Body Lift Vs Suspension Lift for Jeep Wrangler?

Body Lift Vs Suspension Lift for Jeep Wrangler

So you’ve decided it’s time to lift your Jeep Wrangler, but you’re not sure whether you should get a body lift or a suspension lift kit. Choosing the right jeep lift can be confusing if you don’t understand the differences between these two popular options. In this detailed guide, we’ll compare jeep body lifts vs suspension lifts to help you decide which type of lift is the best choice for your Wrangler.

What is a Body Lift Kit?

A body lift kit lifts your Jeep’s body up and away from the frame, giving you more space for larger tires. It insert spacers between the body and frame mounts to raise the body.

Body lift kits are an affordable way to get a little more ground clearance and fit slightly bigger tires on your Wrangler. A 2-3 inch body lift kit costs just a few hundred dollars.

With a body lift, the body, cab, bed (if applicable), fenders, etc. are all raised up equally. This gives you more space between the body and frame. It does not change the suspension or raise the differentials.


  • Cheaper than a suspension lift
  • Quick and easy to install
  • Gains 1-3 inches of extra ground clearance


  • Limited tire size increase
  • Doesn’t improve wheel clearance
  • Raises center of gravity
  • Can negatively impact handling

Body lifts give you moderate lift height increase at an affordable price point. But they have some downsides to consider.

What is a Suspension Lift Kit?

A suspension lift kit lifts your Jeep by raising the entire suspension, including the frame, differential, and axles. It replaces or modifies suspension components like coil springs, shocks, control arms, and track bars to lift the frame and suspension.

Full suspension lift kits allow fitting much larger tires, like 35s or 37s on a Jeep Wrangler. But they are more complex and expensive, with costs ranging from $500 for a budget 2 inch lift, up to $3000 or more for a high-end 4-6 inch kit.


  • Allows large tire fitment up to 35″ or more
  • Improves wheel clearance
  • Retains correct suspension geometry
  • Preserves proper handling and control


  • More expensive than a body lift
  • More complicated install
  • Raises center of gravity

Suspension lifts give you the most flexibility for customization and maximum lift height. But you’ll pay more for components that lift the Jeep correctly.

Body Lift vs Suspension Lift: Key Differences

So what are the main differences between a body lift and suspension lift?

  • body lift raises just the body, leaving the frame and suspension at stock ride height. A suspension lift raises the entire chassis, frame and suspension.
  • Body lifts give 1-3 inches of lift. Suspension lifts can go up to 4-6+ inches for maximum clearance.
  • Body lifts allow fitting slightly larger tires, like 33s. Suspension lifts allow much larger 35″ or 37″ tires.
  • Body lifts are simpler and cheaper. Suspension lifts are more complex and expensive.
  • Suspension lifts maintain proper geometry and handling. Body lifts can alter center of gravity and handling.

Understanding these key differences will help you choose which type of lift makes more sense for your Jeep and budget.

Which Lift is Better for Larger Tires?

One of the biggest motivators for lifting your Jeep is gaining clearance for larger tires. The type of lift you choose has a direct impact on how big you can go with your tire upgrade.

A suspension lift is definitely the way to go if you want to run 35s, 37s, or other extra large tire sizes. Why? Because it raises the wheel wells up and away from the tires, giving you the clearance necessary to prevent rubbing.

With a body lift that doesn’t raise the suspension, you’ll quickly run into limitations on tire size. Even with a 3 inch body lift, most Wrangler owners struggle to fit anything larger than a 33 inch tire without rubbing issues.

So if running aggressive off-road tires over 33″ is your goal, a suspension lift is your best option to accommodate them and get the proper clearance. The higher you want to go with tire size, the more lift you’ll need to achieve adequate wheel well room.

Off-Road Performance Comparison

Both lift types will give your Jeep a little more capability and clearance off-road. But there are some key differences in how they impact handling that are important to consider.

With a suspension lift, the geometry of the suspension remains the same so your Jeep will handle predictably. Components like control arms, track bars, and sway bars can be tuned to optimize flex and performance for the increase in ride height.

Body lifts raise the body without adjusting the suspension geometry. This alters your Jeep’s center of gravity. The change in weight distribution can make handling floaty and unstable, especially at higher speeds or off-camber trails.

