Speed Reads:

  • The best hard tonneau cover in 2023 is the GatorTrax. The GatorTrax retracts and dispenses smoothly, can lock in any position you like, and you won’t even need a drill for installation.
  • The Gator SFX Tri-Fold features a rigid, lightweight frame, but still offers quality weather resistance. Those who want a simple and straightforward tonneau cover to operate should consider the UnderCover SE.
  • Hard tonneau covers cost between $300 to $1,4000 depending on the brand and cover type. One-piece and retractable covers tend to be more expensive than folding hard tonneau covers.
Best Hard Tonneau Cover
GatorTrax Tonneau Cover

An easy-to-use tonneau cover that can lock in any position.

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Best Hard Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover
Gator SFX Tri-Fold

An incredibly well-designed tri-fold tonneau cover.

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Best One-Piece Hard Tonneau Cover
UnderCover SE

A secure and waterproof locking hard tonneau cover.

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Best Retractable Tonneau Cover
Gator Recoil

A retracting tonneau cover with a ball-bearing design.

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Best Hard-Folding Tonneau Cover

A folding cover with hydraulic stands for full truck bed access.

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The best hard tonneau cover is one that is secure, easy to use, and won’t let too much rain into your truck bed. Expect to spend at least $800 on such a cover, and possibly more if you have an especially large truck bed. With that much money on the line, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the best cover possible.

In this review, we suggest a variety of top-rated hard tonneau covers. We’ll help you find the right truck accessories for your needs, budget, and style.

Top Rated Hard Tonneau Covers

We decided the GatorTrax is the best hard tonneau cover in 2023. Below are each of our top picks:

  1. GatorTrax Tonneau Cover: Best Hard Tonneau Cover
  2. Gator SFX Tri-Fold: Best Hard Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover
  3. UnderCover SE: Best One-Piece Hard Tonneau Cover: 
  4. Gator Recoil: Best Retractable Hard Tonneau Cover 
  5. BAK BAKFlip G2: Best Hard-Folding Tonneau Cover  
  6. Gator EFX: Best Budget Hard Tonneau Cover
  7. TruXedo Sentry CT: Best Low-Profile Hard Tonneau Cover

Hard Tonneau Cover Reviews

After we reviewed several options ranging in price, we determined that Gator offers the best hard tonneau cover with the GatorTrax because it is easy to install, easy to use, and built to last.

Compare Hard Tonneau Covers

While the GatorTrax is the top-rated hard tonneau cover overall, the best hard tonneau cover for you will depend on your needs and budget. In the table below, you can compare the top seven hard tonneau covers on our list:

ModelSuperlativeApproximate CostCover TypeMaterialWarranty
GatorTrax Tonneau CoverBest Hard Tonneau CoverStarts at $1,400RetractableComposite1 year
Gator SFX Tri-FoldBest Hard Tri-Fold Tonneau CoverStarts at $300Tri-FoldVinylLimited lifetime (structural) and 10 years (tarp)
Undercover SEBest One-Piece Hard Tonneau CoverStarts at $1,200One-pieceABS Composite3 years structural, 1 year parts, and 1 year hardware
Gator RecoilBest Retractable Tonneau CoverStarts at $1,000RetractableAluminum2 years
BAK BAKFlip G2Best Hard-Folding Tonneau CoverStarts at $1,100FoldingAluminum3 years
Gator EFXBest Budget Tonneau CoverStarts at $750FoldingAluminumLimited lifetime
Truxedo Sentry GTBest Low-Profile Tonneau CoverStarts at $1,150FoldingAluminum & pressure-bonded woven fabric5 years

*Because cost data fluctuates, the prices in the table above are approximate values that our team regularly updates.

Best Hard Truck Bed Covers

We’ve provided a detailed review of each of the top hard tonneau covers in the sections below:

1. GatorTrax: Best Hard Tonneau Cover

  • RealTruck review score: 4.6 out of 5.0 (around 200 reviews)
  • Style: Retractable
  • Material: Composite
  • Warranty length: One year

GatorTrax Tonneau Cover
Starting at $1,419 RealTruck
  • Lockable with a key in any position
  • Comes with a sleek matte finish
  • No drill needed for installation
  • Relatively unclear instructions

Impact-resistant polycarbonate slats ensure the GatorTrax is built to last. A flat matte finish completes the look of this retractable tonneau cover. It should also be noted that the GatorTrax works well with most fifth wheel hitches.

