Buying the Best Suspension & Spacer Lift Kits [2020 UPDATE]
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What is the best suspension lift kits on the market today? Choosing which to buy can be complicated. Strength and build quality are obvious concerns, as is compatibility with your vehicle.
There is also the option of spacer and airlift kits; what exactly is the difference.
In this guide, we will answer those questions and a whole lot more. We have also chosen 5 top-rated products, to bring you the most comprehensive lift kit reviews available online.
For our findings at a glance, just head to the table below. For our dedicated lift kit buyer’s guide, plus full reviews of each of our chosen products, keep on reading.
This complete suspension lift kit is specially designed for the Jeep Wrangler TJ models that were manufactured between 1997-2002.
It can also be fitted in Jeep Wrangler TJ models manufactured from 2003 to 2006. Because these models were designed with a coil spring suspension that obviated the need for leaf springs.
This lift kit is designed to provide a 4-inch lift in ride height. This allows for the placement of 33-inch tires.
All the components in this kit are boxed together in the factory into a pallet kit, and this ensures that the purchaser receives a complete pallet without missing parts.
This pallet weighs 126.1pounds and is 39inches long, 11.8inches wide, and 10.8inches tall. The model number for this OEM (original equipment manufacturer) kit is TJ401BPH, and it is designed, and assembled by Skyjacker Suspensions which is based in Los Angeles, California.
This suspension lift is designed to provide full vehicle fitment at an affordable cost. Its components benefit from professional construction that draws from the over 3 decades of engineering expertise that Skyjacker Suspensions has had.
This also means that the components are designed to be installed easily with the mounting holes being accurately drilled for the smooth installation of bolts, as well as secure mounting of the components to the chassis and undercarriage frame.
Likewise, each component features markings that show where it is to be fitted, and this allows for strain-less installation.
These installation merits have contributed to the undisputed popularity of this lift kit model, especially among off rider enthusiasts.
Another advantage is that this kit minimally alters the body layout and physique of SUVs while providing equal distribution of torque for front and rear tires. This makes it ideal for four-wheel drives (4WD).
The main components in the kit are the front and rear lower control arms, a drop pitman arm, a rear track-bar bracket, a transfer case-lowering kit, and front and rear sway-bar end-links, as well as front and rear coil springs.
Each of these items has been tested in the factory for high-performance and durability in the field. Moreover, they are painted with durable corrosion-resistant coats which serve to create a unified black-red color scheme.
The type of shock absorbers that come with this kit is the Hydro 7000 models. These shock absorbers come with bushings that prevent dirt and dust from entering inside, and this also maintains them at an acceptable level of cleanliness.
A shock absorber and a coil spring are fitted together and then mounted on the wish-bone shaped arm that connects a wheel to the chassis.
This type of suspension is called wishbone suspension and is a form of independent suspension which allows each wheel in the vehicle to have an independent vertical motion.
This means that when driving in uneven terrain, one front wheel can be lowered down into a depression while the other front wheel is raised up when driving over an earth mount; and the 2 back wheels remain on the same level on flat terrain.
Relatedly, the use of a wishbone suspension allows for the implementation of short-arm suspension for this lift kit.
Even so, this suspension impacts the kingpin geometry which affects the overall drive symmetry, with the consequent result of lowering the maximum accepted speed to below the factory settings.
Even so, the high-quality coils used in this suspension system provide for good articulation, that is, good grip of the tires on the road regardless of the terrain.
Pros of the Skyjacker TJ401BPH Suspension Lift Kit
Allows for placement of 33-inch tires.
Factory-assembled pallet kit.
Features short-arm suspension.
Uses coil springs for lift.
Easy bolt-on installation.
Lift height range of 3-4.99 inches.
Uses high-grade Hydro 7000 shock absorbers.
Supports equal torque distribution to front and rear axles.
Made of high-quality materials.
Maximum accepted speed is lowered below the factory settings.
The Skyjacker TJ401BPH is a complete suspension lift kit specially designed for Jeep Wrangler TJ models manufactured between 1997-2006.
It uses coil spring suspension to provide good articulation. Also, this kit is designed to provide a 4-inch lift in ride height, and this allows for the placement of 33-inch tires.
Its high-quality build, as well as its design optimization for comfort, durability, reliability, and safety makes it, in our opinion, the best suspension lift kit available on the market today.
This is a complete suspension lift kit that is specially designed for the Jeep Wrangler TJ models that were manufactured between 2007-2018.
