A perfect bed liner keeps your pickup free of rust and corrosion while making it look good doing it. Spray on bedliner work just right for many users but are they the perfect choice?

Spray liners work for any pickup because each installation is a custom fit. That may not seem important, but other liners like plastic liners only come in models for certain trucks. Older pickups and some lesser truck brands will have few options among the custom fit models.

Depending on how you use a pickup, some liners stand up to abuse better than others. Spray coatings work so well partly just because of the thickness of the material. Up to 5 gallons of a multi-part paint adds up to a thickness of the coat that may be up to 1/4 inch thick.

Which Type of Truck Bed Liner Should I Buy? | Angie's List

The volume of paint and the resulting thickness means it is very difficult to penetrate all that liner. Damage happens to the liner instead of to the truck. But it not only protects from scratches but also from dents too. And dents really potentially cause more harm than scratches. That’s because they are so much harder to fix.

Spray coatings help stop dents because of the thickness, but also because of the rubber texture that makes up part of the coat too. For the best impact protection, you could pick a plastic liner. Because of the thickness of plastic liners and the properties of the plastic, any hits to the liner get spread out and absorbed by the liner, not the truck itself.But the ultimate liner might be a combination of two approaches.

Combine a spray on bed liner with a cheap add on bed mat, either in rubber or carpet, and you combine the best of looks and protection. By adding a cheap mat to the liner, you protect both the expensive liner as well as the pickup bed from damage no matter what you haul. That combination results in what seems to me to be the ultimate bed liner for any truck.