We were really impressed by how smoothly the GatorTrax operates, as it was easy to retract and quick to lock in any position we pleased. The overall quality of this tonneau cover impressed us, and we have few doubts about its ability to last over time.

GatorTrax Tonneau Cover Review

The GatorTrax Tonneau Cover separates itself from other retractable tonneau covers as it can lock in any position. Most standard retractable tonneau covers only permit locking every 12.0 inches. Sealed ball bearings ensure your tonneau cover will never freeze shut and require no maintenance.

Our Experience With The GatorTrax

The GatorTrax Tonneau Cover is the very first tonneau cover our team got their hands on. We found the instructions to be frustrating to decipher. While there were instructions included for many vehicle types, the instructions for each specific vehicle type weren’t very detailed or helpful.

Our team prides itself on our extensive knowledge of various aftermarket vehicle parts. That said, we had limited knowledge of tonneau cover installation prior to putting the GatorTrax through its paces. While installing the heavy and unwieldy cover was tiring, it did work well once installed.

Additionally, this tonneau cover’s design and overall quality stood out to us. We don’t foresee customers needing to replace this tonneau cover for a number of years.

GatorTrax: What Customers Are Saying

Customers love the GatorTrax Tonneau Cover and reviews online reflect this. A commonly noted feature by reviewers is the easy installation, with some saying it took them as little as 30 minutes to get this tonneau cover installed, though this didn’t quite line up with our experience.

One reviewer chose this tonneau cover for its waterproof design. This claim was put to the test using a water hose sprayed along the seams of the cover. The reviewer claims their truck bed was bone dry afterward.

2. Gator SFX Tri-Fold: Best Hard Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover

  • RealTruck review score: 4.8 out of 5.0 (over 3,500 reviews)
  • Style: Tri-fold
  • Material: Vinyl
  • Warranty length: Limited lifetime (structural) and 10 years (tarp)
Gator SFX Tri-Fold
Starting at $299 RealTruck
  • Rigid, lightweight frame
  • Weather-resistant
  • No tools needed for installation
  • May be prone to leaking

This tri-fold truck bed cover is made from marine-grade, tear-resistant vinyl – so you won’t need to worry about this tonneau cover ripping. Monster Bows reinforce the corners of the Gator SFX to support the cover in cases of Mother Nature’s more severe weather storms.

Gator SFX Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover Review

The Gator SFX Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover is made from marine-grade vinyl and is covered under the Gator Guarantee. The Gator Guarantee ensures that if you’re not happy with this tonneau cover for any reason, you can swap it for another Gator tonneau cover within 30 days under the company’s “love it or swap it” guarantee.

Gator SFX Tri-Fold: What Customers Are Saying

Thousands of customers online have left their two cents on the Gator SFX Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover, with a huge number of reviews citing its quick and easy installation. One review even openly questioned, “Why can’t everything work as well as this [tonneau cover]?” Several customers also note the Gator SFX’s durability and bang for your buck.

3. UnderCover SE: Best One-Piece Hard Tonneau Cover

  • RealTruck review score: 4.7 out of 5.0 (over 100 reviews)
  • Style: One-piece
  • Material: ABS Composite
  • Warranty length: Three years structural, one year parts, and one year hardware
UnderCover SE One-Piece Tonneau Cover
UnderCover SE One-Piece Tonneau Cover
Starting at $1,199 RealTruck
  • Easy installation and operation
  • Lightweight, durable materials
  • Built-in LED light system
  • May scratch easily
  • Expensive

Although the SE is made with scratch-resistant ABS composite material, the risk of dings, dents, and marks is always higher with one-piece covers. Buyers should be weary of potential wear and tear showing over time.

UnderCover SE Review

The UnderCover SE is a good pick for those who want a way to keep items in their truck bed dry and secure. According to most user reviews, this one-piece cover has a single-point lock and is effectively waterproof.

