Best Shocks for Trucks: Level Up Your Truck

It's smooth going with these rugged and reliable shocks for your truck.

Best Overall

Monroe 911506 Reflex Monotube Shock Absorber

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Best Value

KYB KG4513 Gas-a-Just Gas Shock

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Honorable Mention

Bilstein B6 4600 Monotube Gas OEM Shocks

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Have you been noticing some teeth-rattling bouncing in your truck? The sort of dynamics that make you feel like you’re offroading when you’re driving on city streets? Sure, it could be our nation’s crumbling infrastructure but it might also be time to invest in new shocks. If you’re starting to get seasick just driving to work, it’s definitely time. Or, maybe you just want to beef up your suspension or add some lift for better ground clearance. Whatever the reason for needing or wanting new shocks, you need no justification from the team at The Drive. We get it.

When it comes to selecting the best shocks for your truck, the choices and the applications are about as varied as beer selections at your local “up and coming” craft brewery. Choosing the wrong ones can lead to frustration, not to mention a thinner wallet, so we’re providing you with some clarity by compiling a list of our top application-specific choices. This should help you save valuable time on endless research and get you enjoying a smooth ride that doesn’t have to end with a visit to your chiropractor every time.

Summary List

Our Methodology

When it comes to choices for shocks for your truck, the options are almost staggering. In our endeavors to recommend only the best, we have based our picks on expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We chose products only from those manufacturers with a long-standing history of providing the highest quality and most reliable equipment in the business. We also wanted to offer a variety of different price ranges to suit any budget, since you can really run the gamut when it comes to cost in this category. For more info on our selection criteria and the methods to our madness, check out this link to The Drive’s Gear About page.

Best Shocks for Trucks: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall

Monroe 911506 Reflex Monotube Shock Absorber

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Best Value

KYB KG4513 Gas-a-Just Gas Shock

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Best For Hauling Or Towing

Bilstein B6 4600 Monotube Gas OEM Shocks

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Best For All-Terrain Performance

FOX 2.0 Performance Series Smooth Body Reservoir Shock

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Best For Lifted Trucks

Bilstein B8 5100 Ride Height Adjustable Shock Absorber

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Best For a Smooth Ride

Monroe 58640 Load Adjusting Shock Absorber

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Our Verdict on the Best Shocks for Trucks

Since shocks for trucks are so varied in their applications and purposes, it’s tough to narrow it down to just a few, but our top pick for the best overall shock for your truck has to be the Monroe 911506 Reflex Monotube Shock Absorber. This gas-charged monotube shock is a reliable, straightforward replacement for OE shocks on your daily driver light truck or SUV.

If cash flow is a top concern, check out our favorite value shock, the KYB KG4513 Gas-a-Just Gas Shock. These shocks are great options for older models or classic cars. They feature a velocity-sensitive valving system that quickly responds to changing road conditions and gives you a pretty comfy ride overall.

What to Consider When Buying Shocks for Trucks

As you may have seen mentioned a couple of times already, shocks for trucks aren’t just a simple, one-size-fits-all item. That said, there are a few universal things to look for when selecting shocks for your truck, whether you want a no-frills replacement for your OE shocks or you’re looking to get a super tricked-out A/T performance option.

Key Features

Lift Height

One of the most important features of choosing the right shocks for your truck is knowing what their lift height is. If you own a truck with a lift kit, you’re going to need to measure the difference between your OE factory ride height (which you can easily find in your owner’s manual), versus its current ride height. Getting shocks that are too short when they’re expanded won’t fit with your truck. This is somewhat less important if you’re just doing a parallel OE replacement, but again, lift height is something that can vary greatly between different shock options, so you’ll still want to double (and even triple) check that your desired shock is actually going to work with your specific truck’s make, model, and lift height.

Materials

Depending on the material your chosen shocks are made from, you may experience differences in performance and reliability. The most commonly used material to make shocks is aluminum. It’s lightweight, durable, reliable, and relatively affordable, depending on the brand and model.

Becoming less common, but still affordable and more old-school are steel shock absorbers. They’re cheaper, but also heavier and not a great choice for performance or race applications. They also don’t allow for adjustments like aluminum shocks can.

Other than body materials, you want to look for shocks for your truck that include strong steel springs that are tough and long-lasting with high tensile strength. When it comes to seals that are reliable and tight, look for synthetic rubber or polyurethane. This will also work for bushings. 

Installation

Most shocks for trucks are pretty straightforward when it comes to installation. Often, the most difficult part is getting your old shocks off. That said, look for brands that have a proven track record of being easy to install in a relatively short amount of time. Some shocks come fully extended instead of collapsed, which can make installing them real pain, depending on how difficult it is to compress the shock to get it mounted properly. Not to mention that this adds another element of risk to the process.

Performance

The desired performance level of a shock can greatly change its price point. A/T high-performance shocks that are designed for racing or aggressive off-roading and rock crawling will be significantly more expensive than a straight OE factory replacement shock for your daily driver that you’re looking to smooth out.

Performance is also key to providing you with a smooth, stable, enjoyable ride, though. If you get a shock that’s vastly different from your OE shock, it can create a much stiffer, less forgiving ride that annoys you every time you get in your truck, so checking product descriptions and reviews from legitimate consumers can really save you the headache of buying a shock that just doesn’t perform the way you want it to.

Pricing

Shock absorbers for trucks can run the gamut of price ranges. For as little as $25-$75, you can get a decent OE factory replacement shock that will really smooth out your ride and provide you with added performance and stability. Most sets of four OE factory replacement shocks will run you in the range of $150-$300 to replace yourself. Once you start getting into high-performance racing and off-roading shocks or shocks for lifted trucks, prices rise significantly. Adding a reservoir to your shocks also increases the price point. Higher-end materials and components can add even more cost. Expect to spend anywhere from $350-$1500, depending on what you really want or need. And, that’s assuming you’re DIYing the replacement.

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers!

Q: Are bigger shocks better for trucks?

A: Ah, America, where bigger is always better. When it comes to shocks for your truck, if you own a lifted truck with larger, beefier tires, yes, a bigger shock is usually better. You want something that will efficiently dissipate the extra heat that is generated from these components. If you have a light truck that’s just a daily driver, then larger shocks might be overkill.

Q: Are aftermarket shocks for trucks better than stock ones?

A: Depending on the make and model of your truck, OE stock shocks may be just as good or better than aftermarket shocks if you’re looking for a straight replacement. Some companies go on the cheap when they install factory shocks on your truck, but most reputable truck manufacturers recognize that your shocks and struts are a very important component on your truck and tend not to skimp. That said, if you’re looking to greatly improve your performance, lift your truck, do some serious off-roading, aftermarket shocks are usually better. 

Q: Will new shocks make my truck ride smoother?

A: Yes, new shocks will make your truck ride noticeably smoother. As shocks wear and age, you often don’t notice that your ride is getting rougher until it’s really bad. Replacing worn shocks will definitely make your ride smoother. Be warned though, that depending on the shock you choose, your ride might also be noticeably stiffer. This may or may not be a good thing, depending on your personal preference.

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Lisa Conant

Freelance Editor

Lisa Conant has had a varied and colorful career in freelance writing. She's written about everything from healthcare to headlamps. Originally from Canada, she currently hangs out in New Hampshire with her two kids and two freeloading cats.