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10 Best Running Boards for Jeep Wrangler Unlimited: Buyer’s Guide [2021]

If climbing your Jeep is becoming difficult, get the best running boards for Jeep Wrangler to ease it out. Running boards are the steps that lie under each door of the car where people can step their feet.

They are not just steps to the vehicle, but they have other aesthetic and protection functions.

For Jeep Wranglers, there are different models and designs of running boards that may confuse buyers.

So, this guide will give all the details regarding running boards. Also, it will discuss the features, pros, and cons of the top products for Jeep Wranglers.

Top selling list for Jeep wrangler nerf bars/step bars

PREVIEWBRANDDETAIL
Tyger Auto
VZ4X4
Mopar
RAMPAGE PRODUCTS
TAC TRUCK ACCESSORIES
APS
u-Box
AMP Research
n-FAB
Mopar

What are the best running boards for Jeep Wrangler?

Tyger Auto TG-JA2J2288B is the best running board among other products for Jeep Wranglers.

Tyger Auto is already a known brand name for car accessories and other parts. This model of Jeep Wrangler running boards has top features as sturdy material and design.

Moreover, it can withstand heavyweights, so, it will never break down. Last but not least, the final look of the boards on the car is great and adds to the charm of the car.

Top 10 Best Running Boards for Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Review

01. Tyger Auto TG-JA2J2288B – [Best for weight capacity]

 

Features

  • Triple tubular design
  • Black powder and e-coat
  • Anti-slipping step pads
  • Sealed end cabs
  • Water and rust resistance

Tyger Auto running boards for Jeep Wrangler are as sturdy as the car itself. The maximum weight each of these running boards can bear is 500 lbs.

Therefore, they are the top running boards in terms of weight capacity. Coming to the design, the boards are tubular design.

They consist of three welded tubes of 2-inch diameter each. Those tubes have double coats with a black powder finish for rust and water resistance.Also, the end caps are sealed for the same reason.

Since it is a one-piece design, they have an easy installation process. Only one person with basic installation tools can put these on the vehicle.

Yet, the package doesn’t come with the needed hardware. For climbing to the car, there are two-step pads on each side.

They have an anti-slipping surface for easy in and out from the car. Lastly, Tyger Auto running boards are durable and wide enough to protect the sides of the car.

Thus, they are the best running boards for Jeep Wrangler one can get.

Pros

  • Easy installation process
  • Can withstand 500 lbs.
  • Inside and outside coating

Cons

  • No mounting hardware included

02. VZ4X4 Side Steps 4-Door Nerf Bars # 82215164 – [Best for anti-slipping feature]

 

Features

  • One large step design
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Black powder coat
  • ABS plastic material
  • Mounts with three brackets and bolts for each bar

Running boards will carry different weights every time the car is used. So, they should mount tightly to the car.

Luckily, these running boards from VZ have three bolts on each side to hold the bar to the side of the car.

What’s more is that all the bolts, brackets, and screws come within the package. Moving to the design of the bars, they feature a one large step design.

Moreover, the whole step has an anti-slipping surface. So, one can place his feet in any place to step onto the car.

Besides, the bars have a waterproof feature. This comes from the black powder coat which also resists corrosion.

Overall, the material is ABS plastic. While plastic is not the most durable material ever, ABS plastic is still good for running boards.

They will fit perfectly and look like OEM parts on the Jeep. Further, these running boards will fit perfectly to a 4-door Jeep Wrangler.

Pros

  • Anti-slipping surface on the whole step
  • Comes with all hardware
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Color is fader than fenders
  • Not very durable

03. Mopar Jeep Wrangler Side Steps Running Boards Molded – [Best for easy installation]

 

Features

  • One-step design
  • Anti-slipping surface
  • Thick plastic material
  • For 2-door models

For those who don’t like the tubular design boards, Mopar has durable Jeep step bars to go for. Starting with the material, it is blow-molded plastic.

However, it is a very thick plastic that can withstand heavyweights. To blend well with the jeep design, the material and color resemble that of the fenders.

Yet, it is thicker and sturdier. As for the models it fits, these running boards only fit 2-door Jeeps.

