Picking the right accessories can be tough because today’s performance market is all about making sure your truck can support any lifestyle. As a result, there’s usually not a single best choice for upgrades, even when it comes to the tonneau style you go with. There are a few distinct advantages and disadvantages to each, though. As a result, hard tonneau truck bed covers are a little better for the average driver.
Before ruling out a softcover, you should look into the cases where they are a much better choice for your needs. They can be simpler to install, and they usually win out for price point. When it comes to other factors, though, things aren’t as clear-cut.
There was a 2007 wind tunnel study by the Specialty Equipment Market Association that showed all types of tonneau covers reduced drag and improved fuel efficiency in the flagship American truck lines by Ford, GMC, Chevy, and Dodge. Unfortunately, a subsequent Consumer Reports study found the opposite, as did an experiment on the popular science program Mythbusters. So what does that mean? Well, it depends on how the studies stack up, because not all experiments are equally valid.
- Mythbusters and Consumer Reports each used a single truck, SEMA used four models
- SEMA was the only study to test every tonneau design type rigorously
- Only the SEMA study used a controlled wind tunnel environment
- SEMA conducted the only study to include any data on hardcovers at all
What does this mean for your Bak bed cover? It means there’s more reason to believe the SEMA study than the others, at least when it comes to hard tonneau cover designs. The data is pretty divided when it comes to soft covers, though.
Security and Safety
You won’t find many soft tonneau designs that lend themselves to locking, although there are probably a couple of designs that have flirted with it. When the cover snaps on and off, there isn’t really a lot of point in attempting a lock, and most soft covers use snap buttons or other manual anchor points. By contrast, several hard tonneau designs lock into place, including folding designs, retractable rollers, and some models of single-piece hardcovers.
If you’re really concerned about making it hard to access the truck bed, the best choice will be a high-security design made to purpose, something with built-in toolboxes that also lock securely. Otherwise, hardcovers take a general win in this category because they are harder to bypass on average.
Price Point and Lifespan
A good hardcover should last a long time because like most truck accessories, truck bed covers are generally designed for the hard work trucks are asked to do. Investing in a design that’s built for ease of use like the MX4 Bakflip , doesn’t compromise that lifespan at all. Quality materials do cost money, though, and hardcovers generally take more material to make than soft covers. As a result, they cost more. The other side of things, though, is their increased durability.
While plenty of people never need to replace their soft covers, they can’t take the same kind of beating that a hardcover does. If you’re asking a lot of your truck or doing work where there’s a fair chance of tearing up a softcover, it’s well worth the investment in a hard tonneau. Otherwise, the softcover is the budget option. Check out tonneau designs today to learn more about your choices.