Three Things To Consider When Buying A Trailer Jack

A good trailer jack can turn hitching and unhitching your boat, camper or utility trailer into an easy task.

an orange airstream van
This old Airstream needs a lot of things. A trailer jack is one of them.Evgeniy Ivanov/Unsplash

Trailer jacks are critical to outdoors lovers being able to fully enjoy their boat, camper or travel trailer. Without a trailer jack, it’s just you versus Sir Isaac Newton’s law of gravity. With the wrong jack, things can get even more complicated than that. To make a good selection when shopping for a trailer jack, consider three factors—how the jack will mount to your trailer, what will provide the power to operate it and how strong the jack is.

Mount

pro series capacity swivel trailer
This bolt-on trailer jack comes with all of the mounting hardware needed to attach it to your trailer frame.Pro Series

Trailer jacks mount to the tongue or frame of your trailer in different ways. The two most common are weld-on jacks and bolt-on jacks. Weld-on jacks are usually sturdier because of the way they are attached. But they're also harder to replace if you decide you need a new one. Bolt-on jacks come in a variety of attachment configurations that all have one thing in common—they use large bolts and lock nuts to attach the jack to the trailer tongue or frame. Weld-on jacks typically have a higher weight rating. Both function the same during the actual jacking process.

Power

Lippert 285318 3500LB Power Tongue Jack Black
This electric trailer jack has a lift capacity of 3,500 pounds.Lippert

Most trailer jacks are powered the old-fashioned way—cranking them with your arm or arms until they reach the desired height. While not always the easiest job, it is easier and safer than trying to pick a trailer tongue up off the ground and place it onto the hitch ball without crushing any body parts. One alternative—electric-powered trailer jacks—can make the job even easier. Power jacks come in all shapes and sizes. Many are set up for 12-volt battery use, so if you have your vehicle with you, you already have your power source at hand. Better models have all steel internal components, and some even have a manual crank override in case you don't have access to the power needed to operate them.

Strength

CURT 28354 Weld-On Pipe-Mount
This weld-on trailer jack has a capacity of 5,000 pounds.CURT

Whether you choose bolt-on or weld-on, hand crank or electric, the strength of your jack also needs to enter into your decision. It's imperative that the weight rating on your jack exceed your trailer's tongue weight by a good margin. If not, your jack is going to fail, and likely at a really bad time. Few aspects of trailering are more frustrating than suddenly having a trailer jack that no longer functions properly, leaving you to improvise to get your trailer hitched and unhitched, often in ways that are unsafe.