What Are Power Running Boards? Which Is The Best? The Rundown

Power running boards are simply electric running boards that are powered. They swing out of the way and under your vehicle when they are not in use. Electric running boards are activated when a door is opened when a car is unlocked, or they can even be programmed to work when a leg sweeps past a sensor. These would be more automatic running boards. The true sign of luxury.

The best power running boards will usually cost over $1,000 to buy and install but for those willing, they can be well worth it. If you lift your truck you can get away with some sleek styling with hideaway retractable running boards.

power running boards, What Are Power Running Boards? Which Is The Best? The Rundown, Mad Digi

We’re not as young as we used to be and want an easier way to get into your truck. Well, the answer is simple: just buy some electric running boards! Electric running boards for trucks make it easy for anyone to climb up inside their vehicle with minimal effort.

Just push a button on the remote control or pull a lever on the side of your tailgate and watch those steps automatically extend out from under your truck bed so that they can provide easy access to all passengers. The best part is that these new electric running boards are designed specifically for your year model of the truck so there will be no issues when installing them.

They can be almost completely hidden, so when you’re driving off-road they won’t lower your riding height and they won’t stick out and hit a rock or bush. Electric running boards are a complete luxury but they do offer additional comforts and practicality.

Power running boards are not as common as side steps or running boards but brands do offer plenty of color and styling options.


Can You Turn Off Power Running Boards?

Yes, you can turn off your powered running boards. You can program most power running boards to act however you want. You can set them to stay hidden, open, and close on a delay, to stay open, or whatever you can think of.

If you want to set your powered running boards to stay retraced up and away when you are changing your oil, riding in extreme terrain, or other infrequent events you will be able to set them in your advanced settings.

You can also set them to stay extended you can do the same thing. There are situations where you need to have the running boards extended, such as in an action movie, or if you want to perform a sweet stunt for a youtube video.

power running boards, What Are Power Running Boards? Which Is The Best? The Rundown, Mad Digi

How Long Do Power Running Boards Last?

Power Running Boards typically last for 5 years or 60,000 miles. The average manufacturer’s warranty covers the first 3 or even 5 years of operation, so you can figure it should last about 5 years or just a little bit more than that. AMP Research is the leading manufacturer of powered running boards and their warranties are for 3 and 5 years.

Some users report they last much longer. Others report that one gets stuck down and the other side won’t extend so they are stuck with half of one. The good thing is that you could be able to peg one up or down until you are able to get it fixed. But most users report AMP electric running boards to work well and should last for years.

How Much Are AMP Power Steps?

The AMP Powerstep’s most economical version starts at $1,075, $1,599 for the Powerstep EXtreme, and $1,899 for the Powerstep XL. Prices change and Amazon usually has the most competitive prices, though AMP’s website has MSRP pricing.

AMP also manufactures a manually retractable Bedstep as well. It is a single step that installs in front or behind the rear wheel on either side of your truck. It works great for stepping up and adjusting or securing things in the bed. They are best for shorter people, or taller people with lifted trucks.

Ok, I have made up my mind. I want some for my truck. But where do I start?

What Are The Best Power Running Boards?

AMP Research is the standard and probably the most popular electric running board. They are generally regarded as the most reliable (designed and manufactured in the USA) and the easiest to install and use. There are others as well, here is my list of the best electric running boards:

1. AMP PowerStepXL

Buy if you want the best of the best electric running boards and don’t mind the prices

The Good

The Amp Power Step XL is a 9-inch power running board that extends and retracts with the push of a button. It’s perfect for trucks, SUVs, and other vehicles with large flat surfaces. The platform measures 13 inches by 34 inches, making it one of the largest on the market. It also has lights to illuminate your path at night. The Power Step XL boasts an industry-leading 5 year or 50,000-mile warranty and is backed by a nationwide network of service centers.

Amp Technology Inc., a subsidiary of Amp Inc., is based in Englewood, Colo. The company has been designing, engineering, and manufacturing running boards for more than 20 years. The Power Step XL uses a 12-volt power source that’s easily accessible through your truck’s fuse panel or by using an optional wiring harness. Running board lights come standard in green.

The Bad

It’s the most expensive electric running board on this list.

2. AMP PowerStep

Buy if you are price conscious but want the best brand

The Good

AMP PowerStep Reliable is the most advanced power running board on the market. It has a flat and secure 6-inch extension, which is perfect for any terrain. AMP Reliable provides you with all the features you need in one step! With its powerful design and 3 year/36,000-mile warranty, AMP Reliable will provide you with reliable power for years to come.

AMP PowerStep is reliable and has an adjustable extension that allows you to extend and retract for easy access in any vehicle. It also offers adjustable steps, so you can have a stable even board with no rocking or wobbling.

The Bad

The Amp Powerstep is the most complicated power running board to install.

