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Bed Mats Vs Bed Liners

Bed mat bed liner comparison

When you have a new truck you want to keep pristine, deciding on a truck bed mat or a bed liner is a tough choice. Each have benefits and drawbacks, which we will outline here to help you make an informed decision.

Drop-In Bed Liner

Drop-in truck bed liners are the cheapest option available but come with some challenges that you should be aware of. A drop-in liner (or box liner) is a plastic truck bed liner that covers the sides and base of your bed. The name makes them sound simple to install, but they usually need to be bolted in, and holes will be drilled into your truck’s bodywork.

Drop in truck bed liner

The bolts that hold the bed liner in place can naturally vibrate loose after a time, so its arguably not the best long-term protection strategy. The risk is that once loose, the bed liner may fly out of the truck, or rub against and scratch up your truck bed, defeating the whole purpose of this protection. If the liner does shift, then be aware that moisture, grit, and rubble could get caught in the exposed gaps, increasing the wear on your bed. Most people who use a drop-in bed liner end up switching to a spray-on version or a bed mat for better results.

Related: Maintain Your Pickup Truck to Retain its Value

Spray-On Bed Liner

Spray-on bed liners have become increasingly popular in recent years. They offer lasting protection to the inside of your truck bed, the inner sides, and often the tailgate too. With such protection comes a hefty price tag, between $500 and $700 to be done professionally. However, if they are not applied correctly, they can bubble or chip. There are many examples online of poor quality spray-on liners going wrong after a short time. When this occurs, it takes a serious amount of work to remove.

Spray on truck bed liner

Spray-on liners can trap dirt in the grooves of the bed as they follow its exact contours. Aesthetically, many people love the all-black finish, but some prefer to see their paint colour on the sides of the bed. Many spray-in liners include a lifetime warranty.

While spray-on bed liners offer great scratch and dent protection, the trade-off is far less grip than you might expect. The liner is essentially covering your paintwork with an extra layer of thick paint, but it will never have the same toughness and impact protection as a ½ inch thick rubber bed mat. In fact, many truck owners opt for the best of both worlds and end up adding a bed mat on top of their spray on liner.

Rubber Bed Mats

Bed mats are the middle ground between the two types of bed liners but have benefits beyond both. Even a premium, ½” thick vulcanized rubber bed mat costs far less than a spray-in liner and if you tend to stick to one truck brand, you’ll be able to take your bed mat with you from truck to truck.

Related: Best Pickup Truck Bed Mats 2021

black armour mat wiped clean

However, not all bed mats are created equal.  Look for vulcanized rubber options that provide extra durability and a non-porous construction that repels water.  A surface texture on the bed mat can provided added traction control for your cargo while still allowing you to slide cargo in and out. The thick rubber also has enough give to both protect your truck and allow you to kneel comfortably in the bed when required. The install is easy and doesn’t require any professional assistance or permanent modifications to your truck. The only downside is that a bed mat does not offer protection to the sides of your truck bed.

We believe that a premium ½” thick vulcanized rubber bed mat provides the best all-round solution to protect your truck bed. They are a semi-permanent solution without being unchangeable. Easy to install, a fair price, and ultimate protection. Black Armour bed mats are built to last and come with a limited lifetime warranty.

So, what’s your take? Let us know on Instagram or Facebook, we’d love to hear from you!


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