Body Lift vs. Suspension Lift: Which is Better?

Close-up of a blue pickup truck with body lift.

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Do you have a knack for choosing the best rims, pedals, fenders, and flares to customize your vehicle to perfection? Perhaps you spend copious amounts of time on the road, and you want your ride to be as smooth as possible. The average American spends over 290 hours driving per year. It makes sense that many drivers would seek ways to enhance their vehicles to the fullest. Lifts are one of the best ways to give yours a big boost! With all the models, brands, and combinations of body lifts and suspension lifts out there to choose from, there are a variety of methods to specialize your vehicle for peak performance. From Superlift suspensions to Readylift suspension lift kits, the possibilities for vehicle modifications and enhancements are endless. Depending on where you want to go and what you want to do, the best choice for you will vary. Whether your goal is to take the whole family overlanding across rocky mountains or to go for a joy ride up high and in style, your vehicle can benefit from a lift. To discover the ideal type of lift for your vehicle, we’ll begin by comparing and contrasting body lift vs. suspension lift features in a couple of areas. These will include ride height, tire size, price, ground clearance, and off-road performance.

What’s a Suspension Lift, What’s a Body Lift, and What’s the Difference?

A body lift is a frame that sits between your vehicle and the body, creating more room between your tires and your fender. This allows for larger tires and provides a couple more inches of ground clearance. A suspension lift is a vehicle modification designed to lift the ride height of vehicles. It takes all of the components and lifts them up. This is unlike a body lift, which essentially just raises the cab and the bed. There are a couple of key drawbacks and advantages to each, so it’s important to weigh these factors when deciding between suspension lifts vs. body lifts for your ride.

Ground Clearance

Close-up of white pickup truck with suspension lift.

In the contest between suspension lifts vs. body lifts, ground clearance is a definite factor to consider. Ground clearance, or ride height, is the distance between the road and the bottom of the body, also known as the chassis. This is a key feature for those who want to freely traverse any terrain, no matter how treacherous or uneven. Increasing your vehicle’s body distance from the ground is a surefire way to minimize the damage done to the underbelly of the car and maximize the potential to go anywhere. This makes suspension lifts the most vital piece of overlanding gear you could get. With heightened ground clearance, you can trek across those rugged mountainous trails, rocky desert paths, sandy dunes, muddy forest floors, and more! The only way you would really add any ground clearance with a body lift is through bigger tires. Suspension lifts add ground clearance to your vehicle by raising its frame, along with shocks, axles, and other components. If exceptional ground clearance for advanced overlanding adventures is what you seek, then suspension lifts are what you need!

Amount of Lift

For those who want to ride up high while on the road, you’ll want to pay attention to the amount of body lift. Most of the time, five inches is the maximum height to raise a vehicle’s body. For extreme elevation, some of the more expensive suspension lifts can lift a vehicle’s height by nine inches or more! This will ready your vehicle with the most extreme overlanding gear to embark on some next-level rock crawling. Alternatively, it could be to make everyone on the road do a double-take when they see such a beast of a vehicle. Body lifts raise your vehicle’s body on the frame. Conversely, suspension lifts raise the entire vehicle, including its body, frame, chassis, and more. A body lift gives your vehicle a bit of extra height, whereas a suspension lift will give you a big boost!

Center of Gravity and Maneuverability

Red Ram pickup truck with a body lift.

The immense power that comes with a high-lifted body is not without consequences, however. A heightened center of gravity and consequential decrease in handleability and stability are the great equalizers in this equation. Body roll and instability during sharp, hard turns are more common with intense lifts. This is why you should only lift your vehicle’s body as much as needed, however enticing a 20 ft. high Jeep may be. Body lifts are advantageous if you’re simply looking to increase your vehicle’s ride height and tire size. In general, a body lift on a truck or vehicle will be a less expensive route than a suspension lift. It also won’t raise the center of gravity as much, preserving the original proportions more. If you seek more ground clearance and a lot of lift, then you may just have to opt for suspension lifts and forgo some amount of handleability.

Suspension Lift vs. Body Lift Cost

If you’re looking to make additions to your ride while on a budget, then the overall cost must be prioritized. Between body lifts vs. suspension lifts, suspension lifts are almost always more expensive. There are more parts and installation steps involved as you change the vehicle’s suspension geometry, pinion angles, castor, camber, and so on. Body lifts are more simple and less expensive. They provide a more accessible way to gain ground clearance, use bigger tires, and achieve better articulation and off-road performance. Typically, body lift costs are lower because no alignments are needed. Most body lift shops complete the job for a few hundred dollars, as opposed to thousands for a suspension lift. Suspension lifts are useful for a variety of functions, but if tire size and height are your desires, you’re better off going with the lower body lift cost.

Ease of Access

Red pickup truck parked near a body of water.

One hidden perk of getting a body lift includes easier access to engine parts and other components under the hood. This can make it easier to make quick repairs and perform other maintenance work on the vehicle. This is great if you’re on the road frequently, far from your garage or a mechanic shop at home. If you’re handy with cars, the ability to reach components could be helpful in unexpected moments. Easier access to engine parts and components isn’t a primary reason for getting a body lift, but it is an added perk that many might overlook. It’s a bonus worth noting when comparing and contrasting body lifts vs. suspension lifts.

Conclusion: Body Lift vs. Suspension Lift

Army green Jeep parked near a building.

Overall, both body lifts and suspension lifts improve off-road performance. Suspension lifts typically offer more height and greater ground clearance. However, they sometimes sacrifice maneuverability and increase the vehicle’s center of gravity. Suspension lifts are more costly, but they perform better overall as a key piece of overlanding gear. Body lifts tend to be more of an aesthetic and stylistic enhancer, apart from increasing tire size and ride height. Both lifts are beneficial in their own right for unique purposes. You just have to decide if that purpose is to joyride in style or overland with confidence! Browse Superlift suspensions, Readylift suspension lift kits, and more at Omni Garage to optimize your vehicle.

Level Up Your Vehicle!

At Omni Garage, we make it our mission to level up your vehicle to its highest potential at the lowest price. Whether traveling to a job or traversing terrain, we’re all about getting you where you need to go.