If you are a pickup truck owner, chances are that you’ve heard of a tonneau cover. But if you haven't, then you've certainly seen one in action. These specialized covers are placed over a truck's open bed to protect the payload and improve aerodynamics. They come in hard and soft varieties, as well as in a variety of model-based compatibilities.

Because of these latter factors, it is imperative to select a tonneau cover that will properly fit your Toyota Tacoma. This guide will help you do precisely that by teaching you what to look for in a reliable tonneau cover. Better yet, we’ve reviewed each of this year’s top tonneau covers based upon their core specifications and features. Using this guide, you’ll be able to find the best tonneau cover for a Tacoma without wasting another minute.


Preview

Model

Cover Type

Year Compatibility

Check Price

Tyger Auto Black (Soft Top) T3 Tri-Fold Truck...

Tyger Auto T3

Soft tri-fold rollup

2016-2018

MaxMate Soft Tri-Fold Truck Bed Tonneau Cover...

MaxMate TCT371030

Soft tri-fold rollup

2005-2015 (2016-2019 available)

Extang Trifecta 2.0 Soft Folding Truck Bed...

Extang Trifecta 2.O 92830

Soft tri-fold rollup

2016-2018

RetraxONE Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover...

RetraxONE 10811

Hard retractable

2005-2015

Gator ETX Soft Tri-Fold | 59409 | fits Toyota...

Gator ETX 59409

Soft tri-fold rolling

2016-2019

TruXedo TruXport Soft Roll Up Truck Bed...

TruXedo TruXport 257001

Soft roll up

2016-2020

BAK BAKFlip MX4 Hard Folding Truck Bed...

BAKFlip MX4

Hard folding

2016-2019


Why a Tonneau Cover is Worth Investing In

First off, a tonneau cover is well worth owning if you intend to transport sensitive cargo in your truck. Specifically, tonneau covers excel when it comes to protecting your goods from the elements (including high winds on the interstate). Even if you aren’t carrying anything in your truck bed, a tonneau cover can prevent rain or snow from accumulating therein and causing corrosion.


Features to Look for in a Tacoma Tonneau Cover

Type

Tonneau covers come in several different "types," which describe both their density and their primary method of deployment. For example, a "hard folding" tonneau cover would be made from a rigid material and feature a central folding mechanism (often manually operated). Meanwhile, a “soft rollup” tonneau cover would be made from a flexible material and feature a more incremental method of installing and removing said cover.

Hard covers tend to last longer simply due to their more durable exterior surface. However, they also cost more and can be a pain to operate. Soft covers, on the other hand, are cheaper and easier to manage but tend to require more routine repairs.

Bed Size & Cover Weight

Tonneau covers come in different sizes to fit all kinds of truck bed sizes. As such, you should always carefully measure your truck bed before investing in a tonneau cover. At the same time, consider asking your tonneau cover dealer if they will let you compare a soft and hard model on your own. This can help you determine which cover weight will best suit your own physical capabilities when it comes time to put on and remove said cover.

Vehicle Compatibility (Model Year)

Along the same lines as measuring bed size, some tonneau cover manufacturers make their models fit only one type of truck or model year. You should always double-check before finalizing your tonneau cover purchase to ensure that your chosen model is fully compatible.

Material/Durability

Durability is vital when you're shopping for a tonneau cover. While most modern models can resist the elements, only some material compositions can do so for an extended period. Soft vinyl and ABS plastics tend to be on the lower end of this spectrum, while aluminum and fiberglass units are prized for their enhanced security and long-term damage resistance.

Aesthetic Value & Design

Many truck owners take pride in their vehicles. It's always worthwhile to keep aesthetics in mind while shopping for a tonneau cover. Ideally, you should pick out a model that adequately matches your truck's primary colors or, at the very least, does not distract from them.

Installation & Maintenance

Installing a tonneau cover can be one of the most difficult steps in tonneau cover ownership. Though most tonneau covers stay in place once installed (usually by a professional), you will need to "reinstall" it in one way or another each time you operate it. So, be sure you are well acquainted with this process before committing to one model over another.

The same mentality should go into maintenance. Be sure to speak with your tonneau cover's installation team to learn the best methods for maintaining your new unit through every season.

Price & Warranty

Simply put, don’t get overcharged for a tonneau cover. Some dealers like to add massive markups, so your best bet will likely be to compare prices at your favorite online retailer. While completing those price comparisons, be sure to factor in the added value of a warranty. These can be particularly useful for tonneau covers, which can break down over time and require replacement if they are not manufactured properly.


