Updated November 2021
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Buying guide for best hitch steps

Trucks, SUVs, and vans are some of the most popular vehicles on the road today, and for good reason. Many consumers use these rugged automobiles for work purposes, to accommodate cargo, or to fit a family and all their gear. However, when it comes to stowing items, accessing the bed of a pickup or the top of an SUV can be challenging. That’s where hitch steps come in.

The concept behind these useful automotive tools is simple: they attach to a vehicle’s receiver hitch, creating a permanent step that can be utilized to access hard-to-reach areas of large vehicles. The result: no more futile stretching or standing on your tiptoes only to find that your reach is inadequate.

Before you purchase a hitch step, you’ll want to assess your needs to make sure you choose the right model. We eliminate the guesswork with this shopping guide filled with tips and tricks to make your decision easier.

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Don’t forget your vehicle’s aesthetics when shopping for a hitch step. There are many styles available, from low-profile to rugged, eye-catching designs to complement modern trucks, vans, and SUVs.

Key considerations

Who needs a hitch step?

It’s easy to access the trunk or even the roof of a car, if need be. However, this isn’t the case when it comes to moving items around in a truck bed or reaching the top of a vehicle that sits much higher off the ground than a standard sedan. Truck beds typically range in length from seven to eight feet long, while large vehicles can be well over six feet tall. Therefore, anyone who owns a large vehicle and uses the back end compartment, bed, or rooftop to haul items can benefit from adding a hitch step to the hitch receiver.

Hitch step benefits

There are several key ways that attaching a hitch step to your vehicle can make life a bit easier.

  • It extends your reach to stow items on a roof cargo rack.

  • It gives you a boost to load and unload the bed of a pickup truck.

  • It provides better access to higher areas of your vehicle to remove ice and snow and accomplish other tasks that involve its exterior.

  • It makes it easier to secure bicycles to a roof bicycle rack.

  • It acts as a guard to protect bumpers from mishaps that could cause scratches, dings, and dents.

  • It complements your vehicle’s looks, especially on customized vehicles with running boards and roof racks.

Features of hitch steps


A hitch step consists of a post that attaches to the hitch receiver of a vehicle. The step is attached to the post and is designed to extend outward from the vehicle once installed. Some models have two steps. Hardware for installation comes with each hitch step.

Slip-resistant surfaces

Keeping your footing is important when climbing around your vehicle. With that in mind, most hitch steps have textured surfaces, plastic or rubberized coatings, or a combination of both to keep users from slipping.


Some hitch steps have built-in lights that make them easier to see from a distance. These models look great, but keep in mind that they require installation of the lighting systems in addition to the hitch step hardware.


Hitch steps are either made of thick hard plastic or steel. The benefit of plastic is that it’s rust-proof, though steel is typically tougher. Some steel hitch steps are powder-coated to prevent rust and corrosion.


Some hitch steps are wider and longer than others. For example, you will find models ranging from about four to over 18 inches in width. When it comes to length, some provide just enough to step directly over the hitch receiver, while others run most of the length of the bumper. The right one for you depends on your needs and vehicle type.

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Did you know?
Did you know that many states have laws requiring drivers to remove snow from their vehicles before driving them? A hitch step makes it easier to reach and remove snow from the tops of trucks, vans, and SUVs.

Hitch step prices

Whether you need a basic hitch step for occasional use or one that’s designed to withstand daily wear and tear, there is a model to fit your needs and budget.

Inexpensive: For as little as $25 to $40, you can find a hitch step that’s practical and reasonably durable, but it may not hold up to frequent use.

Mid-range: Hitch steps that fall between $40 and $75 fit most people’s needs and have features like powder coating, extra-grippy surfaces, and a rugged build.

Expensive: If you want a customized look, extra-long design, or even a dual-step hitch step, expect to pay $75 to $150 or a bit more.


  • Adjust your hitch to the perfect position before you secure the hardware. Most models are slightly adjustable during the installation process.

  • Remember that coatings and textures resist slips. Look for a model with one or both of these features to secure your footing on the hitch step.

  • Wider steps are best for heavy-duty use. Not only are they designed to better accommodate the width and length of your foot, but they are crafted with materials that add to their stability.

  • Dual-step hitch steps can serve dual purposes. For example, if you have a large truck, the first step improves your access for loading cargo near the tailgate, while the second step can help you reach further into the truck bed or onto the truck’s roof.

  • A hitch step can also come in handy for keeping your vehicle looking its best. Simply take a step up to wash and wax areas that are difficult to reach on tall vehicles.

  • Hitch steps are great for auto enthusiasts who modify their vehicles with lift kits. Otherwise, some parts of lifted trucks, SUVs, vans, and even cars can be very difficult to access.
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Reaching the top of a large vehicle is especially challenging for individuals who are shorter in stature, but the four- to eight-inch lift a hitch step provides can resolve this frustration.


Q. Are hitch steps easy to install?
Yes. Most hitch steps can be installed within moments by following a few simple directions. Basically, each hitch step has a post that installs onto your vehicle’s receiver hitch and is secured with hardware that includes a hitch pin. A hitch step is equally easy to remove when it’s time to transfer it to another automobile.

Q. How does a hitch step protect my bumper?
Because a hitch step extends from your bumper, it’s the first part of your automobile’s back end that comes into contact with objects when you are loading cargo — or in the unfortunate case that you misjudge distance when backing up.

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