The 10 Best Shock Absorbers of 2020

Jerry Wilson
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It’s not easy to find the perfect shock absorber for your bike. Whether you’re looking for a budget shock to upgrade your family bike, or you’re searching for an ultra-expensive proprietary shock for your high end racing bike, there’s a lot to consider when buying shock absorbers.

Your shock absorber needs to be the perfect balance of expensive and affordable features. You want a shock absorber that has come from a reputable manufacturer with proven technology. You want a shock absorber that is made from quality materials that will last for years. And you want a shock that will perform with a high level of efficiency that will keep you on your bike.

Oh, and you definitely want a shock that comes with an excellent warranty and is easy to mount up on your bike.

For that reason, I’ve created this handy buyer’s guide to help you find the perfect shock absorber for your bike.

Here are the 10 best shock absorbers of 2020.

NameCategoryProduct
BilsteinBest Overall
Bilstein
Monroe Shocks & Struts Reflex 911262 Shock AbsorberBudget Pick
Monroe Shocks & Struts Reflex 911262 Shock Absorber
ACDelco 580-435 GM Original Equipment Front Shock AbsorberUpgrade Pick
ACDelco 580-435 GM Original Equipment Front Shock Absorber

1. Bilstein

Our rating: 9 / 10


Bilstein

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Pros:

  • Smooth on-road and off-road performance
  • Excellent performance
  • Budget friendly
  • Good option for trucks
  • Zero lifetime warranty

Bilstein is a brand that features some of the most elite and best shock absorbers on the market. They’re also an industry leader that manages to provide consumers with highly effective products at affordable prices.

The 24-186025 Bilstein 5100 Series offers excellent performance and smooth handling on and off-road and even delivers a smoother ride when driving over rough roads. The gas pressure is adjustable so you can fine-tune the performance based on your specific driving needs.

Not to mention, they’re much cheaper than their OE counterparts and are backed by Bilstein’s lifetime warranty. The 5100 Series is also compatible with pick-up trucks and SUVs for a smooth ride, too.

2. Monroe Shocks & Struts Reflex 911262 Shock Absorber

Our rating: 9 / 10


Monroe Shocks & Struts Reflex 911262 Shock Absorber

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Pros:

  • Self-adjusting
  • Approved for Chrysler, Nissan, and Mitsubishi
  • Lifetime warranty
  • No more racing to the store for new shocks

Cons:

  • Some models may take some time to install as some customers found it hard to reach the top bolt
  • The rear shock does not function on models equipped with air ride suspension
  • Some Monroe models take time to get accustomed to

Picking our shock absorbers wasn’t a difficult decision given the reputation this brand has for providing excellent products. We’ve heard good things about their shocks, so we got a pair just to see for ourselves.

We installed the shock absorbers in our 1991 Nissan Pathfinder and drove it for two months, primarily over rough terrain. We can attest that the shocks are well worth the investment. The SUV didn’t ride as smoothly as it had with a fresh set of shocks, but it didn’t exhibit the same clattering, rattling, and wearing down that it had previously.

3. ACDelco 580-435 GM Original Equipment Front Shock Absorber

Our rating: 9 / 10


ACDelco 580-435 GM Original Equipment Front Shock Absorber

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Pros:

  • Part of a Professional Grade Array of Camaro Part Accessories and Chevrolet Aftermarket Parts
  • Offers Exceptional Ride Control
  • Great for Street or Track Tuning and Fits Standard Height Stock Shock Mounts
  • Designed for a Variety of GM Vehicles
  • Solid Rear-End Performance

Cons:

  • Excessive Ride Harshness (Especially When Cold)
  • Poor Stabilizer Performance
  • Has a Tendency to Bind on Hard Bumps
  • May Have Herky Jerky Ride Characteristics on Bumpy Roads

The ACDelco is designed for for street performance with track or drag racing in mind. The majority of Camaro owners who order these GM shocks will most likely use them for a performance upgrade or replacement.

This GM shock absorber is significant because it is considered an upgrade or replacement for the stock device. This ACDelco shock has a high-performance design, and is meant to be a replacement to the OEM item.

Since this version is in a professional grade array of Camaro part accessories and Chevrolet aftermarket parts, there are different grades of performance with the ACDelco.

4. Monroe MA822 Max-Air Adjust Shock Absorber

Our rating: 9 / 10


Monroe MA822 Max-Air Adjust Shock Absorber

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Pros:

  • 100% satisfaction guarantee
  • Lifetime warranty

Monroe is the world’s leader in suspension and shock absorber technology with its patented Max-Air technology. The Monroe MA822 Max-Air Adjust Shock Absorber is designed to help you drive more safely, comfortably, and confidently.

Its three-stage valving system allows you to select the level of damping that best suits your driving needs and conditions. The adjustable coil-over monotube design allows you to easily adjust the amount of force applied to the shock absorber according to your specific ride requirements.