This one-piece truck cover has raised rib styling for improved aerodynamic performance and is highly durable thanks to its X-frame and ABS composite structure. With its distinct black-matte finish, the SE plays well with most truck colors and models and is available in a smooth finish for custom painting. As an added bonus, the UnderCover SE also comes with an LED lighting system.

UnderCover SE: What Customers Are Saying

Reviewers praise the UnderCover SE for its relatively low cost and solid build quality. Many say this truck bed cover is easy to install and very good at keeping out water. A few reviewers have complained about leaks, but others suggest this may be a result of improper installation. It must be perfectly aligned along the bed rails to form an effective seal.

There are a few who dislike the locking mechanism, saying that a two-lock system is a more secure alternative. Another issue some have with this hard tonneau cover is that it is not weight-bearing

4. Gator Recoil: Best Retractable Tonneau Cover

  • RealTruck review score: 4.2 out of 5.0 (around 100 reviews)
  • Style: Retractable
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Warranty length: Two years
Gator Recoil Retractable Tonneau Cover
Gator Recoil
$999 RealTruck
  • Additional security with added locks
  • Compacts on its own
  • Sturdy materials
  • Expensive
  • Installation can be difficult

The Gator Recoil Retractable Tonneau Cover motor comes pre-assembled, making it easier to install. The cover’s aluminum panels retract easily into its canister, which helps with storage when not in use.

Gator Recoil Tonneau Cover Review

Retractable hard tonneau covers are some of the easiest to use, and the Gator Recoil is no exception. It features a quick-release hatch and a springless, ball-bearing retraction design that reduces the likelihood of parts failure.

The matte black powder-coated aluminum slats retract into a small canister allowing for full bed access. This versatile truck bed tonneau cover can be partially retracted to the latch stops, which can be positioned anywhere along the truck bed. Finally, this cover increases security, as it cannot be retracted if the tailgate is locked.

Gator Recoil: What Customers Are Saying

Reviewers like this hard rolling cover because it looks good and is inexpensive for a retractable cover. For most, it works well and is worth the cost.

Some complain about a challenging installation process and question how weather-resistant this hard tonneau cover really is.

5. BAK BAKFlip G2: Best Hard-Folding Tonneau Cover

  • RealTruck review score: 4.6 out of 5.0 (over 700 reviews)
  • Style: Folding
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Warranty length: Three years
BAK BAKFlip G2 Hard Folding Tonneau Cover
BAK BAKFlip G2 Hard Folding Tonneau Cover
Starting at $1,099 RealTruck
  • Strong materials with weight tolerance up to 300 pounds
  • Easy installation
  • Prop-up capabilities for large cargo
  • Expensive

The BAKFlip G2 allows truck owners to fold their cover for storage without blocking the third tail light or impairing rearview capacities. It’s also backed by a three-year warranty, providing extra peace of mind.

BAKFlip G2 Tonneau Cover Review

The BAKFlip G2 is a folding tonneau cover that can be flipped up against the cab to allow for full bed access. It is constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum panels with a powder-coated black finish for increased UV resilience.

The edges of the G2 are lined with EPDM rubber seals to keep out the rain. Built-in drainage channels along the sides of the cover also help to keep your truck bed dry. Overall, the BAKFlip is a good option for those in need of an easy-to-use hard tonneau cover that can provide full bed access without being removed.

If you’re looking for something a little more durable, but don’t mind spending more, the BAKFlip MX4 hard-folding truck bed tonneau cover is a similar alternative. This cover has four folding sections instead of three, has a higher surface weight tolerance (up to 400.0 lbs.), and is compatible with the BakBox storage box.

BAK BAKFlip G2: What Customers Are Saying

The traits users seem to most appreciate about the BAKFlip G2 are that it is easy to install, easy to use, and allows for full truck bed access. A recurring comment is that this tonneau cover fits perfectly.

While most reviewers mention that the G2 is exceptionally easy to install, there are some negative reviews that claim the opposite. There are also some (relatively few) who complain about quality control, so difficult installation may be a result of faulty parts.

