Last Updated on April 21, 2020 by Tim
While the average floor jack is perfect for your car, what about a larger vehicle, such as full-size truck, Jeep Wrangler, RV, or SUV? These are much heavier vehicles and often require a higher clearance when lifting. High lift jacks make the best floor jack for trucks, SUVs, and other large vehicles due to their higher max clearance and superior durability.
For smaller cars, one general shape and size of jack tends to be suitable for all manner of cars. A decent floor jack will pop up any smaller car in a hurry, often as little as five pumps.
Here, since we will be lifting a much larger load, different styles of jack will be used. So it can be worth taking a second to understand what’s happening in each device before you try and choose one for your truck.
Among the simplest mechanisms we have included here is the inflatable jack, which uses either an external compressor or the vehicle’s own exhaust to fill a heavily reinforced gas bladder via an integrated hose and series of unidirectional valves.
As the bladder inflates, it will race against the ground and force the car upwards, occasionally using hardened feet or inserts to give added stability.
This approach is useful if you are looking to save weight in your vehicle. It has been reported particularly successful in soft terrains such as sand or snow.
The wide footprint packs the looser material down tightly instead of forcing out from under the jack as a more traditional model does with concentrated weight. That said, this type of jack is at real risk of being rendered useless by a simple puncture. Should the bladder rupture in use, it may not catch the descending car as the body of a metal jack might, should it fail.
A bottle jack is based on a more familiar principle, and uses a hydraulic pump to force a lifting platform upwards. Unlike the traditional jack that raises a lever, the bottle jack’s saddle will come straight up under the car, making it less susceptible to warping or failure under a load and easier to position the saddle exactly where you would like it to lift.
The singular drawback the bottle jack has relative to a standard floor jack is that the piston is carrying the weight with none of the mechanical advantage ordinarily granted by levering the car upwards. All the weight pushes directly back against the piston and can make it particularly hard to pump up.
The hydraulic rams are likewise under proportionately greater pressure and the user should take extra care to check for any signs of failure.
Bar jacks such as Hi-Lift abandon hydraulics entirely, as well as the traditional saddle. It favors a heavy hook with corresponding brackets on the car known as rescue points. Once the hook is matched to the rescue points, pumping the jack will engage a ratchet that lifts the hook along the metal bar that forms the support for the jack.
These jacks benefit from being comparatively small and light, but their unusual shape means that an additional piece to spread the weight of the car is often required. Without this base to distribute the load, the jack’s narrow footprint can be driven through the ground or twist free of the car while still in use.
Although this warning applies to a more conventional jack as well, it bears repeating for a jack made for heavier vehicles. Avoid being underneath a car sitting on a jack whenever possible. A car on a jack, even if braced, represents a real hazard to those around and especially under it.
There is rarely enough warning of a jack failure to get clear before the car drops off the jack. Someone working under it may not even have time to notice the jack giving out, let alone get clear of the vehicle.
Our 6 Favorite High Lift Floor Jacks for Trucks
|Product||Type||Load Capacity||Max Lift Height|
|Hi-Lift HL484 (48")||High Lift||7,000 lbs.||38.5"|
|Arcan XL2T||Floor Jack||4,000 lbs.||24"|
|Hi-Lift XT485 X-TREME (48")||High Lift||7,000 lbs.||38.5"|
|OTC 9320 Stinger||Bottle Jack||20 tons||20.5"|
|ARB 72X10 Bushranger X-Jack||Inflatable Jack||4,400 lbs.||31"|
|Torin Big Red 83006||Floor Jack||6,000 lbs.||21"|
High Lift Floor Jack Reviews
The following high lift floor jacks are what we consider to be the creme of the crop. Each of these have a high load rating and good clearance. Additionally, they are well-built and can retain durability under heavy use.
Have a really big rig? You may need to move up to a heavy duty 5 ton floor jack model.
#1 – Hi-Lift HL484
Made from a mixture of cast and stamped steel parts, this farm jack was designed for durability and is a favorite of Jeep and other off-road enthusiasts. The two-piece handle and socket has a rated load capacity of 4,660 pounds and a tested load capacity of 7,000 pounds. A shear bolt prevents the jack from being used on any loads greater than 7,000 pounds for improved safety.
