Best Off-Road Jacks: Save Your Bacon on the Trails
Using one of these trail-ready solutions could end up being the high point of your day.
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BY Peter Nelson / LAST UPDATED ON November 10, 2021
Off-road driving is one of the most fun activities you can do in a vehicle, depending on how much mechanical sympathy you lack. It gets you into the great outdoors and to far-flung locations. Off-road driving, however, is tricky. All fun can reach an abrupt end if you suffer a tire puncture or mechanical breakdown. These can be especially difficult repairs since off-road vehicles tend to be big and heavy and the terrain anything but accommodating. Luckily, off-road jacks make the process of swapping wheels and other trail-side repairs a bit easier. These jacks can get even the most lifted vehicles into the air, as well as offer peace of mind when it comes to safety. Let’s talk about our favorites and get you on your way.
This jack measures 49 x 5 x 10 inches, can lift up to 3.5 tons, and weighs 28 pounds.
- Slim shape can be used in tight spaces
- Works well with larger tires
- Easy to use two-piece handle and socket
- Solid base stand is sold separately
- Loose parts make it noisy while driving
- This style can be tricky to use
The bottle jack measures 7 5/8 inches tall, works best on vehicles with lower clearance, has a 4-ton capacity, and weighs 8.0 pounds.
- Easy to use compact size with low maintenance
- Extension screws adjust to accommodate desired work height
- Won't over-extend
- Base is small
- Loses pressure if you leave the car on the jack overnight
- May not go as high as you need
This bottle jack measures 11 x 7.4 x 4.3 inches, has a 4-ton capacity, and weighs 7.3 pounds.
- Carrying case and compact size makes it an easy stowaway solution
- Easy to set up
- Comes with a long two-piece hand crank
- Constructed with alloyed steel
- Base isn't very big
- Extension isn't long enough super lifted vehicles
- Can leak hydraulic fluid
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Best Off-Road Jack Reviews & Recommendations
How We Selected Off-Road Jacks
We came to this selection of off-road-ready jacks by comparing and contrasting more than 20 units, all with a good range of features, sizes, and options. We kept to just two types of jacks with bottle and trail since we personally don't find scissor jacks to be an ideal solution, and conventional floor jacks won't cut it. We've also done a good amount of off-roading ourselves, and while we haven't needed to make any lengthy or complex repairs on the side of a trail, we have certainly familiarized ourselves with both bottle-type and trail-type jacks.
Our product selections, rankings, and awards for this story are based on research. While we haven’t conducted real-world testing on all of these products yet, we’ve looked at consumer testimonials and data, tutorials, and general discussions on social media and in forums. We also consider price and specification in the context of the segment. And, of course, we rely on our institutional knowledge of the automotive landscape to weed out weak products.
Buying Guide/What to Look for
When searching for the right off-road jack for you, there are a few things to take into consideration, such as the jack's size, load capacity, operation, type, maintenance, and weight. If you need something compact that you want to be thrown in the back of a smaller off-road rig, a bottle jack is hard to beat. Though, if your rig is lifted up pretty high, the bottle jack might not cut it.
The key is to find something in your price range that will fit your vehicle's size, that you're comfortable handling, and that won't get in the way. A cast-iron, manual trail-type jack is great, but they can be a bear to wield around and take up a lot of space.
What to Consider When Buying an Off-Road Jack
Types of Jacks
Trail jacks, also known as farm jacks, handyman jacks, and manual jacks, are the most versatile and work on various types of road surfaces. These jacks are fairly basic and are typically designed to work in conjunction with a wide, flat base, with all applicable wheels chocked. One of the advantages of these jacks is they're easy to use leverage in a mix of terrain, including gravel, sand, rocks, mud, and snow.
If you want a very strong hold, then a floor jack will do the trick. However, this type of jack works best on flat surfaces. While some brands have wheels and can technically be used in sand, snow, and mud, they can be difficult to move around. They are not the best choice for off-roading.
Bottle jacks are also known as hydraulic jacks. Those with wide and grippy bases are best for off-roading. Still, bottle jacks are most efficient if they're used on flat surfaces. They also aren't always able to reach certain points because of their compact design.
Scissor jacks are very simple to use but are often not ideal for off-road use since they need a flat and stable surface. While simple to use, they're also annoying to use. It can take a long time to jack one up to the proper height on any vehicle, let alone a lifted off-roader. These are commonly found as automakers' emergency jacks, they're OK in a pinch and when the surface is flat, but generally any other type will be more versatile.
Safety is top priority when you're shopping for the best off-road jack. The more you can do to minimize risk, the better. Make sure that what you're buying is designed to meet the needs of your particular situation. Look for safe jacks that come with protective features, such as shear bolts, built-in weight limits, locking-pin systems, and safety bars. Also consider buying as wide of a base as you can find, as well as wheel chocks.
Not all off-road jacks work with all vehicles. Do your research and make sure the jack you purchase is designed to work with your particular rig. Check the lifting capacity and whether it can easily fit under your car, truck, or SUV. Also, make sure it'll easily be stored inside or outside the vehicle.
The best off-road jacks are heavy-duty, sturdy, and durable. They should be constructed of high-grade steel or cast iron, so they can withstand the stress of off-road use. Most of the above highlighted high-quality jacks are powdercoated, which protects them from rust and corrosion and extends their lifespan.
Some jacks are more versatile than others. While many brands are geared towards road use and are perfect in the garage, some can also operate in the mud, sand, or gravel. An on-/off-road jack is convenient because you can use it in a variety of situations.
Tips and Tricks
Along the way, you pick up a few tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product and 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.
- Use the jack according to its designed purpose. Trail jacks are designed primarily to get your vehicle out of a tight spot — they can be used as manual winches to some degree — or be jacked up in a tight spot.
- For all jacks, never crawl underneath the vehicle unless it's been secured with jack stands.
- Try lifting your car with the off-road jack before you hit the trail to confirm that it works well. It’s important to find out about any working issues before you actually need to use the jack.
- Use the jack according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Some parts may get damaged if not used correctly, compromising the safety of the device.
Q: What type of off-road jack will support my vehicle?
Most jacks can support a car that weighs between 1.5 and 4.0 tons. Look up the weight of your car and compare that to the weight that the jack will hold. Buying something that will support your car quite easily, such as a 4.0-ton capacity jack lifting up a 2.0-ton vehicle, is never a bad idea.
Q: How much does an off-road jack weigh?
Jacks have different weights and sizes. For off-road use, make sure the jack is not too heavy for your physical ability, and that it will fit in tight spaces if you need to use it.
Q: Will off-road jacks fit in my trunk?
Off-road jacks usually do not fit in the space where your car’s original jack fits. You’ll need to do a bit of measuring before purchasing, although you can always store them in a storage box, attach them to a roof rack, or keep it in your truck's bed.
Q: Does my off-road jack require any maintenance?
Be aware that many common jacks, especially of the hydraulic variety, have maintenance requirements. It's best to consult your model's manufacturer for the best guidance here.
Sometimes, the simple and low-tech approach is best, and that's why we chose the Hi-Lift Jack as our best overall pick. It's easy to use and provides plenty of lift clearance. If you want the top of the line, though, the best of the best, we recommend the Torin Big Red.