What Is A Truck Bed Liner?
Truck bed liners are pretty much exactly what the name sounds like. It's some kind of surface to protect the bed of your truck. For some, this may not seem too important, especially for those who only haul things with their truck occasionally.
For others, though, a truck bed liner can be a real necessity. Similar to how floor mats keep your truck's interior in tip-top shape, having a durable truck bed liner will prevent scrapes, scratches, dirt build-up, and other sorts of damage to the bed of your truck.
Not to mention that most liners will also keep your haul from being damaged, too, since they're less harsh than the bare steel your truck comes with. If you're considering a truck bed liner for your Nissan Titan, or any other vehicle, consider the following before making a purchase.
The Different Kinds Of Truck Bed Liners
High-Pressure Spray on
The best - and, expectedly, the most expensive - kind of truck bed liner are the high-pressure spray on variety. These liners are usually made from some combination of polyurea and polyurethane. This material is durable enough to protect your truck without scratching up whatever it is that you're carrying.
As the name implies, these are applied to your vehicle as a spray using high-pressure equipment and at high temperatures. They're smooth, slick, and the most durable kind of truck bed liner.
You can get a high-pressure liner at most dealerships when you're purchasing your vehicle, or find a specialist in your neighborhood. Due to the nature of high-pressure spray on liners, they aren't the sort of thing you can purchase and do yourself.
Low-pressure spray on
Low-pressure spray on liners are the next step down from high-pressure ones. They're a little less expensive but honestly, aren't too much different from the high-pressure variety.
The biggest difference between the two is the look. Low-pressure liners tend to have a bumpy, rough texture, making them a little less friendly to haul, not to mention the lost eye-candy points.
On the other hand, though, these are still excellent liners, and shouldn't leave most people's radar. They're sometimes called cold spray on liners as well since they're applied at lower temperatures than high-pressure liners. They're slightly less durable, but they don't make bad liners by any means.
After spray-ons are the more affordable, semi-permanent options - with the first being plastic drop-in liners. Once again, the name tells you most of what you need to know about these liners. They're usually custom fit to your specific truck and are made out of a single piece of plastic.
This plastic is installed simply by aligning it with your truck bed and setting it in place. Some may have fasteners, but others are snug enough to hold themselves in place.
The main downside of plastic drop-in liners - and all of the non-permanent liners - is the potential for things to end up trapped under the liner, especially water. So it might be in your best interest to periodically clean out from under these if you choose to go with a drop-in.
Nearing the end of our list are bed mats. Bed mats can be made from a number of materials, though most often they consist of rubber or foam. Like drop-in liners, bed mats are usually custom fitted to specific trucks and stay in place through their snug fit alone.
These kinds of liners offer a pretty low amount of protection, and are better for the occasional hauls, like boxes or small lawn equipment. They can be made to work for more serious needs, so long as you're aware of their limitations.
Bed mats are also great for those who work or crawl around in the back of their truck a lot since they're the most knee-friendly of all of the liners. This makes them a great solution for those who carry their pets in the back of their truck, so long as your dog knows better than to chew the mat up.
Next up are roll-on liners. These kinds of liners are made up of similar material to the spray-on kind, but instead of being pressurized and applied via spraying, they're installed with a paint roller.
These liners are like tarry paint that you apply to the inside of your truck bed yourself. They're one of the cheapest options and are a pretty good alternative to those who want a spray-on-esque liner without the cost.
The drawbacks of roll-on liners are that they're pretty thin, only offering 25% of the protection that spray-on liners have. So expect to have to go over your roll-on liner again in the future as it gets scratched and grooved over time.
How To Shop For Truck Bed Liners
First and foremost, you're going to want to consider the material that your truck bed liner will be made out of. The biggest concern with the material is mostly durability. The more durable it is, the better of an investment it will be in the long run.
On the other hand, though, you can easily go overkill with the material. Not everyone needs the most heavy-duty truck bed liner the world has to offer. Some people just need to cover the bare steel in the back of their truck.
Different truck owners will also have different definitions of what durable means. For some, they may be hauling equipment and tools on the daily, so durability is all about preventing scuffing and damage. Others, though, might live near the ocean, in which case durability will have more to do with keeping corrosion to a minimum.
Removable vs. Permanent
Second, you'll want to consider how permanent you want your liner to be. For most, permanent will be the better option of the two, as it's the most convenient. You just install it once and forget about it.
