Tonneau Cover World
At Tonneau Cover World we talk about tonneau covers, and we also hope to help you with resources where you can find out more about different types tonneau covers.
We'll start with the definition of a tonneau cover:
A tonneau cover is a cover for the bed of your pickup truck. It is mostly used to keep your stuff out of the elements, but it also prevents thieves from taking your luggage or groceries or fishing poles....or whatever is in the bed of your pickup. (Well, MAYBE some folks might actually WANT some of the stuff in their truck bed taken...to clean it out!)
The styles of tonneau covers vary from the high-end one piece aluminum covers to the low-end homemade versions. Prices vary from around $100 for materials to make your own up to $10,000+ for custom-made truck bed covers.
Lets go through the different styles of covers:
Aluminum Tonneau Covers
Currently, there are two different models of hard aluminum truck bed covers, the LT Sport Extreme Flat and Lazer Lite. Both are made by the same company (Lazer Lite) and they are very similar with the major difference being that the LT Sport is custom painted to match the body paint on your truck while the Lazer Lite has a tough black textured powder coat finish to match the black trim on your truck.
These covers were highly engineered and the design process is patented. We've heard from existing customers that these covers are better than any OEM cover you can buy. Prices range from $1000 to around $1400. Both covers are designed for security, style and increasing your gas mileage. They are expensive and high quality.
They've tested their truck bed covers and found you can expect about an 8% increase
in fuel savings. At today's gas prices, that means you save about $.32/gallon of
gas. In most cases, you can expect the tonneau cover to pay for
itself in gas savings in about 3 years.
Retractable Tonneau Covers
Four different manufacturers make retractable truck bed covers.
Retractable truck bed covers are a great cover. A
retractable gives you the flexibility of having a 'hard' tonneau cover with the
ability to haul large items without removing the cover from the bed.
Although this seems to be the best of both worlds, you will sacrifice some of
the space up front (behind the cab) for the canister and since they typically sit flush
or below the bed rails, they are prone to some reports of leaking. Many have a run-off
canister/container that needs to be emptied periodically. Installation
may require drilling and is sometimes cumbersome, but all-in-all they
are still a great value. The prices range from about $500 up to around
Fiberglass Tonneau Covers
For a long time, fiberglass bed covers were the leader in tonneau covers.
There was a reason for that: They are secure and are usually custom painted to
match your truck. They are, for the most part, very weather-tite.
Many fiberglass manufacturers opt to style the lid so it blends in
styling on the truck itself. On the other hand, they are usually fairly
heavy, requiring a fair amount of effort to remove if you wish to haul
larger items. The paint finish is rarely a "Class A" finish. Still, they
look great and if you don't plan on removing the cover often, fiberglass
covers are a great buy. Expect them to weigh up to 150 lbs. Prices vary,
but you can get one for anywhere from $600 to $1100.
Folding Tonneau Covers
New to the scene are folding truck bed covers. They are usually in 3
or 4 sections, with the OEM version for the Explorer Sport Trac in 2
sections. Some leak a little water...some don't. Personally, we don't mind a
little bit a dripping of water, and we think they are a great value as an
alternative to the more expensive retractable or solid
hard tonneau covers. If getting a
little water, every now and then, into your truck bed isn't a problem,
then these are great covers for your truck.
Soft Tonneau Covers (or Roll-up Tonneau Covers)
If you live in an area where crime is quite low (out of sight - out
of mind) or if you rarely carry valuables in your truck bed, then a
roll-up tonneau cover is an application for your truck you may want to
consider. They rarely take up much space in the truck bed when rolled up
and are easily shipped to your door. Most covers are attached via
clamps, but some require some light drilling.
Hard Tonneau Covers
If security is a chief concern, then a hard tonneau cover is
a fantastic choice. There are three different types of hard truck bed
covers: Aluminum, fiberglass and ABS. All offer superior security and
fantastic looks. Aluminum covers can be custom painted to match your
truck, as well as fiberglass. Some ABS covers come in a black textured
finish, while others can be custom painted to match your truck bed.
"Drop Down" Truck Bed Covers
New to the scene is a type of a cover that drops down INTO your truck bed when you want to haul something large. These tonneau covers allow access to the truck bed when you want to haul large items without removing the cover. Nice idea.
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