The best protection for a truck bed is one that will preserve the utility of the truck bed for as long as they need it. Truck owners are tough on their vehicles so the best bedliner option is one that provides the durability, longevity, and toughness they need.
Truck bedliners come in many forms, from a high-pressure spray-on system from a brand like LINE-X or a quick DIY job from a can, but ultimately it depends on how a truck owner uses their truck.
For new truck owners, it can be difficult to decide what type of liner and brand to choose. It often comes down to price, looks, durability, and convenience. To help answer these questions we’ve put together a list of the most common type of truck bed liners and the key differences between them.
SO, WHICH TRUCK BEDLINER IS THE BEST?
You bought your truck to use it for hauling equipment, furniture, a friend’s furniture, off-roading, camping, hunting, towing boats, ATV’s, bikes, weekend projects and just about anything that will fit.
It really comes down to how you use your truck, and if you’re serious about hauling anything in your truck bed a spray-on bedliner is the best choice.
Here are the 5 most common truck bedliner options:
- High-pressure spray-on bedliner
- Low-pressure spray-on bedliner
- Plastic drop-in
- Bed mat
- DIY roll on
HIGH-PRESSURE SPRAY-ON BEDLINER
These days most spray-on bedliners are made of polyurea, polyurethane or a polyurea/polyurethane hybrid and are applied at high-pressure/high-temperature using specialized equipment. High-pressure spray systems, like those used by LINE-X, typically yield the best product performance. And your investment is protected by a LINE-X Lifetime Warranty. These spray-on bedliners are more resistant to tears, scratches, dents and have a faster cure time than their low-pressure predecessors.
Close up image of a LINE-X PREMIUM bedliner
LOW-PRESSURE SPRAY-ON BEDLINER
Low-pressure or cold spray-on liners are applied, as the name implies, at a low temperature and lower pressure than other spray-on options. You can usually tell the difference between high pressure and low-pressure bedliners by their appearance and texture. Low-pressure systems look and feel completely different – usually with a rougher, more inconsistent texture. These bedliners take longer to cure and often have less resistance to damage from impact or abrasion.
Close up image of low pressure “cottage cheese-like” bedliner texture
Regardless of which spray-on bedliner you choose, the key to product performance is all in the prep. A truck bed must be cleaned, scuffed, and sometimes primed, to create the best surface for a strong mechanical bond between the truck bed and the bedliner coating. Proper prep is one benefit of choosing LINE-X. Every LINE-X bedliner is applied by highly trained technicians who ensure the quality of their work by following a thorough multi-point inspection of every truck bedliner. Each truck bed is cleaned, prepped and measured for consistent texture and thickness for optimum utility. You can find a LINE-X location throughout the United States and Canada.
If your truck is prepped properly, a spray-on bedliner coating should last a very long time.
Less common but still in use are plastic drop in liners that ride on the inside of the truck bed and protect the bed from light damage. They are an affordable option for people looking for a quick solution, but they are not the best choice for long-term protection. Debris and moisture can get trapped under the liner scraping off the paint and exposing the bare metal underneath – a breeding ground for rust.
As a cheaper alternative to spray-on liners, drop-ins offer limited utility but sacrifice aesthetics and installation. This option is better for owners who use their truck bed only sparingly and wish to remove the liner down the road.
Over time drop in liners can vibrate loose, potentially falling out of the truck bed at high speeds due to poor installation. Definitely not something we want to happen to you. But you could always repurpose that old drop in liner as a snow sled.
Usually made out of rubber or foam, a bed mat is a drop-in liner modeled to fit a specific make or model truck. This is the option for folks who want a softer liner for impact absorption or hanging out in the truck bed.
While a bed mat offers a knee-friendly buffer between your truck bed and rough cargo, it’s installed just like other drop-in liners. And that means loose material can get trapped underneath the liner and actually scuff the truck bed. If those scratches aren’t fixed your truck bed will continue to deteriorate over time. Also, most bed mats can’t be repaired if seriously damaged, only replaced. Every few months the bed mat needs to be removed to clear away small debris, sand, dirt or moisture that can build up under the liner and cause issues.
Arguably more affordable than other options for truck bed protection, do-it-yourself bedliner products are appealing for those looking for a quick and easy bed liner solution that can be installed at home. But don’t expect a product rolled on from a can to stand up to serious use. Roll-on products aren’t as thick as other bedliner options – just 25% the thickness of a spray-on liner. So, if you really plan on using your truck, expect to reapply your roll-on liner a few more times to cover up those inevitable scratches and cracks spending more time and money in the process.
Besides, do you really want to clamber into the back of your truck bed, on your hands and knees, painting on a coating with a 4” roller? Why go through all that trouble when a professional LINE-X applicator can fully clean, prep and spray an extremely durable LINE-X spray-on bedliner in your truck in just a few hours.