Ultimate Guide to Tacoma Lift Kits: Best Options for Every Generation

The Toyota Tacoma is recognized and loved among off-road enthusiasts and is well-known for being rugged enough to traverse rough terrain.

It is a truck you can rely on straight from the factory. Yet, customizing and upgrading your Tacoma can turn it into the ultimate overlanding beast. One of, if not the most vital mods you should consider are lift kits.

Lift kits and other suspension upgrades will raise your ground clearance, which will prove crucial when it comes to challenging trails, in addition to making your truck look more aggressive.

If a more advanced suspension upgrade is installed, the benefits go beyond just the increase in ride height.

For instance, the ride quality can be drastically improved both on and off-road when equipped with a quality lift kit. Plus, you’ll be able to fit some big ol’ tires underneath, owing to the added ride height.

However, lift kits and suspension upgrades for offroad trucks are not a simple matter. There are a lot of different components that come into play with distinct purposes.

And considering the fact that Tacoma is such a popular overlander, the market for its parts is saturated with a colorful array of options, each including a different collection of components. In this guide, we’ll help you choose the best Tacoma lift kits.

Types of Lift Kits

Lifted gen 1 Tacoma

The first matter to consider before purchasing a lift kit for your Tacoma is the kind of truck you want it to be; there are different types of lift kits that suit different purposes.

For instance, some owners want to level their truck, some need it for light off-roading, and others need the best in order to conquer rock gardens and rugged terrain.

Then there’s high speed or extreme overlanding, which requires top-shelf components. To figure out which lift kit to get, you must first understand the distinct types and components involved.

Shims and Spacers

Tacoma leveling kit

Let’s start with shims and spacers. Technically these aren’t considered suspension lift kits; they only raise the body of your truck and don’t impact the suspension height.

Body-lift and suspension-lift aren’t the same. We’ve covered this in our guide that explains the difference between ground clearance and ride height.

Even though shims and spacers will increase your ride height, your suspension travel will remain the same. They allow you to do stuff like:

Shims can also be used on top of coilovers to prevent maxing out the preload when additional lift is needed.

Spacers are very similar to shims and they are pretty affordable. However, they usually allow for more lift in comparison — anywhere between 2” to 6”.

Keep in mind that you will need a coil spring compressor in order to install certain shims and spacers, while others are able to sit on the strut and in between the shock tower and do not require a compressor.

Both spacers and shims are viable options if you don’t do much off-roading, and all you are looking for are those extra few inches of lift on your Tacoma.

It is worth mentioning that shims and spacers are an addition to the stock suspension, so the ride quality will not feel any better, and there will be no extra travel.

Lift Blocks

Rear lift blocks

The way these function is very similar to what spacers do when paired with stock coilovers. Lift blocks add space between your leaf packs and axles; they’re meant for the rear suspension.

Blocks are cheap and will not help ride quality in any way but will give you an extra bit of ride height.


Add-a-leaf installed on a Tacoma

Another way to lift the rear of your truck is by expanding your existing leaf pack. Add-a-leaf allows you to do exactly that.

This option is affordable and can easily work with your stock leaf springs, making it quite popular among Toyota Tacoma owners.

Leaf Pack Replacement

Tacoma leaf pack replacement

If you don’t want to expand your stock leaf pack, you can choose to replace it entirely. There are kits on the market that allow you to do that.

These kits are the best option when it comes to lifting the rear of your Tacoma since they improve ride quality, give you additional travel, and they prevent the rear of your truck from squatting when it is under load.

Basic Suspension Lifts and Coilovers

These are the upgrades that you want if you go off-road frequently. Suspension lift kits include multiple separate components such as:

  • Separate Tacoma shocks and dampers
  • Coil springs
  • Control arms
  • Blocks
  • Add-a-leaf

Some lift kits even include a pair of coilovers. Alternatively, for the best results, you can purchase a set of coilovers for all four wheels.

Aftermarket coilovers installed on a Tacoma

One of the features that makes coilovers superior to basic lift kits is that they include threads on the shock bodies which allow for instant adjustability.

Basic suspension lifts, however, can be considered adjustable, but because of the lack of the threaded shock body, to adjust them, you will have to reassemble them entirely and use a spring compressor.

The drivability will be equally improved with either option installed, although coilovers are much better for serious off-road driving.

Here are some of the features you need to look out for when purchasing lift kits for your Toyota Tacoma.

Compression Adjustability

Compression adjustability allows you to alter your lift set-up to your preferred height. This also acts as a great way to level out the driver lean and your truck in general when it is under load.

Aftermarket suspension with adjustable compression and rebound installed on a Tacoma

There are many more technicalities when it comes to different types of adjustable suspension, but without getting long-winded, here’s a summary of what these types are:

  • Single speed: Refers to adjusting how hard or soft the suspension feels when it’s under load and while it’s being compressed.
  • Double speed: Allows you to adjust the suspension for low and high speeds. This is typically used when different compression actions are required when facing unique obstacles according to their speed.