Reviews about the G2s waterproofing are mixed, with most claiming that it is effectively water-tight, while others say that their G2 tonneau cover leaks, especially at the tailgate as it ages.

6. Gator EFX: Best Budget Tonneau Cover

  • RealTruck review score: 4.7 out of 5.0 (over 400 reviews)
  • Style: Folding
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Warranty length: Limited lifetime
Gator EFX
Gator EFX
Starting at $749 RealTruck
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Durable construction
  • Simple installation
  • Can leak at tailgate

The Gator EFX is a hard tri-fold tonneau cover that comes at a relatively low price. It’s made with aircraft-grade aluminum that can hold up to 300.0 lbs. of evenly distributed weight.

Gator EFX Review

The Gator EFX is a hard tri-fold tonneau cover that comes at a relatively low price and is easy to install without any tools. It’s made with aircraft-grade aluminum that can hold up to 300.0 lbs. of evenly distributed weight and is coated with a dent-, scratch-, and UV-resistant polymer. The EFX’s unique rearmost panel design allows for total truck bed access by folding upright against the rear cab window, and you can carry payloads with two-thirds of the panels open, making it more flexible than other covers when it comes to carrying large loads in your truck bed. EPDM rubber hinges and drain tubes help keep your truck bed dry. This hard tri-fold cover locks when fully closed, adding a layer of security.

It should be noted that the Gator EFX fits Ford F-150s from 2015 to 2021, but not the two most recent models of the truck. Additionally, this tri-fold truck cover does not fit a Dodge Ram 1500, GMC Sierra, or any Toyota trucks.

Gator EFX: What Customers Are Saying

Most reviewers are pleased that this low-cost truck cover works so well. It is easy to install and allows for minimal water intrusion when properly fitted. Owners of the EFX like the appearance and the light yet durable design.

Reviewers mention that this hard tonneau cover is not completely waterproof. Some have pointed out that if you have a truck bed liner installed, the Gator EFX may not seal perfectly unless you first trim back the liner.

7. Best Low-Profile Tonneau Cover: TruXedo Sentry CT

  • RealTruck review score: 4.6 out of 5.0 (around 50 reviews)
  • Style: Folding
  • Material: Aluminum and pressure-bonded woven fabric
  • Warranty length: Five years
Truxedo Sentry CT
TruXedo Sentry CT
Starting at $1,149 RealTruck
  • Allows full bed access
  • Waterproof
  • Excellent warranty
  • Can be squeaky

This hard tonneau cover is lightweight and easy to remove. The latching system makes this tonneau cover simple to operate. The Sentry CT is equipped with slam latches so all you need to do to lock up this cover is to push it closed. Center security clamps add a small measure of security.

TruXedo Sentry CT Review

The TruXedo Sentry CT looks and works similarly to a soft top roll-up tonneau cover. It also shares some of the same low-profile design advantages. Aluminum slats are covered with woven fabric which gives a smooth appearance with the heavy-duty durability of a hard folding tonneau cover.

If you like TruXedo’s tonneau covers but would prefer a soft vinyl truck cover instead, the TruXedo TruXport Tonneau Cover has received rave reviews from customers.

TruXedo Sentry CT: What Customers Are Saying

A lot of people say they buy the Sentry CT because of its simple, sleek appearance. Those who have reviewed the cover say it is secure and good at keeping rain out of the pickup truck bed. One reviewer claims this hard tonneau cover fits his 2022 Chevy Silverado 2500HD perfectly.

There aren’t many who complain about the Sentry CT. But a few have mentioned that theirs squeaks while motoring on the highway.

Hard Tonneau Truck Bed Covers: Buying Guide

The first thing to know about hard tonneau covers is that they are model specific. Tonneau covers form a seal over your truck bed and so are individually sized to ensure proper fitment. Before purchasing any tonneau cover, make sure you are selecting the right size for your particular truck bed.

The best hard tonneau covers share a few important qualities: weatherproofing, durability, and ease of use. You may find yourself regularly removing and attaching your tonneau cover, so ease of installation is also important.

