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Published Nov. 20, 2018

If you’re one of those people who actually uses your 4×4 outside the city limits on roads that may or may not be more accurately deemed “trails,” you’ve probably been caught in a tight spot or found yourself with a slashed tire. The more aggressive you are with your 4×4 when going off-road, the higher the chance that something is going to break and you are going to be wishing you hadn’t cheaped out on that off-road jack.

Don’t be caught stranded as there are plenty of affordable, rugged, and reliable off-road jacks available to suit any need. In fact, the editorial gurus at Car Bibles have done most of the heavy lifting for you and come up with our list of top off-road jack recommendations. 

We’ve even put together a handy buying guide that tells you exactly what to look for in the best off-road jacks on the market. Come on, you know you want one.

Our Methodology

Off-road jacks are not all created equally, so the top picks were selected by taking an in-depth look at their design, ease of use, lifting capacity, durability, and price. Overall reliability and performance, as well as manufacturer reputation and trustworthiness, were also major factors. Only companies with a solid track record of delivering reliable and durable products were chosen for this list. We also wanted to offer a diverse range of off-road jacks, since one style may not be suitable for all.

Best Off-Road Jacks Reviews & Recommendations

When it comes to the best overall dependability, ease-of-use, versatility, and affordability, our top pick is easily the Hi-Lift Jack 48″ Hi-Lift Black Cast and Steel Jack. This compact and slender off-road jack has a wicked 7,000-pound lifting capacity and it’s offered at a price point that won’t make your sphincters tighten. This beam-type jack offers a straightforward and user-friendly operation with its simple two-pin lever system. With so few moving parts, even your idiot brother-in-law can use this jack with ease.

A couple of things to note with this jack: be mindful of it shifting while under load. Its small base makes it a less stable option than a lot of other jacks on the market. That said, there are plenty of after-market accessories to help remedy this issue. Another drawback is that its long length can make onboard storage on some vehicles difficult. You may need to get creative.

Product Specifications
  • Brand Hi-Lift
  • Model HL484
  • Weight 28 pounds
PROS

Super rugged and reliable

Affordable

Versatile and low maintenance

CONS

Small base can be unstable

Long length can make onboard storage difficult

It has a rated load capacity of 4,660 pounds, making it one of the strongest beam-type jacks on the market. The Hi-Lift 48-Inch X-Treme Jack gets high marks for being a relatively affordable beast that will last you a lifetime. It’s a top-of-the-line, all-cast construction that features a super durable charcoal metallic powder-coated finish for added corrosion- and rust-resistance. This model is also equipped with a top winch/clamp/spreader attachment that features 7/8-inch holes that are ideal for secure and safe shackle attachment. It’s also equipped with a 3/8-inch chain slot for efficient winching.

The cut-out wedge for added gripping when spreading an object is also a nice touch. As with other beam-type jacks, though, this model lacks a really stable base, so be sure to have someone keep a close eye on it while in use. It’s not the best option for tire changes either.

Product Specifications
  • Brand Hi-Lift
  • Model XT-485
  • Weight 31.31 pounds
PROS

Comes with a multi-use attachment for added versatility

Ultra-rugged and heavy-duty construction

Straightforward and easy to use design

CONS

Not a great option for changing tires

More challenging to balance than some other models

This model features an integrated safety lock to make sure it holds its position during use. The PowerBuilt 3 Ton All-In-One Bottle Jack is a clever design that combines both a stable jack stand and an easy-to-operate bottle jack into one compact and highly functional unit. It can hold both unibody and regular vehicles and offers three height adjustments for higher lift trucks and SUVs. It offers a lift range from 11 to 21 inches, making it a very versatile choice.

The extra-wide, flat base is great for softer, uneven terrain. Another added bonus of this combo jack is its affordable price point. One drawback to this unit is that it’s not the best for lower-profile vehicles with less clearance. It also loses points for leaking hydraulic fluid if not always stored in the upright position.

