The Best Bed Liner Paint (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Take that truck bed’s resistance to the next level with these bed liner paints.
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BY Hank O'Hop / LAST UPDATED ON March 17, 2021
While trucks are evolving to appeal to the folks who once drove Lincolns and Cadillacs, they’re also built to appeal to working men and women. Cut out all the creature comforts, and you still have a vehicle that’s built to take a beating. But let’s face it: Trucks aren’t what they used to be. They’re not just a vehicle that you carelessly run across open fields with a load of tools and supplies in the back. Those price tags make them worth protecting in every way possible.
Of course, you’ll beat the living daylights out of the bed if you don’t put down some layer of protection. Below, we highlight bed liner paints to help you understand a little bit more about this type of protection and drop some suggestions for which product you can rely on. Let's take a look, shall we?
Easy to apply roll-on bed liner paint. This kit includes a 1-gallon container of bed liner coating, an abrasive pad, rollers, and a brush for application.
- Does not rely on any expensive equipment
- Easy to apply
- Provides good results
- Includes rollers, brush, and abrasive
- Isn’t quite enough to fully cover larger beds
Aerosol type spray-on coating. This is an ideal option for someone who’s working on a budget or tackling a small project. It doesn’t rely on any additional equipment and still reaches deep into tight spaces.
- Great for small jobs but can also be useful for extensive projects
- Excellent price point in small quantities
- Single cans have limited use
- Finish does not match other bed liner paints
Professional-level liner kit that includes eight 750-milliliter bottles of liner, two 1-liter bottles of hardener, and a spray gun. The system works simply by adding hardener to the bottle of bed liner base, then attaching it to the gun and compressor to begin application.
- Includes spray gun
- Very easy system to follow
- Offers superior results
- Premium price point
- Relies on expensive equipment
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Benefits of Bed Liner Paint
- Protects your bed. The obvious benefit of any bed liner is that it protects the bed from being damaged by sudden impacts and shifting loads.
- Permanent layer. Bed liner paint offers a permanent layer of protection as it adheres directly to the surface.
- Keeps moisture out. Because paint bed liners apply directly to the surface, there’s no chance for moisture to exist between the liner and the bed.
Types of Bed Liner Paints
As with any automotive paint, bed liner can be designed to spray on. Spray-on bed liners work with a dedicated spray gun and an air compressor. The benefit to this type is that it usually creates the best finish, so long as you have the proper skills to apply it correctly. While it’s not particularly difficult to use when you have the right equipment, one does need to be familiar with this form of painting to produce the best results.
Roll-on bed liners are much easier and more affordable than using paints that rely on expensive equipment for application. That’s part of what makes this type of bed liner so desirable to many. The other benefit is that the finish is very similar to a spray-on liner. The two main factors to consider when applying this type of liner are that it usually takes much longer to dry and it’s harder to reach into tight spaces.
An alternative to spray-on liners that rely on a spray gun and air compressor are those that come from an aerosol can. The obvious benefit is that this type is more attainable to people without application equipment. It also dries relatively quickly and is slightly easier to apply. The drawback is that the cans' price adds up quickly, and the finish won’t be of the same quality. This is an excellent option if you’re doing small touch-ups or trying to add protection to a replacement tailgate, for example.
Herculiner first appeared in 1999 and is a brand of the parent company Peak. This company is headquartered in Northbrook, Ill., and is credited as the first to offer roll-on bed liner kits. The Herculiner Brush-On Bed Liner Kit is a renowned favorite of DIYers across the nation.
This brand is a stranger to no one. The company came on the scene back in 1921 and has since grown to be a leading producer of paints and coatings for home, industrial, and automotive applications. It’s headquartered in Vernon Hills, Ill., and the Rust-Oleum Automotive Truck Bed Coating is but one of its many fine products.
Custom Shop is an extension of TCP Global, which has been in the game since 1974. This brand is responsible for supplying a long list of custom paints and finishes to the automotive community. Among those offerings are spray-in liners such as the Custom Shop Custom Coat Sprayable Truck Bed Liner.
