ARE Vs Leer Truck Caps

ARE Vs Leer Truck Caps


Truck caps, truck toppers, or whatever else you might want to call them, are iconic. They make a pickup truck look like a more substantial vehicle – almost an SUV – but still make it easy to haul large, heavy cargo. Better still, they protect that cargo from sun, wind, and rain. Some people even slide an air mattress into the truck bed and camp without a tent.

Leer and A.R.E. are definitely 2 of the most well-known manufacturers of truck toppers, but for different reasons. We won’t be able to decide which is the better choice. But we will explore the 2 companies briefly and look at some of their products. That should give you what you need to know to buy the best truck cap for you and your situation. We’ll also look at a few alternatives from DECKED – not truck caps at all, but something else that might serve you even better.


Leer And ARE Truck Caps Generally

There are many different Leer and ARE truck caps models, and each offers something different. In general, they provide effective weatherproofing of a pickup’s truck bed and a large area of enclosed cargo space. When Leer or ARE truck caps are mounted correctly, they should drop the aerodynamic drag of your pickup dramatically. This will generally make your vehicle more fuel efficient, and it can lower running costs and see you generating a smaller carbon footprint. That is a benefit just about anyone can get behind.

Note, though, that trucks with a crossbed or rail-mounted tool boxes and other accessories (even Leer-made truck accessories), will not usually be able to mount any kind of tonneau cover.


ARE logo


The A.R.E Company

ARE truck caps are made by A.R.E Mobile. The company was founded in 1969, making truck caps and aluminum buildings. They added a fiberglass truck topper line in 1982, and built a large-scale manufacturing facility in Mt. Eaton Ohio in 1987. They pioneered automotive paint finishes for toppers in 1990, and in 1995 moved to a bigger factory in Massillon.

They have a reputation for both innovation and excellence, and remain the only US based truck topper manufacturer to be ISO certified.


ARE truck caps come in many shapes and sizes, but their most famous models are the DCU, DCU Max, and Diamond Edition DCU lines. Almost all of the DCU ARE truck caps boast the three separate access hatches. They work together to give you incredible access to your truck bed, or to various drawers and storage equipment inside. Best of all, they all lock securely.



DCU ARE Truck Caps

DCU ARE Truck Cap

DCU stands for Deluxe Commercial Unit, and as you might expect these are some of the most popular ARE truck caps. They are made of rigged commercial grade aluminum, at .035 thickness. All of the doors or hatches feature weather seals and gas-filled props to keep them open effortlessly. The side doors on DCU ARE truck caps are full length, and each features a folding t-handle.


DCU Max ARE Truck Caps

DCU Max ARE truck caps are made of a much stronger paneling (.063 aluminum). The frame is fully welded for strength and endurance, and every model comes with a 3 year warranty from the manufacturer. You can even build your own to whatever specifications you need, including changing the internal furniture and fittings.


DCU Diamond Edition ARE Truck Caps

This rigid, diamond-plate aluminum commercial truck topper features the same rugged .063 aluminum of the DCU Max models, the same full length side doors and the same folding t-handles. It has the same warranty, as well.


CX Classic ARE Truck Caps

ARE CX Truck Cap

ARE’s CX Classic line of ARE truck caps are designed to fit a wide range of modern pickup trucks, and must be ordered for a specific vehicle’s dimensions. They are designed to help you work hard, play hard, and look great doing it.


Overland ARE Truck Caps

ARE Overland truck Topper

The new Overland range of ARE truck caps are designed to match the rugged look of the latest generation of pickup trucks. They feature a 2-tone off-road friendly design and special reinforcement of key areas for a very long service life.


Walk In Door ARE Truck Caps

ARE’s Walk-In-Door series of tall truck caps features full hatch doors, all-glass access hatches, improved visibility, and special features which make it perfect for camping or transporting tall cargo.


Leer logo


The Leer Company

Leer is a privately held company. They are a well-known truck cap manufacturer, with distribution throughout the US and Canada. They specialize in both truck caps and bed covers, and sell models made of aluminum and fiberglass. They sell many other types of truck accessories as well.

Leer was founded in 1964. They have more than 1,000 employees at their headquarters in Elkhart, Indiana, and elsewhere. Their engineering, mold-making, and design operations are still based in Elkhart.

There are dedicated Leer accessories distributors in all 50 states as well as throughout Canada. Leer acquired the Truck Accessories Group in 1987, and with it have come brands like Snugtop truck caps and tonneau covers, and Bedslide sliding bed trays.

Leer Truck Caps

Leer is famous for their truck toppers, camper shells, and truck caps. Many truck owners prefer to mount a hard shell over the bed of their pick up, and a Leer truck cap can give a pickup a profile more akin to that of an SUV, all while keeping the wind and rain off your cargo. Leer truck caps are manufactured with a particular make and model of vehicle in mind, and can be ordered in just about every standard color the trucks were sold in. However, you can still get “generic” truck toppers that fit a wide range of models with the same general bed dimensions.


Leer DCC-MT3 Truck Cap With Tool Storage


Leer DCC-MT3 Truck Cap

This reinforced model offers 17% more strength than the standard Leer fiberglass truck cap, and comes with a limited lifetime warranty if installed by an authorized dealer. It can be rigged for several different types of use by a Leer Authorized Dealer. This dynamic Leer truck topper for contractors and service vehicles offers an adjustable shelf, lockable side hatches, easy tool and supply access, and can even be fitted with modular tool boxes.


