Do you ever have trouble climbing in and out of your truck or SUV? Maybe you’re recovering from an injury or are just vertically challenged. Or, perhaps your passengers are the elderly and the little ones?
No matter the reasons, the right nerf bars will make your truck more accessible while also looking cool. However, this just leaves one question, which are the best nerf bars?
We will help you with all that by reviewing the best products along with a comprehensive buying guide. In addition to our reviews, we will cover other important topics such as:
- Benefits of nerf bars
- Types of bars
- Nerf bars pricing
Top Nerf Bars for Trucks & SUVs – Quick Comparison Table
A nerf bar is considered to be an essential accessory for those who need it. So, here is a comparison table showing how the top-selected products compare to one another.
Best Nerf Bars – Reviews
1. MaxMate 3-inch Stainless Bars
Topping the list is this highest-rated nerf bar that delivers it all. Made from heavy-duty stainless steel, these steps are built to withstand all sorts of damages and are also immune to rust. As such, you can bet on the bars to last for decades.
Additionally, the set features 3-inch round tubing to provide you with a superior aesthetically pleasing look. And for a contemporary design, the bars boast a glossy surface.
The pads, on the other hand, are built to be immune to UV rays for extra protection. On top of that, they are wide and non-slip. This helps keep your footing secure, which makes slipping impossible.
When it comes to the installation of these bars, it is very straightforward. You get a complete comprising all mounting hardware and DIY instructions. However, minor drilling is needed for some vehicle models.
- Durable stainless-steel construction
- Easy bolt-on installation
- Excellent price
- Ideal for all Crew cabs with 4 full-size doors
- Not compatible with 2-door trucks
- Minor drilling is required
2. Ionic 5” Stainless Steel Curved Bars
Our second top pick is these curved bars from the Ionic brand. Each unit features a gentle curve at the needs, which enhances their look and that of your vehicle. The unique design also makes them the best nerf bars for Silverado.
What’s more? The steps are constructed from 304 marine-grade stainless-steel. This makes them highly resistant to corrosive elements such as salt. As such they will perform very well in oceanside or northern environments.
Additionally, we can add that the step pads are reinforced internally to offer a safe and durable step for everyone. And at 5-inches wide, there is no doubt that these Ionic nerf bars are perfectly sized to provide you with a wide stepping surface.
As we conclude, it is worth mentioning that each mounting bracket is engineered to enhance durability and rigidity. The brackets also have a u-cut shape for easy installation with no drilling needed.
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Tough and heavy-duty construction
- Rust and corrosion-resistant
- Fits a wide range of vehicles
- Prone to dents and blemishes
- Does not include all the bolts
3. Tyger Star Armor Auto TG-AM2C20178 Kit
If you drive a GMC Canyon or a Chevy Colorado, then look no further as this kit is a compatible fit. On the flip side, though, these side steps will only fit 2015-2021 crew cab models with only 4 full-size doors.
But here is the best part; the bars are forged with carbon steel, which makes them extremely durable and strong. As such, they can withstand nearly all possible kinds of stress, including high-weight load.
Additionally, the kit features heavy-duty 2-inch diameter tubes with seamless robotic welding to ensure superior sturdiness. On top of that, the tubes are equipped with sealed end caps to keep both dirt and water out.
You will also be happy to learn that the boards are engineered with an E-Coating textured black finish for extra protection. Therefore, you don’t have to worry that the bars might rust or corrode prematurely.
- 5-year hassle-free warranty
- Quick bolt-on installation
- Dual girder system for added protection
- Textured finish for extra grip
- The painted finish comes off quickly
- Middle mounts don’t line up
4. Tyger Auto Textured Black TG-SS2F35148 Tyger Rider
For the latest Ford Ranger SuperCrew, these nerf bars are an excellent choice. They feature a unique oval-tube design that offers a 3.5” wider step pad surface. Consequently, this helps ensure added stability.
You will also be pleased to know that the steps are covered with an e-coating textured black finish. This feature is designed to protect them from corrosive elements and rust.
As if that’s not enough, these units are forged seamlessly with premium carbon steel to ensure long-lasting performance. And for your peace of mind, the manufacturer provides you a 5-year hassle-free warranty.
Another area that these side steps don’t disappoint is the installation process. The bars come with pre-drilled holes on the bottom to allow easy and quick bolt-on installation with no drilling needed.