Product Specifications
  • Brand PowerBuilt
  • Model 640912
  • Weight 22.4 pounds
PROS

Combines a jack stand and bottle jack in one

Super stable, wide, flat base

Compact design

CONS

May leak oil if not stored upright

Can be tough to fit under lower profile vehicles

The Honhill 4T Exhaust Air Jace was designed with difficult conditions specifically in mind. Whether you need to lift your vehicle on mud, snow, or sand, the jack’s wide footprint will provide ample support, and resist sinking in. It’s a super low-profile option that’s good for lifting vehicles with lower clearance on uneven surfaces. It gets big points for being a super lightweight, ultra-compact option that can go in any vehicle.

This jack boasts a unique design, which lifts vehicles through inflation. It consists of a reinforced fabric bag, which is inflated by attaching a hose to your vehicle’s exhaust, although some customers have found it easier to use an air compressor or tire pump. The unusual, inflatable design is reinforced through multiple fabric layers and a hardcore insert, giving it great strength and stability. However, because of the inflatable design, you still run the risk of getting a puncture during operation. It’s also not a great option for dual exhaust or oddly shaped exhaust set-ups.

Product Specifications
  • Brand Honhill
  • Model 5823933460
  • Weight 3.99 pounds
PROS

Good for low clearance vehicles

Super lightweight and compact

Capable of lifting up to 4,000 pounds

CONS

Only works with single exhaust vehicles

High risk of puncture if placed on uneven surfaces with sharp objects

Getting a reliable and rugged off-road jack doesn’t mean you have to blow your entire paycheck. Bottle jacks don’t get a lot of love from the off-roading community sometimes, but they’re an easy-to-use, reliable tool that offers a ton (or 20) of lifting capacity at a really affordable price point. This jack features a large welded base that doesn’t have the same issues with leaking hydraulic oil as some other bottle jacks on the market. It’s also got a larger diameter hydraulic cylinder that requires lower oil pressure to raise your vehicle than some other units.

This model also features a treated and polished piston-ram that resists skiving and uses a Y-style polyurethane sealing ring and back-up ring to prevent the load from slowly falling down. A sectional lifting handle and convenient steel carrying handle make this jack easier to transport and store than some other models. The drawback to this jack is that it does require more maintenance than some other styles and requires specific hydraulic oil to function properly. It’s also not the best choice for lower clearance vehicles.

Product Specifications
  • Brand Strongway
  • Model 88711
  • Weight 19.34 pounds
PROS

Compact and strong

Super affordable

Very stable base

CONS

May leak oil if stored on its side

Not the greatest for lower clearance vehicles

Our Verdict on Off-Road Jacks

If you’re looking for a reliable, easy-to-use, low-maintenance, and affordable off-road jack that’s proven itself time and time again, our top pick is the Hi-Lift Jack 48″ Hi-Lift Black Cast and Steel Jack. This compact and slender off-road jack has a wicked 7,000-pound lifting capacity and it’s offered at a refreshingly low price point.
For a great budget-friendly option that won’t let you down (until you want it to, at least), check out the Strongway 20-Ton Hydraulic Bottle Jack. This is an easy-to-use, reliable tool that offers 20 tons of lifting capacity and features a large welded base that promotes stability.

What to Consider When Buying Off-Road Jacks

When it comes to purchasing reliable and versatile off-road jacks, there’s no shortage of junk products on the market that promise to deliver. However, not all off-road jacks are created equally, so to help you avoid the dangerous pitfalls of getting hoodwinked by expert marketing and substandard construction, we’ve put together a handy buying guide.

Types of Off-Road Jacks

Beam-Type Jack

Also known as a beam jack, walking jack, farm jack, or hi-lift jack, these off-road jacks are the most common type. They’ve been around the longest and are very sturdy. These jacks offer a good lift range and weight capacity in a straightforward and simple design. They’re super low-maintenance and usually relatively affordable, depending on the brand you buy. Their drawbacks are that their overall length makes them difficult to store on-board some vehicles and their narrow base causes them to be less stable.

Bottle Jack

These types of jacks are also known as whiskey jacks, hydraulic jacks, or barrel jacks. They often get overlooked as an off-road option, but their compact size and user-friendly design make them a great choice for storing in Jeeps and other compact off-road vehicles. They’re also some of the most affordable jacks on the market. They have lots of lifting power for their size, but off-kilter lifting is tough. They need to be stored upright in order to prevent hydraulic fluid from leaking out. Drastic temps may cause the fill plugs to pop out as well.

