram RED.png

Truck accessories are becoming increasingly popular in North America as pickup truck sales are now at an all-time high. The Ford F-Series pickup truck continues to be the best selling vehicle in Canada and the US in 2021, with the Dodge Ram trailing closely in second place. 

One of the most popular exterior accessories that serves both function and style is the truck tonneau cover. If you’re looking for a truck bed cover but aren’t sure which option is right for you and your needs, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ll give you the full breakdown of the best tonneau cover options on the market and how they function to help you decide which one best suits your truck and how you use it.

Dodge Ram Soft Tri fold Tonneau Cover Ford F150 Hard Tri fold Tonneau Cover


What is a tonneau cover? 


A tonneau cover is a top mounting or flush-lying cover that is placed over the bed of your pick-up truck. It provides security for your precious cargo and protects it from the elements. 

Truck bed covers can be either a soft or hard top, typically constructed of strong vinyl, aluminum, steel, or fiberglass. They generally function by folding, rolling, or retracting to the back third of your truck bed, closest to the bulkhead. Solid one piece tonneau covers will tilt upward, starting at the tailgate. There are many versions available on the market and we’ll go into further detail on each a little later on to help you decide which option is best for you. 

Why should I buy a tonneau cover? 


From functionality to aesthetics, there are significant benefits to owning a tonneau cover for your truck.  
  • It’s main purpose is to protect any cargo placed inside the truck bed with a weather-tight seal, keeping it safe and dry from the elements - including dust, rain, snow, and strong UV rays from the sun. 
  • All tonneau covers, including soft covers, help prevent theft by removing easy access and visibility inside the truck bed while the tailgate is closed. 
  • Hard tonneau covers provide added protection from theft with its aluminum or steel panels that serve as barriers to simple break-ins when the tailgate is locked. 
  • Most tonneau covers give pickup trucks a more sleek, clean appearance with a smooth, black vinyl covering or black aluminum panels to complement the truck’s exterior finishes. 
  • Other added benefits include improving fuel economy by as much as 10 percent by reducing wind drag and making the truck more aerodynamic on the road. 

Types of Tonneau Covers

Tri fold Tonneau Cover (soft or hard top mount):

One of the most popular versions of the truck tonneau cover is the tri fold cover. Tri folds can be soft or hard top mounting or lay flush with the bed. The covers tend to fold two to three times overlapping onto itself allowing for access to the majority of the truck bed. They tend to follow a simple installation process, with retractable or spring-loaded clamps that snap or lock into a bed frame, with typically 2-3 clamps on both sides of the truck’s frame. The cover can be easily removed from the truck by unlatching the clamps, folding it up, and storing away until it’s needed again. 

Chevy Silverado Soft Tri fold Tonneau Cover  GMC Sierra Hard Tri Fold Tonneau Cover

 

Roll Up Tonneau Cover (soft or hard flush mount):

Another popular tonneau cover option that rolls up to allow near full bed access. Roll up covers can be either soft, hard, or hybrid tops, and lay flush with the sides of the truck bed. They require an additional rail system to be installed along the sides of the truck’s bed frame in order to roll-up onto itself to the back of the truck bed to provide close to full box access. Removing the cover altogether can be a bit cumbersome, as the rail system will need to be unscrewed as well; therefore owners of roll up covers tend to always leave it installed until it’s time to replace it with a new cover.  
 

Low Profile Flush Mount Folding Tonneau Cover (hard top back flip):

Similar to a traditional tri fold cover, a low profile flush mount is a hard folding tonneau cover that folds back onto itself, but includes an additional fold that flips up against the back window of the cabin. An expensive but popular model thanks to its convenience of allowing near full access to the truck bed. Back flip covers lay flush with the sides of the truck bed and require an additional rail system to be installed along the bed frame. Similar to the flush mount roll up covers, truck owners tend to leave the back flip installed at all times until a new replacement cover is required.

Back Flip Tonneau CoverDodge Ram Back Flip Tonneau Cover 

Retractable Tonneau Cover (hard flush mount):

Similar to a garage door, retractable tonneau covers can manually or electronically retract to the back of your truck bed. They lay flush with the sides of the bed frame, and require an additional rail system to be installed, often requiring professional assistance. Many versions offer a key lock for added security. Retractable covers tend to be less popular of an option due to the higher price point, reduced cargo space at the back of the truck bed (compartment where it retracts) and the potential to require professional repairs if the retracting mechanism ever jams.

