Are you looking for added protection and security for your truck bed? A hard tonneau cover might be just the solution! These heavy-duty covers keep cargo safe from inclement weather and prying eyes, adding both style and function to any pickup.
In this blog post, we will discuss all the different kinds of hard tonneau covers available on the market today, so you can compare features and select the right cover for your truck.
We will also review some of our favorite brands out there to help guide your decision making process. Read on to learn more about what makes a great tonneau cover – it could be just what you need to take your pickup’s performance up a notch!
7 Best Hard Tonneau Cover 2023
Let’s dive into our meticulously curated list of the top 7 hard tonneau covers for 2023. These covers were selected based on their durability, security features, ease of installation, and customer reviews. Whether you’re seeking a budget-friendly option or a top-of-the-line model, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get started!
Gator EFX Hard Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover
The Gator EFX Hard Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover is a highly preferred market choice and one of the best-selling tonneau covers. This model is renowned for its solid aluminum construction that ensures resilience and durability. A major advantage of this cover is its tri-folding design, which offers convenience and easy access to the truck bed.
The panels are sheathed with a polymer coating, providing resistance to scratches, dents, and heat. For quick access, the rearmost panel flips forward, a unique feature that sets the Gator EFX apart from its competitors. For full bed access, the panels fold upright and latch neatly against the cab’s rear window. The cover also features an automatic latching system when closed, eliminating the need to open the tailgate.
Equipped with heavy-duty aluminum panels that automatically lock when closed, the EFX is designed to withstand harsh weather conditions and daily wear and tear. In addition, the panels are coated with a scratch-resistant, UV-protective, black powder coat finish.
The EFX tonneau cover’s installation is straightforward and can be completed in less than 30 minutes without the use of tools or drilling. It sits flush with your truck bed, providing a stylish low-profile look. The Gator EFX features an integrated water management system to keep the elements out of your truck bed, ensuring your cargo remains safe and dry. The EFX’s unique seal design channels rain, snow, dirt, and dust out of your truck bed, offering superior bed protection.
- Full-bed access when completely folded back
- Automatic latching without opening tailgate
- Supports up to 300 pounds on top (when evenly distributed)
- Equipped with heavy-duty aluminum panels
- Panels are coated with a scratch-resistant, UV-protective, black powder coat finish
- Integrated water management system
- Unique seal design to channel out rain, snow, dirt, and dust
- Quick and easy installation
UnderCover Elite One-Piece Tonneau Cover
For those seeking the best of the best and aren’t concerned about budget, the UnderCover Elite One-Piece Tonneau Cover is unparalleled. Unlike most tonneau covers that have hard folding designs, this cover is a single solid piece essentially adding a massive boot lid to your truck bed. The Elite cover is constructed from UV-treated ABS composite and weighs just 70 pounds while supporting up to 500 pounds of evenly distributed weight on top.
Additional features include an integrated lock and latch mechanism, a removable LED light underneath the cover, and support arms that allow the cover to stay open. UnderCover produces various sizes and shapes, catering to nearly all makes and models, reflecting its premium build in its premium price, which starts at over $1100.
The UnderCover Elite cover presents a secure storage solution, turning your truck bed into a secure vault with its integrated locking mechanism. With its patented X-Effect Infrastructure, the cover remains strong and durable.
In addition, it has a double seal system that keeps all elements out—whether it’s rain, sleet, or snow. The UnderCover Elite cover comes with a 3-year guarantee on structure, a 1-year guarantee on parts & hardware, and is proudly made in the USA with globally sourced materials. It also has a US-based customer support team, allowing you to make your purchase with confidence.
- Single-piece construction
- Integrated lock and latch mechanism
- Removable LED light
- Support arms for cover stability when opened
- UV Protected ABS Composite Construction
- Double seal system
BAK Revolver X2 Hard Rolling Tonneau Cover
If you’re in the market for a perfect blend of a hard cover’s protection and the flexibility of a roll-up soft cover, the BAK Revolver X2 Hard Rolling Tonneau Cover is an excellent choice. Its design stands out, allowing easy access, and when rolled up completely, it doesn’t block the rear window.
Unlike other hard roll-ups, the Revolver X2 shuns the complexity of a hook-and-loop closure system. Instead, it features an inner frame rail that automatically secures the cover along the full length of the bed when the tailgate is closed, bolstering security.
