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Hard Folding Tonneau Covers: The Best in Weather Protection and Security
If you’re buying a tonneau cover for weather protection and security a hard folding tonneau cover might be the perfect fit for your truck. Hard covers are typically constructed of aluminum, fiberglass or hard plastic which makes them much more difficult to break into than your standard vinyl roll up or fold up cover.
Hard folding tonneau covers usually consist of 3 to 4 panels and are custom made to fit the year, make, model and bed length of your truck. Some models like the Extang Solid Fold 2.0 feature a stationary panel nearest the cab which allows for ultra-easy installation and access to the majority of the truck bed. Other models like the BakFlip MX4 fold up completely and rest against the rear window of the truck providing 100% bed access.
How Much Should I Pay for a Hard Folding Truck Bed Cover?
There are many factors to consider when researching the right hard folding truck bed cover. For starters price is at the top of many consumers’ minds. Entry level hard covers can be purchased for around $600 while higher end models with more features and higher quality materials can cost upwards of $1200.
How Much of the Truck Bed Can I Access When the Cover is Open?
Another thing to consider is bed access. Do you need full bed access? If so, a hard cover that folds up against the rear window is probably your best bet. If full bed access isn’t critical a hard folding cover with a stationary rear panel might work for you.
What Features Does My Tonneau Cover Offer?
Features vary from cover to cover. Some covers like the Undercover Ultraflex come with a battery powered LED light and a carpeted underside. Other models like the BakFlip MX4 offer addons like the BakBox, which allows you to integrate a lightweight toolbox right into the cover.
What Does the Tonneau Cover Look Like on My Truck?
There are basically two different styles of hard folding tonneau cover on the market today. The first sits on top of the bed rails. These covers typically have a stationary rear panel and clamp to the bed rail to hold the cover securely on. This type of cover will sit anywhere from 1” – 2” above the truck bed. Some people hate that look which is why the flush mount covers became popular.
As the name implies, flush mount covers sit flush with the top of the bed rails. This is accomplished by mounting the tonneau cover rails to the inside of the truck’s bed rails. Flush mount covers almost always fold up completely for full bed access.
Will a Hard Folding Cover Improve My Fuel Mileage?
Results will vary from truck to truck, but the best answer is yes, your fuel mileage will improve. It’s fairly logical when you think about it. Your truck bed is essentially a large scoop that catches air and creates aerodynamic drag on your truck. The more drag, the worse the fuel mileage. When you put a cover on the truck bed it reduces drag and therefore increases fuel mileage.
What Material is Best for a Hard Folding Truck Bed Cover?
The short answer is it depends on how you’re going to use it. There are basically three materials hard covers are made from…aluminum, fiberglass, and plastic.
Aluminum covers are extremely popular. They’re lightweight so they’re easy to fold up and install. Most aluminum covers are powder coated in black. There’s even a model called the Undercover Armorflex that features panels coated with bed liner material. The downside to powder coated aluminum panels is they are more prone to scratching and denting. If you’re a contractor that sets tools on the cover it might be better to go with a fiberglass or plastic model.
Fiberglass tonneau covers are less popular for a couple of reasons. They’re more expensive and they’re heavier than aluminum or plastic covers. Models like the BakFlip F1 are among the best of the bunch and start at $1049. The advantage of a fiberglass hard cover is dent resistance and scratch resistance, otherwise it functions much the same as any other cover.
The final material is plastic. Covers like the Extang Solid Fold 2.0 are made from 1-inch this polymer which makes the cover lightweight and resistant to dents and scratching. They’re also very UV resistant so if you park your truck outside that could be a valuable feature. The drawback to the plastic covers is they sit on top of the bed and have a stationary rear panel, so bed access is limited by a couple of feet.
Are Hard Folding Truck Bed Covers Difficult to Install?
Most hard folding covers are very easy to install. Some models like the Extang Solid Fold take longer to unbox than they do to install and don’t even require tools. Other models like the BakFlip MX4 are more difficult to install but can still be completed in under an hour for first time DIYers. Most of the flush mount covers use aluminum claps to secure the tonneau cover rails to the truck so there’s no drill, cutting or permanent damage to your truck bed. Then the cover simply bolts to the rails to complete the installation.
How Much Weight Can a Hard Cover Hold?
Hard covers are extremely sturdy and can withstand a significant amount of weight. Models like the BakFlip MX4 can hold 400 lbs. evenly distributed. The evenly distributed part is very important. You wouldn’t want to stand on any hard cover or put a single heavy item on top of it. The weight rating is more for things like snow load or lighter cargo.
