Posted by Corey Decker on 4/24/2020 to Before you Buy
Adding a tonneau cover to your Super Duty can do a lot of good. Tonneau covers can keep your cargo safe, get you better fuel economy, and help add something to your exterior. Here at Stage 3 Motorsports, we have all sorts of covers available for you to choose from high-quality manufacturers. It does not matter if you have a 2017-2020 F250 with a short bed or a 2008-2016 F350 with a long bed, we have got you covered. However, there are more decisions than just brands when it comes to picking the right tonneau cover for your truck. Part of picking the right one involves figuring out what type of cover you would like. It seems daunting, but it's pretty easy to narrow down. The three that you have to choose from are; retractable, folding, and roll-up. Each type has its positives and negatives, but any of the three can add a serious exterior upgrade to your Super Duty.
Super Duty Folding Tonneau CoversA folding tonneau cover is a stylish safety measure to take for your truck. The pros to having a folding tonneau cover are they are normally made with durable materials that fit flush to help prevent people from getting to your cargo under the cover. They also provide a sleek and low profile look to your bed. One major con with some of these folding bed covers is that you have to say goodbye to the use of your back window. To allow complete bed use when the tonneau cover is folded up, they often have to fold up to the point that blocks your view out of the back window which makes it difficult backing up without a backup camera. When they do allow for use of the back window, it usually means that you have to completely remove it and store it, taking up space in your cab most likely. You have your choice of either a hard or a soft folding cover. One example of a soft cover would be the 1999-2016 F250 & F350 Short Bed Extang Trifecta 2.0 Signature Series. This cover from a heavy-duty canvas material instead of vinyl. It also includes a quick and easy installation process that doesn't require any drilling or assembly. A hard-sided tonneau cover to spotlight for this is the 2008-2016 F250 & F350 BAKFlip G2 Hard-Folding Tonneau Cover that we used on our 2014 F250 "project icebox" build. This cover can flip it's cab section in the opposite direction with the rest of the cover in place so that you can get at your toolbox or other gear without needing to completely roll or unroll your cover. It also is made out of very durable aluminum that can handle any punishment dished out by mother nature, the road, and/or whatever you happen to carry around. The aluminum design also makes it much more difficult for someone to break into your truck's bed -- assuming you lock the tailgate. On our more recent 2017 F250 6.7L Project Build, we went with an Extang Solid Fold 2.0 Tonneau Cover (6.9 ft Bed), check out the install video below.
Super Duty Retractable Tonneau CoversAnother option if you are in the market for a new tonneau cover is to invest in a more modern age retractable bed cover. A pro for these covers is that once installed they are a cakewalk to use. You can leave on or take off your bed cover just by pushing a button or turning a key. Most retractable bed covers also allow you to have entire use of the bed when not in use. It is important to note that these are the most expensive out of the three, but they're also the most advanced. Take the 2008-2016 F250 & F350 RetraxONE Sliding Tonneau Cover with Stake Pocket for short bed trucks for example. This cover is known for being able to support up to 500 pounds on its top when closed, it just as tough for thieves to access to your precious cargo inside. The material it is made out of also means that your cargo is safe from the elements. Crafted with a seamless, one-piece LEXAN polycarbonate panel that slides on sealed ball bearing rollers. This particular tonneau cover is also one of the few manual retractable covers that we have. It is touted as the "smoothest manually retractable bed cover on the market because the operation requires no straps, snaps, springs, or Velcro. On the flip side, one of the major cons of a retractable tonneau cover is that it has one of the longer installation processes of any tonneau cover. Take a peek at the installation process of a Pace Edwards Jackrabbit Tonneau Cover w/ Explorer Rails we threw on our F-150 "budget truck" build.
Super Duty Roll-up Tonneau CoversJust in case you are after a rolling tonneau cover, here is some pros and cons about it. Before you choose which of our products to purchase, you must first choose whether you want a soft or hard rolling tonneau. Soft covers offer a vinyl covering that may or may not have a little bit of backing underneath them. On the other hand, hardcovers offer a light vinyl cover that sits atop aluminum panels. The pros of having a hard-sided roll-up cover are that it will give you peace of mind and it stays strong rolling down the road. However, one con of the hard-sided one that we discovered on our 2017 F250 6.7L Project Truck is that you give up about a foot of bed space with this hardcover as opposed to the normal soft ones that roll up completely to your cab. With the soft tonneau covers, one pro is that they are really easy to use and are very cost-effective. On the other hand, they may not be able to withstand high winds or high rates of speed. There are some roll-ups that are created out of some vinyl material like the 2008-2016 F250 & F350 Short Bed Extang Revolution Tonneau Cover. This cover is created by Extang to have an easy and secure installation. Part of the design also includes spring-loaded bows conveniently roll up within the tarp when the tonneau is not in use. In addition to that, Extang included an integrated multi-directional tension system that provides instant fastening in an easy setup. There are also roll-up tonneau covers that are hard, created with aluminum slatted backing like the 2008-2016 F250 & F350 Short Bed TruXedo Sentry Hard Roll-Up Tonneau Cover as seen below. This cover is created to have the sleek look of a soft tonneau cover, but the protection of any other hard-sided cover. This also comes with a set of rails that provide an extremely low-profile mounting point for the tonneau cover that helps keep your F250 or F350 looking clean and mean. The rails install into your truck using a clamp system that doesn't require any permanent modifications to your truck. The rails are equipped with Velcro and allow you to open the Sentry Cover anywhere along the rails or to your truck's cab. Each Sentry tonneau cover comes with all its necessary hardware and instructions.
Every type of tonneau cover has its pros and cons, however they all will protect your cargo and give close to the same look. Installing a tonneau cover also helps your aerodynamics which in turn helps your fuel economy. In the end, it is up to you which direction you want your build to take. It is also important to double-check both the year range for each tonneau cover and bed type to ensure you are getting exactly what will work with your truck. It is also important to note that there are a few tonneau covers that are directly affected by the existence of tailgate assist. Everything that you need to know will be in the fitment notes and or titles of each listing, so read carefully.