Roll Up Vs. Retractable Tonneau Cover

Roll Up Vs. Retractable Tonneau Cover

Having a tonneau cover is almost mandatory for each truck owner as it covers the equipment, saves gas, and keeps out the junk. You should consider getting a tonneau cover if you care about your things. The cover provides added security to your truck bed.

If you need access to the entire truck bed, compact roll-up tonneau covers function with Velcro attachments and may be stored completely out of the way. Otherwise, there are retractable tonneau covers that slip open and close with ease. These contain anti-bind ball bearings and a sealed roller mechanism to keep the cover gliding smoothly.

Here, we briefly talked about roll up vs. retractable tonneau cover so you can make the best decision that suits your needs.

Roll-Up Tonneau Cover

Roll-up tonneau covers work by using velcro attachments. The covering is available on the market with both soft and hard surfaces. These weatherproof coverings can be stored totally out of the way if you need access to the whole bed.

Also, the installation process is elegant. Trucks manufactured before 1990 are suitable for this kind of cover.


  • Compact design
  • Rolls up fully
  • Full access to the truck bed
  • Very lightweight
  • Can be easily stored
  • Smooth and aerodynamic


  • Movement maneuver is a bit time consuming
  • Not so sturdy
  • Less secure compared to other types

Retractable Tonneau Cover

The retractable tonneau covers easily slide open and close without using velcros and straps. They have unique anti-bind ball bearings and a sealed roller system to ensure that the cover glides smoothly.

These units are as versatile as they can be because they offer a smooth, low-profile design. You can place a broad range of items in ultimate safety with lockable openings and closing points along the bed rails. The retractable Tonneau cover gives every truck a premium, luxurious finish.


  • Quick operation
  • Lockable in different positions
  • Weather-resistant design
  • Minimum maintenance required
  • Secure & sturdy structure


  • Can malfunction more often

Comparisons between Roll-Up and Retractable Tonneau Cover

It’s a good idea to weigh out your options before making a decision. So, let’s see how the two types of covers rack up against each other.

If you’re short on time and want to skim through, we have a nifty table here. However, we do recommend going through the in-depth comparison below for further insights.

FactorRoll-Up Tonneau CoverRetractable Tonneau Cover
OperationManualEntirely automated
CompatibilityOlder trucksNewer models
Price rangeAffordableMore expensive


Roll-up tonneau covers use soft vinyl as their material. Different kinds of velcros are used on the sides, which help secure the cargo in place. The sturdier ones are made out of either lightweight metal like aluminum or hard plastic. They can hold small items as well as ample cargo too.

Retractable truck bed covers are usually automatic. They open and close with the push of a simple button. You can operate the retractable ones without putting in much effort. It can be a good choice when your primary concern is automation. The amazingly fashionable design also makes it look pretty smooth.


The older models of trucks made before 1990 are best optimized for roll-up covers. They are easy to use and compatible with the older design. The design of the cover is so sleek that they go well with those models.

A retractable cover can open partially. This will allow you to store items that are longer or bigger than the overall size of your truck bed. The unique feature is of great help to those who need to carry large-sized cargo regularly.


The roll-up type is usually cheaper than the retractable ones because they are straightforward to manufacture and require comparatively less labor. Being lightweight, it’s also much easier to ship to different places.

On the other hand, the retractable cover has so many handy features and is intricately made for the convenience of the customers. Also, the materials used in the construction of the retractable covers are generally aluminum and steel.

Sometimes the covers are electrically powered as well.  So, they are naturally more expensive than the roll-up covers.


Since roll-up covers aren’t so sturdy, they are not as heavy-duty as their retractable counterparts. The roll-up covers often sag down during rain or snowfall. Also, the velcro attached to the sides tends to wear out very fast.

Although the maintenance for this type of cover can be complex, the overall cost is very minimal.

The retractable tonneau covers are usually fixed to the body of your truck bed. So, they can’t be detached entirely on a regular basis. The most you can do is keep it fully retracted when you’re not using the bed.

However, the storage canister takes up some space in the bed even after being fully retracted. So, it’s better to uninstall the retractable cover if the cargo fills the entire truck bed.

Roll Up Vs. Retractable Tonneau Cover

Our Top Picks

To help you narrow down your choices, we’ve picked some of the best covers in the market. You can choose any one of these products as per your choice and budget. However, feel free to explore other options too!

Truxedo Pro X15 is one of the best quality roll-up tonneau covers in the market. The X15  uses waterproof canvas as its base, which holds on with the help of velcro straps.

The Gator ETX roll-up cover has a pretty straightforward installation process. All you have to do is simply clamp it on the rails, and voila! You’re done.

And even after installing the ETX roll-up cover, you can still have access to the whole bed after rolling it up.

If you’re looking for style and security, you can’t go wrong with the RetraxPRO retractable covers. The MX unit can lock in different positions, offering you the complete flexibility to store cargo.

With an easy operating procedure, the Gator Recoil retractable tonneau cover comes with different unique features. You can have no better options to keep your cargo dry and secure.

Final Verdict

After going through this guide, we hope you have a clear idea about the debacle of roll up vs. retractable tonneau covers. But if you ask for our opinion, we suggest that you go for the Gator Recoil Retractable Tonneau Cover. It has the best security and a fantastic premium finish taking it to the top of our list.

Lastly, make sure to pick a cover that suits your needs and is compatible with your truck. Have fun customizing your vehicle to maximum efficiency!


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  1. Pingback: Rolling Vs Folding Tonneau Covers; Which One to Pick for Best Security?

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