If you own one of these models, Mopar running boards will look great as if the car already comes with them.

Apart from the material, Mopar’s running boards have a large anti-slipping surface.

So, one can climb the vehicle conveniently from any side. Climbing the car is not the only easy thing about these boards, but also installation.

Installing this pair can take less than 30 minutes. Finally, these boards are made specifically for some Jeep models.

From an aesthetic side, they look great and from a functional side, they can protect the car well.

Pros

  • Anti-slipping surface on the whole step
  • Looks like OEM boards
  • Very easy installation

Cons

  • Plastic material

04. RAMPAGE PRODUCTS 8625 Textured Black Step Bars  – [Best for Budget]

 

Features

  • One tubular design
  • Anti-slipping polyester pads
  • Steel material
  • E-coating and glossy black powder finish
  • Corrosion-resistance

Rampage has one of the simplest, yet functional Jeep Wrangler 4 door running boards. First, the design of these boards is a one-steel tube.

Each of these tubes is 3 inches in diameter which is a good thickness to carry relatively medium weights.

Further, they have this e-coating that prevents corrosion. Moreover, the finish is a gloss black powder which adds to the corrosion-resistant feature and gives a nice look.

Since it is a simple product, installation is also a simple process. No drilling is required as the brackets mount to the already available holes for OEM boards.

On the other side, the tubes have polyester step pads. These will help people enter and exit the car without slipping.

Step pads stick to the running boards with pins to keep them secured in their place.

Tubular running boards can enhance the overall look of the car.

Rampage’s tubular boards with their glossy finish will add more style to the Jeep. Further, they come at an affordable price.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Have an elegant look
  • Very easy installation

Cons

  • Don’t withstand heavyweights

05. TAC Side Steps Running Boards Jeep Wrangler JK  – [Best for e-coating]

 

Features

  • Three tubular design
  • Anti-slipping step pads
  • Sealed end cabs
  • Water and corrosion resistance
  • E-coat and black powder finish

TAC has one of the best Jeep JK running boards ever. Similar to Tyger’s ones, they feature a three-round tubular design.

With this design, they become durable and very sturdy to protect the vehicle and carry heavyweights.

While tubes may be slippery, the step pads on each board have an anti-slipping feature.

Furthermore, they are wider than normal steps to give more space for the feet.

Also, the tubes themselves have a premium coating feature. They have traditional e-coating followed by a high-quality black powder coat for maximum protection.

Aside from coating, the ends of the tubes are sealed to resist water and dust.

Additionally, they have a slight bend at the end to give a better design. Coming to installation, the package has all the brackets and bolts for installation.

Moreover, the instructions are easy to understand and follow. However, the best thing about this installation hardware is that they all have the same coat of the tubes.

So, everything is protected against rust and corrosion.

Pros

  • Wider steps
  • All parts have e-coating
  • Instructions are easy to follow

Cons

  • Not the best quality material

06. APS Off-Road Side Steps Armor – [Best for unique style]

 

Features

  • Square double tubular design
  • Aluminum material
  • E-coating
  • Rust-resistance
  • For 2-door models

APS has unique Jeep JK running boards that don’t resemble any of the other boards on this list. The design features a square double tubular style.

Thanks to this style, one has a wider place to step feet on. Besides, the double tubes with 2 inches diameter will protect the vehicle when driving off roads.

For more durability, the tubes have an aluminum material and robotic welding. Hence, they are the best in terms of strength and sturdiness.

To complement the features, they have this superior dual coating with a black texture.

Also, they are easy to bolt on and use immediately. Moreover, the Jeep step bars are easy to clean.

You can perfectly clean them with a wet cloth while mounted to the car. APS running boards are ideal for functionality and design.

Yet, may scratch a little bit with frequent use. Overall, they feature one of the best visually appealing running boards at all.

Pros

  • Unique design
  • Wide steps
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • No anti-slipping pads
  • May scratch

07. U-Box Jeep Wrangler JL Unlimited

 

Features

  • Three tubular design
  • Stainless steel material
  • Two slip-resistant step pads on each side
  • Corrosion and rust resistance

U-box Jeep Wrangler 4 door running boards are just the right product that will do the job and much more.