Even so, this model only supports 4-door models, and this means that it cannot be fitted in 2-door Jeep Wrangler TJ vehicles.
Its key merit is that it is designed to provide full vehicle fitment at an affordable cost, and with minimal hassle.
Nonetheless, one is still required to fit an exhaust spacer kit, preferably model J12153, if this lift kit is installed in Jeep models manufactured from 2012 to 2018.
Additionally, the supported vehicle models use coil spring suspension that obviates the need for leaf springs, and this allows the kit to provide a maximum ground clearance lift of 3.5inches. This allows the modified vehicle to accommodate tire sizes of up-to 35inches.
This kit is assembled in the factory, and this ensures that one receives a complete pallet kit with all the parts. This pallet weighs 48.4pounds and is 33.5inches long, 19.7inches wide, and 5.7inches tall. It is designed, manufactured, and assembled by Rough Country, and its model number is 60930.
This model benefits from professional construction that draws from the heavy engineering expertise of its manufacturer.
Its components are designed to easy and smooth installation with their precisely located mounting holes allowing for secure mounting onto the chassis and undercarriage frame. Moreover, proper installation ensures that torque is properly distributed to the wheels.
The key components in the kit are lifted coil springs, fixed front, and rear lower control arms, brake line relocation brackets, a track-bar drop bracket, a drop pitman arm, and front and rear sway-bar end-links, as well as front and rear coil springs.
Each of these items has been tested in the factory for high-performance and durability. They are also painted with durable corrosion-resistant coats that serve to create a unified silver-black-red color scheme.
It also comes with coil correction plates for adjusting the coil angle of the rear spring by up-to 10 degrees so as to improve the efficiency of the suspension system.
This gives it the stabilizing functionality that allows one to safely drive the modified vehicle.
Moreover, its control arms come with Clevite-OEM style rubber bushings, while the valved shock absorbers are optimized for balanced performance on both on-road and off-road settings.
This model comes with N3 shock absorbers. An N3 model is a 10-stage, high-pressure nitrogen-charged shock absorber with variable valving.
Its internal structure contains an 18-millimeter, durable spring-loaded piston rod that is encased in a fast-cooling shock body whose diameter is 54-millimeter.
Its operational design allows for the generation of up-to 36 kiloNewtons of tensile strength which allows for excellent vibrational dampening.
This is what gives the car a smooth performance when driving on uneven, untarmarked terrain. Likewise, this allows the suspension system to provide for good articulation.
Pros of the Rough Country 60930 Suspension Lift Kit
This is a spacer lift kit that is specially designed for Toyota FJ Cruiser models that were manufactured from 2007 to 2014.
It supports both 2-door and 4-door models. Its affordable pricing and easy installation procedure make it suitable for minimal-hassle body lifts of up-to 2.5inches.
As mentioned earlier, the use of spacer lifts, especially coil spacers, limits the maximum ride height increase to 3 inches as spacers cannot be stacked on top of each other.
Therefore, the ride height increase of 2.5inches for this model is within the acceptable safety limit.
Also, this model only comes with 4 strut spacers (commonly called spacer lift blocks) and their corresponding mounting bolts, which can best be described as stud extenders.
These lift blocks are made of high-quality high-density polyurethane which makes them resistant to compression forces that would otherwise steadily erode, and ultimately cancel, the ride height gain that this body lift initially achieved.
This model is designed, manufactured, and assembled by Daystar Suspension, a subsidiary of the Texas-based, Diverse Suspension Technologies. Its model number is KT09124BK, and its OEM Part Number is BKCGKT09124BK.
This affordable complete kit has durable, well-designed ride struts whose lift construction is designed to create coil spring spacers.
This is done by placing two strut spacers on each coil spring as described hereafter. To begin with, the 4 strut spacers are hollow, and are of unequal sizes and design, with 2 of them being perfectly round with 3 bolt holes in their rims, while the other 2 being slightly larger and solid.
For the front wheels, their installation into either of the coil spring requires one to first remove the strut by removing the bolt and nut of the lower strut.
This uncovers the strut plate. Next, the stud extended are bolted through the strut plate, and then a spacer with bolt holes is bolted to the coil strut.
This effectively increases the length of the suspension coil rod without impacting the operation of the coil spring itself. This modified coil spring is then reinstalled in the vehicle.
On the other hand, for the back wheels, one needs to remove the coil spring, its isolator, and bump-stop.
