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Best Truck Bed Liner Showdown: Spray On Vs. Roll-On (Reviews and Comparison)
If you are a truck owner, you no doubt want to load the bed from time to time. It might be with a load of firewood to stay cozy all winter, it might be your buddy’s stuff as you help them move, or it might be a load of antiques.
No matter what it is, you’ll soon discover that your bed needs some protection. As you load and unload you can easily scratch the paint which can open a spot for rust to form. Luckily there is an easy solution, a bed liner for your truck. A bedliner kit for your pickup truck is the easy solution to put all your worries about scratching your prized possession to rest.
That’s right, a bedliner for your vehicle is the perfect way to prevent damage to your truck bed. It typically has a durable, stain resistant,non-skid surface that will protect your pickup truck bed from all the wear and tear that you put it through in the course of the work that you do.
There are a number of different types of bed protection, there are spray-in bed liners, roll-on bed liners,drop-in bed liners, brush in bed liners and several more. But which one is the best, what are the pros and cons of each one?
In the course of this article, we will highlight six of the top products that are available on the market today. In addition to that, we will provide you a buyer’s guide that will help make sure that you get the best bed liner for your particular needs.
Best Bed Truck Liner Picks
Let’s start with a quick comparison table that will give you an idea of what our picks are and how the differ between each other.
|editors-choice||Best Product||Best Value|
|item-title||Herculiner HCL1B8 Brush-on Bed Liner Kit||U-POL Raptor 0820V-Gun Black URETHANE Truck Bed Liner Kit with Gun||Rust-Oleum Automotive 248915 Truck Bed Coating Quarts||Custom Coat Black Urethane Spray-On Truck Bed Liner Kit with Spray Gun||T-Rex Black 2K Urethane, SMR-10000-K8 Truck Bedliner with Spray Gun||Duplic-Color BAK2010 Bed Armor DIY Truck Bed Liner with Kevlar Bed Armor Kit|
|Best Brush On Bed Liner||Best Spray In Bed Liner||Best Roll On Bed Liner||Best Spray On Bed Liner||Best DIY Spray In Bedliner||Best DIY Roll On Truck Bed Liner|
|item-review||read review||read review||read review||read review||read review||read review|
Kit includes paint, brush, rollers and applicator
Kit includes a custom spray gun and hardener
Kit includes a spray gun and hardener
Kit includes two bottles of activator and spray gun
Kit includes paint tray, roller, brush, applicator pad and mixing stick
|editors-choice||Best Product||Best Value|
Bed Liner Reviews – Our Top Picks
There are an awful lot of truck bed liners on the market today. Some of them are amazing, others, not so much.
Luckily for you we at Garage Chief has gone through the available options and come up with six that we feel are truly stand out options. Each of these will do a great job under a wide range of use and abuse, but undoubtedly one is the best option for you.
Take a while and consider what you typically use yourpickup truck for, and the type of wear and tear you put on the truck bed over the course of your routine activity. This will help you to pick the product that best meets your needs, no matter how extensive. This will help you protect the bed effectively and for a long time.
We’ll give you all the important details on each of these options, then you’ll be ready to decide on the one you need. So, without any more detail, let’s take a look at the best options available.
Herculiner HCL1B8 Best Brush on Bed Liner Kit
- Type: Brush on Bed Liner
- Amount: 1 gallon
- Other Additions: Kit includes paint, brush, rollers and applicator
Our pick for the best product and the best brush on bed liner is the Herculiner HCL1B8 Brush-on Bed Liner Kit. This kit comes with a full gallon of the Herculiner bed liner.
It also comes with rollers and paint brushes, so there is very little additional that you need to add in order to take care of your bed. There is also an applicator pad that comes with the kit to help you scruff up your truck bed after you wash it. This step ensures that the product gets a better hold onto your bed.
The company claims that their formula is 5 times tougher than other companies’ offerings. It offers a textured finish that gives your bed some anti-skid protection to keep your gear from sliding all over your truck’s bed.
This product isn’t made just for your truck bed though. It can easily be applied to metals, woods, concrete and more. You can use it anywhere you need a protective surface with some grip, so it is a great coating for the wooden stairs up to your deck as well as the bed of your truck.
Truck owners love this product for its high level of versatility, as well as its super tough formula that protects their truck bed from anything that they throw at it.