The construction comprises aluminum slats encapsulated with a vinyl covering, and for added convenience, it can be operated from either side of the bed with the tailgate down.
The BAK Revolver X2 hard rolling tonneau cover is proudly made in the USA with globally sourced materials. This combination of unrivaled security, durability, convenience, and support makes it one of the best hard tonneau covers on the market.
- Patented rotational locking rails
- Integrated latching mechanism
- Gloss vinyl material overlaying aluminum slats
- Releases with a hidden cable on either side of the truck bed
- Rolls up tight against the cab and is secured with integrated buckles
- Supports up to 400 lbs. of evenly distributed weight
RetraxONE MX Tonneau Cover
The RetraxONE MX Tonneau Cover is a versatile albeit pricey selection for discerning truck owners. Its hybrid cover design is solid when closed and effortlessly retracts and rolls up into a compact box at the front of the bed for unobtrusive storage. Unlike bulkier, heavier single-piece or folding designs, this unique cover enables easy access to the bed when closed and doesn’t obstruct the driver’s rear view when fully retracted.
This RetraxOne model is designed with meticulous attention to detail, featuring a one-piece polycarbonate construction and an integrated rear lock mechanism rated to work in extreme temperatures, ranging from -50 to 200 degrees F. The lock permits access without the necessity to open the tailgate while the cover automatically latches when closed.
The RetraxONE MX Tonneau Cover, with its legendary style and security, is unrivaled in its class. Its matte finish lends it superior protection from UV damage and scratches. The aluminum-reinforced polycarbonate material ensures robust durability, while the sealed ball-bearing rollers mounted onto the aluminum support beams enable the cover to retract effortlessly, without relying on springs that could potentially fail.
- Solid one-piece construction
- Integrated lock mechanism
- Retractable design
- Can support up to 200 lbs. of evenly distributed weight
- Sealed ball-bearing rollers for effortless retraction without the use of springs.
Tonno Pro Hard Fold Tonneau Cover
The Tonno Pro Hard Fold Tonneau Cover is an ideal pick for those seeking the security of a hard truck bed cover with a less complicated design. Its tri-fold construction enables quick and straightforward access to the bed when needed. Despite its lower positioning in terms of cost, it doesn’t compromise on quality.
The cover comprises aluminum panels encased in robust, marine-grade vinyl, ensuring resistance against UV and water damage. To open this cover, the tailgate must be down, effectively locking the top when the tailgate is shut and locked. This attribute is where the cost savings begin to manifest.
The Tonno Pro is lightweight yet sturdy, weighing under 70 lbs, but can support up to 350 lbs of evenly distributed weight. Its straightforward security system ensures that when the tailgate is locked and the tonneau cover is fully closed, no one can access the content inside the truck bed.
Additionally, the EZ clamping system allows for a tool-free installation without any need to drill into the truck bed. The cover also comes pre-assembled, simplifying the installation process even further.
- Tri-fold design
- Aluminum panels wrapped in marine-grade vinyl
- EZ clamping system
- Comes preassembled
UnderCover Ultra Flex Hard Folding Tonneau Cover
The UnderCover Ultra Flex Hard Folding Tonneau Cover is a top-notch choice for truck owners seeking superior functionality and aesthetics. The durable aluminum panels of this tonneau cover are presented in a stylish matte-black finish and lie flush mount, enhancing your truck’s overall appearance.
This tonneau is also designed with premium components such as carpeted under-paneling, offering additional cargo protection inside the bed. Furthermore, it features an integrated LED bed rail light for improved visibility and full perimeter seals to prevent water intrusion.
The Ultra Flex stands out for its versatility, allowing 100% bed access. You can drive with the cover in three secure positions: closed, partially closed, and fully opened. When fully opened, the cover folds into an upright position with dual prop rods, without resting on the back of the cab.
Ease of installation is another hallmark of the UnderCover Ultra Flex. It’s lightweight design and clear instructions make it a breeze to fit. It comes with a 5-year, hassle-free guarantee, and is proudly made in the USA with globally sourced materials. Plus, it’s backed by a reliable US-based customer support team.
- Durable aluminum panels with a matte-black finish
- Carpeted under-paneling and full perimeter seals
- Integrated LED bed rail light
- Three secure position options
Gator Recoil Tonneau Cover
The Gator Recoil Tonneau Cover is another top contender in the market of hard tonneau covers. This retractable cover is meticulously engineered with strong, aluminum slats and a matte black textured powder-coat finish, providing precise protection to safeguard your valuable cargo.
