Choosing The Best Jeep Lift Kit

Choosing The Best Jeep Lift Kit

Written by Pierce Bryant
September 29, 2023

Is it time to lift your Jeep? That is a question that eventually pops up in the minds of most Jeep owners, and it applies to both seasoned off-roaders and first-timers alike. Lifting your Jeep can change the way it handles, and there are both pros and cons to doing so.

A lift kit is a tool used to raise your Jeep's suspension or body, allowing it to scale larger obstacles and drive over rough terrain with greater ease. Whether you want to prepare your ride for a trip through some rocky grounds or you simply like the tall, imposing look of a lifted Jeep, there are many options on the market that can help you reach the desired effect. 

How do you choose the best Jeep lift kit? In order to help you find the answer, we will tell you everything there is to know about Jeep lift kits, and then share some of the best picks with you.

Types of Jeep Lift Kits

types of jeep lift kits

There are several options when it comes to lifting your Jeep. Read below to find out which one works best for you.

Body Lift vs Suspension Lift

A body lift is a typically rather budget-friendly solution that uses spacers made out of polyurethane or rubber. They come in a few height variants but are not the ideal solution for high lifts above 2 inches. It's important to note that a body lift is cosmetic because it doesn't add any additional ground clearance or provide an increase in wheel travel.

A suspension lift is generally more expensive, but unlike a body lift, it also brings real off-roading benefits and allows you to tackle rough terrain. Suspension lift kits improve the ride quality and enhance tire contact with the ground. This is done through the use of coil or leaf springs.

Leveling Kit

A leveling kit levels out the front and the rear of your Jeep. Fresh out of the factory, a Jeep's front sits lower than the rear. With the use of a leveling kit, you can balance your car out without adding a whole lot of lift.

Coil Spring Spacers

This is a budget boost option installed for aesthetic reasons only. Your Jeep is lifted by placing coil spacers on top of the car's coil springs, adding up to 2 inches of height. Coil spring spacers allow you to add larger tires without changing your ride quality, but they're not helpful for off-roading purposes.

Coil Lifts

Adding coil lifts to your Jeep increases articulation and lets you get into some serious off-roading. This is a type of suspension lift, and while not cheap, it can add up to 3.5 inches of height to your ride.

Short Arm Lift Kits & Long Arm Lift Kits

A short arm lift kit is similar to a coil spring lift kit but better. It also includes front and rear control arms as well as larger sway bar links and shocks. Short arm lifts allow up to 6 inches of lift and are commonly used by off-roaders. 

Long arm lift kits, on the other hand, are expensive and difficult to install (you'll need welding equipment to mount them). A long arm lift is a kind of lift kit that includes mounting long control arms onto your Jeep's frame. This provides improved suspension angles and is typically used by professionals for serious off-roading trips.

Things to Consider Before Picking a Jeep Lift Kit

things to consider before picking a jeep lift kit

The main consideration to keep in mind is just how high you want the lift to be. The higher the lift, the more difficult the installation. Body lifts take quite some time to install but can mostly be mounted without going to a mechanic. Smaller suspension lifts can also be installed at home, but mounting lower control arms and adding longer shocks might require the help of a professional.

In general, any lift above 3.5 inches calls for the use of a short arm lift kit with lower control arms. This means lengthening the front and rear brake lines. Going above 4 inches should make you consider getting upper control arms too, as well as replacing the track bar and adding longer emergency brake lines. Here are some additional consideration when choosing the best Jeep lift kit:

1. Purpose of the Lift:

Before diving into lift kit options, determine the primary purpose of your Jeep's lift. Are you looking for enhanced off-road capabilities, improved ground clearance for larger tires, or purely an aesthetic upgrade? Knowing your goal will help you choose the right lift kit type and size.

2. Lift Height:

The lift height you choose directly impacts your Jeep's performance and appearance. Lift kits typically come in three categories: small (1-2 inches), medium (2-4 inches), and large (4 inches or more). Consider how much additional ground clearance you need and whether you're comfortable with the changes in your Jeep's handling and appearance.