This versatile product is also available in a few other sizes, so if you are using for a different project you can get the right size can.
U-POL RAPTOR 0820V-GUN Black URETHANE Best Spray in Bed Liner Kit with Gun
- Type: Spray In Bed Liner
- Amount: 4 Liters
- Other Additions: This kit includes a custom spray gun and hardener.
If you are looking for an option for the best spray in bed liner you’ll want to consider the U-POL Raptor 0820V-Gun Black URETHANE Truck Bed Liner Kit with Gun.
As the name implies it includes a gun that is meant to attach directly to the bottles to make for less mess and an easier clean up. Of course, in order to use this gun, you’ll need to have some kind of an air compressor with the right hose to drive the spray.
Without this vital tool, you won’t be able to get a good spray. The kit also comes with a bottle of hardener to help the mix harden while on your truck bed, but not while waiting in the bottle.
One thing that this company points out is the fact that in addition to the protection of adding in a bed liner, this set up can help to deaden sounds and vibrations that could cause some issue while driving.
Also, they claim that their lining is UV resistant. This is important as sun light can break down some plastics over a time.
Spray-in bedliners are a great option as long as you have the gun to go with it. If you do, you will find it very convenient, and the spray offers great protection against many of the trials you are sure to put your truck through.
Rust-Oleum Automotive 248915 Best Roll on Bed Liner
- Type: Roll On Bed Liner
- Amount: 1 Quart
- Other Additions: None
If you already have a good stock of rollers and other painting gear, you should take a look at the Rust-Oleum Automotive 248915 Truck Bed Coating Quarts. This will just give you a quart of their truck bed coating and let you take care of the rest.
This formula will apply a black truck bed coating to any surface that you choose to roll or brush it onto. The company has put a good bit of pride into their “Stop Rust Formula” and this liner coating includes that formula. This can easily be added to truck beds that have had another coating before, are just worn down or have never been finished.
Since this product is not as thick in the can as other options, when it goes on it won’t have much of a texture to it. This makes it easy to apply, but it won’t really do much in the area of non-skid abilities.
Also, you want to note that this is a quart sized can. As such you might need to purchase more than one can in order to get a good coverage over your entire bed. The exact number will come down to how big your bed is and how many coats you plan on applying.
Many truck owners like this option because it is easy to roll on and apply, but it might not offer the extreme level of protection that some of the other options do.
Custom Coat BLACK Urethane Spray-On Truck Bed Liner Kit with Spray Gun
- Type: Spray On Bed Liner
- Amount: 4 Liter
- Other Additions: In addition to the liner product this kit includes a spray gun and hardener
Another top contender for the top spray in bed liner is the Custom Coat Black Urethane Spray-On Truck Bed Liner Kit with Spray Gun. This kit gives you a vast range of choices so that you can get just the set up that you want.
They offer a one and two-liter kit with just the product. If you need more they offer you a four, six or eight-liter kit that comes with either a spray gun or a set of rollers so that you can go with the right size and application style for you.
And if that wasn’t enough choices, you have your pick of 9 different color options and also a tintable option so that you can rock a bed of whatever color you like.
As with other spray gun systems you will need to have an air compressor (like one of those ones) to properly spray the product. The kind with a tank is the best option since they can store up air that has been compressed and ready to use.
However, even if you end up ordering the spray gun version, since these also come in roller sets, you know that you can simply apply with a roller as you would a roll-on option.
T-Rex Black 2K Urethane, SMR-1000-K8 Best DIY Spray In Bedliner with Spray Gun
- Type: DIY Spray In Bed Liner
- Amount: Eight 24 Ounce Bottles
- Other Additions: In addition to the liner material this comes with two bottles of activator and spray gun
The T-Rex Black 2K Urethane, SMR-10000-K8 Truck Bedliner with Spray Gun is another kit that has been designed to provide you just about everything that you need in order to spray an even coat of liner into your bed.
As with other spray on kits that come with their own gun, in order to get that nice professional-looking finish you’ll need to have your own air compressor to spray the product out onto your truck.
However, if you do have the right equipment this means that this is an easy set to use. All you do is measure out the right amount of activator in the provided cup and add it into the bottle of bed liner. Close it up and shake it firmly to ensure that it is evenly mixed through the entire bottle and then put on the spray top and start spraying.A spray on bedliner kit is preferable to many truck owners because of the ease of use.
