Roll Up vs Tri Fold Tonneau Cover

Roll Up vs Tri Fold Tonneau Cover: Pros, Cons & Alternatives

Once you splurge on heavy-built vehicles like a truck or SUV, you start stressing about the most reliable and budget-friendly ways to keep it safe and sound. This leads to one fundamental dilemma; roll up vs tri fold tonneau cover; which one’s a better fit for your truck?

Hmm.. it truly is a head-scratcher, but not for long! We know you’d love to see which of these products would keep your precious cargo and vehicle secure while giving you the highest value out of splurge. The good news is that we’ve put painstaking hours of research into finding the answers for you.

So, come along in this journey where we discuss everything from specifications, pros, and cons to alternatives so you can find the best match. Let’s get into it and find out which will do the job for you without much fuss.

Table of Contents

Which is Best – Roll Up or Folding Tonneau Cover

Tri-fold tonneau covers are much more durable than roll-up tonneau covers as their framings have higher stability and construction. This is proven better practically for hard folding covers too. However, this doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. In reality, both roll up vs tri fold tonneau covers serve well only when bought after matching specific user needs.

What to Look for in a Tonneau Cover?

What to Look for in a Tonneau Cover

People mainly focus on the necessity of tonneau covers and why truck owners need to own one. Consequently, they also get confused about which kind would fit their trucks best. Worry not; here’s all about tonneau covers and what to look for while finding the perfect match.

  • Aerodynamics:
    If you like to speed with your truck or pickup, you’re accustomed to the havoc aerodynamics could create as it fills your truck bed. Tonneau covers are great alternatives to save gas and reduce drag by approximately 7.8%. You must also feel lower noise pollution, increased fuel economy, and a better driving experience with the right bed cover.
  • Appearance:
    Most users love that tonneau covers provide a much polished look to their trucks, even when carrying a bed full of cargo, especially the low-profile covers, which act like a second skin for trucks and enhance their sleeker appearance.
  • Security:
    Whether it’s a pickup or truck, your cargo needs to be safe for onlookers, weather, and water. Tonneau covers are the perfect addition for enhanced security to revert prying eyes and protect cargo at all times.
  • Weather Resistant:
    This one’s a no-brainer. Tonneau covers protect cargoes and even an empty truck bed against harsh weather conditions. This reduces the chances of item obsoletes, rust, corrosion, and debris accumulating on the truck beds.

Roll Up Vs Tri-fold Tonneau Covers: Which One Is Right for You?

Are Roll Up or Tri-fold Tonneau Covers better

When it comes down to choosing between roll up vs tri fold tonneau covers, one must face its weaknesses and strengths. Some prefer roll-ups, while others love their trustee trifolds. But why? Let’s see what makes each special and which would suit your car model better.

  • Roll-Up Tonneau Covers

Roll-up covers come in various styles and security features along with customizable specifications. Some of the critical features of roll-ups are that it’s super lightweight along with extra layers of construction for protection.

Moreover, roll-ups come with easy installation protocols, which makes user’s experience pleasant. The truck bed access is much better as the design allows high storage, easy-to-operate latches, and clear visibility for higher safety reasons.

  • Tri-fold Tonneau Covers

Trifolds add uniqueness to trucks other than protecting vehicles from all harm which is its basic specification. These covers work best with big and heavy-duty trucks as they can be folded in various ways and increase security.

Trifolds come in vertical and horizontal designs with stainless steel aluminum and steel construction. It’s also highly durable and has a sleep outlook.

Roll-Up Cover Features

Features of Roll Up and Tri Fold Tonneau Cover

  • Design:
    Roll-ups more lightweight, easily manageable, and avert the vehicle from bearing unnecessary weight due to simpler framing and design. Generally, the covers have a hard plastic or aluminum frame to remain portable and lightweight. Along with an easy-to-operate latching system, they can also prohibit water, dust, dirt, and heat from causing inconvenience in the vehicle.
  • Installation:
    Roll-ups require much less time, skill, patience, and effort for the installation. Moreover, since the construction is simpler, users can quickly go around the structure along with regular closing and openings.
  • Accessibility:
    Due to the straightforward design, users can access the cover in no time and quickly without fussing with the latches for long. They also come with extra storage space along with multiple quick-release options. Besides being easy to operate, they also minimize chances of entanglement and damage.
  • Visibility:
    Unlike trifolds, roll-ups give users a better view of the rear window due to their safer and straightforward style and installation. As the product is lighter, it can glide into any corner or edge to increase usability.

