Differences Between Spray-on Bedliners

Understanding the differences between spray-on bed liners is important to determine the best protection for your truck. No matter the type, a good bedliner should provide the durability and toughness needed to extend the life of the truck bed. They come in different formulas with processing methods to suit the needs of all truck owners. They can be altered to accommodate price, properties, texture, colors, and convenience.

  • Cost – Price will depend on the application method and coating formula. Compared to all other bedliner options, spray-on liners are expensive upfront but more cost-effective over time. They offer better protection and aesthetic.
  • Durability – One formula may be stronger than another based on properties such as hardness, tensile strength, and elongation. A softer bedliner is going to handle impact better. Coatings with high tensile strength and elongation will also endure high impact before deteriorating.
  • Appearance – Depending on the application method, you could have a smooth or heavily textured finish. High-pressure sprays have a more uniform texture than low pressure. More texture can also be added if desired.
  • Ease of application – Some formulas require professional installation using specialized equipment, whereas some can be applied by applicants relatively new to spraying. Depending on the equipment used, there are also slight speed differences that can make one easier to use than another.

What Is Bedliner?

Bedliner is a popular truck accessory that acts as an extra layer of protection for truck beds. A typical bedliner will cover the floor and sides of the cargo area, safeguarding the original metal surface from scratches, dents, and abrasive damage. It also offers protection from weathering, moisture, rust, and corrosion.

Apart from spray-on coatings, other common materials used are plastic coverings or rubber mats that offer similar protection at a lower cost. All these materials can revitalize old metal truck beds that are scratched and worn. They also provide a textured or gripped surface to prevent cargo from sliding around.

What Types Are There?

  • A spray-on liner is a protective coating that you can apply with pressurized spray equipment. As a spray, it will adhere to every contour of the truck bed. It forms an air and watertight seal to reduce maintenance. It is the only material that will provide long-term protection.
  • A roll-on liner is a protective coating that you can apply using rollers. While it is a good method for DIYers and those on a budget, the application process is much more time-consuming. Roll-on bedliners will typically have to be applied in more than one coat for optimal protection, and the cure time is longer. You may also notice roller marks in your textured finish.
  • A drop-in liner is a cost-effective sheet of plastic cut to the size of a truck bed. It usually covers both the sides and floor, much like spray coatings. However, drop-ins do not provide the same seal that spray-ons do. Debris and moisture can still get trapped underneath, which makes maintenance excessive. It’s not the recommended method for long-term protection and should be chosen by truck owners who use their beds sparingly to prevent frequent replacement.
  • A bed mat is a simple, soft rubber mat that only covers the floor of the truck bed but is the cheapest alternative for protection. These mats reduce damage from impact due to their softer quality. Like drop-ins, water and other debris can easily get underneath, which could cause rust and other damage. It is easy to clean but will require constant maintenance to remove buildup.

What Are Spray-on Bedliners Made Of?

Most industrial bedliners are aromatic. Aromatic means that the coating is sensitive to UV light and will fade over time, but it is more cost-effective than aliphatic. Various manufacturers offer multiple formulas to provide variations in 3 main material properties: hardness, tensile strength, and elongation.

  • Polyurea hybrid is a polymer formula that is a mix of polyurea and polyurethane. A cheaper and more effective alternative to the higher cost of polyurea, which can have higher properties and lower moisture sensitivity. It creates a secure and durable coat of material designed to last for years.
  • Polyurea is another polymer formula that creates a rigid, strong coating resistant to abrasion and impact damage. It provides truck beds with high tear strength, tensile strength, and elongation. The tear strength contributes to its strength, while tensile strength and elongation make it more resistant to abrasion and tearing. It’s the most expensive coating formula because it uses high-quality raw materials and specialized application equipment.
  • Polyurethane is a two-component polymer formula that is the most sensitive to moisture and UV degradation. It is able to maintain 1 or 2 properties that are high but does not have the all-around property strength of a polyurea hybrid or polyurea. It still offers tough and long-lasting protective properties.

What Are the Application Methods?

Apart from chemical makeup, bedliner variations also center around the application process. All are based on two-component materials that undergo an irreversible exothermic reaction when spraying.

1. High Pressure

Some bedliner formulas require high pressure and temperature to spray and are the superior choice for most applications. They are applied using a spray rig capable of pressure of at least 2000 psi and temperatures up to 145°F.

The material is extremely fast, setting within 3-5 seconds of application, and should be sprayed by professionals. Coatings produce an ultra-tough sealed liner with a fine, uniform texture resistant to dents and dings.

The high-pressure system is recommended for businesses that spray a lot of bedliner. Upgrading to high pressure can help increase profits and expand your business.

2. Low Pressure

Using similar equipment to high-pressure systems, low-pressure bedliner is applied with less pressure and at lower temperatures. The equipment needs to be capable of between 500-700 psi and is typically more affordable than high-pressure rigs. Due to this low pressure, the coating flows and takes longer to set.

You can typically tell the difference between low- and high-pressure bedliners by texture and appearance. Low-pressure texture is less consistent and a bit larger, but some of this can be mitigated with different tip sizes. Some people appreciate this texture because it provides a softer, rubbery grip for better skid resistance. The friction will keep cargo from sliding around as much.

The low-pressure spray system is recommended when an applicator/company is not ready for the full investment into high pressure machine. Despite its longer cure, it will still provide great protection for your truck bed.

3. Cartridge System

A newer method of spraying bedliner is using an air-driven cartridge-based spray system. An applicator gun attached to an air compressor that can maintain 100 psi and 10 CFM of pressure and can hold 1500 mL cartridges is used to spray. Like the other spray bed liners, this is a two-component system that combines the material in a static mix tip as it is sprayed. It is a continuous spray process that cannot be stopped until the cartridge is empty, or it will clog the tip.

Cartridges are easy to remove and dispose of, so no material goes to waste. There’s also no need to replace equipment parts due to material setting in the gun or spray lines like in heavy-duty rigs.

Spray-on bedliner is ideal for mobile applications where large equipment can’t go and for those looking to ease into spraying bedliner. It is a cost-effective system that produces results just as good as high- and low-pressure systems.

Comparing VFI Bedliners

Below are some notable differences between our polyurea hybrid spray-on bed liners. We offer low-pressure, high-pressure, and cartridge-based formulas. Contact VFI for help choosing the best one for your truck bed.


VFI-542 VFI-543 VFI-544

Application Method

High-pressure spray rig Low-pressure spray rig Cartridge-based gun and air compressor


57 D 40 D 40 D

Tensile Strength

2410 psi 2200 psi 2182 psi

Tear Strength

80% 140% 110%


241 pli 210 pli 187 pli

Gel time

4 seconds 10 seconds 4 seconds

Other features

More rigid and stronger in higher temperatures In between More flexible and able to take more impact