Gator FX vs FX3 – Which truck bed cover is better?

You sure want to protect your truck bed from sun glare, and harmful UV rays, right? And in this case, the Gator truck bed cover can play the best role.

Among Gator’s numerous bed covers, the two most talked about covers are the Gator FX and FX3. They’re both great options that will protect your truck bed and cargo. But the question is which one is better Gator FX vs FX3?

The FX is Gator’s standard soft roll-up cover, while the FX3 is a step up with some premium features. This is why the FX3 is relatively ahead of the other one.

Before you make your final decision, let’s compare these two models. This will help you to decide which one will be suitable to choose. So, let’s dig into this article.

Gator FX VS FX3- Head-to-Head Comparison

When it comes to truck bed covers, Gator has established itself as a reputable brand known for its quality and durability. The Gator FX and FX3 are two popular models in their lineup that offer protection and functionality for truck owners.

While they share similarities, there are key differences between the Gator FX and FX3 that potential buyers should be aware of.

Here, we’ll share some of the differences between Gator FX VS FX3 so that you can pick the right one for your truck bed.


When deciding between the Gator FX and FX3 tonneau covers, the materials used are an important factor to consider.

The Gator FX cover is constructed of aluminum panels with an aluminum frame. Aluminum is lightweight yet durable, resistant to dents and scratches, and stands up well to various weather conditions.

The aluminum panels provide strength and protection for your truck bed while still being easy to install and remove when needed.

On the other hand, the Gator FX3 takes it up a notch with aluminum panels as well as an aluminum frame reinforced with steel bows. The steel bows provide additional support for the cover, allowing for a sleek low-profile design.

The aluminum and steel combo are the strongest and most durable option, made to withstand heavy snow loads and high winds.

Both the FX and FX3 use aluminum panels that are coated for extra protection, but the FX3 has a powder coated finish which is the most durable and longest-lasting.

The powder coated panels are more scratch and fade resistant for an attractive cover that will look new for years.

When it comes down to materials, the Gator FX3 has the advantage with the aluminum and steel frame as well as powder coated aluminum panels.

However, the Gator FX still provides a high-quality aluminum cover at a lower price point. So, you can’t go wrong with either option if you’re looking for a durable yet affordable tonneau cover. Overall, the Gator FX3 comes out the winner in terms of materials used.

Ease of Use

When it comes to ease of use, there are a few factors to consider between the Gator FX and FX3 tonneau covers.

The FX3 has an automatic latching system, so you don’t have to manually lock it in place. Simply close the cover and the powerful latching mechanism will automatically secure all sides for you.

To open, just unlock one side and push up. This hands-free operation makes the FX3 super convenient, especially if you’re juggling items in your hands.

On the other hand, the FX requires you to manually lock each section in place with heavy-duty clamps.

While the clamps are simple to operate, it can become tedious if you frequently open and close the cover. For most people, the automatic system of the FX3 is well worth the upgrade.

In terms of installation, the FX3 also has the edge. It typically takes 2 to 3 hours to install compared to 4 to 6 hours for the FX.

The FX3 has a hinge-action design with foldable panels, so it’s more flexible and easier to mount onto your truck bed. The FX consists of 3 separate panels that must be installed individually.

When closed, both covers provide maximum protection for your gear. However, the FX3’s automatic latching system ensures that it’s fully secured at each point of contact for superior protection against moisture, dust and thieves.

At the end of the day, while both the Gator FX and FX3 are high-quality, durable tonneau covers, the FX3 is the clear winner if you want maximum convenience and the easiest installation.

Installation Process

Installing either a Gator FX or FX3 tonneau cover on your truck bed is designed to be a straightforward DIY project, but there are a few differences in the process to be aware of.

Gator FX Installation

The Gator FX cover installs onto your truck bed rails using a clamping system. This means you won’t have to drill into or modify your truck bed in any way. To install:

  1. Place the front panel at the bulkhead of your truck bed. Clamp the front panel to your truck bed rails using the provided clamps. Tighten the clamps securely with a socket wrench.
  2. Unfold the cover from front to back, clamping each section as you go. Make sure the cover is centered and tight.
  3. Attach the tension control rods at the rear to provide extra security. Adjust the tension as needed.
  4. Your Gator FX cover is now installed and ready to use! You can roll up and secure the cover when not in use. Installation should take around 30 minutes for a novice.

Gator FX3 Installation

The Gator FX3 cover has an aluminum frame that mounts to rails you install on the inside of your truck bed. This provides even more security but requires some light drilling. To install:

  1. Assemble the aluminum frame pieces and place the front section at the bulkhead of your truck bed. Clamp the front section to your truck bed rails.
  2. Drill pilot holes through the frame and truck bed rails. Bolt the front section to the rails using the provided hardware.
  3. Unfold and clamp the next panel, then bolt in place. Repeat until all panels are installed.
  4. Attach the tension control rods and optional tailgate seal for maximum coverage. Adjust tension as needed.
  5. Your Gator FX3 cover is installed and ready for use! Installation will likely take between 30 to 90 minutes for a casual installer.

