Truck toppers and tonneau covers are two types of truck bed cover options that are used to protect and cover the bed of your truck. These two types of truck bed covers have different functionality and are used for specific applications.
Tonneau covers are lightweight and blend in seamlessly to the truck. Truck toppers are rigid covers that offer more storage and even a place to catch a few Z’s. Deciding the best type of truck bed cover for your truck depends on your needs and what you use your truck for.
How To Pick a Truck Cover
No matter which truck bed covers you choose, each option will protect your gear from the elements and from potential theft. However, not all truck bed covers are created equally.
When you begin shopping for truck bed covers, identify what you want your truck bed cover to accomplish, and start there. Don’t second guess yourself by asking, “Are truck caps worth it?” Set aside your concerns and start with the research!
Identify the pros and cons of popular truck caps and tonneau covers to help you decide the best fit for your truck. A few questions to ask yourself during your purchase process are:
- Do I want a soft or rigid version?
- Both tonneau covers and bed caps come in soft and rigid versions. Soft cover options are less expensive, lighter weight, and easier to install. Rigid options are more secure but have a higher price tag and are heavier.
- Do I want to carry tall items?
- If you regularly carry a motorcycle or tall items like appliances or furniture in your truck bed, then a bed topper will not be a good fit.
- Do I want to sleep in my truck bed?
- Sure, you can sleep in a truck bed with a tonneau cover if you fold or roll it up, but it doesn’t offer the same security as a bed topper. For regular car campers, a truck bed topper is the way to go.
Pros and Cons of a Truck Topper
A truck bed topper, sometimes called a camper shell, is a hard-bodied and windowed section that is placed on top of your truck bed. Camper shells transform a typically exposed truck bed into a lockable, weatherproof space for storing precious items or cargo.
Truck toppers provide extra height and protection of cargo and can even be an additional place to sleep on a camping trip. Some truck bed toppers have window access on the sides. These access points can also be fitted with shelves to help you keep your gear organized.
However, truck toppers can be difficult to remove and reinstall on your own, so they usually stay in place once installed. Also, items that you need to place into your truck must be done from the back of the truck, and accessibility problems can occur when items shift during transit.
Pros and Cons of a Tonneau Cover
A tonneau cover is made to seal the back of your truck bed from the elements and protect anything you store within. A tonneau cover can be folded back to allow the truck to remain within its pickup-style open truck bed.
Available in both hard and soft materials, there are many material options for tonneau covers to choose from. These covers are perfect for transporting materials that need additional height, like furniture or bulky items, as the cover can roll back and expose the entire breadth of the truck bed.
However, you may ask yourself, “Is a tonneau cover worth it?” It just depends on how you want to use your truck bed. If you need to keep items out of the elements and you don’t want them in your truck’s cab, then yes, they are worth it. Some say tonneau covers can save gas, which is debatable. Some of the soft covers have a limited lifespan and can wear out quickly or become damaged. Soft tonneau covers certainly don’t have the same lifespan as a truck bed topper. If this is a concern, we recommend looking at rigid tonneau covers.
Tonneau Covers and Bed Toppers from LINE-X
While both covers have great functionality, remember that there is also a difference in appearance as well. A truck topper gives your truck the look of a larger SUV-type vehicle, and the tonneau cover retains the original look of a truck.
LINE-X offers many different tonneau cover options for your needs, including our Swift Soft Tonneau Cover. If you think a pickup truck topper is more appropriate, we have lots of great options, such as our Sport and Elite Truck Toppers. Select LINE-X accessories carry a Lifetime Warranty, so if something breaks, just take it back to your local LINE-X dealer for repair or replacement.