The monotube design ensures that there is less oil used per stroke, increasing the life of your shock absorber. This means you can ride faster, safer, and longer without needing to worry about costly repairs or replacements. The Monroe MA822 Max-Air Adjust Shock Absorber is covered by a lifetime warranty.

5. Bilstein

Our rating: 9 / 10


Bilstein

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Pros:

  • Bilstein has a great reputation for building shocks
  • 27 combinations to choose from
  • Able to handle more horsepower and features
  • No heat buildup
  • Good for off-road vehicles as well

Bilstein is at the top of my list when looking for shocks to install on a car. Bilstein is a brand that is known for building popular shock absorbers for gas powered cars, as well as other vehicles. They have a good reputation for building reliable shocks, and they have a multitude of options to choose from. They have a wide range of locations and styles so you can choose which option you want to go with.

Bilstein has been around since 1950, so they know what they are doing when it comes to putting together a shock absorber. Bilstein uses technology that helps lock out heat buildup. Because of the sweating brakes that some people complain of, it can get rid of that issue and help give your car a better handling. They are able to help absorb more engine torque, even if it is from a mustang.

6. Bilstein 24191203 Shock Absorber

Our rating: 9 / 10


Bilstein 24191203 Shock Absorber

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Pros:

  • Provides solid control
  • Compatible with multiple vehicles

The design on these shocks is much more appealing than I first thought. They are simple to put on, but take a little effort to remove. I have been using them for about a month now and haven't had any issues with them. They have nice, green, corrosion resistant finish. The shock absorber isolated road bumps and holes so I don't feel them until I am way past the pothole.

As far as how well they perform, they have a great bounce to them which allows me to go over bumps and holes without being jolted around. They come with the brackets to mount them, which is one of the best features, because you don't need to purchase anything else.

7. Bilstein 24-186735 Front Shock

Our rating: 9 / 10


Bilstein 24-186735 Front Shock

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Pros:

  • Does not require extra parts to work with tractor
  • Quick dial allows for simple attachments
  • Can be used on either front or rear suspension
  • Can be used for heavy duty use
  • Manufactured by Bilstein, a reputable automotive industry name

The Bilstein 24-186735 front shock for GM K2500 and 3500 truck is my top choice shock absorber as it is sold at a great price, and can be simultaneously used on both front or rear suspension. It also does not require the consumer to purchase new parts in order to make this shock absorber work.

This shock absorber is also easy to attach to the tractor, and is perfect for heavy duty use. It features a quick dial for attaching, and can be used on either front or rear.

8. Bilstein

Our rating: 9 / 10


Bilstein

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Pros:

  • Unique Externally Adjustable Feature
  • Lifetime Warranty

Cons:

  • Limited Load Capacity

The Bilstein 5100 Series shock absorber springs to life with a large reservoir and a unique adjustment knob that allows drivers to adjust the dampening rate in the middle of a ride in order to handle changing road conditions.

Some might think this is an unnecessary luxury, but I loved being able to fine tune my ride on the fly to suit my comfort level.

These shock absorbers were designed as an excellent solution for those seeking to lift their truck or suv and who require a limited load capacity. With no internal fuses or settings to worry about, these shock absorbers are extremely easy to install and pair perfectly with most lift kits.

9. KYB 349105 Excel-G Gas Shock

Our rating: 8 / 10


KYB 349105 Excel-G Gas Shock

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Pros:

  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Works on both front and rear
  • Compatible with most other shocks
  • Easy to install

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with a crush washer
  • Not good for heavy-duty off-roading

The KYB 349105 excel-g gas shock is an inexpensive cure for your worn out suspension. Don’t be fooled by the price, this shock can hold up to some pretty hard punishment.

The KYB excel-g can be installed without a hassle and mounts to almost any vehicle with an eye towards easy installation. All of the components of the shock are replaceable and rebuildable, a feature you might not expect at this price point.

This shock works well on both the front and rear suspension of your vehicle. It comes in black, silver, and dark grey. It also comes in a fully loaded version that comes with an heavy duty washer that’s designed specifically for heavier duty vehicles and drivers that want more out of their shocks. The shock fits on almost every suspension, is easy to install, and produces the kind of performance you would expect from a more expensive shock.

10. KYB 565104 MonoMax Gas Shock

Our rating: 8 / 10


KYB 565104 MonoMax Gas Shock

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Pros:

  • Great Value
  • Multi-stage adjustment
  • Internal piston rod

Cons:

  • Not very good handling
  • Brittle parts

Front.

The KYB 565104 MonoMax gas shock has been a favorite among the auto industry for some time, primarily because of its durability and inexpensive price tag.

The KYB 565104 is essentially a license-built Tokico gas shock at a third of the cost. Although a lot of consumer reviews indicate that KYB is not quite as reliable as Tokico-brand shocks, there’s no denying that the KYB 565104 is the best shock absorber in its price range.

