5 Best Hard Folding Tonneau Covers (2024 Ultimate Guide)

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Best Hard Folding Tonneau Covers Summary

  • Hard folding tonneau covers offer increased security versus a soft tonneau cover. 
  • The BAKFlip-MX4, Tonno Pro, and A.R.E. Fusion are among our top picks for the best hard folding tonneau covers in 2024.  
  • Plan to budget between $650 and $1,500 for the hard folding tonneau covers on this list. 

Best Hard Folding Tonneau Covers

These will fit a variety of trucks, from midsize to half-ton and up to HD models from the Big Three.

Best Overall
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Good balance of durability, security, and low-profile aesthetics.

Most Affordable
Tonno Pro Tri-Fold
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Economical way to enjoy the benefits of a hard folding tonneau cover.

Best Customizable Option
A.R.E. Fusion
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Can be color-matched to your truck’s factory paint code.

Automoblog Review & Evaluation Process

RealTruck sent each hard folding tonneau cover on this list to our research team in Raleigh, North Carolina, for testing and fitment. Our Detroit-based team then met with RealTruck on three separate occasions to better understand the different types of tonneau covers they offer and what questions customers have about picking the right one for their needs and budget.

While writing this review and selecting the options for this hard folding tonneau covers list, I fell back on my prior automotive retail experience selling Ford F-150, Super Duty, and Ranger trucks at Sioux Falls Ford in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I received sales training for truck accessories during my time there, which included bed rails, nerf bars, and tonneau covers.

In addition to my work at a Ford dealership, I fell back on my prior experience with Chevy’s National Truck Team, a large-scale experiential marketing program that traveled the United States.

As part of that team, my colleagues and I interfaced with pickup truck owners from all walks of life, often meeting them at important events such as the Daytona 500, Luke Bryan Farm Tour, and NFR in Las Vegas. Many of the owners we spoke with were of the DIY mindset and shared stories about how they took a mass-produced product like a Silverado and made it “my truck.”

You can see the results of our tests in the following article, along with a ranking based on those results. You’ll also find some information about which kinds of covers are available, the advantages and drawbacks of those different types, and a brief guide on how to select the right option for your truck.

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Hard Folding Tonneau Covers Overview

Hard folding tonneau covers offer the best of both worlds at various price points, depending on your budget. Tri-fold options are more flexible and versatile than a standard one-piece cover that resembles a hard lid or shell. Hard tri-fold tonneau covers offer varying degrees of bed access, including full bed access, depending on what you are hauling.

To help truck owners like you find the right option for their rig, our experts tested some of the top hard folding tonneau covers on the market today.

In the table below, you’ll find our list of the best hard folding tonneau covers of 2024.

Brand & Model2024 Award & Accolades
BAKFlip-MX4Best Overall
Tonno ProMost Affordable
A.R.E. FusionBest Customizable Option
Gator FX3 Durability Champion
Gator EFXSleek, Low-Profile Look

Tonneau Covers 101

In the section below, we cover (no pun intended!) some basics on this popular truck accessory, including different types of tonneau covers and what to look for before you make a purchase. If you think this information will be helpful, click on the “show more” arrow.

If you already have a good handle on tonneau covers in general, you can skip the below section and go right to the hard folding options on this list.

What Is a Tonneau Cover?

A tonneau cover is a soft or hard covering that protects a truck’s bed and cargo from the elements, theft, and other sources of damage. Tonneau is the proper (read: fancy) term for a truck bed, originally meaning “cask” or “barrel.” In other words, a tonneau cover is just a truck bed cover by its trade name.

Types of Truck Bed Tonneau Covers

In this article, we are looking at hard folding tonneau covers, but there are other kinds as well. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the type that’s best for your truck will depend on how you use it, your budget, and other factors, such as weather resistance. For example, we live in Michigan, so we look for something that can withstand brutal winters.

Here are the most common types of tonneau covers:

  • Roll-up tonneau covers: As the name implies, these covers roll up when you need to access the truck bed. You can find both soft roll-up tonneau covers made of lightweight, flexible materials or more rigid hard roll-ups. Some rolling truck bed tonneau covers, like the BAK Revolver X4S, use aluminum slats and locking rails to give it an extra layer of security and durability.
  • Folding tonneau covers: The most common types are hard tri-fold tonneau covers, which feature three folding sections. Some tri-fold hard tonneau covers, like the Tonno Pro on this list, can be installed and removed within a few minutes without any tools.
  • Retractable tonneau covers: Rather than fold or roll up; these covers retract into a storage canister installed near the front of the bed. Some are operated manually, while others use an electric motor to retract them. Some retractable options from Retrax, like the PRO XR, are compatible with T-Slot accessories from Rhino-Rack, Yakima, and Thule.
  • Hard tonneau covers: This type of tonneau cover is essentially a lid or shell and typically a one-piece construction. Often, they are installed with hinges that allow you to pop them up and are supported by gas struts.

