The Best RV Steps for Campers in 2019
Reviews, Comparison, and Guide
Most of us have steps in and out of our swimming pool. You could jump or dive in, but you want a controlled means of exit instead of having to climb out. The average RV door leaves you in a similar, precarious position unless you have the best rv step that make it easier to get in and out. What many don’t realize is that there are a number of styles and designs when it comes to RV steps.
We’ll explain what these options are and the pros and cons of each.
Top 3 Best Steps for RV use - Comparison
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What's an RV Step Actually?
The RV may have steps that take you from the living section to the door outside. However, an RV step takes you that literal next step out (or three) outside of the RV down to the ground. Its objective is to give you a smooth transition. It allows you to carry loads up without struggling. It may allow you to maintain your balance and climb down without worrying about falling down.
Let’s look at the main types of RV steps on the market.
Here are the Types Of RV Steps on the Current Market
01. Portable RV Steps
Portable RV steps have several points in their favor. They’re generally cheap. You can choose one as wide or narrow as you’d like, including one far wider than your RV door. You can buy it and then put it in place almost immediately.
A side benefit of portable RV steps is that you can take them with you, whether you want it to help you get into a trailer or move them to another RV.
One downside of portable RV steps is that you have to put it in place before you can use it. This may mean you have to exit the RV without steps before you get the portable RV step out of storage and install it. The alternative is for the portable RV step to take up limited storage inside the RV and be placed before you step outside the RV.
In either case, it adds to the list of things you need to do when you park the RV. It also creates the risk that you accidentally leave it behind or back over it.
Most portable RV steps have fixed legs. This means you can adjust the height or location of the legs. If it is 12 inches high, it states that way. They may or may not have legs that can be folded up, either, for easy storage.
A. Adjustable-Leg RV Platform Step
An adjustable-leg RV platform step can be considered portable, since it is separate from the RV and not capable of being mounted to the body of the RV like automated electric RV steps. It typically has just one large “step” instead, but it is large enough to give you space to maneuver.
Depending on the platform, it could support 2 people or one person with a cane or walker. The adjustable legs generally allow you to raise or lower the height of the platform step. This is invaluable if you need a step that is a certain distance or elevation from the exit of the RV for the sake of accessibility.
B. Folding RV Step
A folding RV step always folds up for easy storage. This may be folding up of the legs so that the platform step can be stowed away under bags and boxes. Or the steps may fold up like a step ladder, allowing you to stow away a multi-step platform.
Pay attention to the dimensions of the step when collapsed rather than assuming fold-up guarantees it will be as small as the space you have for it.
C. Porch-Style Steps with Handrails
Porch style steps with handrails are ideal for those with bad balance, limited mobility or concerned about safety. A young child or elderly adult can hold onto a secured handrail as they navigate the stairs. The stability of the stairs depends on the manufacturer of the product and/or its assembly, so do be careful in that regard.
Most of these steps are made of metal, making them stronger but heavier than plastic steps.
D. Solid Plastic Box Steps
Solid plastic box steps may be a single step, have two built in steps or even have three steps. In general, the more steps it has, the narrower each step is.
The biggest advantages of solid plastic box steps are relatively low price, the fact that you don’t need to be assembled and can’t collapse due to mistakes in assembly or loose screws. A few plastic box steps are highly visible because they are made from bright yellow plastic. A few models have slip-resistant strips on them.
However, the plastic steps by definition are going to be more slip-prone than an open metal mesh step.
02. Permanently-Installed RV Steps
Permanently installed RV steps are those that are permanently attached to the RV. This eliminates the need to get it out and set it up at each stop. It guarantees you can’t lose it.
However, this typically raises the cost of the step and adds installation costs to the total cost of ownership.
A. Manual RV Steps
The manual step can take several forms. The simplest form is a step and its supporting frame welded to the body of the RV. It is permanently affixed there. You can’t move it without calling in another welder, and that includes adjusting its height. Conversely, the step can handle a high load and will never slip.
Most manual RV steps are a single step mounted on the vehicle like the step bars you see on trucks, though two and three step models exist. A few resemble ladders. The manual, permanently installed step does require you to be careful when parking with it so you don’t damage it by hitting a curb.
B. Automatic Electric RV Steps
Automatic electric RV steps sometimes resemble the handicap lifts and other retractable hardware. Push a button, and the metal step framework extends. Now you have your one large step fold down or a full staircase expand out. You don’t have to do any work beyond assembly and mounting, though that can be outsourced to a professional if you can pay for it.
The biggest downside aside from cost is the power requirement. They’ll use up batteries, including house batteries. If there is no power, the steps may fold up against the RV and keep the door closed or just not work.
The alternative is getting one with a manual release, though that means you have to physically work to extend things or let it all slam into place, potentially damaging components.
