Leveling Kits vs Lift Kits

Leveling Kits vs Lift Kits

Last Updated October 9, 2023 | Alison Smith

Whether you have a Jeep Wrangler, Chevy Silverado, or Ford F-150, installing a leveling kit or lift kit is a popular aftermarket addition you can make to your rig. Lifting a truck or Jeep not only looks killer, but it will also enhance off-roading performance depending on the type of lift kit. Whether you want to raise your vehicle one or two inches or several inches, there’s plenty of options when it comes to choosing the proper leveling kit or lift kit. But what is a leveling kit? How does it compare to a lift kit?

Check out this guide on leveling kits vs lift kits to help you choose which one is right for you!

What Is a Leveling Kit?

If you own a truck, you’ve probably noticed that the rear of the truck sits higher than the front. As a truck is built to haul heavy loads in the bed, the additional height in the rear is intentional so the truck doesn’t sag when extra weight is added. However, when you’re not hauling something, it might not be the most visually appealing. One easy way that you can fix this is with a leveling kit. A leveling kit allows you to raise the front of the truck a few inches to match with the back. Some leveling kits for Jeep Wranglers may include a rear spacer to account for additional weight from a full-size spare or aftermarket bumpers. If you have a winch on the front end of your truck or Jeep, a leveling kit can help compensate for the extra weight.

Leveling Kit Black

While this is mainly for looks, it can give you a little bit of added ground clearance. Most leveling kits will only provide an inch or two of lift. Depending on the leveling kit, you may be able to install a slightly larger tire as well. Leveling kits are easier to install than a full-on suspension lift kit, with most featuring bolt-on installation. Depending on the leveling kit, strut disassembly may be required for installation. Leveling kits can include several components such as spacers, strut extensions, shocks, and lift blocks. Most leveling kits will help you maintain the factory ride quality while leveling out your rig, all for an affordable price. For less than a few hundred dollars, you can level out your ride and give your truck or Jeep a better-looking stance at the same time.

What Is a Lift Kit?

While a leveling kit helps improve the balance of your vehicle, a lift kit is going to give you increased height, off-roading performance, and ground clearance. While these kits are going to be more expensive than a leveling kit, the benefits they offer are far greater. Ranging from an inch up to more than seven inches, lift kits are going to give you a much higher ride height. Featuring adjustable control arms, bushings, shocks, track bars, sway bar links, coil springs, and more, lift kits are much more involved than leveling kits and thus contain more components.

Truck Lift Kit Skyjacker

Most lift kits will retain the factory steering and ride quality while giving you increased ground clearance to help you add larger tires and allow you to crawl over rocks and tackle rough terrain with ease. One thing to keep in mind is that the higher you lift your vehicle, the higher the center of gravity will be. A high center of gravity can cause stability issues and make it less safe especially on the highway when you are traveling at faster speeds. So while lift kits do provide more benefits when it comes to off-roading performance, they will be harder to install and more expensive than a leveling kit. When comparing leveling kits vs lift kits, price is an important aspect to consider. Whereas leveling kits cost a couple of hundred dollars, certain lift kits can cost up to a couple of thousand dollars.

Leveling Kits vs Lift Kits: Which Is Right For You?

Lifted Ford F-150 EcoBoost SEMA

If you’re having a difficult time deciding between a lift kit vs leveling kit, then be sure to check out this quick video from CJ Off-Road. When it comes down to making a final decision, it all depends on how you will be using your truck or Jeep Wrangler. Do you plan on frequently taking your rig off the beaten path, crawling over rocks and trekking through mud? Or do you mainly use your vehicle as a daily driver, occasionally hauling loads in the back? If you need the extra ground clearance to fit larger tires so you can better attack difficult terrain, then a lift kit would suit your needs better than a leveling kit. However, if you’re just looking to balance out the look of your truck while you drive down the main roads, then a leveling kit is a great, easy and affordable alternative to installing a full-blown lift kit. Whether you opt for a leveling kit or a larger suspension lift, you are sure to add a more aggressive look to your rig. Once you’ve made up your mind, be sure to browse the CJ Pony Parts website for a wide variety of leveling kits, lift kits, and other suspension components for your truck or Jeep Wrangler!

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This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.