Leer vs. A.R.E. Truck Caps: Who Wins The Debate?

For most pickup owners, adjusting a truck cap on their vehicle isn’t a question of whether but when. Although there are multiple informational approaches on how that will affect your vehicle on the internet, a few focus on the “Leer vs. A.R.E.” debate.

This article is a detailed analysis of the key similarities and differences between the Leer and A.R.E. Truck Caps. It hopefully helps some readers decide on their next solution about their F150 or a future favorite truck cap.

Regardless of your situation and personal circumstances, this article provides a great insight into all the information. It lays out the pros and the cons, as well as some popular reviews on the Leer vs. A.R.E. Truck Caps debate.

So without further ado, let’s get straight to the main point of this analysis.

Quick Summary:

If you need a better price for more simple everyday choices, Leer is the way to go. Their traditionally fundamental yet evolutionary approach in the truck cap industry as a US mega-manufacturer is undeniable.

Nonetheless, the A.R.E. truck cap might be for you suppose you seem to be from a younger generation, seeking more exceptional & evolutionary truck cap choices from a newer and very dominant company.
leer vs. are truck caps
Regardless of your situation and personal circumstances, this article provides a great insight into all the information. It lays out the pros and the cons, as well as some popular reviews on the Leer vs. A.R.E. Truck Caps debate.

Leer vs. A.R.E. Truck Caps: Key Differences

The following analysis will be remarkably similar to the previous ones and the specific comparison approach of seeing the head-to-head battle of the products.


ParametersPrice RangeLeer Truck CapsA.R.E Truck Caps
Lock$1000 – $2000“One key” technologySingle T-Lock
Over $2000
T-handle flipSingle & double T-handle
Doors & Windows$1000 – $2000Many options:
  • Rear door
  • Hatchback door
  • Double entire door
  • Single full door
  • Rear door windows (optional)
  • Fewer options:
  • 1/4 slider windows
  • 2 different sizes for rear door
  • Over $2000
    Fewer options:
  • Dark tin windows
  • Rear door
  • More options:
  • Regular/F2 mitered half slider
  • Screen-vent side windows
  • Side privacy doors
  • Interior$1000 – $2000
  • 20”/40” LED lights
  • Additional interior roof rack
  • 12V LED lights
  • Allow holding fishing rods
  • Over $2000
  • Dome light
  • Cloth hangers
  • 12V lights
  • Overhead gear net
  • Pet screens
  • Carpeted interior
  • Dome light
  • Cloth hangers
  • 12V lights
  • Overhead gear net
  • Pet screens
  • Exterior$1000 – $2000Aluminium structure
  • Aluminium structure
  • Fiberglass built (A.R.E Classic V)
  • Over $2000
  • Fiberglass structure
  • Third brake light
  • Compatible with thule roof rack system
  • Fiberglass structure
  • Third brake light
  • WarrantyAll priceLimited lifetime warranty
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Additional 3-year warranty (some specific truck cap parts)
  • Lock

    To begin with, the primary and critical feature is the lock of the truck cap. For multiple reasons, this ensures the car owner’s safety and the guaranteed good condition of the truck cap.

    More specifically, the lock is based on the price range that the customer is willing to go for and the type of truck cap he intends to buy from the Leer vs. A.R.E. parts.

    $1000 – $2000

    When it comes to the price range from 1,000 to 2,000 dollars, the Leer lock is a single bolt. The company has invested in the simple and handy “one key” technology.

    The best thing about this approach is that no more time is wasted trying to search every key. You have one covering everything from the truck cap doors to the trailer hitch box, the toolbox, and the rest of the parts. The downside is that if the key is lost, you will lose access to the truck cap and go through a more difficult road trying to replace it.

    For the same exact price range, the product of A.R.E. is created as a Single T-Lock. The A.R.E. Classic V uses two t-handle locks, but the A.R.E. Classic Aluminium uses one on the back.

    Over $2000

    The two models are upgraded when we talk about the price range of upwards of 2,000 dollars. That’s because, in the Leer model, the T-handle flip is added alongside a compelling twist. For the A.R.E. model of the same price, there’s a decision between a Single and a double T-handle.

    Doors & Windows

    $1000 – $2000

    Objectively, this part of the analysis is where the Leer manufacturer provides a plethora of options around the cap, as far as doors and windows are concerned. It has the rear, hatchback, double entire, and single full door. People have to also choose whether they want the rear door windows or not.

    As mentioned before, there are two price ranges. Considering that this information concerns the first one, the price range between 1000-2000 dollars, A.R.E. doesn’t provide that many options for doors and windows.

    The A.R.E. manufacturers have installed 1/4 slider windows, while they only have two different sizes for the rear door. That’s the reality for the price range mentioned above, indicating more considerable affordability for the Leer product.

    Over $2000

    Nonetheless, the price range of over 2000 dollars is still in the picture. In this case, the specific characteristics of the two products are vice-versa. The Leer truck cap only has, although unique, one particular specialty. The A.R.E. truck cap provides potential buyers with more options to choose from.

