12 Best Shocks for Trucks in 2017
Whether you are truck owner who mostly drives on the highway or an outdoorsmen who uses every ounce of horsepower your truck has to give, most likely you’ve thought about adding aftermarket shocks for a smoother ride. It can be difficult to select the best shock absorbers out of the vast sea of choices but don’t let that stop you from taking the leap.
We want to make the aftermarket shock buying process as painless as possible, so we’ve put together this guide to help you along the way. We’ll not only show you some of the best shocks for trucks on the market today, we’ll also teach you how to make an educated purchase that is right for you.
Table of Contents
- Top 12 Shocks for Trucks Ultimate Table
- Find the Best Shocks for Your Truck!
- What Kind of Conditions Do You Regularly Drive Under?
- What Type of Mount Will You Need to Install Your New Shocks?
- Do You Want Gas-Charged Shocks?
- Top 5 Best Shocks for Trucks Reviews
Top 12 Shocks for Trucks Ultimate Table
|Design||Name||Designed For…||Gas Charged?||Rating (1-5)|
|1. Bilstein (24-186025) 5100 Series Shock Absorber||Lifted Pickups, SUVS, and jeeps||Yes||4.8|
|2. Monroe 911262 Reflex Truck Shock Absorber||Light Trucks & SUVS||Yes||4.7|
|3. Rancho RS5000 Shocks 05-14||Ford F250, F350||No||4.6|
|4. Monroe 37027 OESpectrum Truck Shock Absorber||Light Trucks & SUVs||Yes||4.5|
|5. ACDelco 519-2 Specialty Spring Assisted Shock Absorber||Multiple Models||No||4.5|
|6. Gabriel 49235 Hijackers Air Shocks||For Heavy Load-Bearing Trucks||No||4.4|
|7. Monroe 58640 Load Adjusting Shock Absorber||Manufacturer suggests for light trucks carrying varying loads or trailers||Yes||4.3|
|8. Bilstein 24187824 Shock Absorber||Stock Height trucks, vans, SUVS||Yes||4.2|
|9. KYB 344068 Excel-G Gas Shock||Designed for GM trucks||Yes||4.0|
|10. Skyjacker H7023 Softride Hydro Shock Absorber||Multiple Models||No||3.8|
|11. Tuff Country 61301 Rear Shock Absorber||Full Sized Trucks & SUVs||Yes||3.5|
|12. Explorer Pro Comp 114515 ES1000 Front Shock||Replacement For Heavy Duty Trucks||No||2.9|
Find the Best Shocks for Your Truck!
We’ve shown you some of the best shocks for trucks available online today, but that doesn’t mean that you’ve found the ones that are right for you. While browsing our list or other online retailers, here are some things to keep in mind when purchasing your new shocks:
What Kind of Conditions Do You Regularly Drive Under?
Setting realistic expectations for your new shocks is very important. You can’t buy shocks for casual driving and then wonder why they don’t perform under heavy loads. Here are some general guidelines when purchasing aftermarket shocks:
- Heavy-Duty Use – If you regularly tow heavy loads behind your truck or in the bed, or if you often come into contact with “off-road” driving conditions, you will want to start by looking at mono-tube shocks.
- What is a mono-tube shock? – A mono-tube shock absorber contains all the components (piston valve, oil, and sometimes gas) in one tube; this allows for a wider area of pressure for greater force damping (the slowing of energy absorption by the suspension system) but can result in a stiffer ride.
- Casual Driving – If your truck sees mostly highways and other paved roads, a twin-tube shock design might be a better starting point.
- What Is a Twin-Tube Shock? – A twin-tube shock utilizes two tubes that house smaller versions of what is inside a mono-tube shock; this results in a softer, smoother ride but don’t expect these shocks to do any heavy lifting.
What Type of Mount Will You Need to Install Your New Shocks?
Not all shocks are to be installed the same way. Make sure you know if your suspension has been modified in any way; this is easy if you bought your truck new, but for second-hand truck owners, it can sometimes be difficult to track changes made by previous owners.
- Stock Mount – Shocks that are stock mountable are to be installed on trucks that do not have modified suspension systems. If your suspension is stock, then you may want to start your search by looking for specific replacements for the make and model of your truck.
- Custom Mount – Custom mountable shocks can be installed on a variety of truck types and suspension set-ups. If you have modified suspension like you would see in a lift-kit, you will want to narrow your search to shocks that are designed to fit a certain lift height.
Do You Want Gas-Charged Shocks?
