The best protection for a truck bed is one that will preserve the utility of the truck bed for as long as they need it. Truck owners are tough on their vehicles, so the best bedliner option is one that provides the durability, longevity, and toughness they need.
Truck bedliners come in many forms, from a high-pressure spray-on system from a brand like ArmorThane or a quick DIY job from a can, but ultimately it depends on how a truck owner uses their truck.
It can be difficult for new truck owners to decide what type of liner and brand to choose. It often comes down to price, looks, durability, and convenience. To help answer these questions, we’ve put together a list of the most common type of truck bed liners and the key differences between them.
SO, WHICH TRUCK BEDLINER IS THE BEST?
You bought your truck to use for hauling equipment, furniture, a friend’s furniture, off-roading, camping, hunting, towing boats, ATVs, bikes, weekend projects, and just about anything that will fit.
It comes down to how you use your truck, and if you’re serious about hauling anything in your truck bed, a spray-on bedliner is the best choice.
Here are the five most common truck bedliner options:
- High-pressure spray-on bedliner
- Low-pressure spray-on bedliner
- Plastic drop-in
- Bed mat
- DIY roll-on
HIGH-PRESSURE SPRAY-ON BEDLINER
These days most spray-on bedliners are made of polyurea, polyurethane, or a polyurea/polyurethane hybrid and are applied at high-pressure/high temperature using specialized equipment. These spray-on bedliners are more resistant to tears, scratches, and dents and have a faster cure time than their low-pressure predecessors. High-pressure spray systems, like those used by ArmorThane, typically yield the best product performance. And your investment is protected by an ArmorThane Lifetime Warranty.
Close-up image of an ArmorThane PREMIUM bedliner
LOW-PRESSURE SPRAY-ON BEDLINER
Low-pressure or cold spray-on liners are applied, as the name implies, at a low temperature and lower pressure than other spray-on options. You can usually tell the difference between high-pressure and low-pressure bedliners by their appearance and texture. Low-pressure systems look and feel completely different – usually with a rougher, more inconsistent texture. These bedliners take longer to cure and often have less resistance to damage from impact or abrasion.
Close-up image of low-pressure “cottage cheese-like” bedliner texture
Regardless of which spray-on bedliner you choose, the key to product performance is all in the prep. To create the best surface for a strong mechanical bond between the truck bed and the bedliner coating, a truck bed must be cleaned, scuffed, and sometimes primed. Proper prep is one benefit of choosing ArmorThane. Every ArmorThane bedliner is applied by highly trained technicians who ensure the quality of their work by following a thorough multi-point inspection of every truck bedliner. Each truck bed is cleaned, prepped, and measured for consistent texture and thickness for optimum utility. You can find an ArmorThane location throughout the United States and Canada.
If your truck is prepped properly, a spray-on bedliner coating should last a very long time.
Less common but still in use are plastic drop-in liners that ride inside the truck bed and protect the bed from light damage. They are affordable for people looking for a quick solution, but they are not the best choice for long-term protection. Debris and moisture can get trapped under the liner scraping off the paint and exposing the bare metal underneath – a breeding ground for rust.
Drop-ins offer limited utility but sacrifice aesthetics and installation as a cheaper alternative to spray-on liners. This option is better for owners who use their truck bed only sparingly and wish to remove the liner down the road.
Over time drop-in liners can vibrate loose, potentially falling out of the truck bed at high speeds due to poor installation. Not something we want to happen to you. But you could always repurpose that old drop in the liner as a snow sled.
Usually made out of rubber or foam, a bed mat is a drop-in liner modeled to fit a specific make or model truck. This option is for folks who want a softer liner for impact absorption or hanging out in the truck bed.
While a bed mat offers a knee-friendly buffer between your truck bed and rough cargo, it’s installed just like other drop-in liners. Every few months, the bed mat must be removed to clear away small debris, sand, dirt, or moisture that can build up under the liner and cause issues. And that means loose material can get trapped underneath the liner and scuff the truck bed. If those scratches aren’t fixed, your truck bed will continue to deteriorate over time. Also, most bed mats can’t be repaired if seriously damaged, only replaced.
Arguably more affordable than other options for truck bed protection, do-it-yourself bedliner products appeal to those looking for a quick and easy bed liner solution that can be installed at home. But don’t expect a product rolled on from a can to stand up to serious use. Roll-on products aren’t as thick as other bedliner options – just 25% the thickness of a spray-on liner. So, if you plan on using your truck, expect to reapply your roll-on liner a few more times to cover up those inevitable scratches and cracks, spending more time and money in the process.
Besides, do you want to clamber into the back of your truck bed, on your hands and knees, and paint on a coating with a 4″ roller? Why go through all that trouble when a professional ArmorThane applicator can fully clean, prep, and spray an extremely durable ArmorThane spray-on bedliner in your truck in just a few hours.
Truck enthusiasts around the world trust ArmorThane to protect not only their truck beds but many other areas of their lifestyle supported by their beloved rigs: ATV trailers, fishing boats, bikes, hunting equipment, etc.
We hope you choose ArmorThane to get the most life out of our truck bed. But regardless of which type of truck bed protection you choose, enjoy your truck in every way you use it.
Click here to find the ArmorThane location near you.