    For the A.R.E. truck cap, when making the more pricey decision, you choose the regular and the F2 mitered half slider, as well as the screen-vent side windows. This manufacturer is also giving you the ability to install side privacy doors.

    Going back to the unique character of the Leer manufacturer’s truck cap, this is focused on using dark tint windows and a rear door. This is the only choice over the price limit of 2000 dollars for the Leer model. This type of UV-protective structure doesn’t change, but one would install a framed bay, along with a slider choice or twist-out vents for the windows.


    $1000 – $2000

    Starting with the interior part of the two truck caps and, more specifically, with the first price range. We are starting with the similarity that both Leer and A.R.E provide 12V LED lights on the interior.

    For the price range of 1000-2000 dollars, the attention is captivated by the accessories on the caps. The Leer model gives the option of one LED light, and you can choose between the 20” or the 40”. From the accessory standpoint, the A.R.E. caps allow holding fishing rods. At the same time, the Leer has an additional interior roof rack option.

    Over $2000

    When you decide to pay a little extra for the A.R.E. models, some of the truck caps can come with a carpeted interior, which prevents the car temperature from fluctuating. After the 2000-dollar milestone, you can install an interior dome light in both truck caps. 

    Both truck caps have interior cloth hangers. You also choose to add additional features such as 12V lights, an overhead gear net, or even pet screens inside the car.


    $1000 – $2000

    The price range of the 1000-2000 dollar margin includes attractive exterior designs for both truck caps. The Leer DCC and A.R.E. Classic Aluminium, due to the material they are made of (Aluminium), are extensively lightweight and durable. Classic Aluminum’s thickness is 0.019 inches, while the DCC model offers 0.035 inches.

    Interestingly, the A.R.E. Classic V is offering new fiberglass built. Considering this price range is a tremendous advancement, even considering the aluminum structure. The only parameter in which fiberglass is worse than aluminum is durability.

    Over $2000

    When it comes to the exterior of the truck cap, upwards of 2000 dollars, every model from both A.R.E. and Leer is made with fiberglass. All of the A.R.E. models and some Leer truck caps can also provide a third brake light.

    Finally, over the 2000 price limit, the Thule roof rack system on top of the truck cap is compatible with the Leer model. You can install A.R.E.’s own racks, but this is the absolute advantage of the Leer exterior design.


    The general approach of the previous customers and people that have had experience with the warranty part of their purchase have adopted a clear view. The manufacturers of the truck caps don’t necessarily concern themselves with the warranty of their products. That’s because of the truck caps, which are made to last for an extended, sometimes indefinite, period.

    The lack of concern from the manufacturers’ side explains why both products have a limited lifetime warranty. This warranty covers the construction and the color of the truck caps. Leer is also offering three additional years of warranty on specific truck cap parts.


    When it comes to the price, we hope that the article has done a great job showing how the price range varies and how the variations are compatible with different quality parts of the product.

    Regardless, the price of the truck caps can vary from 100 to over 2000 dollars. You must decide on the most suitable cap, your desired quality, and the one perfectly compatible with your vehicle. Then, you have to make some choices based on affordability and cost-efficiency.

    The analysis might have already made it clear but if not, all the general reviews and informational evidence shows that quality A.R.E. manufactured truck caps can be more accessible with a higher budget. Hence, the widespread first-hand experience is that there’s a margin between the quality of Leer and A.R.E. when talking about the same price.

    What Do Customers Say About The “Leer vs. A.R.E” Debate?

    “I have an ARE on my Ford, brother-in-law put a Leer on his Ford. They both cover the pickup bed and lock.

    Not much else to tell really.

    ps – my ARE looks better, even he agrees”

    – User keithelder on thehulltruth.com forum.

    “I’ve had both Leer and ARE caps on my trucks- 3 of each over the yrs. Keeps both the pups and gear warm and dry in their kennels for my bird hunting trips. Early on I was a Leer fan as I thought they were the best. But every one of the 3 Leers I had developed stress cracks in the front corners. They readily repaired them under warranty, but I didn’t like the fact that I was without a cap for 8-10 weeks for the repairs. Once I got my first ARE cap three trucks ago, I’ll never go back. I have not had one single problem with my original one or the two since. Now I only have them for 3-4 yrs, so I can’t say how they’ll hold up after 10 yrs. But the Leers showed their cracking flaws after the first 1-2 yrs on my trucks.”

    – User 40 Palms talked about his experience on thehulltruth.com forum.

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    Leer vs. A.R.E. Truck Caps: My Detailed Review

    Up to this point, we are positive that you have a central idea of the Leer vs. A.R.E. truck caps debate and the product variations in every price range of the truck caps.

    Regardless, the approaches mentioned above might have been a little bit detailed. Therefore, a more general overview of the two sides would clear the air and let you know about the pros and cons of the two with more clarity.

