As a home renovator and outdoor enthusiast, I rely heavily on my truck for both work and play. My old tonneau cover finally gave out after years of use, so it was time to replace it with a new universal fit option.
I wanted a cover that could stand up to the elements while securing the items in my truck bed. After thorough testing and research, I’ve selected my top tonneau cover picks for durability, ease of use, and versatility. Keep reading for my full reviews on which universal fit tonneau covers will be the best investment for your truck!
Comparison of Key Features
Before diving into the individual reviews, here is a helpful comparison of some of the main features of each universal fit tonneau cover:
|Gator Covers SFX Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover
|Tear-resistant vinyl with aluminum frames
|10 years on vinyl
|Gator Covers EFX Hard Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover
|Heavy-duty aluminum panels
|BAKFLIP MX4 Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
|Aircraft-grade aluminum panels
|Tyger Auto T1 Soft Roll Up Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
|Marine-grade vinyl with aluminum frames
|Undercover Flex Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
|Fiberglass reinforced polymer
Gator Covers SFX Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover – Best Budget-Friendly Soft Tonneau Cover
As a home renovator on a budget, I was looking for a reasonably priced soft tonneau cover that could stand up to regular use. The Gator Covers SFX Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover fit the bill with its durable construction, ease of use, and wallet-friendly price point.
This Gator Covers tonneau is made from tear-resistant vinyl that has reinforced aluminum frames for added strength and stability. Despite the budget price, it still comes backed with a lengthy 10-year warranty on the vinyl material to give buyers peace of mind.
Installing this cover only took me about 20 minutes since it uses a clamp-on rail design with no drilling required. Once installed, I found the tri-folding panels easy to fold up or down within seconds to allow full or partial access to the truck bed. The Velcro straps also let me secure the cover along the side rails when fully open.
Living in a rainy climate, the tarp-like vinyl material provides reliable protection from the elements for my truck bed contents. I’ve hauled plywood, tools, and outdoor gear without worrying about moisture damage. For me, the Gator Covers SFX strikes the ideal balance of price, longevity, and practical utility.
- Durable vinyl material with aluminum frame
- Tri-fold design for partial or full bed access
- Clamp-on rails require no drilling
- 10-year warranty on vinyl
- Budget-friendly price
- Easy and quick installation
- Tear-resistant vinyl withstands weather
- Full bed access when opened
- Not as rugged as hard covers
- Vinyl prone to scratches over time
- No specified weight capacity
Gator Covers EFX Hard Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover – Best Hard Tri-Fold Tonneau for Security
As both a contractor and outdoor enthusiast, I need a tonneau cover that can securely lock up my tools and gear inside the truck bed. The Gator Covers EFX Hard Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover stood out for its durable aluminum construction, smooth tri-folding design, and reliable locking system.
Made from heavy-duty aluminum panels with a diamond plate texture, this cover feels supremely sturdy and rigid. The low-profile tri-fold design smoothly retracts in seconds for full bed access yet still allows you to fold down just the rear panel for partial access.
Installing the EFX took under 30 minutes with a simple clamp-on rail design that requires no drilling into the truck bed. But what I really appreciate is the lockable dual-rotary latch system integrated into the cover. It gives me peace of mind that my cargo will stay protected, whether I’m at a job site or camping overnight.
With a 300 lb weight capacity, the aluminum build can easily handle heavy items like plywood sheets or toolboxes. And the 3-year manufacturer warranty provides decent protection for defects. For its security, strength, and smooth operation, the Gator Covers EFX is my top hard tri-fold choice.
- Heavy-duty aluminum panels
- Low-profile tri-folding design
- Lockable dual-rotary latch system
- 300 lb weight capacity
- Sturdy aluminum construction
- Smooth folding operation
- Reliable integrated locking system
- No drilling installation
- Slightly pricier than vinyl covers
- Limited 3-year warranty period
BAKFLIP MX4 Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover – Best Stylish Hard Folding Tonneau
I love the sleek look of hard folding tonneaus, and the BAKFLIP MX4 stands out with its matte aluminum finish and flush-mount style. Beyond just good looks, it also provides sturdy protection and smooth operation.
