Maybe you’re an SUV driver who loves a weekend adventure and driving a tall vehicle so you can always see two cars ahead. You also want to get into your car without needing to do preparation lunges, and we don’t blame you.
Or are you a truck driver who wants a big and rugged look for your rig? You’ve added the biggest tires you could find to your vehicle and you practically need a trampoline to get inside. Oops. You’re going to need a little help.
Whether you drive a huge Ford Truck or a large Chevy SUV, truck running boards help you and your passengers safely get into the cab. Not only do the best running boards and pickup truck side steps help you step up into your vehicle — but they can can deflect stuff that flies up from the road. That’s a bonus worth celebrating.
Let’s talk about what separates wheel-to-wheel running boards from cab length boards and which ones have earned high ratings from our real customer reviews.
Wheel-to-Wheel Running Boards vs. Cab Length
The short answer of what separates a wheel-to-wheel running board from a cab running board is simply the length.
As the name suggests, a wheel-to-wheel running board extends all the way from the front wheel well to the rear one. A cab-length running board, on the other hand, reaches from the front wheel well to the end of the front cab. That means the very front of the truck bed does not have a running board attached.
The right running board for you depends on your needs and your type of vehicle. Since SUVs don’t have a bed, all running boards are wheel-to-wheel. But, if you drive a truck and are weighing the pros and cons, here’s a look at the benefits of each type of running board.
Benefits of wheel-to-wheel running boards:
- Allow easier access to the top of your truck bed, including attached toolboxes
- Make it possible to load your truck roof from the side without a step stool
- Protect more than just the cab from kicked up dirt and debris
- Come in sturdy and stationary nerf step and running board options
Benefits of cab length running Boards:
- Provide more clearance for rear wheels when off-roading
- Defend cab paint against kicked up rocks
- Often more affordable than wheel-to-wheel models
- Have lots power-operated board options that automatically drop when the door opens
Who Needs Wheel-to-Wheel Running Boards?
If you’re not sure whether this after-market addition is right for your vehicle, might we point out how many people can benefit from a new set of running boards?
Not only are they great for the vertically challenged among us, but they can serve other needs, too. Here are just some of the types of drivers who we think will love wheel-to-wheel truck running boards.
- Truck drivers who need frequent access to the top of their truck bed
- Families with small children who have a hard time getting in and out of a tall vehicle
- SUV and truck drivers who want some added paint protection when they’re on unpaved roads and rocks start kicking up
- SUV drivers who need frequent access to their roof rack
- Truck drivers with a lifted vehicle
- Drivers in winter climates who need more traction when climbing in and out of their vehicle on icy terrain
- Drivers with knee or back problems who struggle with pulling themselves into the cab
The Best Wheel-to-Wheel Running Boards for Trucks
Truck drivers often fall into two categories: People who want their rig to be as rugged as possible, and people concerned with the aesthetic of their truck.
If you want to go rugged, all-black running boards with a grated top are an excellent choice. For the right look, a silver polished finish makes your truck shine extra hard. We have options for both types of drivers.
List Price: $339.67 – $542.57 /pair
Custom fit. Rubberized step. Mounting kit. The gang’s all here. These Westin running boards are available in multiple lengths, including wheel-to-wheel (even for long cabs).
The aluminum construction has molded polymer end caps that finish the look, help the boards blend into your truck’s exterior, and protect the running boards from the elements. Measuring at 4.5 inches wide, these Westin running boards are also covered in anti-slip rubber that keeps you safe. Customers say the boards look sharp and feel like a natural addition to their truck.
List Price: $362.94 – $907.05 /pair
If you’re looking for a super-wide step, these running boards are for you. The stepping width is 7 inches wide. Plus, the steps are made from durable 5052-H32 aluminum.
Not only does the grip step design give you traction when getting in and out of your vehicle, but you can scrape your boots on them to get rid of mud and dirt before you hop in the cab. The rugged design is covered in a black powder coat to add to the durability. This step is compatible with the optional rear step, too. Customers say the grip on the steps is unparalleled and they’re built tough.
List Price: $287.99 /pair
Not only are ProZ running boards made to extend from wheel to wheel, but the aluminum construction is super strong.
A non-slip rubber surface on the top can be paired with either a silver or black finish (depending on your vehicle color and personal preference). Either way, you get stainless steel trim.
The bottom line is that you’re getting OE quality running boards when you grab a set of ProZ Premium boards. Customers like this model because they’re so affordable and they don’t need modifications to fit or be installed on most SUVs.
List Price: $217.35 – $284.64 /kit
These 6-inch wide boards match OE, and they are available in either polished steel or black powder coat. They are textured across the entire width where the stepping pads are secured.
If you have a second door on your truck, your wheel-to-wheel running boards will be customized with an additional tripped pad to accommodate your needs. Overall, they look modern and masculine without sacrificing any durability. Customers like these running boards because they’re so strong.
The Best Wheel-to-Wheel Running Boards for SUVs
SUVs have different needs. You don’t need quick access to an open bed — you need to get your bike down from the roof rack and a boost into the driver’s seat.
Wheel-to-wheel running boards for SUVs are designed to look natural and be more fashion than function. Though, you can get the best of both worlds from our top picks.
List Price: $544.50 /pair
These running boards are simple, available in black or silver, and get the job done while looking like they were a part of your vehicle all along.
The step area is nearly six inches wide, making it easy to get a proper grip with your shoes in any condition. The diamond pattern on the running boards gives you added traction, too. Even better, these running boards are custom fit for your vehicle’s exact make and model. Customers love them because they’re sturdy and look like original equipment.
List Price: $248.64 – $283.93 /pair
Steelcraft running boards are crafted from aluminum with a stainless steel trim, making them durable and able to stand the test of time. A rubberized surface offers an excellent grip and channels that naturally stop water from pooling. Custom mounting brackets mean you never have to drill into your vehicle to mount the running boards, which are also custom fit to your make and model.
Customers say these particular wheel-to-wheel running boards are easy to install and look great on SUVs.
List Price: $492.25 /pair
Rust and corrosion don’t stand a chance against these bad boys, so if you want a set of running boards that can stand up to any weather — you might have found the right set for your SUV.
Not only are these Aries running boards low key in their design, but they are made from an extruded aluminum base that won’t rust on you after one thunderstorm (or even 10). A non-slip, 5-inch step pad ensures you won’t fall and hurt yourself, either. As far as the front trim, you can choose between black carbonite powder coat or polished stainless steel. Customers like these because you don’t need a lift to install them and they look great.
List Price: $243.99 – $272.99
APS running boards are super popular among all drivers, so we think you’ll love these as an SUV owner. First, they’re made from aircraft-grade 6061 aluminum and have absolutely no plastic parts. They also come in both brushed aluminum and black finish. The stepping area is 6 inches wide, which is particularly big for SUV running boards.
Plus, the ridges on these SUV and pickup truck side steps are super deep, which means you get extra stepping grip and rainwater will naturally run off. APS iStep Side Step running boards are made to fit a wide range of SUVs and Jeeps. Customers say they look better than nerf bars on a large SUV and install in less than an hour.
SUV and truck running boards are a simple solution to a common problem. Or, should we say, problems.
Whether your truck is mega lifted or you just store a lot of stuff on your SUV roof, a running board or some pickup truck side steps will help you get into the cab and beyond. Running boards will also earn you a lot of thanks from passengers who are tired of taking a running start into their seat. And you can shop them all from the comfort of your couch with AutoAnything.