Gator Recoil vs Retrax Pro XR

If you hardly ever carry big cargo at the back of your truck, a retractable cover is one of the best things you can get installed in your truck. And speaking of which, how do these covers hold up there? Are they good? And which one to get?…

Here the Gator Recoil is a low-profile cover that works with the ball bearing roller design and it rolls pretty smoothly (pun).

The Retrax Pro XR, on the other hand, works with the same design but has some additional features to it as well that really makes this tonneau intresting.

Lets check out both of these boys.

Design of both covers:

The Gator Recoil is a GREAT entry level retractable cover, and is a budget pick in front of Pro XR.

But at the same time it offers a very similar looking cover too.

It specifies a low-profile design. And is made out of strong aluminum slats which are then powder coated with a textured, matte-black finish, so this cover requires very low kind of maintenance.

It works with seal ball bearing roller design where no spring mechanism is seen, so it can be retracted manually.

It stays fixed through a grip lock and provides three locking positions over the truck bed. You can keep the cover half-closed if you need to. It has a protective cover over the canister to avoid dirt build-up.

The cover comes with rails and kit (everything included, including drain tubes to install) and you can set latch tops at different locations/positions, to adjust how much you want the cover to open at each location.

Note that here only 2nd latch top is adjustable after installation, meaning you can adjust its position in real time after installation.

To open the cover, you open the tail gate, and you pull the strap to disengage the latch and push the cover forward (to open it up). There are grip latches available on both sides (so you can open the cover from any side of your truck).

The USA made cover is shipped free in lower 48 states and comes with 2 years of warranty.

If we look at the other pick, the Retrax PRO XR, this cover is part of a Premium Aluminum Series and offers you with more rigidity.

It comes with rails and panels. And both of them are made out of industrial grade extruded aluminum.

It comes with side tracks/rails, which they call “Trax Railing System” (and I’ll talk about it in “ease of use” section below).

It also comes with a key lock on top of the cover (driver side). Where the lock has a cover and a button when pressured pops up a handle level, that you use for opening up the cover.

This tonneau also works with the same ball bearing method rolling but the good thing about this cover is that you can stop and lock it at any different positions.

So overall the cover is made out of stronger material. Its a little more smooth. Has a lock. And provides better accessibility. But are these durable enough?

Performance and Durability:

Now with less durable material the weight bearing capacity of Gator Recoil (which comes out to be just 200 lbs where Pro XR provides you with 500 lbs weight bearing limit) makes these cover less durable.

That’s because for optimum endurance, the Retrax Pro XR is manufactured with industrial-quality aluminum slats, which are then coated with UV resistant layers. They are very tough and provide you with efficient scratch/dent/ding resisitance.

The cover is also equipped with better water management system that channels the water out of the truck bed, via the provided drain tubes. So your truck bed is water-tight and secure.

Its automotive weatherstrip comprises a soft lining that allows smooth operation even under the most adverse weather conditions. So the covers shields effectively against heavy rain, snow, and other acts of God.

On the other side, the Gator Recoil isn’t too far off either. As it still provides reliable performance due to its sturdy composition and efficient protective mechanism.

Sure, it has a lesser weight bearing capacity but the coating is just as strong as that of Pro XR.

This layering also protects your cover against dents and scratches.

Also the drainage system of the Gator is also very efficient enough and still gets the job done of collecting and channeling the water out of your truck.

The layered surface of this panels are designed to channel water into the canister where the provided drain tubes flush it out.

The front cover of the canister is “No-Profile” and is modified to prevent the water, leaves, and other debris from accumulating inside the canister.

And the canister itself is also protected by a sharp aluminum coating for the maximum protection of the cover when rolled up.

Ease of use:

If we talk about the PRO XR first, the cover is quite effortless to install and use.

It’s clamp on design can be installed rather quickly (they provide you all the tools and method).

The Trax Rail System is also very simple to put on as well and you can use crossbars above the bed while keeping the cover open or closed, giving you the most flexibility in cargo management. (However, apart from rails, other accessories are not included with the cover, and they need to be bought separately).

The cover uses a better ball bearing system as well and you’ll feel that it glides more smoothly (preventing the cover from binding when being opened or closed).

And of course the best thing about this cover is its key lock mechanism. Where you can use it to lock the cover at any given position. This enables the use of a fifth wheel, as well as endless hauling flexibility and a variety of other applications.

On the other side, the Gator Recoil is also very simple to use. No drilling is needed to install it (well maybe for the drill holes if they are not compatible). You simply have to fit the side rails on which the clamps are fixed.

But here the “Ease of Use” performance is a little lower in comparison. Mainly because the truck’s tail gate has to be opened first to access the cover.So one who can access its tailgate seal can access it. If your truck does not have a tailgate lock then this cover is almost unacceptable for safety purposes.

To open the cover, you pull the grip latch beneath (on both sides) and then push the cover forward. But note that its bearing roller is not as smooth as the Pro XR.

Moreover, you can not lock the cover at any positions and it has 3 limited positions.

The first is at the closing point where the truck bed is covered completely.

The second position is intermediate between the opening and closing points so that you can have partial bed access.

And the third locking position is at the opening point where you have total bed access.

But there is one good thing about this cover (over Pro XR) and that is; you can open the cover from both sides of the truck, where on XR, you have only one sided lever.

So the verdict?

Well, the Retrax Pro XR does justify its cost a little bit. But is it worth 3 times more? Well that depends on your truck and the security/ protection you need from these covers.

The price stings but in the end, both of these covers are worth it I believe. Retrax Pro is premium build while the Recoil is a great pick for beginners (or if you’ll sell your truck in the near future).