The aircraft-grade aluminum panels on the MX4 have a stylish matte finish that I think pairs nicely with glossy or matte truck paint jobs. The panels fold smoothly under the cover rails for a flush, seamless profile when closed.
Installing the MX4 took around 30-40 minutes with a rail mounting system that requires no drilling into the truck bed. Once installed, the folding operation is smooth and simple, allowing complete or partial access in seconds. The gas spring-assisted operation means there’s minimal effort needed on my part.
This BAKFLIP tonneau claims up to 400 lb weight capacity, which matches or beats most hard covers. The durable aluminum build gives me confidence it can handle repeated heavy use. And with a 5-year warranty, it has one of the longest coverages for manufacturer defects. Overall, the MX4 adds stylish flair along with strength and ease of use.
- Aircraft-grade aluminum panels
- Matte finish and flush mount style
- Gas spring assisted folding operation
- 400 lb weight capacity
- Sleek, seamless matte design
- Easy no-drill installation
- Smooth folding operation
- 5-year manufacturer warranty
- Higher price than vinyl options
- No integrated locking mechanism
Tyger Auto T1 Soft Roll Up Truck Bed Tonneau Cover – Best Roll-Up Tonneau for Easy Access
While working on home renovation projects, I need quick and easy access to my truck bed and everything stored inside it. That made the Tyger Auto T1 Soft Roll Up Tonneau Cover the perfect choice with its roll-up design that opens in seconds.
The T1 is made from marine-grade vinyl that rolls up accordion-style into the canister at the cab end of the truck bed. The aluminum side rails and crossbows reinforce the vinyl material so it can handle heavy use.
Installing the T1 only took about 10 minutes since it has a no-drill clamp system that just secures onto the side bed rails. Unrolling the cover to access the full bed takes just seconds, as does rolling it back up and securing it. The front Velcro flap also lets me quickly access the front part of the bed when needed.
Living in a damp climate, the vinyl material reliably repels moisture and debris thanks to the attached hook-and-loop seals. And the 10-year warranty provides awesome long-term protection against material flaws. For its quick installation, fast roll-up access, and durable vinyl build, the T1 is a phenomenal value.
- Marine-grade vinyl material
- Aluminum side rails and crossbows
- Roll-up design with front access flap
- 10-year manufacturer warranty
- Takes seconds to open/close
- No-drill quick installation
- Vinyl withstands weather and moisture
- Front access flap for partial bed access
- Not as secure as hard covers
- Vinyl prone to scratches over time
Undercover Flex Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover – Best Lightweight Low-Profile Tonneau
As an outdoor enthusiast who often drives into the backcountry, I wanted a durable, low-profile tonneau that wouldn’t weigh down my truck. That made the lightweight Undercover Flex Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover the ideal choice.
Rather than heavy aluminum or steel, the Flex uses panels made of a fiberglass reinforced polymer material. This makes the cover incredibly lightweight yet still rigid and durable enough for off-road use.
It took me about 30 minutes to install the Flex since it uses a simple clamp mounting system with no drilling required. Despite the lightweight build, it still boasts an impressive 400 lb weight capacity according to the manufacturer.
The folding panels conveniently tuck under the cover, hugging the bed rails for a super low-profile look. Unfolding the panels to access the bed takes just seconds, so I can easily load and unload gear for my backcountry camping trips.
With its rugged yet lightweight build and smooth folding operation, the UnderCover Flex provides reliable protection without adding a lot of extra weight. The 3-year warranty is also decent for a hard tonneau cover.
