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Aside from providing the driver with a more smooth ride, shocks and struts are there to ensure driver safety out on the roads and places alike. With new shocks and struts, your vehicle’s, and its tires, ability to gain traction and control of the road will be much more improved, ultimately providing you with a safer ride.
Throughout this review, we will be analyzing the best kinds of shocks for different kinds of vehicles and scenarios, such as the best shocks for trucks, the best for lifted trucks, the best off-road shocks, the best shocks for towing, and finally the best factory replacement shocks. Also see our Shocks & Struts Buyers Guide.
Best Shocks And Struts
Also see: Shocks & Struts Comparison Table
Quick Answer: The Best Shocks And Struts Brands
- Best Shocks for Trucks: Monroe Gas-Magnum Truck Shock Absorbers
- Best Shocks for Lifted Trucks: Fox 2.0 Performance Shocks
- Best Off Road Shocks: Bilstein 5100-Series Shock Absorbers
- Best Shocks for Towing: Gabriel Spring-Assist Load Carrier Shocks
- Best Factory Replacement Shocks: Monroe Monro-Matic Plus Shock Absorbers
Shocks And Struts Reviews
Best Shocks For Trucks
Absorbing the shock from the road means different things for different vehicles. For some heavier vehicles, such as trucks and vans, you may want to look into shocks and struts made specifically for those types of vehicles.
In trucks and vans, the weight of the axles in the suspension system are much heavier in comparison to those used in regular passenger cars.
On top of the weight of each axle, trucks typically have larger rims and wheels that support the vehicle, adding more mass.
In a vehicle with more mass, such as a truck or van, it’s even more crucial to replace those worn shocks and struts, because a heavier weight load will cause a more impactful crash, if the unfortunate event of you losing control does arise.
To support the weight, shocks for trucks are made a bit different than those for lightweight sports cars in the sense that they allow for more jounce and extension over bumps and holes on the road.
Originating in Monroe, Michigan in the year 1916, Monroe Shocks and Struts has become one of the most renowned automotive companies of the last century. Originally, Monroe had manufactured tire pumps for early models of automobiles.
Early on in the business, the owner of Monroe had formed a business partnership with a local Dodge automobile salesman, and by the year 1926 had come along, they introduced their first ‘Shock Absorber’ in response to the growing demand for improved driver comfort and control abilities.
They operate under the slogan “Made For The Road Ahead”, and their products stand behind this with utmost efficiency. As a globally respected brand, the shocks you receive from this company are unlikely to disappoint.
Specially designed for mid – full size trucks and vans, these shocks are known to give a smooth ride with great control. As per plenty of positive reviews online, many customers have been happy with the noticeable improvement in the smoothness of their trucks driving after the installation of these shocks.
- Weight: 5.3 pounds
- Dimensions: 23.2 x 4 x 2.7
- Features: 2″ reserve tube, Nitro carburized rod for long service life, loop bushing sleeve lower mount
Weighing in at around 5.3 pounds and covering about 23.2 x 4 x 2.7 inches of space, these shocks are a cost-effective way to get your truck or vans driving efficiency back up to par.
The extended length for the shocks goes up to 26 inches, while the compressed length can go down to 16 inches. The design is twin-tubed, with a boot included.
There is no air adjustable or spring included. These shocks have around 2x the fluid capacity of common 1” bore shocks.
- All Weather Capability – These shocks contain modifiers that reduce friction and promote smooth rod reaction
- Sintered Iron Piston – The durability and longevity of these shocks are increased through materials created for them that are stronger than traditional metals
- Nitrogen Gas Charged – Tire to road contact is maintained through the controlling of aeration experience by your vehicle. This improves ride handling and smoothness
- ‘Special’ Seal – A fluid seal that “self-lubricates”, designed to retain gas and without much friction being caused
On Amazon, these shocks will cost you around $30 – $40, with free shipping often offered, especially if you are a Prime member. Aside from Amazon, these shocks can be found at O’Reilly Auto, Autozone or perhaps your local car shop.
These shocks are compatible with most trucks constructed by Chevrolet and GMC, including all of the Silverados and Sierras from 1999 and onward.
Designed for trucks and vans, these shocks will not be compatible with most regular sports cars and other lightweight vehicles.
On Amazon, these specific shocks sell thousands of units every month. With this sales volume, it’s clear that these are shocks that keep customers happy, ultimately leading them to recommend them to their friends and family who purchase them as well.