Removable has the benefit of being more flexible, though, which might be more important to other truck owners. As great as a spray- or roll-on liner can be, once it's been applied, there's no going back to your truck's original bed. So some owners may prefer a less all-in approach.
Removable liners also have the benefit of being cheaper and upgradeable. You can swap them out when they wear out or become damaged, replace them with better liners, and so on.
Installation is important when it comes to any modifications to your truck, even if you're not a DIYer. The more difficult a liner is to install, the more hassle and cost it's going to generate.
Bed mats and drop-in liners are pretty much the easiest to install, as all it really requires is climbing around the back of your truck for a few minutes. Spray-on liners aren't so bad, either, since you'll basically be leaving the task of installing it to a professional. That does mean that you're going to have to be for the expertise of the installers, however.
Roll-on liners are pretty much the most difficult to install, as it requires climbing around the back of your truck bed for a few hours trying to get every inch covered. They're also the cheapest to install, though, so it's all about what you're looking for.
Maintenance may be the last thing you're thinking about when you're looking to upgrade your truck's bed liner (or lack thereof), but it's going to come up later on down the road, especially if you don't think about it early on.
Spray-on liners are generally the most durable, and therefore the least likely to need maintenance over their lifespan. That doesn't mean that maintenance won't come up, though; heavy use over a long period of time will take a toll on any liner.
What needs to be considered with liner is not if it will happen, but what it will require when it does happen. If a bed mat gets torn and worn out, replacing it typically isn't too difficult. Repairing a spray-on liner, though, can be an expensive and time-consuming process.
And lastly, compatibility. Unlike maintenance, this is something you're sure to be looking at as soon as you begin searching for the perfect liner for your truck. Compatibility isn't really an issue when looking at spray-on or roll-on liners since they can basically be applied to any truck bed.
When it comes to drop-in liners, though, compatibility is going to be extremely important. Just about every drop-in liner is intended for a specific make of vehicle. So be sure that if this is the kind of liner that you're looking for, that you choose the one intended for your truck.
Bed mats are also compatibility constrained, though usually less so than drop-in liners. When it comes to bed mats, you're mostly looking for one that matches the size of your truck's bed.
The Top 5 Truck Bed Liners Of 2019
WeatherTech is known in the automobile industry for their tough, durable, protective solutions for all kinds of vehicles. All of their products are very high quality and able to withstand an exceptional amount of abuse, and their bed mat liner is no exception.
These liners are lightweight and made up of two layers. The first layer is the underliner, which is a bit softer. It sits between the top layer and the bed of your truck, helping to cushion and protect your truck bed's original interior. The second layer is the rigid bed liner, which sits on top and is capable of handling more abuse.
The U-Pol Raptor spray-on liner is a DIY solution for those who something just above a roll-on liner but aren't interested in the heavy-duty liners that specialists provide.
This liner comes with a complete application system. This includes a spray gun and four cans of the spray-on liner. Each bottle contains 750ml of the liner, which should be enough to cover your truck bed and make additional repairs over time.
While this liner does help protect your truck bed from the occasional scrapes and scratches, its main benefits are its anti-corrosive properties. It'll keep your truck protected against rust and other types of corrosion anywhere it's applied.
The Rough Country bed mat is another custom-fit bed mat for most models of trucks. It's made from a durable nyracord rubber material that will keep it protected against most casual use.
That said, this bed mat is pretty lightweight in terms of protection, even compared to other bed mats. That's because it's more so intended to be a top cover for another bed liner, protecting it from breaking down over time.
That's not to say that you couldn't use it as a sole bed liner, just that it's mostly meant to be used with lighter hauling needs.
The Herculiner roll-on bed liner is one of the best DIY liners out there. It's meant for those who want the flexibility and affordability of a roll-on liner, without sacrificing the look or quality of traditional spray-on liners.
Herculiner claims that their product is up to five times thicker than the competition, offering substantially more protection than alternatives. This liner also has a shiny finish, for those who aren't crazy about the typically matte finish of most liners. It's resistant to peeling and flaking and comes with a one-gallon bucket that will cover most truck beds.
The BedRug XLT bed mat is an option that provides buyers with the perfect mix of comfort and durability. It's a great choice for those who are hauling more sensitive cargo rather than heavy-duty equipment.
It's made from a thick, cushioned polypropylene material that's waterproof, chemical, and stain-resistant. It's slip and skid resistant as well, so you won't have to worry about it moving around over time.