Rebound Adjustment

Lift kits that offer adjustable rebound settings are a godsend if your truck doubles up as your daily.

As the name suggests, rebound adjustment refers to how quickly the spring and dampers extend after being compressed, which affects how hard or soft the shock feels.

Best Tacoma Lift Kits (Gen 1, 1995-2004)

Now that you are familiar with some of the components of lift kits and what purpose each type of lift will serve, Let’s look at some of the best options available to you.

Below you’ll find some of the best lift kits for gen 1 Toyota Tacoma owners.

Freedom Offroad Coilovers + Shocks

Freedom Offroad Coilovers w/ shocks

Manufacturer: Freedom Offroad
Part number: FO-T905-KIT
Type: Coilovers, lift blocks, shocks
Front/rear: Front and rear
Lift height: 1”-4”
Buy on: Amazon

This lift kit made by Freedom Off-road includes a set of adjustable front coilovers, steel rear lift blocks (with extended U-bolts) and rear shocks. This set allows for 1″ to 4″ of front lift and 3” of rear lift.

The Freedom Offroad lift kit proves that the brand name does not guarantee quality. Despite being from a lesser-known manufacturer, the components are of high-quality, and they offer excellent value for money.

WULF 3” Lift Kit + Extended Rear Shocks

WULF 3” Lift Kit w/ extended rear shocks

Manufacturer: WULF
Part number: ‎332538912790
Type: Spacers, lift blocks, shocks
Front/rear: Front and rear
Lift height: 3”
Buy on: Amazon

This WULF lift kit includes front strut spacers, rear shock absorbers with red dust boots, and angled rear lift blocks (with U-bolts).

The steel front spacers and rear lift blocks have a unique design and are made to last. This kit will not require extended fuel lines or a differential drop.

WULF rear shock absorbers will also improve Your Tacoma’s ride quality and cornering capability. It won’t do much in terms of off-roading, but it certainly is a decent option to add a few inches to your truck’s ride height.

It is worth noting that the WULF lift kit fits both 4WD and RWD first-gen Tacomas. However, it will only fit the 6-lug models and not 5-lug ones.

Torch Add-a-Leaf

TORCH Lift Kit

Manufacturer: TORCH Off-Road
Part number: ‎689355918781
Type: Add-a-leaf
Front/rear: Rear
Lift height: 1.5”-2”
Buy on: Amazon

The TORCH Off-Road add-a-leaf suspension upgrade is an affordable way to add those extra few inches to the rear of your Tacoma. It includes a pair of add-a-leaf, extended alignment pins, and isolator pads.

The kit, however, does not come with extended U-bolts, which means that you have to make sure you have at least 1/2″ of thread remaining on your U-bolts since the leafs are ⅖” thick.

The TORCH kit will allow for ⅕” to 2” of lift depending on the condition of your leaf pack.

This will help to maximize towing and load capacity and give you a couple of inches of additional ground clearance. It’s also not difficult to install, and TORCH will provide you with step-by-step instructions.

If you are just looking for a bit of lift and a bit of added strength on the rear and nothing more, the TORCH add-a-leaf kit is one of your best choices.

Supreme Suspensions Lift Kit

Supreme Suspensions Lift Kit

Manufacturer: Supreme Suspensions
Part number: ‎AZM 295_3F+2R_PRO
Type: Spacers, lift blocks
Front/rear: Front and rear
Lift height: 3” front, 2” rear
Buy on: Amazon

Supreme Suspensions offers a durable and relatively affordable way to lift your Tacoma.

While the company has multiple options available with different amounts of lift, this particular kit includes a set of aluminum strut spacers for the front, which will make up for 3” of lift, and steel tapered lift blocks for the rear, giving you a 2” lift.

In addition to the major components, the package also includes U-bolts, a brake line relocation bracket, and installation hardware.

While it doesn’t do much for performance, the lift kit gives better ground clearance and a much more aggressive look. It also allows for larger Tacoma wheels and tires, ultimately improving your off-road capabilities.

ICON Stage 1 Kit

ICON Vehicle Dynamics

Manufacturer: ‎ICON Vehicle Dynamics
Part number: ‎IVD-K53011
Type: Coilovers, shocks
Front/rear: Front and rear
Lift height: 0”-3”
Buy on: Amazon

Now this is the real deal! ICON is known for making tuned lift kits that will significantly enhance the overlanding abilities of your Tacoma.

While it isn’t cheap, it is certainly high-quality, and you can count on it to outperform many other lift kits on the market.

The stage 1 suspension system includes 2.5” shocks and ICON-engineered Eibach coil springs. This set does not lack adjustability as it allows for anywhere between 0″ to 3” of lift. Also included with the kit are the aluminum monotube rear shocks.

