Gator EFX vs Extang Encore

Both of these covers don’t cost as much as the famous trifolds do, but at the same time, they provide you with all the durability and protection (that you may expect from a hard cover).

Here the Gator EFX is a decent budget pick which does not compromise too much on durability.

While the Extang Encore has the most durable design in the trifold category.

Let’s see which cover is for you.

Let’s check out their designs:

With such a unique big and thick design , you probably wont find anything like the Extang’s boy here.

The cover provides you better accessibility. As their unique design allows you to open the cover from both sides.

To open the cover from front side, there is a rotatory lock and key mechanism (on the drivers side). So you simply unlock it and access the cover from the front side.

Where the backside of the cover can only be opened up if you open the tail gate first.

Both covers can be accessed simultaneously as well. And the lock (facing upwards) is properly covered so no water can get in.

And although looks are subjective, I like the look this cover gives my truck.

The back of the truck looks like a tank.

And with such heavy design looks, they sure are light in weight, as one can never guess.

When fully packed the box only weighs about 50 lbs. That’s it.

So where you gonna burn less calories folding panels, you sure are going to save your back.

So why these covers are thick and do their thickness make a difference?

Well, it makes a lot difference when it comes to their durability.

The cover is actually made of 2 different compounds. Polypropylene and the thermograde plastic.

The Polypropylene takes about 80 to 90% of the panels thickness, and this core is then layered with thermo plastic on both sides, think of it as a thermoplastic sandwich with this core inside.

And this material’s composition makes this cover one of the strongest trifolds you can get out there.

The powder coating on the top also looks great.

And if you look at its texture, the matte finish matches with the color of your OE bed caps, so the cover looks like a trucks OEM, like it’s not an accessory and it came with it. Looks very cool.

On corners the thick cover has hinge caps and snap on seal including rubber made by hard polymer material.

Also the cover is 1 inch think but only sits half an inch above, but I can understand if some like the ultra low profiled looks of other trifolds.

And hey, Gator EFX, isn’t too bad here. The cover sits very flushed (especially if you check out its price tag and compare it with other low profile covers, well except for the Rough Country Low Profile, its another budget pick with a “Low Profile” design.

Still the Gator EFX, offers you with sleek, flushed design where its sits only 1/8th of an inch above the bed caps.

But yes, besides looks there’s an advantage of being low profiled, better aerodynamics.

These covers already save you a lot of fuel money by covering your truck and minimizing air resistance while driving, but the Gator EFX, or any other flushed cover for that matter, would provide just a little bit better fuel economy.

Again the difference is very marginal, but may make a bigger difference in the long run.

Other than this the Gator EFX comes with traditional mountain rails which settle inside the bed caps (which adds to its patented design).

There are drain tubes that you have to install (mostly with drilling in your truck, I wish they can make this drill free).

But these tubes do help out along with the EPDM rubber seals that make the cover watertight to some extent.

Also the coating on it aircraft-grade aluminum panels provides the cover with semi glossy looks which is also for protection as you’ll see below.

Design Con of Gator EFX: You can not open this cover all the way (like with prop rods seen in other covers), so if you want to load some bigger cargo/need full bed access, you have to remove the cover.

Now the Extang Encore may seem to have a similar problem, but here removing it way, way, easier. It literally takes less than 5 minutes to do so.

Other than this, since you can open the cover from both sides, technically, you are still accessing the whole space of the cover.

Protection & Durability of both:

If we talk about the Extang Encore first, the cover has a great sealing underneath. It provides you “multiple lip” sealing under all its panels.

It’s Extang’s blade-style seals help preserve a water/weather-resistant barrier between your truck and other external elements to a very good deal.

The rotatory lock which open the other side of the cover looks very premium and of quality.

The cover also has polymer rubber corners which feel very solid combined with hinge caps and snap on seals, making overall cover very water tight.

Think of it as the panels in a reinforced sealed frame here, so the cover provides a great deal of weather protection especially when it comes to leakage.

On the other side, the Gator EFX also has dedicated hinges and seals and their rubber is EPDM made, so you are also going to get good protection here.

It also comes with 2 drain tubes so any accumulated water can be channeled out. Encore also has a draining system but it does not come with drain tubes like EFX.

Both covers overall provide better efficacy against water leakage.

But still expect some leakage as no cover is fully water proof, they are all water resistant, that’s why they are marketed that way.

So avoid putting any stuff in your bed that may get damaged with water.

If we talk about their durability… I don’t think anything comes stronger than the Extang’s boy right here. The cover provides you with whopping 600 lbs of weight rating, which is double of what Gator EFX provides, (300 lbs).

The cover’s Endura Sheild as they call it, with a composition of polypropylene core is simply genius engineering.

If you look at this structure on molecular level, it really makes sense. The core has a lot of gaps between molecules, so the cover can take on more bump and at the same time, is a good insulator to heat.

So it does 2 things, it improves the ride quality as you wont hear any rattling back there, as the cover would absorb any bumps in a nice manner.

And 2nd, the cover protects against UV rays, while keeping the things underneath cooler (in summers).

On the other side, Gator EFX is cheaper and they saved price by giving composite material instead of exclusive aluminum.

The cover basically has a composite material wrapped with aluminum sheets which are then coated.

But still, they are durable enough. I mean 300 lbs is still good enough. 600 is just overkill.

Also the coating also provides you with decent protection against UV rays (sun) and against minor scratches here and there.

(But the coating has a life so it requires a little maintenance (of mostly cleaning, otherwise the coating would start fading off).

Both covers don’t come with a lock, as facing upward lock can get damaged overtime with rain), and instead the clamps and the cables (in case of Gator EFX) can only be made accessible by lowering the tail gate.

Performance/ Working:

Both of them have pretty much the same working methods (expect that the Encore can also be opened from the front end as well).

The Gator EFX is equipped with latches that slam shut and “pull the string” opening system.

It’s pull cable locks/latches can be triggered from either side when you open the cover. And you can fold these panels and secure them in positions for partial and full bed access.

But as mentioned before, you can’t open the cover more than 2/3rd position (as there are no prop rods here) But you can still secure it at 2/3rd with buckle straps just like the Extang.

On the other side, with Extangs Encore, you have a rotatory release under the cover (on both sides) and you can rotate to un latch the cover to open it.

But like the Gator EFX, for complete bed access, there are no prop rods.

But still unlike the EFX, you can easily remove the panels within minutes.

Both provide you with automatic slam latches and dual tail gate seals.

So Whats the verdict?

Both of these covers are a great pick.

Their mechanism and working is also somewhat similar. Both panels have slam latches, dual tail gate seals and partial bed access up to 2/3rd position.

But overall the Extang Encore provides you with better durability and protection.

But it also costs you more.

So are these features worth it? Well in my opinion yes, the cover is very unique.

But if you need something in a budget, Gator EFX is one of the best ones you can get.