Top 7 Best Bed Liners for Pickups
By | Last updated: May 13, 2022
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.

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

Pros

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.

Cons

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

Pros

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.

Cons

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.]

22 Comments on “Best Bed Liners for Pickups: Liner Notes...”


  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Before all of this spray in liner stuff most guys just threw a piece of 4×8 plywood on the box floor.
    More often than not, the guys with spray in liners might as well line their box with shag carpet for all of the actual truck use that they see.

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      Hey, I resemble that remark. I use a simple rubber mat so that the exposed fenders take a beating and make it look like a real truck.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @don1967 – LOL. A spray in liner isn’t going to stop a wheel well from getting dented.

        The most aggressive treatment I’ve seen is a spray in liner with a full aluminum checker-plate box liner over top.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          You’d be surprised how much they do help, though. “Back in the day” the sheetmetal in pickup truckbeds was (I assume) thicker. Most stuff, aside from waistlines, were. But nowadays, at least for halftons, the beds are largely built from leftovers from soda can production, and similar……….. With a comparatively thick, hard coat of LineX, dent resistance goes up a good bit. Nothing massive, but not nothing, neither.

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    I got a used 14 HD 2 years ago, it had the drop in GM liner. As noted here it had all kinds of things trapped under it – leaves, sand, gravel. So I cleaned it up and had a linex spray in. Now if I haul any dirt or mulch or whatever, I put the old liner in. Take it out after, hose the bed out and stash the liner until next time.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I’ve used the brush/spray-on liners as a rust deterrent on vulnerable areas on my car with good results

  • avatar
    kosmo

    I think the Bed Rug might be targeted with people that have toppers on their trucks.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    I had an over-rail drop-in bedliner (nice thick plastic) in the bed of my 1995 Sierra from 2001 to ~2018. The bedliner was still in great shape when I removed it. The bed was essentially preserved in its 2001 condition (some dents, limited surface rust from when it had no bedliner).

    The bed didn’t rust because no moisture hit it. No moisture hit it because the over-rail drop-in bedliner acted like a big bucket (no drain holes). Step 1 in loading the truck was to back down the driveway and drop the rear wheels onto the pavement so that the collected rainwater (worst case maybe 3″ deep at the front of the bed) drained out of the bed.

    When I get mulch or topsoil (bedliner or not), Step 1 is to put a large tarp in the bed and drape it over the sides. Material goes in, tarp gets laid back over or tucked in. Last step of material removal (mulch or topsoil) is to drag the tarp with the last fussy bits of stuff on it to the back of the bed (it would slide pretty well on the relatively slick drop-in bedliner). Dragging the tarp out is *much* easier than trying to get the last little bits out any other way. Fold the tarp and we’re done (no cleanup, no sweeping).

    I know things are different these days – if I had a new truck I honestly don’t know which direction I’d go (spray-in/etc).

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Life tips:
      a) A pitchfork is incredibly effective for mulch. (Learn to hit only mulch, without stabbing holes in your tarp.)
      b) Landscapers’ trick for picking up a shovel: Drop your round point shovel on the ground, ‘step’ side in contact with the ground, ‘cutting edge’/point up. Assuming you are right handed, walk by the shovel starting at the handle end with the shovel on your right. Extend your right arm at a ~30 degree angle. As you pass the tip of the shovel, lightly kick the tip of the shovel with the toe of your boot using a passing/glancing motion. The handle will come up in the “V” of your arm, between your hip and your elbow (hitting the ‘back of your underarm’ if you kick it that hard, nothing wrong with that). Grab the handle with your right hand. Keep walking. Practice where no one can see you, and then when they gawk at your high level of skill [making shovels leap into your hand] just act casual. Your back will thank you.

      • 0 avatar
        56BelAire

        @ToolGuy…

        That’s why I’ve had a 4’x8′ sheet of plywood in the back of my 2002, F-150 work truck for 20 years(I’m on the second sheet).
        Way, way easier to shovel sand, stone, topsoil, mulch etc, out of the truck by just sliding a square shovel along the plywood floor and into the product I’m unloading.

        No need for ‘practice’. When done, sweep or blow out.

  • avatar
    millerluke

    Todd from Youtube’s Project Farm tested spray-in bed liners a couple years ago. I forget which one won, but he’s very thorough. See it here: https://youtu.be/NWFIwJUSo6c

    I don’t have a truck, so I don’t really care, but it’s still fascinating

  • avatar
    92golf

    Many years ago, when I worked in the forest industry there was no such thing as a commercial bedliner. Mechanics used to take a full tube of grease, completely cover the pickup bed and then drop a sheet of 1/4-inch steel on the bed and bolt it down. Full barrels of fuel, hydraulic fluid or large heavy tools and equipment were no match for the steel plate. It seemed to work pretty well at the time. It also gave the truck a little more weight in the back for better traction in slippery conditions.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      A full sheet of 1/4 inch steel, is getting close to the entire remaining payload of a halfton truck, once all the nowadays requisite bling and options are added……

      Forestry guys seem to have mostly ditched pickup bed for similar-to-that-sheet thick flatbeds these days. Almost anything heavy, where the weight is concentrated, is problematic for unassisted pickup beds.

      Pickup beds are great for awkwardly shaped light stuff, and heavier stuff if the weight is distributed (and/or rides on rubber tires or tracks. Or wooden pallets…) But even moving barbells, dumbbells and weight plates, although individually not “heavy”, beats the heck out of an unprotected bed, unless properly wrapped.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Herculiner and the Raptor seem like they would be fun for the guys who like to refresh an old truck/4×4 by replacing the paint with bedliner material. I’ve seen some 1994 and up Dodge/Ram trucks done that way. Love that look for not worrying about scratches.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I used Herculiner to do the bed on my 20 year old Dakota Quad Cab. The hardest part was scuffing up the clear coat so the bed liner would stick. Turns out even a “small” 5 foot bed is a lot of SQ FT of sanding. In the end it came out pretty good, you just roll it on, but the stuff is messy and a bit tricky to get an even coat due to rubber particles mixed in. So fine for a bed but I would not use it as “paint”. I picked Herculiner because it comes in grey and my truck is silver.

  • avatar
    ilkhan

    Had a bedrug liner in my truck. Loved it. Easy to walk, sit, or even sleep on, but no worries about rain. Will get another.

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    Freedom units? Those darn Americans using their own units of measurements and wanting freedom and such.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    “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.”

    Ummm…no, most dealers will order their pickups with spray-in or plastic bedliners from the factory. Most dealerships do not want to deal with that hassle. If the dealerships in your area are still ordering pickups without bedliners, they’re the exception to the norm.

  • avatar
    mason

    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.

  • avatar
    mason

    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.

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