ICON Vehicle Dynamics lift kit focuses primarily on ride quality and suspension travel. If you are looking for a product that guarantees off-road performance, on-road handling and comfort for your first-gen Tacoma, consider the stage 1 ICON lift kit.

Furthermore, if you feel like installing a complete lift kit with better performance and the same high quality, you can also look into stage 2 and stage 3 ICON suspension systems which are available for the first generation of Toyota Tacomas.

Lift Kits for Gen 2 and Gen 3 Tacomas (2005-2022)

Moving up to Tacomas in the 21st century, there is a vast array of lift kits and suspension upgrade options available on the market.

Most of which are compatible with both second and third-generation Tacomas. Find some of the best options on the market below.

PROEZE Leveling Lift Kit

PROEZE Leveling Lift Kit

Manufacturer: PROEZE
Part number: PR28730
Type: Spacers, lift blocks
Front/rear: Front and rear
Lift height: 3” front, 2” rear
Buy on: Amazon

The PROEZE Leveling Lift Kit offers an affordable lift kit that contains strut spacers, rear lift blocks, and hardened U-bolts, which will lift the front by 3” and the rear by 2”.

But know that this product is technically a leveling kit. Even though it will lift your Tacoma, it won’t affect suspension performance directly, barring the clearance and ride height advantage.

Eibach Stage 1 Pro-Truck Coilovers

Eibach Stage 1 Pro-Truck Lift System

Manufacturer: Eibach
Part number: ‎E80-82-006-01-22
Type: Coilovers, shocks
Front/rear: Front and rear
Lift height: 2”-3”
Buy on: Amazon

The Eibach Stage 1 Pro-Truck Lift System includes front coilovers and rear shocks which will give you 2″ to 3″ of lift in the front and 0″ to 1″ in the rear.

Purchasing additional lift components for the rear is definitely a good idea, especially if you plan to keep the pickup bed under load. Note that this specific lift kit only fits 6-lug Tacomas.

Rough Country Vertex Adjustable Coilovers

Rough Country Vertex Adjustable Coilovers

Manufacturer: Rough Country
Part number: 689014
Type: Coilovers
Front/rear: Front
Lift height: 6”
Buy on: Amazon

Like the idea of maximum lift? Then definitely check out Rough Country’s Vertex coilovers. The package includes a pair of massive shocks and coil springs with an external reservoir that increases oil capacity and improves damping.

This set features 8 levels of damping adjustments that enable you to customize the ride quality as per the terrain you intend to drive on.

While these coilovers aren’t exactly affordable, they’re certainly a desirable option for off-road enthusiasts who want to test their limits and take the road less taken.

Keep in mind, however, that this kit will only lift the front of your truck. To balance out the lift, you will need to lift the rear as well, preferably by replacing the leaf pack entirely.

ICON Stage 2 Kit

ICON Suspension System Stage 2 Kit

Manufacturer: ICON Vehicle Dynamics
Part number: K53002
Type: Coilover, shocks, add-a-leaf
Front/rear: Front and rear
Lift height: 0-3.5” (for 05-15 models) and 0-2.5” (for 15-up)
Buy on: Amazon

Made by one of the most well-known brands in the off-road community, the stage 2 ICON Suspension System includes three major components: coilovers, rear shocks, and an add-a-leaf lift kit for the rear suspension, which lifts the rear up by 1.5”.

Also, the lift can be adjusted to your liking. ICON is known for having a bit of a stiff ride at low speeds. On the other hand, it dramatically improves handling and cornering; and it will give you a lot of control.

It will also allow for more travel. The problem of stiffness also fades away as you drive at higher speeds.

Note that it is recommended that you install aftermarket upper control arms and differential drops (which we will discuss further in the article).

Bilstein 5100 Shocks

Bilstein 5100 Shocks

Manufacturer: Bilstein
Part number: ‎24-239370_186728
Type: Shocks
Front/rear: Front and rear
Lift height: 0”-2.5”
Buy on: Amazon

Possibly the biggest name when it comes to shock absorbers, Bilstein, offers this set of shocks for the 2nd and 3rd generations of the Toyota Tacoma.

The Bilstein 5100s will increase your truck’s wheel travel and noticeably enhance its handling and cornering.

They also allow for different spring positions. When paired with the appropriate set of coil springs, 5100 shocks can add up to 2.5” of lift on the front.

If complemented by a good pair of coil springs and a rear lift kit, these shocks can make for a suspension setup that enables the Tacoma to go almost anywhere.

ZY Wheel Leveling Lift Kit

ZY Wheel Leveling Lift Kit

Manufacturer: ZY WHEEL
Part number: TA3F2R
Type: Spacers, lift blocks
Front/rear: Front and rear
Lift height: 3”
Buy on: Amazon

If you’re keen on lifting your truck without modifying the suspension in any way, then the ZY leveling kit is for you.