Best Shocks For Lifted Trucks
When you decide to lift your truck, you have to take into account the need for new shock absorbers if your truck is being lifted over 3 inches. This is necessary to make up for the distance relationship between the top and bottom mounting points.
Ensuring that you purchase the correct set of shocks pertained to your truck is important, in order to save yourself that annoying trip to the post office when you have to send them back for a return.
There are some suspension lift kits that do not require you to purchase a new set of shocks along with them. These sets will be ones such as leveling kits, where you only raise the front end of your vehicle, body lift kits, and other ones that will be easily identifiable as to whether you need new shocks and struts with them or not.
Created in California in the year 1977, Fox Racing Shocks now has over $403 million of revenue as of 2016.
After a man named Bob Fox had formed a partnership with his brother Geoff in 1974, they began to diversify their work and begin creating suspension components for multiple vehicles, such as automobiles, off-road vehicles, mountain bikes and snowmobiles.
Fast forward to 2014, and they eventually acquire Sport Truck USA, which now enabled them to enhance the production of their off-road + heavier duty vehicle production line.
Over it’s growing years, Fox Shocks have made trusted vehicle components that have satisfied the needs of varying types of vehicle owners for quite a long time now.
Front and rear fitting, these shocks from Fox are certainly some of the best shocks for trucks offered. In tough terrains and conditions, these shocks offer comfortable control over your vehicle, giving you more confidence behind the wheel.
Its metal impact aluminum body raises its cooling capacity, and reduces the chance of it being taken over by rust over time. The Internal Floating Piston it possesses gets rid of oil aeration, thus providing high performance from the precision valving.
- Weight: Not specified
- Dimensions: 1.5-3.5”, and 4-6”
- Features: Fits most 4WD Trucks, SUVs and Jeep Wranglers, Nitrogen gas-rechargeable, washers, bushings and nuts included
Inside of these shocks contains high performance valvint technology. There is a monotube design that is constructed to separate nitrogen-charged gas chamber from the shock oil. The body plating is made with a hard anodized material. The design of the piston is high-flow, and race developed.
- ⅝ Shaft – Plated with hard chrome, alloy steel treated with heat
- Seals – Sealing system that includes the main seal, scraper seal and wiper seal
- Nitrile Rubber Bushings – Increases the lifted suspensions durability
- Valving – Valving that was specifically designed to maximize performance in lifted trucks
In addition, the Fox 2.0 Performance Shocks are also made for Jeep Wranglers from 2007-2016, with specific ones made for suspension lifts ranging from 1.5-3.5”, and 4-6”.
Noted by many reviews left online by customers, the implementation of these shocks have had customers feeling like they were driving a brand new truck.
Best Off-Road Shocks
As one of the oldest automotive companies still around today, beginning their operations in the year 1873, Bilstein Shocks have constructed some of the most respected off-road shocks offered on the market today.
They were the first brand to introduce the monotube gas pressure shock absorber, paving the way for various companies for years to come.
Starting out as a large supplier of chrome-plated bumper cars, they had eventually decided to move on to the shock and strut business, with the interest of improving driver comfortability on the road, reducing the bumpiness often experienced by drivers.
Now, Bilstein Shocks are recognized as the best strut brand and shock absorber supplier at an international level, and have partnerships with brands such as NASCAR, SCCA, Formula 1, while supplying products to BMW, Jaguar, MercedesBenz, Subaru and more.
On top of this, they have maintained a steady stream of quality shock absorbers constructed for off-road and heavy duty usage, such as in trucks and vans.
Such as the shocks listed below, they specialize in providing you the best shocks and struts for lifted trucks, and other larger vehicles, such as vans, and stock 4×4 trucks.
These shocks are gas charged, and make up a weight of 4.63 pounds each. The shocks contain a velocity sensitive piston that has the ability to change and adapt to certain road conditions as they come along on your travels.
As told by Bilstein, each of their B8 5100 shock absorbers are specifically made for certain activities and adjustments done to your truck to ensure that maximum efficiency is achieved.
- Weight: Not specified
- Dimensions: 28 – 5/16” (extended length), 17 – ¼” (compressed length)
- Features: Monotube design implemented for the shock absorbers, multi-layer Zinc finish provides a durable exterior
- Chevrolet – Silverados, Pickups, Suburbans and Tahoes
- GMC – Pickup, Suburban, Yukon
Providing a consistent fade free ride, the monotube design that was implemented in these shocks shows a continuous progression in their monotube design that was first implemented by them in the early days of their company.