3. Aries Offroad ActionTrac

Buy if you need the double step for the elderly or young children

The Good

The Ares power running board offers a unique double-step design. One 4-inch platform is at door level and the other 3-inch platform sits 8 inches below, which makes it easy to enter your vehicle even if you are carrying heavy items.

The running board double step holds up to 650 pounds of weight for maximum comfort and safety while driving with passengers or cargo in tow. Installation takes only minutes so there’s no need to worry about technical difficulties when trying it out! The warranty covers all manufacturing defects within 5 years of the purchase date as well.

The Bad

It is more expensive than its competitors’ equivalents

4. Bestop PowerBoard

Buy if you installing is not your strong suit

The Good

The standard 6.25-inch wide platform extends an impressive six inches to make the most of your storage space and increase maneuverability in tight spaces, while its connectivity is easy as it only requires WIFI for you to begin using this model right out of the box.

While a two-step install process makes setting up incredibly simple, should anything go wrong during that time period or within 36,000 miles from the purchase date. So Bestop will replace their electric running boards at no cost with their industry-leading 3 year/36k mile warranty.

It has a standard 6.25-inch wide platform that extends 6 inches. It connects only with WIFI and boasts the easiest 2-step install, and it comes with an industry-standard 3 years/36,000-mile warranty.

The Bad

WIFI only connection may turn some off

All of these running boards are great, but the best power running board is going to depend on your personal needs. Make sure you read through each review carefully and select what’s right for you!

We encourage anyone looking for a new set of power running boards to make their selection based on this information before anything else. After all, who doesn’t love saving money? Let continue with some power running board FAQs.

Are AMP Steps Universal?

Yes, AMP Power Steps are universal. AMP makes mounting brackets for all major pickup truck manufacturers and custom mounting brackets can be made for other carmakers. AMP also offers a universal mounting bracket that can be modified depending on your truck.

If you have a vintage raised Disco and you want to add some automatic Power Steps you can do it. Like with most work on a vintage truck you will have to cludge what you have to make it work. But it can be done and still look professional. The Powerstep tucks away and is almost completely hidden. Powerstep 2 is larger and has a lower extension and it is designed to be shown off.

How Far Do Amp Power Steps Drop?

The original Powerstep drop 6 inches. The PowerstepXL drops 9 inches, 3 inches lower than the original). They both support up to 600 lbs per side so two sumo wrestlers can even use the Power Steps at the same time and nothing will happen.

How Long Does It Take To Install Amp Power Steps?

2-3 hours. AMP Research states you need about 2-3 hours to install both Power Steps. From a difficulty scale of 1-4, AMP Research rates this installation at a 4.

You will need to cut, strip, and solder wires, run electrical wire, insulate with silicone caulk, tighten bolt and nuts, drill through your frame, and drink 3-5 beers during the installation process. It is complicated though it can be done in an evening or a weekend with ease.

AMP Power Steps are more involved than other retractable running boards. This is their biggest downside. You need to drill in the frame to run the wire and connect it to your existing truck’s electrical system. Sometimes this can take hours itself and require special tools. Though, when it is finished you have a hard-wired system that will fail less than competitor’s systems that use a wireless connection.

How Do I Lubricate My Power Running Boards?

Electric power running boards have moving parts. And they are exposed to the elements so with time even the best power running boards will need some upkeep. Apart from a manufacturer’s malfunction, you will basically only need to lubricate your running boards from time to time. Consult your owner’s manual for recommended times.

To lubricate retractable running boards start by spraying every pivot point and moving part with a spray lubricant (motorcycle/bicycle chain lube or something equivalent works excellent) every few months or when you hear or feel a lack of freedom of movement.

Electric power running boards come from the factory properly lubricated. Though with time and weather this lubrication needs to be replenished. It is a simple process that can be done in minutes.

Simply open your door to extend the electric running boards. Then at each point where there is bare metal, a pivot point, or a moving piece, spray lube. You may need to get under your truck or use a mirror to view locations under or behind the running boards. Otherwise, you may miss spots and this could lead to further damage that can be easily prevented.

Main Takeaways – What Are Power Running Boards?

Running boards can be great and they can be an easy upgrade. But what if you go off-roading, or you don’t like the look of them? Well, retractable electric running boards will solve both of these issues. Electric running boards will hide away when they are not being used and the best power running boards will tuck away so you don’t lose any ground clearance.

Electric running boards are a great way to get in and out of your truck without having to use the traditional step-up. They can be installed on any vehicle that has side steps, which is most trucks.

The electric running board will automatically rise when you approach it with one foot on the lower step, so all you have left to do is hop up onto it and then into your car or truck! If you want an easy entryway every time, these accessories may be for you.

Overall most customers are very happy with them. And they give you a sense of luxury that few single upgrades can give you. I personally love the look of running boards, but a powered running board that opens right before you step on it is just so cool. It would be hard to look away on a truck that has these. Or maybe that’s just me?

Thanks for reading and stay dirty