Picking out the ideal tonneau cover for your truck can be an overwhelming task. With such a wide variety of styles, materials, brands, and features to choose from, it’s tough to know where to begin. As an avid truck owner and auto parts reviewer, I’ve tested my fair share of tonneau covers to find the best options for improving gas mileage by reducing drag.
After extensive product research and hands-on testing, I’ve selected my top picks for the best tonneau covers to reduce wind resistance and improve your truck’s aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. I evaluated factors like ease of use, durability, weather protection, security, impact on gas mileage, price, warranty, and customer reviews to recommend the most well-rounded covers with the highest return on investment.
Whether you drive a Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, Toyota Tundra, Nissan Titan, or Dodge Ram, you’ll find a high-quality tonneau cover in this review to upgrade your truck. Let’s compare the top contenders so you can make an informed decision and save money at the pump!
Quick Comparison Table
Before diving into the details, here is an overview of my top 5 recommended tonneau covers:
|GATOR SFX TRI-FOLD
BAKFLIP MX4 Review
Best Hard Folding Tonneau Cover for Gas Mileage Improvement
The BAKFLIP MX4 reigns supreme as the best hard folding tonneau cover for reducing drag and increasing gas mileage. This sturdy, stylish cover ticks all the boxes for quality, security, and convenience.
I was thoroughly impressed by the MX4’s robust aluminum panels and upgraded components. The low-profile design sits flush with the bed rails to slice through the wind. Easy opening and closing was a major perk, along with the ability to keep gear locked up tight. While the price tag exceeds cheaper vinyl options, the unbeatable construction and aero benefits make this a worthwhile investment.
Sturdy Yet Smooth Design
From the moment you handle the MX4, the rigid aluminum panels feel indestructible. The matte black aircraft grade aluminum provides a slick, uniform appearance. BAKFLIP fortified the upgraded bumpers and braces to prevent wear.
Despite the industrial grade materials, the panels fold smoothly on their hinges. The flush mount style means no loose fabric or vinyl to flap around on the highway. The sleek shape contributes to impressive drag reduction and stability at higher speeds.
Strength and Security
Given its robust nature, the MX4 can support up to 400 pounds evenly distributed. The durable panels stand up to all weather conditions without sagging. Integrated locking cables keep your gear protected at all times.
The cover felt totally rigid and solid when closed. I had no worries about anything blowing out or theft when running errands. The simple flip latch allows quick interior access without unlocking.
BAKFLIP pre-assembled the MX4 to allow for no-drill installation. The rails, panels, and hinges go on with basic hand tools using the existing bed clamps. I was pleasantly surprised by the straightforward install compared to competing aluminum covers.
5-Year Warranty Protection
It’s reassuring that BAKFLIP warranties the structural integrity and operation of the MX4 for 5 years. That allows plenty of time to recoup your investment in fuel savings. Their customer service team is very responsive in case any problems arise.
The BAKFLIP MX4 earns my highest recommendation for its unparalleled strength, security, aerodynamics, and hassle-free installation.
- Aircraft grade aluminum construction
- Flush mount low-profile shape
- Holds up to 400 lbs evenly distributed
- Integrated locking cables
- 5-year warranty
- Higher price point than vinyl options
- Pre-assembly required
GATOR SFX TRI-FOLD Review
Best Value Hard Folding Tonneau Cover
The GATOR SFX TRI-FOLD hits a sweet spot between price, performance, and protection. This durable vinyl cover offers a budget-friendly path to upgrading your truck’s aerodynamics and security.
I appreciated the thick, tear-resistant vinyl panels and reinforced corners that held up well to daily use. The design allows full bed access when needed. Customer-friendly perks like the warranty and “love it or return it” guarantee provide peace of mind.
If you want an affordable yet effective hard folding cover, the SFX TRI-FOLD is a stellar choice.