What To Look For In a Tonneau Cover

When you shop for a new bed cover, there are several things you’ll want to consider to make sure you’re getting the best option for your truck. These include:

  • Build Quality: The quality of your tonneau cover makes a big difference in how well it functions and how long it lasts. Look for covers that feature durable materials and have positive reviews for how well they’re made. If a brand offers a limited lifetime warranty on its covers, it’s a good sign.
  • Functionality: The best cover for you depends on how you use your truck. For example, a puncture-resistant hard tonneau cover is a good option for skilled trade workers hauling expensive tools in the bed. If you will only use a tonneau cover occasionally, look for something that can be installed and removed in a few minutes.
  • Weather Protection: Some tonneau covers will have higher levels of weather resistance than others. The covers that offer the best protection from the elements use premium materials such as marine-grade vinyl and fit your truck bed seamlessly. That seamless fit also lends itself to a low-profile look in addition to a weatherproof design.
  • Ease of Installation: All options on this best hard folding tonneau covers list are designed with ease of installation in mind. Depending on the cover, a standard hand tool set may be required, although some can be installed without any tools at all.
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#1: Best Overall: BAKFlip-MX4

The BAKFlip-MX4 made our list of the best tonneau covers in 2024 and was our number one pick for a hard folding option. Based on sales data and customer feedback from RealTruck, the BAKFlip-MX4 is the most popular and well-liked hard folding tonneau cover for sale on the site.

Current owners tend to speak highly of the flush mounting profile, the almost full bed access when needed, and, most of all, the matte black finish. At around $1,200 without any additional discounts or other deals, the BAKFlip-MX4 is a great value for the price.

What We Like

The MX4 has all the features truck owners are looking for in a tonneau cover: durability, security, aerodynamics, and low-profile aesthetics at a reasonable price point. The heavy-duty aluminum construction, robust prop rods, and a weather-resistant matte-black finish are top selling points.

Although some minor drilling may be required depending on your truck, the BAKFlip-MX4 can be installed in your driveway or garage with a standard hand tool set. Once installed, the MX4 is one of the most versatile hard folding tonneau covers.

How It Works

If you need full bed access, the latch cable will enable the MX4 to fold upward toward the “A-Style Cab Bumpers,” which prevent the cover from coming in contact with itself or your truck. The included prop rods will secure the BAKFlip-MX4 in place.

If you need to haul something like a lawnmower, snowblower, dirt bike, or other taller items, the MX4 will accommodate you. If you need to help a friend move with your truck, the BAKFlip-MX4 can stow in place and out of the way of furniture. The only downside is that you won’t be able to see out of your rear window, as indicated in the photo gallery above.

Channeled rails with rubber endcaps hold the cover when folded back to its original position. When closed, the BAKFlip-MX4 has a 400 lbs. distributed weight capacity. You can also open and close your tailgate without touching or moving the cover.

Best Overall: BAKFlip-MX4
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Good balance of durability, security, and low-profile aesthetics.

Drain tubes remove excess water from the truck bed.

Rubber bumpers protect the cab when folded into the upright position.

Five-year warranty with lifetime installation support.

#2: Most Affordable: Tonno Pro Tri-Fold

The Tonno Pro is the best way to get the benefits of a hard folding tonneau without breaking the bank. Key design features include a powder-coated aluminum frame, three composite panels wrapped in a single-piece marine-grade vinyl tarp that runs the length of the bed, and rubber perimeter seals. The design is intended to deter would-be thieves who may be carrying a box cutter or other sharp device intending to puncture the cover.

Despite its affordable price point, the Tonno Pro offers a bit more functionality and security than a run-of-the-mill vinyl cover. Reviews on RealTruck’s website of the Tonno Pro include positive comments about how the cover resists the elements, its ease of installation, and its overall build quality.

What We Like

Since the Tonno Pro is shipped as a fully assembled cover, you won’t need any special tools for the installation and removal, which can be done in a few minutes. The easy installation and removal make it an ideal option if you only use a tonneau cover occasionally.

