Home Automobile Bed Liner: What To Consider for Your Truck

Bed Liner: What To Consider for Your Truck

Bed Liner: What To Consider for Your Truck


2023 empty truck bed

Quick Facts About Truck Bed Liners

More than a few of today’s pickup trucks will never be drafted to do anything more strenuous than carry a couple of bags of mulch home from the garden store or move a young student to college. However, many of them haul serious loads on a regular basis. In either case, pickup truck owners, taking some pride in their ride or with an eye on resale value, want to keep the bed of that truck as pristine as possible. Denting a truck bed (sometimes called a box) requires little effort, while scratching one takes even less. Consequently, the bed of a truck can be noticeably disfigured after a few loads. That’s why a truck bed liner is such a big deal.

Fortunately, there are several bed liner options available to truck owners. We will list many of those bed liner types, their makeup, and their ballpark prices. We’ll help sort through them so you can determine which is the ideal liner for your truck.

What Is a Bed Liner for a Truck?

One of the more popular truck accessories, a bed liner is a layer of protection covering the floor and, often, the sides of a truck’s cargo space, safeguarding it against dings and scratches. Truck bed liner options can be as simple as a rubber mat or as sophisticated as a polyurethane spray-on.

Do You Need a Truck Bed Liner?

Yes, if you have any interest in protecting your truck bed from dings, dents, and scratches, you need a truck bed liner. A bed liner in your truck helps you maintain its value. Most things you load into the cargo space of a truck have the potential to damage the truck bed surface. Fixing loads in place, using some combination of tie-downs and straps, can reduce the damage shifting loads cause. However, as items slide around a truck bed and bounce off the bed walls, they scratch and ding the cargo area surfaces.

What Are the Different Types of Truck Bed Liners?

Representing varying degrees of effectiveness, durability, and cost, the current crop of bed liners offers a solution for just about every budget. Here are the major bed liner types most truck owners consider.

  • Rubber mat. As its name suggests, a rubber mat liner covers the bed floor, safeguarding it from the damage of sliding cargo. It offers no side-wall protection. The most affordable of the bed liner options on our list, rubber mats run from an estimated $50 to $230. For example, WeatherTech offers a custom-fit rubber mat manufactured to the specific dimensions of most truck beds for $65. DIYers will appreciate the ease of installation.
  • Carpet mat. Also called a “bed rug,” a carpet mat is another bed liner option that only protects the cargo floor. Manufactured to fit nearly any standard truck bed, these carpeted mats are easy to install for DIYers, performing much like rubber bed mats. We found them priced from $110 to $180.
  • Drop-in bed liner. Drop-in liners are often constructed of plastic or some hard, light composite material. They are custom-fit, one-piece shells that drop into the cargo area, offering protection to the bed’s side walls and the cargo floor. They are easily installed and removed on an as-needed basis for truck owners wanting to show off their pristine beds. Although drop-in liners are usually hard plastic, we discovered some drop-in carpet liners. One downside of drop-in liners is that dirt and water can seep between the liner and the cargo area surfaces. We found pricing running from about $250 to $500.
  • Spray-on bed liner. The most effective bed liner material is the spray-on liner. Applied with a sprayer directly to the cargo area surfaces, it is a permanent polyurethane or polyurea liner protecting the cargo floor and sidewalls. Spray-on liners aren’t bulletproof but hold up reasonably well and look great. Most truck manufacturers offer a spray-on liner as a standard or optional feature. For example, you can pick up a spray-on liner on the entry-level Ram 1500 as part of the $945 Bed Utility Group. It’s a $475 option on the Chevy Colorado. Having a spray-on applied in the aftermarket can run between $300 and $900.

Can You Apply a Spray-On Bedliner at Home?

Yes, you can apply a truck bed spray liner at home. We don’t recommend it because, although doing it yourself is less expensive, it’s very involved and time-consuming. Furthermore, if you aren’t experienced with using a spray gun, you’ll find there’s a big learning curve when managing the spray flow. In other words, if you don’t have experience applying a spray-on liner, you may wind up doing it more than once to get it right.

What Is the Best Material for a Truck Bed Liner?

If we needed to choose, we would opt for the polyurethane spray-on liner because it’s durable, permanent, and integrates well with the truck. However, if we were only concerned with scratching the bed liner truck floor, we’d go with a fitted rubber mat. It delivers real value as one of the least expensive truck accessories you can buy. If cared for, spray-on liners can last throughout the life of the truck. Rubber mats don’t have the same longevity but will last for years.

How Much Does a Truck Bed Liner Cost?

Truck bed liners range in cost from $50 for the less-expensive rubber mats to $900 for aftermarket spray-on liners. If you opt for a factory spray-on liner when you buy your next new truck, you can expect it to add at least $400 to the final transaction price.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here