As mentioned, each B8 5100 Shock absorber set is made specifically for certain applications and usages, so it’s unlikely that maximum optimization and usage won’t be experienced.
After installing a lift kit on their trucks, many online customers and reviewers have stated the noticeable difference after having these shocks put in.
For off-road usage, you certainly want to ensure that you are getting the most out of your shocks, and that they will last a long time for you. Going over rough terrain often, you need shocks that can take the blow, keeping you riding steady through the trail.
- Easy Installation – With no modifications required at all, these shocks are easy to put install, with a simple direct bolt-on application
- Monotube Design – Implements the use of gas pressure technology
- Lower Mount Type – These shocks have an Eye Ring as its lower mount type
Best Shocks For Towing
When it comes to towing the extreme weight of another vehicle behind you, there’s certainly no doubt that you would like to ensure that your shocks and struts are able to absorb the shock of oncoming road conditions, especially due to the fact that the effects of the bumps and holes on the road can become greater due to the added weight.
For this reason, companies over time have honed down on the production of shocks and struts to improve the efficiency of trucks that were made for towing.
Oddly enough, many of the shocks that are used for tow trucks can be used in other cars on the market. One of the brands that have created this multifaceted approach to shocks and struts is Gabriel.
Starting in the year 1907, Gabriel is known as the brand to create the first shock absorber, only to be shortly followed up by their introduction of the hydraulic shock absorber, as well as the world’s first air adjustable shock absorber.
Today, it is estimated that Gabriel makes shocks covering over 90% of automotive vehicles out there today. With this spread of influence, it’s easy to see that Gabriel supplies quality products that provide lasting performance for years to come.
With these shocks, Gabriel has created the epitome of what a load carrier shock should be capable of. With the combination of spring and shock technology, these shocks are made for heavy duty usage, with the ability to withstand the extra weight experienced when carrying some heavy load. These shocks can be fitted for front or rear suspension.
Weighing around 6.95 pounds, these shocks come painted and include 2 shocks, 4 washers, 4 bushings and 2 nuts with a purchase from Amazon or other online automotive stores.
On Amazon, these shocks have a high customer rating, and sell very often, indicating that these shocks are well-received by their customers, and are recommended often to others.
- Weight: Not specified, load capacity up to 500 pounds
- Dimensions: Varies between products
- Features: Front coil springs maintain an equal height to your ride, D.O.M tubing to reduce impact of internal wear and tear
In order to further enhance the longevity and lasting performance of these shocks, the finished chrome piston rod is implemented to reduce the likelihood and spread of corrosion, while working to see that the seal is properly lubricated. The piston seal is claimed to be leak-proof, and this claim can be backed up by customer reviews.
These shocks can be installed for front or rear end suspension. As these shocks are the best for towing, they can also be used in other automotive vehicles. These shocks can be used in;
- Buick – 1991 – 1996 Roadmaster, Cadillac 1977 – 1986, Fleetwood 1993 – 1996, etc.
- Chevrolet – 1970 – 1981 Camaro, 1966 – 1996 Caprice, 1965 – 1985 Impala, etc.
- Ford – 1992 – 2002 Crown Victoria, 1965 – 1967 Galaxie, 2001 – 2002 Grand Marquis, etc
- Pressure Tube – Gabriels D.O.M smooth seamed pressure tube processing ensures the elimination of weld seaming imperfections that can cause friction. This process helps increase product longevity
- Leak-Proof Seal – Another addition that seeks to add life to the product, this feature is a staple of all Gabriel products. A leaking piston leads to other problems and reduces the life expectancy of your shocks, and this is exactly what Gabriel has always wanted to avoid
- Constant-Rate Front Coil Spring – This works to maintain riding efficiency and smoothness when going over rough terrains and different road conditions. Maintaining control is especially important when carrying / towing a heavier load
Best Factory Replacement Shocks and Struts
Looking for the truck best shock absorbers and struts for a smooth ride, you’re likely to come across many options when searching on the internet, or looking in a store.
In the world of shocks and struts, or the automotive industry in general, there are specific applications for products all around, and it may perhaps be a bit easy to get mixed up on as to whether you’re purchasing the right product or not.
In the event that you are just looking for some new, factory replacement shocks, without any specific use or application needed for them, it would never be a bad idea to turn towards the automotive brand Monore, and see what products they have to offer.
As discussed earlier, after the original partnership between the owner of Monroe and a local Dodge car salesman had formed, they shortly thereafter began focusing on responding to the growing demand of driver safety, comfortability and control for drivers at large.