Dupli-Color BAK2010 Bed Armor Best DIY Roll on Truck Bed Liner with Kevlar Bed Armor Kit
- Type: DIY Roll On Truck Bed Liner Kit
- Amount: 1 Gallon
- Other Additions: Kit includes paint tray, roller, brush, applicator pad and mixing stick.
The Duplic-Color BAK2010 Bed Armor DIY Truck Bed Liner with Kevlar Bed Armor Kit provides you with everything that you need in order roll a bed liner onto your truck bed.
While some kits just give you the can of product and a brush but this kit doesn’t stop there. It doesn’t stop there. This kit also includes its own paint tray and not just a roller but the whole roller assembly.
The kit also gives you a brush to reach those areas that are hard to reach with a roller. Plus, there is also a mixing stick and an applicator pad to ensure that the truck bed is ready to have the liner applied.
Also, this kit is one that is easy to clean up. Since it is a water-based formula, clean up is simple.
Also, this liner has Kevlar in the mixture. This is done to help offer protection from gasoline and other chemicals. The company claims that a single kit will cover a standard 6-foot bed and one addition quart will bump it up to cover an 8-foot bed.
Buyer’s Guide to the Best Truck Bed Liner
What is a Truck Bed Liner?
A truck bed is a wonderful place to haul stuff that you don’t want in your car. Even SUVs, with their large cargo areas tend to have carpet that can end up picking up all sorts of dirt and crude from stuff you are hauling around.
It is a lot easier to spray down a truck bed then try to vacuum up everything from inside your car. The thing is, some of that stuff can rough up your paint job in the bed. As you know, if you scratch up that clear coat you could end up getting rust. Enter the bed liner.
A truck bed liner provides a protective layer, generally a plastic, that adds additional protection to your truck’s bed. With this protection in place, you can load just about whatever you want into your bed, knowing that you won’t end up causing rust spots. Then, since most of these are made to be open to the elements you can easily spray them down when it comes time to clean them up.
The best way to keeping your truck bed completely covered is to use a tonneau covers. Here we discussed the best of them.
Truck bed liners are one of the most popular truck accessories. That means that it is even more important that you spend some time figuring out which is the best bed liner for you. No one wants to make a purchase of one style and then find out there is some other option that is an even better option for you.
Now, there is more than just one style on the market. Below we’ll dive into the details of each, but you can find spray on bedliners, roll on bedliners, drop-in bedliners, carpet bedliners and even bed mats.
Be sure to think hard about how you use your truck, what kind of damage you are at risk for, and which of these types of bed liners sounds easiest to use for you. A lot of it simply comes down to personal preference.
Each of these has their own strong points as well as areas that they are weaker, so let’s take a more in-depth look at each.
Truck Bed Liner Types
There are a number of different styles of bed liner. Some are permanently applied to your trucks bed and others can be taken in and out. Both approaches have their strong points as well as a few drawbacks. We’ll go over some of the most popular types below, but remember, there may be some others styles that we didn’t touch on as well.
Spray On Bedliners
Spray-on bedliners are a highly popular option as they provide some of the best protection and can last the longest of most styles of bed liner. They are very resistant to whatever you throw at them, and many pickup truck owners prefer them.
These types of liners are normally applied by the manufacturer as they use a spray system similar to paint spray set ups to apply an even coat of rubberized covering over the bed of your truck. This will normally cover the walls and tailgate as well.
This style will usually have a rough texture to it, this helps to keep things from sliding all over your bed while driving, but they can be a little tough on delicate pieces. There are some after-market dealers that can apply this style of liner and there are a few options on the market that would allow you to take on the task.
But remember, if you attempt this yourself you will need the right equipment to spray it on. These can be one of the most expensive options.
For the Do It Yourselfer who wants that high level of performance found on a spray on, but without getting spraying gear, there are some companies that are putting out roll on bedliners.
This option comes in a can like most other home style paints. You simply need a roller and the bed of your truck. The final result will depend on you to get an even coat rolled out, but if done well this can provide just as much protection and anti-slip capabilities as a spray on liner. This may require a bit more work than the spray-on style, but it can be helpful if you don’t have the equipment to spray a bedliner.
