What's the difference between a full-width,medium-width or stubby bumper?
Everything on the factory bumper outside of the frame longitudinal beams is plastic and offers little to no protection while driving or even in a collision. Deep off-road enthusiasts are expected to replace the factory plastic bumpers with safe and crash-resistant stainless steel bumpers. But aftermarket off-road bumpers are subdivided into bumpers that fit a variety of uses and style styles, with the three most popular styles being full-width, medium-width, or stubby bumpers. Each bumper offers a different level of protection and functionality when off-roading, and some even provide you with additional fog lights and auxiliary lighting points. But what to choose?
Full-width bumpers are the same size as the front of your Jeep, and in our experience, this style is the most popular of the three. Full-width bumpers offer more crash protection, but really only protect the tires and fenders. However, in addition to protection, the full-width bumper can limit the Jeep's off-road capabilities somewhat due to its length, such as approach angle and tire articulation. As a result, its performance may suffer when faced with large obstacles such as fallen trees, boulders, or steep grade changes. The downside of this bumper is that it is much heavier than the other two and can affect the approach angle.
Stubby is lighter than full-width or medium-width bumpers, so many owners prefer short and wide bumpers when they can save weight. Especially with 35-inch or larger tires installed, the front wheels are exposed and look cool. While these bumpers provide strong protection for the center grille area, their short width leaves tires, fenders, and critical suspension components vulnerable to potential impacts and damage. However, the off-road performance of the stubby bumper makes up for the lack of protection with its easier approach angle, unobstructed tire articulation, and a bumper that's less likely to snag on anything. In fact, this bumper is popular with enthusiasts who prefer technical off-road driving.
Medium-width bumpers usually extend slightly beyond the grille, but not beyond the outer edges of the factory fenders. This style is a good compromise between the protection of a full-width bumper and the off-road functionality of a stubby bumper. If you enjoy off-roading on the weekends and use your car as a daily driver during the week, this bumper may be the best fit on both counts.
Everyone has their own opinions and choices, and more enthusiasts prefer as few bumpers as possible. For example, a stubbyJeep JK front bumper allows the tires to hit an obstacle that a full-width bumper just blocks. A stubby bumper doesn't offer true wheel protection in the event of a collision, but it's perfect for rock crawlers. In fact, a full-width bumper is far superior for crash protection and isn't nearly as restrictive as you might think off-road. Choose a stubby bumper for aesthetics and off-road performance, or a full-width bumper if front-end protection is important to you.