Hard Tonneau Covers vs Soft Tonneau Covers

Find Both Types of Truck Bed Protection at Davenport’s

Looking to shelter the cargo in your truck bed from the weather and other damaging external factors? Tonneau covers are used in pickup trucks and utility vehicles to protect and cover the truck bed. Utility vehicle owners have two major options when looking for truck covers: hard and soft tonneau covers. Each has their own uses and advantages when it comes to protecting the cargo in your truck bed and the style and look that they offer your vehicle. Here is a brief description of these two types of truck bed covers and how they differ.

Hard Tonneau Covers

Hard tonneau covers are usually made of fiberglass, aluminum or hard plastic. These truck covers are sturdy, secure and reliable. Hard fiberglass can come pre-painted to match the exact color of your truck. Some automated varieties require gas struts to open and close easily. In some cases, they operate like the hood of the vehicle and open from back to the front of the truck bed.

Hard truck covers may be locked down. They are meant to be used to create a secure vault for your goods or belongings. Both fold-able and multi-segment hard tonneau covers may be used to access various parts of your truck bed and create compartments for your cargo. These compartments may rise vertically, or open from side to side or from front to back.

Soft Tonneau Covers

Typically, tonneau covers are made from vinyl or cloth. Commonly installed with a roll up format, these soft tonneau covers are supported by a rib-like structure that stretches out to keep the fabric taut. The rib structure is usually made of aluminum or steel. Soft tonneau covers are easy to fix and remove from the truck bed. This also makes them easy to transport and carry in case you wish to remove them or transfer them to another vehicle.

The design of soft tonneau covers makes them light and easy to install. Soft tonneau covers made from vinyl provide better protection than cloth and they are more visually appealing. The vinyl cover has a sleek and smooth appearance and it bears a close resemblance to a hard truck cover.

Differences Between Each

Having a hard time choosing? Well we’ve laid out this guide to help you make a selection. After reading the characteristics of these two types, you should find it easier to pick the most suitable type for your truck bed. The following outline of the differences between them will also be useful to you.


Each of these types of truck bed protection offers slightly different advantages for different use cases. Soft tonneau covers provide more portability than hard ones. They are much easier to install and you can raise or lower them to accommodate different amounts of cargo. Hard tonneau covers are fixed and they offer less flexibility than soft truck covers. This flexibility is especially valuable when you are storing items in the truck bed which may pile over the edge.


Hard tonneau covers are far more secure than soft ones and they can be used to protect your goods in unsafe and high traffic urban areas. So if you will be using your truck to transport goods to densely populated areas, a hard tonneau cover may be better. You may also want to ensure the security of your cargo if you happen to be transporting fragile or easily damaged items or materials.


As with most things, cost is another important factor to consider when making your selection. Soft tonneau covers are often more affordable as they usually cost significantly less than hard ones. You can easily buy one on a budget. Furthermore, most hard truck covers are more expensive and they require special installation procedures, which also increase their cost.

Appearance and Durability

Both tonneau coverings look attractive. But the hard fiberglass ones can be tailor-made to fit your trucks paint or body finish perfectly. These hard tonneau covers are also more durable than the soft ones. Conversely, soft tonneau covers will seldom match the color of your vehicle perfectly and they wear out faster than hard ones.


Hard and soft tonneau covers both provide protection for cargo in the truck bed. While you can’t really go wrong with either, it’s important to choose the best one for your use for it to have the full effect.

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