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F150 Tonneau Covers Overview

By:  Connor MC  / Jun 17 2019
F150 Tonneau Covers Overview

A tonneau cover is certainly a must-have accessory for any F150 owner. Keeping the contents of your bed secure and safe from weather and prying eyes, tonneau covers can also help to reduce the overall drag your F150 experiences as it moves, which can help you save on gas. Tonneau covers also act as a handy surface to temporarily place an item - some covers can even support a couple hundred of pounds! That said, there are two major categories that tonneau covers break down into: soft covers and hard covers.

Shop F150 Tonneau Covers

Tonneau covers maximize your f150's versatility by providing protection and security from outside elements.Have peace of mind knowing your truck's bed is safe from the eyes of observers to the eye of the storm.

F150 Bed Covers

VIDEO: How to Choose an F150 Bed Cover

F150 Soft Tonneau Covers

Soft tonneau covers are typically made of a heavy-duty, weather treated vinyl with a lightweight supporting aluminum frame underneath. They either come as a roll-up cover or as a folding cover. The first easily rolls up toward the cab of your F150 to access the bed when needed, but is either fully extended or fully rolled - there is no option to only leave a portion of the bed exposed. The latter, a folding variety, is usually built into two or three segments that flip up onto the preceding segment to expose the bed in sections. This is a nice convenience if you need to grab items stored in the bed but don't want or need to uncover the entire truck bed.

The majority of F150-related roll-up soft tonneau covers mount on top of the bed rails, protruding about 1/2-1" above the box. Select models are manufactured as a flush mount system, in which instead of sitting on top of the box rails, the cover mounts inside of them. The cover mounting rails are held on by clamps and require no drilling into the box itself.

Soft tonneau covers are a great choice for F150 owners that want an inexpensive cover that focuses more on weather protection versus security. There are soft covers that do lock or integrate with a locking tailgate, however, a truly determined individual would be able to cut through the cover if they really want to see what is underneath. 

F150 Quick Acceess Tonneau Cover
Quick Access Hybrid Tonnuea Cover

F150 Hard Tonneau Covers

Hard covers provide excellent weather protection with much improved security as compared to a soft cover. Hard covers either come as a one-piece, full-length cover, or currently very popular, a bi-fold or tri-fold variety. Bi-fold or tri-hold hard covers are made of thin aluminum slats that are hinged in order to fold up over the preceding section, make regional box access convenient and easy. A folding hard cover is a great choice for F150 owners that often go camping, as they are rigid and strong enough to act as a table while shuffling equipment around (some hard covers can support up to 200 lbs placed on top).

Full-length covers, made of high impact plastic or fiberglass, can often be a factory option when ordering from an F150 from a dealer. Usually painted to match, these types of  hard covers do not fold or roll, and they are raised and supported by gas struts. Impact resistant plastic covers usually weigh in around 60 lbs, whereas a fiberglass version can weigh as much as 110 lbs. When painted to match the exterior of your F150, these covers blend in very nicely and look quite handsome.

From a security standpoint, hard covers can be self-locking or integrate into a locking tailgate (depending on the model, this is an additional feature of most hard covers, not a base feature), and being made of aluminum, plastic or fiberglass, are more difficult to puncture or damage. 

F150 Hybrid Soft/Hard Covers

A more recent development in the world of Ford F150 tonneau covers is the introduction of hybrid soft/hard cover. These covers are roll-up type covers that offer the same ease of access as a soft roll-up cover, but with increased structural rigidity and therefore security. Entry level hybrid covers feature a weatherproofed vinyl stitched on top of many thin, underlying aluminum slats. Just a few inches in width, these slats are thin enough that the cover can still be rolled and secured at the front of the bed, but provide much better strength and security versus a vinyl-only cover.

A high end version of this type of cover uses an electric motor to automatically roll the slats into a canister mounted at the back of the cab. 

F150 Tri Fold Hard Cover
Tri Fold Hybrid Tonneau Cover

How Do I Choose a Tonneau Cover for My F150?

The first thing you need to know before choosing any tonneau cover for your F150 is what style and length of bed does your truck have. There are two truck bed styles, styleside and flareside.

  • Styleside F150s have the rear fender wells inside of the bed. It is the most common style of F150 and has a much flatter box appearance when looking at it from the outside.
  •  Flareside pickups have the fender wells on the outside of the bed, which produces a more pronounced flared look to the box of the truck.

There are three bed sizes available between 1997-2017. There is a 5'6" short box, a 6'6" regular box and an 8' long box.

With those two details known, you can then pick your tonneau cover. Things to consider are of course price, soft covers being less expensive than hard covers, durability and security, with hard tonneau covers taking the cake on those last two items. For the majority of F150 owners, a roll-up soft cover is likely to do the trick. It will provide good weather protection and adequate security, and some cost as little as $300. 

Another area to consider is if you have a toolbox, bed liner or aftermarket tailgates which could interfere with a cover. As a general rule of thumb, most covers are designed to work with truck bed/tailgate accessories in mind. WIth that being said it is always a good idea to measure any potential items that you plan on keeping in your truck your bed on a long-term basis.

Finally, regarding installation, all tonneau covers of today use a clamp-on rail mounting system, eliminating any drilling or messy body work. 

F150 with Tonneau Cover on the Road
Fitment includes: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, XL, XTL, Lariat, Lightning, KingRanch, HarleyDavidson, STX, FX2, FX4, Limited, Platinum, Raptor