The 10 Best Shock Absorbers And Struts For Trucks – 2021 (Review & Buyer’s Guide)

best shock absorbers


Shock absorbers don’t just make your ride comfortable on bumpy roads. They’re also critical to smooth vehicle handling, ensuring easy slowing and sufficient stopping distance.

Shocks work by decreasing the bounce-back that comes from tires, ensuring that the chassis — the body of the car — doesn’t move with each dip and turn.

Without properly functioning shock absorbers, you’ll find your ride is bumpy and your vehicle is harder to handle. This isn’t just a question of comfort, it’s also a safety issue.

As a rule of thumb, you should replace your shock absorbers every 50,000 miles. If you’re due for a replacement but not sure what to buy, this guide can help.

Keep reading to learn about the best shock absorbers and how to go about buying shocks that will work best for your vehicle and driving style.

The 10 Best Shock Absorbers And Struts

Shock AbsorberVehicle FitmentProduct Details
Top Overall Pick Lifted Trucks & SUVS (Front, Rear)Bilstein 5100 SeriesChevrolet Silverado 1500HD, Avalanche, Suburban,GMC Sierra, Yukon XL, Hummer H2*Monotube
Top Pick
Heavy Load Trucks (Rear)
KYB 565104 MonoMax Gas ShockChevrolet Silverado, Dodge Ram, GMC Sierra*Monotube
Nitrogen gas
Top Pick
Front Shock Absorber
Bilstein 24-187367 5100 SeriesDodge Ram 1500 2010-2009, Ram 1500 2018-2011, 1500 Classic 2020-2019*Monotube
Top Pick
Rear Shock Absorber
KYB 344385 Excel-G Gas ShockChevrolet Silverado 1500, Dodge Ram, GMC Sierra, Ram 1500Twin tube
Nitrogen gas
Top Pick
Complete Strut Assembly (Front)
Monroe 139105Chevrolet Silverado 1500 (2007 – 2013),
GMC Sierra 1500 (2007 – 2013)*
Coil spring
Gas charged
Top PickStrut And Spring Assembly Set & Sway Bars (Front, Back)Detroit Axle Front + Rear Struts and Sway BarsBuick Century, Century, Regal, LaCrosse
Chevrolet Impala, Monte Carlo,
Pontiac Grand Prix*
Ready to install
Coil spring
Top Pick – Rear Shock Absorbers – Larger Light Trucks, SUVs (Rear)Monroe 911262Ford F150 (2004 – 2010), Lincoln Mark LT (2006 – 2008)*Nitrogen gas charged
Top Pick – Budget Wise – RearDetroit Axle Complete Strut & Spring Assembly Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator*Ready to install
Rear strut & assembly
Top Pick – Air Shock Absorber For Heavy Loads (Rear) Automatic inflate/deflate with load changesMonroe MA822Buick Lesabre (2000-05), Lucerne (2006-11), Park Avenue (1997-05), Riviera (1995-99), Cadillac DTS (2006-11),Deville (2000-05),Seville (1998-04),Oldsmobile Aurora (1995-99, 2001-03),Pontiac Bville (2000-05)*All weather fluid
Top Pick – Best Shock Absorber for Mid To Full-size Light-duty Work Trucks and VansMonroe 34690 Gas-Magnum Truck Shock AbsorberChevrolet Silverado 1500, 1500HD, GMC Sierra 1500, 1500HD, 2500, 2500 HD*Nitrogen gas charged
*See mftr website for fitnet model details

Top Overall Pick — Lifted Trucks And SUVs (Front and Rear Set) – Bilstein 5100 Shocks Kit

Vehicle Fitment: Chevrolet Silverado 1500HD, Avalanche, Suburban, GMC Sierra, Yukon XL, Hummer H2*

Style: monotube, front & rear

These shocks are specially designed for the Chevrolet Silverado 1500HD (not the Silverado 1500).

However, they are also compatible with most heavy-duty vehicles, including trucks, jeeps, and SUVs, making them some of the best shock absorbers in terms of versatility.