Air Bag Jack

This type of off-road jack is also called a bladder jack and has been used in the Australian Outback for years. It’s essentially a large, reinforced air bladder that gets filled by either your vehicle’s exhaust or compressed air. It’s a great option for low clearance vehicles. This type of jack also offers a decent lift height and is pretty stable. Its huge selling point is that it’s a super space-saving and lightweight option. The drawbacks are that there is a high risk of bag puncture on sharp surfaces and that it’s not suitable for dual exhaust vehicles.

Off-Road Jack Key Features

Vehicle Compatibility

Lifting capacity and vehicle compatibility go hand-in-hand when it comes to picking the best off-road jack for the job. Your vehicle’s weight, clearance height, and body construction will all dictate the type of jack that’s suited to get you out of tight spots. Be sure the jack’s maximum lifting capacity can easily handle the weight of your ride. Also, check to see where you’re going to store the jack when not in use. You’ll want something that you can fit easily inside your vehicle or even anchored somewhere to the outside without getting in the way of stuff.

Driving Conditions 

You might select one type of jack if you plan on doing a lot of off-roading in the desert or low-lying brush versus another type of jack that’s more suited to those who will be picking through a ton of tree roots, rocks, boulders, and gullies. So consider the setup of your jack. Will you need something with a large, stable base that won’t sink into sand, or would something with a more compact base that can be wedged on hard ground be more appropriate?

Cost and Warranty

For many people, the cost of their off-road jack is a key factor. There’s no shame in wanting a more budget-friendly option for the occasional weekend warrior activities. Likewise, if you want a top-of-the-line, more expensive option that’s going to get some serious use from frequent hang-ups and tire changes, that’s your prerogative. One thing we recommend looking for in a high-quality, reliable off-road jack is a solid manufacturer’s warranty that will protect your investment, no matter how small or large, in the event of any unforeseen defects or failures.

Off-Road Jack Pricing 

You can get a rugged, reliable, and user-friendly off-road jack for under $100. In fact, our top pick, the Hi-Lift Jack 48″ Hi-Lift Black Cast and Steel Jack is a prime example of an awesome off-road option that’s well-priced. For between $150 and $600, you can get a rugged, heavy-duty, all metal jack that offers some serious lifting power. And if you want the cream of the crop, easy-to-use electric jack that will do almost all the work for you, expect to spend over $1,000.

Tips and Tricks

As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and off-road jacks. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.

  • If using a beam-type jack without an added base, be sure the foot of the jack is placed securely and use your foot to provide added stability while jacking up your vehicle.
  • Clean and lube your jack regularly if it gets lots of use in order to prevent untimely wear and tear that can lead to failure at the worst times.
  • When lifting your vehicle, go slowly and deliberately, using plenty of caution. It’s easy to have your jack or the jack handle slip and take out some of your teeth…or worse.
  • Never, never, never work underneath a jacked-up vehicle without fitting stands. Safety first at all times.
  • It’s a good idea to test your jack on your vehicle at home before you go off-roading with it. You want to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of jacking up your ride, as well as making sure the jack you chose is actually compatible with your car.

The Questionnaire 

Car Bibles answers all your burning questions.

Can you use a floor jack for off-road?

Depending on the type of terrain you’ll be driving on, you may be able to use a floor jack. These objects are usually quite heavy and bulky, though, and may not always be a viable option for more uneven, soft, or cluttered terrain.

What size off-road jack do I need?

For most rides, the common 48-inch beam-type jack will be more than sufficient to hoist your vehicle. However, if you have a truck or SUV with 30-inch tires and lots of clearance, you should go for the bigger 60-inch off-road jack.

Can I use my Hi-lift jack to change a tire?

If you’re really in a pinch and have someone to help you, yes you could use a hi-lift jack to change a tire. Keep in mind that these jacks aren’t the safest or most stable for that type of activity, though. A hydraulic or bottle jack is a more stable, more suitable option for tire changes.

Sources:

  1. Car jack – Wikipedia

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