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Types of Tonneau Covers
Roll-up Tonneau Covers
These truck bed covers are usually the least expensive. Price range varies with quality. There are many of very good quality that have some benefits over some other type pickup bed covers. The cover rolls up allowing complete access to your truck bed for hauling taller type cargo. Most have rails that clamp along the top rail of your pickup truck. The clamps and installation instructions come with each cover. The cover sits in these rails and have different sealing systems to keep them closed and to seal out the weather. Sealing systems vary such as industrial strength velcro which is preferred by many, snaps, which some like the look of and groove and tongue, which functions kind of like a ziplock bag. Most roll up very quickly from back to front from one side of the truck with the bows integrated in them so they are completely out of the way when you roll it up. The bows support the cover and keep rain from pooling and snow from sagging the cover down. There are different features with each cover and you can find a cover that interests you by visiting popular brands of roll up pickup bed covers that include – Access, Advantage, Extang, Lund, Tonno Pro, and Truxedo.
Benefits of a roll up cover is the fact they are inexpensive and roll up quickly to allow you the use of your complete cargo area.
Problems of the rollup cover is the fact they don’t provide a lot of security for your cargo. Someone with a sharp knife or a box cutter can easily get at your cargo.
Tips when buying roll-up covers – Things to take note of when you are looking to purchase. If the cover installs between the truck sides or on top of the truck sides. If they install between the truck sides they are a lower profile and they may allow the use of your stake holes for bed rail protectors, tie downs, truck racks etc. If the cover installs on top of the truck sides it won’t allow for accessories that use your stake holes and they are usually a higher profile.
Soft Hinged Tonneau Covers
The soft hinged covers are usually much like the roll up covers accept they open up from back by the tailgate, much like a trunk cover of a car. These are fairly inexpensive.
Benefits of the soft hinged models include quick, easy access to the cargo area. You usually have to lower the tailgate, trigger a latch and lift up on the cover. The cover is assisted with gas shocks to make opening and closing the cover a breeze. Having to lower the tailgate is a good thing due to the fact if you have a tailgate lock, your cargo is much more secure. If your truck doesn’t come already equipped you can check out the aftermarket tailgate locks. These covers are inexpensive compared to many pickup bed covers.
The problems with soft hinged truck bed covers include the fact it would be from difficult to near impossible to carry taller type cargo with this type of cover. It would also be easy for someone to cut there way in at your cargo, so security isn’t the best.
Hard Hinged Tonneau Covers
Hard hinged pickup bed covers are usually the fiberglass type such as the Ranch covers or the plastic type such as the Undercover. They work the same as the soft hinged covers as they open and lift from back by the tailgate and raise up with the aide of gas struts that make the job of opening and closing much easier. The difference between these covers is the fact you open the cover before the tailgate. The covers have lock latches on them and most prevent the tailgate from being opened until the cover is unlatched and raised.
Benefits of the fiberglass hard hinged and the plastic type covers is the ease of access to the truck bed, weather protection that can’t be beat, and top of line with the security aspect.
Problems with the hard hinged products is you aren’t able to haul taller type cargo with the cover on. The fiberglass covers are too hard and heavy to remove if you need to haul taller cargo. They are also fairly expensive. The undercover plastic covers are not as expensive and can be easily removed with quick release pins, but you still have to remove it for taller type cargo and you have no place to carry it if you want to remove it when you are away from home.
Soft Folding Tonneau Covers
Soft folding models are usually made of the same fabrics in the roll-up covers but they fold in sections from the tailgate toward the cab. Many of these come pre-assembled and take only moments to install. There is usually no drilling just a few clamps to tighten to hold the the side rails in place. As with most covers if you have a box liner you may have to cut small areas where the clamps need to be.
Benefits of the soft folding covers include fast and easy access to the truck bed and they allow access to most of your truck bed for taller type cargo. They are much cheaper than the hard covers and they come pre-assembled and very easy to install.
Problems with the soft folding tonneau’s is the fact the front sections fold onto the last section near the cab. You aren’t able to access this area for taller type cargo. Security isn’t the greatest because the cover can easily be cut to allow access by thieves.
Hard Folding Tonneau Covers
This type of truck bed cover fold from back to front like the soft folding covers only they are constructed from abs, fiberglass or aluminum panels or a combination of materials. They have different thicknesses and usually have a special high density foam between the top and bottom layers for strength.
The benefits of hard folding covers is they fast and easy to get to the cargo area. They are secure because they are constucted of hard material. Most would have added security if you add an aftermarket tailgate lock if your truck isn’t equipped. They allow you to transport taller type cargo.
The disadvantages of a hard folding cover is the higher prices. Most fold up onto the last section not allowing complete access to your truck bed for the purpose of hauling taller type cargo. The exceptions to this would be the Bak models which open completely to the back window of the truck and securing there, to allow the most space possible with a folding cover.
Retractable Tonneau Covers
These type of tonneau cover are pretty unique. They roll along tracks on either top of the truck box sides. They roll in and out of a canister which is located behind the cab of pickup truck. They can roll in increments of a certain measurement or some are automatic or electric and open and close with a remote control.
The benefits of the retractable or otherwise known as the roll top type covers is that they provide good security for your cargo, ease of access, especially with the electric models and their uniqueness (not everyone has one).
Some disadvantages may include their high price tag as well as the space used up in your truck box by the canister. The canister stretches from one side to the other behind the cab of the truck.
Toolbox Models Tonneau Covers
Many of the manufacturers had made it more convenient for pickup truck owners who want a tonneau cover but need a truck toolbox as well. Some covers have the toolbox integrated into them aand others are made to work with a particular size range of truck toolbox. They come in different types of covers such as the Bak tonneau covers, most of which have the option to come with what they call a Bak box. Others include the Access toolbox edition, the Extang toolbox tonneau cover, the Extang Solid fold toolbox truck bed cover, the Extang express roll-up toolbox cover, the Extang trifecta toolbox tonno, the Extang fulltilt toolbox tonneau, the Truck Covers USA american work cover, and the american work junior toolbox tonneau by Truck Covers USA.
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