While Dodge first got into the pickup game in 1981, it wasn’t until the RAM 1500 was introduced in 1994 that the brand became synonymous with heavy-duty performance. These days, the RAM 1500 continues to be the go-to choice for those who need to do some heavy lifting.
While the truck’s stock build is beautiful in its own right, a tonneau cover can take things to a new level. The best tonneau cover for RAM 1500 will provide you with the safety and security you need while also improving your truck’s overall efficiency.
Like any aftermarket accessory, it’s important to do your homework before you jump the gun. A tonneau cover is going to have a big impact on how you use your pickup, so choosing the right one is crucial. Luckily, we’re here to help. Check out our comparison chart and buying guide below to find a cover that works for your ride.
Top 5 Tonneau Covers for Dodge RAM 1500
1. Tyger Auto TG-BC3D1015 T3 Soft Tri-Fold
2. MaxMate Soft Roll Up
3. TruXedo TruXport Soft Roll Up
4. Tyger Auto TG-BC1D9014 T1 Soft Roll Up
5. Gator ETX Soft Roll Up
- Top 5 Tonneau Covers for Dodge RAM 1500
- 1. Tyger Auto TG-BC3D1015 T3 Soft Tri-Fold – Best All-Around Cover
- 2. MaxMate Soft Roll Up Truck Bed Tonneau Cover – Best Cost-Effective Choice
- 3. TruXedo TruXport Soft Roll Up Truck Bed Tonneau Cover – Best Premium Option
- 4. Tyger Auto TG-BC1D9014 T1 Soft Roll Up Black – Best for Durability
- 5. Gator ETX Soft Roll Up Truck Bed Tonneau Cover – Best for Full-Bed Access
- What is a Tonneau Cover Anyways?
- The Benefits of Using a Tonneau Cover on Your RAM 1500
- Things to Consider When Buying a Tonneau Cover
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. Tyger Auto TG-BC3D1015 T3 Soft Tri-Fold – Best All-Around Cover
Tyger Auto TG-BC3D1015 is a tri-fold cover. The primary unit is separated into three separate components. When opened, the panels lay flat. They also have some considerable weight to them, ensuring that they don’t blow in the wind. Pair that with the cover’s aluminum frame, and you have an ultra-durable accessory that will last. The entire thing is covered in marine-grade vinyl, which does a great job of keeping sun and rain out.
All in all, the Tyger tonneau cover is a worthy investment. You don’t need any tools to install it onto your RAM 1500. In only minutes, you can have it mounted and ready for use.
2. MaxMate Soft Roll Up Truck Bed Tonneau Cover – Best Cost-Effective Choice
The roll-up cover installs in only a few minutes. It uses a tension and latch system, so there’s no need to whip out your drill. The frame is durable, and the cover is capable of keeping the elements out.
The only downside to this model is that it’s prone to flapping in high winds. Because it’s a rolling cover, it doesn’t offer that weight that tri-fold units do.
Despite its issues in severe winds, the cover still does a suitable job in normal driving conditions. It’s a simple enough product that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. What’s not to like?
The cover is made out of thick and protective leather grain material. It’s smooth to the touch and offers the high-quality resilience you need. Underneath the rolling cover is some thick foam. It helps to keep the leather material protected while also creating a nice weather-tight seal.
It’s worth noting that the design of the cover does add some height to the bed. The frame mounts on top of the perimeter of the bed. Combine the frame with the foam, and you have over an inch of height added.
If that’s not a deal-breaker, this is a great cover to try out. It might have a higher price tag, but the cover is built very well.
4. Tyger Auto TG-BC1D9014 T1 Soft Roll Up Black – Best for Durability
The cover itself is made out of thick vinyl material. It’s dual-coated to hold up well in any weather. The thing we like most about the cover is the integrated crossbars. Stitched into the cover material are thicker bars that help to keep the material put. While not as stable as a tri-fold unit, this cover won’t flap in the wind like crazy.
Ultimately, this is a well-built cover with a lot to offer. It’s easy to install, and the manufacturers implemented some nice extras that improve functionality quite a bit.
5. Gator ETX Soft Roll Up Truck Bed Tonneau Cover – Best for Full-Bed Access
You’ll notice that this cover is a bit thinner than some others. This design is deliberate. It creates that low-profile look while also making it easy to roll the material tightly. Once you roll it up to the cab, you can secure the cover with a strap to keep it out of the way as you work.
The cover has some nice adjustment features as well. You can modify the tension to keep the cover tight or secure your items with the durable latching system. It’s a good tonneau cover that’s best for those who need to get into the bed quickly and efficiently.
What is a Tonneau Cover Anyways?
Tonneau covers are nothing new to the automotive industry. However, these accessories have evolved a lot since they first hit the market. During the early 20th century, car manufacturers began offering open-air rear passenger seats.
Typically, these seats were rounded like a barrel. This is why they were often referred to as a tonneau. Tonneau is the French word used to describe a rounded cask.
Those tonneau seats did a lot to improve the functionality of old-school cars. But what if they weren’t being used? To keep the precious leather seats of vintage automobiles safe from elements, manufacturers introduced the tonneau cover.
The basic concept of a tonneau cover remains unchanged. But, it’s no longer used in cars to protect passenger seats. These accessories are most-often seen mounted to the bed of the truck, keeping its contents safe from the elements and out of sight.
They go by many different names. You might see them being called bed covers, cargo covers, pickup toppers, and more. Whatever you choose to call them, these accessories are an excellent aftermarket investment.
The Benefits of Using a Tonneau Cover on Your RAM 1500
Tonneau covers have a lot to offer. They serve several practical purposes that can make those tough jobs much easier. Plus, they can improve the aesthetics of your RAM 1500. Here are some of the most notable advantages of using a tonneau cover.
