Best Running Boards Reviews
Today we will be focused on one type of accessory for your truck or SUV that is so popular that you can see it almost everywhere around you. As you may assume this article is about running boards. They may be a simple accessory with impressive purpose and so many benefits we cannot list all of them. To make things easier we will start by revealing how you can choose the best running board and then present you 8 models that we tested in the real world and with real cars. The end result is the complete guide on how and which model to choose from.
Buyers guide for the best running board
There are a lot of things you will have to consider and each one is equally important. To assist you especially if you are a newbie in this realm, we will start by providing the buyer’s guide. Basically, we will present you all; the factors and elements you need to consider before making the final decision.
Running boards vs nerf bars
A while back these two accessories were completely different. Running boards were common on high-end trucks and SUVs and they were designed to help passengers get into the vehicle. Yes, you can install running boards on almost any vehicle but they are still designed for large and tall vehicles. Nerf bars were originally designed for race cars. The goal here was to protect the vehicle from dents, damages and etc.
Today we can say that both types of accessory are made and used for the same purpose. The main difference is in automatic retraction. Some running boards will be deployed when the door is open and retracted as soon as you close the door. Nerf bars are a simpler version and they don’t have this feature.
The material used in construction
All products of this kind are made from strong and durable metals in order to withstand heavy-duty applications. In most cases, you will be able to get a stainless steel unit. This is the main advantage here. Stainless steel is immune to rust and corrosion and it can last for decades. It is also one of the hardest metals so it will protect the bottom part of your vehicle perfectly. Some models are also powder coated which makes them look more elegant and they are more resilient to scratches.
Today we can see another type of metal that is very popular. Aluminum has been used for running boards for a long period of time thanks to its benefits. It looks elegant and it is immune to rust and corrosion. You can use it for all sorts of applications and the running boards will still look perfect.
The process of installation
Almost all models available on the market at the moment are easy to install. You won’t have to drill any holes, weld something or etc. Basically, you need a few minutes of your time and you need basic tools. Once you are done, you don’t have any maintenance at all. We will discuss this matter a bit more later on.
The overall design depends on your individual preference. You can get models that are black, chromed, stainless steel or available in any other color. It is important than the model you are choosing is well-made and durable. Color can be easily changed if you like and you can make sure the running boards will match your car perfectly.
The finish is important as well
Finish refers to the coat of paint or the stainless steel shiny finish that is present on some models. In a nutshell, the finish should make the running boards look better, more expensive and to protect them from scratches, dust, mud and in some cases even rust. Typically you will get stainless steel or polished aluminum finish. The next common type is the powder coating. It is far more resilient than paint and it can withstand all kinds of tasks.
Weight load limit
You will see that some models come with a weight load limit. This is the maximum weight that can be placed on a single running board, not on both units. All models do have a high weight load of 300 pounds being the lowest number. More advanced models have a weight load limit of 500 pounds while some have even 700 pounds. All you need to remember is that this factor must be included in your consideration and you will need to obey it.
All running boards will come with some sort of rubber pads. They are added to allow you to climb into the vehicle and take off easily and within seconds without having to worry about slipping off the running board or anything similar. The best material is heavy-duty rubber. It will maintain its purpose even when completely wet or at the highest temperatures possible. The sub-factor you need to consider is the width of the rubber pads. The wider they are, the easier you can climb into a vehicle. Look for models that are 4-5 inches wide. They are the best and the most appealing choice for all of us.
This is a rare addition to the world of running boards but it has to be mentioned. It is usually reserved for power running boards and it is an appealing element that can make the entire set more usable and more appealing. As you would expect you need 2 LEDs at least and you need them on both sides of the vehicle.
Top Running Boards Review
iBoard Running Boards 6″ Black Custom Fit
iBoard Running Boards 6″ Black Custom Fit is one of those models we liked the most. First of all the units are made from a special type of aluminum. They are tough and durable. Keep in mind that aluminum won’t rust and it is lightweight. You won’t add a lot of weight to your vehicle which may be an important advantage. The tested model is 6 inches in size but you can have countless other options ranging between 4 inches and above.
Then we have finished. All of you can choose the running board in steel, polished steel, black or silver aluminum versions. They are made in the same way so you get 400 pounds weight load capacity and you get the same type of installation. According to the manufacturer, you will need around 2 hours to install these running boards and you are done.
The last thing we will have to reveal is the rubber addition. The running boards are completely covered with soft rubber that can be ideal when it is wet or when the snow is present. All future owners get 6 months warranty and a nice pair of running boards that are well-made, strong and popular at the moment. Keep in mind that this model is suitable for trucks with 4 doors.
- Easy to install
- Countless versions available
- Rubber pads are massive
- Appealing design
- Short warranty
- The polished aluminum version looks dull
Lund 291120 TrailRunner Multi-Fit 70″ Black Aluminum Running Boards
Here we have one model that is a very desirable and great choice for all of those who want the ultimate construction and the highest level of safety. The running boards are made from aluminum but they are lightweight, with a weight of 23 pounds. They are also very strong and durable. Thanks to the quality and strength you can understand why they come with a limited lifetime warranty.
