What type of truck bed liner should I get to protect my truck bed

There seems to be no end of new types of truck bed liners coming to the market today. They range from spray-in bed liners, to drop-in bed liners to ‘carpeted’ bed liners. Each of these bed liners are meant to do one thing really well: Protect your truck bed.

Carpeted bed liners

At the top of our list of truck bed liners are the carpeted bed liners. The top selling brand of these liners is the BedRug bed liner. These bed liners not only fulfill the utility of bed liners, but they also look fantastic. While they look like they are carpet, they are actually a ‘plastic’, so they won’t stain or rot. They also drain quite well and are very VERY easy on the knees when crawling around in your truck bed. They are quite easy to install and easy to remove, if required. They also retain a fantastic ‘finished’ look for years and years. BedTred is another type of this type of bed liner and they are very nice, also.

We highly recommend the carpeted bed liners.


Rubber Mats

Rubber mats have been around a long time and they are a great alternative to a full bed liner. They do a pretty good job of preventing dents and scratches and they also keep most cargo from sliding around. Easy to install…easy to remove. They also are one of the least expensive ways to protect your truck bed.


Let’s take a quick look at the ‘spray-in’ bed liners

Currently there are several brands that offer spray-in truck bed liners:

  • Line-X
  • Rhino Linings
  • Scorpion
  • Speedliner
  • Dupli-Color
  • ArmorThane
  • Arma Coatings
  • Herculiner
  • Xtreme Liners

The idea behind the spray-in bed liners is that they offer a more-or-less permanent solution for truck bed protection. In other words, once you get you truck bed sprayed with this type of bed liner, you aren’t going to be able to remove it. Don’t even try to! The other downside to the spray in liners is that in order to get the liner to ‘stick’ they need to sand/grind off the paint on your truck. So, even if you COULD remove the liner, you would have all kinds of rust problems. Not fun. Another point is that these liners tend to add much more weight to your truck, thus decreasing your gas mileage.

Another issue with spray-in bed liners is that they tend to scratch up quite easily when hauling sharp materials. If you do this a lot, that spray-in bed liner is going to look terrible in no time. AND there is no easy way to ‘repair it’.

In short, a ‘spray-in bedliner’ is not at the top of our list of truck bed liners.


Plastic ‘drop-in’ bed liners

Another type of truck bed liner is called a ‘drop-in’ bed liner. This usually refers to a molded plastic shell that drops into your truck bed. These liners are usually very easy to install and are quite light, but they also suffer from being scratched easily. The other issue with the plastic drop in liners is the potential for rust underneath. The liners will drain the water, but it still can pool up underneath and lead to rust over time. They also don’t tend to hold cargo in place very well, so items will tend to slide around quite a bit…which will add, over time, to the scratching.

If you are looking to purchase a tonneau cover for your truck bed, be aware that some tonneau covers will require some trimming of the plastic liners in order for the tonneau cover to work with their cover.

Some new trucks are offered with the optional drop-in bed liner direct from the factory. Note that the factory option isn’t necessarily any better (more durable) than the aftermarket plastic drop-in options.

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