What Is A Hard Tonneau Cover?

Hard Tonneau covers are a type of truck bed cover usually made of aluminum or composite material. Due to the sturdy materials and rigid design, hard truck bed covers offer more security from theft or unwanted access than soft or vinyl covers. 

While hard tonneau covers may look intimidating to install, most are straightforward and do not require any tools or modifications to your truck.

How Much Does A Hard Tonneau Cover Cost?

Hard tonneau cover prices vary depending on your truck bed size, the quality of materials, and the type of cover you choose. However, you can expect to pay between $300 to $1,400 on average. Typically, folding covers are less expensive than retractable and one-piece covers.

Below are the lowest, highest, and average costs of hard tonneau covers:

Lowest price$300
Average price$985
Highest price$1,400

Is A Hard Tonneau Cover Worth It?

When deciding if a hard tonneau cover is worth it, keep in mind they provide excellent protection against theft and keep the valuables stored in your truck bed secure. Imagine traveling down the road with all your cargo exposed to rain, snow, dust, and road debris, or even worse, you return to your parked truck to find your cargo stolen. Hard tonneau covers can prevent you from having to deal with these sorts of headaches.

“Tonneau covers are more beneficial for protecting the things in your [truck] bed rather than the bed itself,” according to Hunter Gill, owner of TEQ Customs, a North Carolina-based retailer focused on aftermarket truck accessories. “The truck bed itself is pretty durable from the factory… but if you do carry around things you don’t want exposed to the elements, or anything valuable back there, a tonneau cover is a great option to keep that stuff safe.”

Types Of Hard Truck Bed Covers

Broadly speaking, there are three common designs for hard tonneau covers: one-piece, folding, and retractable.

Hard One-Piece Tonneau Cover

A one-piece hard tonneau cover consists of a single slab of plastic or fiberglass. These typically have hydraulic struts that allow you to lift and close the cover like a trunk. One-piece covers are typically well-sealed, offering excellent weather protection. They are also the most secure type of tonneau cover.

One-piece covers are generally the least-expensive types of hard tonneau covers. A drawback of this type of cover is that it does not allow full access to the truck bed.

Hard Folding Tonneau Cover

Folding tonneau covers can fold up (usually in a tri-fold or a quad-fold fashion). This allows for full trunk access. Depending on the specifics of the design, this type of cover may block your rear view when rolled up. The cover offers better trunk access than one-piece covers, but typically (though not always) prevents full trunk bed access.

Retractable Tonneau Cover

Retractable tonneau covers roll up or fold into a small storage compartment behind the cab. These are often the most expensive type of tonneau cover but also allow for the most access to your truck bed when fully retracted.

Is A Soft Or Hard Tonneau Cover Better?

Oftentimes, the biggest differentiating factor between hard and soft truck bed covers is the fact that soft tonneau covers are usually significantly cheaper than their counterpart. Below, we delve into the pros and cons of each style of tonneau cover.

Hard Tonneau Covers

The primary advantage of a hard tonneau cover over a soft cover is that hard covers are much more durable. They are likely to last longer and so can be less expensive in the long run. Another advantage of a hard cover is that you can set things on top of the cover, providing an additional workspace that some truck owners appreciate.

“The hard tonneau covers are going to protect better against impacts,” Gill said, adding they have a greater chance of withstanding something like an impact from a tree and are generally harder to damage than soft tonneau.

Soft Tonneau Covers

Soft tonneau covers are often less expensive alternatives to hard tonneau covers. However, these are less secure as they can easily be ripped open. That said, many hard tonneau covers can also be opened by a dedicated thief, though it takes a little more effort.

Does A Hard Tonneau Cover Improve Gas Mileage?

This is still a hotly debated topic. Some claim that hard tonneau covers can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent because it reduces wind drag and improves the vehicle’s aerodynamic profile. However, modern trucks are designed to allow airflow over the cab and past the truck bed to the top of the tailgate, which does not cause significant air drag that would affect mileage.

