Bumpers have come a long way from when they were first designed. Originally, they were metal bars designed to be utilitarian. They then evolved to be more stylish, but built the same way. Eventually they became much larger and chrome. Automotive design took a major turn and “bumpers” turned into “bumper covers.” Large molded and painted plastic covers hid the small metal plate behind that was now designed to crunch and absorb impact.
Let’s face it. Our Toyota Tundras are trucks, and trucks need more. Thankfully there is a massive aftermarket for our Tundras. There are countless style options, but also plenty of utilitarian and off-road bumpers in mind for both the front and rear. What works best for you?
Let’s first cover the different types of bumpers you can add to your Tundra. Keep in mind that there are usually more front bumper options compared to rear. In each section, I’ll give you some examples of popular options that Tundra owners are rocking. We have searched the forums and Facebook groups, talked to our customers, and looked around all the parking lots to get you an accurate list!
A stock “bumper” these days is actually considered a bumper cover. These are the plastic pieces that offer no real protection. They are designed to crumple and be thrown away in the event of an accident. They are also made up of plenty of little parts.
The rear bumpers have more metal construction to them. While plastic is lighter and cheaper to replace compared to metal, Toyota does recognize that a Tundra is still a truck, and that rear bumpers need to be stepped on, yanked on, bumped into, and whatever else you can throw at a truck.
Cosmetic/Looks Aftermarket Bumpers (Front and Rear)
These are once again just bumper covers, and they offer no protection or utilitarian gains at all. They just look different. Some people don’t treat trucks like trucks. They may lower them, or just make them flashy. Other people don’t like the chrome accents that can be found on the Tundra bumpers. There are some aftermarket companies that can assist with this.
Bumpershellz by ecoological
If you are tired of the chrome trim flanking the sides of your front bumper, ecoological has you covered (literally) with their Bumpershellz. These plastic caps are designed to be secured over your factory chrome. You can get them in six different finishes (three blacks, paintable, bed-lined, and Toyota Super White II). While chrome was originally meant for you to stand out, covering that chrome up will make you stand out even more these days! These will run you about $135 to $200 depending on the finish. You can also get these for the rear of your Tundra bumpers as well!
If you want to cover the whole lower bumper and add some lighting, this unique option will definitely make heads turn. For $575, you can transform the front of your Tundra with this custom molded kit in about 40 minutes. The LED lighting that flanks the fog lights will add a truly custom feel, in addition to the skid plate-like trim on the bottom. Keep in mind that it is made of polymer, so it is not designed to take a serious beating, but if you are after looks, this could be for you.
Front bumpers for the Tundra come in all shapes and sizes. They generally attach to your frame, and wrap over the front of your bumper cover, or replace the bottom half of your bumper (if applicable). They are usually a few steel tubes or sheet metal welded together that are generally painted black. Some are designed with function in mind, some looks, but most keep both paired together for the best package. You can typically find these with mounting options for light bars, winches, and tow hooks, but many of them can come from the factory with these already included!
While some just give you the addition of a metal bumper in front of the plastic cover, some offer skid plates that help protect the expensive stuff under the truck: suspension, front engine components and accessories, and wiring. Some also offer protection above in forms of metal grills or bars around your headlights, metal grills or bars in front of the stock grill, or both.
When shopping around, you may come across “hybrid” bumpers. These generally blur the lines between the different options for the front of your Tundra: bull bars, minimal bumpers, full face bumpers, and so on.
Let’s take a look at some of the options out there for your Tundra.
If you want something a bit on the more “subtle” side, but still need to be ready for your weekend adventure on the trails, SSO offers their hybrid bumper. This lightweight option is made to order, so you are getting something made just for you, and not something pulled off a shelf! They take the place of the center section of your bumper, and are ready to be customized with your sourced parts. They allow the option of a winch, an included bull bar, three lighting cutout options, and a bare metal or a black powder coated finish. They run from $770 to $990.
If you want a complete, ready to go, fully bolt-on, made in America bumper that has everything you need and more, ADD comes in swinging with their Stealth Fighter front bumper for the Toyota Tundra. Sounds bolt, right? Well, you have the option of no winch or two different winches, no or eight different center light options, and no or three different side light options. Unlike some companies that offer cutouts for the options, this bumper comes ready to go, or you can add your own. The center section allows for a 40 inch light bar, or up to 10 cube lights. The bumper starts at $2300, but you’ll quickly go over that with options.