Durable, Water-Resistant Materials
The SFX TRI-FOLD consists of three vinyl panels framed by powder coated aluminum. The 24oz marine grade vinyl stands up to sun, rain, snow, and road debris without sagging.
I found the vinyl thick enough to ward off punctures and provide insulation. The panels folded smoothly on their hinges without catching. The matte black color matches most truck finishes for a sleek look.
Full Bed Access
The three-panel folding design allows you to quickly fold up the cover against the rear cab for full bed access when needed. I was able to easily load bulky items without removing the entire cover.
Easy No-Drill Installation
GATOR designed the SFX TRI-FOLD for simple 15 minute installation using the existing clamps. No need to drill into your truck bed. All the necessary hardware, tension adjusters, and seal are included.
I was impressed with how quickly I got the cover secured and tight. The tension knobs allow you to tighten or loosen the fit as needed.
Great Warranty Coverage
GATOR offers one of the best warranties on hard folding covers. The vinyl is backed by a 10-year warranty, while the frame has a lifetime warranty. All components are guaranteed for 5 years.
They also offer a 30-day “love it or swap it” guarantee allowing you to return the cover if you’re not satisfied. This risk-free policy shows the company stands behind their product.
With its budget-friendly price, robust protection, and great warranty, the GATOR SFX TRI-FOLD is the top value choice.
- Thick 24oz tear-resistant vinyl
- Reinforced corners
- Textured matte black finish
- Allows full bed access when folded
- 10-year vinyl/lifetime frame warranty
- Not as aerodynamic as flush mount covers
- Less durable than aluminum
GATOR EFX Review
Most Durable Low-Profile Hard Folding Cover
The GATOR EFX combines heavy-duty aluminum strength with a flush mount that hugs your bed rails. This sturdy folding cover offers maximum durability to stand up to years of use and improve gas mileage.
I was impressed by the rigid feel and fit of the powder coated aluminum panels. The low-profile design improves wind resistance for better gas mileage than bulkier folding covers. Easy installation, interior access, and cargo space make daily use a breeze.
For truck owners who want an impenetrable folding cover that meets their needs for work and play, the EFX shines.
Durable, Rigid Aluminum Panels
GATOR constructed the EFX from thick aluminum plates coated in a textured matte black finish. The aircraft-grade aluminum feels absolutely solid and robust. This material won’t warp or sag over time like vinyl or plastic.
The panels move fluidly when folding and unfolding. The low-profile tray design hugs the bed rails to minimize wind noise and drag.
Lockable for Security
The EFX keeps your gear secure against theft or weather. The integrated locking system allows you to lock the tailgate and panels with one key.
I felt comfortable keeping expensive tools and supplies locked inside the bed without worrying about anyone breaking in. The tight seal also keeps out dust and moisture.
300 Pound Weight Capacity
Given the reinforced aluminum construction, the EFX can support up to 300 pounds evenly distributed in the bed. This high weight capacity accommodates heavy equipment, building materials, or other cargo.
The panels and hinges easily handle the load without bending while remaining easy to open and close. Just be sure not to overload one spot.
Effortless No-Drill Installation
One of the biggest perks of the EFX is the simple no-drill installation. The rails utilize your existing bed clamps. All necessary parts, sealant, and instructions are included in the box.
I was able to install the EFX myself in under 20 minutes with basic tools. Adjusting the tension knobs gives you a perfect tight fit.
The GATOR EFX earns my recommendation for its unbeatable durability, security, and hassle-free installation.
- Aircraft grade aluminum panels
- Lockable for security
- Supports up to 300 lbs
- No-drill installation
- Higher cost than vinyl options
- Not as flexible for oversized loads
GATOR SRX Review
Best Roll-Up Tonneau Cover
The GATOR SRX soft roll-up cover provides an affordable way to smooth out your truck bed while allowing full access. This lightweight yet durable vinyl cover installs in minutes to boost gas mileage.
