Picking out the right tonneau cover for your Dodge Ram 1500 can be an overwhelming task. With so many options on the market, how do you know which one is best suited for your truck and needs?
As an avid truck accessories reviewer and Dodge Ram owner myself, I have tested and reviewed dozens of tonneau covers to find the top options for RAM 1500 owners. Through extensive hands-on testing and research, I have narrowed down the choices to the 5 best tonneau covers that provide protection, versatility, durability, and style for your Dodge Ram 1500.
In this comprehensive buyer’s guide, I will discuss:
- The different types of tonneau covers and key features to consider
- My top tonneau cover picks for RAM 1500
- Detailed reviews of each recommended product
- Important buying factors when choosing a tonneau
- Frequently asked questions about tonneau covers
Equipped with the knowledge in this guide, you’ll be able to confidently choose the ideal tonneau cover for your needs and budget. Let’s start exploring the options!
Top Tonneau Cover Picks for Dodge Ram 1500
Before jumping into the product reviews, here is a quick overview of my top 5 tonneau cover recommendations for the Dodge Ram 1500:
|Tyger Auto T3 Soft Tri-Fold Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
|Tightest and most secure budget soft cover
|Gator ETX Soft Roll Up Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
|Best roll-up cover under $200
|BAK BAKFlip MX4 Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
|Best premium folding cover
|TruXedo TruXport Soft Roll Up Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
|Best roll-up cover overall
|UnderCover Ultra Flex Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
|Most versatile and adjustable folding cover
This covers a range of budgets and needs – from affordable soft covers to premium hard folding options. Keep reading for my full reviews on each model!
Types of Tonneau Covers and Key Features
There are 4 main types of tonneau covers available:
Soft Roll-Up Tonneau Covers
- Made of vinyl, aluminum, or polymer materials
- Roll up to allow full bed access
- Typically most affordable option
- Easy to install and remove
- Not as secure as hard covers
Hard Folding Tonneau Covers
- Made of panels of aluminum or reinforced polymer
- Fold up for truck bed access
- Provide most security
- Sleek, low-profile design
- Cost more than soft covers
Retractable Tonneau Covers
- Made of vinyl or aluminum slats
- Retract fully into a canister to allow bed access
- Most expensive option
- Complicated installation
- Provide maximum security when closed
Hinged Tonneau Covers
- Single panel that hinges open for access
- Made of polymer, aluminum, fiberglass
- Simple, low-profile design
- Limited cargo space when open
- Cost depends on materials
When choosing a tonneau cover, here are some key features to consider:
- Weather resistance – Vinyl, aluminum and polymer materials protect against rain, snow and UV rays
- Security – Locking mechanisms deter theft of cargo
- Ease of use – Ability to open, close, and remove cover quickly
- Impact on gas mileage – Covers improve MPG by reducing wind drag
- Installation – Clamp-on is easiest; some require rail system
- Price – Budget models start under $200, premium versions over $800
Taking into account these factors and your specific needs will help narrow the selection. Next, let’s look at my top tonneau cover picks for the RAM 1500.
Tyger Auto T3 Soft Tri-Fold Truck Bed Tonneau Cover – Best Budget Soft Tri-Fold Cover
The Tyger Auto T3 Soft Tri-Fold Truck Bed Tonneau Cover ranks as my top budget-friendly soft tonneau cover for the RAM 1500. I’ve used it for over a year on my own truck, and find it provides the best value for performance and protection.
Here’s an overview of my experiences with the key pros and cons of the Tyger T3 cover:
- High-quality vinyl provides durability and weather resistance
- Pre-assembled horizontal crossbars allow for quick installation
- Tri-fold design is easier to open and access than roll-ups
- Tightest seal of any soft cover I tested
- Improves gas mileage by reducing wind drag
- Affordably priced under $200
- Not as secure as hard folding covers
- Vinyl can be prone to scratches
- Crossbars limit some storage space
- No locking mechanism
Installing the Tyger T3 on my Ram 1500 took less than 30 minutes with the pre-assembled bars. I followed the well-written instructions to clamp the cover onto the bed rails securely.
