Top 7 Best Bed Liners for Pickups
By | Last updated: May 8, 2020
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

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 / Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

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

  • avatar

    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

      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

        @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.

  • avatar

    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

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

  • avatar

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

  • avatar

    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

      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.

  • avatar

    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:

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

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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.

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