7 Best Tonneau Covers for Toyota Tacoma Reviewed

1. Tyger Auto T3

Our Top Pick!

Cover Type

Soft tri-fold rollup

Year Compatibility Range

2016-2018

Size/Truck Bed Length

5’

Cover Weight

25 lbs.

Key Feature

Works with or without the Deckrail System

Warranty

Yes, limited lifetime

First up, I simply must give my full endorsement to the best tonneau cover for a Toyota Tacoma – the Tyger Auto T3. I'm not usually one to opt for the lower-priced options when it comes to car accessories. But this tonneau cover proved me wrong! It is exceptionally easy to fold up, despite the fact that it utilizes marine-grade vinyl across its entire exterior.

This tonneau cover only weighs 25 lbs., too, so you won’t have to strain yourself to install it. Speaking of installation, the Tyger Auto T3 can be installed easily on any 2016-2018 Tacoma without the need for any tools. Your truck doesn’t even need the Deckrail System in order to safely and securely place this tonneau cover. 

Even an amateur will be able to set this unit’s anchors without needing to call in a mechanic like me for assistance. Just be aware that there are two different models, depending on whether you have a 5-foot bed or a 6-foot bed.

Pros

  • Affordably priced at under $200
  • Marine-grade vinyl and aircraft-grade aluminum frames make this unit extra durable
  • Tool free installation on most trucks
  • Options also available for 2005-2015 and 2019 models

Cons

  • Lacks a lock
  • Small holes must be cut in bedliner for proper installation

2. MaxMate TCT371030

Best Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover For Tacoma

Cover Type

Soft tri-fold rollup

Year Compatibility Range

2005-2015 (2016-2019 available)

Size/Truck Bed Length

5’ or 6’

Cover Weight

27 lbs.

Key Feature

No drilling needed for mounting

Warranty

Yes, 10-year

Next up, I want to recognize the MaxMate TCT371030 as the best tri-fold tonneau cover for a Tacoma on the market today. At first, I could hardly believe that a tri-fold tonneau cover that didn’t require any drilling for installation would be any good. But indeed, this unit’s pre-assembled horizontal crossbars hold steady after taking a beating from the elements.

Each is made from aircraft-grade aluminum, too, so the whole unit only weighs 27 lbs. A significant part of the MaxMate TCT371030’s patented design is its dual-coated vinyl surface. Regardless of your truck bed size, you can count on this surface to retail a full seal even after years and years of use. 

Speaking of compatibility, you can also pick the MaxMate TCT371030 in 5’/6’ versions for virtually any Tacoma made after 2005. Now that’s what I call availability! You can rest assured you've picked a solid tonneau cover by MaxMate’s included reliable 10-year warranty.

Pros

  • 5’ and 6’ options available for 2005-2019 Tacoma models
  • Pre-assembled horizontal crossbars fold up easily
  • Vinyl surface is dual-coated for extra protection
  • Reliable 10-year warranty

Cons

  • Claims about cab sizing are a bit off the mark
  • Not recommended for extreme weather conditions

3. Extang Trifecta 2.O 92830

Best Soft Tonneau Cover For Tacoma

Cover Type

Soft tri-fold rollup

Year Compatibility Range

2016-2018

Size/Truck Bed Length

5’

Cover Weight

27 lbs.

Key Feature

Leather grain vinyl or premium canvas options

Warranty

Yes, lifetime

The folks at Extang say that "best-selling soft tri-fold cover just got better," and I can't help but agree. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that this is the best soft tonneau cover for a Tacoma in this collection. Though it is only designed to fit 5’ truck beds, you can count on this leather grain vinyl cover to deflect the elements without compromise.

Should you want an even more aesthetically-pleasing appearance for your tonneau cover, though the Extang Trifecta 2.0 92830 comes with a premium canvas option that is just as functionally capable.

The Extang Trifecta 2.0 92830 is also impressively easy to operate. After completing the installation (which requires neither rails nor special tools), you'll be able to utilize this model's two EZ-Lock clamps to secure the cover in place. These clamps won’t loosen at all over a long journey, but you’ll be able to release them without needing to overexert yourself at all.

