Race Fans Forever is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Which Is Better Roll Up Or Tri Fold Tonneau Cover?

Which Is Better Roll Up Or Tri Fold Tonneau Cover?

By PattyKay Lilley

Are you looking to protect your truck bed and its contents from the elements while maintaining access to them? If so, then a tonneau cover is a worthwhile investment. But with two popular varieties – namely roll up and tri fold covers – it can be difficult to know which one will best suit your needs.

This blog post will provide an in-depth comparison of roll up and tri fold tonneau covers, discussing their advantages and disadvantages relative to each other so that you can make an informed buying decision when it comes time for you to choose.

Understanding about Roll Up Tonneau Cover

Roll Up Tonneau covers, as the name suggests, are designed to roll up and provide easy access to your truck bed. They are typically made of a soft material that fits over the top of your truck bed and is secured on a frame.

The ability to roll the material on the frame means you can access your truck bed at your convenience without having to remove the entire cover. Apart from affording easy access, roll up covers also offer an essential layer of protection.

They shield your items from the elements, and also add an element of privacy by preventing prying eyes from seeing what’s in your truck bed.

Understanding about Tri Fold Tonneau Cover

Understanding about Tri Fold Tonneau Cover

Tri-Fold Tonneau covers, another popular choice among truck owners, exhibit some distinct features that set them apart from roll-up covers. These covers can be either hard or soft, and they are typically crafted with a combination of metal and a thin covering material.

The tri-fold design allows the cover to fold into three sections, providing a convenient way to access your truck bed without needing to remove the entire cover. Sitting directly on top of your truck bed, these covers provide a strong layer of protection, effectively sealing off the bed to shield it from the elements and potential damage.

Their sturdy construction and advanced sealing technology ensure optimal protection for your cargo while also enhancing the overall aesthetic of your truck. Whether you choose a hard or soft version, a tri-fold cover offers a balance of versatility, security, and style.

See more: Can You Sit On A Tonneau Cover?

Which Is Better Roll Up Or Tri Fold Tonneau Cover?

Deciding between a roll-up and a tri-fold tonneau cover can be a tough choice, as both have their unique benefits. The right one for you ultimately depends on your specific requirements and preferences. Let’s explore some key factors to consider when choosing between roll-up and tri-fold tonneau covers, to help you make the best decision for your needs.


When it comes to versatility, roll-up tonneau covers typically take the lead. They are designed to allow for complete access to your truck bed and do not hinder the use of tailgate.

In contrast, although tri-fold covers can be folded back to reveal a large portion of your truck bed, they may limit you from using the entire space unless fully removed.


For ease of installation, tri-fold covers usually come out on top. Most models come fully assembled and can be installed without tools, right out of the box.

On the other hand, roll up covers may require some assembly and more time to install, but once set up, they are relatively easy to use.


Tri-fold covers, particularly the hard versions, offer a higher level of security. Their robust construction can deter potential thieves and protect your cargo from being damaged by harsh weather conditions.

While roll-up covers do provide a basic level of security, they may not be as resilient as their tri-fold counterparts.


If aesthetics are a priority for you, both roll-up and tri-fold covers offer sleek designs that enhance the appearance of your truck. However, many truck owners find the clean lines and compact look of tri-fold covers particularly appealing.

Roll-up covers, while not as streamlined, maintain a classic look that blends well with most truck styles.


Finally, the cost is another important factor to consider. Generally, roll-up covers are the more economical choice, making them a great option if budget is a primary concern.

Tri-fold covers, especially hard models, are typically more expensive, but they offer a higher degree of protection and durability, which can justify the higher price point.

In conclusion, both roll-up and tri-fold tonneau covers have their advantages and drawbacks. It’s essential to consider your needs and preferences when choosing between the two. Whether you prioritize versatility, ease of installation, security, aesthetics, or cost, there is a cover that’s just right for you.


Choosing between a roll-up and a tri-fold tonneau cover for your truck can lead to several questions. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each type and consider your personal needs. Here are some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help you make a well-informed decision.

Can I use a roll-up tonneau cover if I frequently carry tall, bulky items?

Yes, roll-up tonneau covers are an excellent choice for those who often carry tall or bulky items in their truck bed. Unlike tri-fold tonneau covers, which can limit the use of your truck bed space unless fully removed, roll-up covers can be fully rolled up, providing complete access to the truck bed. This means you can easily accommodate and transport taller items without any restrictions.

However, remember that while roll-up covers offer versatility and full access, they may not provide as much security as their tri-fold counterparts, especially the hard versions. It’s essential to consider your specific needs and decide what factors are most important to you in a tonneau cover.

Does a tri-fold tonneau cover increase the fuel efficiency of the truck?

Tri-fold tonneau covers can potentially improve your truck’s fuel efficiency. By covering the truck bed, they reduce the vehicle’s aerodynamic drag, allowing the truck to move smoothly through air. This reduction in drag can lead to an increase in fuel efficiency.

However, it’s essential to note that the improvement may not be significant enough to be your sole reason for purchasing a tonneau cover. While fuel efficiency can indeed be a benefit, most truck owners opt for tonneau covers primarily for reasons such as security, aesthetics, and protection of the truck bed and its cargo from the elements.

Is it difficult to install a tonneau cover by myself?

The ease of installation varies between roll-up and tri-fold tonneau covers. Generally, tri-fold covers are easier to install as most models come fully assembled. You can typically install them without any tools, right out of the box. On the other hand, roll-up covers might require some assembly and more time to install.

However, most tonneau covers come with clear, step-by-step instructions, and many truck owners find that they can successfully install these covers on their own. For a smoother installation process, it’s advisable to carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions and have someone assist you if possible.

Final Thought

The decision between roll-up and tri-fold tonneau covers primarily hinges on your personal needs and preferences. Each type of cover has its unique advantages, and understanding these can guide you towards the right choice.

Roll-up covers are renowned for their versatility, granting full access to the truck bed, and are generally more budget-friendly. They are an excellent choice if you frequently haul bulky items and seek a cost-effective solution.

On the other hand, tri-fold covers shine in terms of security, particularly the hard variants. They are robust and can withstand harsh weather conditions while protecting your cargo. If security is your top concern and you are willing to spend a bit more, a tri-fold cover would be your best bet.

It’s vital to understand that no one tonneau cover is inherently superior to the other. The “best” cover for you is one that aligns with your specific needs, whether that’s flexibility, security, aesthetics, or cost. Take your time, weigh your options, and make a decision that best suits your truck and lifestyle.

Rate this post

Leave a Comment