Best Hard Folding Tri-Fold Tonneau Covers: Increase the Protection in Your Truck Bed
Here are the best choices for covering up your truck bed.
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BY Heather Fishel / LAST UPDATED ON July 22, 2021
Pickup trucks offer an amazing capacity to get work done. For towing and hauling a truck is the default option, and they can make for exceptional off-road rigs and family cruisers when properly optioned, too.
Of course, the truck's most unique and useful feature – its open bed – also represents its biggest design compromise. An open bed is at the mercy of the elements, and, unless modified, doesn't offer much security for any of the gear it's so adept at carrying.
Thankfully the truck aftermarket has a long-standing solution to help shore up the compromise of an open bed: a hard folding tonneau cover. Made from durable materials and affixed directly to a truck's bed, one of these covers can lock in your valuables and lock out the weather and would-be thieves. Take a look at our list for some great hard-folding tonneau covers options, right here.
A simple solution for adding some extra protection to almost any truck bed (with the right MX4 version).
- Installation is fairly straightforward and quick
- There are few parts to install onto the truck bed rails.
- Weatherproofing is less than desirable. Water can leak in between the edges and folds of the cover and get into the bed.
A great budget option for adding a hard folding tonneau cover, especially for those concerned with weather protection.
- Good weatherproofing for a folding tonneau cover
- Tends to keep everything dry inside the truck bed, even during heavy rain.
- Doesn't offer the same amount of convenience or protection as some solid or retracting tonneau cover designs.
A budget-friendly tonneau covers for anyone wanting to add a degree of protection to their truck's bed.
- The fit of the cover tends to be spot on for most compatible truck models
- Installation requires few tools or modifications to the truck bed
- Although the cover does keep some rain and moisture out, water can get through the corners and edges of the cover into the truck bed during heavy rainfall.
Benefits of Hard Folding Tonneau Covers
- Increased security. A hard cover can provide you with increased security by locking. This will prevent someone from reaching in and taking your belongings. Even a soft cover can’t prevent people from getting into your truck bed.
- Protection from the elements. When you leave your truck bed open, anything back there is exposed to the elements. The sun’s UV rays will beat down and if it rains, everything will get wet. A hard cover on your bed will offer a lot more weather protection.
- Stylish looks. Choosing the right hard folding cover can improve the look of your truck. Most of the covers you’ll see are matte black, but there are some that have a gloss finish.
- Simple installation. Although hard tonneau covers are bigger, heavier, and tougher than their soft counterparts, they’re still designed to be easy to install. You can have a professional tackle the job for you, or you can handle it yourself, right in your garage.
LEER is known as being the number one manufacturer of fiberglass and aluminum truck caps and tonneaus in North America. The company was founded in the 1960s; the company has grown from a small business in Elkhart, Ind., to a worldwide powerhouse. All of its covers are made in the United States. Check out its Easy On/Off Low Profile Tonneau Covers.
Founded in 1995 in Owosso, Mich., Rugged Liner is one of the leading manufacturers of tonneau covers and truck bed liners. The company currently operates two facilities that total 450,000 square feet and is home to 140 employees. Its liners and covers are shipped worldwide to more than 70 countries. Check out the Premium Hard Folding Tonneau Cover for the Ford F150.
BAK develops tonneau covers to help you use your truck better. There’s the BAKFlip, Vortrak, Revolver, and Rack Contractor Series. Each one is designed for a particular use to fit how you use your truck. One of its popular covers is the BAK BAKFlip G2 Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover.
Tonneau Covers Pricing
- Under $100: These are basic covers that are typically soft covers, such as a roll-up style. They tend to be light on innovative features, and are typically be made of vinyl with Velcro as the sealing function.
- $100 to $500: In this range you can find good-quality soft covers or middle-range hard covers. They’ll be of decent construction, but lack some of the additional features that more expensive covers have.
- $500 and up: Here's where you'll get into high-quality hard covers. They’ll use the most durable and sturdy materials to prevent damage. They’ll also include additional features to make working them easier. You’ll find additional straps, remote controls, hydraulic support posts, and even LED lights.
All truck bed covers are constructed with a particular vehicle in mind. There is no universally compatible bed cover. Even when trucks have the same bed length, their body styling can cause them to require different covers. When buying your cover, you need to look for a cover that is compatible with your truck’s make, model, and year.
Ease of Use
Some hard tonneau covers are easier to open, latch, and fold than others — and you want one that allows you the highest level of convenience. A cover that’s easy to lift and maneuver will make you more likely to use all of its benefits and folding configurations. It’s also a good idea to find a cover that’s simple to adjust if needed to carry different types of items. The best hard folding tonneau covers are those that make getting to your gear happen in just seconds, with little difficulty.
Some truck bed covers provide you with better security than others. Hard bed covers provide you with more security than a soft cover. Higher-quality covers will come with locks. This lets you secure the panels to your truck for even greater security of your belongings in the bed. It’s also important to look for a tonneau cover that can stay secure while it’s open and folded. For example, being able to “lock” or secure the cover into a folded position will make it easier to haul items, keep the cover in place, and open just as much as you need.
When choosing between covers, you need to think about the purpose of buying your cover. Is your main purpose for improved looks? Or is it for increased security? Maybe you want a cover that gives you the greatest amount of security. Hard cover folding covers give you the best of all worlds. Their low-profile styling will keep your truck looking sleek. Their folding panels give you versatility in the use of your truck bed.
- Installation. Some covers come completely assembled, which can make installation easy and fast. Others come completely disassembled, which requires you to put everything together. Then there are some covers that require professional installation.
- Ease of Use. Pay attention to how the bed cover works. Some have panels that are easy to maneuver, while others are more complicated. A nice feature is being able to work the panel release and locks from either side of the truck bed.
- Warranty. Look for a cover that comes with a decent warranty. Most warranties are between three and five years. You’ll find some of the higher-quality covers have lifetime guarantees.
Best Hard Folding Tonneau Covers Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- All tonneau covers are designed to fit a specific truck bed model and size. Look at the compatibility list of each cover you consider before buying one.
- It helps to know the exact dimensions of your truck bed. This way, you can get an idea of how much room a cover will take up while folded.
- Double-check a cover's installation once you are finished setting it up for the first time. Make sure everything is tight and secure.
Q. Why should I buy a folding cover?
Folding tonneau covers are more convenient than solid, one-piece designs. They can be easily accessed and don't take up too much space.
Q. Is a hardcover better than a soft one?
A hardcover is better for keeping people and the weather out.
Q. What do I need to install a folding hard tonneau cover?
Some tonneau covers have all the hardware attached to the cover itself. Others will come with the necessary hardware you can attach to the side.
Q. What is the best hard folding tonneau cover?
When it comes to choosing a folding cover, we like the BAKFlip MX4. This sole tonneau cover combines durability with solid, secure protection — and you can even secure it in place while it’s folded back.
Q. Can I go through a car wash with a tonneau cover?
If you have a hard top tonneau installed on your truck, you’re all good to drive through a car wash. While soft covers can’t withstand the water or pressurized sprays, hard covers — even folding models — can, thanks to their tougher composition. Just keep in mind that hand washing is always best, as a car wash could wind up scratching or scraping the painted finish.
If you’re looking for the best of the best, our top choice is the BAKFlip MX4. However, you can still get a great cover — like the Rugged Liner Premium Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover — if you’d like a more budget-friendly option.