For example, you can fold the Tonno Pro open to allow for 2/3 bed access, but if you need to accommodate something like a dirt bike or four-wheeler that may require your truck’s full bed length, you can remove the Tonno Pro without it being a headache (you just undo the clamps).

It might be our imagination, but for some reason, the Tonno Pro seems to look really sharp on a Ram truck.

How It Works

When you pop your tailgate, you will see two rear clamps allowing you to fold the Tonno Pro once released. Two nylon buckle straps secure everything when driving with the cover open. When closed, the Tonno Pro has a distributed weight capacity of 350 lbs.

Good Paring With Other Pickup Truck Accessories

Not counting any deals or discounts, the Tonno Pro retails for about $650 on RealTruck’s website, making it the most affordable option on this best hard folding tonneau covers list. For what you can save on the Tonno Pro relative to other covers, you might be able to drop in a bed liner and have both for the price of a single, more expensive cover.

Most Affordable: Tonno Pro
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The Tonno Pro is the most economical way to enjoy the benefits of a hard folding tonneau cover.

Quick and easy installation and removal.

Nylon buckle straps secure the cover in a 2/3 open position.

Limited lifetime warranty, lifetime install support, and free shipping to the lower 48 states.

#3: Best Customizable Option: A.R.E. Fusion

A.R.E. was founded in 1969 and first manufactured aluminum truck bed caps and storage buildings. By 1979, the company had introduced aluminum caps for commercial applications and work trucks, debuting fiberglass toppers a few years later in 1982.

A decade later, in 1992, A.R.E. was making “walk-in” fiberglass toppers with a door in the center. Marketing materials at the time often showed the center door toppers fitted to Ford F-150 trucks alongside both GMC and Chevy trucks.

A.R.E. has gone on to support the Wounded Warrior Project and has served as a sponsor for Ducks Unlimited. The late Charlie Daniels was even an A.R.E. spokesperson at one point. Today, the company is a RealTruck brand, and its Fusion covers are a popular choice for the enthusiast crowd.

What We Like

We appreciate the established history of A.R.E. and its track record of building products for commercial and other heavy-use applications. With regard to the A.R.E. Fusion, it checks all the boxes of a high-quality tri-fold tonneau cover – good theft and weather resistance, low-profile looks, and aluminum panels – but adds an additional element of personalization.

Customization Options

The A.R.E. Fusion can be paint-matched to your truck and features a “carpeted” bottom layer on the underside of each panel (think of it like a carpeted undercover). In this regard, the A.R.E. Fusion stands out from other tri-fold truck covers as it can appear more refined or finished.

If you also use a BedRug as your bed liner, Fusion covers match perfectly and can complete your truck’s overall look. 

How It Works

The A.R.E. Fusion consists of three aluminum panels and three sets of hinges. Depending on your needs, the A.R.E. Fusion offers 2/3 bed access or full bed access through integrated support arms that secure it against your rear window. You can still open and shut your tailgate when the A.R.E. Fusion is closed.

Best Customizable Option: A.R.E. Fusion
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Can be color-matched to your truck’s factory paint code.

Cut, puncture, and slash-resistant to deter would-be thieves.

Limited lifetime warranty with lifetime install support.

A.R.E. has a strong history and has supported meaningful causes over the years, like the Wounded Warrior Project.

#4: Durability Champion: Gator FX3

Occupying the higher end of the price range, the Gator FX3 takes all of the benefits of a tri-folding hard tonneau cover – flush mounting, nearly full bed access, stowing in a partially open position – and combines them with a fiberglass-reinforced polymer construction (or FRP for short).

The Gator FX3 has FRP panels instead of aluminum ones to increase its strength and overall durability. In addition to keeping snoopers and would-be thieves out of your truck bed, the Gator FX3 is also less likely to be punctured by things like hail or falling branches during a storm.

What We Like

Living in Michigan, where winters are rough and thunderstorms often will down trees during the summer with high winds, options like the Gator FX3 are attractive despite the $1,000 price tag on average. The benefits of the FRP construction stand out most to us versus other tonneau covers on the market. 

FRP Construction & Durability

As described in a research article on the topic in the National Library of Medicine database, FRP benefits include improved stiffness and greater corrosion and wear resistance. Some of the latest data shows how FRP poles are better suited for the demands of today’s power grid, offering a longer service life, more impact energy capacity when compared to wood, and are safer for workers.  

In our view, if other industries are utilizing FRP construction for its benefits, then it makes sense those same benefits would translate to tonneau covers. Given the advantages of the FRP construction, the Gator FX3 is an excellent choice if your truck is an off-road trim level, like a Toyota Tacoma TRD PRO, or a bigger brute like the GMC Sierra HD AT4X.