You probably already know this, but shocks work by forcing hydraulic oil through small openings in the piston as force is applied to the shock. A gas-charged shock is injected with a high-pressure gas (usually nitrogen). What this does is keep the hydraulic fluid from foaming up (which causes the shock to lose some control) due to lots of jarring force like you might get from a backcountry trail.
While they are not necessary if you expect to come into contact with rough road conditions and heavy/shifting loads (like livestock) I would suggest spending the extra money for a gas-charged shock, so they stay stable for a long time.
Now that you know where to start on your journey to find the perfect shock absorbers for your truck let’s take a more in-depth look at the shocks from our top 12 list!
Top 5 Best Shocks for Trucks Reviews
Bilstein shows up on our list multiple times because they are one of the top shock manufacturers on the market today. Their Bilstein 5100 series shock absorber is built for trucks/jeeps that have been modified with a lift kit. They are perfect for heavy loads and even some off-road use, but their superior damping also allows for smooth, every-day driving.
- Mono-Tube Design – Like we discussed in the guide above, a mono-tube shock is great for rough terrain and heavy loads because while they are stiffer, their damping power is superior to twin-tube designs.
- Gas-Charged – These shocks are injected with high-pressure gas to ensure stability even when presented with large amounts of force.
- Easy Installation – The Bilstein 5100 Series Shock Absorber is engineered for many different vehicles and lift combinations so that they might seem like custom mount shocks. However, their direct bolt-on install plan requires no modification to your truck.
Because of their mono-tube design and high-pressure gas injection, we highly recommend the 5100 Series Shock Absorber by Bilstein as one of the best shocks for trucks that need to handle rough road conditions and heavy towing.
Monroe is another top manufacturer in the shock absorber industry, and their innovative design really shows in the Reflex series truck shocks. These are best for larger trucks and SUVS, and they might not have the heavy-duty capabilities of the Bilstein 5100s, but they make up for it by offering a superior ride for everyday driving and light off-road use.
- Acceleration Sensitive Damping (ASD) – The ASD tech in the Monroe Reflex truck shock is great for road handling. Essentially, there is a sensitive mechanical valve in the shock that opens and closes rapidly to adjust to short, high energy impacts (g. potholes) but stays closed during longer turns; this reduces body roll and keeps the handling of the truck tight when it needs to be.
- Fluon Banded Piston – The chemical fluon band around the piston gives a consistently strong seal.
The fluon-banded seal is great, but it’s the ASD technology in the Monroe Reflex Shock Absorber that gives the superior handling needed to stand out from the pack.
The RS5000 shock absorber by Rancho is their most popular model, and it’s easy to see why. Tuned to each individual vehicle model (stock height or lifted), these shocks are built for all-around use, whether it’s on the road or the trail. Here’s a closer look at its specific tuning.
- Ten-stage velocity sensitive valving – While all modern shocks are velocity sensitive (this means the faster the suspension is moving, the stiffer the resistance from the shock), the ten-stage design in the Rancho RS5000 Shocks allows for a heightened sensitivity to changes in speed and road conditions.
- Boot Included – This is a small gesture, but if you buy aftermarket shock absorbers, you will need a boot. They protect the shock rod, and oil seal and Rancho includes this in the price of the RS5000.
It can be hard to predict where you will need to drive your truck next, so for an all-around performance shock, the Rancho RS5000 series may be the way to go for you.
Monroe made our top 5 twice and for a good reason. The OESpectrum Truck Shock is Monroe’s solution for small truck and SUV owners. Their claim to fame is the twin technology in the mono-tube, but they also have the nitrogen gas charge and fluon banded piston of their counterpart, the Reflex Series.
- Twin-tech – The impact control valve on the OESpectrum shock offers reliable control in all conditions while Monoroe’s patented Low-Speed Tunability piston will isolate noise and vibration.
- Full Displaced Valving – The valves can easily adjust to condition extremes for consistent ride comfort.
Monroe is a great choice for aftermarket shocks. If you need a smoother ride for your small truck or SUV, definitely check out the OESpectrum Truck Series.
The last shock absorber model on our list is a specialty shock unlike any other on our list! Designed for General Motors’ SUVs and trucks, the ACDelco Spring Assisted shock absorber brings two technologies together to make a reliable on and off-road shock absorber.
- Shock & Spring – This ACDelco model combines a constant-rate spring with a gas-charged, mono-tube shock to give you the best of both worlds. The constant-rate spring helps maintain ride height and improves handling stability while the gas-charged shock helps damper more subtle road impacts.
- Drawn-Over-Mandrel Tubing – This protects the shock components for longer life and less maintenance.
The ACDelco Specialty Spring Assisted Shock is a great choice for anyone who loves the subtle dampening of shocks and the stiff, no-nonsense response of a constant-rate spring.