So, you’re looking for a tonneau cover, and you’re not sure about whether to get a tri-fold or a soft rolling cover? Here is a comparison of a tri-fold and a roll-up tonneau covers with some differences for you to know.
First, there’s install time and labor. A tri-fold cover takes relatively less time to install the first time than a soft roll-up cover.
At first, it seems like the tri-fold cover is less work, but that changes the first time you have to load something big and tall in the bed. A tri-fold tonneau cover, when folded, still blocks a third of the bed, so if you need total bed usage, you’ll need to completely remove the cover by folding it up and setting it aside on the ground.
A rolling tonneau cover, however, rolls up and stores right behind the cab in far less time than it takes to fold and remove a folding tonneau cover. You don’t have to remove this kind of tonneau cover and set it aside — where it runs the risk of being damaged or stolen — every time you need your full truck bed again. You just roll it up, haul your cargo, and roll it back down when you’re done.
Essentially, a tri-fold tonneau cover is less work to install, but there’s more work involved every time you need to use your truck bed; while a roll-up tonneau cover takes a bit more install time, but you save time every single time you need full access to your bed.
If you’re looking at putting a truck bed cover on your Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Ram, Nissan or Toyota, you should also consider what other truck accessories you might want to add to your pickup bed.
A tri-fold cover will go completely over the truck bed’s sides. If you want to add bed rails, a ladder rack, a headache rack or other truck accessories that attach using the stake pockets and bed rails, you won’t be able to do that with most tri-fold covers.
An inside-the-rails roll-up cover, however, will leave your pickup bedrails open for all sorts of accessories.
Here is a video that compares tri-fold and roll-up covers and demonstrates the differences between them. Pay close attention to the amount of time and work involved each time the tri-fold cover must be removed and reinstalled.