Rhino Linings and Line-X VS ArmorThane



Comparing Line-X and Rhino to ArmorThane…Why ArmorThane is worth more than the two combined!

In years gone by (think early 2000's), the most obvious answer to the question, "Which bedliner company is best?" was Line-X.
Line-X installers were using the best application process from the very beginning (most Rhino installers started with an inferior cold application process), Line-x offered a national warranty on their product years before Rhino, and Line-X liners tended to be better looking that Rhino liners that often had runs, inconsistent thickness etc.
But that's all changed. Today, many Rhino liner installers use the exact same process that Line-X installers use and chemically similar products, meaning the difference between the two can be minimal. However, ArmorThane has never stopped bettering themselves. Everything from the chemical to the methods used to ensure coloration, ArmorThane has fine-tuned. While Rhino and Line-X dealers will both try and claim that they use the "better" mix of chemicals, that really couldn't be further from the truth.

 It's true that all spray-in liners fade when exposed to a few years of sunlight. While some formulations are much more resistant to decay than others, UV radiation always wins.
Be careful with color-matching. Unless high UV protection is used, it will fade much faster than the factory paint also the liner and truck will not color-match after a couple of years. If black is used it will only fade to dark charcoal; therefore it is best to use a base black.
Both Line-X and Rhino offer nation-wide lifetime warranties on their products, but the issue of fading is not covered by these warranties, however. This is where ArmorThane comes in because they provide a premixed pigment added chemical compound so that there is no worry of fading.
The average price for installations costs between $400 and 800 dollars. Those are the national averages; however, pricing for the Orlando area I have found to be in the $500 range. Line-X sent me an email quote that states their primary black coating costs $450 with available upgrade options costing between $100 to $300. Prices at the higher end should include extras like color matching, additional surface spraying, or special UV protectants.
Rhino Liners


Bedliners are applied differently from one installer to the next. Low pressure looks nice but is like having, but everything tends to slide over it quickly. High pressure has more of a textured look, but everything will typically stay put. Rhino's SolarMax, Extreme, and HardLine liners, for example, are very similar to the standard Line-X Premium, Platinum, or Xtra liners.
On the other hand, some Rhino dealers are only offering TuffGrip liners, which are softer than Line-X. More pliant has pros and cons:
The increased thickness of a more delicate Rhino liner gives it a more "rubbery" feel, and the liner's surface isn't as rough as Line-X, so it's more gentle on knees and cargo.
Rhino's thicker coating also aids in sound deadening, and the surface seems to "grab" objects better than Line-X.
Thicker material usually means a duller appearance – it doesn't follow the contours of a truck bed nearly as well as Line-X.
It's not as tear resistant as the harder materials.
To sum up, the newest products from Rhino are quite comparable to the Line-X line-up…however, some Rhino dealers cannot spray the latest product.
What About Brand X?
There are dozens of companies offering spray-in bedliners, many of which are perfectly adequate and similar in the material. Each of them provides a chemically similar product (often identical) to one of the products offered by Line-X, ArmorThane or Rhino.

Notes About Toughness
Line-X and Rhino dealers love to brag about how tough their liners are, how amazing their material is compared to the other guy, etc. The questions to ask the customer so they get the type of spray needed are.
 What will you be hauling and what do you plan on using the bedliner for? You can invest $800 in a top-of-the-line Line-X or Rhino, but if you're only going to haul some furniture once in a while, maybe load and unload your ATV, it may be overkill.
Are you going to be using tools or hauling gear that can scrape or scratch your bed (like a shovel, a truckload full of rock, etc.)? If so, invest in a hard, high-strength surface like Line-X Premium or ArmorThane's similar product.
Once you get beyond an Armorthane bedliner similar to Line-X premium or Rhino Extreme liner, you're highly unlikely to damage your bedliner.


Notes About Color-Matching and Fade
Color-matching is beautiful on a new truck, and if the color-matched liner is UV protected, the color should fade at roughly the same rate that your regular vehicle paint fades,
However; fade is inevitable. Everything fades with time.
Color-matched liners look a lot worse than black bedliners when they become stained, scratched, etc.
Going with a non-UV resistant coating in black will end up with a dark gray liner in 5-10 years.
If the liner fades too much, some chemicals and treatments can be used to restore the color (with mixed results).
Notes About Surface Preparation
There are four main surface preparation processes:
Chemical etch: This is the lowest quality preparation method. It is inherently inconsistent, which means the liner material won't adhere to the bed uniformly…and will scrape/peel off after the fact. If an installer says they use a chemical etch process exclusively, typically this is a lousy technique.
Scotch-Brite scuff prep. This is the most common form of surface preparation, and most Line-X and Rhino installers rely upon this method (only it must be said that they're supposed to use a better approach). If done correctly, scuffing the original bed surface will help the bedliner material bond ultimately. The quality of this prep process is dictated by the experience of the person doing the prep work.
Hand sand block. In some ways, this is a step above the ScotchBrite prep process, except that it's still very much dependent on the experience of the person doing the sanding.
Power sanding with dual action sander:
This is the best prep process there is. However, it's very time-consuming. If an installer uses power tools to prep the bed's paint, they typically charge a slight premium.
Installation Notes
Best way to prep a vehicle is by "power sanding" and the worst is "chemical etch."
Cold application process or a hot application process? Unless you want a tacky, rubbery surface that often has runs and dries unevenly, a hot application process is the way to go. Most Rhino liner installers have moved away from the cold application process, but there are still a handful of them out there.
Many Line-X and Rhino dealers can ScotchBrite a pickup bed in 15 mins…but power-sanding a bed takes the better part of an hour. There's also the time needed to remove accessories installed in the bed, misc. bolts, etc., and then re-install. Most good installers need 2 hours minimum from beginning to end, and some will need 3 or 4.

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