The Bilstein 5100 Shocks Kit is a complete set of four shocks, two front 2-2.5″ and two rear 0-1″ lift sets. Bilstein shocks are made of durable, strong metal, ensuring longevity. The shocks are gas-charged, filled with pressurized nitrogen gas to limit fluid foaming or face, ensuring stability even when you’re dealing with heavy forces.

The front shocks extend to 11.3″ and collapse to 15.76″, while the rear shocks extend to 26.15″ and collapse to 16.14″. The 46 mm monotube design gives you steady, fade-free performance in all terrains, whether you’re on the highway or a bumpy country road. The patented digressive valving adapts to changing surfaces, keeping your ride consistent.

Installation is easy, thanks to the OEM certified mounting hardware provided with the rear shocks. Last but not least, the 5100 series shocks even come with a lifetime warranty.

What We Like:

  • Reliable brand
  • Fade-free performance
  • Easy to install
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Durable metal

What We Don’t Like:

Stiff compared to factory shocks

Top Pick – Heavy Trucks – KYB 565104 MonoMax Gas Shock

Vehicle Fitment: Chevrolet Silverado, Dodge Ram, GMC Sierra*

Style: monotube, front, rear

If you need to upgrade the suspension of your truck, this is your best pick. The KYB 565104 MonoMax Gas Shock offers a significant upgrade in terms of performance, offering 40% above-average damping compared to regular shock absorbers. This is ideal for heavier vehicles, like trucks and SUVs.

These absorbers are known for being able to handle off-roading, trailer-towing, and heavy loads. The monotube adjusts automatically to driving conditions, making for fade-free performance while increasing steering response and stability. You also get great rebound control, for example, when going over a traffic hump.

The shocks can be positioned at the front or rear. KYB also adds a rubber cap on the absorbers’ ends, protecting the shaft while keeping dirt away. The stainless steel piston ring is zinc coated, creating a durable seal that can withstand even the most extreme conditions.

This is a vehicle-specific fit made, especially for GM trucks.

What We Like:

  • Tow-ready
  • Ideal for larger tires and wheels
  • Above-average damping performance
  • Protective rubber boot
  • What We Don’t Like:

What We Don’t Like: 

Bushings don’t fit all vehicles

Top Pick — Front Shock Absorber – Bilstein 24-187367 5100 Series

Vehicle compatibility: Dodge Ram 1500 2010-2009, Ram 1500 2018-2011, 1500 Classic 2020-2019*

Style: monotube, front

What We Like:

  • Reputable brand
  • Easy installation
  • A durable design ideal for rugged terrain

What We Don’t Like:

Less effective for lighter loads

Top Pick – Rear Shock Absorber – KYB 344385 Excel-G Gas Shock

Vehicle Fitment: Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Dodge Ram, GMC Sierra, Ram 1500

Style: nitrogen gas, twin tube, front, rear

What We Like

  • Specifically calibrated to help restore the original handling and control characteristics of full-size GM trucks
  • Seamless working cylinder

What We Don’t Like

Top Pick — Complete Strut Assembly (Front) – Monroe 139105

Vehicle Fitment: Chevrolet Silverado 1500 (2007 – 2013), GMC Sierra 1500 (2007 – 2013)

Style: coil spring, front

When you purchase the Monroe 139105, you’ll have everything you need for a strut replacement in a single, fully-assembled unit without needing a spring compressor. 

With this strut assembly, you get a premium upper strut mount that helps ensure smooth, like-new steering precision, reduced noise, vibration, harshness, and memory steer.

Not only that, but each application-specific coil spring type is engineered to restore ride height and support the vehicle’s weight.

It’s easy to install with no need to remove your sway bar and once it’s installed, you’ll notice a return to the original vehicle ride height with a feel that is similar to the brand-new feel when you originally purchased your truck.

What We Like:

  • Each coil spring is painted or powder-coated for rust resistance
  • The coil spring is calibrated to specifically support the vehicle’s weight and ensure proper ride height
  • Each new spring seat is made to provide consistent performance without transmitting noise or vibration into the chassis
  • Plated steel for longer wear
  • Spring isolators prevent metal to metal contact to help eliminate noise between the spring and spring seat.