Then, the bump stop is placed on top of one of the large strut spacers, and this unit is then fitted onto the coil spring. As expected, the strut spacer increases the effective length of the rear coil spring.
This spacer lift allows for the front wheels to gain an additional clearance height of 2.5inches, while the back wheels achieve a height gain of only 1.5inches.
It is therefore evident that this model is optimized for front lift, rather than an equal lift of both the front and back of the vehicle.
Nonetheless, it achieves full vehicle fitment and (unequal) gain in ride height. Likewise, it requires wheel adjustment for it to work well. This also ensures that the suspension system offers good articulation.
This spacer kit is assembled in the factory, and shipped as a kit pack that weighs 7pounds, and is 12inches long, and 8inches wide, while the kit height is also 8inches.
Pros of the Daystar KT09124BK Spacer Lift Kit
Allows for a front ride height gain of 2.5inches.
It comes with durable strut spacers.
Fits both 4-door and 2-door compatible vehicle models.
One can achieve greater maximum accepted speed as compared to the installation of a suspension lift.
Unequal ride height gain with the front being elevated more than the rear.
Requires wheel alignment.
The Daystar KT09124BK is a complete spacer lift kit that is specially designed for Toyota FJ Cruiser models made between 2007 and 2014.
It supports both 2-door and 4-door models. It’s affordable pricing, and easy installation procedure makes it suitable for minimal-hassle body lifts.
It comes with 4 strut spacers and 6 corresponding stud extenders. These lift blocks are made of high-quality high-density polyurethane which makes them resistant to compression forces.
It allows one to achieve a ride height gain of 2.5inches at the front, and 1.5inches at the rear.
4. Supreme Suspensions AZM-292(2R)-BLK Pro Spacer Lift kit
This is a complete spacer lift kit that is specially designed for fitment on the 4 coil springs in Toyota Tacoma models that were manufactured from 2005 to 2018.
As a body lift kit, it supports both 2-door and 4-door models. Its easy installation procedure makes it suitable for minimal-hassle body lifts.
Nonetheless, it achieves unequal body lifts with the front being lifted up by 3inches, while the rear is raised up by 2inches. This logic for this unequal spacer lift is to ensure that the maximum ride height increase of 3 inches is safely achieved without the rear part of the car appears to sag.
This model comes with precisely-engineered spacer strut spacers that have been anodized with aircraft-grade aluminum for a superior, corrosion-resistant finish.
Likewise, these lift blocks are made of high-quality high-density materials that make them resistant to compression forces, as well as gives them a high tensile strength-to-weight ratio.
This kit model is designed, manufactured, and assembled by Supreme Suspensions. Its model number is AZM 292(2R) BLK Pro, which is also its OEM Part Number.
This affordable complete kit has comes with the following items; a pair of front-lift and rear-lift billet spacers, 2 differential-drop spacers, 3 front skid-plate spacers, and 4 zinc-plated U-bolts.
It can be fitted to both 4-wheel drive and 2-wheel drive. However, it cannot be installed in Toyota Tacoma TRD and 5-Lug models. On the upside, it comes with an installation guide, along with the required installation hardware.
The front spacer is hollow donut-like struts with 3 machined stud extenders, and 2 bolt holes. On the other hand, the rear spacers are solid rectangular blocks that allows them to handle high load capacities as compared to the front spacers.
In this model, each spacer is designed to be fitted in only one wheel, and because they are 4 (for the four-wheel), this allows it to lift the entire vehicle body.
As is evident, this spacer lift model allows for the front wheels to gain an additional clearance height of 3 inches, while the back wheels achieve a height gain of only 2 inches.
This means that it is optimized for front lift, rather than an equal lift of both the front and back of the vehicle.
This also means that there is a need for wheel alignment and steering adjustment. This serves to ensure that the suspension system offers good articulation.
This spacer kit is assembled in the factory, and then shipped as a full kit package that weighs 14.55 pounds; and is 13.1inches long, 10inches wide, and 6.9inches tall.
Pros of the Supreme Suspensions AZM-292(2R)-BLK Pro Spacer Lift kit
Allows for front and rear ride height gain of 3inches and 2inches respectively.
Comes with durable strut spacers.
Fits both 4-door and 2-door compatible vehicle models.
Made of high-quality, high-grade materials.
One can achieve greater maximum accepted speed as compared to installation of a suspension lift.
Poorly fits into 2-wheel drives.
Requires wheel alignment.