- Fiberglass reinforced polymer construction
- Ultra lightweight but durable
- Low-profile folding design
- 400 lb weight capacity
- Lightweight for off-road use
- Low-profile, seamless look when closed
- Easy no-drill installation
- Hard cover protection without heavy weight
- Not as stylish as aluminum options
- Only 3-year manufacturer warranty
Why You Should Trust Me
As a home renovator and outdoor enthusiast, I rely heavily on my pickup truck for both work and play. That means I need a versatile tonneau cover that can protect my cargo from the elements without getting in the way of accessing the truck bed.
I’ve personally tested and used several different tonneau covers over the past 10 years, gaining first-hand experience with their real-world performance and durability. For this review, I evaluated over 15 top-rated universal fit tonneau covers based on material quality, ease of use, weather protection, and overall buyer satisfaction.
To select my top recommendations, I assessed factors like long-term durability, ease of installation, smooth opening and closing operation, and strength of the manufacturer warranty. Hands-on testing on my own truck allowed me to gauge the real-world functionality of the different folding and roll-up covers.
With my background as both a tradesman and outdoor adventurer, I understand what features are most important in a reliable tonneau cover. These recommendations reflect options that provide the ideal balance of durability, performance, security, and ease of use for a wide range of truck owners.
Who Should Consider a Universal Fit Tonneau Cover?
If you own a pickup truck, adding a tonneau cover is one of the best ways to protect the truck bed from weather, debris, and theft. A tonneau can also help improve gas mileage by streamlining airflow.
Universal fit tonneaus are designed to work with most standard full-size truck beds between 5’5” to 8’ in length, without requiring a exact make/model fit. This makes them an ideal option for anyone with an older truck or who wants flexibility to transfer the cover to a new truck later on.
Here are some key factors to consider when deciding if a universal tonneau is right for your needs:
- Use of truck bed – Will you hauling tools, equipment, furniture, or other cargo that needs protection from rain or dust? A secure tonneau can keep items locked up and damage-free.
- Gas mileage – Do you want to maximize MPG savings? A roll-up or hard folding tonneau can improve gas mileage 5-10% on average when closed.
- Truck bed access – How often will you need access to the full bed? Roll-up covers allow fastest full access, while tri-fold options offer more limited access.
- Security – Is locking up your cargo a priority? Hard folding covers with lockable latches offer the most secure containment.
- Budget – What is your budget for a tonneau cover? Prices range from $200 for basic soft covers up to $1000+ for premium hard covers.
How to Choose the Best Universal Fit Tonneau Cover?
With many types and options to consider, here are the key factors I recommend focusing on when selecting a universal fit tonneau:
- Cover material – Vinyl and aluminum are most common. Vinyl is more budget-friendly while aluminum offers more security and durability.
- Folding/rolling operation – Choose tonneaus that fold or roll up smooth and quick for easy access. Hard covers tend to fold, while vinyl covers roll up.
- Clamp or drill installation – Look for no-drill, clamp-on rails for fastest, simplest DIY installation. Drilling-required covers are more secure though.
- Weather protection – Ensure the cover material and seals will prevent rain, snow, and debris from penetrating the bed interior.
- Weight capacity – Check manufacturer specs on weight capacity. Hard covers generally offer higher ratings of 300-400+ lbs.
- Warranty – Opt for at least a 3-year warranty, or 10-year for vinyl covers. It protects against early material failure or defects.
- Added features – Choose options like integrated locking systems on hard folding covers for extra security and convenience.
Expert Tips for Choosing and Using Universal Tonneau Covers
Based on my years of experience using different tonneau covers, here are my top tips for picking the right option:
- For the most versatility, stick with a mid-range universal size of 6’-6.5’ to fit different truck bed lengths.
- Hard covers naturally provide more durability and security, but weigh more. Only splurge on premium aluminum if those features are crucial.
- Integrated locking latches on hard folding covers offer reliable protection with no need to manually padlock a tailgate.
- For convenience, look for quick release systems that allow the cover to fold open in seconds without any manual latching/unlatching.
- With roll-up covers, opt for vinyl over canvas since it better withstands moisture and mildew buildup.
- Keep an eye out for stress points or tearing at fold points that may signal the need for sealing repairs to maintain weather protection.
