Whether you use your pickup truck for work or your own personal transportation, protecting the bed is one of the best ways to prevent damage and keep your vehicle looking sharp. Drop-in and spray-on bed liners both have their advantages and disadvantages so it's best to consider both options before settling on the solution that's best for you.
Cost: Drop-in truck bed liners are usually more inexpensive than spray-on ones. While both varieties vary in price depending on the size of your truck bed, brand and material, you'll want to do your research first to ensure the liner you choose fits your budget.
Installation: If you're planning on putting your bed liner in yourself, drop-in varieties are much easier to much easier to install. As long as they're the correct size and shape for your vehicle, drop-in liners are quick and hassle-free. Spray-on liners require a bit more work, especially if you're a DIYer. Prior to applying a spray-on liner, you'll need to prep your truck bed according to the liner manufacturer's instructions and make sure you apply an even coat for proper protection and so the liner doesn't peel over time. If you're not comfortable with the idea of applying it yourself, most auto body shops will apply a spray liner for you, though this will add to the total cost of your project.
Lifespan and Permanency: Drop-in liners aren't meant to last forever, so if you're looking for a temporary solution a drop-in liner is the best choice. If your drop-in liner is in good shape and you buy another truck with the same sized bed, you can take your liner with you. Spray-on liners are permanent and some of them never require repair or touch-up work, making them a good choice if you do a lot of hauling and don't want the hassle of having to replace your liner completely when it gets worn out or damaged.
Area and Type of Protection: Many drop-in liners don't cover every part of your bed, leaving the tailgate or sides exposed, so if thorough protection is important to you, choose a spray-on liner. Spray-on liners also create a watertight seal since there's nothing between your liner and the bed itself. If corrosion is a concern, a drop-in liner may not afford the protection you need. If you're more concerned about dents than you are about scratches, a drop-in liner is best. Since spray-on liners are essentially just replacing the paint in the bed with another surface, they won't give you much protection against dents.
Noise and Weight: If you want the quietest ride possible, opt for a spray-on bed liner. Even perfectly fitting drop-in liners can get noisy as they vibrate and rattle against the truck bed. Drop-in liners aren't the best choice if you're concerned about the overall weight of your vehicle either, as they can get quite heavy. Spray-on liners add very little weight to the back of your vehicle.
For more information and help choosing a truck liner, contact companies like Leer Truck Accessory Center.