Factors To Consider When Shopping for a Bumper Guard
Potential buyers should consider a few things when purchasing a new bumper guard.
Size of the Bumper
While you might think a rear hitch step would be low enough to keep the reverse parking sensors from engaging, this is not always true. Many parking sensors are very sensitive, so any hitch you purchase might set them off. The solution is to buy a small enough bumper guard step or to turn off the parking sensor while driving.
The Weight Limit
Generally, a rear hitch bumper guard is rated for 300 - 400 lbs, which is more than most owners will need. However, if you weight more or plan to use your step frequently, opt for a heavier weight limit to increase longevity.
Everyone is on a budget, and most rear step guards cost around $100 or less (depending on their configuration). Remember that you will need to purchase a lynchpin if it is not included with the bumper guard.
While you might think plastic polymers are less effective because they are plastic, that is not the case. While there are some very cheaply made bumper guards out there, the best are made of solid steel or aluminum alloy or thick plastic polymers. If you plan to install and remove your bumper hitch often (because you are going to tow a lot), opt for one that is easy to install and lighter to lift up and down.
You want to examine the foot portion of the pedal since that is the area you will use most.
Most foot areas have molded or textured ridges to help provide grip, but some are just better than others. If you are driving offroad, you may want to purchase a step with deep grooves so your foot won’t slip off when it’s covered in mud.
What Are The Benefits Of Bumper Guards?
There are several benefits to installing hitch bumper guards.
A rear bumper guard is the cheapest form of insurance you can purchase. Once installed, anyone who rams into the back of your truck will receive more damage than they give. If you value your rig’s chrome or painted finish, a bumper guard can be the difference between a small expense and a significantly larger one.
Tailgaters Back Off
When a tailgater sees a rear bumper guard, they might tread more lightly when following behind you. The bumper guard can increase the safety of the road by being a signal to some drivers to back off. If you live in a high-traffic area, we recommend that you purchase a hitch bumper guard with an integrated brake light. The addition of the light might just be enough to keep someone from running into the back of your truck.
Access to the Roof or Truck Bed
Since a rear bumper guard also doubles as a hitch step, they can help provide easier access to a rooftop rack or even reach in a truck bed. You will not have to lower the tailgate to reach an item. Instead, just use a bumper step.
Are There Disadvantages To a Rear Bumper Guard?
Even though rear bumper guards will protect your prized possession, they have disadvantages.
Rear Cameras or Sensors
The rear bumper guard can interfere with the electronic sensing equipment on the back bumper of your truck or SUV. While those systems can be shut off, the constant alarm can be a significant aggravation.
If you tow a great deal, pulling the bumper guard and reinstalling your trailer ball can be a pain in the “you know what.” Be sure to select a lightweight but sturdy hitch step
Cannot Tow and Have the Step At The Same Time.
While companies make hitch steps that allow you to use a tow ball (the steps extend from the sides of the receiver hitch), these units tend to be weaker than other more standard rear bumper hitch steps.
What Are The Best Bumper Guards?
Several companies manufacture rear bumper guard protectors, and we have listed some of them we liked below.
Bully BBS Black Bull Series
The Bully BBS-1104L Black Bull is a combination bumper protector and hitch step that is a universal fit for most vehicles with an installed 2” receiver. The step allows easy access to the roof, cargo carrier, or truck bed. The Black Bull has an anti-slip grooving in the rubber padding to provide extra grip.
Made from high-strength steel with a durable non-slip rubber pad, the Bully will take a pounding and keep its shape. (Many truck owners use this product, which is why it is the best seller on Amazon. Reviews often indicated that the bumper guard helped save from damage during a rear-end accident).
The step installs into any two-inch receiver with a locking hitch pin (not included). The step allows easy access to the roof, cargo carriers, or truck bed. The company makes a version with an integrated LED brake light with easy plug-in capability (which we love). Bully offers a limited 90-warranty, although some outlets like NAPA will add warranty protection at no additional charge or a small fee.
BullyUSA is a part of the Pilot Automotive family and is a leading provider of aftermarket accessories for trucks and SUVs. They make various products, from hitch guards and steps to mounts, ball covers, and customized fuel door covers (just to name a few). The products are made in China and sold in the USA.