The boards are triple welded tubes with two-step pads on each side. Tubes are stainless steel with a premium anti-rust and corrosion coating.

Whereas the two steps have a slip-resistance upper side for the easiest entry and exist ever.

Further, the placement of the two steps is perfect, just where the driver and passengers could place their feet.

Coming to the installation, the boards come with the bolts and other necessary hardware.

Bolts line up perfectly to the sides of the vehicle. So, U-Box running boards are practical regarding installation and use.

Moreover, they look nice and neat on the Jeep enhancing its whole appearance.

Tubes have a relatively thin diameter which may decrease the overall weight of the boards. Yet, it decreases the durability too

Pros

  • Have a nice look
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Not very durable

08. AMP Research 75122-01A PowerStep Electric Running Boards

 

Features

  • Automatic expandable design
  • Die-cast aluminum material
  • Integrated LED light
  • Weatherproof
  • PTFE-coat and a military-spec finish

If saving money is not what you are looking for, just a quality product, then AMP electric boards is certainly the choice.

Tech-savvy drivers will fall in love with these Jeep step bars.

Featuring automatic expanding and retracting boards, AMP running boards stand out among other products.

Once the driver opens the door, the boards automatically extend and the integrated LED light turns on.

When he closes the door, the boards hide and the LED light turns off. Further, the time those boards take to expand and retract is suitable, not too fast nor too slow.

However, they are not just innovative running boards. Material and everything else is also of high quality.

For example, the boards have die-cast aluminum alloy. Furthermore, they have a PTFE coat and a military-spec finish to resist corrosion.

Additionally, they can withstand 600 pounds on each side. Also, they are weatherproof as the coating protects the running boards from dust, water, and rust.

In brief, drivers with sporty Jeep models like TJ will prefer this one. Yet, those Jeep TJ side steps consume more time for installing as they need drilling and wiring.

Pros

  • Expandable and retractable style
  • Heavyweight capacity
  • Very durable material

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Need drilling for installation

09. N-FAB J0764 Textured Black Nerf Step

 

Features

  • Triple tubular design
  • Two anti-slip step pads
  • Black powder coating
  • Weatherproof

N-FAB offers a pair of Jeep Wrangler 4 door running boards that fit a wide range of models.

With a 3-inch tube welded to feet steps, the running boards will function perfectly as intended.

Further, the anti-slipping steps make it easier for people to get into and out of the car. As for the placement, the two steps on each bar have a suitable placement.

Besides, the bars themselves nearly half-split the distance between the ground and the vehicle. So, everything will help to achieve the purpose of the boards.

Moving to the material, the running boards are very rigid and sturdy construction.

The welding also adds to the rigidness of the boards. Moreover, the long-lasting powder coating protects the boards from extreme weather conditions.

Finally, all the bolts and other requirements are included within the package. Upon installation, those running boards will look great on the Jeep Wrangler.

Pros

  • Installation hardware is included
  • Sturdy material
  • Fits many models

Cons

  • Steps are not wide
  • Inside of the bar may rust

10. Mopar Side Steps/Running Boards 2007-2014 4 Door Production

 

 Features

  • One-piece step design
  • Anti-slipping surface
  • Plastic material

Running boards are not only for easy in and out of the vehicle, but they can also protect the car.

Thanks to the wideness of Mopar’s Jeep JK running boards, they offer higher protection feature than other boards.

Moreover, climbing the car using wide steps is more comfortable.

Also, the anti-slipping surface on nearly the whole board will make climbing easier and easier. So, Mopar side steps have nothing missing.

When installing such running boards, they will ideally blend with the Jeep-like OEM parts.

Further, the price is affordable considering the features one will get when purchasing those.

Installation is also plain as the boards are designed with the original Jeep Wrangler holes in mind.

Additionally, the package arrives with all the necessary installation tools and kits.

So, if you own a Jeep with no running boards, Mopar side steps are a no-regret product to purchase.