The Hi-Lift HL484 model is the most popular 48″ size but other Hi-Lift heights exist as shown in the chart below:
|Bar Length||Min Lift Height||Max Lift Height|
Of those who own this jack, a large percentage keep it as a backup for when doing off-road activities or on surfaces where a standard jack isn’t stable enough. They note that the jack itself is built to last and will work for a variety of tasks where a jack is needed. Adding a board underneath the base will allow this off road jack to function even better in muddy or uneven ground.
Shipping has been a problem for some with this tool. Customers have often received damaged packaging, with paint chipped off of the contents. As the instructions and safety information are incorporated into the surface, this has resulted in information being lost during the chipping. This surface damage thankfully doesn’t affect the jack itself, which is quite durable.
- The Hi-Lift 48 inch cast and steel jack is constructed with a mix of cast...
- Top winch connector clamp and powder coated finish with zinc-plated hardware...
- Two piece handle and socket is durable and reliable; Operation type : Mechanical
It’s almost odd to classify our favorite low profile jack as a jack for trucks, but that’s what happens when you have a lifting range from 2.75″ to 24″ (a typical floor jack maxes out at around 18″). This steel service jack has a long 32.5 inch chassis to help you safely raise most loads.
Its dual pump action helps raise the load quickly. With its ultra low profile and long chassis, you can even reach an engine jack point on some vehicles. It also has a max load rating of two tons, making this tool indispensable for small to mid-size trucks and SUVs.
Consumers love the low clearance of this jack, as well as the overall durability. They also compliment the height-per-pump ratio. Many users state it works well on lifted trucks and not just low-clearance vehicles. Because of the design, it’s not lightweight, tipping the scales at about 97 pounds. Fortunately, the steel casters allow for good manueverability.
The handle of the XL2T has been a little loose for some owners. There have also been a few issues with the casters all touching a smooth surface without first bearing a load. A few complaints have revolved around missing or damaged parts which may be related to shipping issues or a factory problem. As a result, we recommend testing this jack out as soon as it arrives to expose any problems before the jack is needed for a job.
- COLORS MAY VARY: XL2T = A20016
- LIFT RANGE Provides the lowest low height (2 75”) and the highest high height...
- LOW PROFILE FRAME For easy access under low ground clearance vehicles
The second Hi-Lift entry in our list may resemble the HL484 at a quick glance, but the XT485 is designed to take even more abuse. Starting with a charcoal metallic powder coating and gold zinc coating on the winch, clamp, and spreader, this jack won’t be rusting any time soon.
The Hi-Lift XT485 is the most popular 48″ size but other Hi-Lift heights exist as shown in the chart below:
|Bar Length||Min Lift Height||Max Lift Height|
The top also incorporates a unique winch/clamp/spreader clamp instead of the standard clamp-clevis on the HL484, allowing this jack to perform multiple functions from a single position.
This jack lives up to its name, with people buying it for their Wrangler, lifted trucks, or other heavy vehicles. A few have even used multiple XT485s for lifting entire structures! This jack is very heavy, but the weight is justified by just how well it holds up to even the most difficult of tasks.
Consumers have had a few issues with the coating on this jack, which some has been damaged in transit. The exposed portions rust quickly, making the coating only as effective as its coverage. This issue is one that’s not easily solved, so we advise potential buyers to keep the tool dry as a precaution.
- The Hi-Lift Jack X-TREME jack is our top of the line, all-cast jack that...
- Unique gold zinc-coated winch/clamp/spreader attachment ensures the greatest...
- Two piece handle and socket is durable and reliable, One position for all...
This high lift bottle jack has a forged base and cylinder to reduce the risk of leaks. Its in-line design makes it easier to position and use, while the piston pump and ram are chrome for superior rust resistance. Built for power, this jack can lift a whopping 20 tons to a maximum height of 20-7/16 inches. For a bottle jack, that’s about as high of a lift height you can get but nothing comes close to its lift capacity.
OTC includes a two-year limited warranty and free patch kit to further extend the life of this no-nonsense jack.
Owners of this bottle jack usually buy it to replace the stock jack that came with their vehicle. A few have used it to help shift heavy machinery in their workshop. In both instances, the jack has performed at or beyond expectations in almost every instance.