For ambitious off-roading on demanding trails, a suspension lift is the better choice. The optimized geometry, ability to tune flex, and increased wheel travel will give you much better control in technical terrain.

Of course, many body lifted Jeeps still tackle moderate trails just fine. But a suspension lift has a clear advantage for peak off-road performance.

Ride Quality and Comfort

How do these two types of lift affect your ride quality and comfort? Suspension lifts are designed to retain a similar ride to stock or even improve it with high end parts. With the right components, you can lift your Jeep 1-3 inches while keeping ride comfort and quality comparable to stock.

With a body lift, ride comfort is not a priority – the goal is simply raising the body for more tire clearance. You don’t get an improvement in ride control, and body roll can be exaggerated by raising the center of gravity without adjusting the suspension.

For anyone who values a smooth on-road ride in addition to off-road capability, a suspension lift is the way to go. There are many options for cushier coils and shocks to give you the extra height while retaining ride composure and comfort.

Cost Difference Between Lift Types

One of the biggest considerations for your Jeep lift kit is cost. There is a wide range of prices depending on whether you choose a body lift or suspension setup.

Entry level body lifts start around $200. For a budget boost of 1-2″, a body lift is an affordable option that will give you a little added clearance.

Suspension lift kits range from $500 up to $3000+. Lower cost options use spacer lifts and retain stock components. Higher end kits include upgraded components like long arm systems for maximum performance.

If budget is your main concern, a body lift can get you moderately lifted on the cheap. Just know the limitations for off-road handling and tire size.

For extra capability and to accommodate 35s or larger tires, the added cost of a suspension lift is justified. But it requires a much larger investment upfront compared to a simple body lift.

Combining Lifts for Maximum Clearance

Some Wrangler owners choose to combine body and suspension lifts to get extra height for maximum tire clearance. Often called a “combo lift”, this stacks a 1-2″ body lift on top of a 2-4″ suspension lift for as much as 5+ inches of total lift.

The combo approach allows bumping up tire clearance beyond what you can fit with just a suspension lift alone. If you want to run the absolute largest tires possible, combining the two gets you the most room.

Downsides of a combo lift include additional cost, amplified ride harshness, and exacerbated issues with center of gravity. Make sure to upgrade steering and other components to handle the radical height increase.

For most owners’ needs, focusing your budget on a quality suspension lift in the 2-4 inch range will give excellent clearance for larger tires without the extremes of a stacked combo setup.

Which Lift is Right For Your Jeep?

With all of these factors to consider, how do you choose the best lift kit for your Jeep Wrangler? Here are a few key questions to help determine if a body lift or suspension setup makes more sense for your goals and budget:

  • How much lift height do you want to achieve? For 1-3 inches, a body lift is sufficient. For 4 inches or more, go with a suspension lift.
  • What tire size do you plan to run? Keep tire fitment and clearance needs in mind. Over 33″ is hard with a body lift.
  • What is your off-roading skill level and terrain difficulty? Suspension lifts handle technical off-roading better.
  • Is ride quality on road an important consideration? Suspension lifts preserve or improve ride comfort better.
  • What level of lift kit can you afford? Body lifts are budget friendly options. Quality suspension lifts cost more.
  • Do you want to tune and customize your lift components? Suspension kits offer more flexibility.

Consider your own priorities in terms of budget, tire sizing, performance, and ride comfort. This will steer you towards the body lift or suspension lift that fits your Jeep goals and needs best.

Conclusion – Choose the Right Lift for YOUR Jeep

Whether you want a simple and affordable body lift for modest clearance gains, or an all out suspension lift for maximum height and off-road performance, understanding the differences between these two popular Jeep lifts is key.

A body lift is great for a small boost to fit slightly larger tires without breaking the bank. Go for a suspension setup if you want significant lift height, optimum handling and flexibility to customize.

Many Wrangler owners are happiest with a 2-3 inch suspension lift paired with 33 or 34 inch tires – enough room for trail adventures without going to the costly extremes of a 4-6 inch lift and 35s or 37s.

Keep your own goals and budget in mind, and choose the body lift or suspension lift that aligns with the capabilities YOU want your lifted Jeep Wrangler to have. Install the right lift kit for the way you will use your Jeep, and you’ll be empowered to take on all of life’s adventures in lifted Jeep style!

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