Pros

  • Come with all installation kits
  • Wide steps
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Not very durable
  • Color is fader than fenders

How We Picked Running Boards for Jeep Wrangler

Running boards have several functions. They are extremely important for high vehicles as Jeep Wranglers.

Also, they can protect the sides of the car in places like parking lots. There, people may hit your car when opening their car doors.

When having running boards attached to the sides of the car, they will take all the bangs.

Many Jeep Wranglers come with their running boards. However, car owners may want to upgrade them for better-performing products.

So, when choosing a new set of running boards, here are the most important considerations.

Design Requirements

Running boards come in different designs. First, the tubular design is the most durable one.

Boards with this design are either one tube, double, or triple tubular board.

The more tubes welded together, the sturdier and more durable the running board is. So, models with triple tubular design are the best running boards for Jeep Wrangler.

The second design is the step bars. The design features a long step-like running board where the driver and passenger can place their feet anywhere on the board.

This design is more functional and gives the vehicle a good looking as well.

The last design is the small step pads. For this one, the steps are usually sold separately.

Car owners can put two or four of these steps for each door. While it is less practical than other models, it may be cheaper.

Material Selection

Since running boards are meant to protect the car and ease entry and exit, they should have very good material.

Generally, running boards come in heavy-duty metals like aluminum or stainless steel.

Other models may come in plastic which is less durable. Always go for the sturdiest and most rigorous materials.

Besides, running boards should have a kind of coating to protect them. For example, an e-coating or a black powder coat to prevent rust.

Some products will have a double-coated layer whereas others will have a single one. Also, some boards have inside and outside coats which are better of course.

By inside coats we mean the tubes from inside are coated thus, preventing rust and corrosion from inside as well.

Furthermore, the coat is sometimes a stylish accent to the board. When the running boards are coated with a glossy black coat, this adds to the elegance of the board.

Stepping pads

These are where you put your feet to step into the car. According to the design of the whole board, the stepping pads will differ.

For the tubular design, stepping pads lie underneath the car doors. Whereas the one-piece step design doesn’t need those as the whole board is a stepping pad.

Similarly, the separate steps are just stepping pads with no complete board.

Although there are different designs, the two considerations to look for here are the wideness and anti-slipping features.

Since people will use these steps to climb the car, they have to be wide enough.

Also, they should have an anti-slipping surface to prevent slipping whatever kind of shoes they are wearing.

Installation

Mostly, car owners will be able to install the running boards by themselves. The package should have the instructions of installation and the required tools.

However, some products come with no hardware like bolts and brackets.

Although these are important that one cannot install the boards without them, they are sold at car accessories stores.

So, regarding this point, it is not the most important thing to look at.

That is if the running board has everything else perfect, this compensates for not having all the installation hardware.

Apart from the hardware, the installation process itself should be easy.

Also, the boards should, in the end, mount tightly to the car.

Don’t forget that people will be using these boards nearly every day. So, they should never fall whatever weight they are carrying.

Other features

After checking all the previous considerations comes the additional features to look for.

For example, the automatic expandable and retractable feature is a nice one to go for.

Also, the adjustable height that some running boards come with gives a little bit of optionality in mounting.

The color is also another thing to check for the step bars. As they will permanently attach to the car sides, the colors should match other parts of the vehicle.

Finally, the price is the last thing to consider. Yet, it doesn’t mean it is the least important thing.

Instead, the price comes after evaluating all the features to determine if they are really worth the price or not.

Best Running Boards for Jeep Wrangler: Buyer’s Questions

Are running boards designed for all truck models?

All trucks can have running boards. However, they are specifically designed for the model. Running boards are not universal to all trucks and even not for all one car brands.

This means Jeep Wrangler’s different models have different running boards that fit them. For example, Jeep TJ side steps won’t fit for a Jeep Wrangler TJ.

Also, the w-door and 4-door Jeep models need different running boards.

The difference is not only about the length of the board but also the holes where the boards bolt on. Additionally, the height of the vehicle itself has to do with the running board.

Thus, when choosing a running board for your Jeep, pay great attention to the particular model and year of production of the car.