Unlike cheaper roll-up covers I’ve tried, the unique tri-fold system creates a tight seal along the entire bed when closed. This gives me peace of mind that my cargo will stay dry and protected. The durable vinyl also holds up well to weather and sun exposure.
While it doesn’t have the hardcore security of a hard cover with locks, the simple latching system deters any quick theft attempts. For the price, the Tyger T3 soft tri-fold offers tremendous value in both form and function.
If you want an affordable soft tonneau that actually protects your truck bed when closed, I can’t recommend the Tyger Auto T3 enough. No other budget-priced soft cover comes close to its quality and performance.
- Dual coated vinyl material
- Pre-assembled crossbars
- Tri-fold design with tight seal
- Clamp-on rails for easy install
- Under $200 price point
Gator ETX Soft Roll Up Truck Bed Tonneau Cover – Best Budget Roll-Up Cover
In the budget-friendly roll-up tonneau cover category, the Gator ETX Soft Roll Up Truck Bed Tonneau Cover stands out as the best option for RAM 1500 owners.
After installing and using the Gator ETX for several months, here are the notable pros and cons I experienced:
- Low cost under $200
- Industrial-strength vinyl material
- Easy roll-up design with Velcro closure
- Adjustable tension control for tight seal
- Quick clamp-on installation
- Not as durable as premium brands
- Basic functionality and features
- Vinyl prone to scratches over time
- Minimal impact on gas mileage
The Gator ETX was by far the easiest budget roll-up tonneau I installed. Thanks to the clamps, I had it fully set up on my RAM 1500 in under 20 minutes without any drilling required.
Rolling up and sealing the cover is smooth and simple. I also like that you can adjust the tension for a tighter and more secure seal across the bed. For a basic soft roll-up cover under $200, the Gator ETX performs admirably. Just don’t expect sophisticated features or the strongest construction.
If you want an affordable, quick-installing roll-up tonneau for basic protection, the Gator ETX is a great choice for Dodge Ram 1500 owners on a budget.
- Industrial-strength vinyl
- Roll-up design with Velcro closure
- Adjustable tension control
- Easy clamp-on installation
- Under $200 cost
BAK BAKFlip MX4 Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover – Best Premium Hard Folding Cover
For Dodge owners seeking ultimate cargo protection, the BAK BAKFlip MX4 Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover is the best premium hard folding cover available.
After extensively using the MX4 for hauling valuables and equipment, here are my thoughts on the pros and cons:
- Durable aluminum panels provide strength and security
- Low-profile folding design limits wind drag
- Gas struts make opening/closing easy
- Protects cargo from weather and theft
- Integrated locking system deters crime
- Premium matte finish looks great
- Higher price over $800
- Complicated installation if inexperienced
- Folding panels can obstruct bed access
- Heavy material increases weight
As expected for the price, installing the BAKFlip MX4 required drilling into the bed rails to attach the rail system. The folding panels also take some getting used to during everyday use.
But for maximum security and protection, the MX4 is untouchable. The heavy-duty aluminum construction and integrated locks kept my cargo sealed tight and deterred any theft attempts. Though expensive, it’s a worthwhile investment if you frequently haul expensive gear.
Overall, the BAKFlip MX4 is the best premium hard folding truck bed cover I found for the Dodge Ram 1500. If your cargo protection needs warrant the price, it won’t disappoint.
- Aluminum folding panels
- Low-profile matte finish
- Integrated locking system
- Easy open/close gas struts
- Bed rail installation
TruXedo TruXport Soft Roll Up Truck Bed Tonneau Cover – Best Roll-Up Tonneau Overall
In my search for the best overall roll-up truck bed cover, the TruXedo TruXport Soft Roll Up Truck Bed Tonneau Cover stands out as the clear winner. Here’s an overview of my experience using and testing the TruXport:
- Attractive low-profile design
- Leather-grain fabric is durable and weatherproof
- Smooth roll-up operation with Velcro closure
- Reduces wind drag for improved MPG
- Easy clamp-on installation
- Works great with bed liner
- Fabric prone to snags/tears over time
- Not as secure as hard folding covers
- Lacks integrated locking feature
Installing the TruXport took me under 30 minutes thanks to the quick clamp-on rail system with no drilling required. The sleek low-profile design integrates seamlessly with the bed rails for a flush factory look.
