The bed liners for trucks are popular for several reasons. Of course protection for the bed is probably the number one reason to get a liner. Especially in newer trucks, a pickup liner lets you use your truck as a truck without scratching the bed.
Protecting the bed is not just about cosmetics either. A scratched and dinged bed is a starting place for rust and corrosion.
Bed liner truck protection come in three main types:
The plastic drop in bed liner is custom fit to your truck. A plastic drop-in liner is tough and durable especially suited for hard use. And the liner is removable if you choose to do so.
However, water can collect under the mat leading to corrosion of the bed over time. Also, since the liner has some clearance between the liner and the bed, you can experience some vibration and noise.
The pickup bed mats are used for bed liners. These can be custom made or cut to fit. You can get mats just for the floor. Or you can get multi piece mats that fit the floor and walls of the bed. Like the plastic bed liners, rubber truck bed mats are durable and easy to remove. But they too can hide water leading to rust and corrosion.
Maybe the most popular bed liner truck protection is the spray on bed liner or roll on liner. The best spray on bed liner for your application can be difficult to determine. It's a spray on or rolled or brushed on with truck liner paint because the material is a liquid before application. The professionally applied truck bed liners are durable and attractive in appearance. The liner protects the bed paint from rust as long as the coating is intact. Also most liners have a texture which is non-slip.
The spray on bed liner materials vary. Some are multi-part products with a catalyst that produces a hard finish that dries in seconds. The latest materials can be sprayed up to 1/4 inch thick and still are usable in 24 hours.
Spray on bed liner material sometimes is subject to fading in color from light. Though some formulas now are uv light resistant.
For the do-it yourself crowd, especially the cheap ones like me, there's the roll on bed liner. And there is material that the do it yourselfer can spray on. The Herculiner liner kit is a popular option.
If you want to spray or roll on your own pickup bed liner, you now have several choices. Especially for an older truck, the do it yourself bed liner finish can make your truck look much better. You can have a good looking truck bed liner with a practical finish for a reasonable price.