First impressions are always important: that’s why a vehicle’s front bumper is an essential part. When it comes to JL Wranglers and Jeep Gladiators, the front bumper is a popular part to upgrade.
Of all of the main types of bumpers available for Wranglers and Gladiators, the stubby bumper offers some of the best all-around performance. They can keep the front of the Jeep safe, provide a wonderful mounting location for a winch, and in some cases, help prevent catastrophic front roll-over. To cap it all off, they look awesome as well!
To help narrow down your search for a stubby bumper for your JL or JT, Matt from CJ Off-Road’s YouTube team describes his picks for the best stubby bumpers in the below video. Selected are a wide variety of stubby bumpers that fit both the Gladiator and the JL Wrangler. Many of these bumpers Matt has personally installed on a rig of his own, so these recommendations come from a place of experience.
One of the key features of a stubby bumper is that they keep the front of the vehicle protected while keeping the tires free and unencumbered. While there are more niche bumper options available for both the JL and the JT, a stubby bumper is a solid choice if you don’t know what you want to do with your rig yet.
Additionally, front bumpers are cross-compatible from the JL Wrangler and the Jeep Gladiator. This especially exciting for new Gladiator owners, as the comparatively more established JL Wrangler aftermarket scene has a whole slew of parts available that work for your truck.
Mopar Rubicon Front Bumper
First up is the Mopar front stubby bumper. Given that this is a Mopar product, its quality is assured. Overall, this front stubby bumper has a subdued design, and unlike some of the other stubby bumpers featured below, this bumper very cleanly blends into the JL or Gladiator it’s installed on.
This low-profile stubby bumper is made of stainless steel and is corrosion-resistant. The steel is a big durability upgrade from the stock plastic bumper, and the corrosion resistance can keep your investment (both the bumper itself and your JL and JT) safe.
Additionally, this bumper plays nicely with the stock fog lights, tow hooks, and the factory airbag system.
This bumper is quite simple and easy to install. It’s made to mount right up and includes all of the necessary hardware to do so. This bumper can be installed in a matter of minutes. If you’re still incredulous, then take a look at CJ Off-Road’s install video. All you’ll need is an 18mm socket and a few minutes of time!
While this bumper doesn’t provide a good mount for a winch, it has a wonderful and distinct appearance. The red tow hooks poking out on top of the bumper are a nice touch to the front of your JL or Gladiator. They can be swapped out for other colored hooks as well, allowing for even more customization.
Fishbone Offroad Mako Stubby Bumper
The Fishbone Mako Offroad Front Winch Bumper is an aggressively rugged-looking front bumper for your JL Wrangler or Jeep Gladiator. Unlike the Mopar Rubicon bumper, this bumper has a more aggressive protrusion over the front grille. Combined with the black textured powder coat, this front bumper simply screams toughness.
The loop that extends in front of the grille is one of the big benefits of this particular stubby bumper. Not only does this allow for the built-in winch plate and fairlead, but it also functions as a type of stinger bumper as well. This means that in addition to protection your JL or JT’s front end, this bumper can help mitigate the consequences of frontal rollovers.
This bumper’s innate winch compatibility is fantastic news if you’re looking to install a winch down the line. The design of this bumper also allows for plenty of additional lights to be installed. Put simply, this stubby bumper is a great starting point for a heavily modded JL Wrangler of Jeep Gladiator.
In addition to the winch plate, the Fishbone Mako front stubby bumper comes with D rings and is compatible with OEM fog lights. This bumper is easy to install as well, and can be easily hooked up in an afternoon.
ARB Stubby Bumper
The final stubby bumper featured is the ARB front bumper with classic bull bar. This front bumper has that classic Jeep Wrangler look. It looks fantastic on both the JL Wrangler and the Jeep Gladiator. The compact tubular design looks durable, tough, yet somehow playful. This is a bumper that begs for you to take your Wrangler or Gladiator’s doors and top off.
Like the Mako front stubby bumper from Fishbone, this ARB bumper also contains a similar design to protect the vehicle’s grille. This one doesn’t offer much in terms of rollover protection, but if that really is a concern of yours, a stinger bumper will be your best option.
Matt currently has this bumper installed on his Jeep. One of the things he notes as particularly strong about this bumper is its versatility. With the exception of the lack of place for the stock OEM foglights (there are plenty of other places on this bumper to mount some), this bumper can fit nicely along with whatever else you want to do to your rig. From winches to aggressive lighting setups to a serious lift kit and big wheels and tires, the ARB front bumper will look right at home.
There are plenty more bumper options for both your Jeep JL Wrangler or Gladiator. Beyond the selection of stubby bumpers that we have here at CJ Pony Parts, there are a variety of different bumper designs that might be a better fit for your rig. Be sure to check out our parts selection as well as CJ Off-Road’s YouTube page for more videos like this.
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