Truck bed covers can be a very useful accessory for your vehicle, they’re great to keep your cargo secured and protected from the elements.

If you’re shopping for a truck bed cover you may not be aware of the different options you have. Hard, soft, retractable, one piece or perhaps a tri fold tonneau cover are all decisions to be made.

To help, this article will discuss the differences in a tri fold tonneau cover vs. a one piece.

What is a Truck Bed Cover?

Truck bed covers are framed covers that fit over your truck bed. They are a practical way to keep your truck bed secure while protecting the things inside from the elements. Covers can also protect against theft which is an added bonus.

There are a lot of options when it comes to covers. You can choose a soft cover or a hard cover and you can also choose the type of opening the bed covers have.

Tri Fold Tonneau Cover Vs. One Piece

Just what are the main differences between a tri-fold bed cover and a single or one piece? It all has to do with the way the cover opens.

A tri fold tonneau will hinge into three sections, it will fold back onto itself or fold back to allow you access to the truck’s bed.

A one piece tonneau hinges at a single place, usually near the cab. This single piece securely fits over your entire truck bed, but it also lifts up to give you access to your cargo.

The Pros & Cons of a Tri-Fold Tonneau

A tri fold tonneau gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to your cargo. For one, it keeps your gear secure and protected. Not only will your items be safe from theft, they’ll also be out of the weather and elements.

Get Larger Items In Your Truck

Having the option of keeping certain sections open means you can get larger items in your truck.  By simply folding back a section at a time you’ll gain easier access to your truck bed. This also gives you the ability to carry larger items without having to remove the cover.

You can fold back as many sections as you need to fit whatever cargo you have. As you can imagine, this makes things a lot more convenient. You’ll be able to carry smaller items of cargo under cover and larger items that stick out at the same time.

Easy To Install

Tri-folding covers are easier to install than single piece covers. This is because you can deal with each piece at a time. Much the same as getting a large bed sheet to fit, the one piece is trickier getting everything lined up.

There’s also “Easy Install” models on the market such as Tonno Pro who have this one that takes 5 minutes and doesn’t require any drilling.

Are They Leak Proof & Wind Proof?

As most people will tell you, no Tonneau cover is absolutely 100% leak proof. A lot of the better models do approach 100% and truck owners report taking them through the automatic car wash without any issue!

Tri fold covers can be more prone to leaks and not be entirely wind-proof due to their design. The folds don’t always allow for a complete seal against the bed of the truck itself. This is something to be especially mindful of when buying them. Some manufacturers suggest using a tailgate seal will also help cut down on leaks.

As always, it’s important to research the make and model that is the best fit for your truck.

The Pros and Cons One-Piece Covers

One piece covers offer some of the same benefits as a tri fold. The main difference is how they open. A one piece will open as a single unit, the cover is “hinged” near the cab of the truck and lifts up from the rear.

Better For Leaks

As mentioned above, a single piece tonneau can be better for leaks. The water has less sections to run into and is flatter.

Soft roll up tonneau covers also do really well when it comes to leaks. This is because the top can be stretched really tight over your truck bed and allow the water to run off. One such example is the Truxedo Lo Pro QT.

Cargo Is Limited

One piece covers can limit the type of cargo you can carry.  It opens at a single point so you’ll lose some clearance in the truck bed itself. They certainly don’t have the flexibility that you’ll find when using a Tri Fold Tonneau cover.

Also, if you need to haul larger cargo or an item that may be taller than the side of the truck bed itself, you may actually have to remove the truck top entirely.

Harder To Remove

If you have to remove a single piece cover, it can be tricky if not impossible to do on your own. Depending on the style it may also be heavy so be sure you have someone help you if you need to take it off.

One piece covers can also be easy to scratch or damage simply because they are so awkward to handle. Just be aware of this if you ever need to take one off your vehicle.

Things To Know About Truck Covers

Installation of a Tonneau bed cover is easy, no matter what type you buy.  However, you may require a bit more help to install a one piece vs a tri fold simple because the one piece can be hard to maneuver on your own.

You should also decide on the type of material you want whether you’re going to purchase a hard or soft type.

The soft type will be lighter while the hard type bed cover will offer more protection over the long run. Hard bed covers also last longer than soft covers that may tear or fade after years of UV exposure.

A bed cover will be a significant expense but if you research and purchase the right one, it will last for years, possibly for the life of your truck.

How To Decide On Tri Fold Vs Single Piece?

So how do you really decide on the best truck cover for you? The best way is to think about the way you use your truck.

Do you haul a lot of cargo that sticks up out of your truck bed? If yes, then a tri fold cover may be the best option for you.

Maybe you like the security and protection of a truck bed cover but don’t really haul a lot of cargo. If that sounds like you, a one piece cover is probably the best option for you and your needs.

The best way is talking to people who actually have a bed cover themselves. You can always ask a friend or even a perfect stranger about the top on their truck.

Most people love to talk about their vehicles so they may be the perfect way to find out more before making the purchase. Either way, a truck bed cover is a great investment!