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Level Up Your Truck With These Shocks

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

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BYLisa Conant/ LAST UPDATED ON March 16, 2022

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.

Best Overall

Monroe 911506 Reflex Monotube Shock Absorber

Summary

This gas-charged monotube shock is a reliable, straightforward replacement for OE shocks on your daily driver light truck or SUV.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Great OE factory replacement option
  • Excellent control and dampening effect
Cons
  • Quality control might be an issue between units
  • Might give you lower ride clearance
Best Value

KYB KG4513 Gas-a-Just Gas Shock

Summary

A great choice if budget is a big concern for you and you’re looking for a parallel replacement for your OE monotube shocks or a well-priced upgrade to your twin-tube shocks.

Pros
  • Super affordable price tag
  • Increased steering response and decreased stopping distance
  • Offers a great performance upgrade from factory twin-tube shocks
Cons
  • Limited amount of compatible makes and models of vehicles
  • Known to have fairly common quality control issues
Honorable Mention

Bilstein B6 4600 Monotube Gas OEM Shocks

Summary

These shocks and struts are a top pick for those who have a need for towing capacity but still want a luxurious, soft ride.

Pros
  • Provides a superior and smooth ride compared to OE shocks
  • High-quality, long-lasting choice
  • Comes as an easy-to-install front and rear package
Cons
  • Somewhat pricey
  • Not the best option for trucks with higher lift kits
Level Up Your Truck With These Shocks

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.

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

Learn more

Best Shocks for Trucks Reviews & Recommendations

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Monroe
  • Model: 911506
  • Collapsed Length: 15.375 in.
  • Extended Length: 23.750 in.
  • Reservoir: No
  • Body Diameter: ---
  • Body Design: Monotube

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Great OE factory replacement option
  • Excellent control and dampening effect

Cons

  • Quality control might be an issue between units
  • Might give you lower ride clearance


If you’re looking for a great, straightforward replacement for OE shocks on your daily driver light truck or SUV, the Monroe 911506 Reflex Monotube Shock is an excellent choice. Monroe is a well-known and respected choice for replacing OE parts for many different makes and models. This particular shock is a gas-charged monotube that’s specifically engineered to give you better performance, handling, and control over your factory shocks. The high-pressure gas charge separates the shock’s nitrogen from its internal oil to give you a boosted spring rate.


A hydraulic lockout provides added cushion when your truck’s suspension is fully extended. A couple of issues to be aware of: this shock may lower your ride height once it’s installed. Quality control can be an occasional issue, but the product has a solid warranty that Monroe stands behind, so not too big of a concern there. These shock absorbers may also cause you to have a stiffer ride, so if luxury cushioning is what you’re after, this probably isn’t the shock for you.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: KYB
  • Model: KG4513
  • Collapsed Length: 8.583 in.
  • Extended Length: 13.030 in. 
  • Reservoir: No
  • Body Diameter: ---
  • Body Design: Monotube

Pros

  • Super affordable price tag
  • Increased steering response and decreased stopping distance
  • Offers a great performance upgrade from factory twin-tube shocks

Cons

  • Limited amount of compatible makes and models of vehicles
  • Known to have fairly common quality control issues


If budget is a big concern for you and you’re looking for a parallel replacement for your OE monotube shocks or a well-priced upgrade to your twin-tube shocks, check out the KYB KG4513 Gas-a-Just Gas Shocks. These shocks are also 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. They also feature a higher gas pressure that keeps your tires gripping the road with confidence.


Seamless cylinders and eye-rings, as well as micro-smooth, hard-chromed pistons, not only extend the life of these shocks but also eliminate seam failures. While their affordability is their biggest selling point, there are some known quality control issues with these shocks. Another turn-off is that they’re typically much stiffer than your car’s factory OE shocks, so that may take some getting used to. They also have limited compatibility compared with some of the competition.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Bilstein
  • Model: B6 4600
  • Collapsed Length: 13.59 in.
  • Extended Length: 22.09 in.
  • Reservoir: No
  • Rod Diameter: 18.81 in.
  • Body Design: Monotube

Pros

  • Provides a superior and smooth ride compared to OE shocks
  • High-quality, long-lasting choice
  • Comes as an easy-to-install front and rear package

Cons

  • Somewhat pricey
  • Not the best option for trucks with higher lift kits

The Bilstein 4600 series B6 Heavy Duty monotube gas pressure shocks and struts are a top pick for those who have a need for towing capacity but still want a luxurious, soft ride. They’re compatible with a wide range of full-size sedans, SUVs, and trucks. With superior handling and stability, you’ll wonder why you waited so frigging long to replace your old, tired shocks. This shock also offers a serious upgrade in the performance and handling arena, which is particularly noticeable on lesser maintained roads.


