Best Bed Liners for Pickups: Liner Notes
Top 7 Best Bed Liners for Pickups
Most dealerships will, as a rule, install a bed liner of some sort in the back of every single new pickup they park on the lot. Whether one agrees with this propping up of the parts department usually depends on which side of the financial ledger one resides.
Nevertheless, some buyers get a bed liner of their own after the fact or install one in an older truck they’ve bought second hand. This list is for them … plus the rest of you who are trying to justify getting a pickup. Your author’s advice? Get one. Then invest in one of these liners.
Table of Contents
Editor's Choice: Raptor Black Urethane Spray-On Truck Bed Liner Kit: Shop Now
Husky Liners Heavy Duty Bed Mat: Shop Now
Herculiner Brush-on Bed Liner Kit: Shop Now
DualLiner Truck Bedliner: Shop Now
BedRug Bed Mat (for trucks with a drop-in style liner): Shop Now
Forever Black Truck Bed Liner Gel: Shop Now
BDK Heavy-Duty Truck Utility Bed Mat: Shop Now
1. Editor's Choice: Raptor Black Urethane Spray-On Truck Bed Liner Kit
Spray-on bed liners are very popular - and with good reason. Plastic drop-in liners, while saving the bed from getting scratched up by that load of firewood you just unceremoniously dumped in there, have the opportunity to introduce different types of damage if water gets trapped underneath the liner.
This urethane liner product is designed to be sprayed on with the gun that's included in the kit. A total of four liters (that about a gallon in Freedom Units) should be more than enough to coat beds in popular 5.5- and 6.5-foot lengths. And, in a fit of pandering to us extroverts, this stuff is tintable. That means you can have a bright yellow bed lining on your gloss black truck.
- Includes the applicator gun, enough product to finish the job
- Use care when applying
- A solid solution
2. Husky Liners Heavy Duty Bed Mat
If simply protecting your truck's bed floor is the goal, leaving its interior sides untouched, a bed mat may be just the ticket. Literally a rubber mat that lies flat in the pickup bed, this option from well-known brand Husky Liners is said to be tough enough to protect your truck but soft enough not to beat up your cargo.
The DuraGrip HD Anti-skid surface grips on to your cargo and keeps it from shifting around, something that definitely happens in a metal unlined bed. The hilariously named Air Dry Nibs slightly elevate the mat, allowing air to pass through and dry moisture out. It's also apparently odorless, which is good in a world full of chemical off-gassing.
- Easy to install, available in many sizes
- Expensive for what it is
- Quick and simple bed protection
3. Herculiner Brush-on Bed Liner Kit
This product from Herculiner is a brush-on bed liner kit that includes a gallon of ready-to-use black protective coating, application brush, and 2 rollers for easy & even application. Advertised as a tough and textured polyurethane protective coating, the seller states it can be used on surfaces ranging from truck beds to concrete and wood surfaces.
Claimed to be five times thicker than other roll-on products, this Herculiner product provides a skid-resistant surface that shouldn't easily chip, flake, or peel. Nearly 90 percent of the some 1500+ customers who left feedback rated this stuff as worthy of four or five stars. An informal community of people who have installed Herculiner seem more than happy to offer tips and tricks on applying the stuff.
- Great ratings, supportive community
- No cool colors
- All-in-one kit with many uses
4. DualLiner Truck Bedliner
Yes, traditional plastic drop-in truck bed liners still exist and have their place in the market. They were a lot less complicated before pickup manufacturers started adding addenda to beds such as lights and power outlets, since those types of features require specific cutouts in the liner.
That latter necessity is one of the reasons your author does not prefer this style of liner, as more holes provide more opportunity for liquid and other debris to work its way under the liner where it can scratch the bed surface. Water can freeze and expand, as well.
- Traditional look and installation procedure
- Necessary holes, cumbersome to deliver, expensive
- Carefully study other options
5. BedRug Bed Mat (for trucks with a drop-in style liner)
If you insist on getting a drop-in liner, this perplexing product is designed as a mat to be placed on top of the plastic liner's ribbed floor. If this were Pimp My Ride, they'd no doubt say they were putting a liner on your liner. Bro.
The bed mat will be secured using plastic plugs that are inserted into small holes that are drilled into the plastic bed liner, not the truck bed, leaving your factory finish maintained and protected by the BedRug Bed Mat.
- Provides a carpeted bed surface
- Bizarre selling proposition
- Why is this a thing?
6. Forever Black Truck Bed Liner Gel
Yes, your author is the type of person to hose out his truck's bed after hauling a load of gravel. After the water dries, a broom is taken to the surface to sweep away any debris left on the liner. Surely I'm not the only one who's this fastidious. Right? Hello? Where'd everyone go?
