Is a Tonneau Cover Worth It?

Is a tonneau cover worth it?

The short answer is: YES. A tonneau cover is worth the investment.

Imagine driving through the rain or snow with your cargo in the truck bed exposed to the rain.

Or driving along the highway or off-road and all your cargo is covered with dust and debris.

A more dreadful scenario is parking your truck and coming back only to find your cargo has been stolen.

These are things no truck owner would want to experience and you don’t have to. Once installed, a tonneau cover will fix all these problems.

Why a tonneau cover is worth it:

  1. Keeps your cargo safe from the elements
  2. Keeps your cargo safe from thieves
  3. Keeps your truck bed clean and dry
  4. Improves fuel economy
  5. Allows hauling flexibility
  6. Prevents rusting of the truck bed
  7. Helps retain resale value
  8. Improves your truck’s looks

Why a tonneau cover is worth it:

1. Keeps your cargo safe from the elements

This is the number one purpose of a tonneau cover: to keep your cargo safe.

Some people haul sensitive items in the truck bed, and if exposed to the elements, especially water, they may get damaged. But a tonneau cover will protect the items from both weather and road elements like rain, snow, and dust.

You may also have loose items that could get blown away by the wind while you are speeding up.

Protecting your cargo is one of the top reasons for a truck bed cover.

2. Keeps your cargo safe from thieves

Keeping your cargo out of sight and out of reach of thieves is another reason why a tonneau cover is essential. As an additional measure, the covers are usually fitted with a locking system, while others lock with the tailgate. This helps to completely protect everything you haul in the truck bed.

All tonneau covers have their own security system. But the hard tonneau covers are nearly impossible to cut through when locked, making them the most secure.

Even the less secure tonneaus, like the soft vinyl covers, are a deterrent because thieves are typically looking for an easy steal. They don’t want to work for it.

3. Keeps your truck bed clean and dry

No one wants their truck bed soaked in water or covered in dust.

But this is exactly what will happen if you drive without a tonneau cover. This will also mean regular washing and maintenance as well as quick wearing out of the truck bed.

It is much easier to spray a water hose over a tonneau cover than it is to clean the nooks and crannies of your truck bed.

4. Improves fuel economy

Here’s what happens when you drive without a tonneau cover.

Air hits inside the truck bed, but gets barred at the tailgate.

This will result in some kind of resistance which will cause wind drag.

The wind drag causes your engine to suck more fuel in order to pull through.

As a result, you end up using more fuel to cover distances than if the bed was covered.

With a tonneau cover installed, there will be far less wind drag. The aerodynamic design will allow for smoother and faster movement, saving between 5%-10% gas mileage.

Yes, this means, in most cases, a tonneau cover will end up paying for itself in fuel costs!

5. Allows hauling flexibility

Truck bed covers, especially the hard ones, come with great hauling flexibility.

Hard tonneaus allow you to store your cargo inside the truck bed, as well as on top of them without even installing a rack.

Let’s say you like riding, going to the beach, or hiking, you can always temporarily set your equipment on top of your tonneau for easy access while you’re getting your gear ready.

6. Prevents rusting of the truck bed

To a truck owner, there is nothing as annoying as looking at your truck bed and all you can see is rust.

Most truck beds are made of steel and even though they are coated, it is usually only a matter of time before rain water, snow and road salt get through the coating and cause rusting.

In this case, you either choose to live with the rusted truck bed or spend some more money on recoating.

But you do not have to get to this point. A tonneau cover will come through for you and prevent rusting and corrosion.

7. Helps retain resale value

At one point you will need to sell your vehicle, maybe to upgrade to a better model. It will be difficult getting a buyer willing to pay for a pickup truck with a rusted truck bed.

If you get one, they will not be willing to part with what the truck is really worth.

A truck bed cover will help prevent the rusting and help retain the actual resale value of the vehicle.

Interestingly, some pickup truck owners assume a floor mat can work in the place of a truck bed. This will only protect the truck bed from some rain, but rain will still get its way to the floor and cause damage.

8. Improves your truck’s looks

In addition to functionality and security, truck bed covers also enhance your truck’s looks.

They create a neat, low profile and aerodynamic appearance that will not just improve the fuel mileage but also give a sporty effect.

A tonneau cover will either create a sleek and glossy look- which is common with retractables, roll-ups and some tri-folds- or a rugged and aggressive appearance- common with most hard tri-folds.


True or false?

Tonneau covers are expensive (FALSE)

There is no standard price for tonneau covers. They range from low end to high end.

Soft covers are usually the cheapest option.

The hard fold covers and retractables are generally the most expensive since they are super strong and they offer the best security and functionality.

Also, most covers are usually DIYs. They are easy to install and hardly require professional skills or tools. This means there will be no additional labor costs.

We have low cost options if that is your biggest criteria.

Tonneau covers prevent full bed access (FALSE)

While this is true with some truck bed covers, it does not apply to all of them.

First off, all roll-up tonneau covers, especially the soft roll-ups, open up fully, giving you full access to your truck bed. Retractable truck bed covers as well retract into their canisters to allow you full access, without getting on your way.

Besides the roll-ups and retractables, some folding covers like BAKFlip MX4 fold up well and lean on the cabin neatly. When fully opened, the cover only covers less than 5% of your truck bed.

This is a disadvantage that is true with only a few tri-fold covers which compensate for the con with super sturdy, heavy-duty construction.

Tonneau prevent installation of other accessories (FALSE)

Tonneau with bike rack on top

Again, this could be true but to only a small percentage of tonneau covers.

For instance, all BAKFlip and most UnderCover tonneau covers are installed inside the bed rails, leaving the stake hole pockets exposed and open for you to install the stake-pocket-mounted accessories.

The same can be said for all retractable truck bed covers and most roll-ups.

The only truck bed covers that do not allow the installation of other accessories are those that mount on top of the bed rails and not on the inside, thus covering the stake pockets. 

Before buying a tonneau cover, you need to ensure it is designed to install inside the bed rails and not on them. This is important if you plan on installing other accessories like racks.

Best tonneau covers to consider

A tonneau cover is absolutely worth the investment. From preventing loss or damage of your cargo, boosting your truck’s looks, improving the fuel mileage, preventing quick wearing out as well as retaining the resale value.