Tonneau Covers: How secure are they really?

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A tonneau cover is one of the most popular accessories for pickup trucks. They are designed to keep cargo secure and out of sight while driving, but are they really secure? How do Tonneau covers stack up against other types of truck bed covers like truck caps or tool boxes?

So is a tonneau cover secure? Tonneau covers like soft covers may not offer tons of security, however they do cover up any items that are currently in the back of the truck! This makes them less likely to be stolen just by that fact. That said, if you go with a hard tonneau cover that is lockable, it can offer similar security to being in the trunk of a normal car.

What is a tonneau cover?

A tonneau cover is a windowless bedcover for pickup trucks. It’s designed to protect the cargo from outside elements and thieves, while allowing quick access without removing anything but the tonneau cover itself.

Tonneau covers are usually made of plastic, fiber glass or aluminum, with some models being lockable. They come in tons of different colors and can be customized to fit any truck.

Tonneau covers are popular because they offer protection from the elements and thieves, but still allow quick access without removing anything other than the tonneau cover itself.

How secure are different types of Tonneau covers?

There are quite a few different types of tonneau covers on the market today and we’ll discuss how secure each one is here! You can also learn more about what these are made of in this article as well.

Soft Tonneau Covers

While this is by far the most popular type of tonneau cover (I personally use one on my truck) they are also the least secure. The mere fact that they are soft means you can easily cut through the top of the cover to access the inside! Because of this, manufacturers generally don’t install locking mechanisms, instead relying on your tailgate to act as a lock (if your tail gate has a lock).

That said, while these aren’t crazy secure, they do offer better security than if you were to leave things open in the back of your truck! A thief is less likely to take the time to dig into every truck that has a tonneau cover, and risk getting caught, so because of this, hiding stuff under a tonneau cover (even if it is unlocked) is considerably better than leaving things out in the open.

If you want to up the security of your soft tonneau covers, there are additional storage items you can use in conjunction with your tonneau cover as well.

Retractable or Tri-fold Tonneau Covers

These types of tonneau covers up the security of the bed of your truck considerably over the soft versions. These tonneau covers are made of polycarbonate plastic and generally have an integrated locking mechanism. They can be locked to the truck bed with a key or padlock, but they also automatically lock in place when you fold them up into their storage position (hence the name “retractable tonneau cover”).

The downside? These type of tonneau covers are significantly more expensive than the soft tonneau cover versions, and they make access to your bed a little less convenient.

If you can’t quite decide whether you want the tri-fold or the roll up soft tonneau cover, we have a great article here discussing the differences.

Hard Tonneau Covers

Hard tonneau covers are generally made of aluminum (although they can also be fiberglass) and offer the most secure option for anyone looking to keep their cargo hidden. These tonneau cover versions come in two flavors: lockable or non-lockable, but either way these tonneau covers provide a high level of security!

Lockable tonneau covers are operated with a key and will lock your cargo in tight. They typically have the added benefit of coming with locks that can be used on your tailgate for extra security, but they also come at a cost: if you want to keep these tonneau cover protected against someone trying to break into it from above (like a thief on top of your truck) you’ll need to purchase a tonneau cover lock for the tailgate too.

Is there a better alternative to Tonneau covers for keeping your truck bed secure?

If a tonneau cover isn’t quite for you, there are a couple other awesome options on the market today that will offer a bit better lockable storage in the bed of your truck!

The first option is getting a truck cap (also known as a camper shell). These are generally lockable, and also expand the storage capacity of your truck bed considerably. The downside is that most of them have windows in the back and on the sides, which means that thieves are able to look into the bed of your truck, and decide if it is worth breaking into them.

Another great option is purchasing a DECKED storage system (that you can buy right here) for your truck, these are lockable and are designed to work with tonneau covers, truck caps, or can even be used just on its own. These essentially raise the floor of your truck, and replace that area with lockable storage that slides out when you open the tailgate! These are expensive, but a durable and awesome option for hunters, outdoorsmen, or really anyone that need to take things with them in the bed of their truck.

The final option is going to be a tool box! Truck toolboxes generally will always be lockable via a key, are made of metal, and are one of the most secure ways to keep things in the bed of the truck. However they do take up a considerable amount of length of your bed, so you aren’t able to fit quite as long of items in the bed as you normally would be able to.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I stop my tonneau cover from flapping?

I run into this a lot, where my soft tonneau cover likes to flap in the wind! The best way to fix this is by lifting up the cover from the sides, pulling it tight, and then adhering it to the velcro on the sides. This tightens the fabric, and makes it so that it doesn’t move nearly as much.

What is the best brand of tonneau cover?

There are tons of great brands on the market today! However if you are in the market for a great soft tonneau cover, I really like the brand I use, which is Truxedo.

How do you open a locked tonneau cover?

This really depends on the brand, and type of tonneau cover you use. However the most common tonneau covers will have a standard key locking mechanism that you open just like any other lock!


To wrap up, tonneau covers are a great way to keep your cargo hidden from prying eyes and thieves. They also have the advantage of protecting against inclement weather like rain or snow! The downside is that they can be expensive for what you get, but if you’re looking for security tonneau cover’s fit the bill nicely.

There are tons of options too – lockable tonneau, tri-fold tonneaus, retractable tonneau covers – so no matter what type of truck bed you own there will be something out there just perfect for it!