What We Don’t Like:

  • Will fit only two models and six years

Top Pick – Strut And Spring Assembly with Sway Bars – Detroit Axle Front + Rear Struts and Sway Bars

Vehicle Fitment: Buick Century, Century, Regal, LaCrosse, Chevrolet Impala, Monte Carlo,
Pontiac Grand Prix*

Style: coil spring struts, sway bar, front, rear

This is a fantastic option if you need to replace all 4 struts and sway bars and since these parts are backed by Detroit Axle’s 10-year warranty, you know that you’re buying reliable parts that will last.

You actually have the option to just buy both front struts, front struts and sway bar links, rear struts, rear struts, and sway bar links or all struts and sway bar links.

When you buy this set, you get the complete strut assembly with the strut, coil, spring, and mounts that are ready to be installed so you won’t need to buy anything additional.

Consumers are very happy with how easy the installation is and how much smoother their ride is afterward.

  • What We Like:
  • Easy to install
  • Compatible with a wide variety of vehicles
  • Made in the USA

What We Don’t Like:
Can cause some vehicles to ride higher than desired

Top Pick – Rear Shock Absorbers – Larger Light Trucks, SUVs –  Monroe 911262

Vehicle Fitment: Ford F150 (2004 – 2010), Lincoln Mark LT (2006 – 2008)*

Style: Monotube, rear

Monroe 9111262 is ideal for larger light trucks, SUVs, and other vehicles with a high center of gravity.

Designed with Monroe’s ASD (advanced acceleration sensitive damping) technology, these shocks will provide greater control for handling and improved ride comfort.

And with a self-lubricating fluid seal, gas will be retained without excessive wear or friction resulting in more durability and service life. And the ⅝” piston rod is a heavy-duty nitrocarburized rod which also has a long service life.

In summary, consumers are happy with the Monroe 911262 for overall performance and durability for their light trucks and SUVs

What We Like:

  • Greater control for improved handling, safety, and comfort
  • Enhanced stability
  • The precise and consistent response
  • Full displaced valving for a smooth, comfortable ride
  • Quick and easy installation
  • All-weather fluid for reduced friction and smooth rod reaction

What We Don’t Like:
Can be a little higher on some vehicles

Top Pick – Budget Wise – Detroit Axle Complete Strut & Spring Assembly (Rear)

Vehicle Fitment: Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator*

Style: coil spring, rear driver and rear passenger, ready to install

When you buy a Detroit Axle product, you get a 10-year warranty which provides some reassurance that you are purchasing a quality product from a company that stands by their craftsmanship.

The ready to install means that you won’t be fumbling around looking for extra parts and pieces that you didn’t know were required. And better yet, you won’t need any special tools. You’ll get the strut, coil, spring, and mounts so you’ll be all set.

What We Like:

  • Great fit for the specified compatible vehicles
  • Easy to install

Top Pick – Air Shock Absorber (Rear) For Heavy Loads – Monroe MA822

Vehicle Fitment: Buick Lesabre (2000-05), Lucerne (2006-11), Park Avenue (1997-05), Riviera (1995-99), Cadillac DTS (2006-11),Deville (2000-05),Seville (1998-04),Oldsmobile Aurora (1995-99, 2001-03),Pontiac Bville (2000-05)*

Style: Monotube, air, rear

The Monroe MA822 is ideal for vehicles that haul heavy loads or tow trailers because of its ability to maintain ride height with up to 1,100 lbs of additional weight.

Because they’re designed to maintain level vehicle height, it can be inflated as needed from 20 psi to 150 psi, even when the vehicle has already been loaded. And when the load is emptied, it deflates for normal driving.

Because these shocks have an automatic leveling system, they can be adapted for most vehicles but see above for their recommended use.

They have a compressed length of 14.5” and an extended length of 24.375” with all-weather fluid that contains special modifiers to reduce friction and ensure smooth rod reaction. And there’s full displaced valving that provides better valving on both the compression and extension cycles of the unit for a smooth comfortable ride.

