Simply put, both lifts and leveling kits are designed to raise the truck body away from the axles to fit larger tires and increase ground clearance. A leveling kit involves hardware to slightly raise the front of the vehicle so it matches the stock height in the back. A leveling kit is usually designed to provide a maximum lift of about 2 inches in the front. If a stock-style stance is desired, front-end leveling kits can be paired with spacer blocks on the rear leaf springs to provide a slight lift at all four corners. Leveling kits are also very simple and usually only require spring spacers or torsion keys to get the job done.
A lift kit is just what its name implies. It lifts the truck much higher into the air, via modified suspension parts. Lift kits come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be purchased in 2-, 4-, 6-, 8-, or even 10-inch kits-or even taller if the buyer wants to go custom. Lift kits, often referred to as suspension systems, are much more comprehensive than leveling kits and will feature new springs, shocks, control arms, and whatever else is needed to maintain the desired height. Often, new driveshafts must be made, and brake lines must be bent in addition to the suspension pieces, so the larger lift kits are usually quite involved. Also, running larger-than-stock tires may require aftermarket wheels with increased offset (the distance the wheel sits from the hub).