Updated: Oct 14, 2016

best truck bed liner

Bed Liner Reviews:

  • What is a truck bed liner?
  • Benefits of using a drop-in bed liner in your truck
  • How much do spray-on truck bed liners cost? Which should I buy?

Pickup trucks are not what they used to be. They have become much nicer and larger than many of the models sold a decade or so ago. With the added cost of buying a truck you should definitely consider taking care of your new purchase. One of the first things to do is to buy a bed liner for your truck. Not everyone uses their truck for work purposes, but scratches and dings can happen to any truck. The majority of people buy a pickup truck so they can move work related machinery or haul equipment and tools around. It doesn't take more than a few major scratches for owners to realize they should get drop-in bed liner or spray-on bed liner to solve that problem. You can also buy carpet rugs or bed mats to help protect the lining in the back of your truck. Which type of bedliner is best for you and your truck? Keep reading below to find out the advantages and disadvantatges of each.

The video below shows the installation of a Rust-Oleum Truck Bed Coating:

What to look for in a truck bed liner?

Drop-in bedliners are the easiest to install and you can remove them too. You'll find most drop-in bed liners are made of rigid materials (plastic) that are thick so they can protect against things like dings, scratches, and dents in your truck bed. Many truck owners prefer drop-in bed liners since they are very durable and simple to clean. You can install (mount) them over or under the bedrail depending on the level of protection you are looking for. If drop-in bedliners are not fitted properly, they can move around the bed of your truck a bit and cause your paint to wear off underneath it. Owners say that dirt, gravel, sand, etc., that gets underneath your liner can really effect the paint quality over time. It's important to keep them clean and debris free whenever possible. Make sure the drop-in you buy is "custom fit" for your truck to ensure a precise fit.

The sprayed-on bed liners go right onto your truck's body panels and usually have a protective coating like polyurethane in them. The spray will not be as thick as a good drop-in liner, but they will protect your truck from minor scratches and dings. Spray-on liners will not shift like some drop-in bed liners and spray-ons are easy to clean as well. The disadvantages to spray-on bed liners is that once they are on they can not be removed, they are thinner than drop-in bed liners, and any stains that get on the spray-on bed liner will be hard to remove. For the best results, experts say you should have a professional apply the spray-on bedliners. One of the biggest issues with spray-on bed liners is that in order to install it you must "scuff" the truck beds original finish. Those that are leasing their vehicle may want to check with the dealer to see if they will pay a penalty for doing this. In reviews, people prefer the look of their spray-on bed liners better to those of the drop-in styles, but the drop-in bed liners perform better and keep damage to a minimum. In one study, the drop-in bed liner was 10 times more abrasion resistant than spray-on competition.

Some of the top brands for bed liner are Rhino, Line X, Superliner, Armaguard, Penda, Speedliner, Herculiner, and Durabak. All in all, more people buy drop-in bed liners because they offer better protection, are more durable, and provide more skid resistance. Appearance may go to spray-on liners and spray-ons will probably cost less, but anyone using their truck for work purposes should go with a custom drop-in bed liner for the best results. We found some excellent reviews for drop-in and spray-on linings online at Pickuptruck.com, Google Answers, DodgeDakotas.com. For customer feedback and opinions on bed liners, go to GMinsidenews.com and look in their forums. Down below we have tried to list only the best in each category. Browse the best selling truck bed liners here.

truck bed liner

Best Drop-In Bed Liner:

In all the reviews we read online and in car magazines, the Penda drop-in bed liners were consistently rated the best. They offer both the Penda Skid Resistor and the Pendaliner. The Pendaliner model is recommended for those with older trucks or people who don't want to spend too much money. The Pendaliner drop-in bedliner has the "best skid resistance" available, will protect your truck bed from dents and scratches, and you will get a custom fit no matter your trucks make or model. The Penda Skid Resistor is the #1 selling drop-in bedliner in America (per their website). The skid resistant liner helps keep cargo in its place and the shiny, black color adds style to your truck. Owners like the thick rib construction of Penda liners and you can go to the Pendacorp.com website to see if they are offering any current promotions. On their website you can type in the make of your truck and your ZIP code to get the closest dealer to you for installing a drop-in bedliner.

DIY truck owners who want to install their own bed liner need to check out Herculiner.com. Herculiner is a roll-on bed liner that is the top selling product in its category. You use rollers or a brush to put on the polyurethane and rubber granule coating. Herculiner is a durable and skid-resistant product that needs to be installed correctly or else it won't perform up to par. There are detailed instructions online at the Herculiner website and you will also receive them when you purchase the product. Again, don't expect miracles from this product if you want the utmost in protection from damage. These roll-on and spray-on liners look good (when installed right) and perform ok, but they can't compare to the more rugged drop-in bed liners.

To check out how to install your own truck bed liner - click the image below to go to video.

spray on truck bedliner

Top Rated Spray-on Bedliner:

Spray-on bedliners are a popular option these days to the tougher more durable drop-in models. Although spray-on bed liners may not perform as well as drop-in liners, they still look great and go a pretty good job. In countless reviews we read both Rhino and Line X spray-on bed liners topped the ranks. Consumers said Rhino may be the originator of the spray-on liners, but Line X has superior products. We could find no evidence of 1 being better than the other, so we give you both their products for you to compare. Line-x.com offers all the details of the latest Line-X XTra composite bedliners that feature DuPont Kevlar. The spray-on bedliners from Line-X seal out rust and corrosion by having no gaps. The non-slip surface is durable and will hold your cargo in place (see Truck Boxes Here). At Rhinolinings.com you can research the Rhino Solarmax sprayed-on lining. You get long-lasting color with Solarmax and UV protection. In terms of applying or installing these spray-on liners, we came across several consumer reviews that said the installer will make or break your finished product. If applied properly, they look great and seal out water and debris, but some people said the installer they used did a terrible job and the whole thing had to be redone. Take your time to find a reputable spray-on installer in your area so the job gets done right the first time. Some spray-on bedliners will cost less than $600. Check out the most popular bed liner kits here.

drop intruck bed liner bedrug liner

Bed Mats/Rugs:

Bed mats and truck bed rugs are 2 other alternatives to protecting your truck from unnecessary damage. The Bedrug ($330) is a popular option for truck owners and you can find it online at Bedrug.com. We read a review on About.com from Dale Wickell in their truck section and found it to be very informative. The guides on About.com are experts in their fields and Dale's review of the BedRug was well done. BedRug can be bought from your dealer and they will install it in about 30 minutes. The guide on About.com said he bought it in an aftermarket store and it took about an 1 hour to install. You will need to wait until the temperature gets to be over 65 degrees in order to install it properly. The adhesive strips that stick to your truck bed need to sticky enough and anything under 65 degrees will not stay properly. The BedRug is made from plastic fibers and definitely looks like carpeting in your truck bed. No need to worry about the right fit since each BedRug fits a unique truck make and model. Once installed, the BedRug doesn't stain or get damaged by spills from "acids, solvents, chemical compounds or petroleum products". Bed mats are another solution for truck owners. Just roll them out to install. Rugged Mat from Ruggedliner.com is certainly a product to consider if a truck bed mat is something you want to buy. Their heavy duty construction will protect your truck bed from dents and scratches. We did see a separate piece for the tailgate area, but none for the sides of the truck bed.

More videos and resources are here on our Truck Bed Liner Resource Page.

bed liner for trucks

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