Should I get running boards for my Jeep Wrangler?

Running boards have unlimited advantages. While they are not an essential part of the car, they can be a great investment.

Jeep Wrangler owners should think to buy one of those when they know the benefits they can have.

First, the most known benefit is easing the in and out of the car. Even those who don’t have problems with climbing high vehicles, may help other passengers as kids.

Another benefit of these boards is protecting the sides of the vehicle. Jeep Wranglers already have a sturdy front bumper to protect the front of the car.

Therefore, having those sidebars will complement the protection of the car from all sides.

Adding to the benefits, running boards can act as doormats for the car.

In cold weather conditions where it is always raining or snowing, the anti-slipping surface will help in cleaning the shoes before entering the car.

Also, in dust weather, the same thing applies. Generally, running boards can collect any debris, dust, and other contaminants from the shoes.

Lastly, some people will only get running boards to enhance the overall look of the ar.

Especially for Jeep Wranglers, these boards will add to the already attractive body of the vehicle.

Additionally, they make the car looks closer to the ground which adds to its aesthetic appearance.

Which are better Nerf bars or running boards?

If you asked car accessories stores about Nerf bars or running boards, most of them won’t tell you the difference. This is because the sellers refer to both as the same thing.

To differentiate between them, running boards, as the name suggests, are boards.

So, they are those wide one-piece boards with or without Feet steps. Alternatively, Nerf bars are mostly tubular design models.

They usually have step pads where people place their feet and they are narrower than running boards.

Nevertheless, there is another option which is the side steps. Those are just steps at the two sides of the vehicle with a much shorter design.

However, the terms are not used specifically for each kind of running board. So, don’t rely on the name when choosing the best product.

As for the best design, all of them are good and can serve the purpose of climbing the car.

Yet, since running boards have other purposes, here comes the difference.

For side protection, running boards are better as they are wider. On the other side, for a better visual appearance, Nerf bars look more beautiful and perfectly blend with the car body.

Likewise, for the simplest addition to the car body, side steps are the option to go for.

How to install running boards to Jeep Wrangler?

Generally speaking, all running boards have the same installation method. The process should typically take minutes and needs no drilling.

However, for some models as the automatic electric ones, the process goes differently. To install a running board to a Jeep Wrangler, follow the below steps:

First, make sure the running boards come with the bolts, nuts, and all necessary tools.

Second, locate the holes where the boards’ will bolt on. These are found underneath the vehicle on each door side.

Third, start with the plate nut that will attach the brackets to the Jeep body. Install them into the holes.

Fourth, use the nuts to connect the mounting brackets to the plate nut. Don’t tighten the nuts firmly now till the whole installation is complete.

Fifth, install the running board by aligning the holes to the brackets already installed in the car. Use the bolts to close over the nuts after installing the running board.

Finally, step aside and see if the running boards are installed in a 180 degree. Now, tighten all the bolts and make sure everything is secured.

Repeat the previous step for the other board. A pro tip is to measure the distance between the floor and the first running board after installation.

When installing the second board, make sure the distance is typically the same.

Do running boards have any disadvantages?

Downsides of running boards can be overcome by choosing quality products. For example, some running boards may damage or disintegrate after a while.

Those have a limited weight capacity and cannot withstand heavyweights. Yet, many products in the market can bear heavy weights.

Also, other problems with running boards are their weight. Very light running boards are not durable and they usually don’t last for a long time.

On the other side, heavy-duty ones add to the weight of the car which may affect the gas mileage. Yet, the effect is not a significant one. So, weight is not a big problem.

Perhaps, the main problem with running boards is that car owners won’t be able to get under their cars easily.

They won’t completely hinder crawling underneath the car but they make it more difficult.

Conclusion

As it is now clear, running boards are important for Jeep Wranglers and other high vehicles.

They are a nice upgrade to consider for the car. Additionally, they will serve other functions and enhance the appearance of the car.

This guide will help you decide the best running boards for Jeep Wrangler. Moreover, it has all the information any Jeep Wrangler owner should know about running boards.

So, in one word, having a pair of running boards is a good investment provided that it is in the right product.

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