LAST UPDATED: August 11, 2019
Best Lift Kits: Boost the Height of Your Jeep, SUV, or Truck
Increase your ride’s ground clearance for better off-road performance with these top-rated lift kits
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PUBLISHED ON August 11, 2019
A lift kit increases the ground clearance of your vehicle, specifically the height between the frame and the ground. You can replace the front and rear suspension of your Jeep, SUV, truck, and four-wheel vehicle with a lift kit for performance purposes or just to make it look larger and visually appealing. If you are interested in giving your ride a little boost, here’s a detailed review of the top lift kits that you should consider.
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Benefits of Lift Kits
- Stylish look. If you are thinking of upgrading the look of your vehicle with a new paint job and tires, consider also including a lift kit as the final touch that will turn heads on the road. Lifting your vehicle adds a touch of style to your ride. It makes it seem like the body is hanging in the air and generally makes your ride look bigger.
- Improved off-road performance. A custom truck lift can improve your vehicle’s off-road performance in terms of better ground clearance, enhanced approach angle, greater articulation, and enhanced overall rideability. Lift kits work for four-wheel-drive vehicles, rock crawlers, mud racers, high-speed desert racers, or long-distance open country trekkers.
- Accommodate large tires. Lift kits provide an added clearance that leaves room for larger tires on your vehicle. Larger tires boost off-road performance as they enhance traction and stability in mud, deep snow, sand, rocks, and rugged terrains. Larger tires and greater clearance also help your vehicle manage a steep ascent or descent on any off-road surface.
- Protect your undercarriage. If you are a rock crawler, lifting your vehicle’s body will protect your undercarriage from scratches and chips. Lifting the undercarriage will preserve the undercoat and promote resistance to wear from friction and rust.
Types of Lift Kits
Body Lift Kit
A body lift kit only lifts the body of the vehicle by increasing the space between the frame and the wheels. However, the suspensions and axles remain at the original factory position from the ground. The aim is large to fit larger tires, which consequently reduce the ground clearance and are not a guarantee of improved ride quality. These are the cheapest lift kits you can get for your truck.
Suspension Lift Kit
A suspension lift kit is a step above a body lift where the suspension system, axles, and body are lifted for better off-road driving. The kits will totally replace your driveshaft leaf springs and shocks or struts for better ground clearance. Surprisingly, you may not notice any difference in the vehicle’s weight distribution or driving stability with suspension lifts as they are designed to perfectly integrate into your vehicle. That’s why they are more expensive.
Leveling Lift Kit
You may have noticed a reclining angle in the factory look of your truck, especially if you own an F-150. Manufacturers tend to keep the rear end higher than the front end in such vehicles. That imbalance can minimize handling when climbing downhills. Leveling kits typically solve the irregularity by balancing out the front and rear end by bringing both to the same level.
Rough Country is a Tennessee-based automotive parts and accessories manufacturer. The company designs lift kits, wheels, wheel spacers, tires, steering stabilizers, driveshafts, brakes, throttle body spacers, performance chips, and other automotive accessories. It has operating centers in the United States and sells its products through a chain of online dealers and storefront retail centers. One of its best-selling suspension kits is the Rough Country Leveling Kit.
ReadyLIFT is a U.S.-based manufacturer that was founded in 2006. It’s a subsidiary brand of Wheel Pros, LLC. The company designs suspension lift kits that provide a custom fit for GM equipment, Subarus, Jeeps, and other light trucks. They also design shocks and other leveling kit accessories. ReadyLIFT has a huge consumer market as its lifts promote a factory-like ride, and allow the owners to install bigger tires and wheels. One of its best-rated lift kits is the ReadyLIFT Leveling Kit.
Daystar is a leading American manufacturer of passenger cars, trucks, SUV, UTV, and ATV accessories. Some of its top products include body lift kits, suspension lift kits, recovery
ropes, winch lines, and airbag cradles among other automotive interior and exterior accessories. One of its prime leveling kits is the Daystar Lift Kit.
4WS is an American manufacturer of off-road auto parts including steering stabilizers, driveshafts, replacement axle parts, motor mounts, winch accessories, and suspension lift kits. The company, based in Missouri, prides itself in creating a fast and easy shopping experience for its consumers. Its products are easily accessible from local auto shops and a variety of online auto distributors. One of its cheapest lift kits is the TrueTwo Suspension Lift.
Pro Comp is an American-based auto parts manufacturer that was founded in 1992, and since then it has been gracing the automotive industry with high-quality automotive accessories for on-and off-road driving. The company started by exclusively making suspension systems but later ventured into manufacturing tires, wheels, and car lighting equipment. One of its best front and rear Tacoma lift kits is the Pro Comp Suspension Lift Kit.
Lift Kits Pricing
- Under $100: The quality of a lift kit is directly proportional to the price. This means that you won’t find the most long-lasting or strong lifts kits the lower you are on this price range. Generally, most low-priced lifts kits come as leveling kits and feature a single set for either the front or the rear end. However, some manufacturers offer a full-body lift set that’s made of steel with a lift of about two to three inches.
- Over $100: At this price point expect to find suspension and leveling kits that feature premium construction with industrial-grade aluminum. Aluminum spacers are long-lasting, lightweight, and give a high lift to your vehicle. They typically offer a larger ground clearance and allow you to upgrade to larger tires. Generally, the more expensive lift kits come as a full set for the front and rear and are thicker than the cheaper versions.
When it comes to lifting kits, “one type fits it all” is not really as every vehicle comes with different factory suspension specifications, bodies, chassis, and designs. Therefore, most lifts are custom made to fit specific vehicle models and make. For instance, you may have a lift kit that’s specifically designed for Dodge Rams or F-150s only.