The fact that these shocks come in an all-inclusive package that allows you to completely replace the front and rear at the same time is an added convenience factor that many folks appreciate. Less appreciated is the higher price tag, but they more than make up for that in comfort and stability. As with many shocks for trucks, these are also known to have their fair share of quality control troubles, but they’re backed by a solid warranty for added peace of mind.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Fox
  • Model: 2.0
  • Collapsed Length: 15.00 in.
  • Extended Length: 23.60 in.
  • Finish: Black anodized aluminum
  • Reservoir: Yes
  • Rod Diameter: 5/8 in.
  • Body Design: Monotube

Pros

  • Superior off-road performance
  • Solid and reliable construction
  • They just look badass

Cons

  • Gut-punching price point
  • Very vehicle-specific application

For the perfect combination of off-road performance and on-road comfort, it’s tough to beat the FOX 2.0 Performance Series Reservoir Adjustable Shock Kit. This front and rear shock kit gives you impressive lift and performance, while still delivering a super-smooth ride, which is rare with many A/T performance shocks. As an added bonus, these shocks are eight-way adjustable. They offer eight valving options that let you quickly and easily adjust compression with just the twist of a knob. Go from very firm to very soft in a heartbeat. Did we mention they’re sexy as all get out?


Manufactured with a 6061-T6 aluminum body, these shocks provide extreme strength and can dissipate heat much quicker than standard steel options. The external reservoir gives you an increase in nitrogen and oil capacity that offers you noticeably better dampening and rebound. The rub? These are shockingly pricey (get it?). They’re also extremely vehicle-specific, and finding the exact model you need online can be a bit of a pain.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Bilstein
  • Model: B8 5100
  • Collapsed Length: 16.91 in.
  • Extended Length: 22.46 in. 
  • Finish: Zinc plated
  • Reservoir: No
  • Body Diameter: 46mm
  • Body Design: Snap Ring Grooved Body (Coilover)

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Durable zinc finish is great for off-roading

Cons

  • Very vehicle specific
  • Realignment of front radar sensor may be necessary if you have adaptive cruise control

For lifted trucks, one of the best shocks on the market has to be the Bilstein B8 5100 Shock Absorbers. Not only has it got a solid track record of being a reliable and durable option, but it’s also priced relatively affordably. This particular set is designed for trucks and SUVs with a front OE coilover-style suspension. This shock works great with 0-3 inches of front lift, depending on your desired spring seat position. For those overachievers, you can also get options in the 5100 series that can accommodate higher lifts, so don’t count this shock out until you’ve really examined it. 


These shocks give you increased wheel travel and noticeably improved handling with easy leveling. With a velocity-sensitive digressive piston, they automatically adjust to varied driving conditions, letting you go anywhere you want with ease. Oh, and the lifetime warranty doesn’t suck. However, the drawback to this shock is that you may need to realign your front radar sensor if your ride is equipped with adaptive cruise control.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Monroe
  • Model: 58640
  • Collapsed Length: 15.750 in
  • Extended Length: 26.500 in.
  • Reservoir: No
  • Body Diameter: ---
  • Body Design: Monotube

Pros

  • Parallels OE factory quality shocks
  • Affordable
  • Improves performance and removes sway

Cons

  • Install can be a bit of a pain
  • Occasional quality control issues

If you’re looking for a smooth ride that mimics the day you drove your truck off the lot, consider the Monroe 58640 Load Adjusting Shock Absorber. It’s another top-quality offering from a well-respected company. Even better, the price tag isn’t something that will make you want to cry. This shock is a relatively straightforward replacement for your OE factory shock that will let you travel almost anywhere with ease and comfort. No more spilling your coffee all over yourself at the slightest pothole.


This shock contains all-weather fluid that reduces friction and offers ultra-smooth rod reaction. It’s specifically tuned to allow for fully displaced valving for better control and decreased sway. This shock also reduces vehicle sag under load, allowing you to tow what you need. These shocks do lose some love for being more difficult to install than many of their comparable counterparts. Compressing them to get them installed properly can be a pain in the you-know-what.

Our Verdict

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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