The Ultimate Tonneau Cover Buying Guide

If you're looking for the best way to accessorize your truck, one of the best places to start is with a tonneau cover.  We have created the ultimate tonneau cover buying guide to help you through the process of selecting the tonneau cover that will perfectly fit your truck, that is in your price range and functions based on how you work.

Tonneau covers not only look great, they can also improve your fuel economy and, in some cases, pay for themselves in as little as a year with the money you'll save on fuel through improved gas mileage with your tonneau cover.

Finding the right tonneau cover can be a tricky process if you don't know where to start.  In this tonneau cover buying guide we will tell you what to look for in a tonneau cover, tips on installation and how our tonneau covers will provide flexibility to your truck, pad your wallett and make you look sharp.  Let's get started.

Where Can I Buy A Tonneau Cover offers a wide variety of tonneau covers for sale that fit most makes and models of trucks and we think it is the best place to buy a tonneau cover.

How To Find The Right Cover For You

Sure we get plenty of protection from the wind and rain while sitting in the cab of our trucks, if only our cargo was afforded the same luxury.  The simple way to go about that is with a soft tonneau cover. There are many different types of soft tonneau covers and we will cover (no pun intended) the basics of your options here.

When wondering what type of tonneau cover should I buy, most people will purchase their tonneau cover based on the opening style and hard/soft cover type.

Types and Styles

Hard or Soft Tonneau Cover?

  • Hard tonneau covers will typically cost more but offer better security features
  • Soft tonneau covers are less expensive and more versatile
  • Neither is better than the other, it just depends on what you require

 Folding Tonneau Cover

  • Folding tonneau covers use multiple panels formed by stretching vinyl or canvas over metal framing
  • Allows for quick access to cargo by simply folding the panels on top of each other
  • Some folding tonneau covers allow for full access to the bed by folding in parallel with your rear windows
  • If you want to drive with the cover partially open, look for a folding tonneau cover with fastening straps
  • Relatively inexpensive

Shop Hard Folding Covers       Shop Soft Folding Covers

Roll Up Tonneau Cover

  • A roll-up tonneau is literally opened by rolling the cover from the tailgate, to the back of the cab
  • Extremely lightweight design won’t weigh your truck down as much as other covers
  • You can open a roll-up cover as little or as much as you like for fast bed access
  • Best for people who need the most inexpensive tonneau, full bed access and seamless styling

Shop Hard Roll-Up Covers       Shop Soft Roll-Up Covers


  • Hinged covers connect at the front of your bed nearest the cab and are opened by tilting the cover up and away from the top of the tailgate
  • Constructed of a large metal frame with either canvas or vinyl stretched over the top
  • Provides a sleek, 1-piece look
  • Best for people who need an inexpensive tonneau that provides above-average security and seamless styling

Shop for Hinged Tonneau Covers

Hinged & Roll Up

  • The best of both worlds with both styles in one package
  • Lifts from the tailgate end of the bed providing quick access to cargo
  • Rolls all the way up to the rear window, providing you with full access to the truck bed
  • Best for people who can sacrifice security for flexible operation and convenience

Shop for Hinged & Roll Up Soft Tonneau Covers


  • Retracts into canister in the truck bed near cab
  • Hard and rigid construct
  • Best for those who have bigger trucks and struggle rolling or folding
  • Easy operation some remote controlled

Shop Retractable Tonneau Covers

Bed Cover Sealing Options

With so many different bed covers on the market how your tonneau cover seals itself could vary from cover to cover.  Here are some of the most popular ways a bed cover will seal:


For many years, this was the only option for sealing a tonneau.  You would have to snap or button down your cover to secure it into place.  If you are purchasing a snap-down cover, ensure you purchase one with adjustable snaps for the case the tonneau shrinks or expands.

Low Profile Tonneau Cover:

Low profile tonneau covers are snapless and have a sealing system which features a rubber tongue and groove seal.   You simply push the rubber/plastic seam into the aluminum channel and slide your hand down the bed. 

Velcro™ :

Tonneau bed covers that use velcro are very fast and easy to open.  Also since there is not a need for special snaps or channeling system, they are typically easier to install.

How To Measure Your Truck Bed For a Tonneau Cover?

