There are obviously a lot of decisions to make when you're purchasing a new vehicle, especially when that vehicle is a pickup truck. What kind of trim do you want? How much towing capacity will you need? Four door or two door? Do you need an extended cab? Like we said, there are a lot of important decisions you’ll need to make. However, one additional decision that shouldn’t be an afterthought is the tonneau cover you choose to protect your truck bed.

hard tonneau cover vs soft tonneau cover

Tonneau covers, or truck bed covers, are as stylish as they are functional. On the style side, they can complement your truck's overall color scheme and help it achieve a cleaner, crisper look. On the functionality side, tonneau covers help protect items stored in the truck bed from the likes of Mother Nature. They're also a theft deterrent, as they keep stored cargo covered and hidden. But beyond making the decision to install a tonneau cover, there's the choice of which type to purchase. The two main styles are hard covers and soft covers. Which one is better for your truck? Read on to find out more:

How Do You Plan to Use Your Truck?

Before we get into the pros and cons of hard and soft tonneau covers, it's first important to explain why covers are such an important aftermarket accessory for any pickup truck. Just think: You likely bought a truck not just for its ruggedness, but for its cargo capacity. You know, the seamless ability to slide tools, sports equipment, building supplies and more into the truck bed and drive off. With a pickup truck, there's no worrying about whether items will fit in a trunk or in the backseat – the truck bed is there ready to help haul just about anything.

Tonneau covers are essential for protection – both from a security and weather standpoint. You don't want your tools rusting or lumber rotting in the truck bed because rain was allowed to pour on them over night. And at the same time, you don't just want expensive power tools or golf equipment exposed in the bed when parked in public or even in your driveway.

OEDRO soft roll up tonneau cover

Even if you don't plan on regularly storing items in your truck bed, it's still never a good idea to let snow and rain accumulate in it, as any type of accumulation can add excess weight to the vehicle and impact your fuel economy, and engine wear and tear. Covers are also easy to install on the truck bed and can actually help improve a truck's fuel economy by limiting drag from the open truck bed. What's more is that there's little risk in acquiring a tonneau cover, as reputable manufacturers - such as OEDRO - offer limited lifetime warranties on the accessory.

Now that you know a little bit about the value of tonneau covers, it comes down to the type that’s right for your truck and your personal preferences. Here's a look at the pros and cons of soft and hard tonneau covers:

Soft Tonneau Covers: What You Need to Know

Soft tonneau covers are typically made from either vinyl, polyester or canvas, and are most often offered in an all-black color. The materials are all durable and the covers are adequately able to protect truck bed cargo from the likes of UV rays, rain and snow. With that being said, here's a look at some of the benefits of going with a soft tonneau cover:

They're affordable: Soft covers are as practical as they are affordable, as most range in price from $190 to $800. Essentially, an OEDRO F150 soft tri-fold tonneau cover is going to be much more affordable, only $195.99, than a hard cover for the same vehicle type.

perfict fit tonneau cover

Easy to use, operate: Today's soft tonneau covers are light and easy to operate. Some are even able to open and close, or roll up, with just the touch of a button. This is a nice feature for anyone, but especially for the elderly who might be more restricted in mobility.

They fit well: One drawback to hard tonneau covers is that they typically don't fit as well as soft covers. For instance, some tonneau covers may not cover the entire truck bed, or not fit as snugly on the sides as soft covers do. Fit is obviously important when you're trying to keep rain and snow out of truck beds.

They offer a smooth, uniform look: If you're looking for a smooth, sleek look, then a soft tonneau cover is your better bet. Hard tonneau covers have a tendency to look more uneven and textured, while soft covers complement the overall truck's appearance better.

Soft tonneau covers advantages


Less secure than hard covers: Soft covers do come in styles that lock, but they’re still not generally as secure as lockable hard covers.

Less durable: Because soft tonneau covers aren't made from metals or synthetic materials like hard tonneau covers, they have a tendency to be less durable. However, this isn't as big of an issue as some people may make it out to be thanks to the limited lifetime warranties that are offered with many soft tonneau cover purchases.

Hard Tonneau Covers: What You Need to Know

Hard tonneau covers are typically built with metals, hard plastics or fiberglass materials. For this reason, they tend to be more durable than soft tonneau covers. Here's a look at some more information about hard covers, starting with their advantages:

Better security: Even though some soft covers lock, hard tonneau covers are generally thought of as the more secure tonneau cover option. That's largely because it's much more difficult for a wrongdoer to cut into or remove metals and hard materials from the truck bed's side rails.

Custom finishes: Often times with soft tonneau covers, drivers don't have much of a choice when it comes to colors or finishes. Like we noted earlier, soft covers typically come in a black color. That's not the case with hard covers, as they can be custom made to any color or finish desired. Noting this, drivers often select hard covers if they want control of their vehicle's appearance down to a "t."

hard tonneau cover

Now that we've gone over some of the good things about hard tonneau covers, it's time to move on to some of the disadvantages:

They're expensive: While soft covers range in price from $190 to $800, hard covers usually start in price around $500 and can cost upwards of $2,500 for more advanced models. It's worth paying extra if you're really concerned about theft, as hard covers are generally more secure than soft ones. However, if security isn't as big of an issue to you, then it's worth it to purchase a soft tonneau cover at a lesser price point.

They might not fit, cover as well: Like we said in the section on soft covers, hard tonneau covers have a tendency to leave gaps or spaces in the truck bed, which can obviously be problematic when it comes to safeguarding cargo against the weather and would-be thieves. What's more is that if you're carrying an oversized load, it may be necessary to completely remove certain types of hard covers to accommodate the cargo. That too can be a turn off for many truck drivers.

They're heavy: What hard covers offer in durability, they often make up for in excess weight. Any sort of excess weight factors into the fuel economy of the truck. Another issue with heavy hard tonneau covers is that they're not nearly as easy to open and close as soft covers in many cases. Some require gas-powered struts to help with opening and closing. Others rely on manpower.

OEDRO Tonneau Cover

While there are key differences between hard and soft tonneau covers, there are also a lot of similarities. For instance, both types of covers are an ideal aftermarket accessory for a pickup truck. Both types of tonneau covers are also fairly easy to install and maintain. And both types of tonneau covers come with warranties that offer peace of mind when purchased from a reputable company such as OEDRO. So what type of cover is better for your truck? As you can see, it largely depends on your usage, needs and budget.

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