- End caps to keep dirt and water out
- Premium and seamless build
- Superior protection against rust, dirt, and water
- Offers a clean yet rugged look
- Passenger side brackets don’t line up properly
- Cannot be used on 2 full-size front door trucks
5. TAC 2pc Side Steps
If you’re on a budget and looking for quality nerf bars, these TAC 2pc Side Steps are worth checking out. They are constructed from polished stainless-steel oval tubes, which makes them ultra-strong and also heavy-duty.
On top of that, each unit features a polished chrome finish so it can withstand rust, fades, and corrosion. So, if you live in a place that rains or snows occasionally, you don’t have to worry about the bars accumulating rust.
Additionally, the boards are equipped with 3-inches wide non-slip step pads. This makes it convenient for you to get in and out of your truck while also providing extra protection.
More importantly, the manufacturer provides you with a standard 3-year warranty that protects the bars against manufacturing defects. Therefore, you can rest easy knowing that the kit is made with durability in mind.
- No drilling or cutting is required
- Made from marine-grade stainless steel
- Custom-made brackets
- Non-slip and UV-resistant step pad
- Instruction could have been a little more clear
- Fall short as they come with just 2 end supports
6. N-FAB Nerf Steps J1980T Textured Black
There isn’t much you could want from a set of high-quality nerf bars that N-FAB steps don’t check off here. Manufactured with today’s work truck in mind, these steps feature a patented hoop step design for convenient access to your vehicle.
And guess what? These n-fab nerf bars are available in three finish options, including textured black finish, gloss finish, and stainless-steel finish. All of these finish options provide ultimate rust and corrosion-resistance.
As if that’s not enough, the bars are made from heavy-gauge tubular steel for maximum strength and long-lasting performance. Additionally, each unit is fully welded with integrated mounting brackets for added strength.
Besides being textured, the boards are manufactured with a dimpled step plate to ensure excellent traction and stability in all weather conditions. So, you don’t need to worry about accidental slips, even when wearing wet shoes.
- Offers a clean modern look
- Hoop step design allows ease of access
- Excellent quality and finish
- Installation is a breeze
- Ends are not sealed to keep water out
- Rust out pretty easily
7. APS Auto Black 6 Inches Nerf Bars
Looking for the best nerf bars for Toyota Tacoma available on the market? If yes, you might find this set worth considering. These bars are built to bolt-on quickly and easily, thanks to the few mounting points. Besides, drilling is not needed.
What’s more? These nerf steps boast a drop-down step design for easy access to your 2005-2021 Tacoma. Additionally, they are made to fit high and tight to your vehicle’s body for a heavy-duty and modern style.
When it comes to the performance of these units, they are constructed from high-quality carbon steel. So, not only are they shock-resistant but also extremely strong to handle up to 300 lbs. load capacity.
More so, the boards use a distinct powder-coating technique along with a matte black finish for added durability. AS such, it’s able to easily resist rust, fades, and even corrosion.
- Sturdy grip step plate for secure footing
- Installs in less than an hour
- 5-year limited warranty against defects
- Gives the Tacoma a nice and aggressive look
- Some of the weld spots are not smooth
- Rusts pretty quickly
8. TAC Side Steps 3-inches Black Side Bars
Here we have got yet another pair of bars from the TAC brand. These units feature a UV-resistant and non-slip pad for long-lasting durability. The non-slip pad, on the other hand, ensures secure and safe footing.
Similar to most units on this list, this set is easy to install and comes with all the necessary mounting hardware. Of course, this is because there is no drilling or even cutting needed. Installation is bolt-on.
And guess what? The bars are built from marine-grade stainless-steel, which makes them both heavy-duty and ultra-strong.
Equally important is that the step bars are engineered with a black powder finish to protect them against rust and corrosion. This makes them perfect for use in all weather conditions, including when it’s snowing.
- Hassle-free 3-year warranty
- Slip-proof wide stepping pads
- Sealed ends for water and dirt protection
- Heavy-duty round tube design
- Instructions are hard to comprehend
- They are labeled wrongly
9. HS Power 4” S/S Chrome Side Step
By choosing to install these nerf bars, all your passengers will be sure to thank you. This is because they are built to provide the ease and comfort of climbing in and out of your truck. Besides, they will enhance the look of your vehicle.
And when it comes to durability, these units will not disappoint you. As it turns out, the boards are manufactured from T-304 full stainless-steel. As such, not only are they heavy-duty but also rust and corrosion-resistant.
Additionally, the steps are constructed to fit high and tight for a sturdy and secure fit. This design also provides your truck with a cleaner and modern look.
Featuring a 4-inch sidestep, this product is wide enough to provide you with a stable and spacious steeping surface. On top of that, it boasts an oval design for a more secure step area and footing.
