Polycarbonate Vs Aluminum Tonneau Covers: Which is Better?

Polycarbonate and aluminum are the two most prevalent materials for the tonneau covers. They both offer the best protection in the harshest weather and are significantly durable. Between them, there are some differences available. So, polycarbonate vs aluminum tonneau covers is an interesting topic for us. Before that, let’s know about the tonneau cover first.

The tonneau cover is a requirement for truck bed protection. The truck bed is the home to many of the expensive possessions like tools of the trade to valuable camping equipment. So, it is necessary to find out the appropriate cover material within the budget and need.

In the case of polycarbonate, it is lighter than aluminum. Aluminum can’t handle more exploitation than polycarbonate. But it is cheaper than polycarbonate. In finding the better one between the two, one can fall into a dilemma. To move out from this plight, understanding the properties of each material and their benefits are a necessity. So let’s up a light on them.

Polycarbonate Vs Aluminum Tonneau Covers

Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate is polyester and is a trendy tonneau covers material.

There are some reasons why polycarbonate is different:

  • Resistant to impact damage
  • High resistance to heat 
  • Lighter than aluminum
  • Gas consumption will be less
  • Easy to recycle and safe for the environment
  • Highly durable

As polycarbonate is highly defiant to damage in automobiles, we can see it as a material of bulletproof windows. Soda bottles, food storage containers, shower doors, and eyeglass lenses also use polycarbonate as a material. 

It is highly resistant to heat and can go through the hottest temperatures. 

It is easier to handle because it is lighter than aluminum. Heavier aluminum can cause a rise in gas consumption. But polycarbonate, because of its lightness, helps to reduce gas consumption. It is a bonus point. It is safe for the environment as it is easy to recycle.

Properties like durability and lightweight are making polycarbonate a popular material for truck bed covers.

Aluminum

Aluminum is solid, non-magnetic metal, also used as a tonneau cover. 

It has some unique properties like:

  • Silver/Grey-colored lightweight metal
  • Non-lustrous
  • Soft and malleable
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Less expensive than polycarbonate
  • Possess a self-protecting oxide layer
  • Requires simple maintenance
  • Cost-effective 
  • Lighter

Because of its softness and malleability, it is easy to work with aluminum. Powder coating, plating, or anodizing to protect corrosion is possible to this metal. In the case of expense, it is less expensive than polycarbonate.

It offers good protective properties from the elements. Its maintenance is relatively easy and, maintenance like regular cleaning and predicant applications is only necessary.

It has good electrical and thermal conductivity. It is the most prevalent material for truck bed cover because of its durability, lightness, and cost-effectiveness.

Polycarbonate Tonneau Covers

When it appears to truck bed covers, polycarbonate covers are more durable and lighter than aluminum. But they can be found hardly in the market and are more expensive. 

They require less maintenance and typically outlive aluminum covers and other materials. They are-

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Very resistant to braking, incision, and scratching
  • Excellent impact-resisting
  • Can withstand a high degree of abuse
  • Antithecally attractive 
  • High glossy
  • Color stable
  • Resistant to mold and mildew better than aluminum
  • Protects cargo from moisture
  • keeps a cleaner look for the cover

Aluminum Tonneau Covers

Aluminum’s popularity is much because of its easiness to work. It is not expensive and lightweight. It also craves fewer supports and is more rigid. They have variants in colors, finishes, and styles.

People prefer aluminum covers because of their-

  • Lower cost
  • Durability
  • Strength
  • Rigidity
  • Corrosion-resistance

An aluminum cover is very good at keeping your cargo insure from elements and thieves because it is rigid enough. Retrax Pro Mx is the more trendy aluminum cover in the market nowadays.

Polycarbonate or Aluminum Tonneau covers “The battle of becoming the better one”

Polycarbonate and aluminum are both durable and rigid as tonneau covers. Though polycarbonate is less rigorous, it will still hinder daily use as well as in severe weather. Aluminum is solid, but scratches and dents come very readily in it. The scratches stand out for a long time in it. Polycarbonate also scratches but shows more resistance to it. Scratches will be less noticeable if it is dyed all the way through. 

Both of them can go through a beating at the time of trucking. But we can rely on both because of durability. Only personal preference and budget can be the catalyst in using. Polycarbonate won’t fade away as quickly as a painted surface. It shows resistance to harsh elements like sunlight and salt.

If you have decided the type of tonneau cover you are getting, we have some suggestions for you.

In our research the best polycarbonate tonneau covers are-

And the best aluminum tonneau covers are-

Conclusion

For an aesthetically pleasing design of the truck bed cover, polycarbonate will be the better choice. If you need a little more protection with the looks, you can go for an aluminum-reinforced polycarbonate cover.

If you want to work with a small budget and want to stay cost-effective, an aluminum cover can be a choice for you.

So polycarbonate and aluminum is not the main factor in the competition. Your demands, your wants, and budget works as the main factor in it. And that concludes the polycarbonate vs aluminum tonneau covers debate.

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