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Tonneau Cover Styles

Tonneau Bed Covers

At Stylin' Trucks, we recognize that there are many tonneau covers to choose from. We also realize that selecting the right bed cover for your truck may be a bit overwhelming. But don't fret - we'll break it down nice and easy for you.

No matter who the manufacturer is, or what style tonneau, most any truck bed cover offers weather-resistant cargo protection and gas savings. However, there are still some important things to consider when selecting your tonneau cover: Looks, Security, and Operation. The following guide is designed to help you choose the right tonneau cover to meet your needs. Also, you'll see that we've dropped in a few videos for you pleasure. Enjoy.

Alex and Al discuss Truxedo Tonneau Covers.

Tonneau Cover Looks

Based purely on looks, a custom-molded, color-matched hard-top tonneau cover like those manufactured by Gaylord's and Armor Lid provide a cleaner, more-finished look than most traditional soft tonneau covers. If you’re building a show truck or rarely use your truck for hauling large loads, a hard-top tonneau makes a great choice.

But let's not forget the soft top bed cover. Their looks have come a long way since the early days. Long gone are the bed covers that look like a flattened covered wagon. Today's soft top tonneau covers are smooth, sleek, and modern-looking.

Most companies, like LUND, TruXedo and Extang, offer low-profile soft covers with advanced features like integrated bows, shrink and fade-resistant fabric, and snap-free side sealing systems.

Bed Cover Versatility & Security:

The next question you need to ask yourself when trying to decide between a hard top bed cover and a soft top tonneau cover is, "How will I be using the bed of my truck?"

The security provided by a hard tonneau cover can't be beat. A smooth fiberglass bed lid from Gaylord's, an aluminum canister-style tonneau from Pace Edwards, or a lightweight, super-strong composite bed cover from Armor Lid are all great choices for cargo protection. They are manufactured out of strong materials and feature built-in locks to keep cargo safe.

While they do tend to provide a cleaner look and added security, hard top tonneau covers can be challenging to remove if you haul oversized cargo. Exception: The Pace Edwards roll-up style tonneau cover is a hard tonneau cover that operates like a roll-top desk, sliding forward and rolling into a storage canister at the front of the bed.

If it's cargo versatility you're after, you should definitely choose a soft top tonneau cover. They easily roll up to provide full bed access for oversized cargo.

For added protection and total bed security be sure to secure your bed with a tailgate handle lock. This product prevents people from opening your tailgate, regardless of which tonneau cover you have installed. It's just one more level of security for would-be thieves to deal with.

Mike Ramser from BAK demonstrates the BAKFlip folding tonneau and a Pop-n-Lock Tailgate Handle Lock.

Tonneau Cover Operation:

Your final areas of concern should be, "How easy is this cover to install/remove?" and perhaps the most important question, "How easy is this cover to use?

These days, just about all tonneau bed covers use some sort of clamp-on installation hardware. In fact, most covers are easy enough to install that one person can have the cover on his or her truck in as little as a half an hour, with no drilling and only a handful of tools.

Now you might be wondering, “What’s the deal with all of these different side sealing/opening options?” So, here’s a quick overview of some of the more popular styles:

Armor Lid Hinged Tonneau Cover
Hinge Style
Roll Top Tonneau Cover
Roll Top
Pace Edwards Retractable Tonneau Cover
Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover

Hinge: If you opt for the hard cover, this is about your only choice of opening style. Both hard and soft top hinge tonneau covers offer instant access to the rear of your bed and are great for hauling groceries and/or small packages. Single or dual gas struts make lifting your cover easy.

Roll Top: Most soft tonneau covers roll up, for quick and easy bed access. Traditionally, the cover roll up and secure behind the cab. Most newer covers even feature integrated supports where the bows and latch system roll neatly up with the cover.

Retractable: Aluminum panels retract automatically and roll up into their own storage box. These types of covers are typically a little pricier, but they do offer the best of both worlds – the cargo security of a hard top with the quick convenience of a soft top.

Folding: Folds in three sections for instant full-bed access. Typically held in place by quick-release clamps for fast installation and removal in two minutes or less.

Danielle and $$ discuss tonneaus from Advantage Truck Accessories.

Bed Cover Sealing Options:

There are many different bed covers on the market and they all secure themselves to the bed sides in some fashion. Here are some popular options.
  • Snap: For a long time this was the only option. Many early design soft bed covers came with snaps or buttons to secure the cover. If you are purchasing a tonno cover with snaps or buttons, make sure that you buy one with adjustable snaps. In varying weather conditions the tonneau cover can stretch or shrink up to 1", making it necessary to adjust the location of buttons or snaps.

Low Profile Tonneau Cover
  • Snapless: Many tonneau covers feature a snapless sealing system, which is great for year-round use in all climates. A rubber tongue-and-groove seal eliminates snaps. You simply push the rubber/plastic seam into the aluminum channel and slide your hand down the bed rail. Easy as pie and twice as yummy.

Truxedo Lo-Pro Soft Tonneau Cover
  • Velcro™ (a.k.a. hook & loop): Tonneau bed covers that include a Velcro-type system offer faster and easier opening and closing. And since there's no need for special snaps, or grooves and channels, the tonneo cover typically features a lower-profile look. This is an excellent weather-proof seal that is ideal for all climates.

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