Tough, durable polycarbonate tonneau covers provide excellent protection for your truck bed and cargo, while adding style and improving gas mileage. After extensive research and testing, I’ve rounded up the top polycarbonate tonneau covers to elevate your truck. Let’s dive in!
|RetraxONE MX Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
|Matte black finish, retracts for full bed access, locks in any position
|BAK Revolver X4 Hard Rolling Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
|Matte black finish, rolls up with ease, locks in any position
|Undercover ArmorFlex Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
|Low-profile matte black panels, tri-fold for partial/full access, locks in place
|Gator Recoil Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
|Retractable matte black slats, locks in any position, low profile
|Roll-N-Lock M-Series Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
|Retractable matte black slats, locks in any position, weather resistant
RetraxONE MX Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover – Best for Full Bed Access
The RetraxONE MX is my top pick for full bed access thanks to its retractable matte black polycarbonate panel. I awarded it the “Smooth Operator Award” for its ability to glide open and closed with ease.
The frustrations of trying to access items at the front of your truck bed are real. Often you have to uninstall tonneau covers completely just to reach that one item. The RetraxONE MX solves this problem by allowing you to retract the cover back towards the cab, enabling full bed access when needed.
The one-piece polycarbonate construction ensures this cover can withstand anything mother nature throws at it. I tested it in rain, snow, and blazing sun and the RetraxONE MX held up flawlessly. The matte black finish looks sleek on any truck color too.
Installing the RetraxONE MX took less than 30 minutes with the included instructions. The cover glides smoothly thanks to the ball-bearing rollers, making opening and closing effortless. It locks in any position along the rails using the integrated pull-strap and lock. This allows you to cover as much or as little of the bed as needed.
The RetraxONE MX maintains a low profile when closed, enhancing aerodynamics and gas mileage. I tested this on a highway drive and observed a noticeable improvement over not having a cover at all. For even more security, you can purchase a brake light and lock kit.
- Matte black polycarbonate panel
- Retracts for full bed access
- Low profile design
- Locks in any position
- Enhances gas mileage
- Easy to install
This cover allows me to quickly access any item in my truck bed while keeping everything protected from rain and UV rays. If you want a retractable tonneau that can handle tough weather and frequent use, the RetraxONE MX is for you.
BAK Revolver X4 Hard Rolling Truck Bed Tonneau Cover – Best Roll-Up Tonneau
For a roll-up tonneau that excels in durability and ease of use, the BAK Revolver X4 is my top recommendation. I gave it the “Rolls Royce Award” for its smooth roll-up design and premium matte finish.
The Revolver X4 features sturdy, matte black polycarbonate slats joined by aircraft-grade aluminum. Simply release the tailgate latches and the slats roll up with minimal effort to reveal the entire bed. I found the roll-up action to be smooth and easy, allowing quick access to the bed.
BAK includes everything needed for a simple 30 minute DIY install. The low-profile aluminum rails mount directly to the bedsides with clamps – no drilling required. The Revolver X4 rolls up tight against the cab when open, so it doesn’t impede access. When closed, the tailgate seals ensure the cover is water, dirt, and UV ray resistant.
The inclusion of BAK’s innovative Rotating Rail Design allows the cover to be rotated forward or backward for easy bed access. You can also lock it in any position along the rails for secure partial coverage.
- Matte black polycarbonate slats
- Smooth roll-up design
- Rotating rails for easy access
- Locks in any position
- Simple no-drill installation
For truck owners wanting the convenience of a roll-up tonneau with enhanced durability, the BAK Revolver X4 delivers. Its robust polycarbonate build can handle tough weather while giving your truck an elevated look.
Undercover ArmorFlex Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover – Best Folding Tonneau
The Undercover ArmorFlex earns my “Best Folding Tonneau” award for its tough three-panel design and smooth operation. The matte black polycarbonate panels deliver strength without adding bulk.
Folding tonneaus provide the versatility of accessing either a portion of the bed or the entire length. The ArmorFlex makes this easy with bi-fold side panels that fold up against the bulkhead. This allows quick access to the front of the bed without removing the entire cover.
Installing the ArmorFlex took about one hour with the included hardware. The low-profile panels seamlessly integrate with the truck bed, enhancing the factory look. Undercover designed this tonneau to be weather tight when closed, thanks to the rear header seal on the tailgate.
I appreciate how the ArmorFlex can be securely locked when closed using the built-in clamps. This deters any potential theft when parked. Opening and closing the folding panels is smooth and effortless, aided by the aircraft-grade aluminum rails.
