Bellows vs. Sleeve Air Bags


Here at Air Lift, we’ve got two styles of air springs – bellows-style and sleeve-style. What’s the difference, and which one is right for you?!

Bellows-Style Air Springs

Bellows style air springs are made from heavy-duty reinforced rubber, which is configured with either one, or multiple convoluted chambers.

Bellows air bags are typically larger than sleeve style air springs, giving them more lifting and load handling capacity. The design of most bellows air springs allows the air spring to be inflated to the desired firmness, and then deflated in similar fashion.

Because of their size and design, bellows air springs can lift with greater force at lower air pressures. For example, it may only take 35 PSI of pressure to lift 1,000 lbs. in a bellows air spring, where as it may take around 70 PSI of pressure in a sleeve style air bag to lift the same weight.

The most popular bellows air spring configurations include single, dual, and triple chamber design. Bellows air springs are great for heavy-duty applications, where there is ample space to accommodate a larger apparatus.

Tow trucks, motorhomes, trailers, and heavy-trucks are prime candidates for bellows type air springs.

Sleeve-Style Air Springs

Sleeve style air springs use a flexible member with an internally molded bead. The sleeve design allows this type of air spring to be constructed with a smaller overall diameter than bellows air springs.

These air springs, and air spring kits, are designed for lift and ride control. The internally mounted sleeve is covered in by a bag, made of a flexible heavy-gauge rubber or synthetic rubber compound. The bag is crimped into the spring mount on one end and swaged onto the opposite end, sealing the contents inside.

When compressed, air is forced into the spring, the two-piece sleeve extends, lengthening the assembly to achieve the desired ride height.

Sleeve style air springs are extremely well suited to applications when space is limited and loads are light. Sleeve-style air springs are perfect for light duty trucks, custom street rods and track cars.

Air Lift Air Suspension Kits

With bellows style air bags

With sleeve style air bags