The design isn’t great. It is basic which might be a drawback for some of you. On the other hand, the price is generally affordable and you get a nice set of running boards that can be installed on most trucks or SUVs and the installation is as you would expect, simple. We also liked the attention to detail. The running boards look more expensive than they actually are. Don’t forget that this is a heavy-duty unit so it is designed and made to be used in the harshest situations. All combined we must add that this is an excellent choice and the one that will put a smile on your face as soon as you place your order.
Although quality and warranty are excellent, there is one drawback we don’t like. The running boards don’t come with a bracket that will be essential for the installation. You will have to purchase it separately which is a hassle for some drivers. Other than that there were no major issues or drawbacks and you can enjoy a nice pair of running boards that are a great investment.
- Great warranty
- Tough construction
- Versatile applications
- Suitable for smaller vehicles
- The mounting bracket is sold separately
- Obsolete design
TYGER TG-RS2D40068 RISER For 2009-2017 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab 4inch Black Side Step Nerf Bars Running Boards
What we can say about the TYGER TG-RS2D40068 RISER For 2009-2017 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab 4inch Black Side Step Nerf Bars Running Boards? The first thing is the design. This particular model looks great and it is available in stainless steel and black versions. Both are made from the same type of metal and both are very strong and durable. The installation is simple and the set comes with all you will need to complete it within hours. On average we believe that you can install them within 2 hours possibly less.
The black version looks especially nice and modern. It is also coated with a special material that will make it completely immune to rust, corrosion and even decrease the scratches you can see on the surface. In a nutshell, it looks elegant and it is an effective addition to the product in question. There are a few more things we can reveal about this particular set.
The set is designed for trucks with 2 full-size doors and 2 narrow doors and it is covered by 5 years warranty. The looks are stunning and we believe this is one of the best-looking sets out there. Of course this is an individual preference but still, the running boards will fit nicely to any vehicle. The last thing we can reveal is the rubber pads on the top. They are also modern and look better than the ones seen on rival running boards.
- 5 years warranty
- Coated finish
- 2 available models
- Easy to install as a DIY project
- Some vehicles will require drilling
- Brackets are low on quality
Tyger Auto TG-JA2J2239B Side Step (TYGER Star Armor Kit for 2007-2018 Jeep Wrangler JK 4
The tested model is a bit more specific type of running boards than others on the list. First of all, we must start by revealing the fact they are specifically made for one type of car. As you may know, this unit is designed for Jeep Wrangler (2007-2018) model. This is also the main advantage here. The running boards are extremely easy to install and you won’t need any special skills or tools. Simply attach them to the bottom of your Jeep and you are done.
There are 5 different versions of the model suitable for different versions of Jeep. We tested 4 of them and we can add that the overall quality, simplicity of installation and the attention to detail are all at the highest level possible. The running boards are made from tubes and feature a uniform design. They are e coated which makes the surface immune to the rust or corrosion.
The design is appealing in the lack of a better word and it will match perfectly on any Jeep model. However, the running boards here are made to be functional and operational at all situations rather than to look nice. Steel construction allows you to use them for literally anything.
- 2 inches tubing
- Steel construction
- E coating
- For a specific vehicle model
- Suitable for one model of a car only
- Black finish only
Premium 4″ iBoard Running Boards Fit 07-17 Chevy/GMC Silverado/Sierra Ext.Cab/Double Cab
Premium 4″ iBoard Running Boards Fit 07-17 Chevy/GMC Silverado/Sierra Ext.Cab/Double Cab is a new model available and popular at the moment. The units we tested are 4 inches wide and they are made from aluminum. The polished exterior is definitely something you will appreciate and you will want to install the running boards here for this feature only. Of course, you may believe that there are a lot more behind the running boards in question.
The model here is super strong and comes with a rubber element at the top of the boards. It is immune to UV rays and it offers decent traction at all situations. You won’t encounter any issues when your feet are wert, when it rains or when you are covered in mud. The construction of the running boards also makes them easy to use but stylish. We had a great time installing and using the model here.
The units are made for double cab trucks. Installation is so simple that you can complete the process within one hour. The manufacturer will provide detailed instructions and all the hardware you will need in order to make this work. Thanks to the fact the special type of aluminum is used, the running boards are immune to rust, corrosion and etc.
- UV resistant
- Polished finish
- Nonslippery surface
- A simple design may be an issue for some of you
- One version available only
Westin 27-6120 Brushed Aluminum Step Boards for Trucks and SUV’s 72″
At first sight, this unit may look ordinary and simple, but it is far from that. The running boards here are designed to be perfect in any way and they are made from aluminum. The width is 4.5 inches which is higher than average. Thanks to this benefit we can add that the running boards will be used by drivers who need and want to make climbing to their vehicle easier than ever before.
