The term “grille guard” has become a bit of a misnomer in recent years, as the product category grows beyond just simply protecting the front grille of a vehicle. Products such as bull bars, brush guards, bumper bars, and push bars have all fallen into the grille guard category as products that offer protection without looking entirely out of place. If you own a truck or SUV and are frequently taking it to job sites or off-road trails, there’s a good chance you will want to protect the front end from any accidental damage.
There’s a wide range of offerings when shopping for a grille guard or bull bar, from protecting your entire front fascia to just the lower center area of your front bumper. Choosing which style you want ultimately depends on the area you want to protect and how much you’re willing to spend.
To learn more about grille guards and bull bars, refer to our table of contents, but first, we’ll take a look at the best ones you can buy.
Table of contents
Editor's Pick: Aries
Similar to Westin, Aries offers a wide variety of applications for grille guards and bull bars. The company’s standard grille guard offering requires no drilling for installation and is available in two finish options: polished stainless and semi-gloss black powdercoat. They are constructed from either stainless steel or carbon steel and have pre-drilled holes in the crossbar for mounting LED lights. The grille guard uses 1.5-inch heavy-wall tubing and comes with a lifetime limited warranty, but a one-year warranty on parts.
If you’re looking for something more serious, the company’s Pro Series Grille Guard is equipped with a patented LED light bar housing and interchangeable plate options. The Pro Series lineup features one-piece construction and is available in four finishes: brushed stainless, polished stainless, semi-gloss black powdercoat, and textured black powdercoat. Some models feature a patented crossbar that houses a single-row LED bar and the interchangeable cover plate serves as protection for the light bar while offering easy customization.
The Pro Series Grille Guard is a one-piece design with 1.5-inch diameter, high-strength steel heavy-wall tubing and comes with a limited lifetime warranty, three-year warranty on the finish, and one-year warranty on the parts.
The company also offers three different bull bars: AdvantEDGE, Big Horn, and 3-inch Bull Bars. The AdvantEDGE Bull Bar is a 5.5-inch unit constructed from rust-free aluminum and is available with integrated LED lights. The Big Horn is a 4-inch bull bar with a more traditional tube design, while the 3-inch model offers a no-drill fit for a wide variety of applications.
Tyger Auto offers a wide array of grille guards and bull bars for various makes and models at a relatively affordable price. Some products feature a stainless steel finish, while others have a semi-glossy black e-coating to prevent rusting. Pay close attention when you’re shopping for Tyger Auto’s grille guards and bull bars, because some of the company’s products are manufactured from mild steel instead of stainless steel. This does help save on cost, but just know underneath that coating is material that could potentially rust.
Most of the company’s products do not require drilling or cutting and are bolt-on solutions. They also come with mounting hardware and instructions, so you can install the grille guard or bull bar in your garage or driveway.
All of Tyger Auto’s products are backed by a five-year warranty against manufacturing defects.
One of the most popular brands on Amazon for grille guards and bull bars is Westin. For its lineup of bull bars, Westin uses 3-inch diameter tubing for larger model trucks and SUVs, while smaller vehicles get 2.5-inch diameter tubing. The company offers a total of four different grille guard models: HDX, Sportsman, HDX Winch, and Sportsman Winch.
The HDX Grille Guard features 2-inch diameter tubing with full wraparound wings, a full punch plate grille, one-piece solid construction, and has its uprights capped with 2.75-inch wide rubber strips. It is available in stainless or with a black powdercoat finish.
The Sportsman Grille Guard also features one-piece solid construction with a 1.5-inch diameter tube frame. The uprights are capped with 1.5-inch rubber strips. Applications vary on whether the grille guard is equipped with a single or double hood bar. This grille guard is good for off-roading, with the ability to mount up to four auxiliary lights across the center channel.
If you need to install a winch, there are variations of the HDX and Sportsman Grille Guards that have a winch tray with brackets that mount directly to the vehicle’s frame. These trays have been tested to a minimum straight line pull of 16,500 lbs and will fit most medium frame 8,000- to 12,000-lb winches up to 10.25-inches tall.
For bull bars, there are various models including the Contour 3.5, E-Series, Ultimate, Contour Safari, Safari, Off-Road, Contour LED DRL, and Ultimate LED. These bars vary in specifications, but are contoured to match the vehicle’s front end.
TAC (Truck Accessories Company)
Another company that offers a lineup of quality bull bars and grille guards is TAC, short for Truck Accessories Company. TAC’s bull bar lineup includes Predator Modular, Predator Modular LED, 3-inch LED, 3-inch gloss black, 3-inch polish, and 3.5-inch polish. It offers a standard grille guard and a heavy duty grille guard for trucks and SUVs, as well as a modular grille guard for vans. Overall, TAC’s lineup consists of more affordable products compared to the competition.
The standard grille guard from TAC features a heavy-duty, one-piece construction and has pre-drilled holes for auxiliary lights for an easy no-drill installation. It’s offered in high-quality T304 stainless steel, while the black guards are made from heavy-duty steel with a black powdercoat. The stainless steel version is covered by a limited lifetime warranty, while the black powdercoat variant has a three-year warranty.
The heavy duty grille guard from TAC has all the same features as the standard model, but with a more aggressive and comprehensive design with actual grille protection.
Taking a look at TAC’s bull bars, the Predator Modular is constructed from heavy-duty steel with a dual stage fine textured black finish. These bull bars are an easy bolt-on solution with no drilling required and comes with a five-year warranty against manufacturing defects. If you want a built-in LED light bar, the LED variant comes with a 20-inch LED bar that delivers 4,050 lumens in a bright flood beam. The light bar comes with a factory-style wiring harness.
