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Tonneau Cover Buyers Guide by TruckAmmo

Are you looking for a truck bed Tonneau cover near Reading PA?  If so you have come to the right place!  TruckAmmo of Reading is here to serve you with the experience and friendly assistance that you need to make the right decision for your truck.  There are a LOT of covers out there, we can help you figure out which one meets your needs.

Thank you for visiting TruckAmmo's Tonneau Cover Buyer's guide.  Here you will find a comprehensive guide to all of the pros, cons, tips, and tricks for all of the available truck bed cover types.  Directly below this paragraph, you will find links to each of the 9 different tonneau cover (also known as tonno cover and bed cover) types along with a quick pro and con for each.  Directly below the links, you will find a complete guide for each type.  We recommend that you read the entire guide when trying to decide what cover is right for you.  There are many choices and they each have specific features, benefits, and drawbacks that you should know about.  At the bottom of the page, you will find our comparison chart.  This chart lays out the features of each model within the categories so you can quickly compare.

If you don't feel like READING all of this great information, that's ok!  We have VIDEOS on almost all of the tonneau covers avalable at the bottom of their respective pages.  So if video is your style, then start clicking on categories below, and then click on the specific models within the categories.  You will find videos at the bottom of the model pages.

Many people regret the choice they made when purchasing a tonneau cover.  Don't be one of them!  Read TruckAmmo's Tonneau Cover buyer's guide below and lock and load your brain!

Soft Snap tonneau cover

PRO: Lowest priced of all covers
CON: Difficult to snap when cold

Soft Snapless Tonneau Cover

PRO: Easy to operate in any temp
CON: Covers stake pockets

Soft Hinged Tonneau Covers

PRO: Easy to open and close
CON: Must remove for large cargo

Soft Folding Tonneau cover

PRO: Easy install and operation
CON: May not allow full bed use

Sleek looks and tight fitting low profile tonneau covers

PRO: Low sleek look can use stakes
CON: Most expensive soft cover

Superior strenght and security in a hard folding tonneau cover

PRO: High strength and security
CON: More expensive than soft

 Solid Tilting tonneau covers

PRO: High strength and security
CON: Must remove for large cargo

 Hard Retractable Tonneau Covers

PRO: High strength and security
CON: 1 ft bed loss to roll canister

 Tonneau covers that go with your existing toolbox

PRO: Add cover to your toolbox
CON: Limited selection

So you have a truck out there with a problem...  Either it has a bed cover that you are not happy with, or it is topless and therefore only great for hauling items with no value such as dirt, rocks, mulch, trash, etc.  Ok, so maybe some of that stuff is valuable to some people, and maybe there are people stealing dirt and rocks out of each other's truck beds all the time, but that is just weird if you ask me!  Anyway, If you want to prevent old Sneaky Pete down the street from stealing your rocks, or you don't want your fancy comic book collection to get wet while you transport it to the Smithsonian, then you have come to the right place!  Read below for all of the information you need to make the right choice on purchasing your truck bed cover.

Things to consider:   How often are you going to need to open and close the cover?  This may be more than you think.  How many times do you move stuff for people?  Thinking of buying some furniture or large appliances?  Want the ability to open and close it perfectly in less than 10 minutes?  Do you need access to the entire bed without uninstalling the cover?  Want to open it and close it in the winter?  Do you plan on using the stake pockets in your bed walls for something like a ladder rack or some bed rails or hooks for tying things down? 

Snap Style Tonneau Covers:  Snap style bed covers offer the basic protection for your bed.  They cover it.  With the basic protection comes the base price.  You need to remember that you are getting what you pay for.  These covers do the job, but they have several drawbacks that you should consider before purchasing. 

  1. The snap issue: Basically you are getting a cover that comes in several pieces.  You have the tarp which has snaps on three sides.  You have side rails and a tail rail.  The rails have sliding snap receivers on them.  There are also bows that lay across the bed from side rail to side rail.  These bows keep the tarp from sagging so water will run off instead of pooling in the middle. The tarp is attached perminently to the rail at the cab side of the bed.  The idea is that you stretch the tarp out over the bows, and you snap it down to the side and tailgate rails to close it.  This is typically not a problem when the outside temperature is above 70 degrees.  When it starts to get cold, the tarp will stiffen up and shrink.  When this happens, it becomes incredibly difficult to get all of the snaps to engage.  If you are strong enough to do it without ripping the cover, then you are lucky.  If not, then you will have part of the cover flapping in the wind, and definately not giving you the protection you wanted when you bought the cover.  If you live in a warm climate, then you will not have to worry about this too much.  If not, then you should really consider this issue.  It is a real problem that causes most snap cover owners to regret their purchase.  Especially when the snapless covers only cost about $70 more. 
  2. The stake pockets:  Snap covers typically install on top of the bed rail.  This means that they cover the stake pockets in the bed walls.  As such, you will not be able to install most ladder racks, bed bars, or stake pocket tie downs.  You may not think you need this now, but can you say you never will?

