Bed-liners seem like a straightforward accessory for your Ram: you get it, you install it, and you call it a day. But there is actually a bit more meat to the bone of the bed-liner market and how it affects how you use your Ram, whether it’s the light-duty 1500 or the heavy-duty series. Bed-liners are big business, and there’s an entire bed-liner ecosystem for the Ram, available in different types and configurations depending on what you’ll be using your truck for.
Not only that, but bed-liners are part of an ever-growing market of truck accessories, so finding the right kind of bed-liner that serve your interests is something you should keep in mind as you shop for accessories for your full-size Ram, whether you already have one or you’re searching for one from a Ram dealer near you. Bed-liners can be essential utilities whether you’re using the truck for work or recreation, and there are a few key elements that’ll have them at their most optimal functionality…
Bed-Liners Are Big Business
Before getting into the different types of bed-liners, one thing you should note is that bed-liners are big business. It can’t be stressed enough just how big the truck accessory business really is, especially in America—and it’s only going to get bigger. How much bigger? Billions of dollars bigger.
It’s no joke; the truck accessory market pulled in an estimated $2.2 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow even more with a $2.4 billion haul in 2023, according to market forecasts. In fact, the industry has a compound annual growth rate of 6.8%, which means that it’s expected to reach $3.8 billion in sales by 2030. Bed-liners, in particular, make up one of the largest sales percentages of truck accessories next to tonneau covers and truck canopies. Yes, that makes bed-liners one of the top three top-selling accessories for pickup trucks in the United States and one of the top-selling accessories in that $2.2 billion stake.
So what does that mean for you? It means a lot of good news and a little bit of bad news. The good news is that, the more bed-liners continue to sell, the more products will become available from different manufacturers and distributors. Thus, as the years go on, you’ll have more and more choices when it comes to different bed-liners that serve different purposes and at different price ranges.
However, the bad news is that with all that choice and variety comes more expensive products. With supply and demand comes having to circumnavigate the poor or low-quality products that flood the market in an attempt from certain outlets to make a quick buck on a growing market trend. Nevertheless, it’s still awesome to have options—and the more options, the better.
Ram’s Three Main Bed-Liners
There are three major types of bed-liners available for Ram pickups; these include cargo bed mats you can place inside the Ram’s bed box. These cargo mats are available in nylon, rubber, and plastic and come in different qualities, thicknesses, and durability. The next type of bed-liner is the carpeted kind, which is available in different formats, such as composite cushions, soft material, or heavy-duty contour linings.
The first two bed-liners are known as drop-in bed-liners because you can purchase them and literally drop them into the back of your bed box. In some cases, you may have to apply an adhesive or other fastener to secure the drop-in bed-liner to the truck and prevent it from moving around.
The third type of bed-liner is known as a spray-on bed-liner. This is considered the most lightweight option, but it can also be the most expensive option. Obviously, it depends on the spray-on bed-liner you go with (and the process used) that will determine the cost and longevity, but it also happens to be the most reliable; this is because most spray-on liners use state-of-the-art liquid compound mixtures or polymers to protect and preserve the integrity of the inner bed box and tailgate.
Which Bed-Liner Is Best for Me?
Now some people might be wondering, why on Earth would you opt for a carpeted or rubber option, and why not just go with a spray-on solution if it’s the most high-tech and durable? Well, there are multiple reasons to opt for the other choices rather than just go straight for the spray-on. In some cases, truck shoppers go for multiple options, such as a spray-on and a carpeted liner or a spray-on and a heavy-duty rubber liner; the reason all comes back to the use of the truck…
A good example is someone who occasionally uses their truck to carry their pets—such as someone who goes dog walking at the local park—but you have to drive there. Having a removable carpeted bed liner makes the trip more comfortable for the dogs and also makes it possible to clean it when necessary. It’s a great way to avoid staining the natural truck’s bed or risking any smells developing in case of any unplanned accidents. Of course, you could always go with a cage, but if you have multiple animals or large animals that don’t fit in smaller cages, a carpeted drop-in bed-liner is a swell option.
Additionally, you might opt for a rubber bed-liner or bed mat if you regularly put heavy-duty tools, equipment, or objects into the back of your Ram that might cause scratches, dents, dings, decay, or corrosion. If you’re carrying around caustic liquids or corrosive material, installing a rubber bed-liner is a great way to protect the inner bed box. Even if the rubber mat is damaged beyond repair, you can still remove it and get another—all without worrying about any permanent damage to the vehicle.
Of course, the best option out of the three in terms of practical convenience is still the spray-on bed-liner, typically consisting of a protective polymer that prevents scuffs, dings, scratches, or corrosion from taking place. Not all spray-on bed-liners are full-proof, though, and some can decay or chip, or even fade if left to the vices of the weather or the sun. Still, you can re-apply a spray-on bed-liner and keep the truck’s bed looking new if you want.
Ram’s Factory-Installed Bed-Liner Options
Now if you’re considering a bed-liner for your Ram because you bought one new or used, or you’re looking to get one from a Ram dealer sometime soon, it’s actually possible to get a spray-on bed-liner added to the Ram 1500, 2500, or 3500 as a factory-installed option. Since 2010, when Stellantis separated the Ram brand from Dodge, the Ram series of full-size trucks have been offered with a spray-on bed-liner as a factory-installed option from dealers.
While the added dealer option is several hundred dollars, depending on the dealer, the factory-installed option does come with a three-year warranty or 36,000 miles—whichever comes first. It’s not a bad idea to get the spray-on bed-liner option as a factory-installed service but then still opt to use a drop-in bed-liner for specific occasions. Using the MoPar store, you can find different official OEM bed-liners available for the Ram series of trucks, which may appeal to those of you looking for an official drop-in bed-liner on top of the spray-on bed-liner, just for extra protection.
Alternatively, you can opt for a drop-in bed-liner and then get a spray-on bed-liner later if you feel you want the extra protection for the bed box. The options are varied, and for the Ram, you can get the bed-liners in two different sizes to match the truck’s short or standard bed box. If you opt to get a truck from a Ram dealer, you can always contact the dealer to find out if they have any bed-liners available, either of the spray-on variety or the drop-in variety.