The can itself will generally be much cheaper than the spray on liner, so some people will think it is steal. You will have to add in any rollers that you will need to pick up to apply the liner as well as your own time in applying it. Then there will be some amount of time that you won’t be able to use the truck’s bed as the liner dries and cures. This style does let you pick which areas are covered though, so you have the final say.
Overall, while this is a bit of a more complicated option to apply, the end result is a great, resistant bedliner. And you can’t beat the price.
This style is formed as a single piece of plastic that has been molded to fit the bed of your particular truck. It, as the name implies, can simply be dropped into the bed of your truck to provide a layer of protection.
While this makes for an easy installation, you do need to get one for your particular make and model. Additionally, with this style, while it is not common, it is possible for a chunk to break off leaving you with an unprotected area.
However, this style is fairly simple to remove from your bed if you ever feel the need to. Probably the simplest style to install, but it can be a pain finding one if you have a very specific or rare make of vehicle.
The carpet bedliners are an option that is similar to a drop-in bed liner. The main difference between these styles is that where the drop-ins tend to just be hard plastic these have an outdoor style carpet top on them.
This might not be the best option if you are going to be hauling a lot of material that will leave dirt and droppings, but can be a great option if you have material that you don’t want to get scratched up. So while it is very resistant against scratches, a carpet can be a hot bed for stains.
Bed mats are almost like a rubber carpet. These are made to go on the bottom of your truck’s bed to apply some protection as you stack things on top.
In general, these mats are easy to add in or remove as needed and due to their design can be used with other styles bed liners if desired.
However, since they are lightweight they tend to not give a lot of protection and they don’t do anything to stop the items from slipping. Also, since these are just mats they won’t provide any protection to the sides of your bed. So if you have a specific area that you tend to place heavy materials in your bed, this could be a cheap and easy solution to your problem.
How to Apply Spray In and Roll On Bed Liners?
Both the spray in and roll on style of bed liner have versions that can be taken on as an at home project. Before you begin either you need to ensure that you have the right materials and have prepared your bed. It is not a difficult process, but it certainly requires the right tools.
Preparing Truck Bed
Regardless of the style of liner that you are painting into your truck’s bed it is a good idea to make sure that the bed is cleaned out, washed and dried before you start work. Some kits come with pads to scuff up the bed so that the liner will be more easily apply. Also, you’ll want to tape off any of the areas that you don’t want to get the liner material on.
Applying Roll On Bed Liner
We’ll start off with the roll on style of liner. In this style of liner, you’ll need to have some paint rollers, often people find that the ones labeled for rough surfaces work best for this application. You will want to tape off any areas that are next to where you are looking to paint that you don’t want to get paint on.
You’ll probably also want a painting tray so that you can get a good coat on your rollers before you start in. Then it is very similar to painting a wall in your home. You’ll want to take your time and try to get as even a coat as possible.
In this method you have a lot of control over want gets covered and what doesn’t. Often times you’ll get the best results if you apply a second coat. Check your product for how long to wait before applying the second coat to let the first one dry enough.
Applying Spray In Bed Liner
In the spray in style liner the prep is mostly similar. This one you’ll want to spend a little more time making sure that you get all the surrounding areas masked with painters tape (get one of those here) and newspaper or plastic bags.
As you are spraying, you can end up with overspray which can easily get bed liner on areas that you don’t want it, such as windows and latches. The more time you spend prepping the better result you’ll end up getting.
Once everything is masked, it is best to take a sandpaper to the areas that you are going to spray the liner on. Roughing it up in this method gives the liner material a better surface to adhere to and will help it cling on. For the best results, you’ll want to do a pass with a rougher grit of sandpaper and then do another pass with a finer grade. This will help cover some of the deeper scrapes.
Once your sanding is done make sure that you remove all the sanding grit. You can wipe it out with water or vacuum it up with a shop vac.
Now you are ready to start spraying. If you are using a product in a spray can you don’t need any additional equipment, but if you just have a container of spray on liner you might need to load it into a paint spray gun. While spraying you’ll want to use smooth passes and try not to get globs of paint built up in any particular area.
Best Bed Liner Brands
Now, in addition to choosing the right type of bed liner for your particular use and wants, it helps to pick one from one of the top bed liner brands. Normally the better brands have a tighter quality control and get to be known as one of the best for consistently putting out quality products.