What We Like:

  • A great option for vehicles with heavy loads
  • Automatic inflation/deflation, as needed depending on the load
  • Can be adapted for most vehicles equipped with automatic leveling systems
  • Smooth, comfortable ride
  • Easy installation
  • The sintered iron piston that is stronger than other metals, for increased durability

Top Pick – Best Shock Absorber for Mid To Full-Size Light-Duty Work Trucks and Vans – Monroe 34690 Gas-Magnum Truck Shock Absorber

Vehicle Fitment: Chevrolet Silverado 1500, 1500HD, GMC Sierra 1500, 1500HD, 2500, 2500 HD*

Style: Monotube, rear

If you’re driving a mid to full-size light-duty work truck or van, these Monroe 34690 Gas-Magnum Truck Shocks will work well, give you a smooth ride and handle the bumps.
With a 2-inch reserve tube, there’ll be greater oil capacity which will dissipate the heat better than the OE and perform more consistently. You’ll also find that your ride and handling are improved as a result of the shocks being nitrogen gas-charged which will also help to maintain tire-to-road contact by reducing aeration.

These shocks have an extended length of 26” and a compressed length of 16” with a 1 ⅜” inch bore that will lower operating pressure more than the standard 1 inch bore units. And the ⅝” piston rod is heavy duty nitrocarburized for a longer life.

Overall, consumers are very pleased with the performance of these shocks and appreciate the improved ride they get after installation.

What We Like:

  • More efficient with less effort due to the 2” reserve tube, instead of the standard 1” tube
  • Better ride and handling due to the nitrogen gas-charged shocks
  • The improved valving range for a more smooth, comfortable ride
  • The sintered iron piston that is stronger than traditional metals and will provide more durability for a longer life
  • A self-lubricating fluid seal is designed to retain the gas without excessive wear or friction

Types of Shock Absorbers

Shock absorbers come in two configurations, twin tube or mono-tube. Most drivers prefer mono-tube since they offer better response and they’re easy to install. 

However, mono-tube shocks are more expensive than twin-tube shocks so if the price is a concern, you may want to consider twin-tube shocks. 

There are 4 specific types of shock absorbers. They are:

  1. Gas shock absorbers
  2. Automatic shock absorbers
  3. Air shock absorbers
  4. Overload shock absorbers

Keep reading to learn more about each type so you can determine which type will work best for your vehicle and needs.

Gas Shock Absorbers

A gas shock absorber is a hydraulic shock that is injected with nitrogen gas which is a cooler gas that keeps the shock cooler. 

One of the significant advancements in technology ride control is the development of gas shocks, which are intended to improve driving comfort,  vehicle control and reduce excessive movement of the vehicle. 

Gas shocks are either mono-tube or twin-tube. 

Twin-tube shocks have internal and external working tubes, while mono-tube shocks are high-pressure gas shocks with one tube, which is the pressure tube.

You’ll likely find that gas shocks feel harder than oil shocks – at least most people do. This is simply because gas shocks pressure the oil so that it tends to move quickly, making it easier to change the response on different terrain.

If you’re looking for a shock absorber optimal for high-speed driving and reduced risk of aeration, gas shocks are for you. 


  • More durable
  • Wide range control
  • Reduced aeration
  • Improved handling
  • Reduced excessive vibration
  • Reduced fade
  • Better cooling than oil shocks


  • Complex design
  • Highly-priced

Automatic Shock Absorbers

Automatic level-control shocks are the type of shocks that are mainly found in big and expensive vehicles. 

They use an air pump system that’s activated when there’s a difference in the vehicle’s weight distribution.

When carrying passengers in your luxury vehicle, or when you add extra weight, the air pump is usually activated to add more pressure to the shock absorbers. 

The extra pressure inserted on the shocks is meant to compensate for excess weight and ensure that the ride remains smooth. 


  • Excellent handling
  • Most smooth ride
  • More weight balance


  • Expensive

Air Shock Absorbers

Air shocks are mainly used in vehicles that have an air suspension system. These suspension systems use rubber airbags filled with air by a compressor.

The rubber airbags are used in place of a traditional spring. But they can also be used together with the spring, or with parts in an active suspension system. 

Air shock absorbers provide a smooth and comfortable ride. They also allow for ride leveling. 

For instance, if your vehicle’s rear end is loaded with heavy cargo, or when towing, the compressor pumps more air into the rear air springs to raise the back end.  