One of its standout features is its versatile cargo hauling capability. With custom locking capabilities, it allows you to securely stop and lock the cover along your truck bed, enabling you to carry various sized cargo with ease.
Installation couldn’t be simpler. The Gator Recoil truck bed cover requires no drilling and can be set up in just 30 minutes from box to truck bed. The installation process involves simply clamping the rails onto the bed with no need for special tools.
The Gator Recoil retractable truck bed cover comes with the assurance of a two-year Gator Guarantee. Regardless of whether you’re hauling construction equipment, golf clubs, dirt bikes or anything in between, this cover offers reliable and versatile protection for your cargo.
- Aluminum slats with matte black textured powder-coat finish
- Custom locking capabilities
- No drill installation
- Backed by a two-year Gator Guarantee
Best Hard Tonneau Covers: Buying Guide
When it comes to choosing the best hard tonneau cover for your truck, there are numerous factors to consider. This buying guide will help you navigate through the sea of options and hone in on the best hard tonneau cover that fits your specific needs and preferences.
Understanding Your Needs
Before jumping to purchase a hard tonneau cover, consider your usage requirements. Are you primarily using the truck for leisure, business, or a mix of both? Will you be hauling oversized items requiring frequent full-bed access, or is your focus on securing smaller goods? Understanding your needs will aid in identifying the features that matter most to you.
Hard tonneau covers can be made of various materials, such as aluminum, ABS plastic, or fiberglass. Aluminum covers tend to be lightweight yet sturdy, while ABS plastic offers a good balance between weight and durability. Fiberglass covers, though heavier, provide superior strength and security. The material choice will often impact the cover’s weight, durability, and appearance.
When it comes to securing your cargo, the tonneau cover should feature a reliable locking mechanism. Some models offer an integrated tailgate locking system, where the cover can only be opened when the tailgate is unlocked. Others come with additional locks for added security. Consider the safety requirements of your cargo when deciding on these features.
Tonneau covers vary in terms of installation complexity. Some require drilling and specialized tools, while others boast an easy-clamp system and no-drill installation. Choose a model that aligns with your DIY skills and the amount of time you can dedicate to the installation process.
Cost and Warranty
Hard tonneau covers come in a wide price range, with high-end models offering premium features. However, more expensive doesn’t always mean better. It’s important to consider the balance between cost and functionality. Also, check the warranty details of the cover. Most reputable manufacturers offer warranties, which can be a decisive factor in your purchase.
Finally, consider the reputation of the cover’s manufacturer. Companies with a long-standing presence in the market tend to provide high-quality products and good customer service. Take the time to research and read customer reviews before making your decision.
By considering these factors, you can ensure you choose the best hard tonneau cover that not only meets your needs but also provides the best value for your money.
Types Of Hard Truck Bed Covers
Broadly speaking, there are three common designs for hard tonneau covers: one-piece, folding, and retractable.
Hard One-Piece Tonneau Cover
A one-piece hard tonneau cover consists of a single slab of plastic or fiberglass. These typically have hydraulic struts that allow you to lift and close the cover like a trunk. One-piece covers are typically well-sealed, offering excellent weather protection.
They are also the most secure type of tonneau cover. One-piece covers are generally the least-expensive types of hard tonneau covers. A drawback of this type of cover is that it does not allow full access to the truck bed.
Hard Folding Tonneau Cover
Folding tonneau covers can fold up (usually in a tri-fold or a quad-fold fashion). This allows for full trunk access. Depending on the specifics of the design, this type of cover may block your rear view when rolled up. The cover offers better trunk access than one-piece covers, but typically (though not always) prevents full trunk bed access.
Retractable Tonneau Cover
Retractable tonneau covers roll up or fold into a small storage compartment behind the cab. These are often the most expensive type of tonneau cover but also allow for the most access to your truck bed when fully retracted.
Why We Need a Hard Tonneau Cover
Pickup trucks are indeed versatile workhorses, however, they aren’t without their drawbacks. One such drawback is an exposed cargo area which can be a cause for concern when it comes to protecting valuable cargo. While a $30 tarp may suffice for some, it simply doesn’t provide the robust protection many truck owners need. That’s where quality tonneau covers come into play.
