Best Hard Tonneau Cover

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The pick-up truck is America’s favorite vehicle by far. But in its standard format, it’s not the most weather-practical of ways to get from A-B.

While a limited number of people ride upfront, most of the action is in the back. Which is fine until you’re carrying loads in the misanthropic rain of a Boston fall, the relentless, baking heat of a California summer, or the what-the-fresh-frozen-hell-is-this of an Alaskan winter.

That’s why the tonneau cover has become such an essential piece of pick-up equipment – it covers everything in the back of your pick-up and keeps it safe from the weather, whatever it’s doing.

There is a whole library of types of tonneau cover – folding, roll-out, retractable, etc – but one of the chief differences along which lines the question is divided is whether you have a soft tonneau cover – by far the most popular option – or a hard one.

For all their less favored status though, hard tonneau covers are many and varied, and they’re streaming up and down the highways of America every day and every night, helping pick-up drivers keep their cargo safe.

Let’s take a look at the best hard tonneau covers on the market, to help you find the one that’s right for you.

In a hurry? Here’s our top pick.

Gator Recoil Retractable 5' 7" Truck Bed Tonneau Cover | G30231 | Fits 2009-2018, 19/20 Classic Dodge Ram | Made in the USA
Gator Recoil Retractable 5′ 7″ Truck Bed Tonneau Cover | G30231 | Fits 2009-2018, 19/20 Classic Dodge Ram | Made in the USA
  • Made of strong aluminum
  • Lightweight for ease of use
  • Retractable for convenience
BAK BAKFlip G2 Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
BAK BAKFlip G2 Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
  • Treated against all weathers
  • Aluminum construction with EPDM rubber seals
  • Automatic quick-release system
BAK BAKFlip MX4 Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
BAK BAKFlip MX4 Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
  • Treated against all weathers
  • Aluminum construction with EPDM rubber seals
  • Automatic quick-release system

1. Gator Recoil Retractable 5′ 7″ Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

No. 1
1. Gator Recoil Retractable 5' 7
9.4/10 Our Score

Most of the point of a tonneau cover, and even more of the point of getting a hard one, is the protection they offer from the elements and the weather.

Where soft tonneau covers are the equivalent of a tent on the back of your pick-up, a hard tonneau cover is equivalent to a small cabin.

That means any hard tonneau cover is likely to be better when it comes to weather protection than a softer equivalent. The Gator Recoil Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover has that quality in spades.

Designed to be especially hard-wearing in all types of weather, the retractable design of the Gator Recoil means it’s also especially convenient, strong, resilient and durable.

Where the Gator Recoil bucks the trend is in its lightness.

Here’s the thing. Hard tonneau covers are generally less favored in America because hardness tends to equate to heaviness. If you’re going to make the tonneau cover particularly durable and weatherproof on top of that, you more or less expect it to weigh almost as much as the truck bed itself.

The Gator Recoil has no…erm…truck with that idea. Yes, it’s rugged, yes, it’s durable, and yes, by being retractable rather than folding, it refuses to be diminished between uses.

But it’s a big piece of aluminum, which means it combines hard-working strength with an extraordinary lightness for a piece of metal. Hard, light, and extremely protective is a combination that makes for a great hard tonneau cover.

Add an easy fit to this equation – it famously takes only 30 minutes to go from box to truck bed with no drilling required – and you begin to see why the Gator Recoil is a favorite among hard tonneau cover fans.

It doesn’t stop there. You can precisely lock off the Gator Recoil at various points along the truck bed rail.

What does that mean? It means you needn’t cover the whole truck bed, leaving smaller cargos to rattle around and potentially get damaged. You can lock off the Gator Recoil closer to them, and minimize the likelihood of harm.

The Gator Recoil is a quick and easy tonneau to fit, but obviously, be sure you fit it exactly, otherwise you’ll limit the effectiveness of its weatherproofing. And likewise, the idea of it is to keep things underneath it – if you stack up cargo on top of it, the strength of a thin piece of aluminum will be severely tested.

But for its strength, its lightness, the cleverness of its multiple lock-off points, its protection from the elements, and the two-year guarantee that backs it, the Gator Recoil does more than enough to earn its top spot on our list.


  • Made of strong aluminum
  • Lightweight for ease of use
  • Retractable for convenience
  • Various lock-off points for smaller loads
  • Easy fit
  • Two-year guarantee
  • Can buckle easily if you load up on top of it

2. BAK BAKFlip G2 Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

No. 2
2. BAK BAKFlip G2 Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
9.4/10 Our Score

Let’s jump from a retractable to a folding tonneau cover with barely a blink. BAK has a strong reputation in the industry and two entries on our list.

The G2 Hard Folding Truck bed Tonneau Cover is made up of a series of aluminum panels for that metal’s trademark combination of strength and lightness, so you’re not hauling heavy metal when you try to use it.