Do Hard Folding Tonneau Covers Lock?
99% of the hard covers on the market today don’t have their own lock. Instead, the design of the cover only allows it to bed opened when the tailgate of your truck is down. Therefore, if your truck’s tailgate locks (which most late model trucks do) then your cover is locked, and you don’t have to add yet another key to your keychain.
Can I Drive on The Highway with my Cover Open?
Today’s hard folding truck be covers are designed to be driven at highway speeds when the cover is partially or fully open. Models with a stationary rear panel have a buckle system that secures the tonneau cover to itself when driving. Models that can be folded up fully typically use a prop rod system to hold the cover against the rear window of your cab. Other models like the Undercover Ultraflex use a ball and socket system to hold the cover vertically so the cover never touches the cab of your truck.
Are Hard Folding Truck Bed Covers Waterproof?
In our experience no tonneau cover is 100% waterproof. Most of the time water seeps in through the corners. However, the amount of water should be minimal. If you’re getting large amounts of water in your truck bed after a rainstorm or going through the car wash the cover most like has been installed incorrectly. A feature that most hard cover come with is a drain system. It acts like a collector and channels water from the tonneau cover rails into a tube which can be run out of the truck bed through the factory drain holes.
Check out our list of the top rated hard folding tonneau covers below!
1. BakFlip MX4 Tonneau Cover
The BakFlip MX4 Tonneau Cover is made of heavy-duty aluminum matte-finish panels for superior scratch, scuff and UV resistance. It is also equipped with an enhanced premium density foam core which is an upgrade from the previous model, the BakFlip G2. This new cover also has upgraded latch housing components and an integrated tailgate seal, which makes it easier to close the cover with the tailgate closed.
Installation can be completed in 30 minutes to an hour thanks to the easy-to-follow installation instructions. The cover kit includes all the hardware needed for easy installation. It has six aluminum clamps that secure the rails to the truck bed, matte elevator bolts, finished cab corner caps, and an enhanced tailgate seal.
This cover is designed to last and carries a 5-year Limited Warranty. To take advantage of this warranty, make sure to register it and keep proof of purchase for future reference. Also, keep in mind that this warranty is nontransferable and is applicable only to the original buyer.
The BAKFlip MX4 Tonneau Cover is made of aluminum for light weight performance and ease-of-use. Its powder coated panels resist UV rays and reduce scuffs and scratches while the premium density foam core keeps out dirt and moisture.
Opening and closing the MX4 is a breeze thanks to the integrated cable latch system and auto locking panels. Just pull the cable on each section and the cover folds back on itself. To open the cover fully simply place the rearmost panel against the cab of the truck and secure it in place with the easy-to-use prop rod system.
Security is top notch with the BakFlip MX4. This model can’t be opened unless your tailgate is down, so if your tailgate locks the cover is locked as well. The hard aluminum construction means it can’t be cut or torn like a soft cover.
2. Undercover Ultra Flex Tonneau Cover
If you’re looking for a quality hard folding tonneau cover that’s packed with features look no further than the Undercover Ultra Flex. This hard tri-fold cover sits flush with your truck bed and provides a smooth, sleek look.
The Ultra Flex is made from powder coated aluminum for light weight and durability. It’s designed to fold up completely, so you’ll enjoy 100% bed access when the cover is fully open. Unlike models such as the BakFlip MX4, the Ultra Flex doesn’t rest against the cab of your truck when fully open, rather it features a ball and socket system that secures the cover vertically in an upright position.
Weather protection comes in the way of a dual action tailgate seal which is designed to keep water out weather you close the cover first or the tailgate first. The Ultra Flex also features an integrated drain system. If water does happen to make its way into the tonneau cover rails the drain tubes will channel it out of the truck bed and away from your cargo.
Other features we like include a carpeted underside of each panel which is designed to reduce moisture in your truck bed. We also appreciated the included rail mount LED light that operates on batteries and provides a surprising amount of truck bed illumination.
Installation couldn’t be easier with the simple clamp-on application and ultra-light L-rails. One person can easily install the Ultra Flex in under an hour with basic hand tools. The Ultra Flex is backed by a 5 year warranty and is proudly made in the USA.