Nonetheless, air shocks have their benefits and downsides. Here are the pros and cons:


  • Improved tire life
  • Less load shifting and damage
  • Improved fuel consumption
  • Reduced noise and harshness
  • More versatile for certain types of terrain


  • Air spring leaks
  • Costly

Overload Shock Absorbers

Overload shock absorbers or coil-over shocks come with a spring coil around the shock cylinder’s outside section.

Overload shocks can adjust rapidly to changing road surfaces and weight conditions. 

These shocks deliver a more enhanced control with implacable ride comfort. Overload shocks are great for use on off-road vehicles.


  • Great for off-road vehicles
  • Improved handling
  • Smooth and comfortable rides
  • Doesn’t change the spring stiffness


  • Cannot be modified unless the coil spring is replaced

Heavy Duty Shock Absorbers

Heavy-duty shocks are usually made for trucks, SUVs, vans, and other fairly large vehicles.

With heavy-duty shock absorbers, you’ll get a stiff ride until your car gets a heavy load. The heavy load will then even out the shocks and give a smooth ride.


  • Studier Constructions
  • Robust steel
  • Better quality oil
  • Improved tyre life
  • Smooth rides


  • Can sometimes be too stiff

5 Benefits of Using Shock Absorbers

There are many benefits of using shock absorbers. Here are 5:

1. Safety

For most drivers, safety means driving carefully and not speeding. But to vehicle engineers, a vehicle’s safety means a sound suspension system. 

Shocks are the main components of the suspension system. They are the main reason cars cannot be overturned when moving on rough roads or during windy weather. 

It’s important to remember that a damaged shock absorber can put your life at risk and should be repaired.

2. Comfort

Shock absorbers were mainly developed to provide comfort to the passengers.

It reduces the impact of vibrations on the passenger when the vehicle moves in a bumpy or imperfect road, providing a far more comfortable ride.

3. Stability

All roads are not flat and perfectly paved. There are many country roads with conditions that push a vehicle’s wheels up and down.

Shock absorbers ensure a vehicle’s wheels contact the surface even when the road is imperfect and bumpy.

4. Higher Operating Speed

Shock absorbers enable a vehicle to stop gently even if it’s moving at high speed. This allows vehicles and machines fitted with shock absorbers to move fearlessly at higher speeds.

5. Enhanced Production Quality

Vehicles and machines that use shock absorbers have reduced undesirable conditions like noise, vibrations, and damaging impacts. 

They can also make fits and tolerance easy to maintain and thus improve the quality of production.

5 Things To Look For When Buying Shock Absorbers

While there are many types of shock absorbers in the market, you can easily find the best one for your vehicle, especially if you have the right tips. 

Here are some of the essential things to consider when buying the best shock absorber:


It is crucial to buy a shock that is compatible with your vehicle. For instance, if your car will be moving mainly in the bumpy country roads, you’ll need a shock that will not only fit your car, but one that is designed to adjust smoothly and easily on uneven ground

2.Material and Durability 

Shock absorbers wear out. This means that you have to change or repair them after they wear down to ensure that you have a safe and comfortable ride.

Therefore, when buying shocks, it’s essential to look for durable ones made of tougher materials. Shocks are typically made of steel or aluminum. Steel is stronger and but steel shocks can be a bit more difficult to install. Aluminum shocks are a bit pricier but they’re lighter and easier to adjust.

3.Driving Conditions

The roads that you ride on will determine the type of shock absorbers you need.

If you’re mostly moving off-road, you’ll require stronger shocks to handle the bumps and uneven ground.

But if you will be riding on smoother roads, then any shocks can work for you since you will be having view bounces and no abuses. 

4.The Price 

The price of a shock absorber is also essential. Always evaluate your budget to determine how much you’re willing to spend. The price of shock absorbers ranges from $25 to $ 500 but if you are driving your vehicle a lot, on rougher terrain, you will also want to evaluate the life expectancy of the shocks you’re going to install. 

Try to install shocks that have a longer life when riding on uneven ground regularly so you can avoid having to change out your shocks more often than necessary, saving time and money.

5.Ease of Installation

If you are the kind of vehicle owner who likes doing things on their own without hiring a mechanic, look for shockers that are easy to install.

Some shock absorbers will require customization or modification, so hiring a mechanic will be important.