3. Suspension Type:

Jeep lift kits come in two primary suspension types: body lift kits and suspension lift kits. Body lift kits raise the body of your Jeep off the frame but leave the suspension unchanged. Suspension lift kits, on the other hand, lift both the body and the suspension. Your choice depends on your desired lift height and the kind of off-road performance you seek.

4. Tire Size and Compatibility:

Larger tires are often part of the lift kit equation. Ensure the lift kit you choose can accommodate the tire size you want. Bear in mind that larger tires may require modifications beyond just the lift, such as changes to the fender flares, gearing, and brakes.

5. Terrain and Off-Road Use:

Consider the type of terrain you'll be navigating with your Jeep. Different lift kits excel in specific off-road conditions. For rock crawling, you may need a different setup than for desert racing. Choose a lift kit that aligns with your intended off-road adventures.

6. Budget:

Lift kits vary in price, and you'll need to factor in the cost of installation, alignment, and potential additional modifications. While it's tempting to go for the most affordable option, investing in a quality lift kit can save you money in the long run by avoiding issues like premature wear and tear.

7. Ride Comfort and Handling:

A lifted Jeep can have a different ride feel and handling characteristics. Be prepared for a potential change in ride quality and consider whether you need to make additional adjustments like upgrading shocks, sway bars, or control arms to maintain or enhance ride comfort.

Best Jeep Lift Kits in 2023

best jeep lift kits 2021

You've got the knowledge you need to pick the best Jeep lift kit. To make things even easier, check out some of our recommendations!

Teraflex 1.50-inch Performance Spacer Lift Kit

This is an affordable suspension lift kit that will add up to 1.5" of lift to your Jeep Wrangler JL, making it possibly the best Jeep lift kit for highway driving, but also off-roading. You can use it with tires that measure up to 33 inches in diameter. The installation process should be easy thanks to the simple bolt-on technique used, and you're getting everything you need right in the kit.

Rough Country 3.50-Inch Suspension Lift Kit

We're entering the big leagues here with this 3.5" kit which gives your Jeep Gladiator JT a huge lift, accommodating tires up to 37" in size. Arguably the best Jeep Gladiator lift kit, this is a suspension lift system that any off-roader will appreciate. It comes with dual-rate coil springs and vertex reservoir shocks. You'll also find a forged adjustable track bar and sway bar links, ensuring that your Jeep will be ready for your next adventure.

Teraflex 4-Inch Alpine CT4 Suspension Lift Kit

For those who want a truly superior off-roading experience, this Teraflex product might just be the best Jeep Wrangler Unlimited lift kit. It comes with everything you need, including adjustable track bars, progressive bump stops, and shocks (if you will want them). It can raise your vehicle by 4", allowing you to traverse even rocky terrain with ease.

Featured Product: Rhino USA Jeep Kinetic Recovery Kit

Jeep recovery kit

The Rhino USA Jeep Kinetic Recovery Kit is an absolute essential for any Jeep owner who loves to go off-roading. The Rhino USA Jeep recovery kit includes the following:

Kinetic Recovery Rope, Tree Saver/Bridle Strap, D-Ring Shackles, Synthetic Soft Shackle, Folding E-Tool Recovery Shovel, 14pc Compact Tire Plug Repair Kit, Camo Rope Storage Bag, Ultimate Recovery Gear Storage Bag

Make sure to get your Rhino USA Jeep Recovery kit today, and don't miss out on other Rhino USA products, from recovery gear to off-road accessories!

rhino usa tow strapJeep Lift Kit FAQ's

What's the difference between body lift kit and suspension lift kit?

A body lift kit raises the body of the Jeep off its frame, providing additional clearance between the frame and body. However, the suspension components and overall ground clearance remain unchanged. In contrast, a suspension lift kit not only lifts the body but also raises the entire suspension system.

How to choose the Right Tire Size for My Lifted Jeep

Selecting the ideal tire size for your lifted Jeep is a crucial decision that balances off-road performance with on-road practicality. Begin by consulting your lift kit manufacturer's recommendations to establish a baseline. Consider your Jeep model, intended usage, and any local regulations when determining tire size.