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> Styles And Specifications Of Nerf Bars

Styles And Specifications Of Nerf Bars

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If your vehicle sits too high to get in and out of comfortably, installing a set of nerf bars is a great way to close the gap between your cab and the ground. With a little knowledge of different nerf bar designs, choosing the right steps for your ride is simple.


Materials and Finishes

Image of Ionic black 3" nerf bars
Cab length Ionic black 3" nerf bars
Image of Ionic stainless 3" nerf bars
Cab length Ionic stainless 3" nerf bars
The majority of nerf bars are made out of steel. Both carbon steel and  corrosion-resistant stainless steel variants are available. On carbon steel bars, the most common finish is black. These black finishes vary from gloss and semi-gloss to matte and textured. On stainless bars, polished and chrome finishes are prevalent, though some stainless bars are offered with black finishes.

Shapes and Styles

Nerf bars are often categorized according to their shape, diameter, and design.

Image of cab length stainless nerf bars
Round 3" stainless steel bars

Round Bars: These circular pipe-shaped bars are commonly found in either three or four-inch diameters. Affordable and easy to install, this is one of the most common step bars on the road today. Popular manufacturers include Ionic and Westin.

Image of Raptor 6" W2W stainless ovals
Raptor 6" W2W stainless ovals

Ovals: Larger bars are usually flattened out into ovals in order to provide a wider step area. Ovals such as those made by Raptor are found in sizes ranging from four to six inches in diameter.

Image of N-Fab bars with hoop steps
N-Fab hoop style nerf bars

Hoop Steps: Popularized by N-fab, this nerf bar features a round tube with a step or steps attached which drop down from the tube. Also referred to as rung steps, these nerf bars feature a slightly lower drop than other designs.



The length of a nerf bar is usually described in accordance with the portion of a vehicle to which it permits easier access.

Image of Ionic stainless 5" ovals
Cab length Ionic stainless 5" ovals

Cab Length: A cab length nerf bar extends along your cab, under each door. On a regular cab (two-door) truck, a cab length bar will feature one stepping location on each side. On an extended or crew cab truck, there will be two stepping locations on each side.

Image of Raptor 6" W2W stainless ovals
Raptor 6" W2W stainless ovals

Wheel to Wheel: Wheel-to-wheel nerf bars extend past the cab and along the side of the bed, providing a step that allows you to easily access cargo or a truck tool box. This type of bar is popular on work trucks. Some manufacturers such as N-Fab also produce wheel-to-wheel bars without the step for bed access.

Image of Tacoma equipped with Carr Hoop II steps
Carr Hoop II steps on a Tacoma

Individual Steps: Individual steps are usually between 10 and 20 inches long. They provide a single step under a door, rather than a bar running the length of the cab. While often more affordable than a full-length bar, they require extensive drilling on your vehicle to install them where regular nerf bars typically bolt on with little to no drilling. If you’re interested in a shorter step, check out the Hoop and Hoop II steps made by Carr.

If you have questions about nerf bars for your vehicle, contact our expert staff today. They’re standing by to help you take the next step on accessorizing your ride.