The powder coating is stunning in the lack of a better word and it can make a massive difference. It will protect your investment of all issue sand make sure they look like new after a long period of time. We also liked the non-slip surface at the top and the simple installation. Customer support is stunning and probably one of the best. The logo is embedded to the surface and it makes the running boards look even better and more expensive than they actually are. In addition, this is an affordable model of top-notch quality.
The installation is simple, as we have mentioned but you will need brackets that are not included in the package. They are sold separately. Some of you will know the reason behind this issue. It is common on the most affordable running boards. Most of you will get the brackets which are reasonably affordable but some can even make their own ones and make the entire upgrade even more affordable.
- Powder coating
- Attention to detail
- Customer support
- Brackets are sold separately
iBoard Running Boards 5″ Black Custom Fit 2007-2017 Chevy Silverado / GMC Sierra Crew Cab (Nerf Bars | Side Steps | Side Bars)
The iboard is one of the best-known company in this realm and it is something you will probably consider at some point. There are a lot of benefits and advantages you can appreciate and like when it comes to this unit. The construction is worthy of the brand. You get high –end running boards that are made from aluminum and coated to meet the highest and the most demanding operations. The weight load is 300 pounds on each side. The kit comes with the brackets and all the essentials you will need. You can install these running boards as a DIY project and you won’t need any help. There is no drilling or welding involved.
Then we can see the rust protection. It is one of the best on the market and makes the model we tested suitable for the most demanding and the toughest challenges. They also look like factory running boards and they are paired with a rubber layer at the top that will eliminate the risk of slipping. You will climb into a vehicle easily and you will probably like the overall design.
The design is average. In other words, these running boards don’t look very nice but they are far from ugly addition to your truck or SUV. Warranty and customer support are as you would expect from this brand. They are perfect. All we can add at this point is that the tested model is highly recommended and comes with all the essentials you will need.
- Rust immunity
- Weigh load limit
- Average design
- Instructions are a bit complicated
Silverado/Sierra Crew Cab 5″ Oval Side Step Nerf Bar Running Board
The last model on our list has a few differences you will probably like. The first one is the main material used in the production process. The running boards are made from stainless steel and they come with 5 inches rubber pads at the top. They are non-slip additions that make a massive difference. Then we have the oval design which is stunning and reserved for the best and the most appealing running boards available on the market. We must add that the finish is outstanding and makes these units stand out from the crowd.
If we add the fact that this model is made from steel rather than aluminum we can deduce that the weight load is higher than average. They can withstand 500 pounds each and they are extremely resistant to all possible threats and issues. Your vehicle will not only look better but it will be better protected as well. We liked this benefit and we liked the attention to detail the tested model has to offer. It is truly a remarkable product that has a lot of benefits and advantages but not a single, major drawback.
Some of you will claim that the installation is extremely complicated and heavy. After all, these are stainless steel running boards. This isn’t the case. As a matter of fact, the manufacturer offers all you will need in the package and claims the installation time is around 60 minutes. We managed to install them in less time, but we are professionals.
- Stainless steel
- Weight load is massive
- Look is stunning
- Finish is excellent
- Heavier than average
- A bit expensive
Is installing a set of running boards extremely complicated?
We would like to give a simple answer like yes it is extremely simple. This is partially true but the batter cannot be generalized. Some models will require you to drill holes or even weld. This is the most complicated type of running boards and it usually can be done by professionals only. Those models are more affordable or heavier and more advanced but they are more complicated to install. The second type of running boards that is extremely complicated to install are the ones that will retract automatically when you close the door. They will deploy when you open the door. Sadly, you will have to connect them to the power source you will need protection relays and sensors. All of that makes installation a nightmare even if you are a professional.
Now good things. Running boards we have here are extremely easy to install. They do not require any special skills or tools nor do they require welding or drilling holes. All you have to do is to attach the brackets and then attach the running boards to those brackets. The installation generally takes around one hour but if you have skills, you can complete it in less time and you will still get fully operational and functional running boards on your truck or SUV.
We did mention brackets that have to be installed and included in the package. However, some manufacturers don’t offer them and you will have to purchase one additionally. They are relatively affordable and you can get any type and model you need even on a tight budget. The only drawback is the fact you cannot mount the running boards until you get the mounting bracket. If you order online you will need to wait until both packages arrive and this might be an issue for some of you. Yes, it is possible to make your own brackets but make sure to use the thickness and metal recommended by the manufacturer. Stainless steel is probably the best option.
The final word
Now you have 8 running boards that are stunning accessories at the moment. They look nice and they will make your vehicle look stunning. In addition, all of these running boards have been properly tested and we stand behind our reviews. After all, you need the best of the best and we are here to help. Pick the model that is suitable for your car and that has all the elements you will need. It is easy when you have 8 models at your disposal and when you know what to look for. The limits are endless.