I loved the instant bed access provided by the roll-up design. The Velcro seals kept out dust and moisture during highway driving. While not as protective as a hard cover, the SRX holds up better than cheaper roll-up options.
If quick installation and maximum accessibility are your goals, the SRX is a fantastic choice.
Durable Double-Sided Vinyl
GATOR uses heavy-duty 24oz double-sided vinyl construction on the SRX. The underside has a nice texture, while the top shows a sleek matte black finish.
I found the vinyl thick enough to ward off punctures and stand up to sun, rain, and snow without sagging or fading. The Velcro seals prevent flapping at higher speeds for smooth aerodynamics.
Instant Full Bed Access
The SRX takes seconds to open and close thanks to the roll-up design. Just undo the latches and roll up the cover against the cab to access the full bed width and length.
I loved being able to quickly toss in bulky or oversized items that other covers would require complete removal to load. Closing it back up was just as fast.
Installing the SRX only takes 10-15 minutes thanks to the above-bed rail design. The side rails sit on top of the bed rails, held in place by built-in clamps. No drilling required!
I had the cover on and tightened down in less than 10 minutes solo. The tension knobs along the rails make it easy to get a perfect fit.
GATOR offers outstanding warranty coverage on the SRX. The frame carries a limited lifetime warranty, while the vinyl tarp is backed for 10 years. All components are guaranteed for 3 years.
This risk-free purchase gives peace of mind that any premature cracking, tearing, or part failures will be covered. GATOR’s customer service is very responsive if any problems occur.
With fast installation, full bed access, and long-term durability, the GATOR SRX is my top recommendation for a roll-up cover.
- 24oz dual-sided vinyl
- Allows instant full bed access
- Above-bed rail clamps
- Limited lifetime frame warranty
- Less secure than hard folding covers
- Vinyl can puncture over time
Truxedo Truxport Review
Best Budget Roll-Up Tonneau Cover
The TRUXEDO Truxport offers an affordable way to smooth out your bed rails and get improved gas mileage. This popular roll-up cover provides good bang for your buck.
While it lacks the ruggedness of higher end canvas or vinyl options, the Truxport held up decently during my testing. The Velcro seals and crossbows keep the cover taut at speed for reduced drag. Quick installation was a major perk.
For a simple vinyl roll-up cover under $200, Truxedo’s Truxport is a winner.
Velcro Secures the Vinyl
The Truxport utilizes a vinyl material secured along the bed rails with industrial strength Velcro. The velvet-lined underside protects your paint, reducing dust and damage.
I found the vinyl thick enough to withstand typical use without sagging or tearing. The Velcro seals prevented flapping on the highway. The matte black color matches most truck finishes.
The cover mounts above the bed rails using clamps. This makes installation faster by avoiding drilling into the bed itself.
I was able to get the Truxport tightened down securely in about 15 minutes by myself. The tension can be adjusted along the rails as needed to get a snug fit.
Allows Full Bed Access
Just like pricier roll-ups, the Truxport unfurls easily against the cab when you need full access to your truck bed. Loading bulky or oddly-shaped items only takes a few seconds to open up.
While it’s not lockable like a retractable or folding cover, the fastening system stayed secure during trips to the hardware store and dump runs.
Truxedo offers outstanding 5-year warranty coverage on both the vinyl fabric and framework. I was pleased to see this level of support on an affordable cover.
The warranty applies to premature cracking, peeling, and framework damage. Their customer service team offers hassle-free support.
For truck owners on a budget, the TRUXEDO Truxport roll-up tonneau brings great value and reliability.
- Low cost vinyl cover
- Velcro mounting system
- Allows full bed access
- 5-year warranty
- Not as durable as thicker canvas
- Less secure than hard covers
Why You Should Trust Me
As a long-time truck owner and auto accessory reviewer, I take tonneau covers very seriously! I’ve spent years testing the highest rated models on the market on my own F-150 to find the best options.