Operation is smooth and simple – just unroll the cover and secure the rear Velcro when you need full bed access. I especially like that it works great even with a bed liner installed.
For everyday versatility and protection against the elements, the TruXport is the ultimate roll-up tonneau cover for the RAM 1500. The premium materials and easy use justify the price tag for truck owners who prefer a soft cover.
- Low-profile leather-grain fabric
- Smooth roll-up operation
- Clamp-on no-drill installation
- Velcro rear closure
- Reduced wind resistance
UnderCover Ultra Flex Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover – Most Versatile Hard Folding Cover
For maximum versatility from a hard folding truck bed cover, the UnderCover Ultra Flex Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover is an excellent choice. This high-end tonneau provides flexible access and positioning for RAM 1500 owners.
Here are the notable pros and cons I found using the Ultra Flex:
- Adjustable panels provide multiple access options
- Can close tailgate with cover open or closed
- Easy-release handles to reposition cover
- Aluminum construction offers security
- Integrated perimeter lighting for nighttime visibility
- Sleek matte black finish
- Higher cost over $750
- Complicated installation process
- Folding panels obstruct some bed access
- Not as watertight as vinyl covers
The Ultra Flex does take some time and effort to install properly. But the ability to adjust and secure the panels in multiple positions makes it the most versatile hard cover I’ve used.
Whether I need to toss small items in the bed or haul bulky cargo, the Ultra Flex adapts to allow the right truck bed access. And the integrated LED lighting provides excellent visibility when working in the dark.
If you need a tonneau cover that can handle all your truck bed access needs, the UnderCover Ultra Flex is an exceptional choice for the Dodge Ram 1500. No other hard folding cover matches its versatility and premium features.
- Aluminum folding panels
- Multiple adjustable positions
- Perimeter lighting system
- Sleek matte black finish
- Dual-action tailgate seal
Buying Considerations for Dodge Ram 1500 Tonneau Covers
When shopping for a tonneau cover for your RAM 1500, keep these key factors in mind:
- Truck bed size – Ensure the cover is designed specifically for the 5’ 7” or 6’ 4” bed on your Ram 1500
- Type – Determine whether you need a soft roll-up, hard folding, or other type
- Features – Consider needs like weather protection, security, and adjustments
- Ease of use – Pick a cover that makes accessing your bed simple
- Price – Basic soft covers start under $200, hard folding models over $700
- Quality materials – Vinyl, aluminum and polymer provide durability and longevity
- Installation – Clamp-on is easiest; some require drill-in bed rails
- Maintaining appearance – Periodic cleaning protects the vinyl or paint finish
- Warranty – Look for at least a 3-year warranty from reputable brands
Doing your homework helps select the best tonneau cover for your Dodge Ram 1500’s bed size, features, budget and your specific needs. Focus on models designed specifically for your truck for a perfect hassle-free fit.
Expert Tips for Getting the Most From Your Tonneau Cover
Follow these pro tips when buying and using your Dodge Ram tonneau cover:
- Get accurate bed measurements before ordering to ensure a perfect custom fit
- Have a second person help with installation to ease the process
- Roll-up covers seal best by attaching the rear latch first
- Folding covers benefit from gas struts for easy opening and closing
- Keep the vinyl material clean and conditioned to prevent cracks
- Open tonneau partially when hauling oversized cargo to prevent damage
- Secure small lightweight items under the cover to avoid wind whipping
- Check clamps and connectors regularly to ensure the cover stays tight
- Lubricate hinges on folding covers periodically for smooth operation
- Adjust roll-up cover tension if the rear latch is difficult to close
- Allow 15-20 minutes for opening, closing, and re-sealing your cover
Following these tips helps keep your tonneau cover properly installed, cared for, and optimized for ease of use and longevity. Taking the time to use it correctly maximizes the protection and versatility.