The Supreme Suspensions AZM-292(2R)-BLK Pro is a complete spacer lift kit that is specially designed for fitment on the 4 coil springs in Toyota Tacoma models that were manufactured from 2005 to 2018.
As a body lift kit, it supports both 2-door and 4-door models, and its easy installation procedure makes it suitable for minimal-hassle body lifts. It is designed to achieve an unequal ride height gain of 3 inches at the front and 2 inches at the rear.
As far as spacer lift kits go for Toyota model vehicles, this is up there as one of the best.
This is an air spring kit that is specially designed for leveling the rear springs of a vehicle to prevent them from sagging or bottoming out when carrying heavy weight, or navigating corners while towing another vehicle.
As a leveling kit, it does not add ground clearance per se, but it serves to ensure that the coil suspension system retains its original body lift, that is, how high the coil spring lifts the car. This model has a leveling capacity of 1,000 pounds.
The main component of this kit is a pair of fully adjustable air springs, and because there are only 2 air springs, they can only be fitted to 2 wheels.
Consequently, this model is optimized for installation in the 2 coil suspensions of the rear wheels. This model is designed, manufactured, and assembled by the Air Lift Company as part of its Series 1000 of rear air kits. Its model number is 60818, and its OEM Part Number is 60818.
This model is shipped as a complete spring kit, which means that the air springs pair and their corresponding installation hardware are packaged together into a single package that weighs about 3.25pounds, and is 13.2inches long, 10.3inches wide, and 6inches tall.
There are 12 different components in the package and apart of the air springs, the other items are an airline assembly, a protector, a zip tie, a tee, a 5/16-inch hex nut, a uni clamp, a valve, and its valve cap, as well as 3 different washers; a star, a rubber, and an M8 flat washer.
This model comes with a well-illustrated installation guide. Moreover, it is supported by a limited lifetime warranty.
The installation process is quite simple and it can be summarized as follows. To begin with, the coil suspension spring is detached from the wheel assembly.
Next, the air spring into the hollow of the coil spring from the bottom, and then driven upwards, with its protector leading so that it forms the top-most part of the air spring when it is fully fitted in the coil (spring).
Afterward, the cap on the air spring is removed, and this allows it to assume its molded shape which ensures that it fits securely into the coil. then the airline hose is fitted, and connected to the airline routing assembly fitted on the frame of the chassis.
This kit is favorably priced, and if this is considered alongside its easy installation procedure, then it is one of the best air spring kits in the market today.
Moreover, it can be installed in both 4-wheel drives and 2-wheel drives, or in 4-door and 2-door models.
Pros of the Air Lift 60818 Spring Kit
Leveling capacity of 1,000pounds.
It comes with durable and height-adjustable air springs.
Fits both 4-door and 2-door compatible vehicle models.
One can achieve greater maximum accepted speed as compared to installation of a suspension lift.
Can only be fitted to the rear wheels.
Requires wheel alignment.
Unequal ride height gain if the front wheel suspension system has slackened.
The AirLift 60818 is a high-performance, durable, and heavy-duty air spring kit that is specially designed for leveling the rear springs of a vehicle to prevent them from sagging or bottoming out when hauling or towing.
It has a leveling capacity of 1,000 pounds. The main component of this kit is a pair of fully adjustable air springs that can be fitted to 2 wheels.
Modern vehicles are designed for improved mobility and better fuel usage.
Even so, driving some vehicles in uneven, untracked terrains results in one frequently bumping on earth mounds which could result in damage to the vehicle chassis, and poor drive experience; besides increased use of fuel.
This is because the ground clearance of a vehicle determines the best terrain for driving the vehicle, with low clearance being designed for flat terrains, while elevated clearance allows for safe driving in uneven roads.
Ground clearance also called the ride height, is the distance between the lowest part of the vehicle not designed for ground contact (usually the axle), and the ground surface.
Usually, standard jeep and sports utility vehicles (SUVs) sold in car showrooms have a relatively low ground clearance as they are built for driving on the tarmacked roads of cities and other urban areas where population density and economic activity is high.
Nonetheless, one can purchase such a vehicle and modify it for all-terrain driving. This is usually done by fitting a suspension lift.
A suspension lift is used for post-sale customization of a vehicle so as to raise its ground clearance (or ride height).
Higher ride heights allow one to drive the vehicle in the uneven road without the underbody and chassis being damaged.
It also gives the vehicle a better off-road performance, as well as changes its appearance and aesthetics.