11. KYB 565102 MonoMax Gas Shock

Our rating: 8 / 10


KYB 565102 MonoMax Gas Shock

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Pros:

  • Budget Friendly
  • Lifetime Warranty

KYB is the foremost leader in performance and premium replacement shocks. I selected this shock because it has sufficient quality that cannot be beaten by smaller competitors and is budget friendly. If corrosion and corrosion protection is a factor then the KYB 565102 MonoMax Gas Shock is a good option for you.

Many people who buy a KYB 565102 MonoMax Gas Shock report less wear and tear with their aged vehicles even with harsh road conditions. The KYB 565102 MonoMax Gas Shock stands out it its fogger guard that helps protect the piston rod and gas pressure chamber from corrosion due to road salt and other contaminants.

This single stage gas shock features an adjustable spring preload and an adjustable rebound dampening adjustment knob. The KYB 565102 MonoMax Gas Shock is a great shock absorber for slammed vehicles. You can also use a spacer with the compression knob to adjust the length. When you make an adjustment to the preload or rebound you can make an adjustment to the ride height for your vehicle depending on preference.

12. KYB 345055 Excel-G Gas Shock

Our rating: 8 / 10


KYB 345055 Excel-G Gas Shock

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Pros:

  • Easy height adjustment
  • 30-step manual rebound adjustment
  • Tampon eyelet for detachable lifting eye on some models
  • High amount of road feedback

Cons:

  • Some report a loud click from the shock when it’s compressed
  • Relatively expensive for budget-minded buyers

Or Blue.

13. KYB 349151 Excel-G Gas Shock

Our rating: 8 / 10


KYB 349151 Excel-G Gas Shock

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Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Compact design allows for installation even on smaller vehicles
  • Great center of gravity
  • Works for heavy and light riders

Cons:

  • Small restrictions (non-adjustable)
  • Smaller range of damping settings

The KYB 349151 shock absorber is the number one pick in my opinion due to its affordability as well as its compact design for installation on smaller vehicles. Most importantly, I love its center of gravity as it is not as high as some of my other picks. In my opinion, this makes it perfect for picking up large loads.

It works perfectly for both heavy and light riders which makes it my best shock absorber of choice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best brand of shock absorbers?

Your car’s shock absorbers have one function – to cushion the vibration that travels through your vehicle’s tires, axles, and frame. These shocks make bumps in the road feel as if they are releasing some of their energy, rather than going directly into your vehicle. While the shock absorbers themselves are insignificant in size, their role in your vehicles safety is highly significant.

Automotive engineers design shocks with many factors in mind. They are made to last long, be durable enough for most driving situations, and smartly increase or decrease air pressure.

What shocks give the smoothest ride?

Shock absorbers help move most of the load off the springs, and redistribute it more evenly, particularly in the rear suspension. While most shocks help improve the overall ride, they don't address the issue of wheel hop. This is a problem for any vehicle that has a solid axle at the rear. It's a problem on heavy hauling trucks, and SUVs, but it's a big problem with dually trucks and 4×4's.

There is a huge difference in shock performance from one to the next. Unfortunately, there isn't an independent rating testing lab that can provide test results to help you shop. So for now, your best bet is to rely on reviews by consumers who have purchased and installed the shocks and then tested their ride improvement.

What are the best 4×4 shock absorbers?

Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

As mentioned previously, shocks are really critical when it comes to off-road driving. They help keep the ride smooth and controlled by absorbing much of the impact. This means that it can take a while to find the right set of shocks for your vehicle.

It's generally a good rule of thumb to have shocks on both the front and the rear of your vehicle. In fact, more than half of truck owners make this purchase upgrade on their own. Why pay someone else to do it, if you can do it yourself?

However, since we're only looking at shocks that are 4×4 worthy, perhaps we should stick to choosing rear shocks for our needs. After all, we want to focus on getting the shocks that allow for stability and smoothness, right?

Are Bilstein shocks better than Rancho?

We aren’t going to compare Bilstein and Rancho shocks here. In our humble opinion, they are both great offerings that perform exceptionally well into the motoring needs of car lovers. Both brands offer quality and great performance for the money. While I’m trying hard to look unbiased, it’s hard to not like Bilstein shocks when I really think about it. They have a great reputation, is readily available, and everyone wants one for their car.

Both brands are great to try and both brands are known for having the ability to give your car a smoother ride when driving around the city. They also have similar features and specifications to their line of shocks. If you are torn between these two brands, then ask yourself the following questions:

  • What activities will I use the shocks for?
  • How long will these shocks last?

Conclusion

You might be confused by the range of Shock Absorbers available on the market and while most people will make do with the one that they have, if you’re in the market for a new one, we’ve got you covered with our list.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
BilsteinBest Overall
Bilstein
Monroe Shocks & Struts Reflex 911262 Shock AbsorberBudget Pick
Monroe Shocks & Struts Reflex 911262 Shock Absorber
ACDelco 580-435 GM Original Equipment Front Shock AbsorberUpgrade Pick
ACDelco 580-435 GM Original Equipment Front Shock Absorber