One Piece Tilt-Up Lid / Solid Painted Cover:

Single tilt up operation to allow access to the truck bed starting at the tailgate at an average 45 degree angle. Typically constructed of fiberglass, and available in various colours to match the paint and finish of your truck. Often has a key to lock for added security. One piece solid lids can be flush or top mounting covers, and require an additional rail system to be installed along the bed frame. Offers a stylish look that suits the finish of your truck, but not as popular of an option because of the accessibility it restricts to the full use of the truck bed. 

 

Truck Tonneau Cover Type

Key Features

Advantages

Disadvantages

Price Range

Soft Tri fold Tonneau Cover

Most popular cover on the market; 


Top mounting or flush mount;

Folds on top of itself in 2-3 folds;


Typically constructed of an aluminum frame and black vinyl covering; 


Can drive in two modes: fully closed or flipped and latched in with two-thirds of truck bed exposed if ever needed for easy bed access.

Easy to operate;


Quick to remove or re-install if needed;

 

Durable in different weather conditions;

 

Price / value friendly 

Can limit some access to the back top third of the truck bed - above the sides of the frame / height of the bed

Lower price point;

 

often considered best value proposition

Hard Tri fold Tonneau Cover

Very popular; 


Top mounting or flush mount;


Folds on top of itself in 2-3 folds;


Frame and panels typically constructed of 1 inch solid aluminum or steel with black coating;


Can drive in two modes: fully closed or flipped and latched in with two-thirds of truck bed exposed if ever needed for easy bed access.


Easy to operate;

 

Simply process to remove or re-install if needed;

 

Very durable in different weather conditions;


Provides added security of hard panels protecting cargo inside the truck bed

Can limit some access to the back top third of the truck bed - above the sides of the frame / height of the bed



Mid price range; 


great value for functionality, durability, and security

Back flip hard folding Tonneau Cover

Popular but expensive model


Commonly flush mount;

 

Similar to a tri fold cover, backflips fold but have an additional fold that flips against the back window of the cabin, allowing near full access to the truck bed. 

 

 

Convenience of having near full access to bed when folded up against back window

 

Easy to operate once installed


Provides added security of hard panels protecting cargo inside the truck bed

Expensive;

 

Durability can be an issue in colder weather

 

Hinges for backflip can break more easily, particularly in the winter time with ice forming


Can be difficult to remove / uninstall 

Higher price range;


Good value if requiring near full bed access at all times and the security of a hard cover to protect cargo

Soft Rolling Tonneau Cover

Popular model that rolls up allowing near full access to truck box;

 

Commonly flush mount

 

Requires additional bed rail system to be drilled/installed 

Convenience of having near full access to bed when rolled up

 

Soft rollups are generally price friendly

 

Hard rollups provide more durability with full bed access

Durability issues - typically lays flush with bed and can leak water / melting snow over time


Usually requires a drill installation for additional rail system; can damage part of bed frame upon removal

 

Can be difficult to remove / uninstall

Lower price range;


Good value for bed access 

Hard Rolling Tonneau Cover

Popular model that rolls up allowing near full access to truck box;

 

Flush mount;

 

Requires additional bed rail system to be drilled/installed 



Convenience of having near full access to bed when rolled up

 

Hard rollups provide more durability with full bed access


Provides added security of hard cover protecting cargo inside the truck bed

Durability issues - flush mounted cover can leak water / melting snow over time


Usually requires a drill installation for additional rail system; can damage part of bed frame upon removal

 

Can be difficult to remove / uninstall


Mid price range;


Good value for functionality, security and bed access  



Retractable Tonneau Cover

Solid and retractable; 

 

flush mount;

 

Usually locks and secures cargo



Convenience

of knowing cargo is secure cargo when tailgate is locked



Reduces cargo capacity in the box; lose about one-quarter of the back of your truck bed 

 

More difficult to install and remove; 

 

may require professional help to repair if mechanism jams

 

High price range; 



One piece

Tilt up Lid /

Solid Painted Tonneau Cover

Solid, often painted fiberglass hard cover that tilts upward, usually 45 degrees

 

Top mounting or flush mount;

Usually locks and secures cargo


Sleek, stylish design that often blends in with truck’s paint colour;

 

Solid and durable 


Provides added security of hard cover protecting cargo inside the truck bed

Limited access to truck bed;

 

Heavy and difficult to remove and re-install

 

Appearance over functionality

Mid to high price range

 
  

What should I look for in a tonneau cover?