In fact, it adds a certain puppydog eagerness and obedience to its operation – you can work it from either side of the truck bed with a set of quick-release cables.

Added to that, a combination of those aluminum panels and an automatic latching system make the G2 one of the easiest tonneau covers to work with.

You have to choose the model you use, based on the age and model of your truck, and make sure you get the right length of tonneau cover, as G2 gives you a handful to choose from.

But choose the right model and the G2 comes into its own, with an optional utility storage box. Easily fitted inside your truck’s bed rails, it will keep your cargo safe from all kinds of weather – including harsh sun.

The cover has been treated to resist the harmful effects of UV radiation, so it comes into its own in the sunshine states. But should you venture into areas of pestilential rain, the panels are also connected by EPDM rubber seals.

Rain or shine, the G2 will be trying its best to keep your cargo safe and protected. If you load up on top of it, do it carefully and you can safely put around 300 pounds of weight on top before the G2 starts to feel the strain.

Somewhat heavier than the Gator Recoil at 35 pounds, it uses that strength to give you top loading options.

The flexibility of the G2 means you can easily fold it for access to the whole of your truck bed, then re-fold to keep your cargo safe.

It’s also easy to remove altogether if and when you feel the need. Remove two wing nuts and bam! The G2 can be gone until you need it again. BAK’s position in the market is brought to the fore by the fact that you get a 3-year warranty with the G2.

If it has a weakness, it’s that the connecting and operating systems that make it your truck’s best friend are prone to rust, meaning for instance that the automatic release cables can stop working before that first three years are up.

But overall, the combination of strength, lightness, ease of access and those quick-release options make the G2 a highly attractive option for the right truck.


  • Treated against all weathers
  • Aluminum construction with EPDM rubber seals
  • Automatic quick-release system
  • Carries a top load of up to 300 pounds
  • Easy access to the whole truck bed without compromising protection
  • Quick to fit, easy to remove
  • 3-year warranty
  • The subsystems and connectors that make it work are prone to rust

3. BAK BAKFlip MX4 Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

No. 3
3. BAK BAKFlip MX4 Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
9.4/10 Our Score

The BAKFlip MX4 features a lot of elements that will be familiar from the BAKFlip G2, but comes in a tri-fold option.

As with the G2, you have to choose the right model and the appropriate length of truck bed, because the MX4 is available to cover a wide range of trucks.

But if you get this choice right, you access the combination of aluminum for lightness and strength rubber seals and hardcore weatherproofing that are a hallmark of the brand.

The load bearing gets a boost here though – carefully distributed, the MX4 will take 400 pounds on top.

As with the G2, you can also get full access to the truck bed while keeping your cargo safe. In all weathers.

The pleasure of which is if there’s ever a need to drive with the tonneau cover halfway folded, the MX4 asks no questions, but lets you do that without any difficulty.

And again, similarly to the G2, it’s rarely the cover itself that becomes an issue over time for the MX4.

The subsystems and automatic quick-release systems though can be prone to rusting, and can give your MX4 less of a lifetime than it would otherwise have.

As you might expect though, the warranty of the G2 gets an upgrade here. For the MX4, BAK offers a 5-year hassle-free warranty, meaning you’re pretty much guaranteed to get at least 5 years of solid coverage from your MX4 tonneau cover.


  • Aluminum construction
  • Lightweight coverage
  • Full access to the truck bed
  • Seriously weatherproof
  • Load bearing up to 400 pounds
  • 5-year hassle-free warranty
  • As with some other BAK models, the subsystems are prone to rusting

4. Undercover Ultra Flex Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

No. 4
4. Undercover Ultra Flex Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
9.4/10 Our Score

Undercover has been making waves and headlines recently with its patented X-effect design, and it also brings advanced polymers to the party for impressive strength and durability with little of the heaviness and cost of fiberglass alternatives.

As with some of the other tonneau covers on our list, the Undercover…erm…cover is easy to install, boasting a fitting time of under 30 minutes with zero drilling.

And once it’s on, it has quick-release mechanisms to help you take it off again in under a minute.

The first tonneau cover on our list to shun the might of aluminum, the Undercover is made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) polymers – you’re glad you asked, aren’t you? – bringing hardcore chemistry to the service of truck drivers.

Treated with an anti-scratch coating, it brings multi-point sealing, stainless steel locks and an over-the-tailgate fit to your truck.

The result? An easy-fit, strong, durable tonneau cover that’s quick to remove as necessary and gives you the access you need to your truck bed.

One extra handy feature on the Undercover model is LED lighting, letting you see all the way along the truck bed in the dark without draining power from your battery.

All this is backed by a 5-year warranty, so as with the BAK models, you should be able to truck on down the road hassle-free with the Undercover tonneau cover on back, without any worries over rusting or replacement.


