Jeep installed on Chris's Jared's Dana's
Steel thickness 3/16 3/16 3/16
Design feature Step/Slider Bar Guards kick out Step/Slider Bar
Side mounting Drilled holes Drilled holes Drilled holes
Side height 6 1/4 6 1/2 6 1/4
Distance from obstacles 2 1/2 1 3/4 4 3/4
Bottom mounting Body mount Drilled holes Drilled holes
Bottom coverage 50% 100% 100%
Backing plates No Yes: side Yes: floor
Painting available No No Powdercoat (add.)
Countersunk available Yes No Yes (add.)
Lasercut logo Yes Yes (add.) Yes (Optional)
       
 
       

When making our purchases, we usually try to go with something different than one of our other Jeepers has.  I reckon we'd rather spread the money and the brand names all around.  Plus it's fun to customize to ones own likings and then to compare them all in the end.

Steel Thickness:  Industry standard is 3/16

Design feature:  Many products that offer rocker protection simply provide you with a plate of steel to reinforce your Jeep's rocker panels.  That's a great plus if you come in contact with an obstacle.  But if you wheel frequently and/or hard enough, the question of "if" becomes mute and the question of "when" becomes more applicable.  So instead of protecting your vulnerable body and paint once the rocks get there, the more optimal plan would be to keep them as far away as possible in the first place.  That's where we've found that a slider bar mounted to the guard can be invaluable.   Not just a step, you can use them to your advantage as you squeeze through the tightest of spots.  While many manufacturers offer the option of the additional bar, some like BTF build their guards with a kick-out design that provides the same safe keeping distance from the rocks that a bar could.

Side mounting:  Most RG's require the drilling of holes into the body of your Jeep to mount them.

Side height:  The more metal, the better.  So the higher up the side of the guards go...

Distance from Obstacles:  As discussed in the Design section, the further away from the rocks your guard keeps you, the better chance you'll go home with your paint (and door hinges).  We've found that Slider Bars and other protuberances can definitely save the day and can even be used as a tool.

Bottom mounting:  How many points your RG's are mounted to is important also.  Just mounting them to the sides of your Jeep may just make it easier for damage to occur.  While no one enjoys drilling into metal while laying upside down, mounting your guards to your undercarriage can take much of the stress off the side panels.  Some companies like Poison Spyder forgo the drilling and allow the body mount to be solely used as a mounting point.

Bottom coverage:  It surprises us just how many RG's out there on the market offer side protection but nothing but an inch of coverage for underneath.  Some are just 2 dimensional, having nothing for bottom protection at all.  Just because you can't see it doesn't mean the rocks won't either.  Plus, we've used the Rocker bottoms many times as a Hi-Lift point.  Try doing that with nothing extra underneath.

Backing plates:  By sandwiching the body or the floor between 2 3/16 pieces of steel, you can greatly strengthen any mounting point.  A backing plate can help spread out the pressure at the mount and keep the body or floor from popping out or buckling.

Painting options:  While Powdercoating always looks top notch, if you know you're going to be using your skids, it might not be for you.  That's why many companies don't even offer it.  It is much simpler to repair and match your marred paint with a rattle can if you happen to leave a little behind.  Jared and Chris are constantly touching there's up after trips.  You can even get a textured look if that's you bag by using the aerosol spray on bed liner.  We used Duplicolor bed liner on Jared's.

Countersunk bolts:  You may choose these because they look great, but they add another advantage as well.  If you use regular bolts, they are going to stick out past your guard, which means they may get hit first.  The main problem with that can be adjusting the bolt after a rocks already gotten a hold of it.  The countersunk bolts will sit flush and use an Allen wrench to manipulate.