Pros

  • Two EZ-Lock clamps make securing this cover a snap
  • Low profile appearance prevents unnecessary drag
  • Premium canvas option looks great and functions well
  • Fits most current Tacoma models

Cons

  • Prone to waving at 40 + mph
  • Clamp spacing is a little unusual

4. RetraxONE 10811

Best Retractable Tonneau Cover For Tacoma

Cover Type

Hard retractable

Year Compatibility Range

2005-2015

Size/Truck Bed Length

5’

Cover Weight

56.2 lbs.

Key Feature

Sealed ball-bearing roller design

Warranty

Yes, lifetime limited

I have to hand it to the RetraxONE 10811 – it really is the best retractable tonneau cover for a Toyota Tacoma. I’m not just saying that because this model’s patented low-profile design and glossy surface is aesthetically pleasing (though it certainly helps). As it turns out, this hard retractable tonneau cover was built for performance. This is best exemplified by its sealed ball-bearing roller design, which can retract and extend without the need for a troublesome spring mechanism.

Did I mention that the RetraxONE 10811’s polycarbonate surface is ultra-durable? Because it sure is! Not only that, but it is able to fold up without any hinges at all. Without any key needed, this same cover can be locked in any position, making it ideal for use when hauling a 5th wheel. Along the same lines, you’ll be able to maintain access to your truck’s stack pockets because this unit’s mounting equipment does not cover them.

Pros

  • Polycarbonate surface is ultra-durable and able to fold up without joints or hinges
  • Adjustable mounting system to fit different truck bed architectures
  • Can be locked open in any position
  • Maintains access to OEM stack pockets

Cons

  • Pricy, at over $1,000
  • Warranty policy from manufacturer is unclear

5. Gator ETX 59409

Best Folding Tonneau Cover For Tacoma

Cover Type

Soft tri-fold rolling

Year Compatibility Range

2016-2019

Size/Truck Bed Length

5’

Cover Weight

23 lbs.

Key Feature

ETX T-handle front clamps

Warranty

Yes, limited lifetime

Those in search of the best folding tonneau cover for a Tacoma will find it here in the Gator ETX 59409. Some shoppers might be interested in this model’s light overall weight at only 23 lbs. (making this cover easy to operate overall). But its best qualities lie with its durable construction, which is made up of a heavy-duty aluminum frame and industrial-strength vinyl. This cover can also be set in a 2/3 open position, making it easier than ever to access your Tacoma's bed without needing to take its cover entirely off.

Gator claims that the ETX 59409 can be installed in only 10 minutes. While I haven’t been able to independently confirm that, I am inclined to believe them given this brand’s reliable track record. Also, this model’s bed clamps can go on with or without a bed liner, so I would bet that it can lock into place without giving novice users a hassle.

Pros

  • One of the lightest covers in its price class
  • Can fold up to 2/3 for easy access
  • Can be installed in only 10 minutes
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • Requires rails for full installation
  • Blocks stake pockets

6. TruXedo TruXport 257001

Best Roll Up Tonneau Cover For Tacoma

Cover Type

Soft roll up

Year Compatibility Range

2016-2020

Size/Truck Bed Length

6’

Cover Weight

N/A

Key Feature

Durable bowing architecture

Warranty

Yes, 5-year

I’ll admit, I’ve always been a fan of the TruXedo brand (and that’s not just because it’s fun to say their name). As it stands, they’ve reliably put out the best roll up tonneau cover for Tacomas year after year. The TruXport 257001 is a testament to that high standard of performance, as evidenced by its pre-set tension controls and integrated dual latching system. This model is also compatible with models from 2016 and newer, including the new 2020 models, so new Tacoma owners should put this model on their shortlist.

Stability was also a major focus for the TruXport 257001, given that some users had complained about that quality in the past. This model has really come a long way, as shown in its positioning 1.5" above the truck bed. This unit’s support bows even keep its surface structurally sound by safely bending (without breaking) when heavy snow lands upon it.

Pros

  • Sits 1.5" above the truck bed for added stability
  • Support bows safely bend to support snow without breaking
  • Compatible with newest 2020 Tacoma models
  • Pre-set tension controls integrated into dual latching system

Cons

  • Latching system does not connect well in cold weather
  • Some units ship with slightly mis-cut covers.

7. BAKFlip MX4

Best Hard Tonneau Cover For Tacoma

Cover Type

Hard folding

Year Compatibility Range

2016-2019

Size/Truck Bed Length

5’

Cover Weight

71 lbs.

