Our Top 10 Nerf Bars & Running Boards (2020 Edition)

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Best nerf bars for 2020, N-Fab Gladiator nerf bars

Getting in and out of your truck or SUV shouldn’t take gymnastics training. Even if you’re able to stick the landing, that perfect 10 isn’t worth the stress of having to leap from the cab when it’s icy on the ground. Thankfully, nerf steps and running boards are here to bridge the gap. Some remain in place and others automatically extend when you open your door. There are a lot of choices. 

Since AutoAnything only wants you to have the best, we’ve chosen 10 of the best nerf steps/bars and running boards for the year. We based our selections on our own evaluation and real customer reviews.

But first, let’s look at some of the best companies in the nerf bar and running board game right now. 

The Best Running Board and Nerf Bar Companies

There are a lot of companies in the after-market game. So, who do you turn to for the best quality running boards for trucks and SUVs?

We’ve done the research for you. These companies are producing products with the best engineering and compatibility for a range of vehicles. When you’re looking for a brand to trust with your step needs, here’s a good place to start.  

Amp Research PowerStep XLAMP Research

Focused on solving actual problems faced by drivers, AMP Research has a four-step engineering process. They define needs, assume nothing, remember that less is more, then use and abuse their products to ensure they last the test of time. Their solutions are simple and sleek, so AMP running boards are a great no-fuss option. 

N-Fab

This company has been creating heavy duty, high-end nerf bars and other off-roading accessories since the 1980’s. N-Fab is known for using heavy gauge .084-wall steel in their tubular parts and welded one-piece construction. With more than 400 nerf bars for trucks and SUVs available, they have the largest selection on the market. 

APS Auto Parts

APS may be known for its grille manufacturing — the release a whopping 15-20 new models to the market every month — but they’ve also been making top-notch nerf bars and running boards since 2007. Their products fit both foreign and domestic vehicles. 

Aries oval nerf barsAries Automotive

Aries nerf bars and running boards are designed and marketed by people who are not only automotive enthusiasts, but also professional builders. Their inventory of truck, SUV, and car accessories include bull bars, side bars, running boards, and more. The company only makes custom fit products, available for a wide array of makes and models. 

Westin Automotive

This company specializes in all things after-market automotive, so they know a thing or two (or three) about upgrading your ride with the best add-ons. All of their products are designed and tested in California. Westin running boards have to pass extensive engineering testing, and then the best of the best are handpicked by the sales team to make it to your truck. The products are also treated against rust, so they’re ideal even in cold weather conditions or rainy climates. 

Top 10 Nerf Bars and Running Boards 

As we’ve mentioned, some running boards stay in place and others extend when you open a door. Some nerf bars are small and nearly hidden, while others offer a wide step and plenty of traction. You can customize your entry and exit situation depending on your needs.

Here are 10 of the best running boards and nerf bars for trucks and other tall vehicles where having an extra boost has never not come in handy. 

1. AMP Research Power Step Running BoardsAmp Research Power Step Running Boards

List Price: $1,075.00 – $1,915.94 /kit

Built to extend and contract as you open and close your doors, these power step running boards are made from strong aluminum and able to hold up to 600 pounds. Plus, an integrated light system helps you safely step in any conditions. You can also pick up a 2” extension kit if you drive a lifted truck.

The bottom line: these running boards extend 10-12” inches from your vehicle within 1 second of opening your door. It doesn’t get much more convenient. Our customers say these running boards are really durable and earn plenty of compliments. 

2. N-Fab Nerf Steps

Best nerf bars and steps for off roading N-fab nerf steps

List Price: $369.95 – $579.95 /pair

These simple nerf steps are available in cab-length, bed-access and wheel-to-wheel custom configurations. Bed-access steps have three individual steps, while the other two configurations have two steps. The steel bars are tested to withstand 465 pounds. You can choose between high-gloss and matte on all types, with the added option of polished stainless steel on the wheel-to-wheel style.

Customers say they’re easy to install and make it much easier for short passengers to access the cab. 

3. APS Drop Step Side Steps

APS Drop Down Style Nerf Bars Side Steps

List Price: $279.99 – $390.99 /pair

Made from carbon steel, these stationary drop steps are also covered in black powdercoat. They feature a rocker panel mounting style and seamlessly blend into any factory frame. The drop side steps look great against a white exterior and practically disappear altogether if you have a black truck. Grated holes add extra traction, so you can always step up or down without fear of sliding unexpectedly.

Customers like these side steps so much because they have a no-drill installation and look like they’re a part of the original equipment. 

4. APS 5″ iStep Side Steps

APS 5" running boards

List Price: $214.99 – $251.99

No plastic allowed. These 5-inch wide side steps are made from 100% metal. Aircraft-grade aluminum, to be exact. If that sounds impressive, it’s because it is.

