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Grille Kit vs. Grille Insert

If you are interested in buying a new Grille Kit for your truck or SUV, then you have come to the right place. We will be discussing the difference between a Grille Kit and a Grille Insert as well as Grille Kit options and common uses.

What's the difference?

The difference between a Grille Kit and a Grille Insert is pretty easy to explain. A grille kit includes both a grille shell and a grille insert. What I mean is, a grille kit is sometimes referred to as a grille shell kit. It includes a grille shell for your truck that already has a grille insert installed. Maybe it’s easier if I show you.

Take a look at Diagram 1. On the left we see a grille shell from a 1998 Chevy Silverado, to the right of that is a Billet Grille Insert for the same truck. Finally, on the bottom is a Grille Kit or a Grille Shell Kit for the same truck. See, you put a grille shell and a grille insert together and you have a Grille Shell Kit.

Diagram 1 Grille Shell Kit Diagram


You may be asking yourself, “Why would I need a grille shell kit?” That’s a very good question. There are many reasons to get a grille shell kit. Let’s go over some of the more popular reasons.
The most obvious reason is that your factory grille shell may be ruined. Maybe you hit a deer that jumped out in front of your truck. Or maybe your buddy borrowed the truck and hit something…who knows? The point is, your factory shell is now garbage and you need to replace it.
The next reason could be for looks. Perhaps you have a black plastic grille shell or even a painted one and you want to convert to chrome, or maybe you’ve got a chrome shell and you want to go with a painted one to match your truck. Either way there are enough options to make anyone happy.
The last reason is to update the look of your truck. For example, if you have a 1994-1997 Chevy S10, you can make it look like a 1998 and newer S10 by simply switching out the grille shell and headlights. The same goes for a few other vehicles and we’ll talk about that later.

Grille Shell Kit Styles

Now that you understand what a grille shell kit is and why you would want one, let’s look at some different styles.

For more information on Grille Inserts, check out our Grille Insert Article.
Stock Replacement:
These grille shell kits are exactly what the name implies – Stock Replacement. They look just like the original grille that came with your truck.
Stock Replacement Grille Shell
Grille Shell Kit with Billet Grille Insert:
These are a direct replacement for your factory shell. These grille shell kits come either in a chrome or paintable finish with a polished or brushed billet grille installed. It’s a really easy replacement for your tired old stock grille kit. Grille Shell Kit with Billet Grille
Grille Shell Kit with Speed Grille:
These are also a direct replacement for your stock shell. These grille shell kits feature a finish that is either chrome or paintable. As the name suggests, these grille shell kits come with Street Scene Speed Grilles already installed. These are available with chrome speed grilles, brushed speed grilles, or even polished stainless steel speed grilles. Grille Shell Kit with Speed Grille
Phantom Grille Shell Kit:
The phantom grille shell kit got its name because it covers up your headlights. These kits usually include a modified factory shell that has a billet bar grille already installed. Some kits include just the billet bars and not the shell, so be sure to double check that you’re getting what you intended. This type of installation usually requires some sort of fabrication because you have to recess your headlights and, as this kit covers your headlights, it may not be street legal in your area.
Phantom Grille Shell Kits
Specialty Grille Shell Kits:
Our specialty grille shell kits are great if you want to get that custom look without a lot of hassle. They feature a modified shell that bolts into the factory location. Such modifications include eliminating the center bar in the Chevrolet Silverado grille and, as pictured below, removing the crossbars from the Dodge Ram grille. Specialty Grille Shell Kits
Update Grille Shell Kits:
Update grille kits do exactly what their name implies; they update the front of your truck. Update? What do you mean by update? I mean that if you’ve got a 1994-1997 S10 and you want it to look like a 1998-2003 S10, then it’s only a simple grille kit away. Don’t buy a new truck to get the new look, just buy the grille. Same goes for the 1988-1993 Chevy fullsize trucks. You can change the front end to the more-popular 1994-1998 style.
Important note: To do a complete conversion, you need the appropriate update kit and a grille shell kit from the new model year.
Grille Update Kit Grille Update Kit

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Related Links:
  • Stylin' Trucks' Grilles Page
  • Exterior Accessories
  • Grille Insert Article
  • Back to Stylin' Trucks' Articles
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