While many truck owners are looking to only protect their truck bed from the elements, some want to make their truck bed theft proof. 

The only way to really do this is with a hard tonneau cover, and a hard retractable tonneau cover will give you the maximum functionality a truck bed cover can offer. 

Best Retractable Tonneau Covers

  1. RetraxONE MX Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover (Our Top Pick)
  2. Gator Recoil Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover (Best Budget)
  3. RetraxONE XR Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover (Best High End)
  4. Roll N Lock M-Series Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
  5. Pace Edwards Switchblade Tonneau Cover

Although soft retractable tonneau covers are available on Amazon, this buying guide only lists hard covers because of the distinct advantages they offer. 

What Are Retractable Tonneau Covers?

Retractable Tonneau Covers

A retractable tonneau cover is a truck bed tonneau cover made to combine many advantages of different types of tonneau covers into one. 

They can provide almost 100% bed access similar to a roll-up cover, and they can be made with aluminum slats similar to a hard-folding cover. 

Combine these advantages with a sleek low-profile design and heavy-duty materials, you come out with a high quality product. 

What Trucks Do Retractable Tonneau Covers Fit?

All of the products in this buying guide will fit your Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado, Chevy Colorado, GMC Sierra, Dodge Ram 1500, and Toyota Tundra

Many of these brands also have products to fit smaller trucks such as your Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, or GMC Canyon. 

Make sure you order based on your exact year, make, model, and bed size. 

What Are The Different Types of Retractable Tonneau Covers?

There are 4 main types of retractable tonneau covers; hard, soft, electric, and manual. Every retractable tonneau cover is a combination of 2 of these. 

Soft Retractable Tonneau Covers

A soft retractable tonneau cover is usually made of a marine-grade vinyl. It is mainly used to protect your truck bed from the elements and improve the looks of your truck, that’s it.

Hard Retractable Tonneau Covers

A hard retractable tonneau cover is usually made of heavy-duty aluminum slats covered with marine-grade vinyl. These covers provided all the functionality of a soft tonneau cover with the added benefits of preventing theft and adding structural support. 

Electric Retractable Tonneau Covers

An electric retractable tonneau cover is about the most high-end product available today. An electric cover automatically extends and retracts at the press of a button thanks to an electric motor in the cover canister. 

These covers can be made from a hard or soft material, and they provide all the functionality of a tonneau cover with the added convenience of hands-free opening and closing. 

Manual Retractable Tonneau Covers

A manual retractable tonneau cover can also be made from a hard or soft material, but they do not extend and retract at the push of a button. 

These covers use a strap or handle that’s easily accessible to push or pull the cover to the desired position. 

How Does A Retractable Tonneau Cover Work?

A retractable tonneau cover works by mounting sealed ball bearings on top of or inside the bed rails along with the tonneau cover canister which houses the cover when the bed is uncovered. 

The tonneau cover extends and retracts gliding along the ball bearings, and it latches into place at the tailgate end of the truck bed. Although some retractable tonneau covers are lockable at various positions along the truck bed. 

What Do You Look For In The Best Retractable Tonneau Cover?

The 3 most important factors I take into consideration when looking at retractable tonneau covers are ease of use, installation requirements, and the quality of materials used. 

Ease of use mainly looks at how easy the cover is to latch, lock, extend, and retract. An electric cover has the greatest ease of use, but a manual cover can sometimes be opened in a matter of seconds. 

Installation requirements are more of a factor with retractable tonneau covers than any other tonneau covers because there is usually more installation required. This is due to the cover riding on bearings and being housed in a canister. 

Lastly, the quality of materials will make or break a tonneau cover. Ideally, you want the waterproof capabilities of rubber seals combined with the durability of aluminum slats covered with heavy-duty vinyl. 

Best Retractable Tonneau Cover Reviewed

1. RetraxONE MX Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover (Our Top Pick)

RetraxONE MX Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

The RetraxONE MX is made with one-piece, aluminum-reinforced polycarbonate material covered with a sleek matte finish for added looks. 

This cover has maximum functionality. Its compact canister and ability to lock anywhere along the bed makes it ideal for any amount of bed exposure. 

Retrax also offers an upgraded all aluminum construction RetraxPRO MX with an increased load capacity of 500lbs (vs 200 lbs). There is also an electric option with all the same benefits as the manual along with the added ease of use. 

Pros

  • Compact canister
  • Lockable in all positions
  • One-piece polycarbonate sheet

Cons

  • Complex installation process

Buy The RetraxONE MX Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover On Amazon


2. Gator Recoil Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover (Best Budget)

Gator Recoil Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

Gator is a well known brand in the tonneau cover world, and the Recoil is no exception. 

At a competitive price, this cover gives you durability with its aluminum slats along with a matte black powder-coat and scratch-resistant finish. 

Proudly made in the USA, this low-profile cover is sure to improve your gas mileage while keeping your pickup truck as stylish as possible. 

Pros

  • Easy installation
  • Versatile locking system
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Lower quality seals

Buy The Gator Recoil Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover On Amazon


3. RetraxONE XR Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover (Best High End)

RetraxONE XR Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

The RetraxONE XR is almost identical to the RetraxONE MX at #1 on our list with its compact canister and durable polycarbonate to protect against UV rays and adverse weather conditions. It also comes in an electric option and can be upgraded to the all-aluminum Pro.

The difference with the XR is the additional Trax Rail System which can double your truck bed capacity

The Trax Rail System allows you to add most T-Slot bike rack accessories from Rhino Rack, Yakima, Thule, and others. 

Pros

  • Trax Rail System
  • Perimeter seals

Cons

  • Complex installation process

Buy The RetraxONE XR Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover On Amazon


4. Roll N Lock M-Series Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

Roll N Lock M-Series Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover

The Roll N Lock M-Series cover features a compact canister and an aerodynamic housing lid for a sleek low-profile design. 

The aluminum slats covered by a vinyl polymer gives this cover an impressive look while giving you, the truck owner, satisfaction knowing your truck bed is secure and weather resistant. 

With a frictionless hinge design and a torsion spring for effortless operation, the Roll N Lock M-Series will be operational long past its 3-year guarantee. 

Pros

  • Easy installation
  • Compact canister
  • Low profile design

Cons

  • Not powder coated

Buy The Roll N Lock M-Series Retractable Truck Bed Tonneau Cover On Amazon


5. Pace Edwards Switchblade Tonneau Cover

Pace Edwards Switchblade Tonneau Cover

The Pace Edwards Switchblade provides an inexpensive alternative in the retractable tonneau cover world, very similar to a Syneticusa product. 

It has an ArmorTek deck constructed from aluminum panels and covered with a padded polymer. Pace Edwards also boasts how easily the cover can be removed to gain full access to your truck bed. 

The top review on Amazon for the Switchblade tells about a bear that tried to get into the owner’s truck bed and eventually gave up. That should tell you everything you need to know about this tonneau cover. 

Pros

  • Easy installation
  • Low profile design
  • Aluminum panels

Cons

  • Lower quality seals

Buy The Pace Edwards Switchblade Tonneau Cover On Amazon


Final Thoughts On Retractable Tonneau Covers

There’s folding tonneau covers, roll up tonneau covers, soft covers, hard covers, and everything in between. 

All tonneau covers will give you some basic truck bed protection, but if it’s within your budget, a hard retractable tonneau cover will give you the most versatility. 

Hard retractable tonneau covers protect your truck bed from weather and thieves, increase aerodynamics and gas mileage, and give you easy access to the truck bed, all while making your truck look much better.