- Periodically cleaning the cover with soap and water will help prevent dirt and debris buildup that could abrade the material over time.
- If security is a priority, adding a good tailgate lock provides extra protection when a tonneau cover is rolled or folded open for truck bed access.
Other Truck Bed Covers and Accessories to Consider
Beyond basic soft or hard tonneau covers, here are some other pickup bed covers and accessories to look at:
These heavy-duty covers use an electric motor system to retract the cover open and closed at the push of a button. More expensive but highly convenient if you need frequent full bed access.
Plush fitted rugs that cover the truck bed floor, protecting it from dents and scratches while adding a classy look. Great for use under a tonneau cover.
Rugged rubber or plastic liners that protect the inner bed walls from dents, rust, and paint damage. Essential if you haul heavy equipment or tools often.
Telescoping rail systems that extend over the open tailgate to add extra length to the bed for hauling long items like ladders or kayaks.
Versatile nets stretch across the bed interior to keep loose items from shifting and sliding while driving. A cost-effective way to contain cargo.
One-piece covers (made of materials like fiberglass) that enclose the entire bed for maximum protection. More expensive but very rugged and secure.
FAQs About Universal Fit Tonneau Covers
What are the main benefits of installing a tonneau cover?
A tonneau provides many benefits for your truck:
- Protection – Keeps cargo safe from weather, dust, and theft
- Security – Allows you to lock up the truck bed and valuables inside
- Appearance – Provides a smooth, sleek look compared to open bed
- Gas mileage – Improves MPG by reducing turbulence in truck bed
How difficult is it to install a tonneau cover?
Most universal fit tonneaus designed for DIY installation can be installed in 30-60 minutes, depending on the mounting system. Look for clamp-on models that don’t require drilling for quickest installation.
Will a tonneau cover leak during heavy rain?
Quality covers from reputable brands provide reliable water protection thanks to weather-tight seals along the tailgate and sides. Periodically check for flap tearing or seal damage that could lead to leaking over time.
Can you keep a tonneau cover on year-round, or should it be removed in winter?
You can safely keep quality vinyl or aluminum tonneau covers installed year-round. However, during snowy winters, be sure to clear any heavy snow buildup off the cover to avoid any bending, warping, or cracking over time.
It’s also a good idea to check that snow and ice buildup are not preventing the cover from folding or rolling open smoothly. Apply de-icer as needed. And avoid hitting the cover with sharp ice scrapers or shovels that could scratch or puncture it.
With proper winter maintenance and care, quality universal fit tonneau covers can reliably withstand year-round use in any climate. Just take some extra precautions during snow seasons to prevent any weather-related damage.
How much can a tonneau cover hold weight-wise?
Weight capacities depend on the cover material and construction:
- Vinyl roll-up covers – 200-300 lbs
- Folding aluminum covers – 300-500 lbs
- Retractable/one-piece fiberglass – 500+ lbs
Always check manufacturer specs and do not exceed the rated capacity to avoid damage. Reinforced aluminum tri-fold or retractable covers typically offer the highest weight ratings.
Does a tonneau cover improve gas mileage?
Yes, adding a tonneau cover can boost gas mileage anywhere from 5-10% on average when closed. This is because it streamlines airflow over the truck bed, reducing wind drag and turbulence that can decrease fuel efficiency. Just make sure to keep it sealed tightly.
What kind of warranty should I look for on a tonneau cover?
Look for at least a 3-year warranty on folding aluminum or hard plastic covers. Premium brands offer 5-year warranties. For vinyl roll-up covers, expect around a 10-year warranty which covers premature vinyl cracking or tearing. This protects against early manufacturer defects.
How can I improve security with a soft roll-up tonneau?
For added security with a vinyl roll-up cover, use an aftermarket tailgate lock to deter thieves even when the cover is open. You can also install small locks on the cover roll latches to prevent unrolling when locked. Storing any valuables out of sight helps too.