Since 1948, U-Pol has been offering various body shop-related products for automotive applications. That includes everything from sealants to fillers and paint. Its range of bed liner products appears under the name Raptor. The U-Pol Raptor Black Urethane Spray-On Truck Bed Liner Kit is an example of its comprehensive, professional-level offerings.
Another brand that appeals to many DIYers is Al's Liner. This brand offers a few different products—namely, bed liners and heat- and noise-reduction liners. The brand works out of Indiana and offers kits that put an emphasis on ease of application, such as the Al's Liner Premium DIY Polyurethane Spray-On Truck Bed Liner Kit.
Bed Liner Paint Pricing
- Under $200: Aerosol and roll-on bed liners generally dominate the lower portion of this range. However, as you near the $200 mark, more spray-in systems begin to appear.
- $200 and up: Comprehensive spray-in kits begin to dominate this segment. These can be systems that include higher quantities of the liner itself and may even include necessary equipment such as spray guns.
Unless you have a bed storage system, you’re likely to be jumping in and out of the bed of your truck. Unsecured cargo is going to slide around, and you’ll need to go in there and get it. A non-slip texture, which is almost always created by bed liner paint, is an excellent way to limit this issue as much as possible and prevent the risk of you taking a tumble on your adventures in the bed of the truck.
Dents and scratches aren’t the only things to protect your bed from. Rust is a significant threat as well, so you want a product that works particularly well at preventing it. For the most part, bed liner paints have an edge here over other liners, but some work better than others.
- Texture. The texture of the bed liner is a primary concern. Sure, we already discussed anti-slip properties, but the texture can vary based on the manufacturer and compounds used. That said, it's worth researching the options to find out which has the texture that best suits your needs.
- Ease of Application. In a perfect world, you'd all have the means to use a spray-in bed liner. But it's not, and you don't. That said, you want to make sure you pick the kit that's easiest for you to apply. Roller kits and aerosol cans are both very easy, so you'll also want to consider the finish you're looking for with this aspect as well.
- Level of Protection. The amount of protection a bed liner offers is another primary concern. After all, it's the whole reason you're considering one in the first place. Not all bed liner paints provide the same level of protection. Sure, you can always add more layers, but how much money and time are you willing to spend on this project? It's worth putting in the effort to ensure a bed liner will protect as well as you need it to before you buy it.
Best Bed Liner Paints Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Like any painting project, preparation is vital. Take the time to sand, clean, and prepare surfaces as best as possible.
- Painting will always take longer than you initially think. It’s important to give yourself as much time as possible to prevent rushing the job.
- It might seem obvious, but make sure you take the time to remove anything you don’t want to get bed liner on. Whatever can’t be removed must be covered with tape and paper to prevent ruining it.
- Liner paint isn’t the only way to protect your truck bed. Drop-in liners, mats, and even rugs are available. Take some time to compare all options and decide which will truly suit you best. For more truck bed accessories and cargo protection, take a look at our guides to bed storage systems and truck caps.
Q: Do you have to sand before applying bed liner?
Absolutely. If the surface isn’t sanded, bed liner paint won’t bond correctly. While it may look OK, it won't offer the same level of protection and will scratch away easily.
Q: How do I install a truck bed liner?
How you install a bed liner is entirely dependent on the type you choose. Drop-in liners, mats, and rugs all require various steps to get them in place. The same rule applies when selecting from spray-in, roll-on, and aerosol bed liner paints.
Q: How do I prepare for bed liner?
Preparation includes removing accessories, taping off the areas you don't want to apply bed liner to, and sanding the surface down. It's important to closely follow the manufacturer's instructions to achieve the best results.
Q: How should I maintain my truck bed liner?
The good news is that maintenance isn't all that hard. You just want to remember that, while they’re tough, bed liners aren’t invincible. You always want to avoid harsh impacts and secure the load to prevent scratching or damaging it.
We like the Herculiner Brush-On Bed Liner Kit because anyone can apply it and still achieve professional-level results. But if you’re only after minimal protection or tackling a small project, you can save money by leaning on the Krylon Automotive Black Truck Bed Coating.
Are they your only options, though? Absolutely not. Be sure to reach out and let us know what you think the best bed liner paint is—or if you think it’s worth going to a professional rather than taking it on by yourself.