What is the Best Suspension Upgrade? | Timbren SES vs Airbags

Timbren ses vs airbags: The Showdown

In an aftermarket saturated by suspension kits with metal spring helpers and airbags, Timbren’s rubber SES helper springs were designed as a viable alternative. Using a rubber helper design for coil springs, plus metal spring helpers for leaf springs, made for solid assistance. Every part in the aftermarket has an audience, and the Timbren SES (suspension enhancement system) is a worthy competitor to airbag suspensions by the likes of Firestone and Air Lift.

What should you choose, Timbren SES or airbags? This argument has gone on for over 50 years. Our audience is already familiar with airbag systems, but the Timbren SES might be brand new to them, and they want to learn more. At a brief glance, you might think there isn’t much difference between Timbren SES helps and an airbag system. Look closer and you’ll notice some dramatic differences between the two.

We’ll compare the Timbren SES to an airbag system side-by-side, showcase a few differences, and then you’ll be able to make an educated choice on which is right for you.

airbag installed but not under load

What’s The Same Between Timbren SES and Airbags?

Visually these two look similar, but what other similarities do these systems share?

Load leveling: Both the Timbren SES and an airbag system are designed to improve vehicle handling and overall performance. This is done by keeping your truck at a level stance, which reduces suspension sag. A level truck gives you three things:

  • Reduced body roll/sway: Body roll and sway happen whenever your truck is sagging too much to one side. Load leveling reduces this risk.
  • Improved steering: Steering is compromised by back-end sagging, making it dangerous to drive through curves, bends, and rough terrain safely.
  • Maximum control: A level vehicle is a vehicle you can have total control over.

TIMBREN SES installed

Ease of use: The Timbren SES upgrades have always been known for being easy to use. Just ‘set it and forget it. Historically, airbag systems haven’t been easy to operate, but thanks to technical advances, using them has become easier.

Ride quality:

Generally, both Timbren springs and airbags have been designed to improve ride quality, whether you’re loaded or unloaded.


Timbren SES comes with a Limited Lifetime warranty, which can also be found with select manufacturers, such as Firestone and Air Lift.

Airbag installed not under load

What’s Different Between Timbren SES and Airbags?

Technology Used: One of the most fundamental differences that sets Timbren SES systems apart is the use of Aeon® hollow rubber springs. Unlike airbags, these springs don’t use compression air, they expand when you apply a load to them. Airbags, like their name suggests, are simply rubber bags that hold air. As your force air into its rubber bladder, the bag expands like a balloon.

Installation: Both systems are known for being relatively-easy installs. However, when you line up an airbag installation kit with a Timbren kit, two things might stand out to you:

  1. The Timbren SES kit has much fewer parts than an airbag kit
  2. On average, an airbag kit takes 3 hours to install. With Timbren, the average install time is less than an hour.

Adaptability: There is an even more obvious difference between airbags and Timbren SES: how they adjust to different road conditions and load conditions.

With manual effort, you can adjust airbags to maintain ride height. Timbren’s rubber springs are self-adjusting and capable of adapting to various load and road conditions on the fly. This is all thanks to the Aeon® hollow rubber springs, which have a built-in progressive spring rate for automatic adjustment.

Timbren bump stop leveling kit and the install hardware - easy to install

Maintenance: The Timbren SES hollow rubber springs require no maintenance because all the tweaking and adjusting are already done during the installation process.

Airbags, however, require constant maintenance. This is done to ensure the airbags don’t dip below 5 psi, which could damage them. Since this system crucially depends on compressed air, any damage that might cause the bag to leak will severely compromise how effective it is.

Pricing: This isn’t a judgment call of whether these systems are cost-effective. We’re strictly looking at the price tag. Timbren SES kits are priced between $225 - $500. An airbag kit will cost you anywhere between $300-1,000. This is before factoring in the costs of add-ons, such as onboard air compressors and other related accessories. 

Airbag and ALL of it's install hardware - difficult install


We’ll go over everything we’ve learned so far about both Timbren SES suspension upgrades and airbag suspension kits.

Timbren SES and Airbag similarities:

  1. Load leveling
  2. Ease of use
  3. Ride Quality
  4. Warranty

Timbren SES and Airbag differences:

  1. Technology Used
  2. Installation
  3. Adaptability
  4. Maintenance
  5. Pricing

When looking at the differences, it’s clear that the airbag suspension kits have certain benefits, while Timbren SES kits also have advantages the airbag systems lack. By teaching you about both, we hope you better understand which suspension kit better suits your needs.

So now we want to know, what do you prefer?