Roadmaster Active Suspension vs. Air Bags/Helper Type Suspension Upgrades

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

Standard Roadmaster Active Suspension

Our most popular models can be purchased for only $449 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.

Cost: $449

Total With 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

Air bag Cost: $400

Total With Labor: $700 (3 hours labor)

And 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 (+ additional $350)

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.

In-Cab Controller with Compressor Cost: $350

With Labor: $650 (3 hours labor)

Air Bag System + In-Cab Controller with Compressor + Labor Cost: $1350

Sway Bar (+ additional $350)

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.

Sway Bar Cost: $350

With Labor: $450 (1 hour labor)

Air Bag System + In-Cab Controller with Compressor + Sway Bar + Labor Cost: $1800

Traction Bar (+ additional $300)

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.

Traction Bar Cost: $300

With Labor: $500 (2 hours labor)

Air Bag System + In-Cab Controller with Compressor + Sway Bar + Traction Bar + Labor Cost: $2,300

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


Reduce Rear Squat

Reduce Sway/ Body Roll

Eliminate Axle Wrap/ Wheel Hop

Cost inc. Labor

Roadmaster Active Suspension


Air Bag Suspension


On Board Controller With Air Compressor


Sway Bar


Traction Bar