    Leer Truck Caps

    What are some things that we love about Leer, mainly because they play a pivotal role in the quality of the truck cap? We love that it’s been an industry leader since 1917. Excellent products overall and the sentiment amongst previous and current customers are very satisfactory.

    The design of the truck cap for Leer is kept pretty simple. Still, in the meantime, it introduces industry-leading technology. The paint used by Leer is Axalta. This paint with the frameless glass rear door and the other options available is a great custom fit.

    The simple yet impressive design and the custom solution that the manufacturer provides for their customers are fundamental advantages for Leer.

    Nonetheless, this is followed by and not limited to the pros & cons below:

    Pros of Leer Truck Caps

    ✅ Considered one of the best fittings with a slick design (customer reviews)

    ✅ Cheaper price

    ✅ Window and screen roof is fully insulated

    ✅ Better price range provides two locks and a water seal

    ✅ 3 main facilities in the US

     ✅ Limited lifetime warranty

    Cons of Leer Truck Caps

    ✖ Premium features are part of the most expensive models

    ✖ Warranty provided for truck cap parts is limited

    ✖ Lock system for the lower price isn’t too handy

    ✖ Lower-grade handles on each side

    ✖ Dull-looking just like a truck with a cap on it

    ✖ Shows cracking flaws after the first 1-2 years

    (Image source: Vance Truck Accessories)

    What Do People Say About Leer Truck Caps?

    “I picked up my Leer XQ topper today, I really like the looks of it on the truck, seems to be well made, the installer had no issues getting the power lock to work (they tapped into the lock \ unlock wires on the drivers side footwell.”

    – User Steve_Cornell on hdrams.com.

    “I have a Leer on my current truck which is 9 years old and still looks like new and no leaks. I previously had an ARE on my prior truck and after 4 years the paint started deteriorating. Both shells were very similar except for the paint failure. Because of that I’ll stick with Leer. The picture does not do it justice as the truck and shell was quite dirty.”

    – User Sprig, a Leer fan, stated on tacomaworld.com.

    A.R.E. Truck Caps

    The A.R.E. truck caps have a similar story to the Leer manufacturing. That’s probably why they have been the big mega powers in the industry since the 20th century.

    If we were to compare the approach of A.R.E. for today, we’d say that it’s more of a modern business than the Leer one. For instance, the Are uses OTR paints with the tinted glass on the cover.

    The frameless tailgate rear door is very compatible. It suits excellently the 100XR and CX unique products made out of fiberglass. The A.R.E. manufactured product has a similar tonneau to the Leer truck cap. Nonetheless, it goes one step further, with the locks installed is key operated. 

    The following pros and cons will clear the air for possible customers even more.

    Pros of A.R.E. Truck Caps

    ✅  Option for extra light water-resistant seal

    ✅ Looks like a factory-installed option

    ✅ The inside is lined with carpet

    ✅ Remote control entry system

    ✅ Largest manufacturer of toppers

    ✅ Protected by 500 dealers

     ✅ 3 years lifetime paint warranty

    Cons of A.R.E. Truck Caps

    ✖ More expensive budget needed

    ✖ Not so much of a traditionally fundamental and evolving company

    ✖ Sustainability ups the cost most of the time

    ✖ No weather cover for the key lock

    ✖ The cables operating the locks are hidden, have no adjustment, and are not easily accessed

    ✖ No lifting handle for the window

    ✖ Leaks issues reported by many users

    What Do People Say About Leer Truck Caps?

    “I bought my truck used with an are cap… It has been great. No leaks, but i do need to replace the brake light.

    I like how the lift gate has only one center latch instead of two at the corners. The carpeted interior is nice too. I wish it had a sliding front window, but it is cost prohibitive to add it now.”

    cgm, a well-known member on tacomaworld.com.

    “It looks like i will be going with ARE. I compared quotes of the shell i want with accessories between ARE & LEER and it looks like the better value is ARE. I was able to get a lot more out my money without having to pay so much.”

    – User Manwell27 shared his thoughts on tacomarworld.com.

    My Final Thoughts

    We aim to do in every blog post to keep a balance between the products we are comparing and analyzing. Our job isn’t to advertise or downgrade any of our analysis subjects. Still, it’s to make sure that we provide a well-rounded review for the customers.

    Therefore, what you have to expect from our informational analysis is to hear how each truck cap, either the Leer or the Are, will help you with your needs and intentions as a customer.

    The findings of this customary personalized research are the following. If you need a better price for more simple everyday choices, Leer is the way to go. Their traditionally fundamental yet evolutionary approach in the truck cap industry as a US mega-manufacturer is undeniable. There’s zero chance that, even for a smaller amount of money, you will not benefit.

    Nonetheless, suppose you seem to be from a younger generation, seeking more exceptional and evolutionary truck cap choices from a newer and very dominant company. In that case, the Are truck cap might be for you.

    Comparing the specifics of each truck cap is one thing, but understanding your desire as a customer is another thing, and we hope that this research will help you make the right choice.

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