Trifold Cover Features

  • Security:
    Trifolds are world-renowned for their extra protective capacities and durability. Trifolds manage to bring additional security to the table as it has tie-downs, side buckles, and robust tailgate locks. These advanced locking mechanisms keep thieves, water, dirt, and debris at bay.
  • Durability:
    Trifolds generally come in steel, stainless steel, or aluminum construction which have extremely reliable sturdiness. The durability in these is long-lasting and premium compared to the rest. They can withstand extreme weather conditions, debris, snow, rain, and strong winds.
  • Appearance:
    If you love a sleek and stylish look on your truck, trifolds are the way to go. It boosts the overall appearance with its premium design and finishes. But, it also takes care of the technical parts, such as supporting the cargo and maintaining high-quality security.

Roll-Up Tonneau Cover Alternatives: Is There an Easier Alternative for Roll Ups?

Tonneau Cover Alternatives

Fortunately, you’re not grounded with these specific options. Roll-up tonneau covers have multiple alternative options; on the plus side, they’re much cheaper. Here are some DIY tonneau cover options you can use instead of buying roll-up covers.

  • DIY Aluminum Folding Cover
  • DIY Wooden Hard Tonneau Cover
  • Velcro DIY Soft Roll-Up Cover
  • Button-Down DIY Cover

What Are the Different Types of Tonneau Covers? Types of Roll-Up Tonneau Covers

Different Types of Tonneau Covers

It’s evident to get lost among the whirlwind of so many tonneau cover kinds. So to eradicate all your confusion, check out the types and what they’re best known for.

  • Retractable Covers

As the name gives away, these covers retract outward and inward as needed. Retractables come in hard and soft versions and adhere to every security need along with part-access if required.

  • Folding Tonneau Covers

Folding covers have various styles and designs and can fold into three or two sections. These also come in soft and hard kinds with the easiest accessibility feature among all cover types. You can carry small, medium, and large items hassle-free with part accessibility.

  • Roll-Up Tonneau Covers

Roll-up covers come in two types; soft and hard. Soft roll-ups are less costly, while harder ones are more durable and expensive. Hard roll-ups also have higher security features. With roll-ups, you can easily expose only the required portion, and the coverage is highly versatile.

  • Hinged Tonneau Cover

These covers are solid, one-piece that doesn’t retract or fold. Instead, they’re hinged around the sections and thus have an incredibly sleek look.

  • Snap Tonneau Covers

These covers have clamp constructions for better vehicle attachment. It snaps at the sections allowing easy accessibility.

  • Electric Tonneau Cover

Electric covers have built-in closing and opening mechanisms that can operate remotely. It promotes high convenience and the easiest retractable features, even from a distance. Some of these even come with LEDs for better rear window visibility.

Differences Between Roll Up & Tri-fold Tonneau Covers

Differences Between Roll Up & Tri-fold Tonneau Covers

So, what’s different about tri-folds and roll-ups? Let’s see.

  • Design: It’s no wonder tri-folds have a complex design while roll-ups are the easiest to install due to lower installation equipment requirements. Tri-folds also cover limited surfaces but have advanced folding techniques.
  • Durability: Tri-folds are known for their durability and long-lasting features. Since roll-ups are built with softer materials, so they’re affordable but have a low lifespan. Roll-ups are easy to install and remove but can also damage easily from water and sun damage.
  • Security: For security, roll-ups can serve well if users want a cheaper option for protecting their cargoes. However, tri-folds offer the highest protection due to their advanced locking features.
  • Complexity: Would you like to deal with more complexity or less – that’s the question. Roll-ups have simpler setup and operation designs, while trifolds have consistent operation and installation aside being complex.

Roll-Up Cover vs. Trifold Tonneau Cover Comparison Chart

Features Roll-Ups Tri-Folds
Complexity Less complex High complexity
Durability Less durable Highly durable
Security Less protective Highly protective
Design Easy-to-operate Less easy-to-operate

The Pros & Cons of a Trifold Tonneau Cover

To be fair, you can never judge a product without skimming through its pros and cons list. So, here’s what you need to know.

Pros


  • Extra durability and strength
  • Quick operation
  • Stable and sturdy construction
  • Highly secure due to locking structures
  • Long-lasting and can withstand cargo atop the cover too

Cons


  • Lower rear window view visibility
  • Less color and size availability
  • Pretty expensive

 

Roll-Up Tonneau Cover Pros and Cons

We’ve come so far now that you must be intrigued to know what the prominent pros and cons are of roll-up tonneaus. Let’s check them out.

