The stock shocks on your off-road vehicle are fine, but if you want to take things to the next level it’s time to look for the best off road shocks.
Aftermarket off road shocks give your vehicle the protection and performance boost needed to handle rocky terrain and trails. With our guide to the best shocks the industry has to offer, you can look forward to getting long-lasting durability and performance.
Table of contents
- 1. Editor's Choice: Bilstein 5100 Series Shocks
- 2. Best Alternate: Rugged Ridge 18465.06 ORV Shock Absorber
- 3. Best Budget: Zone Offroad Front and Rear Nitro Shocks
- 4. Best Mid-Level Performance: Fox 2.0 Performance Shock Set
- 5. Best Late Model Upgrade: Pro Comp Front Pro Runner Adjustable Struts and Rear Pro Runner Monotube Shocks
- 6. Best Over The Top Option: King Shocks Performance Shock Kit
1. Editor's Choice: Bilstein 5100 Series Shocks
It’s no secret that vehicles that are lifted place more demands on shock absorbers. Their damping ability can become compromised, so it’s important to counteract this issue with some of the best off road shocks you can buy. When you install Bilstein’s 5100 off road shocks, you’re getting the peace of mind that your lifted vehicle will perform at its best.
Thanks to the monotube fabrication with patented digressive valving, your vehicle will be uniquely suited to confronting the demands that quality off road shocks serve to combat.
Whether you’re riding on or off the road, unloaded or loaded, you can count on Bilstein’s 5100 shock absorber to react instantly to changing road inputs. This serves to help your vehicle maintain a controlled, stable, and comfortable ride.
With this kit, you get a set of four off-road shocks and black boots that are specific to your vehicle. If your vehicle requires struts, you will need to purchase them separately.
2. Best Alternate: Rugged Ridge 18465.06 ORV Shock Absorber
Rugged Ridge makes some quality off road shocks, and its 18465.06 ORV is so different. Thanks to this set, you can expect a smooth ride. The dual-chamber design goes a long way in providing comfortable performance.
And because of the DOM tubing in these shocks, you can look forward to reduced internal wear and tear. If your vehicle is lifted, you will really appreciate Rugged Ridge’s ORV off-road shocks.
Their piston rod features polished chrome for added visual appeal and durability. High-performance is no stranger to Rugged Ridge, giving you a reliable shock absorber that is built to outlast the competition.
Another nice addition is that these shocks are 150 PSI nitrogen-charged. Your off-roading just got a lot more interesting. What’s more, the durable seals ensure protection from leaks.
When you invest in this kit, you’re getting the black boots, as well, so there’s less you need to buy for installation. Rugged Ridge includes a five-year manufacturer’s warranty with the shocks, so if there’s ever an issue, the company will resolve your concerns.
3. Best Budget: Zone Offroad Front and Rear Nitro Shocks
Designed to fit Jeep Cherokee XJs between the years of 1984 and 2001, you’re getting both the front and rear shocks in this comprehensive budget-friendly kit. Zone Offroad makes sure that you get everything you need for hassle-free installation.
All shocks are gas-charged, too. If you like to take your ride off the beaten path, you can trust that Zone Offroad’s off-road shocks will deliver the added support and protection your vehicle needs.
Each rod is made from 14mm heavy chrome, while the pistons are Fluon banded. Other welcome features are velocity-sensitive valving with 10 stages and self-lubricating seals to prevent cracking.
The ends are dual-welded, too, offering better longevity and performance. For everything that you’re getting in this kit, the price is more than reasonable.
Installation is relatively straightforward, too. Although you may want to have a professional take care of it if you aren’t mechanically-inclined.
4. Best Mid-Level Performance: Fox 2.0 Performance Shock Set
Fox’s 2.0 Performance Series off-road shocks are unique in that they offer the latest in shock technology. They are designed to radically transform the performance of your vehicle with their race-proven damping control.
As such, you can look forward to enjoying comfortable on-road riding. When you take your vehicle off-road, you can expect predictable handling – even in the toughest conditions.
Thanks to a precision metal-impact body that’s made from aluminum, your vehicle will enjoy improved cooling capacity. Even better, it will never rust.
Inside each valve is Fox’s Internal Floating Piston (IFP) monotube design. This serves to separate the shock oil from the nitrogen-charged gas chamber. The Internal Floating Piston eliminates oil aeration, which allows for optimal performance of the factory’s precision valving.
Installation is not for the inexperienced, so you might want to consider talking this kit to a professional or trusted mechanic, especially if you aren’t familiar with shock replacements.
5. Best Late Model Upgrade: Pro Comp Front Pro Runner Adjustable Struts and Rear Pro Runner Monotube Shocks
Pro Comp’s Pro Runner Monotube Shocks are made to specifically fit late-model SUVs, trucks, and Jeeps. Thanks to the gas-charged design, you’re investing in superior performance that trumps traditional hydraulic twin-tube shocks.
You get two adjustable front struts and two monotube rear shocks with this set. Pro Comp put these components through a lot of testing to ensure that they are up to the task. The end result is a reliable kit that performs well and is built to last.
The shocks have been plated with Zinc and clear coated, eliminating cavitation in the compression and rebound. The shocks can also dissipate heat much more efficiently to help reduce shock fade. With Pro Comp, you can always count on investing in a quality product.
These are some good-looking shocks and struts. According to owners, the installation is fairly straightforward if you are comfortable in the garage.
6. Best Over The Top Option: King Shocks Performance Shock Kit
King’s OEM performance kits are custom-tuned to give your vehicle unparalleled performance. What’s more, your ride quality will be greatly improved, perhaps better than any other entry in our guide.
Much real-world testing is performed on King off-road racing shocks to ensure that they perform at the highest level. The end result is a stellar damping curve and optimal spring rate.
The installation has been simplified with a welcome bolt-on design. If you’re driving a truck with lifted aftermarket suspension, King Shocks will complement your ride well.
It is worth pointing out that these are premium shocks and carry a price tag to match. But if you want the best of the best, King off road shocks are very hard to beat.
Why are some shocks so much more expensive than the others?
Many of the shock manufactures listed offer different levels of shock options with various performance upgrades. The least expensive is the monotube which is entirely self-contained. If you’re shopping for shocks from King or Fox, you’ll see that they offer monotube shocks, but also offer others with remote reservoirs for additional fluid capacity, and even compression adjustability which lets you fine tune the shock performance. In short, the more options you get with your shocks, the higher the price they’ll come with.
What are the benefits of the more expensive shocks?
Aside from what we previously discussed in the last question, like more adjustability, the higher end shocks (Fox and King) can be serviced when the internals start to break down. This can be done for a fraction of the price when compared to purchasing new lesser quality shocks down the road.
- How Off-Road Suspension Should Handle Whoops
- Rebuilding Your Off-Road Shocks
- Determining Shock Length
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Updated 9/13/2021: Updated product descriptions, updated product links, added FAQ, added additional resources, ranked products.