Hard Top vs. Soft Top Tonneau Covers

Tonneau covers have been around long before there were pickups. But these essential accessories have even more prominence today thanks to all the Ford F-150s, Chevy Silverados, and RAM 1500s on the road.   And countless truck owners appreciate the benefits of tonneau covers:

  • Protects Cargo: With a cover in place, curious eyes can’t see what’s inside, and menacing hands will have a much harder time accessing your valuables. Importantly, a tonneau cover will also stop loose gear or goods from getting tossed over the side during a sharp turn or sudden stop.
  • Protects The Cargo Bed: We’ve all seen the crud that builds up in the crevices along a pickup’s cargo bed. Even if you’ve never tossed a shovel full of soil or a strip of sod in the back, a cargo bed is a magnet for dirt and debris.  Not only is this grime unsightly, but it’s also rust and corrosion waiting to happen.  A cover protects the bed from the elements.
  • Reduces Fuel Use: A 2007 study by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) revealed that a tonneau cover could reduce fuel consumption.  Frankly, this accessory is not going to turn your half-ton wonder into a Prius, but the estimated 1.8% fuel savings can add up over time, especially if you do a lot of highway driving.
  • Improves Looks: Pride of ownership is a big part of the pickup experience, and who doesn’t want their daily driver or weekend explorer to look good?  A tonneau cover is an easy way of making your ride look streamlined and modern.

Soft Tonneau Covers Vs. Hard Tonneau Covers

The soft versus hard tonneau debate is well discussed in the truck enthusiast community.  Let’s look at the pros and cons of each style.

Soft Tonneau Cover Advantages

A soft tonneau cover gets major points for ease of use thanks to its lighter weight construction—there’s no heavy lifting or awkward folding of heavy panels. And a soft-style cover typically costs less than the hard version.  Plus, a smooth, snug finish does an excellent job of keeping out rain, snow, and dirt.

Soft Tonneau Cover Disadvantages

While most soft covers use heavy-weight nylon material, they can be more vulnerable to vandalism. You’ll also want to limit stacking heavy objects (like a toolbox) on top of a soft tonneau cover.  Plus, most soft covers only come in black.

Hard Tonneau Cover Advantages

A hard tonneau cover provides a more secure solution against would-be vandals and thieves (though not completely theft-resistant). This same durability lends itself to serving as a flat job site surface for the temporary placement of gear and supplies. In addition, hard tonneau covers are available in a variety of colors and textures – sometimes even color-matched to your truck.

Hard Tonneau Cover Disadvantages

Hard tonneau covers use heavy fiberglass or plastic panels, so they can be bulky to use, weigh down a truck, and reduce load weight capacity.  And, compared to soft-style, a hard cover will cost more. Hard tonneau covers also cannot be easily rolled out of the way and secured like roll-up soft covers can. Lastly, a hard tonneau cover can tend to vibrate and rattle.

Unruli Tonneau Cover and Storage Solutions

Unruli offers innovative pickup accessories that combine a tonneau cover and storage solution in one system.  The made-in-the-USA DEFENDER, TRANSFORMER, and LIBERATOR options provide secure, easy-to-use storage within a protected cargo bed.  Discover how Unruli products are perfect for fun and work and are available for most Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, RAM, and Toyota pickup trucks.  Find the Unruli system that’s right for you today.