Ram 1500 Running Boards and Nerf Bars Guide

Ram 1500 Running Boards and Nerf Bars Guide

Last Updated May 26, 2022 | C.J. Tragakis

In addition to making it easier to get in and out, nerf bars and running boards can give your Ram 1500 a more rugged look. Whether they’re off-road-focused bars or electronically-powered steps, running boards serve as a practical upgrade to almost any pickup.

From daily drivers to dedicated work trucks, the added ease of access granted by running boards or nerf bars can be appreciated by drivers and passengers alike. Getting into your truck at the end of a hard day can put more strain on your body that you don’t need. This is exponentially more noticeable on lifted trucks; the higher your Ram is jacked up, the more difficult it is to clamber in and out. Kids and those who might have mobility issues will see the most benefits from some new running boards, but even an Olympic athlete would be hard-pressed to argue against the easier ingress and egress.

This guide provides you with an overview of some of the main types of steps that can be added to your Ram 1500. It serves as a great starting point as you search for the best running boards and nerf bars for your truck, with plenty of high-quality, easy-to-install options.

Best Ram 1500 Running Boards and Power Running Boards

The term “running boards” can refer to a variety of different styles, but they’re typically in a flat, rectangular configuration (as opposed to being more rounded). They come in both street-focused and more robust off-road designs, with both offering great style and practicality for getting up into your Ram truck.

We like a lot of the options that Mopar offers, with a variety of both standard and off-road style products. Since they’re an official partner with FCA/Dodge/Ram, you know that you’re getting top-level quality and fitment, and you can even select products that feature the “RAM” logo on them.

Ram 1500 Amp Research Power Running Board
AMP Research PowerStep Running Boards

If you want the functionality of running boards but want to maintain a cleaner style for your truck, power running boards are a great option. They might not be for everyone, but powered running boards can give your Ram 1500 a sleeker look by staying out of view when not in use. You’ll also feel like royalty every time the bar automatically extends to greet you when you open the door. Powered running boards are noticeably more expensive than static running boards, but the added practicality and style make them an excellent option for many drivers. Options like the AMP Research PowerStep and Bestop Powerboard give you a smooth-operating retractable running board that will automatically deploy when the door of your truck is opened, for both entry and exit.

Best Ram 1500 Nerf Bars

Nerf bars are known by a variety of names, but the general premise is the same: Adding a long bar to the side of your truck to give you a sturdy place to step as you enter or exit. Nerf bars tend to be tubular in shape (as opposed to running boards), with flat sections to put your feet on. Although the term “nerf” used in racing means to lightly bump or nudge and “nerf bars” were originally protective armor against such bumps, their usage on trucks is almost purely for aesthetics and getting in/out. With that said, off-road nerf bars can also serve as rock rails, guarding the sides of your truck from jagged terrain or small boulders.

Ram 1500 Lund Nerf Bar
Lund Nerf Bar

Nerf steps are a subgenre of nerf bars that offer more distinct step areas for the front and rear. They’re not as streamlined, but they look rugged and add even more practicality for those entering or exiting your truck.

Best Ram 1500 Bed Steps

For those times when you’d love an extra leg up while retrieving items from your truck’s bed, the addition of a small bed step can make a world of difference. These steps are designed to be small and fold out of the way when not needed. As you access your bed, however, they spring into place and provide a sturdy, grippy point to stand.

Ram 1500 Bestop Trekstep Bed Step
Bestop Trekstep

Each of these options requires just a simple, bolt-on installation. Check products from companies like Bestop and AMP Research to find a great bed step that will fit your specific Ram 1500.

If you’re ready to upgrade your Ram 1500 with some new running boards or nerf bars, there are a lot of options to choose from. Each will provide a great amount of utility, so it really comes down to choosing the pair that you think will look best on your truck. Even if you don’t need a new set of steps to get into your cabin, any truck used for work or recreation can benefit greatly from the addition of a bed step. Shop CJ’s to find the next upgrade on your Ram 1500 wishlist.

For an overview on even more upgrades, check out our guide to the top Ram 1500 mods.

CJ Author Photo

About the Author

C.J. is a Focus ST owner and car industry buff. He uses his first-hand experience and passion for the industry to craft interesting and helpful topics for fellow enthusiasts. Read full bio →

Ram 1500 Running Boards and Nerf Bars Guide

From off-road designs to power running boards that are focused on luxury, this guide will help you find stylish options to help you more easily get in and out of your Ram 1500.