Moreover, it allows the vehicle owner to fit larger wheels to the vehicle which goes into modifying its construction design, besides raising its center of mass (or center of gravity, CoG).
Even so, a raised CoG does impair the road-holding capability of the vehicle, which in turn increases the odds of a rollover, besides reducing the maximum safe operating angles.
For this reason, one must carefully choose the suspension lift kit so that the ride height increase is optimized for off-road performance without compromising safety.
The suspension lift is usually purchased as a lift kit (or suspension lift kit) – an aftermarket package that comes with an instruction manual along with customer support services.
This kit package is normally model-specific, and it can come in 2 versions – with only the difficult-to-obtain, yet critical components; and with all the components.
The latter package is a full package, while the former package is described as the critical package. As expected, the critical package requires one to purchase generic off-the-shelf hardware so as to complete the lift kit.
Nonetheless, some suspension lifts only require one to fit a few components such as lift blocks, special drive-shafts, axles, and spacers such as coil-spring or strut spacers.
Modification of the vehicle ride height impacts the steering geometry, in addition to requiring changes to be made to brake lines and driveshaft lengths.
This is especially so in extensive lifts that requires the suspension system, steering, driveshafts, and drive-train parts to be changed, along with the customization of trailing arms, control arms, and four-link systems.
When installing a suspension lift kit, one needs to consider the local legislation because different localities have different laws regarding the maximum accepted ride height, which also relates to the placement of bumpers and lights.
Most of the vehicles that are fitted with suspension lifts are pick-up trucks, SUVs and armored fighting vehicles (AFVs). This is because these vehicles are designed as all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) that are well suited for the off-road driving experience.
Car lift kits are specially designed for enhancing aesthetics by allowing the owner to install larger tires, especially tires whose wheel diameters exceed 20inches.
Even so, lifts for ordinary cars can never be optimized for off-road tracking, and this can only be done for ATVs.
Also, there is a need to differentiate suspension lift kits from body lift kits. Body lift kits are designed to raise the entire body by up to 3 inches from its original stock stature.
This is usually done by placing lift blocks or spacers.
As expected, spacer lifts – especially when coil spacers are used – must be limited to a maximum of 3 inches. In fact, any spacer lift of more than 2 inches requires one to upgrade the shocks. Also, it is inadvisable to stack spacers so as to increase the lift.
On the other hand, suspension lift kits are designed to achieve a minimum body raise of 4 inches to an extreme rise of 18 inches – from the original stock stature.
This is achieved through modification of the suspension system by replacing leaf springs, along with the rear and front shocks.
As expected, body lifts rarely, or marginally, increases the ground clearance as compared to suspension lift.
Even so, regardless of the lift kit used, there is a need for routine maintenance to ensure that the lift holds properly and securely to the vehicle frame.
This also provides the owner, or his/her mechanic, the opportunity to tighten mounting bolts that have slacked, or were initially tightened improperly.
Factors to Consider when Purchasing a Suspension Lift Kit
The 3 main factors to consider when acquiring the kit are driving style, off-road plan (especially the terrain the vehicle is to maneuver), and personal preferences in terms of build design, preferential ride (such as smooth drive or bumpy ride), and compatibility with vehicle aesthetics.
With regard to driving style, one needs to consider slow and fast speed trails.
This means that one needs to check the diameter and width of the new tire, as well as its rim offset. Likewise, one must consider the make, model, and year of manufacture of the vehicle so as to ascertain that the lift and new tires can fit in well without adversely compromising the normal operations of the vehicle.
This also ensures that the new tires do not rub the undercarriage frame. Relatedly, this may necessitate the use of wheel spacers or wheel adaptors which allows one to increase the rim offset.
As mentioned earlier, a suspension lift is installed in order to protect the undercarriage by increasing the ground clearance.
Even so, this comes with a noticeable risk which one must factor in when choosing the best suspension kit for his/her vehicle.
This relates to driving safety as the center of gravity (CoG) of the modified vehicle is raised, and according to Newtonian physics, a raise in CoG proportionally decreases the stability of a moving vehicle.
This means that one cannot drive the modified vehicle at very high speeds, and one is in fact prohibited from driving at the maximum speeds that were deemed safe for the original (non-modified) vehicle.
The reason for this is is to reduce the odds of the vehicle toppling over when traveling fast on uneven terrain.
Moreover, it allows one to drive safely without the vehicle swaying dangerously when navigating corners, especially sharp corners.