The height allowance offered by the lift kit will affect the size of the tires you can install and the level of ride handling. For instance, lifting your truck by about six inches means that you have to sacrifice high speeds and the ability to turn corners quickly. However, a 3-inch lift will not have a significant difference in the ride quality.
- Driving Conditions: Before you buy a custom lift kit you need to look into where you plan on driving. Trucks naturally have a high center of gravity, and a two to three-inch lift kit would be appropriate for off-roading. Anything higher will help with rock climbing and moving through large water masses.
- Ease of Installation: This is more important if you plan on installing the lift kit yourself. The kit should at least have an easy-to-use manual and a few online videos that guide you on how to install the lift. Fortunately, most modern lift kits are easy to install.
Best Lift Kits Reviews & Recommendations 2020
The Rough Country Leveling kit is for any driver looking for the right blend of enhanced off-road performance as well as style. It features an innovative, molded, spacer design that’s strong and designed to improve the appearance of a strut. It has a 2.5-inch suspension kit that levels the front and rear of your tires. These lifts ensure that your ride looks good and balanced and are designed to fit in a standard truck’s strut hat.
The kit includes strut extensions with an installation kit, 1-inch lift blocks, and a U-bolt for the front. For the rear, the kit includes U-bolts, 1-inch lift blocks, and two N3 shock absorbers for enhanced on-and off-road performance. The kit is recommended for 2004 to 2008 Ford F150 vehicles. The estimated installation time for the kit is about two to three hours. In addition, there’s a lifetime replacement warranty for the strut extensions and shocks from the manufacturer.
A downside to the product is that it may come in poor packaging. There’s a lack of attention to detail by the manufacturer as the bolts are nuts are loose in the box, and you need to be extra careful when opening the package. The rear shocks may feel a bit soft, and your vehicle may bounce a lot on rough terrain. Also, the lift gets compressed with time and may reduce from its original 2.5-inch size.
The TrueTwo Suspension lift kit contains two pairs of spacers that are molded from high-grade polyurethane. The spacers have a basic but tough design and will last a long time before they start to get compressed. The kit includes a pair of front and rear spacers that offer 2.5 inches of lift when paired with socket isolators and two inches of lift without the socket isolators. The lift offers a luxurious ride quality that’s similar to the stock condition of the vehicle.
The kit leaves enough room for 35-inch tires, and it only takes a few hours to install the spacers. It’s just as easy to return your ride to its stock condition when necessary. It is one of the cheapest suspension kits considering it comes as a full set for your vehicle. These lift kits are recommended for Jeeps.
A drawback of the kit is that it doesn’t come with instructions, and you may have to rely on a few online installation videos. It also doesn’t fit all Jeep models. You may experience some issues with the ride comfort level as the kit doesn’t come with shock absorbers. That makes for a rough ride while off-roading.
The Daystar Lift kit is custom made from high-density polyurethane for a comfortable lift and leveling. It offers three inches of lift and features a torsion key system that allows you to adjust the height of the lift. The lift provides enough room for 37-inch tires and improves the handling and stability of your vehicle.
The kit comes with everything necessary for servicing or rebuilding one vehicle and includes a 0.6-inch sway bar, body mounts, and all suspension bushings. The spacers are resistant to corrosion by vehicle fluid, and road grime slides off the spacers with ease. This lift is recommended for 2007 to 2014 two- and four-wheel drives and all transmissions.
A major drawback of the lift kit is that it may be challenging to get the shocks back in after installing the spacers. You may be forced to hire a professional to help you with the installation. Moreover, it may take more than three hours to install the front and rear spacers, which isn’t typical of body lifts. You may also have to make some exhaust modifications for newer vehicle models.
- We recommend that you avoid installing a suspension and level lift kit by yourself if you aren’t mechanically inclined. It requires complex processes like welding and may take up to six hours. Body lifts, on the other hand, are easy to install if you follow an online tutorial.
- You should know that your vehicle’s warranty may be voided if you install a lift kit. Installing a lift kit counts as a physical alteration to your vehicle, and for that reason, it may affect the warranty. If you are worried about the warranty you may want to wait until the end of the coverage lifespan to install the lift kit.
- In case you notice an imbalance in your vehicle after installing a new lift kit, the easiest remedy is to offset the imbalance with wider tires. The wide tires will typically lower the center of gravity of the vehicle and improve the ride’s stability, especially if properly aligned.
Q: Can I fit large tires on my vehicle after installing a lift kit?
A: A lift kit of any setting above 2 inches will be enough to fit tires of any size. In fact, the main purpose of lift kits is to provide sufficient ground clearance that allows you to fit large tires on your truck, SUV, or Jeep. The only limit you may have is the size of the diameter of the tire as per the design of your vehicle.
Q: Do I need to make any corrections to my truck after installing a lift kit?
A: You should get a steering correction after installing a suspension lift kit. The steering geometry of a vehicle is often affected when the suspension components are removed. Also, you should realign your tires as the lift changes the original suspension settings of your vehicle. Failure to realign your tires will lead to faster and uneven wear of the treads.
Q: Is it possible to install one lift kit over another?
A: It is possible to install one lift kit on top of another if you have a reliable mounting mechanism. However, lift kit mounting mechanisms are either expensive or not easily available, and it may be risky to go for a cheap option. If you succeed at the installation, the general ride quality of your vehicle will diminish, and the new lift may weaken the previously installed one.
Our top pick is the Rough Country Leveling Kit. It’s a premium leveling kit that maintains a smooth ride on all road conditions.
Our value pick is the TrueTwo Suspension Lift. You get a complete lift kit set for your vehicle at an affordable price.