Both these things are entirely different from each other, though the reason why fans have an issue deciding between the two is because in order to install the bull bars, more often than not the tow hooks have to be removed.
So on that note, the question I will be answering on this article is “is getting rid of the tow hooks for a bull bar any good of an idea”?
What do you do?
Tow hooks are used exactly for what their name implies, to pull yourself or other vehicle out.
A bull bar, well, it is something of a collision protector, that’s all.
You should not use a standard, common bull bar, brush guard or whatever you call it as a recovery point, and here’s why:
So with that said, the decision on what you should go for really depends on what you want to do.
Do you overland, off-road frequently? In other words, do you use the tow hooks all the time? It’s better to leave them be then.
Do you need the extra brush protection, or/and want to attach a light bar on top of it? Go for the bull bar instead.
*Depending on the pickup truck, the removal process may be as easy as undoing the exposed bolts, so if there was ever a need to have those tow hooks, you could mount them back on the spot.
Could there possibly be a way of installing the bull bar without removing the tow hooks?
As I already mentioned, vast majority of bull bars available on the market will require permanent removal of the preexisting towing hooks, though there is an option or two that will work without any of that, actually.
Options like the Aries are compatible with the hooks, as the brackets are designed in such a way to mount on top.
If you happen to know a good welder, try to get the hooks welded under there, in case your bars don’t support them, that is.
Be very diligent about the process, though. You definitely don’t want the towing hooks breaking under a proper load, right?
How strong are the bull bars?
If you think that a bull bar will protect your truck from a deer collision at highway speeds, think again.
They are designed for minor brushes, pushes, get-throughs. If you end up bashing something at higher speed, chances are the thing will do more damage to the truck than if there was nothing on to begin with.
Not to mention, generally they cover a very small portion of the front of the pickup, so the point of “vehicle protection” is even further from the truth here.
If protection against rogue deer is that important for you, you should go for full front bumper replacement.