Selecting a tonneau cover material is one of the most daunting tasks. Here’s is everything you need to know about the available options.
The type of tonneau cover material can influence many things such as a cover’s usability, cost, and lifespan. One material, for example, will last longer but look unattractive while another looks great but easily gets damaged. So what material should you choose for your truck’s tonneau cover? This article will help you make that important choice.
What is the Best Tonneau Cover Material?
A tonneau cover material is usually either hard or soft. Soft materials have their advantages and disadvantages- hard materials, too. Different tonneau cover materials also cost different amounts, which, in turn, dictate the type to buy based on your budget. Here is a list of material options when looking for truck bed cover.
- Hard plastic
1. Vinyl Tonneau Cover
Vinyl is the most popular tonneau cover material. It offers several qualities when used for a truck bed cover, such as waterproofness, and will protect the truck bed from the elements. Vinyl is also is also a lightweight material that makes easy-to-use covers.
In terms of price, vinyl is quite affordable, and covers made from the material in the category of cheap tonneau covers. They will also look fairly great on your truck, in addition to being considerably durable.
Being a soft material, a vinyl tonneau cover cannot be used to secure valuable items. It tears easily and mostly suits situations that do not require a lock- or cases where protection for the elements is the main requirement.
2. Fiberglass Tonneau Cover
This tonneau cover material wins when it comes to aesthetics. Fiberglass tonneau covers are usually a sleek design, with a modern look that gives your truck a sophisticated appearance. In addition to the visuals, fiberglass offers better security and can be used for tonneau covers that are mean to protect expensive items.
Besides protection from theft, fiberglass tonneau covers can withstand weight and makes a great cover to use in snowy days. They’re also suitable to use on off-road trucks that subject the cover to flying rocks and debris.
One of the drawbacks of fiberglass as a tonneau cover material is its high cost. Fiberglass is also bulky when compared to soft covers such as vinyl and can introduce some extra weight. That said, the advantages of fiberglass truck bed covers far outweigh their downsides..
3. Aluminum Tonneau Cover
Aluminum tonneau covers are available as either rolling or folding types. The material is quite sturdy, and covers made from it usually last a long time. But aluminum dents easily when compared to other hard tonneau cover materials such as fiberglass.
In most situations, aluminum covers will come layered with either vinyl or canvas. This is done to give the material a more pleasing look in addition to other advantages such as soft feel and easy. These covers are also typically the segmented, folding types.
In general, we recommend choosing an aluminum tonneau cover if looking for these qualities: strength, durability, and versatility. Most often, tonneau cover manufacturers place a layer of vinyl on the aluminum to improve the cover aesthetics.
4. Hard Plastic Tonneau Cover
Plastic tonneau covers are mostly made from molded ABS plastic. This tonneau cover material is sturdy and durable, yet considerably lightweight. It’s also known to withstand impact, which makes it suitable of hard, one-piece covers or jointed types for a variety of trucks.
Like aluminum, molded plastic tonneau covers are sometimes coated with vinyl to improve look. This gives them the feel and look of vinyl while allowing the qualities of plastic such as harness and durability.
Overall, plastic tonneau covers are a popular choice if looking for a considerably lightweight but durable truck bed accessory. The material produces visually pleasing covers that are versatile enough to be used in a variety of situations.
5. Canvas Tonneau Cover
Canvas is one of the available tonneau cover material options today. The material makes durable soft covers that can withstand abrasion and other forms of damage. A Canvas tonneau cover will also not fade as easily when exposed to UV light like vinyl does, for example.
Other advantages of canvas include easy usage, easy installation, and low price. The material is also lightweight. On the downside, canvas truck bed covers are quite demanding to maintain. The catch dirt easily, and can become drenched and harbor mold or mildew.
Canvas truck bed covers are not very popular today. However, they are good option wen buying your cover on a budget; they are among the cheapest options. Canvas is also a good choice for sunny outdoors. It doesn’t easily get damaged by flying debris or UV light.
Hard vs. Soft Tonneau Cover
The different tonneau cover material options are classified into hard and soft types. Hard materials include fiberglass, aluminum, and plastic. Vinyl and canvas make soft covers. Here is how hard and soft tonneau cover materials compare:
A hard tonneau cover will protect your cargo from the elements while allowing you to roll it up when not in use for added convenience. A hard tonneau cover can also be locked closed for extra security which makes it ideal for protecting your expensive belongings.
A soft truck bed cover is easier to roll up and store when not in use, but it will not protect your cargo from the elements like a hard tonneau cover. However, their lightweight nature makes them offer improved gas mileage.
Overall, go for the hard tonneau cover you want something that protects your truck bed while adding an element of convenience. Choose the soft type if looking for a lightweight accessory and to keep truck bed contents safe from the elements.
Tonneau covers are typically available in five main materials. Depending on the type of material, a cover will either be hard or offer better security or soft and lightweight but less secure. When choosing the best tonneau cover material, be sure to consider how you use your truck. Other factors to consider include the material’s cost and weight.