How To Install A Hard Tonneau Cover

Although there are several different styles of hard tonneau covers, generally, the insulation process for folding, retractable, and tri-fold truck bed covers is standard. Since hard retractable covers are slightly heavier than folding or hard rolling ones, it’s a good idea to have a friend help install a hard truck bed cover. 

Below are the steps needed to install a hard tonneau cover on your truck:

1. Check compatibility

First, lay out all of the parts that came with your truck bed cover and make sure the clamps and other parts are compatible with your bed liner and rails. You may need to make a small hole in your bed liner to accommodate clamps or other parts but this sort of modification is usually not necessary.

2. Install and clamp cover side rails

With your tailgate open, place one of the two side rails included with your hard cover flush against the truck bed rail with the cab. Secure the side rail in place by using one of the clamps you received with your cover by hooking the underside of the clamp to your bed rail and the top to the cover’s side rail.

Add shims to any gaps between the truck and the bed rail to close the space if necessary.

If you have a short bed, you will have three clamps per bed rail and four for all other bed lengths. Take the remaining clamps and attach them the same way you did the first clamp and be sure to space out the clamps along the bed rail evenly.

Next, install the second cover side rail the same way.

3. Adjust rails and tighten

Your rails should be parallel to each other and as close to the cap as possible; this may require some measuring to ensure a proper fit. If your rails are not level, you can loosen a clamp, apply pressure to the rail, and tighten the clamp. Once you are sure the rails are level and parallel, tighten all of the remaining clamps. 

If your kit includes any additional components, such as storage straps or a rod to prop the cover open, install these components before attempting to place the cover on your bed.

4. Install rubber seals

If your tonneau cover is weatherproof, it should include rubber seals to seal the gap between the cover and the cab. To ensure a tight seal, you should clean this area before applying the seals. Remove the tape covering the adhesive on the underside of the seal and place it between your truck’s bed rails, discarding any excess. Repeat this process on your tailgate and bed rails if your kit includes additional seals.

5. Install cover on the truck

Lastly, place the tonneau cover at the front of your tailgate nearest the cab. Use the clamps to attach the cover to the cover rails. For some tonneau covers, this may require drilling. Once the tonneau cover is secured in place, close the cover and check the alignment. For retractable covers, it’s a good idea to close and open the cover to make sure the alignment is correct, and the cover retracts smoothly. For folding covers, make sure all of the latches align, and the cover is properly supported by the bed rails. Adjust the rails if necessary for proper alignment.

Best Hard Cover For Truck Bed: Bottom Line

Our team of experts has spent countless hours researching the best hard tonneau covers – not to be confused with the best truck covers. Our research found that the best hard tonneau cover available in 2023 is the GatorTrax, but other truck bed covers earned their spots on our list of best-rated truck bed covers. We also recommend the Gator SFX, Undercover SE, Gator Recoil, and the BAK BAKFlip G2.

Hard Tonneau Covers: FAQ

Below are some common frequently asked questions about hard tonneau truck bed covers:

Truck Bed Hard Cover Reviews: Our Process

To select the hard tonneau covers featured in this buyers guide, our team first combed through dozens of resources such as DIY mechanic and auto enthusiast forums, manufacturer and hard tonneau cover-specific websites, instruction manuals from manufacturers, and reviews from online retailers. We paid particularly close attention to:

  • Warranties
  • Customer service support
  • Build quality
  • Materials
  • Ease of use
  • Ease of installation

We also factored in the quantity and quality of online retailer reviews from websites such as Amazon, RealTruck, Advance Auto Parts, and more. We looked at factors such as standout customer reviews, prices, meaningful superlatives, and discount shipping eligibility.

Why You Can Trust Us

Since 2020, we have published over 250 auto product reviews in an effort to make shopping for auto products easier. Our team of writers, editors, researchers, and product experts collaborates to thoroughly vet top products. We try to perform in-house testing on real vehicles whenever possible before making our recommendations.

When testing is not feasible, however, our aim is to make your life easier by doing all the online research for you and presenting that research in the form of easy-to-read product comparisons and buyers guides, rather than outright recommendations. For more information on our testing methodology and how we evaluate every product, check out our methodology page here.

*Data accurate at time of publication.