A rubber truck bed mat from Protecta, Trail FX or others offers protection that's more than the low price would suggest. See, that thick rubber material is just about as tough as you can find. Then when you look at what you pay, it may be an obvious bargain.
Even over a much more costly spray in bed liner, pickup mats can absorb all kinds of impacts and keep what's underneath unharmed. That's the real advantage of thick rubber mats. The material soaks up impact better than almost anything else you could fit in a pickup bed.
Since it's so easy to slip in and out, a cheap mat can only be used when needed and simply stored the rest of the time.
Again, it's the almost impossible to damage material that will soak up impact and completely eliminate scratching of the bed or bed liner that's under the mat that makes mats so valuable.
The rubber truck bed mat is not the only option either. Carpet bed mats, like from BedRug, perform much like the heavier and maybe uglier rubber version. Carpet on the other hand offers a softer surface that works perfectly for some hauling tasks.
Check out the articles below for more tips...
Not just the cheapest, the truck bed mat may be the best too.
Here's how truck bed mats are a great pick.
Truck Bed Rug
How carpet bed mats work even with other liners...
Truck Bed Liner Mat
More about carpet bed liners...
Pickup Truck Bed Mats
What about bed mats...
Rubber Bed Liner Adventures
Advantages of rubber truck bed liners or mats...
Surely truck bed mats offer a lot for a little money. Check out the TrailFX for a rubber bed mat or one of the carpet bed mats from BedRug.