What bumper to choose: Chrome, Painted or Powder Coated?

An aftermarket truck bumper says a lot about someone. It does a lot of speaking without ever saying a word. Styles are as diverse as this country is big.

Once you’ve chosen the bumper that is right for you, an age-old question comes up. Chrome, paint, or powder coat? Each finish has its own set of pros and cons and should be taken into consideration before choosing a finish.

For us here at BumperStock, we are partial to a powder-coated finish simply because it provides unbeatable protection while still making your truck look like it means business. Just some food for thought.

Chrome

Chrome has and always will have a special place in the automotive world. It does help attract attention, but it may not be the best choice for those who will use their trucks for work. Additionally, if you want to keep up with current trends, it may not be the best finish.

Pros

Even a few years ago, chrome bumpers meant that you got a top-of-the-line trim on your truck. It let everyone know that it didn't cheap out and got the base model. Nowadays, shifting trends mean that if you see a truck with anything other than a body-colored bumper, chances are that some boxes weren’t ticked when ordering it.

Depending on the route you want to take, a chrome bumper may be what takes it for a regular vehicle to become an over-the-top, show-winning truck. From 14” wide, chrome-plated rims, to all-chrome suspension components, there is no lack of chrome on custom trucks.

Cons

Unlike the other finishes on this list, chrome is extremely easy to scratch. Yes, it is more durable than paint, but if you are using your truck more off than on-road, we do not recommend going with this finish.

Chrome plating can also be very expensive. It is a multi-step process which requires a lot of equipment to do it properly. But, if you have the money, it is a good way to prevent corrosion. Of course, rust can also be prevented by painting or powder coating your bumper, all of which can do it at a lower cost.

Lastly, keeping a chrome-plated bumper looking tip-top requires constant maintenance. Unlike powder-coating or even paint, a chrome bumper can easily lose its shine if it isn’t being polished and taken care of regularly.

Paint

In an attempt to save money, some manufacturers would leave their bumpers unpainted. That is why some of the newer trucks look like the bumpers have been replaced by a body shop that never finished the job.

It doesn’t matter if your truck came with chrome, black plastic, or body-colored bumpers, we suggest getting rid of the stock ones and replacing them with a purpose-built one from the many companies we work with like Steelcraft, Fab Fours, and Ranch Hand.

Pros

Paint is a great way to add that extra-custom touch to your truck’s new bumpers. Color matching aftermarket bumpers helps keep everything one even color, even with the radical designs that aftermarket bumper companies like Fab Fours offer.

Additionally, painting a bumper is a great way of protecting body panels, especially steel bumpers. After all, that is why vehicles got painted in the first place. Automakers didn’t want their cars to rust, so paint offered a great way of keeping everything corrosion-free. Over time, painting has become one of the main ways to change the look of a vehicle.

Cons

Just like with anything else, nothing is without its flaws. Sure, paint is a great way of protecting your bumpers, but it comes with an extra cost. Most of the bumpers we sell on BumperStock.com already come with a much more durable powder or E-coated finish. So why spend the extra money if you already get a finished bumper?

When compared to powder coating or E-coating, paint is nowhere near as strong. It is a great way to add protection to metal bumpers, but will not provide the defense that a baked-on powder coated finish can.

Powder Coat

Powder coating is probably the best choice when looking for a durable finish that is also very flexible and can withstand dings and dents with a lower chance of chipping. It has been the finish of choice for many of the world's leading aftermarket truck bumper makers for years.

Steelcraft Hammerhead, Fab Fours, and Ranch Hand sell most of their bumpers with an E-coat, powder coat, or combination of both finishes simply because it will outlast paint. Plus, it looks badass. There is no denying that.

Pros

The special process needed to powder coat a bumper means that the result is a much more durable finish. There is a reason as to why most of the aftermarket bumper makers we work with choose to either powder coat or E-coat their products. The two processes are slightly different, but the end result is virtually the same.

Just like paint, powder coating is also very flexible. Aftermarket bumpers are sure to come in contact with a foreign object at some point and powder coating is sure to take the grunt of it. Because the “paint” is literally baked on after it is applied, the chances of it chipping off are slim to none.

Cons

Unlike paint, powder coating takes equipment most shops simply do not have. A special paint gun is required as well as a curing oven. These investments can take years until they start paying off if they aren’t used regularly.

What makes powder coating so durable is the fact that it is applied much thicker as opposed to a pained finish. Coincidentally, this can also be a downfall for some. If you are building a custom truck for example, and don’t have very much room to play with between body panels, maybe powder coating isn’t the best solution.

Since it takes specialized equipment to powder coat a bumper, prices are usually higher. Luckily, we have worked with our suppliers for years, therefore the price you pay is much lower.

Final Words

So, there you have it, the three most popular ways to finish a bumper. As you’ve seen, each method has its pros and cons and should be considered before changing the look of your truck.

A simple coat of paint may be the most cost-effective way to make your truck's bumper look different. But, if it already came with a powder-coated finish there is no need to mess with perfection. Of course, looks are subjective and everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

No matter which route you take, our lineup of bumpers from various manufacturers are sure to give you a great starting point.

If you have any other questions regarding finish or fitment, our expert staff is standing by and ready to help. Send us a message or give us a call at 844-827-4442

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