03. Popular Different Sizes
A. 2 Steps
Two steps generally equal a shallower step than a single step. For most people, this is ideal.
B. 3 Steps
3 steps give you a generally shallow step spread over a larger area. That’s ideal for those who can’t raise their knees very far or are manipulating a walker and cane. Just make sure the surface area of each step is large enough for you to work with.
C. 4 Steps
In very tall RVs, you may need four steps to get in and out. Note that the four step ladders and staircases are big by default. And on an incline, they may leave you with a trip hazard instead of an aid in and out of the vehicle.
D. 5 Steps
A 5 step staircase is rarely required unless you have an elevated platform or very limited mobility. These stairs may be so shallow that you can get a rugged wheelchair up and down them. Or you can easily move across them with a walker. It really depends on the design. Be careful that you don’t end up with a de facto ladder.
04. Differences in Old and Modern Use
A. Step Above
Step Above RV steps are much more secure and stable than earlier RV steps. Early RV steps were like cheap ladders that almost bounced as you walked on them. Step Above steps never bounce or wobble.
The manufacturer has several models that come with support bars or holes on which you can mount one later.
B. Solid Step
Solid Step is one of the top manufacturers of three and four step RV steps. One point in their favor are the electric and gas-powered models that extend and retract the longer stairwells. They have models that automatically adjust step height and angle when it touches down, ensuring a flat, stable step every time.
One concern is that they use a latch to hold them into place. If the latch breaks, you could be stuck with extended steps though you want to drive away.
GlowStep is made to maximize stability. It is one of the best choices when you’re getting out of fifth wheels and tall trailers. Some models have built in handrails.
Most of their models fold up against the RV for a minimal profile while driving. The scissor mechanism holds them securely in place when retracted and holds them in place when extended, too.
Here are the Top 7 Best RV Step Full Reviews
The best RV steps are those that fit your vehicle, your body and your life. It won’t be the cheap plastic step that you could slip on when wet. However, it may not be the electric scissor step that unfurls like an aircraft loading ramp. Because there is so much variation in what people need, we’re going to share a number of recommended RV steps so you can find the one best for you.
01) Kwikee Brand Model 372261 Classic 32 Series Step Assembly with Logic Control Unit and Power Switch Kit
Editor Rating: 4.6 Out of 5
If you don’t have the patience or physical ability to go, retrieve and install RV steps every time you stop, these are probably the best RV steps on the market.
The three step configuration will extend at the push of a button. The wires and gears are weather-proof.
We're going to assume that someone considering electric stairs will consider the power draw worth the reduction in work that normally comes with RV stairs.
The steps have a 7 inch rise, 9 inch run and 24 inch tread. This is sufficient for people with limited mobility (but not a walker) to get up and down the steps.
These steps have a mounting bolt pattern of 8 by 22 inches. They’ll screw into the bottom of the RV frame and stay securely in place. Note that the stairs have a 300 pound weight limit.
These may not be the best RV steps for those who are close to the weight limit. And that could include one adult stepping up to help another navigate the stairs.
One of the downsides of this model is the weight of the stairs themselves. The entire assembly weighs about 60 pounds. This is hard to install unless you have that done by a professional.
02) MOR/ryde International Model STP-4-30-03H Fold 4 Step 30" Door
Editor Rating: 4.5 Out of 5
The MOR/ryde RV steps are a basic four step ladder. These steps are suitable for uneven terrain. You can adjust the feet to make the steps level.
However, that has to be done manually. Once that’s done, the steps are stable.
One benefit of this design is that the steps can be secured inside the door, assuming the dimensions are right. These steps are 34 inches by 34 inches by 70 inches.
In some RVs built before 2014, the screen door can’t close with these RV stairs stowed in the doorway.
There are several benefits of these dimensions. This gives you a wider overall step. In theory, two people could be on the stairs at the same time. Note that the steps themselves are not very deep, so you need to be careful when climbing them. You don’t have to worry about deploying the stairs once you reach your destination. Just twist the handle to release them.
The downside is that the stairs could get bent if you just let them fall onto hard concrete a short distance down from the RV door. Nor can you deploy the steps if you park to close to something. There are periodic complaints that the product lacks installation hardware.
03) Lippert Components Model 678040 26" Solid Step
Editor Rating: 4.4 Out of 5
These RV steps by Lippert have a roughly 26 inch step width. You can choose one of their models based on the dimensions of your RV door.
This ensures a tight fit, and it means you can guarantee the Lippert RV stairs fit your RV. The stairs can be stored in the doorway of the RV when not in use, minimizing drag.
One point in favor of this model is the 400 pound limit. It can support heavier people or full grown adults carrying heavy loads in and out of the RV.