There have been very few issues with this jack, although it can have issues with a few specific models which have lift points less than 11 inches high. In those cases, it simply doesn’t provide enough clearance. To avoid encountering this problem yourself, try estimating the required clearance height for your vehicle before ordering.
- OTC's 20-Ton Bottle Jack features a rugged forged cylinder and base to ensure...
- In-line design (pump mechanism centered on the cylinder) makes the jack much...
- Specifications include: 6-7/8 inch long stroke, 10-5/8 inch minimum retracted...
Certainly the most unusual design in our list, the X-Jack is inflated using your vehicle’s exhaust or a portable air compressor. The hardcore insert and triple layer top give extra protection and stability. Triangular shaped feet and a naturally wide footprint make this jack invaluable for unstable terrain such as mud or snow.
Owners of this inflatable jack have found it a perfect companion for off-road activities. The inflatable nature means some caution must be followed to avoid puncture, but the overall effectiveness is well worth a little sensible caution for those who have needed the 72X10 under hostile conditions.
Due to the design of this jack, it doesn’t work so well on a normal, solid surface. Consumers have occasionally had problems with it rolling or failing to properly inflate when used in their garage. For this reason, it is best to keep a normal jack on-hand for regular maintenance work.
This cheap 3-ton truck and SUV jack remains one of our favorites. The neck features a removable extension, giving a lift range of 6 to 21 inches. Perfect for lifting small to mid-size SUVs like the CRV, Explorer, or Durango without the long neck extension, the added length makes it perfect for many higher profile vehicles, such as the Jeep Wrangler. Fully rotating casters make it easy to move this trolley-style jack, which has a max lift capacity of three tons.
The small base of this model restricts it from any further extensions, which would affect its stability. Some users report a degree of success by placing the jack on a plank, although we advise caution if you intend to do this. In a few cases, the Big Red has arrived with insufficient hydraulic fluid, so you’ll want to check that just in case. All in all, the Torin Big Red is a good inexpensive option for many SUVs and trucks.
- Hydraulic trolley floor jack is constructed with heavy duty steel, providing...
- Features a 3 ton (6,000 lb) capacity with a minimum lifting height of 5-7/8" and...
- Equipped with (2) large steel casters and (2) 360-degree swivel casters for...
Common Questions Regarding High Lifting Jacks
High lifting jacks are a bit different from the jacks you might be used to using. Unlike a standard floor jack, these are designed to lift higher-sitting loads, such as SUVs, lifted trucks, and farm equipment. Some function well for mechanical repairs, while others are specialized recovery tools.
How do you use a Hi-Lift jack?
There are a number of different high lifting jacks out there, but the jacks made by Hi-Lift are a bit different from what you might be used to in a typical floor jack.
Note that it is always best to first lubricate the bolts and joints of this jack and use it briefly with no load to ensure the tool is in proper working order before attempting to lift anything. These jacks can be very dangerous if not used properly, so testing prior to each use is an important precaution.
The front and back of many larger vehicles will have recovery points. These points are rectangular holes in the frame with a slot at the bottom known as a T-slot.
- Place your Hi-Lift on its base to give it more stability, if dealing with soft or uneven terrain. The base is available separately from Hi-Lift, as are repair kits and accessories.
- Slide the jack into the T-slot closest to where you need to lift.
- Pull the pin up to lock the jack in place.
- Begin to pump the handle in an up and down motion to raise the vehicle, making sure to always keep your head away from the handle in case of a slip.
- When lowering the vehicle, never attempt to grab the handle if it slips from your grasp.
On vehicles without recovery points, you can use a Lift-Mate, which connects to your vehicle’s wheel. Secure the hooks on the wheel hub and insert the jack, proceeding as you would with a regular recovery point.
Note that the Hi-Lift jack can be used in conjunction with a winch and may also be used to move a vehicle sideways. It was designed for recovery operations, and not for standard mechanical work. Therefore, you should always keep a regular jack with your repair equipment in addition to the Hi-Lift.
Can you increase the lift height of a regular floor jack?
The answer to this question depends largely upon the size of your jack compared to the job. If the jack is too small, then you need a bigger jack. However, if the problem is needing just a few more inches of height, then you can use a floor jack extender to give you that necessary boost.