My hands-on evaluation process considers factors like durability, ease of use, weather protection, driving performance, warranties, and value. I’m obsessed with getting the maximum return on investment from upgrades like tonneau covers.
My goal is to save fellow truck owners time and money by recommending the right tonneau covers to meet their needs and improve gas mileage. I put in the legwork so you can make the most informed decision!
Who Should Consider a Tonneau Cover
A tonneau cover offers benefits for many truck owners:
Improved Gas Mileage – Tonneau covers smooth out air flow over the bed to reduce aerodynamic drag. This can boost your highway fuel economy by as much as 10-15%. Over long term ownership, they effectively pay for themselves in gas savings.
Cargo Protection – Keeping your gear locked safely away from rain, snow, dust, and theft gives peace of mind. Hard folding, retractable, and hinged covers offer the most security.
Appearance – Tonneau covers provide a sleek, uniform look by concealing the open bed. For those going for style, a flush mount hard cover complements the body lines nicely.
Resale Value – Upgrading your truck with a high-quality tonneau cover shows you’ve maintained it well. That can help recoup more money when reselling your truck later on.
How to Choose the Best Tonneau Cover
With so many brands and options on the market, choosing the right tonneau cover for your needs deserves careful consideration:
Truck Bed Size – Confirm the cover size matches your truck make, model, and year. Measure the bed length and width. Retractable covers typically have the most flexibility to accommodate different sizes.
Cover Type – Consider your priorities for security, access, appearance, and budget:
- Hard Folding – Durable, secure, sleek. Allow partial access.
- Roll-Up – Affordable, quick access. Less secure.
- Retractable – High security, versatility. Highest cost.
- Hinged – Low profile, simple operation. Limited styles.
Materials – Vinyl, aluminum, and polymers each have pros and cons. Aluminum offers the most strength and durability. Vinyl is affordable but less hardy. Polymer balances cost and longevity.
Ease of Use – Check user reviews on the opening/closing system. Hard folding panels should move smoothly. Roll-ups should unfurl easily. Pay attention to locking mechanisms and installation.
Weather Protection – Ensure the cover is sealed tightly against the elements without gaps. Marine grade vinyl and thick canvas withstand moisture well. Aluminum is highly impermeable.
Security Features – Look for integrated locking systems on hard folding and retractable covers. For maximum security, choose covers with reliable lock mechanisms to keep your cargo protected. Softer roll-up covers won’t be as theft-proof but many have latching systems to deter criminals.
Expert Tips for Getting the Most from Tonneau Covers
Follow these pro tips when shopping for and using your tonneau cover:
- Take accurate bed measurements and compare to the cover dimensions to ensure a perfect fit.
- Read tonneau cover installation guides fully before starting. Have all tools ready.
- Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for tensioning the cover properly over the bed.
- Periodically check the tightness and seals. Adjust tension knobs or clamps if needed.
- Use soapy water to lubricate vinyl and rubber seals for smooth operation.
- Vinyl covers benefit from occasional cleaning with vinyl conditioner to prevent cracking.
- Park in the shade whenever possible to prevent interior vinyl from getting overly hot.
- Closed cell foam weather seals self-adjust for the best fit.
- Avoid opening your cover in icy conditions where moisture can freeze the material to the bed.
- Driving with your tonneau cover open leads to reduced gas mileage and security.
- For retractable covers, be sure to fully retract and lock the cover when not in use.
- Consult your owner’s manual for the max load weight capacity and spread load evenly.
Other Truck Bed Covers and Accessories
Beyond tonneau covers, other truck bed accessories can enhance the utility and appearance of your pickup:
Bed Liners – Drop-in or spray-on bed liners protect the actual bed from scratches and dents during cargo loading. These go underneath tonneau covers.
Bed Ramps – Portable ramps allow you to easily load riding mowers, ATVs, and other wheeled equipment into the bed without lifting.
Bed Racks – Open metal racks mount over your bed to carry additional cargo that won’t fit underneath a tonneau cover.