- Can handle up to 465 lbs. load
- 5-year warranty against corrosive elements
- Looks aesthetically pleasing
- Compatible fit for 1999-2015 Ford trucks
- Professional installation is recommended
- Not sturdy enough for off-roading
10. TAC Side Steps 5” Oval Bend Side Bars
For 2019-2021 GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado, these TAC Side Steps are not relatively affordable but also high-quality. They feature a durable stainless-steel finish with polished or gloss black powder coating for the best rust protection.
Additionally, these nerf bars are equipped with an oval bend tube design that provides you with extra-wide stepping areas. The design also gives your vehicle a stylish appearance and added protection.
You will also be happy to know that these units are backed by a hassle-free 3-year warranty against any manufacturing defects. So, you can buy the bars with confidence knowing that they are OE quality.
On top of that, the set boasts easy bolt-on installation. Therefore, you don’t need to pay a professional to install them for you. Besides, all the mounting brackets and instructions guide are included.
- Non-slip and wide step pad
- Made from ultra-strong stainless-steel
- Installation is easy and quick
- Ends are water and dirt-resistant
- Installation instructions are not very clear
- Some bolts tend to spin when tightened
11. Lund 23810600 Black Steel 5” Bars
The last model on our list is also an appealing choice for many truck owners. This is probably because the steps combine strength, style, and functionality. Besides, they are a perfect fit for full-size SUVs and trucks.
However, what we like most about these units is their curved end design that tucks back under the edge of the vehicle. Consequently, this gives your truck a clean yet modern look.
What’s more? The Lund 23810600 Black Steel 5” Bars feature a 5-inch oval step to provide you with an extra-wide stepping area. As a result, this ensures solid traction, stability, and safe footing when getting in and out of your car.
Featuring solid steel constructions, these units are strong and durable enough to support up to 350 lbs. load capacity. They are also covered with black powder steel coating to protect them against corrosion.
- Comes pre-assembled for easy installation
- Rugged and durable build
- Non-slip flat pads for excellent traction
- Brackets offer a precise fit
- Not the best quality powder coating
- Does not come with a warranty
Top Benefits of Installing Nerf Bars
Similar to running bars, nerf bars also offer a wide range of benefits. Of course, most of these benefits are similar to those of running boards. They include:
Offering a Step-up
Climbing into a truck and some SUVs can require a big step. As such, it can be harder for shot people, the elderly, and children to get in and out of your vehicle.
Nerf bars just like running bars add steps to the driver and passenger doors. Consequently, this makes it easier to climb into the truck.
Additionally, these units are designed to provide extra protection for your vehicle. You see, the rails of the bars are built to extend between the front and back tires. As a result, this helps to protect your truck’s body.
Not only do they prevent side-panel scratches but deflect gritty mid, flying rocks, and any other sharp objects. Also, they can prevent you from scraping the undercarriage in case you go over a huge bump.
It is hard to deny the cool aesthetics of nerf bars. These units come in a range of finish options, including powder-coat and chrome. Also, they are available in different contemporary designs.
It is just a matter of choosing the right bars that complement your truck’s look. For instance, if your vehicle got chrome accents, then you might want to choose a kit with a chrome finish.
On the other hand, if you want a tougher or rugged look, black powder-coated units would be the best.
Different Types of Nerf Bars
Just like we had mentioned earlier, nerf bars are available in various designs and styles. So, below are the main options to choose from.
These are the most common types of nerf bars. The steps span from just behind the front wheel to behind the driver and passenger’s door. Their shorter length, therefore, provides you with more flexibility and clearance.
As such, they are best suited for vehicles that are used for daily driving, thanks to their excellent off-roading capabilities.
Compared to carb-length units, wheel-to-wheel bars are built to extend farther. As such, they provide you with a third step at the rear wheel. This makes it easier to access your truck bed, utility racks, and rooftop.
Consequently, they are best suited for vehicles with front and back seats.
The oval bars are somewhere between round and flat. However, their unique shape offers a wider stepping area compared to their round models.
The best part is that they are designed to be bolt-on for ease of installation without drilling. On top of that, these units come in a variety of finishes and designs to match your needs.
Lastly, we’ve got sports bars. They are thinner and don’t have a flat step area that oval nerf bars have. As such, they are meant for enhancing the looks of your car than for use.
Additionally, their load capacity is lower and designed to be mounted on the rocker panel. This makes them suitable for vehicles that sit lower to the ground.