The installation is a mixed bag. The company provides all the installation hardware, but they don’t provide good instructions.
You’ll probably need to drill some holes into the floor of the RV to make the stairs stay in place when not in use and secure them to the RV frame.
04) MOR/ryde DW International Model Stp-3-27-05H Fold 3 Step
Editor Rating: 4.4 Out of 5
These steps are designed for a 27 inch door, though they can fit doors between 26 and 27 inches. They have a relatively high nine inch rise.
They are made for a nearly three foot vertical distance. That makes these one of the best RV steps for tall trailers.
Furthermore, you can adjust the feet so that the steps are level on uneven ground. That helps you keep your balance as you climb in and out of the vehicle.
You can store these steps inside the doorway of most RVs. However, you need to pay attention to the dimensions, because they may not let you close the door if the collapsed stairs are too tall for your entryway.
What if they do fit? Then you don’t have to worry about the RV steps causing drag on the RV or coming lose in the wind. They have a simple twist handle to release them and deploy them.
An issue with these stairs is that the mounting dimensions are not always correct. You have to measure from the outside edge of the threshold to the mounting hinge to get stairs that work. They also aren’t easy for the average do-it-yourselfer to install.
05) Stromberg Carlson Model SMFP-2120 Manual Coach Steps, 7.75 Inch Rise
Editor Rating: 4.3 Out of 5
Stromberg Carlson is an RV aftermarket part manufacturer. The double step is sufficient to eliminate an awkward step up into an RV. Each of the two steps are roughly 20 inches wide.
The 7.75 inch high step is easier for many people to navigate than a nine inch rise.
This step is marketed as a Flexco-20 alternative part, though it actually ends up being two inches higher than the OEM steps. That will result in them dragging on the ground if used where Flexco-20 steps were installed.
The solution is to check the dimensions instead of assuming these are a plug-and-play replacement for your current RV steps. Conversely, these RV steps work with Forest River RVs just fine.
One point in favor of this model is the non-skid surface built into the step. They also have holes to let water drain away.
The steps extend and retract. This means they’ll collapse against the body of the RV when not in use, minimizing drag. They don’t always do so smoothly.
However, they’re cheap and easy to install but to protect the steps, you should use a best rv steps cover.
06) Stromberg Carlson Model EHS-102-R Park Econo Porch-2-Step
Editor Rating: 4.5 Out of 5
Stromberg Carlson is a famous maker of after-market parts for RVs. The model EHS-102-R product is the best RV step for someone trying to balance price with the fact that they need handrails to maintain their balance.
This is a reasonably priced RV stair assembly that comes with a guide-rail.
The stairs are basic. They’re fixed. But they are very stable once assembled. Each step has a seven inch rise, ideal for those with limited knee flexibility.
Conversely, you can’t alter the step height or level the stairs.
Note that it only has a nearly two foot rise. It isn’t tall enough to get you inside a fifth wheel or other tall trailer.
The downside is that these don’t really collapse for easy storage. A potential concern is that they don’t always ship with the hardware, and you can’t easily get the necessary hardware at the store.
This is because it doesn’t come with good instructions. Nor do you want to make a mistake, since the thing will collapse if the rivets come out.
07) Torklift Model A8004; Glowstep Revolution-4 Step RV Step
Editor Rating: 4.0 Out of 5
This is the best RV step for RVs that are far above the ground. These steps can extend from 30 to 40 inches vertically.
Note that these RV steps have roughly 27.5 inches between the mounting brackets, so they’ll fit roughly 28 inch doorways. When the steps are collapsed, the height from the top to the bottom is roughly 17 inches.
Make sure your RV door will close when this assembly is stored in your doorway. There are adapter kits for making these stairs fit other sizes of RV, but that is sold separately.
However, the existence of the adapter kit is what lets the manufacturer say these are designed to fit literally any RV.
One point in favor of this model is the thorough “fit guide”, though there is room for improvement with the assembly instructions that come with it. Another benefit is its stability, something that’s unusual but essential given its height.
A minor complaint is that the bolts and slots that come with it are basic hex head screws, and the screws and bolts aren’t always a direct match. For example, you may get 5/16 bolts but the instructions call out 3/8 bolts. It will fit, but it isn’t as good as it could be. However, you can get replacements at the store if you desire.
These stairs have a locking handle. However, it isn’t easy to determine what position the stairs are in by looking at them. You almost have to re-engage the locking handle and make sure the stairs are in the next position such as locked in place on the ground.
There is a locking handle, but that is only held in place by a retaining wire.
RV steps are under-appreciated until you fall out of the vehicle as you try to step down to the pavement. They’re overlooked until you struggle to help someone in and out of the vehicle. This is why RV steps are so popular and come in so many different forms. Identify what you need out of a set of steps and then pick the best RV steps for your application.