Three Things To Consider When Buying A Jack for Your Truck

A good jack can help you easily and safely lift vehicles and other large objects that would otherwise be impossible to elevate.

Silhouette of truck at dusk
Heading off road? The jack in your truck might not be enough. Consider these other options.Matan Levanon via Unsplash

If you are a hunter, angler or other outdoor enthusiast and don’t own a good jack or two, you’re going to eventually find yourself in a world of hurt. A good jack can help you change a flat tire, lift a farm implement for servicing or disc replacement, and even help you get unstuck when boggy conditions find you buried up to your axles when you’d rather be in your deer stand. However, all jacks are not created equal. To make a good selection when shopping for a jack, explore these three categories—hydraulic jacks, scissor jacks and high lift jacks.

Hydraulic Jacks

Torin hydraulic jack
This hydraulic bottle jack will lift objects weighing up to 12 tons nearly 11 inches.Amazon

Hydraulic jacks use pump plungers to move oil through two cylinders. When the plunger is first drawn back with a lift of the handle, it opens the suction valve ball within and draws oil into the pump chamber. As the plunger is pushed forward with a downward press of the handle, the oil moves through an external discharge check valve into the cylinder chamber, and the suction valve closes, which results in pressure building within the cylinder and pushing the jack up. Hydraulic jacks come in two different kinds—bottle jacks and floor jacks. Bottle jacks are compact and easy to store, are easily transportable but frequently won't lift as heavy of loads as a floor jack. Floor jacks, though bulkier, are safe and easy to use, and large ones can lift several tons. However, you need plenty of space around your vehicle or other object you need to lift in order to use a floor jack.

Scissor Jacks

Scissor jack
This scissor jack is simple, lightweight and easy to stow in a vehicle without taking up a lot of space.Amazon

Scissor jacks are very common and most likely the type of jack you have in your car right now. They are quite simple in design and function. A small crank is connected to the scissor jack. When turned, it turns the screw section within the jack. That, in turn, moves the two ends of the jack closer together, pushing the arms upward. When closing, simply screw it the other way, the arms spread back apart and the jack flattens out for storage. Scissor jacks are most often used for changing flats in vehicles, although they are also quite popular for leveling camping trailers.

High Lift Jacks

High lift truck jack
This high lift jack can lift loads up to 7,000 pounds 48 inches off the ground.Amazon

Also called a hi-lift jack, this type of jack is excellent for getting vehicles unstuck and other occasions when you need to lift something well off the ground. High lift jacks are very simple to operate. Just plant the jack under your vehicle, place the foot of the jack under a secure anchor point and start cranking the handle. High lift jacks are typically both heavy and bulky, and they take up a lot of room when transporting. However, if you have a pick-up truck, just toss your high lift jack in the back, since most are nearly indestructible. If the need arises, a high lift jack can even be used as a come-along winch, which could save your bacon in any number of outdoor scenarios.