Pros


  • Extra storage and space
  • High visibility on rear windows
  • Comes in wide colors and sizes
  • Affordable compared to trifolds
  • Lightweight and easy-to-operate

Cons


  • Lightweight hence, lower sturdiness
  • Bit complicated to close and open
  • Lower durability and security than trifolds

 

Bed Cover Preference

Truck Bed Cover Preference

People have preferences regarding tonneau covers, and there are obvious reasons for it. In the following section we will look into those reasons and see if any of these match your personal needs and criteria!

Trifold or Soft or Rollup or Trifold or Retractable Tonneau Covers and Why?

  • Tri-folds

Tri-Fold truck bed covers get most user attention because of their high dependability, security, and rigid frame. When users put all their investment of time and money into bringing enhanced safety rather than other conveniences, they can only think of tri-folds. Moreover, along with extra security, tri-folds have a sleeker appearance and long-lasting durability.

  • Soft Covers

With soft tonneaus, the eye-catching feature is its relatively easier installation. Most soft covers take less than an hour to install without hefty drilling requirements. Soft tonneaus are pretty good at withstanding snow and rain and have easy-to-fold access capabilities.

  • Rollups

In retrospect, when users crave a comprehensive and broader cavity for carrying furniture, gear, tool, or even bikes and dirt bikes, they incline towards rollups. Rollups for those who need to have the most effortless accessibility with minimal coverage features and high security.

  • Retractable Covers

Believe it or not, retractables can provide even more protection against onlookers, rainwater, and snow. Users who live and drive around unsafe terrains bring peace to themselves by purchasing a retractable. It enhances the overall appearance and provides quick storage capacities, compact space, accessibility, and is built with top-tier materials.

Top 10 Hard Tri Fold Tonneau Covers

Lastly, our informational article on roll up vs tri fold tonneau cover would be incomplete if we didn’t recommend some of the best bed covers of all times. So, let’s take a gander.

1. Syneticusa Retractable Hard Tonneau Cover

The Syneticusa has exceptional engineering that can protect your cargo while blending in with the rear windows and bed cover with its magnificent texture, matte black powder coat finish, aluminum slats, and robust construction. The retractable locks ensure high security too.

Syneticusa Retractable Hard Tonneau Cover Fits 2004-2023 Ford F-150 (incl....
Syneticusa Retractable Hard Tonneau Cover Fits 2004-2023 Ford F-150 (incl....
Fits 2004-2023 Ford F-150 5'6" (67”) bed (Compatible with...

2. Rugged Liner Premium Cover

Aside from having easy-to-install abilities, it also incorporates LEDs, which provide easy-to-see convenience at night, and safety cab clam tethers. Unlike other covers, the ruggedness features a solid, durable foam core with maximum density.

Sale

3. Undercover Armorflex Hard Tonneau Cover

Looking for ultimate durability? Don’t look further. The Undercover tonneau comes with scratch, dings, and dents-resistant LINE-X coating that others can’t replicate. Moreover, the enhanced functionality and security promote easy operations and high security.

UnderCover ArmorFlex Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover | AX22021 | Fits 2017 -...
UnderCover ArmorFlex Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover | AX22021 | Fits 2017 -...
Fits 2017 - 2022 Ford F-250/350 Super Duty 6' 10" Bed (81.9")

4. Extang Solid Fold 2.0 Cover

The best part about this cover is that it remains cool, even with scorching heat. Users love it as their Toyota Tacoma hard tonneau cover for its polypropylene core which provides dent and weather resistance, adds strength with its rigid frames and a guaranteed finish.

Sale

5. Gator EFX Hard Trifold Tonneau Cover

Gator EFX is one of the best-sellers of all time. It has a seamless polymer surface with robust aluminum, scratch, dent, and heat-resistant panels. It’s the easiest to open up from either side without tackling the tailgate, thus providing high usability.

6. Tonno Pro Hard Fold

Searching for the highest protection in tonneau covers ends here. The Tonno cover has an affordable price along with easy to close and open installation and use. The marine-grade vinyl and aluminum panels are user favorites too.

Tonno Pro Hard Fold, Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover | HF-364 | Fits 2015 - 2020...
Tonno Pro Hard Fold, Hard Folding Truck Bed Tonneau Cover | HF-364 | Fits 2015 - 2020...
Fits 2015 - 2020 Ford F-150 5' 7" Bed (67.1"); Comes preassembled...

7. BAK Revolver X2

Hardcovers with added protection are a fan favorite, but not everyone can make that happen. This Revolver X2 has a vinyl cover with powerful hooks and loops, strong inner bed rail frames, and coverage throughout the entire tailgate for maximum safeguard.

