Tonneau covers are made from different materials are the basis of classification of tonneau cover types. The covers also come in different designs. The type that a truck owner chooses depends on many factors such as the expected level of protection, price, compatibility, ease of use, and more. Knowing the available types of theses covers can help you make a wise choice when buying one. Then, you can avoid a situation where you select a bed cover that does not suit your requirements or even taste.
What are the Different Types of Tonneau Covers?
The different types of truck bed covers, including their benefits and downsides, are explained below.
1. Retractable Tonneau Cover
Just like its name suggests, this type of tonneau cover retracts at into itself and towards the back of the truck. A retracting cover can be hard or soft. Should you choose a tonneau cover retractable type, it is good to consider your truck bed security requirements. A retractable hard tonneau cover offers better protection than a soft one.
Main advantage- this type of truck bed cover allows you to expose only the part of the bed that you intend to. As a result, you can carry items of different sizes and open only the part that contains the large cargo.
2. Folding Tonneau Cover
These are the most popular types on the auto parts market. They come in various designs. A tonneau cover trifold designs folds in three places, while a bifold design folds in two places. Some can fold in more than three places. These types of covers can also be hard or soft. Designs include the tonneau cover hard folding, which are the hard folding types. A tonneau cover trifold hard design means the folding cover is made of a hard material and folds in three places.
Main advantage- by folding up a part or parts of the cover, you get to access only a part of the bed. That means you can carry small-sized and big or awkwardly shaped items without having to expose the part with the small cargo.
3. Roll-Up/Rolling Tonneau Cover
This type of bed cover rolls up on itself, much like a mat would when you roll it up. It can be a soft or hard tonneau cover. A tonneau cover soft roll-up type costs less than a tonneau cover roll up hard design. However, the latter secures the truck bed netter than the former.
Main advantage- using a tonneau cover roll up design provides you with more truck bed options. Because you are not limited by folds or panels, you can expose the truck bed to precise or preferred extends from the open end to the truck’s bulkhead. That means you will have a cover that is more versatile.
4. Hinged Tonneau Cover
This type of cover is just a lid supported on hinges. Being a solid one-piece cover, hinged tonneau covers do not fold or retract. Instead, they open by pushing them up. Hinged covers can be hard or soft.
Main advantage- although these covers do not fold or retract, they have their advantage. Many truck owners like hinged tonneau covers for their visual attractiveness. Because they are not divided into pieces, the hinged covers look classy and improve the look of the vehicle. Some truck owners often paint these covers to match the color of the truck to enhance its appeal further.
A downside of hinged tonneau covers is that they do not allow for the carrying or awkwardly sized or shaped cargo. Everything has to be inside, under the lid. That can limit the usage of your truck.
5. Snap Tonneau Cover
A snap tonneau cover is a type that features clamps to attach to the truck bed or vehicle frame. Just like the other types of bed covers, a snap tonneau cover can be made of soft or hard material.
Main advantage- the main advantage of snap covers is that you can access any part of the truck bed by unclamping the specific area. That means you can cargo of any height or size.
6. Tool Box Tonneau Cover
These types cone with an integrated toolbox. They are a popular choice with many pickup truck owners. That is because not all tonneau covers on the market are compatible with a toolbox.
Main advantage- they allow you to enjoy the benefits of a truck bed cover while also not missing the advantages of having a handy took box. It is a combination that offers the best of both worlds.
7. Electric Tonneau Cover
As its name indicates, an electric tonneau cover uses electric power to work. An inbuilt mechanism opens and closes the cover, and you operate the opening and closing remotely via a button on the key fob. A brake allows you to retract the cover to a distance of your choice. Some will even have a light to illuminate the truck bed at night, which is also controlled through the remote module.
Main advantage- electric tonneau covers are convenient and easy to use. You do not need to use your hands, which means less work to do. Because the covers can retract partially, the benefits you get are similar to those of the folding, roll-up, and retracting tonneau covers.
So far, we have mentioned hard and soft tonneau covers. But what are they and do they differ. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? The next section answers those questions.
Hard Vs. Soft Tonneau Covers
Many people think hard tonneau covers to be one piece, bulky and supported by hinges, and soft covers to be foldable. Well, they are correct to some extent. Hard truck bed covers are usually heavyduty and designed to offer enhanced protection. However, there are those that fold to the back of the truck.
Soft tonneau covers are typically the foldable or retractable type. Mostly made of vinyl, these covers do not provide much security to the cargo being carried. They are usually light and easy to install. Apart from vinyl, soft covers can be made from aluminum frames that can fold in different places.
Soft tonneau covers are more economical and easier to install. They are, therefore, more popular among truck owners. Hard truck bed covers are bulkier and more expensive. They protect the truck better and are more preferred when security is the main reason to install a truck bed cover.
Different types of tonneau covers offer different benefits. Some are more convenient to use, while others look more classy.
With each having own upsides and downsides, the cover you choose should match your requirements.
The hinged type, for example, looks stylish on a truck. However, it does not provide enough convenience when it comes to carrying cargoes.
On the other hand, an electric tonneau cover is the easiest to use but also among the most expensive.
In short, the type of cover to use on your truck should be based on your budget, truck use, driving conditions, and other needs.