Tri Fold vs Retractable Tonneau Cover

Tri Fold vs Retractable Tonneau Cover: Which One Is Better for You?

A tonneau cover is the most cost-effective way to protect your stuff when you’re not using your truck. The body or the surface of a tonneau cover is typically made of heavy-duty canvas, vinyl, Aluminum, fiberglass, or molded ABS plastic. Most tonneau covers come with advanced lock mechanisms.

It’s apparent that if one is genuinely concerned about the tonneau cover design, variation, operation mode combability and price, then one might be better off looking into the tri-fold versus the retractable tonno cover. Like any other product, there are several things that one should consider when it comes to choosing between these two types of covers.

In our Tri-Fold Vs Retractable Tonneau Cover article, we will walk you through all the differences between these two products including a comprehensive product suggestion section.

Quick comparison:

Here we have a nifty table in case you are short on time. However, we do recommend going through the in-depth comparison below for further insights.

Comparison Table

FactorTri-Fold Tonneau CoverRetractable Tonneau Cover
DesignFolding MechanismsRetracting Mechanisms
OperationCompletely ManualEntirely automated
SecurityTriangle lockIntegrated lock
CompatibilityBoth new and some old modelNewer models
Price rangeBudget friendlyMore expensive than other type
MaintenanceLittle DifficultEasy

Tri-fold Tonneau Cover

The tri-fold tonneau cover is one of the most influential tonneau covers among most professional truck owners. This tonneau cover is easy to use, dependable and looks great on your truck. With the tri-fold cover, you get many benefits. Its compact design has made the cover more attractive to the truck owners. Furthermore, you can own this cover at your budget range. Let’s see some of the advantages and disadvantages related with Tri-fold tonneau cover.


  • Easier to open
  • Works perfectly in rough weather like extreme hot or cold
  • Provides more security
  • Supports cargo on top
  • Easy installation and removal


  • Blocks your rearview when fully opened
  • Not available for some old trucks

Retractable tonneau Cover

A retractable tonneau cover is a truck bed cover that retracts to reveal the truck bed. There are many reasons why you might like retractable tonneau covers for your truck bed. If you enjoy keeping the bed of your truck clean, this is an excellent solution to do so. You can close it up when not in use and open it on a whim, depending upon what you need to carry or how much room you want inside.

Below we have shortlisted some benefits and drawbacks associated with retractable tonneau covers.


  • Multiple Open Positions
  • Aerodynamic & Low-Profile
  • Spiral Storage Canister
  • Integrated locking system
  • Versatile -Supports Small Cargo, Large Cargo, Extra-Large Cargo


  • Heavy.
  • May require bed modification (cutting)
  • Expensive.
Tri Fold vs Retractable Tonneau Cover

Comparison between Tri-Fold and Retractable Tonneau Cover

It’s an excellent idea to fine-tune your options before deciding. So, let’s see how the two types of covers rack up against each other. 


When it comes to appearance, both Tri-Fold and Retractable Tonneau cover offers a classy outlook with their low-profile design. But the main difference comes to light in their style. As the name suggests, the Tri-Fold cover possesses a Folding mechanism with three strongly connected lids. But, when it comes to retractable tonneau cover, you will find the retracting mechanism in action to cover the tonneau of your truck bed. 


Tri-Fold tonneau cover offers two different variations- soft folding and hard folding cover. The soft folding one facilitates easy installation and removal, while the other can handle the extra load over the tonneau cover. In the case of the retractable tonneau cover, there is no variation like Tri-Fold.


If you love to leave your task on a robot, then Tri Folding is not the perfect tonneau cover for you. Its folding mechanism requires manual installation and removal. In comparison to that, the retractable truck cover is fully automated. Thus, one can easily open and close the truck bed simply by pressing a dedicated switch with the Retractable tonneau cover.


With easy-to-use features, the Tri-Fold truck cover features a locking tailgate. One can find these security features sit above or relatively flush, depending on the brand. In terms of retractable covers, security features are better than folding truck covers. It provides an ultimate locking system that features an integrated lock to keep the truck bed secure in any position. Moreover, some brands of retractable cover allow safety while the lid is half-closed.


Both of these tonneau covers fit perfectly in ant type of truck. But, the Retractable cover primarily supports newer cars, whereas the Tri-Fold Tonneau cover also supports some old versions. 


One of the most critical aspects is maintenance that one needs to perform regularly to ensure the highest performance and durability. Both of these famous tonneau covers feature easy maintenance. But if time and complexity matter in fine-tuning, retractable tonneau cover wins the race with its advanced, easy-to-use technology.


Budget is an important aspect when purchasing some items or goods. Thanks to the simplicity of the Tri-folding tonneau cover, it is relatively budget-friendly with its excellent appearance and security. But, in the case of a Retractable truck bed cover, it is slightly expensive than its competitor due to its modern features.

On Amazon, you will find Tri Fold covers at a price range of $100 to $1350. For Retractable tonneau cover, the minimum price may be $600 and a maximum of $2100.

Some Product Suggestions

To help you shortlist 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!

Retractable tonneau cover- RetraxPRO MX or Gator Recoil.  

Tri-Fold tonneau cover- Gator EFX Hard Tri-Fold or Tyger Auto T3 Soft Tri-Fold

These are some incredible tonneau cover on the market because it fits TONS of different kinds of trucks, which means it’s versatile, durable, and customizable.


In conclusion to our Tri-Fold vs Retractable Tonneau Cover, the Retractable Tonneau covers are generally easier to use and more convenient than Tri-Fold Tonneau Covers. We feel it is the better option for most people. The design and construction of the Retractable Tonneau Cover make them more durable and less susceptible to damage, and it is easier to open and close than a Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover.


2 thoughts on “Tri Fold vs Retractable Tonneau Cover: Which One Is Better for You?”

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

  2. Pingback: Rough Country Tonneau Cover vs BAKflip : Which is Better? - Truck Bed Facts

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