The kit comes with lift blocks, spacers, and U bolts. A Tacoma fitted with this kit will have a ground clearance increase of 3” in the front and 2” in the back.

Similar to the Eibach lift kit, the ZY Wheel kit only fits 6-lug Tacomas and is not compatible with the 5-lug Tacomas.

TORCH Full Lift Kit

TORCH Full Lift Kit

Manufacturer: TORCH
Part number: 689355918675
Type: Spacers, lift blocks
Front/rear: Front and rear
Lift height: 3” front, 2” rear
Buy on: Amazon

If your Tacoma needs just a few extra inches of lift, the TORCH lift kit is the way to go. The lift kit contains front strut spacers, rear tapered lift blocks, extended U-bolts, a differential drop kit, and all the required hardware.

This lift kit is certainly one of the best options for those looking to raise their Tacoma and also for those who do not want extra travel or better drivability.

The price is reasonable, considering how well-received the kit is in the off-road community. Note that the TORCH lift kit will only fit 6LUG models.

MotoFab Lifts Leveling Kit

MotoFab Lifts Leveling Lift Kit

Manufacturer: MotoFab Lifts
Part number: ‎Taco05-2.5F-2R
Type: Spacers, lift blocks
Front/rear: Front and rear
Lift height: 2.5” front, 2” rear
Buy on: Amazon

Another lesser-known option for increasing the ride height is the MotoFab Lifts Leveling Lift Kit. By installing the MotoFab spacers in the front, you will get 2.5” of lift, while the rear lift blocks will provide 2”.

The MotoFab Lifts lift kit is made in the USA and comes with a lifetime warranty. It’s incredibly easy to install and reasonably priced.

WULF Leveling Lift Kit

WULF Leveling Lift Kit

Manufacturer: WULF Suspension
Part number: 332645481958
Type: Spacers, lift blocks, shocks
Front/rear: Front and rear
Lift height: 3” front, 2” rear
Buy on: Amazon

WULF, one of the most famous brands in the off-road scene, offers a colorful selection of suspension parts for Gen 2 Tacomas, including a leveling lift kit, which comes with components like:

  • Tubular upper control arms,
  • Differential drop spacer kit,
  • Joint bushings, and more.

While it is pretty expensive for a leveling lift kit, it is a complete set. It is a good option if you do not wish to purchase every component separately.

Better yet, WULF lift kits have a lifetime warranty, and they are known to be superior to a lot of other lift kits when it comes to quality.

Essential Components

Now that we have explored some options for lifting your Toyota, let’s take a look at some of the additional components you’re going to need.

Most lift kits include these, but if you have a specific setup in mind, then you’re going to want to know what these components do.

Upper and Lower Control Arms

These are arguably the most vital suspension components of your truck, and understanding the purpose of control arms will make it clear why that’s the case.

Aftermarket control arms for Tacoma

As you lift your truck and increase wheel travel, a lot of force will be exerted on your stock upper balljoint. This will increase wear on that component and limit your suspension travel.

The way to combat this is to install aftermarket upper control arms. They might not be an absolute necessity, especially if you add minor amounts of lift and keep your truck on the street, but they certainly play a huge role if you are aiming to improve off-road performance.

On the other hand, lower control arms help you utilize your stock suspension geometry to the fullest. They provide additional durability and add resistance to your suspension.

Upgrading your lower control arms is a step towards unleashing Tacoma’s true potential.

Front Differential Drop

Tacoma diff drop

A differential drop, in general, helps the longevity of your axles by flattening the angle of the CV axle. However, doing this will alter the angle of the driveshaft, which can be a downside.

Whether or not you should do a differential drop is a controversy among off-road enthusiasts. Some say that it is a waste of money, while others argue that it can be a huge improvement.

Extended Brake Lines

Extended brake lines

An annoying and borderline risk of having extra wheel travel is having your factory brake lines break when you flex a bit too much.

We highly recommend that you change your stock brake lines with extended aftermarket ones if you are going to lift your Toyota. They are quite affordable and can be easily and quickly installed.

Your Driving Style and What to Choose

Lifted gen 3 Tacoma
Gen 3 Tacoma with a 3 inch lift

As we already know, the market for Tacoma’s offroad parts is saturated with a ton of options. While we can single out a number of these options for you to choose between, the final choice is entirely dependent on how you drive your truck.

Here are the products that we recommend according to your style of driving and how you and your truck spend most of your time.

Daily DrivingLight TrailsAdvanced Trails
Gen 1Supreme Suspensions Lift KitICON Stage 1 KitFreedom Offroad Coilovers w/ Shocks
Gen 2/3TORCH Full Lift KitEibach Pro-Truck Stage 1ICON Stage 2 Kit

What’s your preferred way to lift your truck? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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