You may want to use a shock absorber that requires modification and customization. In this case, you should ensure you have a mounting kit and a user’s manual to help you along.

For shock absorbers that don’t require modification, installation should be simple and you can do it yourself by following the manufacture instructions which can also often be found on YouTube.


How Much Does It Cost to Get Shock Absorbers Done?

The prices of shock absorbers can range from $20-$250 depending on quality and manufacturer. 
However, the average cost of getting shock absorbers replaced is usually around $200.00.

When Should I Replace My Shock Absorbers?

Shock absorbers are in use by the vehicle, whether it’s moving or not. Of course, the more your vehicle moves, the more wear and tear the shocks will experience. 
The standard recommendation is to replace your shock absorbers after they’ve gone 50,000 miles. 
However, vehicle handling and driving conditions may determine how soon your shocks wear down, meaning the shocks could need replacement sooner.

Is it Easy to Replace Shock Absorbers?

Replacing a shock absorber can be easy or difficult, depending on the type and steps involved. But most shock absorbers are easy to install, especially the mono-tube shocks.

Which is Better, Oil or Gas Shock Absorbers?

The best shock absorber depends on your needs, and other factors like your driving skills, where you will be driving, and whether you prefer stiff or soft suspension.
However, most drivers claim that gas shocks are better than oil shocks since they keep the suspension system cooler.

What Shocks Give the Smoothest Ride?

For most drivers who have used different types of shocks, mono-tube shocks give the smoothest rides. 
This is because they have better dampening and have only one piston valve that prevents oil from mixing with gas. 

Should I Replace All Four Shocks at the Same Time?

It is recommended to always replace all the four shock absorbers at the same, for more predictable control and handling. 

How Long Does Shock Absorbers Last?

Shock absorbers last up to 50,000 miles. 
However, how you drive and the type of roads that you drive on will also influence when your shocks need to be replaced.

How Do I Change Shock Absorbers?

Support your vehicle and loosen the fasteners on the shocks. Then slide the shock absorber away from the mounting place and remove it from the car.
Fit the new shock absorbers and attach the fasteners. Remember to follow manufacturer’s instructions accurately. 

Are Monroe Shock Absorbers Any Good?

Yes, Monroe shocks are high-quality products and are very efficient and long-lasting. 
Many Monroe shocks customers say that these shocks do the job perfectly in ensuring smooth ride and providing stability on highways.

What is the difference between gas and oil shock absorbers?

An oil shock absorber mainly uses oil to control valve movement, thus making rides comfortable. A gas shock absorber is an oil shock absorber injected with high-pressure nitrogen to reduce foaming and increase the shock absorbers’ performance.
Gas shock absorbers are better cooled with reduced cavitation. The oil shock absorber can experience cavitation under high pressures.

Will replacing shocks improve ride quality?

Yes, replacing worn-out shock will improve the quality of your ride. 
Shocks absorb the force that could otherwise be felt when a vehicle hits a bump, a rough patch, or a pothole. Worn out shocks won’t do the job. 

Which is better hydraulic or gas shocks?

Both the hydraulic and gas shock absorbers have their advantages and disadvantages. It all depends on how and where you want to use your vehicle.
The hydraulic shocks are widespread and affordable. They give a soft and comfortable ride and they’re durable for city driving or for short distances. 
Gas shock absorbers are excellent for stability, best in both compression and decompression, and have a low chance of experiencing cavitation. These are the best shocks for racing cars and vehicles that carry heavy loads.

The Best Shock Absorbers In Summary (2020)

Determining the best shock absorbers will depend in part on the type of vehicle you drive and your intended purpose — for example, how heavy of a load you need to haul. If you have to invest in just a single item, however, the Bilstein 5100 Shocks series is the all-around winner.

This shock kit has you covered front and back and is compatible with many trucks, SUVs, and Jeeps. The sturdy metal construction, fade-free performance, and lifetime warranty ensure durability and longevity. You can be sure these will last. On top of that, the gas-charged shocks give you steerability and stability even on tough terrains and with heavy loads. The patented digressive valving adapts to varied surfaces so you can rest easy with a consistent, smooth ride. For comfort and practicality, the Bilstein 5100 series is the overall favorite pick among the best shock absorbers of 2020.