Let’s look at three of the top companies in the field.
Herculiner Bed Liners
Herculiner started back in 1999 when a group was looking to come up with products that would work in the worst conditions you could imagine. What they ended up coming up with was a company that focused on a single solution that could be applied to a wide variety of problems.
Herculiner makes a do it yourself roll in bed liner that they claim will stand up to anything any of the more expensive bed liners will and save you money in the process. This company is now owned by Old World Industries, but they are still focusing on the product that made them famous. Check them out if you are looking for an option that is known to be tough and resistant, but aren’t looking to spend as much as a premium brand.
Rust-Oleum Truck Bed Liners
It is no wonder why Rust-Oleum made the list of the top brands. If you have done nearly any type of painting or finishing you know there is a wide range of Rust-Oleum products available on the market.
In some cases, this could be a double edge sword, some people may argue that it is better to go with a company that specializes in one area as they are more focused. However, for the case of Rust-Oleum, they have the money to put into making quality products for their whole range of offerings. And going with a larger company means that there is more that they are willing to stand behind what they make. Many people have had positive experiences with this product, and we believe that makes them a great option.
U-Pol Bed Liners
While they may be a smaller company, U-Pol is a leader in the world of automotive refinishing products. They have over 70 years of experience, so you don’t need to worry about them just being a flash in the pan.
This is a company that works hard to develop a wide range of solutions that are up to the standards of the modern body shop, some of the most demanding automotive customers.
They maintain their facilities, keeping them state of the art, because they know that their customers in over 100 countries want nothing short of world class products.
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How Much Does it Cost to Get a Truck Bed Liner?
Now, there is a fairly huge range when it comes to truck bed liners. We’ve highlighted a selection of choices that are more on the do it yourself range. These can go for as little at about $20 all the way up nearly $200.
There are a few things to consider when looking at these prices. Some are sets with enough to cover a whole truck bed, and others are a single can, which may or may not cover everything that you need to. When you are purchasing, it is best to ensure that you get enough to do the whole job you are planning on getting done. This requires knowing the size of your truck bed and how much area you will need to cover.
This is not a product that is widely carried at big box stores. If they have one in stock, it will probably be the only type that they sell. Even in automotive stores you shouldn’t plan on there being a lot in stock, so the best case is going to be online.
When you look at online options you’ll need to keep a few things in mind. You’ll want a retailer that has a large selection of choices to let you find the best truck bed liner. Also, these can be heavy, which means that shipping can get a bit expensive.
With that in mind, a site like Amazon is a natural choice as they have a very nice selection (simply click and check), but are known for free shipping so you are covered there as well. You may as well go with the option that allows you to browse alternatives and pick the best choice for you, and Amazon is just that.
As you decide on the style of bed liner that you want, make sure that you are considering the full price of the liner. The price at the store for some of the do it yourself liners is a lot lower than having someone else take care of it, but remember that you are the one who will be spending some amount of time going through and actually putting the product on. Not only does this mean you have to spend time making sure that you do it, but you are the one to make sure it is done properly. Be sure to factor your time into the equation.
If you decide that you are going to do it yourself, be sure that you take time in preparation. Skipping things when masking the areas you don’t want covered in bed liner can result in you getting bed liner bits on your back window. Not prepping the bed properly could lead to the liner not properly adhering and bits chipping off. The more time and effort you put into your prep work the better your finished product will be.
DIY Truck Bed Liners – Bottom Line
With that, you should have all the information that you need to pick out the best truck bed liner for your particular needs. Of course, this starts with knowing what your needs are. So sit down, think about how much you want to spend, and which type of liner is best for you, and then browse our buyer’s guide.
We started off highlighting six of the top products on the market today. We found that the one that rose to the top of our list is the Herculiner HCL1B8 Brush-on Bed Liner Kit. This product was made for you to roll on your own bed, but it is as tough and resistant as any of the other options out there.
Next, we launched into our truck bed liner buyer’s guide. We covered everything that you need to know so that you can find just the right bed liner for your needs. You’ll know not only the differences between the types of liners, but you’ll know each of their high points as well.
Finally, we’d love to hear from you. If you have some experience with any of these bed liners, please let us know about it and add comments in the section below.
Last update on 2023-03-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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