Best Bed Liners for Pickups: Liner Notes

Vivek Nayyar
by Vivek Nayyar

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

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.

Pros

  • Includes the applicator gun, enough product to finish the job

Cons

  • Use care when applying

Bottom Line

  • 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.

Pros

  • Easy to install, available in many sizes

Cons

  • Expensive for what it is

Bottom Line

  • 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.

Pros

  • Great ratings, supportive community

Cons

  • No cool colors

Bottom Line

  • 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.

Pros

  • Traditional look and installation procedure

Cons

  • Necessary holes, cumbersome to deliver, expensive

Bottom Line

  • 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.

Pros

  • Provides a carpeted bed surface

Cons

  • Bizarre selling proposition

Bottom Line

  • 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.

Pros

  • Easy to apply, handy custom-shaped sponge

Cons

  • Requires a plastic drop-in liner

Bottom Line

  • 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.

Pros

  • Simple to install, cheaper than most options

Cons

  • Requires trimming, might move around

Bottom Line

  • One size fits most

FAQs

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:

Warranty

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.

Pricing

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.

Installation

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.

Anti-Skid Texture

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:

Rhino Liner

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.

Line-X

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:

No Drainage

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.

Moisture

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.

Scratches

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.

Spray Liner

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.]

Vivek Nayyar
Vivek Nayyar

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2 of 13 comments
  • Mason Mason on May 18, 2022

    Monstaliner is the best DIY kit you will find, hands down. Probably one of the most expensive too, especially if you don't already have or have access to a shutz gun. It is an epoxy that is sprayed on to achieve the texture unlike other liners that rely on a grit for texture. Many custom colors to choose from. I sprayed the bed, rails, rockers and around the fenders on my 98. After 11 or 12 years when I sold it for my 14 fade was minimal and had only chipped in a few spots where heavy things were dropped. I do also have a rubber liner for the bed if I need the extra grip. In all honesty it is (or was) hard to beat the factory spray in liner option. Compared to Line X it was roughly 1/3 less when I was new truck shopping (2014). Every bit as durable too.

  • Mason Mason on May 18, 2022

    Monstaliner is the best DIY kit you will find, hands down. Probably one of the most expensive too, especially if you don't already have or have access to a shutz gun. It is an epoxy that is sprayed on to achieve the texture unlike other liners that rely on a grit for texture. Many custom colors to choose from. I sprayed the bed, rails, rockers and around the fenders on my 98. After 11 or 12 years when I sold it for my 14 fade was minimal and had only chipped in a few spots where heavy things were dropped. I do also have a rubber liner for the bed if I need the extra grip. In all honesty it is (or was) hard to beat the factory spray in liner option. Compared to Line X it was roughly 1/3 less when I was new truck shopping (2014). Every bit as durable too.

  • Wjtinfwb Funny. When EV's were bursting onto the scene; Tesla's, Volt's, Leaf's pure EV was all the rage and Hybrids were derided because they still used a gas engine to make them, ahem; usable. Even Volt's were later derided when it was revealed that the Volt's gas engine was actually connected to the wheels, not just a generator. Now, Hybrids are warmly welcomed into the Electric fraternity by virtue of being "electrified". If a change in definition is what it takes, I'm all for it. Hybrid's make so much sense in most American's usage patterns and if needed you can drive one cross-country essentially non-stop. Glad to see Hybrid's getting the love.
  • 3-On-The-Tree We also had a 1973 IH Scout that we rebuilt the engine in and it had dual glass packs, real loud. I miss those days.
  • 3-On-The-Tree Jeff thanks. Back in 1990 we had a 1964 Dodge D100 with a slant six with a 3 on the tree. I taught myself how to drive a standard in that truck. It was my one of many journeys into Mopar land. Had a 1973 Plymouth duster with a slant six and a 1974 Dodge Dart Custom with 318 V8. Great cars and easy to work on.
  • Akear What is GM good at?You led Mary............................................What a disgrace!
  • Randy in rocklin I have a 87 bot new with 200k miles and 3 head gasket jobs and bot another 87 turbo 5 speed with 70k miles and new head gaskets. They cost around 4k to do these days.
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