Deciding between a suspension or body lift for your truck is easy if you're broke; body lifts are cheaper. But the benefits and drawbacks of both methods need to be considered before you lay out the green because the overall cost and associated problems each has can yield some surprising results.
For instance, a late-model Chevy truck with independent front suspension requires a complex lift kit with all sorts of bracketry, not just a simple spring and shock swap. The average cost of a kit is around a grand, and it's about the same for installation. Conversely, a body lift for the same truck is under a hundred bucks and can be installed professionally for only a few hundred more, with similar visual results.
But the actual vehicle performance of body lifts versus suspension lifts can be quite different. Simply slapping on a 3-inch body lift does allow you to install taller and wider tires, but the stock shocks and springs are generally incapable of handling the increased weight of big meats. On the other hand, a properly designed suspension kit takes the larger tires into account and usually comes with stiffer springs and shocks.
Both methods of lifting a truck have a place in today's market, and the following photos illustrate some of the pros and cons of each. While most manufacturers don't recommend combining the two styles, sometimes a small amount of both lifts can actually be better than one or the other. For example, a 1-inch body lift and a 2 1/2-inch suspension lift can often provide a better ride and greater tire clearance than a 4-inch suspension lift or a 3-inch body lift. But the best choice is always what's best for you, your rig, and the type of 'wheeling you plan to do, as long as it's safe.