2020 Ultimate Guide To The Best Truck Toppers & Cost Comparison
Truck owners tend to be big fans of using truck toppers. These common additions also go by the names of camper shells, truck caps, truck canopies, topper shells or box shells. Finding the best truck toppers can be a real challenge if you don’t know what you’re looking for. The main reason people use a truck topper is to create a large, weatherproof storage space in the truck. There are other options that will secure your truck bed or make it comfortable enough that you could sleep in it. Whatever your reasoning is, we’ve got you covered with the best truck toppers for truck owners along with the cost estimates for each brand.
Before making any purchases, you need to know what you’re using the topper for. This will help you to make the right decision when it comes to the best truck topper for your needs. Let’s begin by talking about what a truck topper isn’t. With a liftgate window located at the rear of the truck and a simple lock on the back, you aren’t going to stop any theft from occurring. You also aren’t going to be able to accommodate over-sized cargo any longer. In addition to that, gaining access to the items you need in the back is going to require a little more effort as you need to unload more of your gear in the cab.
Types of Truck Toppers
If you still decide that a truck topper is what you need, let’s determine what kind will best fit your purposes. If you need room to crouch or stand in the truck bed or you need room for taller cargo, then a “high rise” truck topper is what you’re looking for. They offer additional headroom plus a taller design. If you want a topper that allows for easier access to the entire bed, then look for a truck topper that features side-opening windows. Many of the commercial toppers already offer this as a feature. Also, some of the commercial options use a sliding bed cargo tray to make access to your items even more convenient. If your desire to protect gear that is pricey, then a basic topper isn’t going to fit your needs. Commercial systems tend to come with a heavier-duty aluminum or steel lock. You can also purchase locks for the toolboxes and drawers you keep in the bed. Many people want the option to mount items on the roof of a truck topper. This is ideal for kayaks, mountain bikes, camping needs, ladders and more. For this, you need to find a truck topper with roof rails. For those of you that dream of camping in your truck bed, look for a lined truck topper. This will provide a warmer, quieter atmosphere inside the bed. Any of these options is going to increase the overall price of your truck topper. Keep that in mind when you are determining what is necessary.
Best Truck Topper Materials Compared to CostsNow that you know what you need in a truck topper to have it perform the way you need, you must start to analyze the materials. Most truck toppers are available in three material options:
Aluminum Truck ToppersWith an aluminum truck topper, you will spend less than the others. A new topper made from aluminum tends to run under $1,000. There are some downsides to this option:
- The topper will probably be white, so it may not look aesthetically pleasing.
- After some time, aluminum truck toppers tend to become dented or dingy looking.
- They are lightweight.
- Great way to save money if having a white topper doesn’t concern you.
- Commercial options are available with features like locking toolboxes, shelving and double doors.
Fiberglass Truck ToppersFiberglass toppers are aesthetically pleasing because you can paint them to match your paint. With this in mind, there are a few downsides:
- They tend to be more expensive than an aluminum topper and can run up to about $2,000 installed.
- Fiberglass is heavier than aluminum and can weight up to 200 pounds depending what options you include.
- If you need a topper for commercial use, it can be difficult to find a fiberglass topper to fit your needs.
- You can match the factory paint job of your truck perfectly.
- They tend to be more durable and handle wear better than an aluminum truck topper.
Plastic/Composite Truck TopperThese are newer to the market than your typical aluminum or fiberglass options. The color selection is currently limited, but they offer a nice blend of pros and cons of the other options. Here are some of the downsides involved in choosing plastic or composite truck toppers:
- There is a lack of color options
- You will spend slightly more than an aluminum truck topper (generally around $1,500 installed depending on the added options)
- They offer a compromise in quality between the fiberglass and aluminum truck toppers.
- The cost is lower than a fiberglass truck topper.
Pricing of the Best Truck Toppers
To find the best truck toppers, you need to look at all the reputable brands that currently sell them. Keep in mind that the prices we quote are based on averages. For example, your Honda Ridgeline truck topper might cost more than the typical F-150 topper only because the Ford is more popular than the Honda. The smaller sized trucks are also going to cost slightly less than a full-size topper would. While we are going to list the top brands of truck toppers, you’ll also need to keep in mind that the installation is also going to vary the pricing. Different areas of the country affect pricing on truck topper installation, so it is hard to estimate what you will pay. If you really want to save money, you can pick up a used truck topper for pennies on the dollar - don't worry if it's the wrong color, that's what Durabak is for.
Get any topper that fits - worry about the color later!
Clean up the topper, prep and scuff and tape off the windows and badges
Beautiful matching topper for a fraction of the price! Thanks Durabak!
Here are some of the most well-known truck topper brands: ARE – This company features a selection of covers, caps, commercial gear and accessories for your truck. They also offer several, limited time coupons as well. ATC / Astro – This American-made brand features caps, lids, cargo management and accessories. On their website, you can create a fully customizable system. Century – This brand is known for their truck caps, but also offers a nice selection of commercial products and accessories. You can easily search for a dealer in your area right on their site. Gemtop – The Gemtop product is slightly different than others as it features a sturdy steel construction. The company also features some work toppers and commercial applications. Jason – This company has less of a selection than some others, but users have been pleased with the results. Leer – They offer a full selection of truck caps, toppers, commercial caps and also accessories. You’ll find an easy to use fit finder on their website. Raider – Featuring fiberglass truck toppers, this company makes it easy to find your exact fit. Ranch – This company specializes in a fiberglass truck option Snugtop – Here you’ll find truck caps, tonneau covers and accessories for all major brands of trucks. Unicover – This company offers a large selection of aluminum or fiberglass options.
As we’ve discussed earlier, it can be difficult to determine the exact pricing of your best truck toppers without having each truck style listed. A basic no-frills truck topper made from aluminum should easily cost you less than $1,000. Adding options to that setup will increase the price accordingly. Also, changing the material to a composite or fiberglass can easily raise your price to double or more the amount when installed. To receive the most accurate pricing, you’ll want to use the tools on each of the websites listed above. Each of them will show you if there is a dealer in your area and what you can expect to pay for your make/model. Whichever you determine to be one of the best truck toppers for your vehicle, there is something you can be certain of. The majority of truck toppers are completely reusable. If you choose a topper with a standard color option, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t be able to use it on your new truck when you upgrade, as long as the dimensions remain the same on the bed. If the truck topper isn’t going to be usable on your new truck, it will still be a nice selling feature when it is time to move on.
There are too many reputable brands for us to definitively tell you which makes the best truck toppers. It is going to weigh heavily on what your individual needs are as well as the make and model of your truck. Truck toppers offer many conveniences as far as protection from the elements and capable storage options for all your gear. Take your time choosing the brand and style that is going to best suit your needs and enjoy that new addition. The good news is that you can paint either Aluminum, Fiberglass or Plastic truck toppers with one of 18 colors of Durabak-18 and paint the rest of the exterior of your truck with the same truck bed liner paint to get a uniform paint job and a very hard wearing and unique finish.