In the end, while both the Gator FX and FX3 are easy to install as a do-it-yourself project, the FX3 does require drilling into your truck bed, so if you want to avoid any permanent modification, the FX cover may be preferable.

On the other hand, the FX3 provides unparalleled security and durability for your truck bed. The choice comes down to your needs and preferences.

Scratch Resistance and Durability

Durability is a key factor to watch out while comparing between Gator FX VS FX3. The Gator FX and FX3 are pretty evenly matched in this case. \

Both are made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic, which is extremely durable and impact resistant. HDPE is the same plastic used to make kayaks, cutting boards, and playground equipment—so you know it can take a beating!

The slight difference is that the FX3 has an additional UV-protective coating. It helps prevent fading and scratches from sun exposure and weathering over time.

The FX is still quite UV-resistant on its own, but the FX3 will retain its color better if left outside for long periods. For most casual ATV or UTV use, either model should hold up great to scratches and dings from brush and terrain.

If you do get some light surface scratches, you can easily buff them out with fine-grit sandpaper (400+ grit) and polish. For deeper scratches, you can apply a plastic epoxy or scratch remover according to the product directions.

With regular use of a UV-protectant spray-on sealant (recommended for both models), you’ll keep the outer shell in like-new condition for years.

In extreme cases of damage like cracks or punctures, Gator FX and FX3 parts are fully replaceable. You can order replacements for the lid, base, hinges, and more.

The modular design means your storage box can last a lifetime. Gator also offers a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects for both models.

When it comes down to it, either the Gator FX or FX3 should stand up to years of rugged use with minimal visible wear and tear.

The FX3 does have a slight durability edge thanks to its UV-protective coating, but both are extremely scratch-resistant and built to handle the abuse of off-road riding.

Weather Protection

Both truck covers are made of heavy-duty vinyl that is resistant to water, snow, and dirt. The FX cover has an aluminum frame and hinges, while the FX3 upgrades to powder-coated aluminum for even better corrosion protection.

The FX tonneau attaches to your truck bed rails and rolls up for access to part of the bed. It secures at the tailgate to protect items in the front part of the bed.

It is a tri-folding cover. This means it folds in thirds for full bed access when you need it. When closed, the FX3 covers the entire bed to shield your gear from sun, rain, and wind.

For the ultimate in weather protection, the FX3 cover incorporates weather-tight seals around the edges and where the folding sections meet. This creates an impenetrable barrier against the elements so you can keep expensive equipment, tools, and other items in your bed without worrying about damage.

The FX3 cover is also compatible with additional accessories like bed dividers for extra security and protection.

If frequent access to your full truck bed is a priority, the FX cover with its roll-up design may suit you better.

For maximum coverage when closed and the most comprehensive shielding from harsh weather, the FX3 tri-fold tonneau is the winner.

Its fully sealed design, powder-coated aluminum frame, and compatibility with other bed accessories put it over the top for the best weather protection.

Security and Locking Mechanisms

When it comes to security, the Gator FX and FX3 tonneau covers offer some similarities and differences. Both provide basic protection for your truck bed and anything inside, but the FX3 ups the ante with more advanced features.

The FX tonneau cover comes with a basic keyed lock on each side to secure the cover in the closed position. This helps prevent unwanted access to your truck bed, though the locks themselves are not the most heavy-duty.

On the other hand, the FX3 utilizes a more advanced “slam latch” system with individual locks for each side. These latches clamp down much tighter for enhanced security and the locks are more robust.

For even greater protection, the FX3 also offers an optional “FX3 Security Package” which provides a stronger aluminum sub-frame, aircraft-grade aluminum panels, and a more fortified slam latch system.

This package makes it extremely difficult for thieves to break in. If maximum security is a concern, the FX3 with the added security package is your best choice.

In terms of security and protection for your truck bed and cargo, the Gator FX3 tonneau cover is the clear winner. With its robust slam latch system, optional security package, and additional safety features, the FX3 offers superior defense against unwanted access and the elements.

Gator FX VS FX3- Who Is the Winner?

So, which tonneau cover comes out on top—the Gator FX VS FX3? After comparing these two models across several factors, the FX3 emerges as the winner for most truck owners.

While the Gator FX is a solid, affordable option, the FX3 outperforms it in some key areas like durability, protection, and convenience.

For serious truck owners looking for a high-quality, low-maintenance tonneau cover, the Gator FX3 is worth the investment.

But for those on a budget, the FX can still get the job done at a lower cost. The choice comes down to your needs, priorities and how much you can spend. Either way, you can’t go wrong with Gator Covers!

Final Thought

So, you got some ideas on the differences between these tonneau covers. At the end of the day, it comes down to what factors are most important for your needs and budget.

If cost is a concern, the Gator FX is a solid choice that will still protect your gear and enhance the look of your truck bed. However, if you’re looking for the best of the best in weather resistance, security, and durability the Gator FX3 is the way to go.

You really can’t go wrong with either option, but for a few extra dollars the FX3 provides premium features that make it the winner in my book. Whichever you choose, a Gator cover will serve you well for years to come.

Hopefully, this small effort will be helpful for all of you to pick the right one between Gator FX VS FX3. Thank you all for reading this article.


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