You can choose from a polished or black finish — both promise to be rust- and corrosion-resistant. The 5-inch top of the bars is specifically engineered with enough traction to be non-slip. In other words: You can step onto these bars come rain or shine. The easy bolt-on installation means you don’t have to be a mechanic to upgrade your vehicle. Customers love these because they’re so easy to install and they look more expensive than they are. 

5. AutoAnything SELECT 3″ Round Nerf Bars

AutoAnything Select 3" Round Nerf Bars

List Price: $180.99 – $325.99 /pair

Where simplicity meets quality, you’ll find these round nerf bars for trucks from AutoAnything. Made from stainless steel or powder-covered carbon steel (depending on your preferred finish), the bars have a no-drill installation that even someone who forgets which screwdriver is the Philips could handle. Custom mounting brackets are included and the polyethylene step pads add the bonus of non-slip grip for your safety.

Customers say the quality of these nerf bars is great and they would buy them again if given the chance. 

6. Aries ActionTrac Powered Running Boards

Aries ActionTrac powered truck steps

List Price: $2,034.99 /pair

This incredibly engineered set of running boards has a step-within-a-step design. Two steps for the price of one! No, really. One step remains stationary all the time, and the second running board automatically drops down 8 inches when you open the door. The retractable step is protected by metal housing, so the electronics and pivot points are always protected by the elements when not in use.

The running boards are made from 6061-T6 aluminum and use a single, quiet rotary motor. LED lights help you see the steps and safely navigate your way in and out of the cab no matter what. Customers say the second step makes a huge difference in how well the running boards function on tall trucks. 

7. N-Fab Podium Nerf Steps

N-Fab Podium side steps

List Price: $463.95 – $711.95 /pair

These nerf steps have a modern look and large step plate. That means they look good and can accommodate large shoes.

A 3-inch diameter tube sits snugly against the body of the truck, while the step plate is available in either shiny high-polished metal or black powder-coated metal. The steps are sold in cab length and wheel-to-wheel running board configurations. They are able to fit your stock or custom lifted truck — any time you need a step up, these nerf steps are reporting for duty.

Customers love these nerf steps because the appearance is top-notch and they get the job done. 

8. Westin Pro Traxx 4″ Oval Nerf Bars

Westin Pro Traxx 4" Nerf Bars

List Price: $210.66 – $381.99 /pair

These 4-inch oval nerf boards are are unique and stylish. The domed ends mimic a factory look, and the step pad gives you better footing while you’re getting in and out of the cab.

The step area is also designed to keep water and mud out — deep waterways keep liquid from pooling. Available in stainless steel or mild steel, the classic look of these sturdy bars won’t go out of style any time soon. Our customers love these bars because they look good and can add a more rugged aesthetic to even a city truck. 

9. APS 4″ iStep Side Steps

APS 5" iStep Side Steps

List Price: $195.99 – $204.99 /pair

Like their 5-inch counterparts (recommended above), these no-plastic side steps look great and provide a lot of traction. The steps are made from aircraft-grade 6061 aluminum and made to fit a variety of trucks, SUVs, and Jeeps.

Go with a dramatic black look, or add some polished steel to the mix. With finishes are classic and won’t compromise the durability. Brackets and hardware are included.

Customers rated these among the best running boards for trucks because they’re so affordable and low profile. 

10. Westin HDX Drop Steps

Westin HDX Drop Steps

List Price: $522.07 – $1,122.67/pair

Sold in complete kits, these steps definitely look like they were factory installed. The steps are die stamped for added traction and the uniform color includes a textured black powder-coated finish.

One-piece steel construction means you never have to worry about tricky installation or a bunch of missing parts. In fact, the only part that’s removeable is the step plate, which makes it easy to clean. Customers love these particular drop steps because they match black bumpers perfectly and they fit like a glove on most makes and models. 

If your truck needs a step up, it’s time to order some new running boards or nerf steps. These 10 options are just the tip of the iceberg. You can browse AutoAnything for an even wider array of nerf bars for your truck or other vehicle. 

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I am a writer and adventure travel blogger. I enjoy slow travel and going where there aren't roads - be it overlanding with my 1986 Ford Econoline campervan or my Surly Disc Trucker touring bike. Heck, sometimes, I'll even grab a backpack and hike. I'm more of a DIY person and spend way too many hours YouTubing videos about campervan renovations.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Have 2018 Tacoma access Sport with a set of three inch Nerf Bars. Need 2 brackets, one for each center or rear ( which are same size and pattern.
    Do you sell brackets for same?

    • Hey Dennis,

      We don’t sell just the brackets typically because they vary so much between car model and the specific nerf bars you have, but if you have info on what nerf bars you have, we might be able to contact the manufacturer and get you the brackets from them.

      Cheers!
      Garrett

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