While options and sourcing parts can be fun, if you just want everything right from the factory at one up front price, Ironman 4x4 delivers just that. For just around $2000, you get a sleek bolt-on bumper that includes a 30 inch dual row LED light bar, and four cube lights. The inner cubes are clear and outer cubes amber, but you can choose if you want them to be spot or flood beams. Beyond that, you get what Ironman 4x4 says you get, which is a great complete package!
Rear bumpers are a bit more simplistic, but work the same way: plastic out, metal in. Generally these replace the whole rear bumper and bumper cover. Like the front, they bolt to the frame to. They are usually visually more basic compared to stock bumpers: one color, all metal, less parts, and less flash/chrome. They are robust and designed to take a beating. Generally they are solid sheet metal, but sometimes are made out of tube steel for lighter weight.
While they don’t typically offer taillight protection, some more expensive models can offer storage space for fuel jugs, jacks, a spare tire, and other modular storage. Since this can take up substantial room, some offer built in gates to hold all these extra items. To not disrupt the function of your tailgate, they can swing out of the way when needed.
There may also be optional LED lighting and tow hook attachments built into the bumpers as well.
Let’s now take a look at some of the options for the rear of your Tundra.
Coming back again it ADD, but this time they are bringing up the rear with their Stealth Fighter rear bumper. While not as many options as their front bumper, that is typical for rear bumper. You can choose between no LED lights, or four other options. The cubes will flank the sides of your license plate. It comes with integrated reinforced clevis mounts that accept 3/4" D-rings for added utility, and backup sensor cutouts are included. Before lighting options, the bumper will set you back $1700.
If you need quality that’s ready to go right out of the box, Rough Country offers their Rear LED Bumper. Each bumper includes two Rough Country Black-Series two inch LED Flush Mount Cubes. No need to worry about finding your own lights or price increases but choosing options. It includes everything you need for an easy installation, and also comes with a three year warranty. What’s even better is that all of that comes in at just $750.
For another complete, flat fee bumper, Ironman 4x4 is back. Like their front bumper, they offer more lighting from the factory compared to others. While you get the four cube LED lights no matter what, you do get to choose if you want clear or red flood beams for the outer pair. The first pair are clear flood beams. While you don’t get to spec out much, you’re getting a bumper that has more lights than most, and at a flat fee of $1259.
Push/Bull Bars (Front Only)
While push bars (also known as “Bull Bars”) are not exactly considered “bumpers,” they mimic the same function of a lot of the other bumper types listed in this blog. These do come in all shapes and sizes depending on your needs, but they all offer more front protection over stock bumper covers. They can be for pushing (as the name suggests), or they are great to have another line of protection before something hits your plastic bumper cover.
Basic models are a simple tube that comes up to right under the grill. They wrap over the bumper cover. More protective (and more expensive models) might replace the lower half of your bumper cover and cover a bit more of the grill. There is a bit of a grey area at some point with what is just a push bar, and what becomes an offroad bumper.
As normal, let’s take a look at what is out there in terms of Toyota Tundra bull bars:
Rough Country has some of the most basic bull bars you can get for any truck, and that’s not a bad thing. If you just need a little extra protection up front, but don’t want to break the bank or look too much like an off-road warrior, you can’t go wrong with this simple bolt on bull bar for $200. They do offer ones that are a bit more that include LED lighting as well, but if you want simple, there ya go!
For full protection of front, Westin offers this kit that mounts as a standard bull bar, but offers so much more protection. Your lower bumper is protected, your grille, and your headlights too. The heavy duty construction is backed by a three year warranty and comes with the ability to mount a 26 inch dual row LED light bar. Unfortunately, that is sold separately. This kit will show that you mean business off-road, but let’s face it... It will look good in any parking lot too. This kit costs just under $800.
A bumper, like anything on your truck, depends on the look you want, your intended use, and how much you want to spend. Our Toyota Tundras are very popular trucks, and that leads to many options. Find what works best for you, and get it on your truck!
BumperShellz - Courtesy of ecoological & Empyre Off Road
Front Cover - Courtesy of Air Design
SSO Front - Courtesy of SSO
ADD Front - Courtesy of ADD & Empyre Off Road
Ironman Front - Courtesy of Ironman 4x4
ADD Rear - Courtesy of ADD & Empyre Off Road
Rough Country Rear - Courtesy of Rough Country
Ironman Rear - Courtesy of Ironman 4x4
Rough Country Bull Bar - Courtesy of Rough Country
Westin Brush Guard - Courtesy of 4WheelParts