Leer 100XR Truck Caps

The Leer 100XR truck caps series provides a weathertight seal for your truck bed, windows to provide ventilation for hauling pets, and even space for camping in the truck bed. Side window and rear door tinting comes as standard, as does roof insulation, and automotive grade paint.


Leer 180CC Mid-Rise Truck Cap

Leer 180CC Mid-Rise Truck Cap

This truck cap rises above the height of the cab to give you a little extra cargo space, perfect for bikes, motorcycles, jet skis, etc. It features solid sides with false windows for added security.




What Are Leer Or ARE Truck Caps Meant To Do?

People buy truck caps for a variety of reasons, but there are four key functions a truck cap really has to achieve. They must give better aerodynamic performance to your pickup, protect your truck bed and its cargo, keep out thieves and the unwanted, and finally improve the looks of your truck.

Aerodynamics is key, because a pickup truck without a cap, tonneau or other cover tends to offer very high wind resistance when travelling at highway speeds. That increases the amount of fuel you use dramatically, so many people get a topper for no other reason than to improve their mileage.

Protection and security are similar functions, but they get there by different means. A hard cover protects your cargo from road debris, rain, and other sources of damage. Securely locking windows and hatches protect your cargo from more human threats.

Finally looks are important. A good topper will make your truck look great. A bad one – or one that is the wrong color and/or shape, at least, can look like a nightmare when you attach it.



Where Can I Find Leer Or ARE Truck Caps For Sale Near Me?

ARE has a great website, as well as distributors throughout North America. Leer truck accessories stores are also scattered across America, Canada, Mexico, and even overseas. Many auto parts stores and specialty truck accessory centers carry both Leer and ARE truck caps and other accessories as well.

While you’re shopping for ARE Truck Caps, though, don’t overlook DECKED. We have some alternatives to the truck cap that eliminate many of its worst problems, but still achieve its most important functions.  


A Word About The Recyclability Of Truck Cap Materials

Ecology and recyclability are more important to many people today than there were even just a few years ago. In addition to factors like style, utility, weight and expense, environmental concerns are now a major factor in the decision-making process when we buy truck accessories.

Well, ARE classic aluminum truck caps and leer aluminum truck caps are very recyclable. Part of making an environmentally sound product is making sure your materials are reusable, recyclable, or both. Aluminum is a great material in that regard, and it can be melted down and reused hundreds of times with very little loss. Fiberglass is not that easy to recycle, though. Even if the glass fibers could be removed from the epoxy matrix, that epoxy would still be wasted.

That isn’t a worry with DECKED. All DECKED products have three main ingredients – UV-proof polymer resin, steel, and aluminum. Steel and aluminum are extremely recyclable already. But what about our plastics?

Plastics can sometimes be less easy to recycle, so people don’t see them as very “green.” Many plastics break down only very slowly, and when they do, some release microplastic particles which can harm animals and people. The key to using plastics responsibly is making sure they are not just possible to recycle, but economical to recycle. Well, we have done that.

DECKED’s plastics are recyclable. Our high impact polymer resin is very easy to recycle, and our products leave the factory already containing a high percentage of recycled material. Because our plastics are so recyclable, any “plastic waste” we generate in our factory is a resource. We break it down and add it to the next batch of resin, and virtually nothing goes to external recycling, let alone the landfill.

In the end, that means that DECKED products are surprisingly green and ecologically responsible, as well as strong, and great-looking.  



What You Won’t Find At Leer Truck Accessories Stores

DECKED drawer system


The DECKED Drawer System – Bed Protection, Better Aerodynamics, And Ultra-Secure Storage

The DECKED Drawer System doesn’t just streamline your truck bed. It gives you plenty of storage space that is easy to organize. Under the protective deck, you’ll find two full-size underbed drawers. Each drawer can store up to 1,000 pounds of tools or equipment.

The DECKED Drawer System even increases the effective size of your bed, because the raised bed extends above the wheel wells. This gives you clear access to the entire bed.

Best yet, the entire system is designed, built, and sold in the USA.

DECKED drawer system and logging equipment


How strong is it? The DECKED Drawer System lets you pile all the cargo you could normally carry, right on top of the bed protector. This protects the actual bed of your truck from damage. Just look at how much weight it can carry!

DECKED drawer system under logs



The DECKED Tool Box – Easy To Use And Ultra Secure

The DECKED Tool Box fits behind the cab of just about any working truck or pick-up. It is a great way to transport a large collection of expensive or heavy tools, or to hold sporting or camping gear.


DECKED Tool Box in a white pick-up


The DECKED Tool Box is weather-tight and very secure. In fact, the lock and its surrounding mount is heavily armored to prevent unauthorized access. Better still, the DECKED Tool Box is a part of the DECKED tool organization system, just like the DECKED Drawer System.



We hope you learned a little about Leer and ARE truck caps, and about the companies which make them. We’d like to ask you to put serious consideration into the more secure alternatives from DECKED, though. Remember, when you need to take your tools on the road, DECKED is always the answer.