Roadmaster Active Suspension vs Airbags

Because of market size and demand, Roadmaster Active Suspension is most often compared to Air Bags or traditional helper type suspension upgrades. Whilst the Active Suspension system certainly reduces rear squat, it does so much more. Simply comparing Roadmaster Active Suspension with Air Bag/Helper Type suspension upgrades is not a true apples-to-apples comparison. Put simply, Roadmaster Active Suspension offers all the same benefits as Air Bags, helper springs, sway bars, and traction bars, all in one unique product. Tuned and matched for each pickup truck size, the variable rated tension coil spring applies proportionate to force that is applied. This simple yet brilliant concept, coupled with proven high quality components, translates to it being one of the most well rounded suspension upgrades on the market

Basic Comparison

Standard Roadmaster Active Suspension
Our most popular models can be purchased for only $469-$549 and the installation is simple. Requiring just basic tools, you can plan on 60-75 minutes for a complete install on most trucks. Roadmaster Active Suspension authorized dealers typically charge only 1 hour of labor time.
Price: $449
Price + Labor: $549
Air Bag Suspension
Air Bag Suspension is designed to do one thing; keep your truck level when towing or hauling a heavy load. So how much does an Air Bag Suspension cost? You can expect parts to run anywhere between $300-$500, depending on brand and need. You should expect an industry leading set up. This style system can technically be installed at home, if you have the equipment, time and space. Even if you do have all three, it might still cost you some skinned knuckles, a full afternoon, and a headache for possibly biting off more than one can chew. Most reputable shops will estimate 3-4 hours labor, so expect upwards of $350 in labor costs. This bare minimum set up can run close to $800. All set, right? Not exactly. See our post: The Truth About Air Bag Suspension Kits
Price: $400
Price + Labor: $700 (3 hour install)

Still Thinking About Air Bags? Here’s What Else You Will Need…

Here is a list of Do’s and Don’ts you’ll need to abide by, in order keep your newly purchased kit in running order. For example, it is important to continually check the air pressure is above the minimum requirements to help minimize the risk of failure. You’ll also need to manually apply and reduce pressure accordingly as you add and subtract weight, with a standalone compressor.

On Board Controller with Air Compressor
What’s described above is the absolute bare bones air bag system set up. Because the operation of this set up can be accurately described as inconvenient, many opt to have the compressor with in cab controller installed. This option allows the operator to monitor and dictate the amount of pressure in the air bag, while in the cab of the truck. This is almost a necessity for those installing the air bag, but they come at a price. Expect to pay an additional $350 in just parts alone. Installation of a either the traditional in cab controller featuring wiring or the newer wireless are both extremely labor intensive do to electrical and wiring schematics. Unless one has prior automotive aftermarket/repair experience, most make the wise decision to have this installed at a garage or shop. At a shop, expect 2-3 hours in labor.
Price: $350
Price + Labor: $650 (3 hour install)
Sway Bar
You’ve taken care of the rear squat issue cause by heavy load, what about the sway and instability you are still experiencing? Traditional rear sway bars can be a very effective method helping to take care of general side-to-side sway and body roll, something that the air bag system is not designed to help with. The upside of the rear sway bar is that it is fairly cost effective, installation is relatively simple, and the product overall is not highly involved. The rear sway bar generally does what it is designed to do, but as with the air bag setup it really only offers one benefit. Expect to spend around $350 for parts, allow yourself 1-3 hours labor depending on equipment and tools you have at your disposal.
Price: $350
Price + Labor: $450 (1 hour install)
Traction Bar
An all too common performance issue that some truck owners experience and loath, is axle wrap and wheel hop. This occurs on many trucks that push out a significant amount of low end torque. This high amount of torque gets pushed to your tires and causes your axle to pull forward, causing leaf springs to distort and bow into an “S” shape. Traction bars are designed to do one thing well, that is to stop this from happening. The price for traction bars vary greatly. A quality set can run you at $300 with a 2-3 hour installation time.
Price: $300
Price + Labor: $500 (2 hour install)

Product Comparison

Apples to Apples

Now we can compare the true costs and benefits of the Roadmaster Active Suspension kit with the competition.

  • Roadmaster DIY: $449
  • Roadmaster + Labor: $549
  • AirBag with Add-Ons + Labor: $2,300

Why mess with anything other than a Roadmaster Action Suspension kit?

Find my kit