Best Shocks for JK and JL WranglersLast Updated June 13, 2023 | Andrew Boyle
If your JK or JL Wrangler doesn’t handle the way you like it, then a set of new shocks could be the answer. While Jeep Wranglers make great off-road rigs, they are also many people’s daily driver, so a comfortable ride is an absolute must. In the case that you have a worn-out shock, or you want to improve ride quality and off-road performance, a new set of shocks can make a huge impact on your JK or JL Wrangler.
There are a ton of shock options out there. Since they are such a key part of your Wrangler’s suspension, it’s best to find the shock that fits exactly what you need. Whether you need a durable shock, or perhaps an adjustable one, there are shocks that fit each bill. Here, Matt from CJ Off-Road’s YouTube team lists off some of his top choices for Jeep JK and JL Shocks.
When Your Wrangler's Shocks Need Replacing or Upgrading
Replacing a shock or two on your JK or JL Wrangler doesn’t have to purely be an upgrade for upgrade’s sake. Shocks are a crucial part of your Wrangler’s suspension system, so if a shock isn’t performing as well as it should be, then it needs to be replaced.
There are a few telltale signs that you have a failing shock. Here are some of the symptoms to look out for. Keep in mind that there could be other causes for these symptoms besides your shocks.
Uneven or Bumpy Ride: Any excessive vibrations, either through the Wrangler’s body or through the steering wheel, can bean indication that a shock is failing.
Excessive Rolling and Rocking: If one shock isn’t rebounding at the same rate as another one, your Wrangler might sway after encountering any sort of bump.
Unstable Braking: A bad shock can not only increase your Wrangler’s braking distance, but it can cause it to seriously dip towards one side while braking. This effect is especially pronounced when one shock has failed before the other. This could lead to losing control of your vehicle in an emergency situation (which is the worst time to do so). If you're noticing your Wrangler leaning towards one side more than the other, then it's a good idea to check that shock.
Uneven Tire Wear: A bad or failing shock can put too much pressure on a single side of your vehicle causing the tire to wear down faster.
If you regularly experience any of these in your Wrangler, then you should take a close look at your shocks themselves. There are a few ways to verify that your shock is indeed broken. If you spot any rust or leaking fluid, that’s a sure bet that the problems you’ve noticed are due to a shock not pulling its weight.
What To Look For In a Shock
Here’s a quick overview of the distinguishing parts of shocks to give you a better idea of which one to opt for. The two main types of materials that you will find for shocks are steel and aluminum. Steel is generally cheaper and heavier than aluminum. Aluminum is worth the added price for many drivers because it is lighter, resistant to rust (but not entirely immune to all corrosion), and can dissipate heat better than steel can.
Additionally, there are two main types of shock designs. There are monotube and twin-tube shocks. The monotube shocks consist of a single tube of separate air and liquid, while the twin-tube design consists of two separate chambers. Generally, monotube shocks have a more stiff feel while twin tubes are softer. There is more stress placed on the internals of monotube shocks, but they don’t have the same risk of gas/fluid mixing as twin-tube shocks.
Finally, some shocks are adjustable. If you want shocks that can offer both a stiff and a soft suspension feel, then an adjustable shock is what you need! These are a great type of shock if you use your Wrangler both as a daily driver and as a trail rig.
Best Shocks for JK and JL Wranglers
KYB Stock Replacement Shocks
First up we have the KYB Stock Replacement Shock for the JK Wrangler. This is an affordable direct replacement for the stock JK shocks. This shock doesn’t work on a lifted JK, however. If you want to replace your stock shocks with something a little nicer and just as reliable, then the KYB stock replacement shock is the choice for you.
The KYB stock replacement shocks are great for a JK owner who is looking for a step up from the OEM shocks. If you are looking to replace broken shocks, or give your Wrangler's undercarriage an appearance boost, then these shocks are for you. These are a solid and reliable option for JK owners who aren't looking to heavily tinker with their Wrangler's suspension.
Rubicon Express Twin-Tube Shocks
This shock, on the other hand, can work with lifted Wranglers as well as those at stock height. It has a twin-tube design and an all-black steel construction. Compared to other shocks, it has a much softer compression feel. The Rubicon Express Twin-Tube shocks are a great way to prep your vehicle for the trails.
These shocks can accommodate lifts from 2" to 3 1/2" while maintaining a smooth ride both on and off the trail. They are a great option if you are concerned about losing your Wrangler's smooth handling after lifting it. Additionally, the all-black design of the Rubicon Express Twin Tub shock looks at home on any Wrangler.
JL JKS Jspec Shock
Here is the first shock for the JL Wrangler on our list. This is also a steel-bodied twin-tube shock. This particular shock is used on CJ’s very own two-door JL Wrangler. We like how it offers great off-road performance without compromising too much on ride comfort. The JL JKS Jspec shock kit can be a great way to support your lifted JL Wrangler’s suspension set up.
While this is a more affordable shock, given that it is both a twin-tube design and made out of steel, it can seriously hold up. It has performed wonderfully on CJ Off-Road's JL Wrangler. If we use it on our vehicles, then you know it's a quality product.
Rough Country N3 Shocks
Here is a pair of shocks that more often than not comes bundled together with lift kits. That being said, they are a great shock upgrade alone. They are another steel-bodied set of shocks that are on the softer side. This means that they are a particularly good choice for a dedicated off-road machine (although they work just as well on pavement). If you want a good set of versatile shock absorbers, then the Rough Country N3 suspension shocks are for you.
These rough country shocks do have a 5/8" shaft which is quite durable. Additionally, they come with a clear-coated exterior giving them another layer of defense against rust. Finally, the charcoal gray exterior is both subtle and visible underneath your Wrangler. They will add a nice bit of visual flair while not being too flashy.
Rancho RS5000X Shocks
These Rancho RS5000X shocks have a signature red and white design that looks incredible under any vehicle. They are offered on a large variety of vehicles outside of the Wrangler family, so they have truly been put to the test in many different applications. The Rancho RS9000XL, the shock one size up from these, is an adjustable shock. This means it can be as soft or as firm as you like it.
These shocks have quite an eye-catching design. The bright red shock boot (which comes included) looks quite impressive and provides a nice contrast to the shock itself. Since Rancho does produce the factory shocks for the Chevy Silverado, there's no questioning their durability and functionality. All in all, they definitely live up to how they look!
Rubicon Express Mono Tube Shocks
The Rubicon Express Mono-tube shocks are an incredibly durable and capable set of shocks. They offer compression that’s quite firm and work well on trail-bound Wranglers. Matt from CJ Off-Road’s YouTube team runs this specific make of shock on his 2-door JK. He has has these shocks installed for over three years and they have yet to degrade at all.
These shocks are on the firmer side and offer plenty of compression as well. This means that they can help your Wrangler overcome tough obstacles while remaining planted. The monotube design is also ideal for most heavy-duty performance applications.
Fox Performance Front and Rear Shocks
This set of Fox front and rear shocks is one of the most advanced shocks on this list. Made out of billet aluminum, these shocks have external reservoirs which allow for the shock liquid to remain cool. Additionally, these are fully adjustable shocks and work as both a direct replacement or as a replacement for the shocks on a lifted Wrangler. While they’re the most expensive on our list, they’re highly regarded in the serious off-roading community.
There are quite a lot of options to choose from here, so don't feel shocked. If none of these shocks strike your fancy (or you just want to browse), then be sure to check out or selection of Jeep Wrangler shocks.