Other Truck Bed Covers and Accessories
Along with tonneau covers, other useful truck bed accessories for your Dodge Ram 1500 include:
- Bed liners – Protect interior paint from scratches
- Bed rails – Provide movable tie-down points
- Bed lights – Improve visibility in the truck bed area
- Bed caps – Add lockable storage with a fiberglass top
- Trailer hitches – Allow hauling boats, ATVs or campers
- Bed racks – Carry ladders, kayaks or lumber above bed
- Tailgate assist – Supports lifting and lowering tailgate
- Side steps – Ease entering lifted truck beds
Combining tonneau covers with other accessories creates the ultimate customized truck bed to handle all your hauling and cargo needs. Just be sure to choose products specifically designed to integrate seamlessly with your Ram 1500.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How much does a Dodge Ram 1500 tonneau cover cost?
A: Basic soft roll-up covers start around $175. Higher-end folding covers run $700 to $1000. Custom paint-matched versions can cost over $1500.
Q: Are tonneau covers easy to install?
A: Basic soft covers with clamps are easiest – no drilling required. Hard folding covers need to be bolted into rail systems, requiring drilling into the bed itself. Retractable covers are most difficult.
Q: Should I get a soft or hard tonneau cover?
A: Soft covers are affordable and easy to use daily. But hard covers provide more security and weather protection. Choose based on your priorities and budget.
Q: How do tonneau covers attach to the truck bed?
A: Most use a clamp system that fits over the bed rails. Hard covers require drill-in rail systems to bolt the panels down securely.
Q: Will a tonneau cover work with a truck bed liner?
A: Yes, most tonneaus are designed to work with bed liners. Ensure the liner doesn’t obstruct the cover rails or clamps.
Q: Can I keep my tailgate open with the tonneau closed?
A: Some hard folding covers allow closing the tailgate with the cover still open. But soft covers require the tailgate to be closed.
Q: Should I lubricate the panels on folding tonneau covers?
A: Yes, periodic lubrication of the hinges with WD-40 or silicone spray ensures smooth opening and closing.
Q: How much can tonneau covers improve gas mileage?
A: Tonneaus can improve MPG by 8-10% on average by reducing wind resistance and drag. Hard covers maximize aerodynamic benefits.
Q: Will a tonneau cover limit bed access when hauling?
A: Partially opening soft covers or propping hard panels can allow hauling larger items. But overall bed space is reduced.
Q: How do I clean and maintain my tonneau cover?
A: Use soap and water to keep vinyl covers clean. Hard cover panels can be waxed and polished like the truck’s paint.
Picking the right tonneau cover for your Dodge Ram 1500 is an important decision that provides protection, improves looks, and adds versatility to your truck. With this comprehensive buyer’s guide detailing the best options for RAM 1500 owners, you have all the information needed to choose the perfect tonneau cover for your needs and budget.
The Tyger Auto T3 tri-fold, Gator ETX roll-up, BAKFlip MX4 hard cover, TruXedo TruXport, and UnderCover Ultra Flex provide a great selection of soft and hard covers at different price points. Each excels in certain areas like price, durability, security, and ease of use.
Keep in mind essential factors like your Ram’s bed size, preferred materials, special features, driving habits, and budget. This ensures you pick the tonneau that fits your truck and suits your specific cargo hauling needs.
With the right tonneau cover in place that aligns with your requirements, you can protect your cargo from weather and theft, improve gas mileage, and customize your truck’s look. Your Ram 1500 will be set up to handle all your gear transportation and hauling duties for years to come.
Now that you’re armed with expert knowledge, it’s time to choose the best tonneau cover to upgrade your Dodge Ram 1500!