Reviews

Best Running Boards: Get an Extra Step Up on Your Truck

Running boards for nearly all trucks and SUVs

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BY Austin Fracchia / LAST UPDATED ON October 8, 2019

Trucks can present a challenge if the cabin is too high to get in. Running boards make it easier since they offer a basic step to assist you in getting up. For some lifted trucks, the right pair of running boards is mandatory if you want to use the vehicle at all. Whether you need the extra lift or just like the looks of the steps running along the side of the truck, here are some of the best running boards you should check out.

Best Overall
AMP Research Black Running Board
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Summary
Summary

The best high-end running board setup boasts an automatic, electric-powered retracting design.

Pros
Pros
  • Plug-and-play installation
  • Good look and design
Cons
Cons
  • Instructions don't accommodate different truck designs.
  • Easily dents
Best Overall
AMP Research Black Running Board
Best Value
Tyger Auto Riser
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Summary
Summary

A heavy-duty set of running boards that work particularly well on midsize trucks and SUVs with a shorter cabin.

Pros
Pros
  • Clear and easy-to-follow instructions
  • Good packaging
Cons
Cons
  • Limited compatibility
  • Can rattle while driving
Best Value
Tyger Auto Riser
Honorable Mention
HD Ridez Side Steps
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Summary
Summary

These off-road-styled running boards are made of corrosion-proof aluminum and measure 6.5 inches wide. They feature hidden weld construction.

Pros
Pros
  • No visible welds
  • Included brackets and hardware
Cons
Cons
  • Low clearance 
  • Limited compatibility
Honorable Mention
HD Ridez Side Steps

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Best Running Boards Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
AMP Research Black Running Board

Upgrade your truck with these automatic and electric-powered running boards. They instantly extend out when you open your door and then tuck up the vehicle body when the door closes. To make them stand out even more, they have an integrated LED light system. These running boards are die-cast aluminum alloy to make them high strength. They’re PTFE-coated, anodized, and meet military specifications to resist corrosion. You’ll appreciate the 600-pound capacity on each side, the OEM quality electric motors, and weatherproofing. These boards measure 81 x 13 x 8 inches and are constructed of stainless steel and aluminum alloy.


The downside of these running boards is that the instructions don’t account for different truck designs. This can leave them a bit vague or confusing if your truck doesn’t align with the instructions provided. You may also find that they easily dent.

Best Value
Tyger Auto Black Side Step Nerf Bars

These heavy-duty running boards have a square shape, giving them a unique shape to stand out among the flat and round tube options. You have your choice between black and chrome. They also come in 4- and 5-inch diameters. They’re constructed of carbon steel for maximum strength and durability. These running boards fit the 2015-2021 Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon Crew Cab. The black boards are powder-coated to make them rust- and UV-resistant. They also have non-slip pads to give you extra security while getting in and out of the vehicle.  


One drawback of these running boards is that they have limited compatibility. However, the lack of universal fit means that they’ll fit your truck better. You may also find that they rattle while you’re driving if you don’t securely mount them.

Best for Off Roading
HD Ridez Side Steps

Give your truck a tough off-road image with these black running boards. They’re 6.5 inches wide and made of corrosion-proof aluminum. These running boards are compatible with the Chevy Silverado GMC Sierra 1500 for the 2019-2021 Crew Cab and the Silverado Sierra 2500 and 3500 from 2020-2021. They stand out because they have a clean construction that hides all of the welds so that they aren’t visible once the boards are installed on your truck. You’ll appreciate that they come with all of the required installation hardware and brackets to be a doable DIY project. 


One drawback of these running boards is that they won’t fit the 2019 1500 LD. These also aren’t designed for going off-road. They’ll create clearance issues that can cause them to get caught on limbs, rocks, or ruts. 

Most Durable
TAC Running Boards

If you own a 2014-2019 Toyota Highlander, these stainless steel and aircraft-grade aluminum running boards are the perfect accent. They feature a broad 5.5-inch platform, making it safer and easier to get in and out of your vehicle. The top of the boards have a rubber step pad that runs the entire length. The edge is polished marine-grade T304 stainless steel to give them a bit of shine. This protects them from corrosion and ensures their strength and durability. What makes these boards stand out is they don’t require any drilling or cutting with a bolt-on installation process. 


Unfortunately, these running boards don’t come with instructions, making installation challenging. You can easily overtighten the mounting bolts. However, if you don’t tighten them enough, the running boards will feel unstable. 

Honorable Mention
Yitamotor Running Boards

These stainless steel running boards fit a crew cab with four full-sized doors. They have a stainless steel construction with ABS plastic slip-resistant footsteps. These running boards are wear, rust, and corrosion-resistant. You can even expose them to salt spray and UV rays, and they won't corrode or discolor. What makes these boards stand out is their 450-pound weight capacity. The vehicle-specific construction makes these boards compatible with the 2007-2018 Silverado/GMC Sierra 1500, 2500HD, and 3500HD Crew Cab, and 2019 Silverado/Sierra 2500HD 3500HD.


Unfortunately, these running boards won’t fit a double cab or regular cab. You may find that the included bolts are too long. You can fix this by purchasing separate bolts. Their close fit to the truck’s cab makes them difficult to install and leaves little foot room.

Tips

  • Professional installation can make buying and using running boards easier if you don't have much DIY skill with vehicle maintenance and accessories.
  • Durable running boards are made of hard plastics or metals that won't rust.
  • Make sure you buy a pair of running boards that run all the way back to the rear passenger seats, if possible.

FAQs

Q. Are there universal running board designs?

A. Yes, some running boards at least claim they have a universal design. These tend to be shorter than custom-designed boards, but can be used on a variety of different vehicles.

Q. What are nerf bars?

A. These are technically just running boards. Nerf bars, in racing settings, can also protect the sides of the vehicle and keep the tires from rubbing together.

Q. How much weight should a good pair of running boards hold?

A. Anything below 250 pounds should be ignored. A running board rated for 300 pounds or more is better.

Final Thoughts

If you want it all, including an automatic retracting design, we recommend that you check out the AMP Research 76151-01A Black Running Board.

You don't have to spend a lot of money for a good set of running boards, especially with the TAC Running Boards.