Correct cover size and measurements for your truck

One sized tonneau covers do not fit all trucks. Therefore it's important to confirm the measurements of your truck bed to determine which tonneau covers will fit your vehicle.

  1. Measure your truck box. Grab your measuring tape and start from inside of the bulkhead and measure down to the inside of your tailgate.
  2. It’s important to then measure from side to side, at both the front and back ends of the truck box as some truck beds are not always perfectly rectangular eg. Dodge Ram New Body (2019-2021).
  3. Look up the manufacturer sizes to confirm it matches with your measurements. Each vehicle manufacturer will have two to three standard sizes for their truck’s boxes; these may change slightly in length or width from one generation to the next; can also vary by a few inches depending on where it’s measured as some may include part of the bulkhead and/or tailgate. 
  4. Once you know your truck’s box size and measurements, search for a tonneau cover that’s specifically fitted to your truck’s make, model, year, and box size.
A common misconception is that many truck boxes are sized the same across manufacturers, either width or length-wise. However, a 6 foot box cover designed for one make/model eg. Dodge Ram may not fit another 6 foot box eg. Chevy Silverado. Some manufacturers, such as Honda, Nissan, and Toyota, also have additional rail systems pre-installed along the inside of the bed frame, which can require additional attachments to fit and lock in a tonneau cover. 

 

Intended use and required access to truck bed


A factor to strongly consider before purchasing a tonneau cover is your intended use of the truck bed and/or your line of work.

Common questions you should consider include:

  • Do you plan on leaving expensive tools or other precious cargo in your truck bed when you’re not around?
  • Will you require near full access to your truck bed, at the back third and above the sides of your box frame at all times? 
  • Do you prefer having the option to easily remove and re-install a cover? 
  • Do you store oversized ladders in your truck box?   

Best Tonneau Cover for your Profession or Lifestyle 



Tradespeople

Those who keep tools in their truck bed might be best suited for a solid hard tri fold tonneau cover that provides better security and ease of removing the cover when needed. Some may prefer a hard rollup cover for more bed access while intending to keep the cover on the truck at all times; while other might be willing to spend more on a back flip hard folding cover that’s popular for both security and allowing near full bed access, but may have durability issues with its back hinges over time.

Leisure & Active Lifestyle

For those weekend warriors that enjoy the outdoors and camping with friends and family, a soft tri fold tonneau cover may be the best option; it’s durable, lightweight design and ease of use to latch / remove / reinstall, while providing year round cargo protection from harsh weather conditions including rain or snow, make it very versatile. A soft roll up cover could be another great option as it allows full bed access for those that don’t intend to remove the cover at all. A back flip folding cover can also be convenient for those wanting full bed access and are willing to spend a few hundred dollars more.
 

Compatibility

The ability for a cover to be compatible with other truck bed accessories may be a critical purchasing decision for those that require them for their line of work, such as roof racks for extended ladders or built-in tool boxes. Most tonneau covers will not fit alongside these accessories, so ensure you purchase a tonneau cover that specifically states that it fits a truck bed with a tool box and / or roof rack.

 

Value & price point that works for your budget

The cheapest or most expensive option might not make sense for everyone. Very budget conscious individuals that are looking for best value may be best suited for a soft tri fold cover or soft roll up cover. Those looking for added protection and security of a hard / solid cover and ease of use may benefit best from a hard tri fold cover. Finally those individuals who care deeply about security and near full bed access at all times, and are willing to spend on the higher end, may be best suited for a back flip hard folding cover.

Consensus Pick for Best Tonneau Cover 


Our consensus pick for best tonneau cover is the tri fold cover. It offers the most versatility, ease of use, and durability for any weather condition or season. Choosing between a soft top or hard top can come down to your budget and how much you value the added security of a solid, hard cover to protect your precious cargo. But choose the cover that best suits your truck and needs. Ensure you select a brand that is a trusted best seller, and from a reputable vendor that offers you the ability to see and touch the product in person if desired.

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of owning a tonneau cover and the range of options available on the market, you’re one step closer to choosing the best cover for your truck and how you intend to use it.


Dodge Ram Hard Tri fold Tonneau Cover
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