How It Works

The Gator FX3 has “auto-locking slam latch locks” that secure the tri-fold cover in place and make it so it can only be moved once your tailgate is down. Included buckle straps hold the Gator FX3 in place when it’s open, while prop rods and rubber bumpers protect your rear window from damage if you need more room in the bed.

Durability Champion: Gator FX3
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Fiberglass-reinforced polymer construction provides robustness and longevity.

Tri-fold operation with prop rods for more bed access.

Limited two-year warranty with lifetime install support.

#5: Sleek, Low-Profile Look: Gator EFX

Like the Tonno Pro Tri-Fold, the Gator EFX is another economical hard folding tonneau cover at around $700. Unlike the Tonno Pro, however, the Gator EFX sits inside the bed rails, providing a sleeker appearance, which some truck owners may prefer.

The Gator EFX is constructed with aircraft-grade aluminum, a noteworthy feature given its price point relative to other more expensive hard folding truck bed covers. 

What We Like

Despite its straightforward installation process (no drilling or special tools), the Gator EFX isn’t quite as quick to remove as the Tonno Pro, but its low-profile appearance more than makes up for it.

Other key features we like include the black powder coat finish, EPDM rubber seals on all four sides, drain tubes for rainwater, and that each cover is made in the USA. Every Gator EFX cover has a three-year warranty and free shipping to the lower 48 states.

How It Works

The Gator EFX will lock when your tailgate does, helping keep your cargo and gear protected. Once your tailgate is down, retract the latches on either side to fold the EFX toward your cab.

Similar to the Tonno Pro, it only opens to 2/3 bed access, so it will need to be removed if you haul something requiring full bed access (you will use the four “quick release” knobs for removal). When closed, the Gator EFX has an evenly distributed weight capacity of 300 lbs.

Sleek, Low-Profile Look: Gator EFX
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Sleek appearance is underpinned by an aircraft-grade aluminum construction.

Budget-friendly option that includes drain tubes to filter rainwater away from the bed.

Three-year warranty, lifetime install support, and free shipping to the lower 48 states.

Best Hard Folding Tonneau Covers Conclusion

Like anything else these days, there is an overwhelming number of choices on the market for just about anything (like the cereal aisle in the grocery store!). Tonneau covers are no exception, so use this list as a guide if you are looking for a high-quality cover of the hard folding variety.

Regardless of the brand, the right tonneau cover for your truck will provide security and protection for your stuff, fall within your budget, and look great. On this best hard folding tonneau covers list, the A.R.E. Fusion is unique for its carpeted undercover and how it can be paint-matched to your truck’s factory color. Meanwhile, the Tonno Pro and Gator EFX take the cake for budget-friendly options.

Take a moment to think about what you need and want to spend. Either way, the most important thing is finding a cover that adds to the enjoyment of owning a truck. Each tonneau cover on this list will help you do just that.

Carl Anthony is the Managing Editor of Automoblog and the host of AutoVision News Radio and AutoSens Insights. As a respected automotive industry thought leader, Carl has appeared on numerous podcasts and radio shows, including Wrench Nation, Cars Yeah, The Car Doctor, and Brains Byte Back, in addition to appearing as a regular contributor on MotorMouth Radio on WHPC 90.3 FM. His work can also be seen and heard 24/7 on the Automoblog YouTube channel.

Best Tonneau Covers: FAQ

What is the highest-rated tonneau cover?

The highest-rated tonneau cover in our 2024 study is the BAKFlip-MX4. The BAKFlip-MX4 offers a good balance of durability, security, and low-profile aesthetics at a competitive price.

What are tonneau covers made of?

Tonneau covers are made of many different materials that tend to vary by the type of cover they’re used in. Some of the most popular materials include fiberglass, powder-coated aluminum, and marine-grade vinyl.

How does a tonneau cover form a seal with my truck bed?

There are several different ways that a tonneau cover can form a secure seal. Some use latches to lock them into place, while others use velcro strips that hold the cover down. Other covers incorporate rubber seals and drain tubes to channel water away from the bed.

Does a tonneau cover improve gas mileage?

Tonneau covers may improve your truck’s gas mileage. This is because they decrease wind resistance as air passes over the top of your vehicle and into the truck bed. With a tonneau cover installed, your truck will be more aerodynamic, and that could translate to better fuel economy, depending on how you drive and whether or not you are towing or hauling a payload.