Whether you’re finally getting rid of your stock bumper or you’re looking for one with more functionality, picking the right bumper a confusing task. There are just so many things to consider! From simple details like what coating to use to more complex decisions such as style, options, and, of course, price.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help make sure you choose the right bumper for your truck.
Coating – The first line of defense
While the bumper protects your truck, it’s the coating that protects the bumper not just from both impacts and corrosion. Picking the right type of coating will mean the difference between a bumper whose paint gets chipped off after every drive and one that stands the test of time.
There are several off-road bumper coatings available in the market. Some are just like regular paint and some have a textured finish. But out of the many choices out there, we recommend going for powder coating. When it comes to durability, protection, and color options it comes out ahead.
For a more in-depth look at powder coating compared to other popular options, check out this article.
Style – For that bad-ass look
One thing you’ll always have to consider the appearance of the bumper. If the bumper doesn’t work well your truck, no matter how tough it is, you won’t be satisfied.
Luckily, all the major bumper manufacturers have taken great lengths to make sure their lineup covers all the bases in the looks department. For example, if you’re not into super large bumpers that are made to stand out, you should consider a low-profile model like the Fab Fours Vengeance Front Bumper or a Hammerhead Winch Bumper.
These low-profile models are made to match the contours of the vehicle. They don’t protrude outward as much as regular bumpers but they offer comparable performance without sacrificing appearance. If you’re going for a bad-ass look without looking obnoxious, these are for you.
Design – Doing what it’s built to do
When it comes the level of protection a bumper can offer, the design dictates its performance.
If you want no holds barred protection for the front of your truck, then take a look at bumpers that come with a Grille Guard. The bumper is just a small part of the front of a truck. The grille, which has the radiator right behind it, is larger and more vulnerable to damage during an impact. A grille guard acts as a shield for this entire section. If this is what you need, we recommend a Ranch Hand bumper replacement for their emphasis on protection.
But not everyone is a fan of grille guard bumpers. Because they cover the entire front a vehicle, they tend to be large and heavy. If you’re looking for a good balance of protection and style, bumpers with a Pre-Runner is worth considering. They’re made to take the brunt of the impact and minimize damage before the debris hits the vehicle’s body. While it doesn’t give full coverage on the front, it provides enough protection for most scenarios. Hammerhead’s lineup of pre-runner bumpers is a great example of this.
What if you don’t need the extra protection a grille guard or a pre-runner? Then a simple base bumper might be what you’re looking for. Something like the ICI Magnum Front Bumper comes with no additional front guards but still provides places to mount accessories like fog lights. Like other bumper designs, a base bumper can still accommodate winches, shackle mounts, and others accessories.
Options – Add more, if you want to
Speaking of accessories, this is another point to keep in mind when choosing a bumper. Not all models will be compatible with the accessories you want to use so it’s important to double check.
The most common accessories are the winch, shackles, and lighting. Some bumpers will have the appropriate mounting for these but some may not have all of them. Also, note that those mounts take away from a clean and minimal look if that’s something you’re going for.
These mounts aren’t just something that’s welded on. Winch ready bumpers, for instance, must be able to handle the forces it will be subject to when being used. And it has to do so without warping the bumper or the frame of the vehicle.
And for lighting, you have to check if the bumper you pick is compatible, especially when it comes to fog lights. Aftermarket fog lights come in different shapes and sizes. Some are round and some are rectangular so the fog light holes should match accordingly. Even light bars can have custom mounts on some models so it’s important to make sure it fits.
There’s also the front receiver that’s often used as a mounting point for other accessories. If you plan on using something like a spare tire or cargo carriers, a front hitch receiver can be used if the bumper has one.
Size and Weight – Make bigger better
All that protection and accessories that come at the cost of extra weight. It may not be much of an issue for something like a low-profile base bumper, but for something beefier like a full-cover grille guard, it can weigh your truck down a lot.
In that case, you may have to consider lifting your truck to accommodate all the features you need. Here’s a handy guide if you need to know more.
Also, the size and weight of the bumper will affect how it handles off-road, especially when it comes to approach angles and ground clearance. You can get an idea if this will be a problem by looking at pictures online but it’s best to visit a local showroom before purchasing.
Material – Heavy duty starts here
Heavy-duty steel bumpers and can be separated into two categories: pipe bumpers and steel plate bumpers.
Steel plate bumpers are the top choice if you want maximum protection. That’s because the steel plates can be cut and shaped to fit a vehicle perfectly. However, to provide that full coverage, more steel plates have to be used which can add to the weight of the bumper.
If you want to save weight but still have good protection, take a look at pipe bumpers. As the name suggests, they’re made using steel pipes. Because of that, they won’t cover entire areas of your truck but they will definitely do the job they were made for.
If you care about durability you need to dig deeper into the details of the steel. One aspect is the thickness of the steel plates or steel pipes and another is the type of steel used. For example, if you compare a regular steel plate with a high carbon steel plate of the same thickness from the same manufacturer, the high carbon steel wins.
Price – Bang for your buck
And of course, let’s not forget about the price. Ultimately, this will determine which bumper you’ll be able to get.
If you have a tight budget, we recommend Iron Cross truck bumpers or Frontier Gear replacement bumpers. These two brands offer good quality at great value. But if you’re still set on getting higher end models, you can make use of our 0% interest financing.
As a bonus, here’s an insider tip: Manufacturers have a Minimum Advertised Pricing, which puts a cap on how low we can list bumper prices. If you want to save money, we suggest you purchase directly from one of our sales representatives via email, chat or phone call.
We know how important it is for you to get the perfect bumper. Get in touch with us to get custom discounts as well as expert advice on which model is best suited for your truck.
For the best in form, function, and value, BumperOnly has you covered.