Safety When Hauling Cargo
Have you ever seen cargo flying around in the wind when you’re driving down the road? Without a cover, the air flows sporadically around the bed. Several vortices are created. Essentially, it’s a whirlwind back there!
This can be problematic when you’re carrying loose items like sand or fine debris. Even if you’ve taken steps to secure large cargo, there’s always a risk that your ties could come undone.
A tonneau cover eliminates that tornado-effect in the bed, keeping everything contained. This is safer for not only you but also every other driver around you.
We all know that pickup trucks are a target for thieves. Whether you’re carrying lumber or pricy tools, having your cargo load exposed makes it an enticing hit for would-be thieves.
A tonneau cover keeps everything out of sight and out of mind. Some models even utilize locks, creating an additional layer of safety.
This benefit goes back to reducing the crazy airflow in the truck’s back while you’re driving. There’s a good chance that you’ve seen your tools and equipment slide across the bed after even a slow drive. By blocking out the wind, your tools can stay put in your pickup. It’s a great way to stay organized while staying safe.
Protection from the Elements
Despite the best efforts from Dodge, bed liners are not indestructible. No amount of treatment can keep your bed 100 percent safe from elemental damage.
Constant exposure to water has been known to speed up the degradation of the plastic. If you have a pure metal liner or no liner at all, rain can cause corrosive damage to the underlying frame. This is especially true if the liner lacks proper drainage.
Meanwhile, constant exposure from the sun can do some damage, too. It causes the material to fade and crack over time!
You can stop all of that damage by investing in tonneau covers. They block out the elements pretty well to keep your bed protected. This can ultimately improve safety and protect your resale value.
Big pickup trucks like the RAM 1500 are one of the worst vehicles on the road when it comes to aerodynamics! While Dodge has done a lot to help improve airflow as much as possible, there are some limitations because of the body nature of pickups.
The shape of the cabin and the sudden dropoff at the bed creates significant drag while you’re driving. This causes the motor to work harder, ultimately reducing your gas mileage.
Tonneau covers have been known to provide a nice boost to your overall mileage. The air can flow smoothly over the bed rather than creating those vortices we went over earlier. Depending on your truck and the design of the cover, you could experience gas savings as high as 10 percent!
Things to Consider When Buying a Tonneau Cover
Tonneau covers are not a one-size-fits-all kind of accessory. There’s a lot to think about when choosing the right one for your Dodge RAM 1500. Here are some things to keep in mind while searching for the best tonneau cover for your needs.
First things first, you’re going to need a cover that actually fits your truck! Trucks beds come in a range of sizes. That’s true even within the RAM 1500 family.
Dodge offers the heavy-duty pickup in a few different cab configurations. This includes models with the Crew Cab and models with the Quad Cab. Your specific truck model is going to affect the overall length of the bed. There’s only so much space that can fit on the chassis.
There are two bed sizes available. The first is 5’7″ (or 67.4 inches). It’s used exclusively for Crew Cab models. Then, there’s the 6’4″ (or 76.3-inch) bed. There’s a Crew Cab version available with this longer bed. It’s also used for all Quad Cabs.
Next up, you’ll need to choose the right material for your tonneau cover. Most models utilize some type of UV-protected plastic. It’s flexible, lightweight, and very easy to manage on the go.
Sturdier options are available, too. You can find units with integrated aluminum panels, ABS plastic, and more. Hard-top covers are typically made out of fiberglass or aluminum as well. Though, they can be a bit bulky to deal with.
For most tonneau covers, you have the option of getting either a single-piece unit, a roll-up unit or a tri-fold unit. They all have their advantages and disadvantages.
Single-piece covers offer the most protection possible. But, they are bulky and heavy. In many cases, they can actually make your gas mileage worse due to the added weight.
Roll-up covers are incredibly easy to use. They usually attach to the tailgate via an anchor. When you want to use the bed, simply roll the cover up. The design works well to protect from the elements. Plus, it’s very lightweight.
Tri-fold models are a bit more involved because they typically have rails. They fold up in three pieces, allowing you to move the cover out of the way quickly. These systems are a bit heavier and more difficult to install. But, they tend to provide a bit more protection than roll-up alternatives.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is a tonneau cover for RAM 1500 easy to install?
This all depends on the design of the cover. However, we’re happy to say that it’s usually very easy for soft-top models. Most utilize a tension-mounted frame. You can clamp the frame on the inside of the bed without any tools. It only takes a few minutes.
2. Can you take a RAM 1500 bed cover through a carwash?
It’s not recommended that you use an automatic car wash with a tonneau cover. The powerful water jets and spinning brushes could do some damage if you’re not careful.
3. Will a tonneau cover for Dodge RAM 1500 improve mileage?
A tonneau cover is fully capable of improving gas mileage for your RAM 1500. The cover prevents air from circulating in the bed, which reduces drag. This makes things a bit easier on your engine.
4. Which is better for RAM 1500: roll up or tri-fold tonneau cover?
Both tri-fold and roll-up models have a lot to offer. However, tri-folds are considered to be more stable. They’re a bit heavier than roll-up options, which improves stability. Plus, tri-fold covers are easier to open up. You don’ t have to worry about rolling anything up or securing things as you work in the bed.
Tonneau covers are one of the best aftermarket accessories that you can get for your RAM 1500. They have a lot to offer in terms of protection and security. Leaving your bed open is risky. It poses a safety risk as you’re driving and makes your truck a target for thieves.
With a tonneau cover, those worries are a thing of the past. They’re a quick and easy accessory that can make all the difference.
While these covers are relatively simple now, manufacturers are starting to add a high-tech twist to them. Some power-retracting models have come out in recent years, giving us a nice glimpse at what’s to come for tonneau covers in the future!