The 3- and 3.5-inch bull bars are a more traditional design and are available for a variety of makes and models. They come with a three-year warranty against manufacturing defects and are manufactured from heavy-duty steel with either a dual stage black powdercoat finish or polished stainless steel.
Specializing in front end protection, Black Horse’s lineup of bull bars includes a standard model, Max, Savannah, and Armour. It also offers standard grille guards and a Spartan model, along with sport bars and front runners. All of Black Horse’s products are designed to directly bolt up to your specific vehicle, so no drilling is required. Some applications are available as a fully welded one-piece unit, while others are modular.
Black Horse Off Road Bull Bars are available in either powdercoated black or T304 polished stainless steel and are covered by a three-year warranty and lifetime warranty, respectively. They’re available for a variety of applications and install directly to the chassis of your vehicle using existing factory holes. Some variants also offer LED light bars that feature an integrated 20-inch bar offering 3,000 lumens.
The company’s grille guards are manufactured from heavy-duty steel and are available in either polished finish or a black powdercoat finish. The polished version has a limited lifetime warranty while the powdercoated model comes with a three-year warranty, just like the bull bars.
Overall, Black Horse’s products are more affordable than the competition but keep in mind that other company’s products may use stainless steel rather than mild steel or heavy-duty steel. Make sure you’re making a fair comparison on the material being used before deciding which product you want to purchase.
What is a Grille Guard/Bull Bar?
As we mentioned earlier, the term grille guard has grown to include various products including bull bars, brush guards, bumper guards, and push bars. But each have their own style and use, so here’s a general breakdown.
Full grille guards are also known as brush guards and often cover the full width of your vehicle’s front end. That means it offers protection to the grille, bumper, headlights, and more. They are also specifically designed to fit the front end of your vehicle, allowing your headlights and cooling components to function properly. Grille guards can add to a truck’s styling, giving it a more aggressive appearance without being over the top.
If you want to fully protect the front end of your SUV or truck, a brush guard is the way to go, whether it’s from accidentally hitting an animal or a job site incident. They are also beneficial if you go off-roading, but you’ll want to purchase one that has a cutout or mounting points for a winch and any auxiliary lighting you may want to install.
Center grille guards, also known as push bars, aren’t as popular with general consumers. They serve the purpose of helping gently push a car in front of you without causing any significant damage to both vehicles. Some full grille guards will incorporate a push bar, meaning you get more comprehensive protection and the benefits of a center grille guard. You’ll often see push bars on some police vehicles, even sedans.
The more affordable option for some protection comes in the form of a bull bar. Designed to protect the underside of the front bumper as well as the center face, bull bars are more attractive to some vehicle owners since they don’t occupy the entire front end. If you plan on going off-roading, you can also look for a bull bar with a skid plate, as well as mounting tabs or locations for lighting equipment or a winch.
Why do I Need a Grille Guard/Bull Bar?
Grille guards and similar products are a great way to enhance your truck’s appearance while providing an additional layer of protection. They generally do not interfere with any other accessories you may have on your vehicle, such as a winch or tow hook. Some grille guards have an additional benefit of providing mounting points for auxiliary lighting equipment, which is great for going off-road.
You mainly want to add a grille guard or bull bar to your vehicle if you’re looking to protect the front end. Whether that’s from frequent travel to a job site, back roads, or going off-road, grille guards are a relatively affordable investment when compared to the potential damage caused in an accident. In minor, low-impact crashes, a grille guard will take the majority of the impact and may not even get significantly damaged. A bull bar provides great protection to the front underside of your car, especially if it comes equipped with a skid plate.
They also provide good protection if you accidentally hit an animal on a dimly lit road. Along with helping minimize structural damage to the front end of your vehicle, a grille guard could prevent the animal from rolling up and damaging the windshield.
However, if you’re ever in a high-speed or high-impact crash with a grille guard, it could cause more damage to your vehicle. That’s because the vast majority of these products mount directly to a vehicle’s frame, so it takes the brunt of the impact. This also causes a vehicle to stop more swiftly in a high-speed accident, potentially causing more injuries to passengers.
What to Look for in a Grille Guard/Bull Bar
First and foremost, when shopping for a grille guard or bull bar, you’ll want to make sure it’s specifically designed to work with your vehicle. Then, you will want to see what type of material it is made from, and the diameter of the tubing. Generally most bull bars use 3-inch tubing, while grille guards will have a variety of sizes to accommodate the design of your front end.
Look for products that require minimal modifications to your vehicle. Some are straight bolt-on with no drilling or cutting required, and that’s often the way to go. Also consider if you’re planning to add any other accessories to your vehicle, such as lights or a winch for off-road use. If so, make sure the grille guard you are purchasing can accommodate those lights or winch without any modifications.
Keep in mind that some grille guards and bull bars may block your vehicle’s sensors, so check with the manufacturer on your specific application before purchasing if your model is equipped with parking sensors or other similar technologies.
Lastly, products will come in a variety of finishes, from chrome plated to polished stainless steel and powdercoated colors. Get something that fits the rest of your vehicle’s theme. For example, if you have an optional package from the factory that added numerous black-painted accessories to the exterior of your vehicle, get a grille guard that has been powdercoated black.
Our Final Verdict
There’s a lot to take into consideration when shopping for a grille guard or bull bar. Not all companies will offer a product for your specific vehicle, making it difficult to make one overall recommendation. But if you need a starting point, we recommend taking a look at Aries. The company offers a wide range of grille guards and bull bars for various makes and models at competitive prices. It also has a solid warranty program and you can even get products with built-in LED lights bars for off-road use.
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