Lift capacity of 4,000 lb. Easy level deployment through its single-axis level. Has 3 LED lights for night or low-light use. Corrosion-resistant surface. Quieter than expected. 22" total travel. Features an emergency manual override.
Reports that this option arrives damaged. Some buyers felt that this jack operated very slowly.
Bolt-on jack that has a 1,000 lb. weight capacity. Features a poly-hard wheel and 3/8" swivel pull pin. Stands 13" retracted, 23" extended (10" total travel distance). Easy installation. Inexpensive. Smooth action.
Corrosion-resistant zinc finish is on the thin side. No brake on the wheel. Some buyers report that the gears seize up within a few months.
Electric push-button control. 3,500 lb. capacity. 30 A, 18" stroke. Has 4 LED lights for low-light operation. Strong textured casing resists chipping. Comes with mounting hardware and a manual crank. Low noise. Easy installation. Retracted height: 10.75"; extended height: 28.75". Runs smoothly.
Operation is a bit on the slow side. Instructions are minimal. Some reports of this option failing within a few months.
1,200 lb. capacity. Corrosion-resistant plating. Comes with mounting hardware and grease fittings. Travels from 12.7" retracted to 22.7" extended. Assembles and installs in minutes. Decent price.
Some buyers say that this jack failed or seized up within a year. Grease fittings break easily. Jack overall doesn't seem as sturdy as other options.
Electric jack with a crank manual override. 3,650 lb. total capacity. Comes in black or white. Gears are constructed from hardened steel, while the motor is water resistant. Has a built-in level and an LED light. Sturdy.
Mounting hardware is not included. Some reports of problems with the wiring that include poor instructions, missing parts, and an unattached ground wire.
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When you need to detach your boat or trailer from your bumper hitch, a tongue jack is an indispensable piece of equipment that’s usually pretty durable. But sometimes they get damaged, and they all wear out eventually — particularly those that are regularly near the sea, where the environment can quickly eat into metals.
That’s not the only reason to be shopping for a new tongue jack though. If you’re fed up with winding a handle on a manual jack, upgrading to an easy electric jack may appeal to you. You should also consider the tongue jack’s durability, whether it can resist corrosion, and which additional features (such as foot pads and LED lights) you’ll need to get the best results.
To learn more about the technical aspects, read our shopping guide below. If you’re ready to buy, we have several recommendations for a range of price and performance needs.
When shopping for a tongue jack, there are two basics to look for: the maximum load rating and whether it’s manual or electric.
Finding the right load rating isn’t complicated. Most tongue jacks fall into one of three brackets:
Note: The maximum in general use is 8,000 pounds, but they can be rated as high as 40,000 pounds.
Electric vs. manual tongue jacks
Electric tongue jacks have various features that we’ll look at in a minute, but the big advantage is that they just go up and down at the press of a button rather than needing to be wound with a handle.
Manual jacks offer a couple of variations:
Even the most lightweight tongue jack is going to undergo considerable presses during its working life, so you want to look for robust construction, substantial material cross section, good weld quality, and sizable nuts and bolts.
Corrosion is one of the biggest enemies of any trailer component or accessory. The cheapest jacks are just painted — which is OK but not the toughest finish available. Epoxy resin coating (also called powdered coating) is heated and bonded to the metal surfaces and offers greater protection. Zinc or chrome plating may also be used. These are great at inhibiting rust but are more expensive than epoxy, which is why they are not as common.
You would expect the necessary fitting bolts to be supplied, but that’s not always the case — and not just on cheap tongue jacks. If you can’t use the existing ones because they’re corroded, you may have to buy them separately.
One or two tongue jacks are fitted with lights — which is great if you’re working in the dark. This means you can do the job on your own without having to try to balance a torch somewhere.
Inexpensive: There are some surprisingly cheap tongue jacks around, but we would be cautious of anything under $30. For $30 to $50, you’ll find numerous models that are more than adequate for modest-sized boat and utility trailers — up to around 1,200 pounds.
Mid-range: The next weight bracket is 2,500 to 3,500 pounds, and manual jacks with this rating will cost you anywhere from $75 to $120. At the top end of those prices, you’ll also start to see basic electric tongue jacks, though they can get close to $200.
Expensive: When you get to true heavy-duty tongue jacks — 4,000 pounds plus — there are a few manual models, and those usually need to be welded to the trailer frame. Electric jacks capable of lifting this much typically range in price from $180 to $350, depending on features.
Looking for the ultimate in luxury? Some electric tongue jacks have remote controls.
The BAL 29015B 1,000-pound Sidewind Trailer Tongue Jack is cheap and durable. The 1 7/8” outer diameter makes it particularly popular with owners of boat and utility trailers designed in the 1970s and ’80s. If you’ve got really heavy loads to support, the Reese Pro Series Square Jack will handle up to 8,000 pounds, which is impressive from a low-cost manual model. But there is one drawback: there is no bolt fixing, it has to be welded on. You get plenty of power and great convenience with the Husky 82022 Super Brute Electric Jack. It’s rated for up to a 5,000-pound load, runs at 6” per minute (18” maximum lift), and it’s remote controlled.
Q. Is there any difference between an A-frame jack and a tongue jack?
A. Not normally. The A-frame describes the type of tow hitch (technically the “tongue”) fitted to your trailer. Often it’s a straight beam, sometimes an “A” shape. All you really need do is check that the size and mounting kit will fit. Some will fit both types of tow hitch, some are specified particularly for A-frames.
Q. Are tongue jacks difficult to fit?
A. No. With manual ones, it’s just a question of doing up a few nuts and bolts. Electric models require power but at most it’s two wires — live and ground. On most seven-way connectors, ground is usually done already (check anyway). Your manufacturer should provide clear advice, and there are also a number of helpful videos available online.
Q. Do tongue jacks need much maintenance?
A. It’s a device that’s often overlooked, even by people who clean their trailers regularly, and neglect will shorten its operating life. However, looking after your tongue jack isn’t difficult, and the maker will provide instructions. Though some are sealed units, most recommend lubrication of the main screw a couple of times a year, usually with grease rather than oil (which isn’t sticky enough). Terminals on electric models should be checked for corrosion.
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