  •  Advanced polymer construction for durability and lightness
  • Easy fit with no drilling
  • X-effect design
  • Access to the full truck bed with no hassle
  • Over-the-tailgate fit
  • LED lighting
  • 5-year warranty
  •  A limited range of trucks are covered by this tonneau cover

5. Extang Solid Fold 2.0 Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

No. 5
5. Extang Solid Fold 2.0 Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
9.4/10 Our Score

Another warrior for the cause of advanced polymers, the Extang 2.0 features many – though not all – of the elements you’ve come to expect from the best hard tonneau covers. Let’s take a run-down.

Easy-fit? Check.

It arrives fully constructed, so all you have to do is click, snap, do a little wrench work, and leave your drill to get lonely. Half an hour is more than enough time to cover your truck bed in the Extang 2.0.

Weather-resistance? Yep, it comes pre-treated against rain, dents and particularly heat.

In fact, it makes a play for truck drivers in hot states by claiming to remain cool even in the blazing heat. That’s a feature that could well be of interest, especially if you’re running perishable cargos in the back.

A straightforward tri-fold design means the Extang 2.0 gives you access to your truck bed whenever you need it.

Automatic quick-release? Hmm…not quite. There are easy-access clamps, but less of an automatic, truck-of-the-future vibe about the process, which is one of the reasons the Extang sinks to the bottom of our list of the best tonneau covers.

It’s heavier than many of the other covers on our list too, weighing in at a not-insubstantial 54 pounds.

And where the likes of BAK and Undercover include long warranties as standard when you buy their tonneau covers, Extang advises you that a warranty is available from its customer services department, but doesn’t include one as part of the purchase price.

The Extang 2.0 then is a highly effective hard tonneau cover, and it certainly has a good number of happy pick-up driving fans. But compared to some of the others on our list, it falls down in a couple of important areas.


  • Polymer construction for durability and strength
  • Easy-fit and easy-remove when necessary
  • Extreme weatherproofing, including heat proofing
  • Simple tri-fold design
  • Access to the full truck bed when needed
  • Warranty not included as standard
  • No automatic quick release mechanism

Best Hard Tonneau Cover Buyer’s Guide

Buying a hard tonneau cover in a world that loves its covers soft and flexible is a trickier business than you might at first think.

Keep a few points in mind when you buy.

Beat Your Weight Problem

One of the great things about hard tonneau covers is that they deliver an inherent strength, whether they’re made of aluminum, fiberglass, or advanced polymers.

The issue that brings with it is weight. Wherever possible, strike a balance between weight, load-bearing (how much additional cargo your tonneau cover can take on top) and lightweight construction, because the person who will be putting it on and taking it off is you.

Go lighter weight where you can, but don’t sacrifice the sturdiness of your tonneau cover for lightweight construction, because the idea is to get one tonneau cover that ticks as many of your boxes as possible.

Leave Your Drill Behind

When it comes to installing and fitting your hard tonneau cover, if you need your drill, pass along on the other side. There are plenty of covers on the market that are designed to be fitted in half an hour or less, with nothing more than a couple of wrenches and some snaps.

If companies don’t invest in making your life easier when it comes to installing their product, why would you invest in them?

Every single product on our list is easy-fit, and our list is by no means comprehensive, so an easy fit should be the very least you expect from a hard tonneau cover.

Cover Your Liability

Any company on the planet can make extravagant claims about how excellent its hard tonneau cover is. Ask yourself the important question – if it all goes wrong, am I covered?

There are some pretty strong, hassle-free warranties attached to some of the best hard tonneau covers on the market, and many companies will add them as part of the purchase price of their products, so you can be certain they stand ready to back their work.

If you like a particularly hard tonneau cover, but the warranty is either absent or complicated to access, maybe think again. Who needs extra hassle when they buy?

Frequently Asked Questions

Why would I buy a hard tonneau cover as opposed to a soft one?

Why would you buy a house made of wood and steel, as opposed to one made of marshmallow?

Flippancy aside, the point is valid – hard tonneau covers benefit from the hardness, the strength of their construction, and allow you to carefully load on top of them too if you need to.

Are automatic quick-release mechanisms reliable on hard tonneau covers?

As with anything, the answer to this varies between manufacturers and changes over time. Most quick-release mechanisms are reliable at first.

Because they’re exposed to the elements though, some will rust over time, becoming an unnecessary hassle.

If you have any worries about the durability of your quick-release mechanisms, make sure you invoke your warranty, because you should be guaranteed a hassle-free experience for at least as long as you’re covered.

Which is the better construction material for hard tonneau covers, aluminum, or advanced polymer?

‘Best’ is a personal judgment call on this. Aluminum combines relatively low weight with the strength of metal, for additional loading on top of the cover.

But some of the new polymers are impressive too, and bring an unrivaled longevity to the party. Ultimately though, the best material is the one in which you feel most confident.

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