How to Measure a Truck Bed For Tonneau Cover

If you own a pickup truck, learning how to measure truck bed is something that you must know to get the right tonneau cover. It is also essential for understanding the cargo capacity of your vehicle so you can plan for your weekend campout or before buying and transporting a large piece of furniture. 

Proper measurement is especially important if you’re planning to buy truck accessories, as certain accessories require specific sizing to be properly installed, including truck bed covers, bed rails and tool boxes. No one wants to order a pricey tonneau cover after shopping around, only to find out later that it doesn’t fit your particular truck bed length. Read on to pocket this maintenance basic.

how to measure truck bed
You must know how to measure truck bed to get the right size of truck bed accessories. Photo Credit: AutoAnything

How to Measure Truck Bed: Notes

We’ll get to how to measure truck bed for cover real quick, but one thing to consider when shopping for truck accessories is knowing what truck style you’re driving. This may be an extremely important piece of information depending on the type of products you’re looking for. There are four major styles of truck beds: side step, regular cab, extended cab, and 4 door crew cab.

Another note is you may notice after measurement that the actual length of your truck bed differs from the advertised length for your vehicle model. Rounding of bed length numbers is very common, so if your measurement happens to vary by an inch or two from the manufacturers specifications, don’t panic. As long as your measurement is within a couple inches of the advertised length then you’re all good to go.

Below are examples of some of the best selling pickups to show that the advertised length is usually rounded. 

FORD F-150 Bed Sizes

  • Short Bed Actual Length: 67″ | Advertised Length: 5’7″ (67”)
  • Standard Bed Actual Length: 78.9″ | Advertised Length: 6’7″ (79”)
  • Long Bed Actual Length: 97.6″ | Advertised Length: 8″ (96”)

CHEVY & GMC 1500Bed Sizes

  • Short Bed Actual Length: 69.3″ | Advertised Length: 5’8″ (68”)
  • Standard Bed Actual Length: 78.8″ | Advertised Length: 6’6″ (78”)
  • Long Bed Actual Length: 97.8″ | Advertised Length: 8″ (96”)


How to Measure Truck Bed: The Steps

how to measure truck bed for cover
Truck bed measurements. Photo Credit:

Measure Truck Bed Width

Measuring your bed’s width is important if you want to haul bulky items like a sectional sofa or purchase a crossover tool box. The width of a truck bed is the distance between the inside of the two side-walls of the truck bed. 

To measure, use a measuring tape that extends beyond 10 feet. Position the tape measure so it fits in between each side-wall, then record the number in inches. To ensure accuracy, you should always make sure that the tape measure is straight and balanced, not bent. 

It’s always a good idea to measure twice as an extra precaution, or if you’re not sure you got the tape measure straight. 

Measure Truck Bed Length

After the truck bed’s width, now it’s time to measure your bed’s length. The length of a truck bed is the distance between the inside of the bulkhead and the inside of your tailgate. The bulkhead is the wall-like structure located at the front of the bed to protect the driver from cargo.

Make sure your tailgate is up. Place your measuring tape at the bulkhead of your truck bed. Moving along your bed rail, extend the measuring tape to the inside edge of the top of your tailgate. Don’t include any exterior portions of the truck. 

Record the number in inches. Again, make sure that the tape measure is straight and not bent. 

Calculate Square Footage

To get the square footage of your bed area, multiply your width and length measurements. For example, if your truck bed is 60 inches wide and 80 inches long, the area of the truck would be: 60 x 80 = 4800 inches (400 sq. ft.).

To determine the length of your truck bed in feet, divide the number of inches by 12. Your bed length is the number of feet and residual inches, for instance 68 inches = 5 feet + residual 8 inches (5’8″)

Note that most bed lengths of tonneau covers are rounded so your measurement should be within 1-2 inches of the advertised numbers.