Snapless Tonneau Covers:  So the snapless covers get you out of that snap pergatory... great!  Ok, but there's a catch for MOST of them (of course right!).  The catch is, these covers simply fix the snap issue.  You can open and close them much more easily, but they still cover up your stake pockets (excpet the Truxedo Edge), so you will not be able to install a ladder rack or bed rails, etc.  Depending on your needs, this might be ok.  In this is the case, and you are simply looking for something that can cover the bed well and can be opened and closed in a reasonable amount of time with reasonable effort, then this could be the cover for you.

Soft Hinged or Tilting Tonneau Covers:  why do they have these?  The answer is immediate access to the entire bed (without necessarily opening the tailgate).  This lets you reach over the side of the bed to get things that may have moved around (most likely all the way to the front of the bed as my luck always plays out).  You won't have to climb on the tailgate and crawl under the cover to get your item.  You also won't have to unroll the entire cover and then roll it back up after you retrieved your item.  (if you have a snap cover in the winter during this situation, I suggest using a garden hoe to hook your item, driving in reverse with the tailgate open and then slamming on the brakes, or leave the item in there until spring before you unsnap even ONE of those devilish snaps!  (don't try that reverse thing, I was just kidding!)  The soft hinged cover can either quickly tilt open, or can be rolled open like the snap cover.  There is also a snapless version that will allow you to avoid the issues with the snaps. 

Soft Folding or TriFold Soft Tonneau Covers:  Soft folding tonneau covers or TriFold tonneau covers are a new design that is starting to become very popular.  People like them because they are incredibly easy to install (it takes longer to get it out of the box, really!).  They are also popular because they open and close very quickly.  They also look good.  They typically have a flat surface rather than a bowed or curved survace like the less expensive soft covers.  They do however have one drawback:  As you can see in the picture above, when they are completely open, you still have 1/3 of the cover sitting on the bed rails (except for the Truxedo Deuce).  You are not going to be able to slide a couch or anything taller than the bed walls up to the back of the cab for MOST models.  There are some that either convert to a rollup (like the Truxedo Duece), or can fold all the way up against the glass, but these are the exception.  If you are opting for this type (and that is still a good choice), make sure you know if the one you chose lets you use the entire bed or not.  Security on these is typically better than the previous models.  If you have a locking tailgate, then a thief is going to really have to yank on the cover to get an arm in, and then they are going to have to reach around and figure out how to release the latch at the top of the tailgate.  This would be VERY hard.  If they cut the cover with a knife, it would be easier obviously, but if someone wants your stuff that bad, they are going to get it somehow!

Soft Low Profile Tonneau Covers:  These are the most popular of all soft bed covers.  These covers sit almost flush with the bed rails. They are always tight and flat as a board due to their advanced auto tensioning systems.  They take about 30 minutes to install with common tools, and they look GREAT.  Definately the best looking of all soft covers.  They roll up to the cab and then tie off the rolled cover allowing you to use the entire bed without removing the cover.  There are a lot of benefits, and that is why they cost the most. Besides the price, I really cannot think of any cons.  They are usually very water resistant.  Most manufacturers claim a very robust seal that is "water resistant".  This is especially true when you use the tailgate seal that many of them come with.  I have put this type on several trucks.  I can tell you from personal experience that when properly installed, you can expect to be thoroughly surprised at the amount of water that is not in there after the biggest rainstorms.  We just had a "flashflood" last week and I had about 1/2 cup of water near the tailgate after driving around all day in the rain.  These covers have the same locking tail rail as the folding covers and better snapless models, so if your have a locking tailgate, they are pretty well secured. 

Hard Folding Tonneau Covers:  These covers are similar to the soft folding covers.  They are obviously more secure because it is going to take more than a knife to get through those aluminum plates!  They are also stronger.  Strong enough in fact that you could put cargo on top of them.  Some of the manufacturers like BAK have different models based on how much weight they can hold on top of them.  They sell cargo management solutions that go on top and everything.  If you have a locking talgate, this thing is practically a safe.  No one is getting in there without waking you up because it is going to take dynomite to get in there!  You get the advantages of a solid cover without the disadvantages.  You do not have to remove it to cary large cargo.  Bak's folding covers can also open up all the way (folding up against the glass of the cab) so you can use the entire bed without limitation.  The cover can also be sent by regular ground shipping which is why it is less expensive than the solid cover.  Of the hard tonneau covers, this cover style is the best.

Solid Tilting Tonneau Covers:  Solid tonneau covers are the original hard cover for truck beds.  These covers are usually made of fiberglass or a durable plastic such as ABS.  These covers offer great strength and security.  They are also good looking with options that can be painted to match the color of your truck.  There are 2 major drawbacks on these covers.  The first one is the one piece design.  This cover can only tilt up.  This means that you are not going to be able to put a couch, refrigerator, or anything large into the bed without having to remove and store the cover.  This can turn into a real hassel if you happen to be out and about and happen to need the entire bed without notice (such as a shopping trip where you stumble upon a once in a lifetime sale on a nice refrigerator for your man cave that you just cannot pass up!)  In this case, you would have to go home, drop off the cover, and then drive back hoping that some other lucky fool doesn't get your treasure while you are gone.  The other issue with the size is the fact that it must be shipped truck freight.  This does not sound like an issue because why would you ever need to ship it?  You wouldn't, but it needs to be shipped a few times before it ends up in your hands, and that adds to the price.  That's why the hard folding covers are less expensive even though they most of the same benfits and none of the drawbacks.  One thing the solid covers do have over the folding hard covers is that paintability feature.  If you are one of those guys that wants everything to match perfectly, and a black cover just won't do, then the paintable solid cover is your cover.