  • Measure from the inside of the bulkhead to the inside of the tailgate (not including the rails)
  • Write down the number of inches. To convert to feet divide by 12 (you may need both numbers)
  • Be aware advertised bed length can differ from actual bed length by 1-2 inches.
Roll-Up vs Tri Fold Tonneau Cover Comparison

Tri fold tonneau covers are typically installed over the rails and will sit up a few inches from the top of the box. To work a tri-vold you open the tail gate and will typically pull down on two latches to release the tonneau.  The tonneau will then fold up into three sections.  Once it is folded-up, there are some latches to secure it. Most tri-folds do not fold all the way up, so unless you remove the tonneau cover, you can't reach under the tonneau next to the cab of your truck.

Roll-up tonneau covers work as the name suggests.  They roll-up from the back of your truck box all the way to the cab. A roll-up cover will sit inside the rails. Compared to a tri-fold, a roll-up will be a much lower profile tonneau.  To work a typical roll-up cover, you will open your tail gate and unlatch a small slide-lock. You then simply roll-up the cover all the way to the front of the cab.  A benefit of a roll-up is that you can use your entire bed without removing the cover. There is typically a bit more mounting hardware with a roll-up as you need to attach mounting rails, but the installation will usually take less than 30 minutes.

Questions To Ask When Buying a Tonneau Cover

1. What is your main purpose of adding a tonneau to your pickup truck?

While you may think you want a tonneau cover for your pickup, the main purpose for your tonneau can help determine the style you purchase.  If yo u afe looking for function, security, looks, versatility or easy removal it can determine if you go with a roll-up or hard-top.  Determine this first - it will make your buying process easier.

2. How often do you need to access your cargo and to what extent?

Will you need quick and efficient access to your truck bed on a daily or hourly basis or do you only require occasional access?  Whether it is a hard or soft tonneau, both are available in folding and retracting designs.  

3. What's your budget for a tonneau cover?

Soft covers generally cost $250 to $550 where as hard covers start at about $500 and go up to over $1,500.

4. Who will be installing the tonneau cover?

Most tonneau covers can be installed by a single person in their garage in around 30 minutes.  That being said, covers work the best when they are properly installed.  Rail mis-alignment or improper seal installation could leave your tonneau wobbly and your cargo wet.

5. Do you want to have the tonneau on your truck 24/7 or only occasionally?

Will your tonneau be a staple of your truck or do you anticipate removal of the tonneau during certain times of the  year?

6. How tall is your truck?

If your truck is lifted or you have some huge tires on that bad boy you might have to hop on the tailgate in order to retract your tonneau.  Consider the height of your truck and how you will operate the tonnear.

Reasons to get a Tonneau Cover For Your Truck

  1. Protection - a tonneau cover serves a lid for your truck bed.  This keeps your cargo secure from being blown out on to the road and preventing accidents or prevent littering.

  2. Prevention - tonneau covers also keep undesirable debris, snow, rain out of your bed and off of your cargo.  While no truck bed cover is completely waterproof, they are highly effective at protecting your cargo from the elements.

  3. Security - tonneau covers ensure your cargo remains a complete mystery.  You can also purchase tonneau covers that have locing mechanisms.

  4. Fuel Efficiency - according to many experts adding a tonneau cover will reduce aerodynamic drag and can increase fule efficiency by as much as 10%.

  5. Full Bed Usage - some covers will allow full bed usage while others will not.

  6. Appearance - adding a tonneau cover will enhance the appearance of your truck rather than just leaving the bland truck bed showing.  Since tonneau covers are custom-fit to particular vehicles, you can expect a sleek look when driving down the road.

How To Care For And Clean A Tonneau Cover

To clean your tonneau cover you can use warm water and mild soap or opt for a cleaner specific for cleaning tonneau covers.  You will want to use soft cotton cloths or a sponge to dry the cover.

While soap and water will clean your cover just fine, the vinyl cleaners also contain protectants which can prolong the life of your truck bed cover. For more cleaning information check out this post on how to clean your tonneau properly.

Shop Protectants and Cleaners

Basic Truck Bed Cover Information

Tonneau covers have come a long way in the past 25 years.  There are more styles available than ever before and several top of the line brands to choose from.  You can spend anywhere from $200 to $2000 purchasing a tonneau cover so it is not too difficult to find one that fits your budget.

Tonneau covers can roll-up, be hinged, or they can fold or snap.  Most tonneau covers have strategically placed weather seals which are there to aid in channeling water away from your cargo.

Tonneau Cover Brands

There are several different manufacturers of tonneau covers and all offer a very quality product.  We'll look at 5 of the best tonneau cover brands out there and look at the products they offer.

See what others are saying about tonneau covers for an F-150.

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