If you’re trying to extend the life of your tailgate, or merely bulk it up a little bit, a tailgate mat is a great addition.
In this guide, we go over universal options to fit nearly all types of trucks.
So let’s take a look at these popular choices that will offer your ride some protection.
Here are the 3 best tailgate mats:
1. Westin 50-6525 Tailgate Mat
They back this product for 3 years with their warranty. For installation, they do include screws and most of these “require” drilling.
But, some people have gotten away with using industrial strength velcro strips to secure it. The install instructions are lacking a bit. You can cut this with a box cutter if you need to trim it.
If you opt for using velcro, this is what one customer used to fasten it. Or double stick tape.
2. Dee Zee DZ86700 Heavyweight Tailgate Mat, Grey - DZ 86700
Including this heavy-duty mat. This is a universal fit that may require some trimming to fit your model of truck. It’s moderately thick at .375 inches. You will have to drill into your tailgate to secure this unless you opt for using an adhesive work around.
This is our top choice in terms of value. Something to note is that if you purchase their bed mat, the materials are going to be different than this tailgate mat. It’s noticeable and that might bother some of you out there. This weighs in at 11 lbs.
3. BDK MT-600A Black Heavy-Duty Utility Bed Tailgate Mat, 60" x 19.5
This is one of the heaviest and thickest options of all. At nearly 14 lbs and .50 inches thick. That’s a lot more than most of the available choices out there right now. But thickness isn’t everything!
There are no pre-drilled holes on this. Some other universal mats do have pre-drilled spots and it can be a visual pain to see when they don’t line up. They cut that out, you pick where you drill and everything is a bit more visually pleasing.
There are some concerns over the hardware quality included with this. And when it’s shipped it’s rolled up nice and tight, so at the ends the lips can stick up. That’s a big reason why we gave the nod to Dee Zee’s mat.
I don’t want to drill into my tailgate. How can I attach these mats?
Some of the ways we’ve seen these attached include double-stick tape, heavy-duty velcro, and even silicone.
3M makes a velcro option that seems fairly popular. But, if you’re on the lookout you can probably find something cheaper.
Nearly all brands recommend you secure your mat using a drill, and it will be the most secure(usually). But, it’s not always a good feeling committing to it. So, it’s a personal choice.
How can I trim the universal tailgate mats if they don’t initially fit my truck?
A utility knife will do. You may want to outline your potential cut with chalk or some type of marker to make sure you don’t get a squiggly line.
Better yet, use a piece of wood or some other straight edge while you cut so you don’t have to worry about human error.
Are there other options to protect my truck besides a tailgate mat?
Yes there are. One of them is called a “tailgate pad” . They’re mainly used for protecting your truck from marks you might incur while having a bicycle resting on it, or say a kayak.
The main benefit about pads is that they’re removable and don’t require drilling. But, they’re not nearly as durable as mat options.
To reiterate again, if you’re going for a universal mat we definitely think Dee Zee’s option should be at the top of your list.
But, all of these mats have worked out for owners. Some having their own quirks and issues! If you end up buying one of these options, let us know how it worked out for you.
Was installation easy? Did it hold up? Let us know in the comments and good luck on your search 🙂
I'm the owner of Beast Auto. I live in Phoenix, Arizona. I love anything automotive related, and taking road trips all across my beautiful state.