Hard Retractable Tonneau covers:  Retractable hard tonneua covers are an interesting concept.  They install just like a soft cover with rails along the sides, but they use a hard (typically aluminum) belt like series of 2-3inch interlocking metal plates.  When opened, this belt rolls up into a canister that is at the cab side of the bed just below the glass.  The canisters usually take up about a foot or so of the front half of the bed.  This is the drawback.  If you have a short bed, you might want to consider if you are willing to lose 1 to 2 feet of your bed to this canister.  Besides that, these covers are great.  They look great, they are easy and fast to open and close, and they are strong and secure.  As with most others, if you have a locking tailgate, it is near imposible to break into the bed of your truck with this cover closed and locked.

ToolBox Tonneau Covers:  One of the most common misconceptions about tonneau covers today is that you cannot have one if you have a typical toolbox mounted in your truck bed.  This used to be the case, but no longer is true.  Now you can purchase a toolbox tonneau cover to add to your truck bed.  These covers work great, but they rely on one thing.  Your toolbox must have the standard width of 20 inches.  Most off the shelf toolboxes have this width, so these covers work well with most tool boxes.  In this series, there are 3 choices available (all from Extang):  The FullTilt (a soft tilting cover - in snap or snapless versions), The Express (a snapless cover), and the Platinum (a snap cover).  Availability on the different styles varies depending on the truck year, make, and model.

Summary:  So there are many options to choose from out there!  If you read your way all the way through each of the types, congratulations!  You are now well informed about the ins and outs of Tonneau covers, bed covers, tonno covers, or whatever you may call them!  If you skimmed through or just do not have time to read all of that, here is a very helpful comparison chart that points out the pros and cons of the various models that fit into the type categories above.  Use this chart as a quick reference of the key points for each type and model. 

Thank you for taking the time to review the buyer's guide.  Now that you have the knowledge, go ahead and click on the link to the category you have your eye on above.  You will be shown a complete summary of each model that fits into that category as well as a reference to the model that fits your truck!


Tonneau Cover Model Cost Stake Pocket
Difficult to operate (ie has snaps) Installation Time Bows rollup with Tarp? look security water and dust resistance Percent of full bed access without uninstall Open and close time Strength to support weight
Extang BlackMax LOWEST NO YES 1hr NO GOOD LOW LOW 100 5 mins + none
Extang Classic Platinum LOWEST NO YES 1hr NO GOOD LOW LOW 100 5 mins + none
Extang Tuff Tonneau LOW NO NO 45min NO GOOD BETTER BETTER 100 3 mins none
Truxedo Truxport LOW NO NO 20min YES BETTER BETTER BETTER 100 30 seconds none
Extang Express Tonno LOW NO NO 20min YES BETTER BETTER BETTER 100 30 seconds none
Truxedo Edge LOW YES NO 20min YES BETTER BETTER BETTER 100 30 seconds none
Extang FullTilt MED NO NO* 45min NO GOOD LOW LOW 100 5 seconds none
Truxedo Deuce MED YES NO 20min YES BETTER BETTER BETTER 100 30 seconds none
Extang Trifecta MED NO NO 20min YES BETTER BETTER BETTER 66 15 seconds none
Extang Revolution HIGH YES NO 20min YES BEST BETTER BETTER 100 30 seconds none
Truxedo Lo Pro QT HIGH YES NO 20min YES BEST BETTER BETTER 100 30 seconds none
Extang Solid Fold HIGHER NO NO 20min YES BEST BEST BEST 66 15 seconds HIGHER
UnderCover Classic HIGHER NO NO 45min NA BETTER BEST BEST 33 5 seconds HIGHEST
UnderCover SE HIGHEST NO NO 45min NA BEST BEST BEST 33 5 seconds HIGHEST
UnderCover SE Smooth HIGHEST NO NO 45min NA BEST BEST BEST 33 5 seconds HIGHEST
Extang Toolbox Tonneau - Fulltilt MED NO NO* 45min NO GOOD LOW LOW 100 5 seconds none
 Extang Toolbox Tonneau- Express  LOW  NO NO 20min  YES BETTER  BETTER  BETTER  100  30 seconds  none 
 Extang Toolbox Tonneau- Platinum  LOWEST  NO  YES  1hr  NO  GOOD  LOW LOW  100  5mins +  none 

 TruckAmmo is located in Reading PA.  Please call 484-334-8939 for more information.


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