At this point in time, the automotive industry had been growing at an exponential rate, and more people were driving cars than ever before.
Nowadays, Monroe is known to deliver some of the best original and aftermarket shocks for trucks, SUVs, vans and other heavy duty vehicles.
Weighing in at around 3.4 pounds, these shocks nitrogen gas charged, and are considered to be all weather fluid. With exceptional driver and passenger comfort, these shocks have velocity sensitive valving that adjusts to changes on the road.
These shocks are constructed with a twin tube design, as opposed to many who implement a monotube design, such as Gabriel.
When extended, these shocks can reach up to about 14 – ⅜” , while the compressed length can be pushed down to around 10 – ⅜”. There is no spring included, no air bladder included, and no adjustable damping included.
- Weight: 7.5 pounds
- Dimensions: Varies between products
- Features: Stem Upper Mount construction, Cross Pin Lower Mount type, parts pack included
These shocks come at a great value on Amazon, costing only around $25 – $30 on average. As per the customer reviews, many have been left more than satisfied, claiming that the shocks were an easy installation, and that they improved the control and ride of their vehicle almost instantly.
One of the best shocks and struts brands, Monroe is globally recognized and respected for delivering long-lasting parts, and this does not change with their Monro – Matic Plus Shock Absorber.
At a price-effective cost, these shocks will provide you with performance through its construction of quality parts.
Monroe had been mentioned earlier in the review, with their Gas-Magnum Truck Shock Absorber. As those were the best for trucks in general, these Monro – Matic’s are the recommended as the best shocks for factory replacement, or general use. These shocks provide a smooth ride, keeping the driver satisfied through maintained road control.
- ½ Inch diameter Piston Rod – Built for a long lasting service and performance life
- 1 – 3/16” Bore – Providing enhanced driver control, these bores are larger than most found on other common shocks, and are built to maintain consistency and efficiency in the vehicles stabilization
- Weather Fluid – These shocks are able to withstand varying conditions that you vehicle will experience, such as wet conditions, hot conditions, snowing conditions, icy conditions, etc.
Shocks & Struts Comparison Table
|Shocks & Struts||Weight||Dimensions||Features|
|MONROE® GAS-MAGNUM® Truck Shocks||5.3 pounds||23.2 x 4 x 2.7||2″ reserve tube, Nitro carburized rod for long service life, loop bushing sleeve lower mount|
|Fox 2.0 Performance Shocks||Not specified||1.5-3.5”, and 4-6”||Fits most 4WD Trucks, SUVs and Jeep Wranglers, Nitrogen gas-rechargeable, washers, bushings and nuts included|
|Bilstein 5100-Series Shock Absorber||Not specified||28 – 5/16” (extended length), 17 – ¼” (compressed length)||Monotube design implemented for the shock absorbers, multi-layer Zinc finish provides a durable exterior|
|Gabriel Spring Assist Load Carrier Shocks||Not specified, load capacity up to 500 pounds||Varies between products||Front coil springs maintain an equal height to your ride, D.O.M tubing to reduce impact of internal wear and tear|
|MONRO-MATIC® PLUS Shocks and Struts||7.5 pounds||Varies between products||Stem Upper Mount construction, Cross Pin Lower Mount type, parts pack included|
Shocks & Struts Buyers Guide
As a car truck or car owner, there isn’t much doubt that you have, or will have to, get your shocks and / or struts replaced at one point or another. When driving your vehicle, depending on what kind, it’s certain that you’re looking for at least some level of balance and smoothness.
Driving in a car with good shocks and struts compared to one with very worn shocks and struts, it’s very easy to tell which one operates more efficiently, creating a smoother experience for the driver and their passengers.
When thinking of shocks and struts, it’s common for people to see them solely as the components in your suspension system that give your car a smooth ride.
For the most part, this is true. Shocks and struts alike are there to give that balance your car experiences when driving over a hole or some rough road. Their main purpose serves to absorb the shock, and maintain a steady ride.
Despite this, most people don’t see them as a necessary safety component for their vehicles. In reality, shocks and struts are some of the most important components on your car when it comes to maintaining equilibrium over some rough patches.
With worn out shocks and struts, your care is more likely to bounce heavily, which can cause you to lose control of traction and steering momentarily. Even if you lose control for a brief moment, many are aware that bad consequences may arise from this.
