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Best Running Boards 2020 Header

The Best Running Boards

If you have a sore knee or short legs, you're probably not looking for a workout when climbing into your vehicle. That's where running boards come in—a step that mounts to the side of your truck or SUV that gives you an extra lift when you need it.

We made a list of the best 6 running boards to help you decide which type will give you the perfect leg-up. Whether you are looking for the best power running boards or want to keep it simple on a budget, our list has you covered.

Running boards are custom fit for your vehicle, which means not every match-up is going to work. Plug your truck's year, make, and model into our fitguide, and BAM—you've got a list of custom-fit running boards that come with all the mounting equipment you need.

Now, let's get to the list of our top 7 best running boards, so you can get into your truck and begin your adventures—with ease and style. We split them up by premium, value, and economy options, giving you the chance to weigh features such as quality, style, and price. Time to dive in!

Premium Running Boards Chart
Value Running Boards Chart
Economy Running Boards Chart
Premium ActionTrac Running Boards

Bestop PowerBoard NX Motorized Running Boards

  • Stores to maintain ground clearance
  • Wireless, motorized step for trucks
  • LED lights for added safety

This is for you if:

If you are an off roader or an adventure junkie, the Bestop PowerBoard NX Motorized Running Boards add a sweet step without compromising ground clearance. They're your best option if you love the utility of a running board but don't want to compromise your vehicle's style, since they only appear when you need them.

Just open the door, and the wireless door sensor will automatically lower the steps to meet you. Close the door, and the steps will fold up and out of the way behind a rock panel.

If you are constantly climbing in with wet and muddy shoes, this board's non-slip grooves will help you stay steady. Additionally, it is the thickest of any board on our list with a 6-1/4" step pad.

This is NOT for you if:

If you are someone who likes to keep it simple, the Bestop power board may be more than what you're going for. This is an expensive, premium option because of its motorized ability to retract. Keep scrolling if you want a stationary running board that gives you a less expensive leg up.

If you like the rugged look a running board adds to your vehicle, you probably don't want one that disappears. Consider some of our running boards below that stay put at all times.

If you are inexperienced with electrical wiring, you may have to hire someone to install these running boards. Since power running boards require electrical installation, there is an increased risk of severe electric shock. However, don't let this deter you too much if you want power boards. You only install once, but you step into your truck thousands of times.

Aries ActionTrac Motorized Running Boards

  • Secondary step deploys for maximum accessibility
  • Super grip tread on step
  • Highest weight capacity at 650 lbs

This is for you if:

If your vehicle is super tall or you simply need extra steps up, the Aries ActionTrac has not one, but TWO steps when you open the door of your vehicle. This step-in-a-step design means that when you open your door, one step deploys out of the other to create two steps for the easiest entry possible. Then, after the door is closed, that extended step retracts into the stationary one so your truck can maintain proper clearance on the road.

The second step extension is approximately 8" down from the top step, making the tallest of trucks accessible even to the shortest of legs.

These Aries running boards are built for utility. They have the highest weight capacity on our list at 650-lb, as well as raised tread for superior traction.

This is NOT for you if:

The Aries ActionTrac aren't the prettiest running boards. They don't have the sleekness of a classic nerf bar or running board. In fact, they're quite a bit bulkier than our more traditional boards from DeeZee and Westin. If you're someone looking for a simpler or more economical solution for climbing into your truck, check out our economy and value options below.

Installing this board will require electrical wiring, just like the Bestop PowerBoard. You may have to hire someone for installation if you lack wiring experience. Overall, don't let this deter you too much though if you want to invest in the superior accessibility from this power board.

Westin Nerf Bars

Westin Sure-Grip

  • Superior water-channeling traction
  • Classic build for both SUVs and trucks
  • Beefy 6" thick step
  • Option to purchase LED light kit

This is for you if:

If you are looking for a budget-friendly running board that doesn't sacrifice an ounce of quality or traction, Westin conquered the competition with the Sure Grip.

This running board has some epic traction, with special grooves that channel water away to provide extra grip in the rain. Most running boards provide some sort of traction, but this product has deep grooves that make it superior in quality and design. You'll want this board if you are climbing into your vehicle with mud on your boots in the pouring rain.

A perk of this running board over nerf bars is its thickness which can protect your vehicle from an onslaught of rocks on gravel roads.

For added visibility, you can purchase a Westin LED Light Kit to add to this running board. When you get in and out of your car, these lights will illuminate your steps for extra safety.

This is NOT for you if:

Some neighbors complain that dirt and grime can get stuck on the edges of this board (similar to the DeeZee). If you want to avoid scraping dirt off your running board, take a look at some of the thinner nerf bars without a lip that are easier to keep clean.

Westin PRO TRAXX Oval Nerf Bars

  • Deep tread for superior traction
  • Durability with rustproof aluminum
  • Lifetime warranty

This is for you if:

If you want the most durable and sleek nerf bars, the rustproof Westin ProTraxx will be a snazzy edition to your vehicle for a reasonable price.

Your vehicle gets you to all your best adventures, but those can happen in rain, snow, or shine. With its rustproof construction, this running board can withstand the changing elements and show minimal wear. You are also getting superior traction in all weather because these bars feature deep grooves that allow water to quickly drain.

Also, did we mention a lifetime warranty? Yeah, you are getting a lifetime of guaranteed truck step greatness.

This is NOT for you if:

The 4"-thick foothold may not be wide enough if you are looking for the thickest step for your truck. Take a look at the Westin-Sure-Grip and Aries Oval Nerf Bar for some beefier options.

If you want a nerf bar that is more economical, take a look at our Westin E-Series Round Nerf Bars below for a budget-friendly bar with a simple and bold style.

Westin Sure-Grip

Aries Oval Nerf Bars

  • Thickest nerf bar at 5"
  • 5-year warranty
  • Textured step pads for increased traction

This is for you if:

If you can't decide whether you want the sturdy, thick step of a running board or the a slim, lightweight nerf bar, the Aries Oval Nerf Bars are a two-in-one deal. It has a super thick 5" step pad (thickest for available nerf bar), but and it has the rugged look of a running board.

The step comes with hardy, raised, textured step pads that allow plenty of room for secure foot placement. The bigger the step and better the traction, the smaller the chance of having a foot slip. This board is also made with aluminum, which means that its rustproof construction will avoid corrosion for years to come.

This is NOT for you if:

If you're someone who likes the classic running board style, you may prefer a board that curves along the shape of your vehicle for a more factory look. The Aries have a pretty industrial, bold look, so take a look at some other boards on our list for a more "lowkey" style.

Westin E-Series Round Nerf Bars

  • Most affordable
  • Slim, streamlined nerf bar

This is for you if:

If you want the most economical solution for clambering in and out of your truck, the Westin E-Series is one of your best options. These are the most budget-conscious bars on our list that give you a simple and sturdy step. The Westin E-Series is proof that you can find high functionality without breaking the bank.

The E-Series boards combine a sleek finish with a simple construction to create a classic nerf bar. They have U-style tubing, which ensures that each bar conforms to the side of your vehicle (hey, you can get a good value without sacrificing style).

This is NOT for you if:

You may just want something more flashy to adorn your truck—we get it, it's your prized possession. If you want a running board with a bit more kapow

Unlike the value and premium options on our list, the Westin E-series traction pads don't include water-channeling technology. Additionally at 3", the steps are thinner than other running boards on our list. These are great boards for providing a step up for most, but if you have little ones in a hurry to climb in, or if your bad knee makes you a bit unsteady at times, you might consider a thicker board with better traction in wet conditions.

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Article By: Kaitlyn B.Updated: 7/5/2020


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