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The Difference Between Truck Bed Mats vs. Truck Bed Liners

As you explore options for protecting your truck bed, you’re likely to come across a couple of different choices. Some of the more popular options are truck bed mats and truck bed liners. Understanding the differences between truck bed mats vs. truck bed liners is essential if you want to make the best choice. Each of these offer many similar benefits, so you need to grasp what makes them different. Then, you’ll have the coverage you desire. In this post, we are going to break down the differences for you. Choosing the right product to keep cargo in its place while maintaining a scratch-free bed; isn’t that what we all want?

What Exactly are Truck Bed Mats?

One of the options available to prevent cargo from shifting is with truck bed mats. Consumers also use them to save the bed from damaging scratches. Many truck bed mats are constructed from materials that are durable. You’ll find them in rubber, plastic or carpet. Another reason people use truck bed mats is because they are flexible and versatile. You can use them in multiple locations, so it’s easy to take them to your workshop or boat when needed. Some of the advantages of truck bed mats are:
  • They offer some protection to the bed.
  • It’s easy to clean them up when they are dirty.
  • They are often more affordable when compared to a bed liner.
  • Installation is easy and can be done by anyone.
  • Removal is simple, making this a great option for a non-permanent solution.
  • They are available to cover the flat surface on the truck bed in its entirety.
  • You can pair the truck bed mat and a tailgate mat together for more protection.
  • It’s easy to get a custom-made truck bed mat for your pickup model or purchase a fit that’s universal and trim it to the desired dimensions.
Some of the disadvantages of truck bed mats are:
  • They are a lower quality compared to bed liners and don’t last as long.
  • Cargo might slip as the bed mat moves around.
  • If the mat doesn’t fit properly, it might move while going over a bump or driving. This is an issue with your safety as well as the protection of your bed and cargo.
  • Truck bed mats don’t offer protection to the sides of the bed.
  • Corrosion can build up beneath the mat, as it's not water tight, so moisture and water get trapped in there and create an ideal environment for rust.

What are Truck Bed Liners?

Another popular option for truck bed protection is to use a truck bed liner. Truck bed liners can be in the form of a drop-in or spray-in material. The drop in bed liners are more like bed mats and are made from plastic materials. If you want to learn more about the differences between the two, we’ve done an article titled, Drop-In vs. Spray-In Truck Bedliners: Which One is Right for You? Some of the advantages of truck bed liners are:
  • They protect the bed and sides from dings and dents caused from shifting cargo.
  • Coverage entails every inch of the truck bed, sides as well as the tailgate if you desire.
  • They are designed from high-quality materials that are durable.
  • Cargo is kept in place.
  • Cleanup is a breeze.
  • More of a permanent option, so you don’t have to continually worry about your bed protection.
  • Lots of options available when it comes to color choices, materials and application methods.
  • It’s easy to customize your truck bed liner to match your vehicle.
Some of the disadvantages of truck bed liners are:
  • They are more expensive but will last far longer.
  • If you don’t know how to apply the bed liner, you’ll need a professional. (Thankfully, Durabak is easy to apply!).

durabak bedliner applied to truck 

Which Truck Protection is the Right Choice for You?

When you need to decide between truck bed mats or truck bed liner spray for your protection, you might be confused as to which one is best. The decision comes down to two main factors: how much coverage is necessary for you and how much you have to invest for the protection. Bed liners are the best option for a durable coverage, but they come with a cost. On the other hand, bed mats might be the cheaper option, ideal for following a tight budget, but they don’t offer the same protection.

Truck Bed Mats

One of the earliest methods of protecting a truck bed was with the use of truck bed mats. A quality bed mat covers the floor of the bed but leaves the truck’s walls and wheel wells uncovered. It’s a good option for someone on a tight budget who also carries limited amounts of cargo. A truck bed mat offers more protection from sliding cargo than not installing anything at all, but it doesn’t provide the same protection as a bed liner. Not that long ago, truck bed mats were only available for purchase in rubber materials, but that has changed recently. You can find some higher-end options that use premium rubber and/or other materials to reinforce the durability and ruggedness. Some bed mats are also custom molded for a better fit. Several brands also offer a knobby underside to promote air flow. This additional drainage keeps the truck bed dry and free from rust. Buy a truck bed mat if:
  • You are on a tight budget
  • AND you don’t need protection for the wheel wells or truck walls
Avoid a truck bed mat if:
  • You have the resources to invest in a truck bed liner
  • You need the maximum protection for the bed, wheel wells, truck walls and possibly the tailgate as well.

There’s no question that a truck bed mat will protect your knees, is soft to the touch and helps protect from impact damage. With that said, it’s also a known fact that you won’t receive the same type of protection compared to a bed liner. That’s why we highly recommend if you have the budget to invest in a bed liner, you opt for that instead.

Truck Bed Liners

There’s no question that truck bed liners have become a popular way to protect the bed of a truck. This is especially true with the spray-on or roll-on versions, like Durabak. That’s because these versions protect the bed while still preserving the design and contour of the truck itself. They’re also effective at preventing scratches and keeping the underlying metal from element damage. You don’t have to worry about water damage or rust when your truck is protected by a high-quality bed liner. Many people see the benefit of investing extra money to have this protection. A small rust spot in the bed of a truck caused by lack of protection is going to cost you more in the long run than protecting it upfront with a bed liner. Buy a truck bed liner if:
  • You have the money to protect your truck properly
  • AND you either have the skills to install it yourself or money to pay a professional
Avoid a truck bed liner if:
  • You aren’t concerned with the protection from water, sun and road elements
Most people see that truck bed liners are superior to truck bed mats in nearly every way, other than price. What needs to be considered is why truck bed liners are more expensive and why they’re worth every penny. Even a small repair could cost more than having quality protection from the get-go. Not only that, but what about the time it’ll take to have the repairs completed. Are you prepared to be without your truck while the bed is repaired? Most people aren’t. reasons to use durabak

What Makes Durabak the Best Option?

Once you’ve agreed that the truck bed liner is your best option compared to truck bed mats, then the only logical next step is to use Durabak's bed liner paint. First of all, it will cost you a fraction of most bed liners and can easily be applied yourself. Here are some other benefits you might not have considered:
  • We have options available in over 18 colors.
  • The application is easy – either brush on, roll on or spray on.
  • It’s weather and heat resistant.
  • You can expect the liner to last for many years because it’s highly durable.
  • It offers protection from UV damage.
  • Even when our bed liner gets wet, it still maintains its non-slip texture.
  • Trucks with our liner have protection from impact, abrasion and it’s also vibration dampening.
  • Our formula is rust-proof and flexible.
Aside from that, you can use Durabak on a multitude of other projects as well. Consider using any leftover material as a:

Ready to Protect Your Truck?

We are ready to help you get the protection you need from your bed liner product. Join in the ranks of other companies who’ve discovered the Durabak difference. America’s Navy, Costco, Kenworth, Morgan and AMF Bowling all trust our product, and so should you! We’ve even been featured by the Four Wheeler Network. When you are ready to make the best decision possible for your truck bed protection, we are here for you! Contact us today and let’s get the ball rolling on protecting your investment.

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