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8 Best Bumper Guards for Cars 2021

best bumper guards

Staff, Courtesy of Bumper Badger

In major metropolitan areas where street parking is the law of the land, bumps and nicks on our cars unfortunately become a common occurrence. Tight parallel parking spaces and careless drivers come together to wreak havoc on bumpers. Fortunately, quite a few products have been created for protection in these cases. These aftermarket guards add an extra outer layer to a car’s body and save it from having to participate in full-contact parking.

What to Consider

There are three main methods used to install aftermarket bumper guards on a vehicle. The simplest just attaches rubber strips to the body using an adhesive backing. However, this method comes with a drawback — when you’re ready to remove the rubber strips, it could be difficult and leave a sticky residue behind. Then there are guards that strap onto the rear of the car, which good amount of coverage and are easily removable, but they’re not usually the most attractive package.

Lastly, hard-mounted steel guards are available which bolt down to the chassis, but those are typically reserved for trucks and SUVs. Also be aware of the size and shape of a particular guard, and measure out how well it will fit to your particular bumper.

How We Selected

Popular Mechanics has included these guards based on a blend of personal experience and review data gathered from automotive publications such as AutoGuide, MotorBiscuit, and The Truth About Cars. We’ve also focused on providing a variety of price points, features, and installation methods in our selection. Find the best bumper guard now for you and your vehicle.

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Best Overall

Luv-Tap Universal Fit Rear Bumper Guard



The Luv-Tap is really the choice for those who want full bumper coverage. The gentle padded cotton material can be adjusted to a variety of vehicle sizes, and even thrown into a washing machine if it gets dirty. Bright silver reflectors along the product also ensure visibility in all lighting conditions.

Two included straps hook into the trunk, like most mat-style guards, but the Luv-Tap also offer two extra points of attachment which hug the sides of the vehicle using four large suction cups. This extra security means that a motorist can drive with the product installed, and not worry about it flapping around in the wind. The guard measures 11 inches tall, and up to 105 inches wide, easily covering the entire rear of most vehicles. The Luv-Tap can be bought with or without a license plate window, and a corresponding model which wraps fully around a front bumper is also available.

  • Full coverage
  • No need to remove while driving
  • Machine-washable


Budget Buy

Rhino Guard Heavy-Duty Corner Car Bumper Guards



These simple stick-on rubber pads can be applied be applied in a matter of minutes at all corners of the vehicles, as four of them come in a pack. The low-profile design of these products also means they won’t interfere too much with factory looks. 

The drawback is that they don’t offer any coverage for the center of the bumpers. They could, however, be used to augment some bumper guard products which only protect the middle. Each pad measures two by 20 inches, and sticks to the body with standard 3M adhesive.

  • Attractive design
  • Works front and rear


Best Rear Bumper Guard

Bumper Badger HD

Bumper Badger


The Bumper Badger represents a now-popular type of guard, which straps to the inside of a car’s trunk and is flipped out over the rear bumper after parking. You’ll have to put it back in the trunk before embarking, as the two-strap installation is not intended to hold it in place at high speed. 

The product is made from rigid rubberized plastic similar in composition to an all-weather floor mat, and offers about the same level of protection. Dimensions are 46×12 inches, which envelop most of a rear bumper, but don’t quite cover the corners on larger vehicles. A center section of the guard can also be cut out with a razor blade to prevent a bumper-mounted license plate from being covered up.

  • No permanent installation
  • Optional license plate cutout
  • May not reach corners
  • Must stow away while driving


Best Front Bumper Guard

BumpShox XL Front Bumper License Plate Frame



The BumpShox guard screws into the front bumper in place of a normal license plate frame, making installation a breeze, and giving it a very factory look. If your vehicle doesn’t have a front plate bracket, however, some drilling may be required. The product is fully made from rigid, yet flexible, polyurethane foam which can sit in the heat and take some bumps while maintaining its shape.

The BumpShox measures out to 14 inches wide, 7.5 inches high, and about 2.25 inches thick, only enough to cover the direct center of the body panel. The design is also not intended to fit most rear bumpers.

  • Thick shock-resistant foam
  • Clean installation
  • Small coverage
  • Only works on front


Best Reflective Bumper Guard

Bumper Bully Extreme, Gold Edition

Bumper Bully


This is another strapped bumper mat, but with a few extra features added on. Most welcome are the red and gold reflectors, making the matte black surface much easier to spot in the night hours. 

The Bumper Bully is also made from a soft latex compound that the manufacturer promises is gentle on paint. The included fabric straps are reinforced with steel threading to prevent fraying or cutting, but they still recommend placing the guard in the trunk while driving.

Like the BumperBadger, measurements max out at 46×12 inches, but the shape is unique. A tapering design better flows with the lines on body panels, and leaves space for exhaust pipes to remain uncovered. A license plate cutout is also included.

  • Soft rubber
  • Reflectors
  • Reinforced straps
  • May not reach corners
  • Must stow away while driving


Extra Wide

BumperX Stick-On Guard



This large adhesive pad semi-permanently adds a black rubber skin to a bumper, with a design that’s more utilitarian than attractive. At 6×62 inches, this product is wide enough to cover many panels edge to edge, and can be trimmed down to a narrower size if necessary. The manufacturer, however, recommends installation on bumpers that are mostly flat, as ridges and grooves will complicate the process. Also be sure not to apply the tape over any existing parking sensors or backup cameras.

  • Full coverage
  • Trim to fit
  • Not very attractive
  • Needs a flat surface


Best for Trucks

DNA Motoring Hitch Guard

DNA Motoring


This metal rear guard is easy to install on trucks, SUVs, or any vehicle that comes with a two-inch tow hitch. It just slides in and locks with a metal pin, like any other towing hardware might. The assembly is mostly powder coated steel, with some rubber foot pads included to help the user step into a truck bed or hatch. 

At 36 inches wide, the bar should cover about half of most rear bumpers. It also juts out from the back about four inches, which could make parking more difficult for those who don’t have the added visibility of a backup camera.

  • Tough steel construction
  • Quick install
  • Only about 50% coverage
  • Adds to vehicle length


Premium Option

Westin 30-0005 Light Bar



Low-profile brush guards like this Westin unit are a popular aftermarket add-on for SUV owners, be they off-roaders or urban explorers. The black steel bar adds a layer of protection, with some rugged style to boot. The bumper bar itself is fairly universal, but will require an additional mounting kit to bolt to the chassis of your specific vehicle. The Westin storefront also includes a handy dropdown menu to test product compatibility. 

After installation, the guard is more or less flush with the factory bumper, only extending an extra inch or two. Coverage is about nine by 36 inches, so the corners go unprotected on larger vehicles. The bar also includes two extra mounting points which can be used to install custom fog lights. 

  • Expensive
  • Requires additional hardware
  • Little corner coverage

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