4 Different Nerf Bar Types and How to Identify Them

BY MICHAEL D.

Safety, stability and style – that’s what a set of nerf bars brings to any truck, Jeep or SUV worth its salt. No matter the shape your motor carriage takes, you can find the bars, side steps or running boards to suit your application. Especially handy if it sits a little higher off the ground, they offer a sturdy step up into your cab, safety even in wet weather and come in a wide range of custom finishes for a look all your own.

But that doesn’t mean that all nerf bars are created equal, or that they’re interchangeable. Depending on what you drive and what you’re going for, you need to be precise in your selection. Here, we’ll break down the differences between the four commonest nerf bar types currently on the market.

1

CAB-LENGTH NERF BARS

Spanning from just behind the front wheel to just behind the door on both driver and passenger sides, each tube offers two treaded step pads to enhance traction and deliver slip-free footing. They also help preserve your paintjob against damage by kicked-up rocks and other debris. They are perhaps the best-suited for off-roading, thanks to greater ground-clearance and flexibility. Brands included in our own lineup include ICI, ProZ and Steelcraft.

2

WHEEL-TO-WHEEL NERF BARS

Ideal for trucks, wheel-to-wheel nerf bars extend farther than the previous example but feature the added benefit of a third step at the rear wheel. This makes it easier to reach your truck bed, as well as the roof and any utility racks you may have installed. Step pads assist with entry and exit, but they don’t include a third for bed access. Some of our wheel-to-wheel bars were made by Iron Cross, N-Fab and Go Rhino.

3

OVAL NERF BARS

With their unique shape – somewhere between round and flat – oval nerf bars provide a wider space to plant your foot than seen on round bar models. This will give both young and elderly passengers more assurance and comfort as they step inside your ride. They’ve got style a mile-wide (not literally, of course), and typically bolt right onto most vehicles, with no drilling required. Representative brands include Dee Zee, Lund and Raptor Series.

4

SPORT TUBES

Sport tubes, like these ones from Westin, have a smaller tubing diameter than what is standard, which means they have a very low weight capacity and are for decoration only. They mount to the rocker panel, making them ideal for trucks sitting lower to the ground, with ends that curve under your vehicle.

We also carry nerf bars with side steps allowing room for one foot at a time, with steps located right under the door, and even running boards with lights to make sure you don’t stumble or slip when you’re out past your lights-out. But now that you have a better idea of what separates one nerf bar from another, check out our extensive collection and make the change.