3. Undercover Armor Flex Tonneau Cover
The Undercover Armor Flex hard folding tonneau cover protects your truck bed while still maintaining strength, style, and durability. It has been treated with a tough bed liner coating that offers advanced protection against dents and scuffs. The Armor Flex hard folding truck bed cover is a great option if you need to haul more cargo or just want to protect your truck's bed.
The Armor Flex is constructed of aircraft grade aluminum, making it both durable and lightweight. It’s also 100% resistant to harmful UV rays. The Armor Flex is easy to install and does not require any permanent modifications to your truck. The included hardware makes installation simple and hassle-free and most people can complete the installation in under an hour.
Undercover backs its Armor Flex Tonneau Covers with a five-year warranty. This warranty covers the structure of the cover and its hinges, seals, and hardware. However, the warranty is not transferable. To make use of this warranty, you must retain the original sales receipt for the product. Also, you may be required to provide proof of a defect in order to be credited.
The Undercover Armor Flex Tonneau Cover is extremely weather resistant and protects your valuable cargo from rain and other elements. The Armor Flex is equipped with EPDM rubber seals, a dual action tailgate seal and integrated drain tubes to carry water away from your truck bed.
4. BakFlip F1 Tonneau Cover
One of the more popular hard folding covers on the market today, the BakFlip F1 Tonneau Cover is the flagship model of the BakFlip line. It's a durable, lightweight tonneau cover made from powder coated Fiberglass-Reinforced Polymer (FRP), which stays cooler than metals even in the most extreme temperatures.
The BakFlip F1 is designed to fold up completely and rest against the rear window of your cab. That means you have full access to your bed and cargo with a couple of simple flips of the cover. And with three different driving positions you can have the cover open full, partially or completely closed. The cover itself is rated to hold 400 lbs. evenly distributed so it can take plenty of snow load.
Installation is easy and can be completed by a single person with basic hand tools like a wrench and socket. And don’t worry the installation causing lasting damage to your truck bed. The BakFlip F1 doesn’t require drilling, cutting or other modifications to your truck.
The F1 stays weather tight thanks to features like an integrated drain system that channels water out of your truck bed and rounded EPDM weather seals that provide a tight layer of weather protection between the cover and the truck.
With a full 5 year manufacturer’s warranty you can be confident the BakFlip F1 is built to last. And since it’s made in the USA you know it’s built with quality materials and excellent craftsmanship.
5. DiamondBack SE Tonneau Cover
The DiamondBack SE tonneau cover is a different animal when it comes to truck bed covers. There’s really nothing else like it on the market. Designed with durability and versatility in mind, this cover is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, contractors and anyone else that’s tough on their truck. It is so durable, in fact, that it's been awarded a General Services Administration contract.
The DiamondBack SE tonneau cover is made of powder coated diamond plate aluminum for lightweight performance and extreme durability. In fact, its superior strength doubles the durability of fiberglass tonneau covers.
With a 400 lb hauling capacity, the DiamondBack SE can handle even the largest of gear. It’s even got four integrated tie-down cleats so you can tie down your gear for safe, secure transport.
One of the features we really like is the dual bed access. A large panel folds up in the rear providing you with approximately 50% access to your truck bed while a smaller panel towards the cab provides quick access to cargo at the front of your bed. Hauling larger items? No problem simply remove any panel by sliding it off its hinge.
Security comes by way of an integrated locking system. Both the front and rear panel feature dead bolt style solid steels locking rods to prevent thieves from prying them open. DiamondBack also uses flathead machine screws with nylon lock nuts to prevent tampering with the hinges.
6. A.R.E. Fusion Tonneau Cover
Looking for an OEM look in your next tonneau cover? The A.R.E. Fusion might just fit the bill. It’s the only hard folding cover on the market that comes paint matched to the exact paint code of your truck. It’s a great look and frankly we’re surprised none of the other tonneau cover manufacturers have gone down this road.
Other than great looks, the A.R.E. Fusion has some unique features like carpeted lining on the underside of the panels and an included battery powered LED light for bed illumination. There’s even an integrated drain system to channel water from the cover out of the truck bed to keep your gear safe and dry.
Installation is easy. Simply clamp the tonneau cover rails to your truck’s bed rails with the included aluminum clamps. Then lay the cover on the rails and slide the retainer clips into the cover. A few quick turns of the star knob and the cover is securely fastened to the rails.
A.R.E. covers are proudly made in the USA and offer a 5 year warranty on the cover’s construction and a lifetime warranty on the paint. Just remember to keep your proof of purchase and serial number from the cover for future warranty claims.
