Hard vs Soft Tonneau Cover: Which Type Should I Get?

For everyone who owns a truck and uses it to haul belongings and cargo, a tonneau cover is a must. Even the most basic tonneau cover will keep your truck bed and cargo protected from outside factors, rain, harsh weather and harm.

Whether you are carrying furniture, live animals, breakable and expensive items, clothes and personal belongings, or even tools and machineries, a tonneau cover is an absolute necessity.  

There are a lot of options available in the market when it comes to tonneau covers: based on how they are opened, how they are installed, what they are made from, and how they can protect your cargo. 

However, there’s another distinction between different types of tonneau covers: soft and hard tonneau covers.

As the names suggest, you can find two different types of tonneau covers based on their materials and how they can protect your cargo. 

What is a Soft Tonneau Cover?

They are made from pliable materials like canvas, vinyl or leather. They are used to simply cover your truck bed just like a piece of cloth would. Depending on the kind of materials used, soft tonneau covers might end up protecting your cargo inside the truck bed or simply cover it up. 

Whether soft tonneau covers are made from canvas, vinyl or leather, they can be effectively used to protect your cargo. However, with soft tonneau covers, protection might be difficult in case of harsh weather, heavy rainfall or extreme wind.

What is a Hard Tonneau Cover?

They are not made from any kind of fabric but rather fiberglass, polypropylene or hardened ABS plastic. They can be considered heavy-duty and durable tonneau covers that will be able to protect your truck bed and your cargo from any external factor, be it extreme wind or heavy rainfall. 

Hard tonneau covers also come with sturdy loving mechanisms so that your cargo will stay protected not just from natural elements, but from theft and vandalism. This is one reason that hard tonneau covers are more popular than soft tonneau covers. 

Hard vs Soft Tonneau Cover: Which One is Better? 

Hard vs Soft Tonneau Cover

Of course, whether a hard tonneau cover is the best one for you depends on how you plan to use it. Both hard and soft tonneau covers come with their own specialties and features, which you can analyze to choose the right one for you and your truck. 


What material is used to make the tonneau cover is how these things get their names and types. Soft tonneau covers are made with pieces of vinyl, leather or canvas, which are attached to aluminum frames to keep them sturdy and straight. 

Hard tonneau covers are made from fiberglass, polypropylene or hardened plastic like ABS. They don’t need any kind of metal frame to stay sturdy since the material these tonneau covers are made from automatically keep them straight. 

Therefore, depending on the type of cargo you will be protecting, you can decide between a hard and a soft tonneau cover. 

Anti-Theft Protection

There’s no denying that a hard tonneau cover provides more protection than a soft one. This is because hard tonneau covers come with advanced locking mechanisms that will be harder for anyone else to break into. 

At the same time, since a hard tonneau cover is a large piece of solid cover, it offers more protection and stability. Soft tonneau covers, on the other hand, are pieces of canvas or vinyl that are attached to aluminum frames. Soft tonneau covers are easier to cut into, break into and damage from the outside. 

Enhanced Strength 

At the same time, hard tonneau covers offer enhanced strength to protect your truck bed and your cargo. Any kind of natural or artificial elements from the outside won’t be able to penetrate the sturdy build of a fiberglass or ABS plastic tonneau cover easily. 

Hard tonneau covers will therefore protect your cargo much better than soft tonneau covers would. 


Soft tonneau covers, since they are made from vinyl or canvas, can end up being vulnerable. Even when they are locked to the truck cover with a standard locking system, it is possible for thieves to damage or cut out a hole in the tonneau cover. This isn’t a problem with hard tonneau covers since they’re harder to damage and almost impossible to cut or break. 

Even in case of falling debris or landslide, hard tonneau covers will protect your cargo and your truck bed much better than the soft ones. 

Ease of Installation and Use 

Soft tonneau covers are actually much easier to install and it doesn’t require any professional help. They usually come with all the tools needed for installation, as well. Anyone can simple buy a soft tonneau cover and install it on their truck beds themselves. 

Hard tonneau covers, since they are made from solid metal, plastic or glass, are much heavier. They’ll be difficult to install without professional help or assistance. If you are choosing a hard tonneau cover for your truck, it needs to be installed by a professional using special tools or by a group of people who have technical knowledge. 


Soft tonneau covers are flexible; they are easier to fit on a number of truck beds. This is not possible with hard tonneau covers as they are not really smug fits. In fact, hard tonneau covers can only be fit specifically on the models they are designed for. 

Price Range 

Quite understandably, hard tonneau covers are more expensive than soft ones. Since they’re made from more expensive materials and last longer, hard tonneau covers are more expensive as a general rule. 

Conclusion: Hard or Soft Tonneau Cover

All things considered from the above discussion of hard vs soft tonneau covers, hard tonneau covers are a better choice over soft tonneau covers even though they are more expensive.

Hard tonneau covers provide better stability, more protection and durable use for years, and they are clearly the best choice for tonneau covers.

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