Price: $ 50
- Light bar integrated
- Positive reviews
- Not American-made
- Minimal warranty
Eapele Hitch Step
The Eapele Hitch Step is a quality trailer hitch step that converts your 2” receiver hitch into a rubber step. While the boxy step might not be as “hip” as other competitors, sometimes simple features are just better. The folks at Eapele make this step with a 10.5” rubber step which is just about perfect for the average shoe.
The hitch is built from high-grade 8GA thick steel with a plastic cover (I know, but it is actually very durable plastic). The cover is textured to provide better footing, and the hitch is powder coated on the metal, making it weather resistant. The hitch is rated for over 400 lbs, which gives it more than enough stability for larger guys like myself.
The fact that Eapele included the locking pin and offered the bumper guard at a budget-friendly price makes me love them all the more. Eapele makes a variety of bumper guards and hitch steps, so if you’re not into the square box step, they offer a pretzel-shaped step that looks good and is very durable.
Most reviews indicated how sturdy the hitch was, and some indicated a bit of rattle from the receiver (even Eapele indicates that this can be an issue - mounting bracket or rubber panels are a quick fix).
Price: $35 - 40
- Locking Pin included
- American made
- Max weight limit 400 lbs
- Some reviews on rattle noise
- Boxy shape might not be for everyone
WeatherTech Bump Step (Regular or XL)
WeatherTech is a name that most people are familiar with, and for a good reason - they just make quality products. Whether it’s floor coverings, cargo liners, phone holders, or even bumper guard hitch steps, these products keep on giving. The WeatherTech BumpStep is a durable plastic hitch step rated for 300 lbs.
The hitch step is 11.5 inches wide, so there is ample room to plant your foot on the step. The textured top helps with grip and provides additional help when wet. The locking pin needs to be included (we miss it).
The step is light and easy to install. (We wondered whether plastic was the way to go due to the potential for breakage, but the hitch holds up well and protects the rear bumper from crashes under 40 mph. The hitch is made from an incredibly strong proprietary resin that flexes under impact. This bump step is 12 inches wide, but they also make an XL (24 inches).
We loved the fact that WeatherTech gives an option of locking lynch pins (from standard to theft deterrent), and installation is easy. The hitch comes with a limited lifetime warranty, and the customer service at Weathertech cannot be beaten. The hitches are made in the USA (over 95% of WeatherTech products come from inside the states).
- Lifetime warranty
- Lynchpin included
- American made
- Durable construction
- 300 lbs max is lighter than some
Go Rhino! Black 4" Oval HitchStep
The Go Rhino is an essential black oval, dual-purpose hitch step. (They also make a chrome version that looks great on the back of a truck or SUV). The hitch is made from stainless steel with a black or chrome powder coat for weather resistance.
The 4-inch step is molded for grip and is just deep enough room for foot balance, but honestly, we wished it was just a bit bigger. The Go Rhino is over two feet wide, so it covers a good deal of the rear bumper area, which is very helpful considering the placement of reverse parking sensors. The hitch has an anti-rattle shim and fits the standard 2” receiver mount.
The hitch has a lifetime warranty on the stainless steel construction and a five-year warranty on the powder coat finish. While the installation is easy, and the matching locking pin is included.
Go Rhino is made in Mexico (although their corporate offices are in California). It has been a part of the aftermarket accessory business since 1975. The company is best known for sidesteps and running boards (they make some of the best electric running boards in the business).
- 5-year warranty
- Choice of black or chrome
- Anti-rattle shim
- Lynchpin included
- Step may be too narrow
MaxxHaul Hitch Mount Bump Step
Maxxhaul makes a basic bumper hitch step with integrated brake lights that we like a lot. Its simple, straightforward design is not something you might put on the back of an Escalade or Denali, but it will work very well for country boys who just need a leg up to reach into the back of their pickups on occasion.
The hitch is made from a plastic polymer and holds up well in low-impact crash settings. The step is textured to provide grip, and due to its construction, you don’t have to worry about rust or corrosion being a problem. The Maxxhaul is less expensive than other models, so we can’t blame them for not including the lynchpin.