Nerf Bars Pricing
It is worth mentioning that these units are available in different prices range. Some will cost less than 200 bucks and others more.
With less than 200 dollars, you can get excellent bars as we’ve seen in this review. However, these are the most basic units.
Some of the features to expect from these bars are a non-slip pad, rust, and corrosion-resistance coating. Also, they have a UV-resistant top and durable stainless-steel construction. On the flip side, though, they are a bit thinner.
$200 to $300
Next up, we’ve got units that range between 200 to 300 bucks. Most of the bars in our list fall into this range.
Generally, such units feature chrome and powder coating options for superior rust and corrosion protection. Also, their tubing tends to vary in diameter. You can get units with 3 to 5-inches.
$300 & Up
These nerf bars are considered to be more high-quality than the rest. Most of them are longer, which makes them perfect for extended cabs.
Additionally, there are shorter units but with more premium features like special rust-and corrosion finish, fancy designs, or extra side steps.
Buying Guide – What Key Features to Look Out For
Let’s be honest, because of the many nerf bar options available on the market, choosing the best one can be daunting. But don’t worry because, in this article, we’re going to cover the features to consider before making your purchase.
One of the first features to consider is the material the bars are made from. Generally, you can find units made from aluminum or stainless steel.
However, aluminum nerf bars are not really the best in terms of quality. Compared to steel bars, aluminum units are not always durable. The good thing is that aluminum is lightweight and easier to handle.
Stainless-steel bars, on the other hand, are extremely durable. But it’s worth noting that these side steps use different types of steel.
Of course, marine-grade steel is the most high-quality and durable. This material is also corrosion-resistance, even when exposed to water.
Another feature worth considering is the size of your truck or SUV. Therefore, you will need to measure your vehicle and then choose the right length of bars.
While choosing the right length, you will have to decide if you want the steps to extend just under the cab. Or perhaps from wheel to wheel.
Just remember those cab length units are best for off-roading while wheel length bars are ideal for work trucks.
If you want the nerf bars to enhance the overall look of your truck, you’ll need to choose the right finish. Typically, most units will either have a black powder-coated or chrome finish. Additionally, some steps may have a polished metal finish.
All of the above finish options offer excellent rust and corrosion resistance. As such, they are highly durable. However, if your vehicle does not chrome accents, we recommend getting a bar with a chrome finish.
Nerf bars come in three basic shapes, including flat, oval, and round. As the name suggests, flat units feature a solid platform on the entire length of the vehicle.
When it comes to round bars, they have rounded tips and are designed more for aesthetics. They are also generally safer because the tips easily brush away debris.
Oval nerf bars, on the other hand, provide a great balance between the round and flat options. As such, they offer a wider surface for stepping when climbing in and out of your vehicle.
Besides the material, size, finish, and shape of the nerf bars, there are minor features to keep in consideration. These include:
Running Boards vs. Nerf Bars
Both options are built to provide you with a safe and secure stepping surface when climbing in and out of the truck. However, they create different looks.
Therefore, the best one depends on the option that will enhance your truck’s looks while also offering a secure stepping area.
Before purchasing your preferred bars, make sure they are a perfect fit for your specific vehicle type and model. Some units will fit only certain make of cars like Toyota Tacoma and Chevy Silverado.
That said, there are universal bars that offer a custom fit for a wide variety of trucks and SUVs.
More importantly, you should consider the size of the platform you will be placing your feet on. Units with larger and flat step areas allow you to easily place your foot onto them.
Also, make sure the platform is non-slip and offers excellent traction for added stability.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Nerf Bars
Now that you know how to choose the right step bars, let’s check out the top frequently asked questions.
Q: Are nerf bars really worth it?
A: Yes, if you want easier access to your vehicle and would like to protect it from rock chips and other debris.
Q: Are Ionic bars any good?
A: They are a good value for money in terms of durability. The steps are also easy to install and make stepping in and out of the truck convenient.
Q: How do I install nerf bars?
A: Most units come with pre-drilled holes for easy bolt-on installation. Therefore, you don’t need to do any drilling or cutting. Besides, most manufacturers always provide installation instructions.
Which is the Best?
The MaxMate 3-inch Stainless Bars are our best overall kit. Not only do these steps look good, but they are also solidly built. On top of that, they are slip-proof, UV-resistant, and boast easy bolt-on installation.
The Final Word
Every truck or SUV on the market will look more stylish and rugged with a set of high-quality nerf bars installed. Just make sure to pick the right bars that suit your car’s make and model from our comprehensive list above.