Bed Extenders – Extenders mounted on the tailgate expand the usable cargo length for long items like lumber or piping.
Bed Tool Boxes – Weatherproof tool storage boxes mount along the bed rails or sit on the bed floor to keep gear organized but accessible.
Lighting – LED auxiliary lights and light bars illuminate the bed area for loading in the dark. Some light bars mount on the cover itself.
Tailgate Assists – Gas struts or mechanical arms ease lowering and raising tailgates that can be heavy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does a tonneau cover really improve gas mileage?
A: Yes, a properly installed tonneau cover can increase your highway fuel economy by 10-15% by smoothing airflow over the bed. This reduces aerodynamic drag caused by air turbulence in the open bed. Covering cargo also lowers your vehicle’s weight. The sleek appearance looks great too!
Q: What’s the easiest tonneau cover to install?
A: Roll-up tonneau covers are generally the fastest to install because they utilize clamps rather than drilling into the bed itself. Look for above-bed rail clamps for simplest installation. Retractable and hinged covers are more involved.
Q: How do I know if a cover will fit my truck?
A: Always measure the bed length and width and cross-reference with the cover dimensions for an exact fit. Be sure to check the compatibility by truck make, model, and year. The product listing or manufacturer’s site should specify fitment. A reputable brand will help you find the right size.
Q: Are hard or soft covers better?
A: There are pros and cons to both. Hard covers made from aluminum or reinforced vinyl provide the most security and durability. But soft canvas and vinyl covers cost less while still smoothing airflow decently. Evaluate your priorities for budget, usage, access, and appearance.
Q: Can I drive with a tonneau cover partially open?
A: It’s not recommended to drive with your cover partially opened as this causes air turbulence. Folding covers should be fully closed or folded up. Roll-ups should be tightly sealed or fully retracted. Driving with an open cover reduces gas mileage.
Q: How do I clean my tonneau cover?
A: Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your specific cover. For vinyl covers, use a mild detergent and water solution with a soft brush. Rinse well. Avoid harsh chemical cleaners. Condition vinyl after cleaning to prevent cracking. Scrub aluminum panels with automotive paint cleaner.
Q: Does a cover protect cargo from theft?
A: The most secure tonneau covers are hard folding and retractable models with integrated locking mechanisms. Softer covers deter but don’t guarantee theft protection for your cargo. Avoid leaving valuables in an unattended truck bed even with a cover.
Q: Can I keep a tonneau cover open temporarily?
A: Yes, folding and roll-up covers allow you to open the cover fully and rest it against the cab when you need full bed access. This takes just seconds to fold or unroll. Retractable covers take slightly longer to fully open and retract against the cab. Just avoid extended driving with an open cover.
Q: How much weight can a tonneau cover support if stood/walked on?
A: Check your owner’s manual for the rated weight capacity. Most quality aluminum and reinforced vinyl covers can safely support 200-400 pounds spread evenly across the surface. Avoid concentrated foot traffic on soft vinyl/canvas covers. Standing for short periods to access your bed should be fine for most covers.
Adding a tonneau cover is one of the smartest upgrades you can make to your pickup. With benefits like improved gas mileage, cargo protection, and style points, these covers pay for themselves over time.
I hope these tonneau cover recommendations have simplified your buying decision. The BAKFLIP MX4, GATOR SFX TRI-FOLD, GATOR EFX, GATOR SRX, and TRUXEDO Truxport emerged as the top hard folding and roll-up contenders from my extensive testing.
Your choice comes down to your budget, priorities for durability, access, and security, and what looks best on your truck. Any of these covers will reward you with a smoother, quieter ride and put savings back in your pocket at the pump. Your truck bed will thank you!
Whichever high-quality tonneau cover you select, following professional installation and maintenance tips will ensure you maximize the benefits. Drive safely on your next highway trip and enjoy the improved aerodynamics!