Key Feature

Automatic latching panels

Warranty

Yes, 3-year warranty

Finally, let’s close out this collection with the best hard tonneau cover for a Tacoma, otherwise known as the BAKFlip MX4. While its warranty may be shorter than its competitors at just three years of coverage, this model more than makes up for it through its extra reliable construction materials. To that end, this model’s G2 aluminum panels are enhanced with a premium foam core that imbues them with an unmatched level of UV resistance.

The seals on the BAKFlip MX4 just won’t quit, either, and I couldn’t be more pleased. To be more specific, this model's dual-action tailgate seal and perimeter seal have been reengineered to lock out the elements, even when air temperatures become extreme.

BAKFlip MX4 won’t impede you from fully utilizing your truck bed also, primarily because it can be fully folded 100% upright and sit flush against your truck, if necessary. The cover is a solid 71 lbs, so the initial installation might require the work of two people working together if you're not planning on having the cover professionally installed.

Pros

  • Dual-action tailgate seal and perimeter seal keeps out the elements without compromise
  • Can be folded fully upright for full truck bed access
  • Injection-molded latch housing won’t crack when exposed to heat or cold
  • Stylish matte finish

Cons

  • Shorter warranty than most other models
  • Very heavy at 71 lbs.

Measuring the Truck Bed

Measuring your truck bed before picking out a tonneau cover can be quick and straightforward. First, you should double-check what type of bed you have (a regular cab, extended cab, sidestep, etc.) Then, measure the actual length of the bed from the bulkhead to the tailgate. Do the same for the horizontal length from one side of the truck bed rim to the other. Use these measurements (converted into feet) to select the tonneau cover that is right for you.


Installing Tacoma Truck Bed Covers

Installing a tonneau cover will differ from one type of cover to another. For example, a soft cover usually requires the anchoring of a specialized Velcro strip to the truck bed's upper rim, while a hard cover often involves the attachment of a rail-type system. Depending on the type of truck bed liner you use, you may also need to use a sealant.

To learn more about how to accomplish this properly and safely, check out these videos:

Soft tonneau cover installation

Hard tonneau cover installation


Cleaning & Maintenance

Cleaning your tonneau cover is an absolute must in order to take advantage of its entire effective lifespan. While mixtures of light soaps and warm water will do well in a pinch, you should strongly consider cleaning your tonneau cover with a specially formulated cleaning agent as often as you clean your entire truck. This video can give you a quick understanding of what this kind of cleaner looks like and how it should be used.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can I drive with my cover open?

Generally speaking, yes, you can drive with a tonneau cover open. However, you should only do so when the cover has been properly secured. Most models come with a strap or anchoring system that will keep the cover tied down in the open position, even at roadway speeds.

How can I lock a tonneau cover for my Toyota Tacoma truck?

Precise locking mechanisms will differ from model to model. Many soft covers have a locking mechanism located on their underside, which can be accessed near the tailgate. Some hard covers also use this kind of locking system, while some go the extra mile and feature a full-blown keyed lock component.

Do tonneau covers really increase mileage?

Tonneau covers are often hailed as being able to increase the aerodynamics of a truck by reducing the amount of drag caused by the truck bed itself. So, in theory, a tonneau cover can increase your mileage by allowing your truck to expend less fuel while pushing a less “dense” load. However, your actual savings on this front will always be marginal because the cost of a tonneau cover will easily be greater than your all-time fuel savings.

How long do tonneau covers last?

A tonneau cover can last for the entire lifetime of a new truck if it is well-cared for. Even if it is routinely used in harsh conditions (such as extreme cold or heat), you can expect a well-maintained tonneau cover to last at least a decade. Many tonneau covers can be patched or repaired as well, thus extending their lifespan further.

What are the best Tacoma truck bed cover brands?

When it comes to the Toyota Tacoma, there are several tonneau cover brands that Tacoma loyalists swear by. Among others, you can usually count on Tyger, RetraxONE, and Gator to provide you with a great product that will last for a decade or longer.


Conclusion

If it wasn’t already clear, you need a tonneau cover if you intend to use your Toyota Tacoma to transport weather-sensitive cargo anytime in the near future. Even average Tacoma owners can extend their truck’s lifespan with a tonneau cover because they won’t need to worry about rain, snow, and extreme heat degrading their truck bed’s surface.

While I won’t need to buy a new tonneau cover for my Tacoma any time soon, I know which model I’d buy in an instant if I were on the market – the Tyger Auto T3. This tonneau cover meets and exceeds my high expectations as a mechanic, especially when it comes to durability. That’s because it uses marine-grade vinyl and aircraft-grade aluminum, which no other model in its price class can offer.

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