The dimensions of the hitch are 5 inches deep and 13.75 inches wide, so it will protect you from a straight-on rear collision, but does little to prevent corner dings or dents that might happen if you pull out of a parking spot.
MaxxHaul is a leading manufacturer of towing accessories and makes some excellent ball mounts. While they are a Chinese-based company, they have grown to become a towing accessory powerhouse.
- Brake lights
- Company reputation
- Not American made
- No locking pin
PM Performotor Universal Black Steel Trailer Drop Hitch Step Bar
PM Performotor makes this long drop hitch wide enough to protect most of the bumper area. The hitch has an extended hitch step extending from the primary bumper, so you have extra rear protection and a designated step to reach the roof of your SUV. The step is fashioned from heavy-duty steel construction with rubber step molding.
The Performotor fits any 2 “ receiver, and it fits on any truck, SUV, or Jeep. The installation is easy. No drilling is necessary, and mounting brackets are included. We appreciate that the kit comes with anti-rattle bracketing, should that be needed. The hitch is rated for 350 lbs.
Reviews are generally positive concerning the hitch, and the Performotor is an Amazon Choice award winner.
PM Performotor has been in business since 2019 and makes a variety of truck hitch accessories.
- Good bumper coverage
- Seperate hitch step
- Easy installation
- Mounting bracket
- Not American made
YITAMOTOR Aluminum Hitch Steps
The thing that separates the YitaMotor hitch steps is how they are constructed. The hitch is made of aluminum alloy and stainless steel tubes that provide a solid feel when stepped on. The step bolts to a mounting plate that extends from the receiver. We liked the depth of the step (over 6.5 inches). The length of the hitch is 36 inches, so it provides good coverage for the bumper.
The hitch is powder-coated to help fight rust and metal corrosion. The step portion has a unique with raised metal ridges that are excellent for scraping off mud and dirt from the bottom of your shoes, but they also dig in to provide better adhesion and grip than most plastic or rubber molded step areas.
The design gives the truck or SUV rear a sleek, modern look, and it is unlike most other hitch steps on the market. Yitamotor specializes in automotive lighting and accessories and has been in business since 2013. While their warehouses are scattered around the country, the hitch is made in China. They offer a 30-day warranty and free shipping for all parts.
- Unique design
- Wide step
- Solid metal construction
- Mounting bracket
- 90-day warranty not enough
ONINE Texture Black Universal Hitch Step
The ONINE Black Hitch Step is a great value for a drop rear bumper guard with a separate step. The step sits 1.5 “ below the bumper guard and is just the right size for effective climbing. The bumper is made of tubular steel alloy and finished with a black powder coat to resist corrosion. Welded connections provide strength and stability for the step mounting.
The ONINE hitch includes all the mounting hardware, and an anti-theft locking pin is available. The step handles 350 lbs, so it should support most full-grown adults. This hitch looks excellent on the back of an SUV or Jeep and is a must for rooftop cargo carriers or roof-mounted bike racks.
Reviews indicate that the step extends too far from the back, so be careful about the dimensions you need. Some reviewers who have converted the cargo space of their SUV into sleeping quarters found the step perfect for getting in and out of the SUV.
The hitch will not interfere with backup cameras or reverse sensing systems.
- Drop down step
- Heavy-duty construction
- Mounting brackets
- May stick out too far for some
Eapele Tow Hitch Step
This pretzel-shaped hitch bumper guard step is a bestseller on Amazon and is made with durable high-strength steel alloy with a powder coat finish. We included this hitch in our review because it provides a tow connection with a tow strap (up to 10k lbs).
The Eapele hitch is a great product that can be used at two different heights (either a drop or rise), which provides options to prevent bottoming out or needing a higher step to access a rooftop cargo box. The unit fits into any standard hitch receiver with the lynchpin and anti-rattle bracket. This unit fits on almost any truck bumper and can help prevent scratches or dings caused by backing into walls or other stationary objects.
Most reviews indicated that this hitch is a beast and is as solid as a rock. (The pretzel shape means that any car that bumps into you will get the worst of the accident. Forget about your bumper getting scuffed because that just will not happen).
- Pretzel shape design
- Solid hitch
- Towing capability
- Reversible (rise or drop)
- The weight limit is 350 lbs
- No warranty
- The design might not be for everyone