7. Gator FX Tonneau Cover
The Gator FX Tonneau Cover offers a lot of versatility for your truck. It can fold up against your truck's cab so you have full access to your truck bed. In addition, the Gator FX cover is made with aircraft grade aluminum panels for maximum durability. Moreover, it can be easily removed without requiring tools.
Another advantage of this cover is that it can support up to 400 lbs. of cargo (evenly distributed). It also has an overlapping tailgate seal that will protect your cargo from rain and snow. It can be secured with buckle straps.
Another advantage of this cover is that it's easy to install. It can be installed by a single person in as little as 20-30 minutes. To install the tonneau cover, you will need a socket, wrench, and clamps. The process is simple, but you need to pay attention to alignment and fastening because these can affect the performance of the cover.
Another feature of this tonneau cover is its black powder aluminum finish. This finish is UV and scratch resistant. Furthermore, it's made of aircraft-grade aluminum, which will increase its durability.
8. Extang Solid Fold 2.0 Tonneau Cover
For durability, ease of installation and versatile performance the Extang Solid Fold 2.0 checks all the boxes. Unique among other hard folding tonneau covers is the Solid Fold’s install method. It really takes longer to unbox the cover than it does to install it. Once you do have it unboxed simply slide each of the four included clamps under your truck’s bed rail and tighten. No tools, no drilling, no cutting and no hassle. This simple install means the reverse is true as well. If you need full access to your truck bed simply loosen the clamps and the cover removes in seconds.
The Solid Fold 2.0 is constructed using full 1” thick polymer panels that resist dents, scratches and UV rays. The frame is built from rust-proof aluminum, and the hinges are powder coated in black to match the rest of the cover.
Have a crossover style toolbox on your truck? No problem. Extang makes the Solid Fold 2.0 in shorter lengths to accommodate most size toolboxes. Have a UTV? Still no problem. Extang recently released the Solid Fold 2.0 UTV edition…the first UTV tonneau cover of its kind.
9. Undercover Triad Tonneau Cover
The Triad by UnderCover is one of the more recent additions to the tonneau cover market. The Triad appears to be UnderCover’s answer to the Extang Solid Fold 2.0 as it’s a top mount tonneau cover with a stationary rear panel. It’s made of heavy-duty aluminum instead of plastic but many of the other features are the same.
Although the installation process on the Triad is a bit more difficult than the Solid Fold 2.0
the Triad is still extremely easy to install and can be completed by a single person in 30 minutes or less with no tools.
One feature we like on the Triad is the additional weight capacity. Rated to hold 600 lbs. evenly distributed, it has 200 lbs. more weight carrying capacity than most other hard folding covers on the market. Everyone asks the same question…can you stand on it? The answer is yes, but we wouldn’t recommend it.
As with the Extang Solid Fold 2.0 the big drawback on this cover is bed access and profile. The Triad features a rear panel that is stationary, so you’ll only have access to 2/3 of your bed vs. a cover like that BakFlip MX4 that allows 100% bed access. And while it doesn’t have a huge side profile, the Triad does sit on top of the bed rails, so if you’re looking for something low profile this may not be the cover for you.
10. Lomax Stance Tonneau Cover
The LOMAX Stance Hard Tri-Fold Cover is an innovative way to cover your truck bed. This hard cover still maintains the ultra-low profile and outstanding performance of the soft cover, while also featuring an additional vertical open position behind the cab. Plus, the RIGIDLINK Locking System prevents direct contact with the rear window, making it a great choice if you don’t like the cover resting against the cab of your truck.
This cover will cover the whole bed of your truck while preventing contact with the rear window of your pickup. It is easily installed and features an automatic dual locking system. This hard cover also features a weather-tight seal and a water-shedding design. It is manufactured in the USA and comes with a 3-Year Limited Warranty.
Another great feature of the LOMAX Stance Tonneau Cover is its unique clamping system. This unique clamping system is adjustable and will fit over your truck bed rails. The Tight Bite clamping system is easy to install and ensures a firm, secure fit.
In addition to its unique patented designs, the Agri-Cover, Inc. products have industry-leading warranties and have won awards from multiple organizations. The company is headquartered in Jamestown, North Dakota, and is one of the leaders in the aftermarket industry. Its stance to the environment is one of its top priorities. The company has also been recognized with the North Dakota Business and Industrial Development Award and the Jamestown Business of the Year award.