8. RetraxONE MX

This cover is highly accessible for opening and closing with its versatile roll-up and folding designs. Moreover, it doesn’t block the rear windows and comes in a sleek polycarbonate one-piece construction with temperature adjusting capacities.

9. Roll N Lock E-Series

It’s a no-brainer that electrical retractable covers are a wonder to use. All you need is to push one button and operate it. The Roll N Lock bed cover allows full access and comes in five folding positions.

10. Xcover Hard Low-Profile Cover

The Xcover comes in a seamless tough-as-nail construction with easy-to-operate and resilient functionality. As a one-piece, it’s phenomenal as it requires zero drilling to install.

Best Tri Fold vs Roll Up Tonneau Cover for F150, 1500, Gmc Sierra, Tacoma, Tundra, Silverado

Owners often get ahead of themselves while searching for the best soft tri-folds, hard folding covers, or roll-up tonneau covers. However, below you’ll find a few selections that best serve standard trucks or pickup models. So if you own any of these models or plan to, skim the table!

Models Best Tri Fold and Roll Up Tonneau Cover
F150 Gator ETX Soft Roll Up, Syneticusa Retractable Hard Tonneau Cover, , BAK Revolver X2
1500 KSCPRO Soft Quad Fold, Undercover Armorflex Hard Tonneau Cover, Gator EFX Hard Trifold
GMC Sierra Truxedo Truxsport Soft Roll-Up, RetraxONE MX, Roll N Lock E-Series
Tacoma Tyger Auto T3 Trifold, BAK Bakflip MX4, Extang Solid Fold 2.0
Tundra Tonno Pro LR-5010, Rugged Liner E-Series, Bison Soft Roll-Up
Silverado Truxedo Truxsport Soft Roll-Up, RetraxONE MX, Roll N Lock E-Series

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. Are Roll Up Truck Bed Covers Any Good?

A) If you require added security for your truck's cargo, truck bed covers are the way to go. They come with long-lasting warranties and exceptional added protective qualities.

Q2. Do Roll Up Tonneau Covers Leak?

A) Often both hard and soft tonneau covers bear leakages and requires extra sealant. It's better to invest in water-resistant bed covers.

Q3. Should I Keep My Tonneau Cover Rolled Up?

A) You can keep the truck bed closed if you're not transporting any cargo. Keeping the tonneau cover installed when not in use could damage the interiors from heat.

Q4. What Is a Folding Tonneau Cover Made Of? Are Folding Tonneau Covers Low Profile?

A) Folding tonneau covers can be made of canvas, vinyl, aluminum, fiberglass, and hard plastic. Some hard folding covers are low-profile enclosed in aluminum frames with vinyl panels.

Q5. How Much Weight Can a Tonneau Cover Hold?

A) Some tonneau covers have been tested to withstand approximately 500-pounds, although the minimum range begins at around 200-pounds.

Q6. Should I Always Keep My Folding Tonneau Cover Installed?

A) Leaving the tonneau cover open at all times could damage the interior from water and sun. It's wiser to close the covers even when you're not transporting cargo.

Q7. Are Folding Tonneau Covers Secure/ Safe?

A) Hard tonneau covers can be accessed via pull locks or latches, whereas the soft covers can be pierced through sharp objects. But, in any case, it gives high protection to drivers on the go.

Q8. What’s the Process for Opening and Closing Roll Ups? How Does a Tri Fold Tonneau Cover Open?

A) To close the roll-up cover, roll it around the front rails and fold the vinyl flaps beneath. Secure it in place by inserting the bolts.

Next, roll the cover over the bed to secure it with the latch. To open the cover, unhinge the locks and roll the cover outward to reveal the bed.

To operate trifolds, open the rear end of the tri fold truck bed covers and unlatch them. Simply turn or fold the cover to reveal the cargo.

Final Words

Phew, was that comprehensive! But hey, we’re confident that now that you’re highly knowledgeable about the distinctions, similarities, pros, and cons of roll up vs tri fold tonneau covers, you can finally make an assured choice!

It’s pretty obvious to get lost while researching for these products, primarily because of their closely packed features and wide range. However, nothing will serve you best in the long run if it isn’t matched with your specific needs, budget, and style.

Thus, we recommend you not to get overwhelmed or confused when you’re in the market flipping through your options. Instead, it’s wiser to know your preferences and budget limitations first, and only then make a clear choice!

About The Author

Michael H. Smith

Michael H. Smith

Michael is the lead content creator for Wheelspick.com. As a car enthusiast and based on his real life experiences he is sharing his opinion about various automotive vehicles and parts. So that our reader, can focus solely on buying best gadgets for their automobile and get the best products reviews and guide experience!

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