There are a lot of different types of tonneau covers that you’ll find on the market today. Some are made from hard material while others are made from soft material. There are locking options and non-locking options. In the flat tonneau cover category, there are soft tonneau covers, roll-up tonneau covers, retractable covers, high-impact-plastic covers, and painted fiberglass covers
A flat cover is best for you if the height of your cargo fits into the existing bed space. It allows you to maintain your vehicle’s style line while keeping the driver’s visibility unchanged.
In this article, we’re going to look at all the different types of tonneau covers that are available to choose from.
Different Types of Tonneau Covers
1. Folding Tonneau Cover
This is among the most popular styles of tonneau covers that you’ll find out there. Folding tonneau covers can fold into two parts or more and include the popular tri-fold cover which folds into three separate sections. There are, however, some covers that fold into more than three parts.
The benefit of such a cover is that it offers you quick and easy access to your truck bed by folding the parts on each other – a feature which a lot of people find extremely convenient. It means that if you need to access just a small area of your truck bed, this type of tonneau cover allows you to keep the other parts covered while only exposing the part that you need to use.
Simply fold it up and, if necessary, tie-down one or two panels to allow the accommodation of your cargo and you’ll be set to go. This type of folding cover is great if you normally haul large cargo or awkwardly shaped cargo that may not fit under a flat tonneau cover.
2. Roll-up Tonneau Cover
As the name suggests, a roll-up tonneau cover (or rolling tonneau cover) rolls up into itself in a similar way to how you roll a mat. It rolls all the way to the bulkhead and comes with the benefits of offering you partially open access to whatever you’re carrying in the bed of your truck.
It mostly offers the same benefits as the ones you get from a folding tonneau cover but will provide for a lot more variances with regard to the amount of space that you want to cover or uncover. Unlike a folding tonneau, a rolling tonneau cover is not determined by a pre-set fold.
Made from a soft pliable material such as vinyl, this type of cover is easy to attach to your truck bed through the use of simple snaps, Velcro, or tongue, and groove seals. So in addition to protecting your truck bed from harsh elements and keeping your cargo well out of sight, this type of cover makes it easy to haul taller cargo as well as to get in and out of the truck bed quickly.
A roll-up cover mostly comes with a vinyl coating on both sides of the surface which makes it durable and weatherproof. It’s a great option for anyone who constantly carries a cargo of different sizes.
3. Retractable Tonneau Cover
This type of cover retracts into itself at the truck’s bulkhead. It has usage and functionality that is similar to a roll-up tonneau cover, except that it uses a different mechanism to achieve the same effect. One of the main benefits of using a retractable tonneau cover is that you get to expose only the cargo you require, leaving the rest of the truck bed safely closed.
This type of design allows you to carry awkwardly shaped or oversized cargo while still being able to protect the rest of the items in your truck bed. Retractable covers are available in a wide range of materials both soft and hard. The exterior of the cover can be made from aluminum, polycarbonate, or vinyl material over the retractable reinforcing structure.
This type of truck cover is generally preferred for its relatively smooth ease of use and its clean appearance. Retractable covers also offer to lock security, which is a benefit not afforded by all tonneau covers.
Additionally, a retractable cover doesn’t require removal if you want to access the truck bed. Overall this is a cover that’s easy to install and use and offers a lot of benefits for anyone who constantly needs to access the back of their truck.
4. Hinged Tonneau Covers
Hinged tonneau covers are essentially bed cover ‘lids’ that are hinged at the truck’s bulkhead. These types of tonneau covers can actually be locked in the open position. It’s important to note that a hinged tonneau cover does not roll up or fold. This means, therefore, that it’s often a challenge to accommodate oversized cargo, as well as to remove the cover for those times when you need full access to the truck bed.
One of the benefits of using a hinged tonneau cover is that while its usage is limited, it does integrate seamlessly with your truck. A lot of truck owners prefer this type of tonneau cover because it gives their truck a sleek look. If visual appeal is something that’s very important to you, this may be one of the best types of tonneau covers that you can get for your truck.
Just keep in mind that a hinged tonneau cover will not work well for you if you constantly have to haul oversized cargo. That being said, a hinged tonneau cover offers security, style, and unparalleled protection for your cargo from the elements.
The best-hinged tonneau covers lift in seconds allowing you fast access to your entire truck bed with minimal effort. The installation is just as easy with most hinged tonneau covers being installed in under half an hour with little to no drilling.
5. Snap Tonneau Covers
This type of tonneau cover usually consists of a vinyl cover that snaps into a frame that is clamped to your truck bed. A snap tonneau cover certainly provides a unique way of opening and closing a truck bed. It allows open access to a part or all of your truck bed which means you can accommodate cargo of varying sizes.
These are among the most affordable truck bed covers on the market. In general, they are cheaper than retractable, hinged, roll-up, and folding tonneau covers. They offer a slick, bold look that will enhance the aesthetics of your truck while keeping your gear safe from the elements.
Just be aware that as with everything to do with car accessories, the old saying is true: You do get what you pay for. So while this is more affordable, there are other types of tonneau covers that are a lot more secure. If the cover is closed with your tailgate locked, there will be no way for anyone to open it and access the truck bed.
This is definitely not the case when it comes to snap tonneau covers. They have no locking mechanism, and anyone can undo the snaps, open the cover, and gain access to your cargo. This type of cover also takes longer to open and close and it can be affected by extremely cold weather.
But, if none of these concerns bother you, then you can go ahead and select a high-quality snap tonneau cover at an unmatched low price.
6. Toolbox Tonneau Cover
Tonneau covers with toolboxes are very popular with most truck owners as they have an integrated toolbox that can be mounted clear of the truck bed rails. Although a number of tonneau covers do work properly with your toolbox, they are some tonneau covers on the market that may not integrate well.
If your truck already has an over the rail toolbox installed, or if you are planning on purchasing one, then it’s important to determine beforehand if the tonneau cover you want to purchase will be compatible.
Knowing that most regular tonneau covers will not fit, there’s no need to sacrifice safety to use your toolbox. All you need to do is to get a compatible toolbox tonneau cover that is sized to work with your toolbox. This will allow you to protect your cargo without having to forgo the usability and functionality of your toolbox.
If work comes first for you, then this is ultimately the best tonneau cover that you can get for your truck. You’ll be able to get all the benefits including safety, security, durability, easy installation, simple operation, and superior performance – all in one convenient toolbox tonneau cover.
Now that you know all the different types of tonneau covers that are available for you to choose from, you can then decide which one has the features that best appeal to you according to your requirements. In addition to the different types of tonneau covers that we’ve listed here, you also need to consider whether you want a hardcover or softcover and if you want your tonneau cover to lock for additional security, and so on.