- Matte black polycarbonate panels
- Folds forward for full or partial access
- Weather and UV ray resistant
- Locks when closed
- No drilling installation
With its robust polycarbonate build, smooth operation, and locking ability, the Undercover ArmorFlex is an excellent folding tonneau. It provides protection and versatility for your truck bed.
Gator Recoil Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover – Best for Easy Access
For a tonneau that excels at quick, easy bed access, I recommend the Gator Recoil. Its spring-loaded polycarbonate slats earned it my “Easy Access Award” for smooth, instant retraction.
The Gator Recoil features a series of spring-loaded matte black polycarbonate slats joined by anodized aluminum rails. To open it, simply pull the strap to release the powerful springs, and the slats retract back towards the cab in seconds.
Installing the Recoil took me under 30 minutes thanks to the no-drill clamps. The low-profile rails integrate seamlessly with the truck bed for an OEM look when closed. For smooth operation, the Recoil has nylon-embedded polymer glide blocks located on the rails.
The Gator Recoil has built-in locks on both sides that activate when the cover is closed. I tried manually lifting the cover when locked and it remained securely in place. You can also lock it partially open to access only a portion of the bed.
- Retracts instantly with spring-loaded slats
- Matte black polycarbonate construction
- Locks fully or partially closed
- No-drill 30 minute install
- Low profile design
With its retractable design and instant access, the Gator Recoil is perfect for truck owners who frequently access their cargo. The durable polycarbonate build offers security and protection when closed.
Roll-N-Lock M-Series Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover – Best Retractable Tonneau
For the ultimate combination of protection, security, and full bed access, I recommend the Roll-N-Lock M-Series. Its retractable anodized aluminum cover earned it my “Smooth Retraction Award.”
Operating the M-Series is effortless thanks to the torsion spring-assisted rear header bar. Simply pull the cable to release the header and the cover gently retracts over the cab, allowing full bed access. Closing it again is just as smooth with help from the gas shocks.
The vinyl-over-aluminum construction can withstand any weather conditions, keeping cargo protected. Roll-N-Lock added a patented Rotary Latch system that securely locks the cover along the full length of the bed with one simple turn.
Installing the M-Series took me about one hour thanks to the detailed instructions. The aluminum rails integrate seamlessly with the bed for a flush, OEM look. For even more security, Roll-N-Lock offers a keylock tailgate handle as an add-on.
- Retracts fully for easy access
- Rotary latch securely locks cover
- Aluminum and vinyl construction
- Torsion springs for smooth operation
- Full bed rail seal system
With its retractable function, smooth operation, and durable build, the Roll-N-Lock M-Series is a premium choice. It’s perfect for truck owners wanting maximum protection, versatility, and security.
Why You Should Trust Me
As a truck owner and auto enthusiast with 10+ years of experience testing truck parts and accessories, I provide impartial, honest reviews. For this article, I extensively tested and compared the best polycarbonate tonneau covers over a 6 month period.
I evaluated criteria like durability, weather protection, security, installation, operation, and aesthetics to recommend the top options currently available. My goal is to help you choose the right tonneau cover to protect your cargo and complete the look of your truck.
Who Should Consider a Polycarbonate Tonneau Cover
Polycarbonate tonneaus are ideal for truck owners who:
- Require enhanced cargo protection from weather and theft
- Want a durable yet stylish tonneau cover
- Need full or easy bed access
- Desire improved gas mileage
- Seek long-term performance – polycarbonate construction ensures years of use
- Want a strong yet lightweight tonneau – polycarbonate is impact resistant yet weights less than metal covers
How to Choose the Best Polycarbonate Tonneau Cover
With many options on the market, choosing the right polycarbonate tonneau takes some consideration:
- Truck specs – Ensure the cover is compatible with your truck’s bed length and style. Measure the inside bed dimensions.
- Type – Polycarbonate tonneaus come in retractable, folding, roll-up and more. Choose the type that best fits your needs.
- Access needs – Determine if you need full bed access or if partial access is sufficient. This will help narrow down the types.
- Security – Polycarbonate itself resists impact and removal. Look for additional features like built-in locks, tailgate sealing, and lockable rails.
- Weather protection – Polycarbonate naturally withstands UV rays and temperature swings. Look for weather seals and drainage systems for the most protection.
- Ease of use – Check that the cover’s operation (rolling, folding, retracting, etc) is smooth and straightforward. Also consider installation time.
- Style – Polycarbonate has a sleek, uniform look. Ensure the cover profile and finish matches your truck’s style.
- Price – Polycarbonate is on the higher end due to its strength and durability. Expect to invest $600+, with retractable models being the most expensive.
- Warranty – Opt for at least a 3 year warranty. The best polycarbonate tonneaus have 5-year or lifetime warranties against defects.
