1) No Bed Liner. Choose this option because it’s cheap, easy, and it could be okay. Although you would never dream of hauling anything that could damage the bed of your truck, there are some instances where you will be forced to haul something that could do a bit of damage on the bed liner’s paint job. If you find any scratches on the bed, it would be quite expensive to add another bed liner later on. This is because before adding any removable liner, repainting the bed will be imperative so that moisture between the bed and the liner won’t cause the former to rust. Unless your truck is leased, you should look at other options.
2) Rubber Bed Mat. It’s quite old-fashioned, but it’s a good option. There is no dispute that a thick piece of rubber will be able to protect the truck bed from any scratches and at the same time provide a surface that will provide more friction than a stock bed. If you are thinking of getting this, try one that is thick. Those thin rubber mats about less than a quarter inch thick tend to roll up when there’s a load, making it a bit of a hazard. Another point is to make sure that the spray on bedliner has a knobby bottom so that moisture won’t get trapped under the mat that would lead to rusting of the bed. Lastly, choose mats that are pre-cut to fit the truck. Those trim-yourself-mats never seem to fit just right and tend to be cheaper. This will cost around $75 to $100, which is its best feature.
3) Plastic Bed Liner. Plastic bed liners (or drop-ins) fit OK, install quickly and easily, and do a nice job of protecting the bed from most kinds of damage. Plastic bed liners are especially nice if you need to slide items in and out of your truck. Plastic also won’t scratch anything you put in your bed (like furniture), and it washes out quickly and easily. The biggest disadvantage to plastic drop-in liners is that whatever you have resting in your bed can slide around at any time. Plastic is slippery, especially when wet, and I’ve seen big loads shift (even when they were properly tied down). Also, it seems like a lot of moisture and gunk accumulates under the plastic liner, requiring you to remove it and clean the bed periodically. Plastic drop-in bed liners can cost as little as $250 or as much as $400.
4) Plastic Coatings. I’m sure you’ve seen the ads that endorse “special” truck bed paint that you can apply yourself with a professional finish. With a roller and paintbrush, you can install your very own “spray-in” bed surface over the weekend. This conception is wrong, unless you have had experience doing this before. There are high chances of screwing up the first time. The worst is that it doesn’t bond properly to the bed at all times. There could be large chunks that would flake off any time. While these products shouldn’t be condemned all together, none of them seem to work. Proceed with great care.
5) Spray-in. This is probably the most preferred option for most people. Not only is it the most seamless-looking of the bunch, but it is also one that lasts for ages. Preventing the truck bed from acquiring unwanted scratches and chemical reactions is a one-of-a-kind polyurethane (or paint, as we call it), which is sprayed all over to give it an everlasting, slide-proof, and almost impossible-to-destroy texture.
Lots of companies offer spray-in bed liners, but the top two are Line-X and Rhino. While you may hear lots of differing opinions about the two products, it?s fair to say that they’re basically the same stuff. However, the installers are not the same. In fact, any stories you hear about a bad Rhino or Line-X liner have more to do with the person that installed the liner than the product itself. The best way you can make sure you get a good spray-in liner is to find out how long the installer has been in business. If you have any doubts about them, get references and check them out. Your local new car dealer is also an excellent place to get a recommendation for a good installer. You should be able to get a quality spray-in liner with a lifetime warranty installed for $300-$400 (under rail). Over the rail should add about $50. There are other names out their in spray-ins, and I’m sure that some of them are just fine. However, since they?re not usually any cheaper than Line-X or Rhino, I don’t recommend them.
6) Carpet Liner. The carpet liner is usually a strong outdoor carpet with a thick rubber or vinyl backing. They’re surprisingly strong and they have the benefit of being soft. They’re especially popular with people that are going to add a camper shell to their truck. The biggest advantage to them, in addition to being plush, is that they’re removable. If you like the idea of being able to see your factory finish whenever you want to, this might be a good option for you. Cost is about the same as a good plastic bed-liner, about $350. The only thing we don’t like about these is that they don?t seem to stay attached, but that probably has to do with the way they’re installed.