Coincidentally, as the improvement of shocks and struts has grown over the years, there have been shocks and struts developed strictly for certain cars, trucks and purposes. Depending on which type of vehicle you own and operate, different kinds of shocks may be more appropriate for you.
For clarity, some terms in this article will be discussed to enhance the viewer’s ability properly digest the material presented.
Shock absorbers are components in your vehicle’s suspension system that act to absorb the shock is uneven road conditions such as bumps, holes, etc. They also act as a safety measurement, keeping your vehicle from bouncing too often, keeping it level with the ground and maintaining control.
Upper Mount / Lower Mount
While the upper mount is in connection with the vehicle’s frame, the lower mount will be attached to the axle, and work together in your vehicle’s suspension system.
The bore simply refers to the size of the diameter of the piston, as well as the interior of the pressure tube.
The reserve tube is where the formation of the lower mounting of the shock occurs. It sits between the piston itself and the base valve.
Popular for installing in trucks, jeeps and SUVs, lift kits allow drivers to raise the body of their truck above, along with the frame and engine, above the wheels, increasing the distance between the axles and chassis. This allows for higher clearance, and is popular for off-road and heavy duty usage.
Connected to the drive wheels are rods and shafts that operate them. They send power from the transmission to the to each of the wheels, and serve to help the vehicle make proper turns.
The use of nitrogen reduces aeration, and gives the damper the ability to hold its charge for a longer amount of time. It’s inertness makes it a safe use for shock absorbers.
FAQs – Shocks and Struts
Why Should I Get My Shocks / Struts Replaced?
Your shock absorbers are what keep you control and steady traction over the road, absorbing the shock of uneven road surfaces. Shocks serve to keep your car from bouncing over uneven roads, keeping you in control of your car.
Are Shocks And Struts The Same Thing?
More commonly nowadays, cars do not contain both shocks and struts, but many on the roads still do. Whereas struts can make up a whole suspension system, shock absorbers make only a part of the suspension system as a whole. They both aim to perform the functions of car control and to reduce spring jump.
Should I Have A Mechanic Replace My Shocks For Me?
If you do not consider yourself an amateur car mechanic, or someone who is aware of how to replace car parts in the first place, it would be recommended to have a mechanic install these for you. Without running the risk of causing other issues, you can have an expert do it in a time efficient manner.
Does It Matter Which Shocks I Buy For My Vehicle?
Yes, it does. There are kinds of shocks that can be used for various amounts of the same cars, but many have been made for certain activities and purposes. These purposes and circumstances can include shocks for trucks, sports cars, lifted trucks, shocks for towing, off-road shocks and more. Before buying shocks or struts, take the time to make sure that the product is right for your vehicle.
Summary – Shocks and Struts
In the search for new shocks and struts, it can be very challenging to try and find out which ones may be best suited for, your truck / vehicle, its modifications, and whatever activities that your vehicle is often used for.
When searching for new shocks and struts, it’s important to distinguish between shocks that are specifically designed for trucks, ones for lifted trucks, ones for off-road use, ones for towing, factory replacement ones, etc.
Over time, companies have singled down on the production of shocks that can be installed on vehicles that maximize the efficiency of certain activities and uses.
As a result, there have been many reputable and respected companies that have come along, who have delivered quality products to drivers, coincidentally sparking debate about who makes the best kind.
Generally, each vehicle has a recommended mileage range in which you should have your shocks replaced. Checking in on this will give you an idea of when you should look into getting your shocks replaced, even if you aren’t looking for shocks for these pertained categories.
As mentioned, shocks are more than just an automotive component that keeps your car driving smooth. They are also there to keep you safe!
With new shocks and struts, your car is better able to maintain contact with the road, preventing you from ever losing control.
Check with your mechanic soon, and see if you need new shocks and / or struts put in! It could be the difference between sliding out, and staying on the road.
How We Researched
To come up with the top shocks and struts brands, we researched a variety of sources for reviews such as 4×4 Magazine and Outside Online Magazine along with our own personal experience.
We also consulted online magazines for product research and reviews to get as much unbiased information as we could. To help weed out fake reviews we used Fakespot.com to make sure we only looked at genuine reviews.
With so much quality gear available, we had to narrow it down based on what we felt were the best options were for the price. The staff authors have a wide and varied background in offroading, motorcycling, and auto mechanics. They are eager to share their knowledge with readers.
To help narrow down the selection we used personal experiences along with recommendations from fellow auto-enthusiasts and industry experts.
After extensive research, we came up with our list to help you choose the right one for you.