Truck Cap vs. Tonneau Cover: Which One Should I Get?

If you’re a truck driver, you will know the struggle of trying to keep your cargo in place while you drive through bumpy roads.

With the help of a cover, you can quickly fix this problem. But many truck drivers don’t know what cover is best for their trucks.

On the market, you’ll find both tonneau covers and truck canopies, each with its own sets of advantages and disadvantages that segregate each other.

Today, we will answer whether a truck cap or tonneau cover is best suited for your truck and discuss why the choice you pick will carry its own weight.

What Are They?

Before we can discuss the various pros and cons of these covers, we should describe what each option is. They differ from each other vastly in terms of characteristics, which is why a proper explanation is in order.

Tonneau Cover

In some pickup truck designs, you will see a large tarp-like mat covering the back of the truck. This mat is known as a Tonneau cover. They have a lot of uses that provide you with a ton of utility.

At first, car manufacturers designed it to improve the aerodynamics of a vehicle. But, now, people use them to protect their cargo or keep the back rust-free. They come in all shapes and sizes to better fit the customer’s needs.

In most vehicles, you will encounter a cover that can retract itself. This is a built-in design in many vehicles and not just trucks. It is convenient when you can’t go out and manually place the cover on top of the bed.

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There are also other designs, including one which you can fold into multiple sheets. All of these options are there to suit the customer’s desires regarding the protection of the flatbed.

To increase resistance against water damage, most of the covers have a canvas wood design and are kept together by snaps.

You may be wondering what the primary purpose of these covers is. Tonneau covers essentially protect your cargo from sunlight and rain. They can also deter any prospective thieves looking to steal or sabotage your cargo.

Truck Cap

You might’ve heard the term “Camper shell.” Well, truck caps are basically camper shells, signaling a synonym relationship.

A truck cap is a rigid construction that goes over your pickup truck. It is generally described as a house that is built with fiberglass or aluminum. But, sometimes manufacturers use wood to construct them as well.

You’ll usually find these caps at the back of the truck’s bed. They cover the entirety of the bed, and you can also use them as camping units, which is descriptive of an RV.

Moreover, in its dawn, the truck cap was dedicated to camping purposes, but now, people use them as covers for their trucks to protect the cargo. In particular, people use truck caps to wane away any potential thieves that would steal their precious possessions.

Truck Cap

In terms of protection against harsh weather, caps are the best because they have a sturdy construction that doesn’t compromise on build quality.

Some truck caps have windows in them, so you can look outside and get a nice view. It is perfect for people who want to camp in their truck and also enjoy the view as a treat.

You will find that some caps have a door that opens up and closes against the tailgate of the truck. On the other hand, there are caps that have a regular door that expands to the floor.

The Comparison

Here, we will pit the two options against each other and see how they fare. To find out what is the best option for you, we will discuss a few critical points of consideration and discuss which one fits the bill more to the theme.

Ease of Installation

You might be thinking that it is a chore to install any of these covers in your truck. Luckily, tonneau covers have that covered without a sweat, as you can install them with relative ease. All you need is 30 minutes to install a tonneau cover and get it running.

On the other hand, one of the main cons of a truck cap is the painstaking process of installing them. As we discussed before, a truck cap is a permanent construction that stays on your vehicle for a long time.

To install a truck cap, you need to remove the entire shell in the back and then put the cap in place. It is a lot of work that most people aren’t just willing to take. To add insult to injury, removing the cap to install another one is even more work.


In terms of security capabilities, the tonneau cover comes out on top, as it protects your cargo and belongings with utmost security. Truck thieves are a common sight on highways, so you can rest assured that no one will be able to steal from your truck.

On the contrary, truck caps have windows in them, making your truck an easy target for potential thieves and looters. They can just break the window by hand and take whatever they need, which is why caps are disadvantageous in security.

Weather Protection

In harsh weather, it is hard to keep your truck from tolerating damage. You need good protection against the weather; otherwise, your truck will endure irreparable harm in the bed.

Tonneau covers are the best at shielding your vehicle from rain damage because they keep water at bay. In this way, you won’t have to worry about storms and thunder ruining your precious cargo.

Truck Cap vs Tonneau Cover

On the other hand, truck caps have an open design that enables them to endure any type of unsettled weather. They do an excellent job of blocking water from entering the seeps between the doors.

One thing you need to care for is high winds, as caps aren’t that great at protecting your vehicle against high winds.

Fuel Economy

Gas for vehicles can be expensive, which is why it is good to have an efficient expense of mileage. The tonneau cover improves fuel mileage by a ton because the vehicle’s aerodynamics reduces the amount of fuel spent.

On the other hand, truck caps increase the overall height of your truck, leading to poor aerodynamics. If the truck has bad aerodynamics, it can create additional resistance to the wind, leading to more fuel spent per mile.

Storage Capabilities

Now, here is one aspect where the truck cap excels compared to the tonneau cover. If you want to store more cargo in your truck, you should definitely pick the truck cap, as it offers more storage space than the rest of its competitors.

Contrarily, tonneau covers actually limit the storage space of a truck bed due to their design. Essentially, these covers just go over your bed, which is why the height is capped at a certain amount.

If you want to store items that are large in size, you won’t be able to do that with a tonneau cover, as it doesn’t provide the necessary storage capability.


There are numerous uses for both types of covers and caps. Depending on what you intend on doing, you will need to get a cap or cover accordingly.

If your main concern is carrying storage from point A to point B, then a tonneau cover is the best. These covers provide the best security for your cargo while deterring any weather damage or thievery. Even though they don’t have much storage capability, you can still store a considerable amount.

On the other hand, camping is a hobby that requires both patience and the right equipment. If you want to camp with a truck, then a truck cap is the best option. They provide the best look to your truck while not compromising on resistance against harsh weather conditions.

Aesthetically, truck caps look the best since they have a window built into them. These windows differ from cap to cap, but they all have the same purpose of lending you a pair of eyes to the outside world.


Whether you get a tonneau cover or a truck cap, both of these options will set you back a good amount of cash. In terms of pricing, you can get softer tonneau covers for cheaper since they are just an extension for your truck’s bed. But, harder covers will cost more since they have a rigid construction.

The concern exacerbates when you want to get a truck cap since they are permanent additions to your vehicle.


A good cover or cap can go a long way in your truck’s life since they are built to last. Both of them have their separate pros and cons that differ from each other.

Depending on who you ask, you will get different answers and choices, so it is best in your interest to get something that would suit your and your truck’s needs best.

Hopefully, our comprehensive comparison guide will help you choose either a truck cap or tonneau cover that best fits the description and aesthetic of your vehicle.


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