Tonneau Covers: Which One Is Best For You? - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 03-28-2011, 06:26 AM Fanatic

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Tonneau Covers: Which One Is Best For You?

Why Choose A Hard Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover?
Hard Tri-Fold Tonneau Covers Offer a wide variety of benefits, including easy bed access, security and protection from the elements. There are both Hard and Soft Tri-Fold Tonneau Covers, neither can be opened unless your tailgate is opened, so you if you have a tailgate lock your cargo will be secure (there are aftermarket tailgate locks available if your truck did not come with one from the factory). A Hard Tri-fold cover offers more security than a soft Tri-fold Cover simply because you can't slice into it with a knife. For quick access to the end of your bed, simply flip open the panel closest to the tailgate. Some Tri-Fold covers can be opened incrementally, but others need to be fully opened to lock into place so you can drive down the road. Most Tri-Fold covers will always cover atleast 1/3 of the bed closest to the cab and will not allow full access to your bed unless completely removed. The BakFlip line of Tri-Fold covers are the only covers that allow you to flip that final panel and lock it in position for full access to your bed for hauling larger items like sofas, ATV's, etc. The BakFlip is also one of the only Tri-Fold Covers to sit inside your bed rails, rather than on top of them for an extremely sleek appearance.

Why Choose A Hard Hinged Tonneau Cover?
Hard Tonneau Covers are typically made of a 1-peice custom molded design and are offered in both a painted fiberglass or aluminum application as well as a ABS polymer plastic. Every cover is custom fit for each vehicle and provides a seamless look and style to your truck bed. Generally a Hard Tonneau Cover will wrap over the bed rails around the entire truck bed. One of the main benefits of a hard tonneau cover is it's unmatched protection from the weather, with no seams to worry about leaking into your truck bed and maximum security for your cargo. The only real weakness of a Hard Tonneau Cover is limited bed access for carrying large or oversized cargo, however most can be removed within a few minutes if you have a helping set of hands and a space to store it. Most Hard Tonneau Covers sit over your tailgate, requiring you to first unlock and lift the tonneau cover to open your tailgate. Lazerlite is one of the manufacturers who do not block access to the tailgate when the cover is closed, which allows easier access to the tailgate, but decreased security unless you have a locking tailgate.

Why Choose A Soft Tonneau Cover?
Soft Tonneau Covers come in a variety of designs. You have the choice between a Snap, Roll-Up, or Tri-fold Soft Tonneau Cover, We will break these covers up into their own categories to point out their differences for you:

Snap Tonneau Covers:
Snap Tonneau Covers are a great value, generally being on the lower end of the price spectrum. These covers have an aluminum frame that sits on the top of your bed rails, they require some tweaking to get the tension on the tarp just right. These covers also require you to align each snap individually to secure(snap) the cover to the rail system. If you don’t need access to your bed often or if you just occasionally open the tailgate to throw in a set of golf clubs, a snap cover is a cost effective to protect your cargo from weather and prying eyes.

Roll-Up Covers are an excellent choice for ease of use, while ranging in price from the lower to the mid-range price spectrum. Roll-Up Covers typically come with a clamp-on rail system that attaches to the inside of your bed rails that installs within minutes! Most modern Roll-Up Covers also feature a tension dial, which keeps the canvas tight across the bed to prevent flapping while in motion. You can easily roll it up for complete bed access without any obtrusion, and most covers come with a strap system to secure it in place while rolled up. Depending upon the manufacturer, Roll-Up Tonneau Covers also sometimes have the option for a standard or low profile design.

Soft Tri-Fold:
Soft Tri-Fold Tonneau Covers offer a more economical price point and some of the same benefits of a Hard Tri-Fold cover, including easy bed access, security and protection from the elements and no tension adjustments on the tarp are ever necessary. Tri-Fold Covers are also one of the easiest covers to install due to their one-piece design, you set the completely assembled cover on top of the bed rails behind the cab, lock the clamps and your done! Tri-Fold Tonneau Covers also offer quick access to the end of your bed, simply open tailgate, release the clamps and flip open the panel closest to the tailgate. Soft Tri-Fold covers will always cover at least 1/3 of the bed closest to the cab and will not allow full access to your bed unless completely removed.

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