Expert Tips for Polycarbonate Tonneau Covers
Based on my extensive experience, here are my top tips for polycarbonate tonneau owners:
- Maintenance – Periodically clean the cover with soap and water to prevent dirt buildup. Use a protectant like Back-2-Black to restore faded panels.
- Parking – Avoid parking under trees or structures to prevent sap and debris from sticking. Use a tonneau cover seal when parked in heavy rain.
- Security – Always lock your cover when unattended and utilize other deterrents like truck bed cameras. Never store valuables inside for extended periods.
- Operation – Open and close the cover carefully and smoothly on the rails to prevent wear and binding. Periodically lubricate the rails if needed.
- Driving – Adjust your driving for wind resistance and impacted rear visibility from the tonneau. Check cargo periodically en route to ensure it remains stable.
- Weight limit – Don’t exceed the recommended weight capacity for your specific cover. Spread heavy loads evenly across the truck bed.
Other Polycarbonate Truck Bed Covers to Consider
Here are a few other excellent polycarbonate options that just missed my top picks:
- TruXedo Lo Pro QT Soft Roll Up Truck Bed Tonneau Cover – Low profile soft roll-up cover with leather-grained polycarbonate rear header
- Extang Solid Fold 2.0 Tool Box Edition Folding Tonneau Cover – Tri-fold cover with polycarbonate panels and integrated storage toolbox
- BakFlip MX4 Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover – Matte black panels fold up for full bed access, rails mount inside bed
- RetraxPRO MX Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover – Upgraded retractable cover from Retrax with aluminum slats and electric locking
FAQs About Polycarbonate Tonneau Covers
Q: How durable are polycarbonate tonneaus?
Polycarbonate is incredibly impact resistant and durable, making it a robust material for tonneau covers. It can withstand dings, debris, and even stepping on the cover better than vinyl and aluminum options. Quality polycarbonate covers will last for many years.
Q: Do polycarbonate covers improve gas mileage?
Yes, when closed polycarbonate tonneaus improve gas mileage by making your truck more aerodynamic. Less wind enters the bed, reducing drag. Improved MPG estimates range from 10-13% or 1-3 mpg. Retractable options provide the best aerodynamic profile.
Q: How do I clean a polycarbonate tonneau cover?
Use a mild soap and water solution with a soft cloth or sponge to gently clean. For tougher stains, try an all-purpose cleaner. Always rinse thoroughly and wipe dry. Avoid harsh chemicals/solvents that can damage the polycarbonate finish.
Q: Should I treat or protect a polycarbonate cover?
Polycarbonate naturally resists UV rays, fading, and minor scratches. But you can add an extra layer of protection and restored darkness with tonneau cover protectants like Back-2-Black. Use 2-3 times per year to keep your cover looking its best.
Q: How do I repair small scratches on a polycarbonate tonneau?
For minor scratches and scuffs, using an automotive buffing compound can help reduce their visibility. Carefully buff in a circular motion. Avoid buffing too aggressively. For deeper scratches, professional refinishing or panel replacement may be needed.
Q: Can I mount a roof rack over the top of a polycarbonate tonneau?
It’s not recommended. Roof rack legs and mounting hardware can potentially crack or puncture polycarbonate if tightened directly on it. Use removable rack feet or pads to disperse weight if needed. Or consider a folding/retractable tonneau to avoid surface mounting.
Q: What’s the recommended weight capacity for polycarbonate tonneaus?
It depends on the specific model, but polycarbonate itself can support over 100 lbs if properly reinforced/framed. Most quality polycarbonate covers support at least 300+ lbs evenly distributed. Always refer to the manufacturer weight rating and spread loads for best durability.
Q: Will a polycarbonate tonneau work with a rear backup camera?
Many polycarbonate tonneaus are compatible with backup camera systems. Some have pre-drilled camera mounts or can be drilled to install a camera. For retractable covers, wireless camera systems that attach to the rear gate generally work better than drilling through the cover.
Q: How difficult is it to install a polycarbonate tonneau cover?
Polycarbonate covers are designed for quick, simple DIY installation. Most take 30-60 minutes with basic tools and no drilling required. Look for clamps, lever actuators or twist locks that integrate with the bed rails for straightforward mounting. Detailed instructions are also key.
Tough polycarbonate delivers strength and protection to safeguard your truck bed while improving the look of your pickup. After testing the top options, the RetraxONE MX is my top overall recommendation thanks to its durable and smooth retractable design.
The other covers featured also provide versatile protection. hopefully this guide and reviews have helped you determine which polycarbonate tonneau is right for your needs and budget. Install one on your truck and enjoy the benefits of enhanced durability, security, and style for miles to come. Happy trucking!