There are numerous ways to cover a pickup bed, such as using hard cap covers. However, for those who desire something more low-profile and require little to no modifications for installation, hard and soft tonneau covers make an ideal choice. This review roundup particularly focuses on the best hard tonneau covers which typically provide superior protection and security, albeit at a higher cost than their soft counterparts due to their solid construction.
Hard tonneau covers can be either one-piece units hinged behind the cab or incorporate panels, often three, that fold to allow access to the bed. While both types serve their intended purpose, single-piece units generally offer more protection as they have fewer seams and seals that could potentially fail and leak. However, it’s worth noting that single-piece covers are usually heavier but often come equipped with gas struts for support, akin to those used on SUV and crossover tailgates.
On the other side of the spectrum, foldable panel units are advantageous as they allow for quick, easy access to just a portion of the bed and typically do not require an extra set of hands during installation or use.
As truck beds come in various lengths, tonneau cover manufacturers often try to accommodate as many applications as possible. It’s important to remember that costs may vary depending on the application, size, and any added accessories. Therefore, we’ve displayed each model’s starting price as a baseline to assist you in making an informed purchase.
See more: Best Hard Folding Tonneau Cover
With an abundance of options available in the market, customers often have questions about hard tonneau covers. Here, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions that will aid you in making an informed purchasing decision.
How difficult is it to install a Hard Tonneau Cover?
The installation complexity of a hard tonneau cover can vary significantly depending on the model. Some covers require drilling and specialized tools, while others feature an easy-clamp system and no-drill installation. If you’re not particularly handy or simply don’t have the time, opt for a model that requires minimal tools and comes with detailed, easy-to-follow installation instructions. Many hard tonneau covers on the market today are designed for easy installation and can be set up within an hour.
Does a Hard Tonneau Cover affect fuel efficiency?
There’s a common belief that installing a tonneau cover improves a truck’s fuel efficiency by reducing aerodynamic drag. While this theory is plausible, the improvement, if any, is likely minimal. Factors such as driving habits, vehicle condition, and load weight significantly influence fuel consumption. Therefore, while a tonneau cover may contribute to improved aerodynamics, it should not be considered a solution to significantly boost fuel efficiency.
Do Tonneau Covers Deter Theft?
All tonneau covers serve to conceal a truck bed’s cargo from the prying eyes of potential thieves, which in itself acts as a significant deterrent. However, the physical barrier of a sturdy, hard truck bed cover is unparalleled for protection. Soft tonneau covers, made from materials like vinyl and canvas, are comparatively more susceptible to theft as they can be easily punctured with the right tools.
The most secure pickup bed would be one that features a locked tailgate and a hard tonneau cover. Fortunately, most, if not all, tonneau covers come equipped with integrated locking latch mechanisms, their own set of keys, and theft-proof mounting rails. Conversely, soft tonneau covers may only be secured with Velcro or nylon straps and, if a thief is determined enough, they won’t be much of a deterrent.
For the highest level of security, we recommend opting for one-piece hinged hard-shell tonneaus. But take note, they often come with a heftier price tag.
Can I Use the Full Bed When a Tonneau Cover is Attached?
The ability to use the full bed of your truck with a tonneau cover attached largely depends on the type of cover you have installed. With roll-up and retractable tonneau covers, you generally have the ability to utilize the entire truck bed as these covers roll or retract into a compact compartment located at the front of the bed.
However, for folding and one-piece covers, you might have limited access to the full bed. Folding covers often allow a large portion of access but may not completely uncover the bed, while one-piece covers typically give access to the truck bed by lifting up like a trunk lid. Therefore, if full-bed access is a priority for you, a roll-up or retractable model might be your best bet.
Choosing the best hard tonneau cover can be a daunting task, given the myriad of options available. However, your final decision should pivot on the requirements specific to your truck, your budget, and the safety level you desire. It’s essential to remember that while hard tonneau covers are more robust and secure than their soft counterparts, they also come with a heftier price tag.
When considering your decision, factor in the ease of installation, the frequency with which you’ll need to access your truck bed, and the importance of the item’s security. If you regularly transport large items that require complete access to the bed, a roll-up or retractable cover may suit you best. On the other hand, if your primary concern is security, a one-piece hard-shell cover would be the optimal choice, despite its higher cost.
Ultimately, the best hard tonneau cover should not only provide the required protection but should also enhance the aesthetic appeal of your truck. Remember, the goal is to find a balance between functionality, durability, and style. Make an informed decision, and your tonneau cover will serve you well for years to come.