Lift Kits vs Leveling Kits: What is the difference, and which do you need?

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What’s the difference between lift kit and leveling kits? Do I need one or both, and for what reasons? Am I going to have a lift on my truck just to make it level with my trailer hitch height? These are all questions that we will answer in this article. We’ll talk about why you would want each type of lift kit and how they work.

So what is the difference between lift kits and leveling kits? While we will get a little more in depth later, leveling kits basically level out a pickup, but don’t lift it much higher than stock. Meanwhile, lift kits raise up a truck significantly to either achieve a style, or function needed by the owner.

What is a lift kit?

Lift kits on pickups are probably what most people think of when think of a way to lift up a pickup! It essentially is where both the front and rear move upwards by either lifting the body of the pickup, or more commonly by adding the lift to the suspension.

This is generally done so that you have more ground clearance, as well as more room in the wheel wells to fit larger tires. These kits tend to be extensive, and expensive.

Suspension lifts are the most comprehensive, and best way of doing this, as it will give you the largest amount of clearance throughout the whole truck. However this is also the most expensive way of lifting your truck, as it requires all new suspension and a lot of work that will either need to be done by yourself, or by a shop.

Body lifts are the easy way out, and is essentially where you disconnect the body from the from, lift it up to where you want it, and bolt it back down onto a spacer. While you get the clearance for your tires with this method, it doesn’t help much with the rest of the truck, as the frame is going to be the same distance from the ground.

Pros & Cons of a Lift Kit?


  • Changes the look of your truck a lot
  • Much more ground clearance
  • Can fit much larger tires


  • Expensive to do right
  • Can affect the integrity of our vehicle

What is a leveling kit?

Leveling kits are different from a lift kit, in that they only raise the front end of the truck to match the rear of the truck. As we learned about in this article right here, pickups tend to be lower in the front than the rear for a variety of reasons.

However for those that are willing to forego that for a level truck, they can raise the front to match the back for aesthetic reasons.

This does also allow for bigger tires to be added, but doesn’t give much in the area of ground clearance. This kit is also much less extensive, and is cheaper and easier to install than a lift kit.

In the end, you get a more stock truck look as well.

Pros & Cons of a Leveling Kit?


  • Inexpensive
  • Keeps the stock look of your truck
  • Easy to install
  • Can fit slightly larger tires on the truck


  • Limited ground clearance
  • Don’t dramatically change the look of your truck

Is it better to lift or level your truck?

Now that you know what a lift kit is, and what a leveling kit is, which one is right for you? In the end it comes down to what you are looking to accomplish. If you are wanting to keep that stock look, and don’t want your truck to stand out too much, then a leveling kit is probably the best bet.

However if you are wanting to go all out on an off-road truck, or even a “mall crawler” then a lift kit is going to really be your only option.

Either way you go, it’s a great idea to get some lift and leveling kit installation from an expert.

This is going to ensure that you have the best chance of success with your new lift or leveling kit!

Are leveling kits worth it?

Leveling kits are extremely popular, because they don’t cost a ton, and they don’t change the driving dynamics of a truck much outside of its stock form. Of course it affects towing visibility a bit, however if you don’t tow much, then this is a great solution.

Pickups that are not level, tend to have a bit of a goofy look, and this is an easy and inexpensive way to change that. If you want to upgrade the look of your truck a bit, you should look into making this upgrade, as it is definitely worth it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you have a leveling kit and a lift kit?

Technically speaking, you could find a way to use both a leveling kit and a lift kit. However it would be pointless, and likely dangerous. Possible, but a terrible idea.

Do 2 inch leveling kits require new shocks?

If you are installing a smaller 2 inch leveling kit, you realistically will not need new shocks installed to make the kit work. However if your shocks are older, and need replaced anyways, this is the best time to have that done, as they will be removed to install a leveling kit.

How tall is too tall for a lift kit?

There really isn’t a limit to how tall of a lift kit you can install on your truck. However there are a couple things you should keep an eye, such as becoming top heavy (possible roll over), staying legal for where your headlights, tail lights and bumper are, and of course paying attention to not looking too ridiculous.


Now that we have got to discuss both lift kits and leveling kits, hopefully you have a better idea of the difference, and hopefully which one is right for you. If you plan on getting one of these kits, make sure that you have the right lift or leveling kit for your vehicle!

I would also like to point out that it is really important to get good installation from an expert if you are going to use either one!