Hard Tonneau Covers - Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of buying a hard tonneau cover over a soft tonneau cover?

Weather protection and security. If you live in an area that is it hit with constant snowfall, consider that a hard tonneau cover supports a load of snow better than a soft tonneau cover, and they are more likely to be completely waterproof.

Also, soft tonneau covers have an obvious security flaw. The vinyl or cloth used in their construction can easily be cut open by a thief, so even if you lock it someone can cut in and undo the latch lock from the inside. This is usually not a problem with hard tonneau covers because it is much more difficult to cut through them. Nothing protects your gear better than a hard tonneau cover.

What are the drawbacks to buying a hard tonneau cover instead of a soft tonneau cover?

The obvious answer to this question is the price. A hard cover will cost you at least $700, while there are soft covers out there that can be had for as little as $400.

There are some functionality concerns as well. Some (but not all) tonneau covers have to be removed completely if you are transporting tall or awkwardly shaped cargo. If this is the case with a hard tonneau cover, it will be much heavier and difficult to remove than a lightweight soft tonneau cover.

What are the different types of hard tonneau covers?

Folding tonneau covers are installed over the rails and made of three or four panels that fold over for easy access. Most of these covers do not allow complete access to the bed, so they must be removed for transporting large cargo.

Rolling covers operate by, you guessed it, rolling up from the end of the bed to the cab, and they are secured there with Velcro straps. Most rolling covers are soft tonneau covers made of vinyl, but some high-end models are made of aluminum and are therefore hard. Unlike folding covers, rolling covers are installed inside the rails, so they feature a sleeker and low-profile look. They also allow for complete access to your bed, so they do not have to be removed for transporting large cargo.

Also installed inside the rails, retractable covers offer a mix of security and convenience. They are rigid and impenetrable when closed, yet flexible enough to compress and slide into a small canister installed by the cab. This opening mechanism is incredibly quick and easy to operate.

What materials are hard tonneau covers made of?

Hard plastic, fiberglass, and aluminum can all be used in hard tonneau covers. Generally, hard plastic covers are the cheapest hard tonneau covers and aluminum the most expensive.

How much does a hard tonneau cover cost?

The answer to this question depends on many factors, including the type of hard tonneau cover, the brand of the cover, and the make and model of your truck. You can get a BAKFlip VP folding hard tonneau cover for as low as $709, or you can follow the “go big or go home” approach and purchase a Retrax Powertrax PRO electric retractable tonneau cover, made with high-grade aluminum and featuring an opening mechanism that operates hand-free via a wireless remote. This top-of-the-line model starts at $2,401.

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