Restoring the luster of a plastic liner isn't easy, especially if one uses their truck as an actual truck and not a glorified SUV. This gel, which is probably very similar to other back-to-black products, is intended to bring a shiny black look to plastic bed liners. The included applicator is shaped inversely to a liner's ribs, allowing users to get right into all those tight spots.
- Easy to apply, handy custom-shaped sponge
- Requires a plastic drop-in liner
- Use this just before trade-in time
7. BDK Heavy-Duty Truck Utility Bed Mat
This liner is very similar to the mat listed earlier in this post except it is not specifically sculpted to a particular truck's bed shape. In other words, it is a one-size-fits-all deal with, of course, a lot of trimming to fit. It is, however, notably less expensive.
The seller says this mat has "advanced performance rubber polymers" that are tested for extreme conditions to ensure they don't crack, split, or deform. The whole thing measures 4' x 8', meaning it'll fit a long box work truck. If you own a short box or some form of Cowboy Cadillac, be prepared to break out the box cutter.
- Simple to install, cheaper than most options
- Requires trimming, might move around
- One size fits most
What kind of truck bed liner is best?
If you’re thinking of a brand, it would be up to you as to which manufacturer you find the best. As for the characteristics, the following list suggests what you should look for while buying a truck bed liner:
Make sure that the bed liner you’re about to buy is covered with some kind of warranty, and that too for as long as possible. The longer the warranty time is the more trustworthy will the bed liner be.
Check if your preferred bed liner is in your budget. If not, try looking for something that is of more or less equal quality and is yet pocket-friendly.
Confirm with the seller how easy (or challenging) is it to install the bed liner that you choose to buy. You must also ask if they have an experienced professional to get the job done.
Check the catalog and see if the seller has a bed liner with a non-skid texture. If so, you should consider going for it.
Considering all the above points, it would be easier for you to choose the best truck bed liner that is available in the market.
Is Rhino liner or Line-X better?
Depending on your vehicle type and your preference, you can choose one over the other. With that said, before you can decide on which linings would be good for your pickup, it is imperative to understand a couple of following differences between the two:
These spray-on bed liners use polyurea, polyhybrids, and polyurethane and are good at offering prevention from corrosions and other tear-offs. Although the company used to produce soft liners during its initial phase, it now manufacturers hard ones as well. You can find these liners at small shops, probably at some local spare part store near your area of residence.
These liners are applied by spraying them over the target surface at high pressure in extremely hot temperatures, i.e., somewhere between 130o and 210o. Because Line-X linings are pretty hard, they are comparatively more resistant to tears. However, this hardness may also damage the cargo or hurt you while moving around or loading and unloading.
Now that you know about both Rhino and Line-X linings, it would be easier for you to decide upon which one you want for your pickup.
Are plastic truck bed liners good?
Maybe, but they are not recommended. Although plastic truck bed liners are easy to install and the process needs no professional expertise, they should not be installed because of the following reasons:
Plastic bed liners have no holes to drain the moisture out. Rather, they even block the passages that the truck already has. Because of this, the chances of your truck getting rusty and decoying over time are significantly high.
Because no proper drainage is there, the plastic bed liners remain moist and as a result, your pickup ends up getting damaged eventually due to rust and/or decoy.
Although the material used in plastic bed liners is not that rough, with regular usage, i.e., loading, unloading, and transportation of cargo, the plastic may cause scratches, thus not serving the purpose they are purchased in the first place.
Is it better to roll or spray the bed liner?
The answer depends on your preference and requirement as both paint types have their pros and cons, and it’s only you who can decide what downsides you can live with. A simple comparison of advantages and disadvantages between the two types is given below:
Roll-on Bed Liner
It is a cheaper solution and gives your truck an attractive look after application. Also, you get a wide range of colors to choose from. Another good thing about Roll-on bed liners is that they are less prone to dings and scratches as the double coat of paint is applied to the surface.
It could be cumbersome for inexperienced people to apply the paint. In addition, it should be applied within closed areas to avoid road debris or dust particles getting stuck on the wet paint. Also, it takes almost an entire day for the paint to dry before you can use your vehicle.
A Spray Liner gives your truck a unique and quite a beautiful look. Furthermore, the texture prevents the cargo from moving or rolling during transportation, thus keeping it protected against damages.
A Spray Liner, after application, takes precedence over the stock paint that your truck has. This voids the warranty against corrosions that the vehicle came with or was bought post purchasing. A couple of other downsides that a Spray Liner comes with include:
It is not cheap to buy and apply
It cannot be removed that easily
It offers least or no protection against scratches and dings that may happen during loading and unloading the cargo
While deciding upon which among the two you should choose for your pickup, make sure to go through these points thoroughly, and then go for the one that best meets your budget and needs.
From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.
(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘
90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)
[Main photo credit: TY Lim / ShutterStock.com. Product images provided by the manufacturer.]
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