Hi-Lift Jack Review and Guide

Last updated

If you’re into off-roading or overlanding, then you’ve probably heard of Hi-Lift, the American company based in Indiana. The company’s name became THE name for off-road jacks, so anyone who is looking for the best ‘high-lift’ jacks will inevitably come across their product: the Hi-Lift Jack.

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00042KG3A&Format= SL450 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=dobosiconsulting 20&language=en US

If you are the owner of a 4-wheel-drive vehicle and not afraid to test its limits, you have probably realized that a hi-lift jack is something you should never leave your home without.

This tool can take you out of a bind in desperate situations – but only if you know how to use it right!

In addition, the factory jack (whether it’s a bottle or screw jack) that your vehicle originally came with will probably not be capable of lifting your vehicle once you have changed your tire size. It will just simply not be high enough.

american made high lift jack

The above jack is not from the great Hi-Lift brand. The picture is for illustration purposes only

Unfortunately, while the off-road high-lift jack can help you lift your 4×4 rig, not everyone knows how to use it correctly.

Not only can incorrect use lead to injury, but it will also prevent you from reaping the benefits that come with using this device.

In this hi-lift jack reviews we will go through the most important aspects of this product.

Using it in a safe way is the most important factor and this guide’s purpose is to teach you all about it.

off road jack review

The above jack is not from the great Hi-Lift brand. The picture is for illustration purposes only

How to Use a Hi-Lift Jack Safely

No matter how good of an off-roader you are, when it comes to using a 4×4 jack, you need to be humble and learn the basics upfront.

After all, you will be lifting heavy weight items, and this can be quite difficult and dangerous. To ensure complete safety, here are some quick tips that you might want to follow.

Maintain Your Off-Road Jack

A hi-lift jack can become very stiff over time. Dirt and mud can bundle up, causing your tool to jam or malfunction when you need it the most. Hence, you should maintain your hi-lift jack properly.

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B01LZ1WS99&Format= SL450 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=dobosiconsulting 20&language=en US

Especially if you store your off-road high-lift jacks on the outside of your vehicle, make sure you lubricate the moving parts and service the tool before you go on a trip.

In order to reduce maintenance costs, you could use a protector bag, which will keep dust and mud away from your tool.

It’s an awesome Hi-Lift jack accessory:

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00ZRE8QQO&Format= SL450 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=dobosiconsulting 20&language=en US

Use the Jacking Points

Most cars should be equipped with specially designed points for your jack. However, for a heavy off-road vehicle, you need extra strong jacking points.

If you’re unsure where your jacking points are, speak to an off-road specialist in your area who is familiar with your vehicle to advise you with respect to the actual jacking points on your truck.

3rd gen 4runner off road parts

This cannot be emphasized enough. 

Sturdy metal bumpers and rock sliders usually work as jacking points. Plastic bumpers and factory sheet metal won’t be strong enough to support all the pressure between the vehicle and the jack.

A sturdy metal bumper like this one usually has several suitable jacking points. Make sure the jack tongue doesn’t slip and securely connected to the bumper, though.

Not using the correct jacking points is not only very dangerous but will also damage your vehicle.

Use the Right Hi-Lift Jack Accessories

To be on the safe side, you might also want to invest in a few hi lift jack accessories.

For example, a hi-jack lift is designed to lift vehicles – not to hold them. If that’s what you want to do, you should get something such as a jack or axle stand to hold your vehicle.

Since an off-road high-lift jack is a very heavy weight item, securing it on to, or inside your vehicle is equally as important as maintaining safety while using it.

Safe and strong high lift jack mounts or brackets are a must.

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B000CODPF6&Format= SL350 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=dobosiconsulting 20&language=en US
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B003CEODQI&Format= SL350 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=dobosiconsulting 20&language=en US

Give your mounting point a thought before you purchase your hi-lift jack. This tool comes in different sizes, so storing it inside or outside can be an important detail.

Use a Base

Whenever you are using a hi-lift jack, ensure that it won’t go sinking into the ground. If you’re on loose ground such as sand or mud, you should operate your 4×4 jack only after you made sure it’s standing on a sturdy base to hold onto all that weight.

A base will increase the footprint of the jack.

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00042KJQ4&Format= SL450 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=dobosiconsulting 20&language=en US

Hi Lift Jack Base

A dedicated hi-lift jack base (often referred to as an off-road high-lift jack base) will make your jack be able to lift your rig even on those loose surfaces, but you can also use a simple wooden board if you don’t have a base.

A couple of sand mats can also work!

Lift Mate

With a lift mate, you’ll be able to lift your wheel directly. By doing this, you’ll be able to put rocks, sand mats or any other item under the wheel to increase traction in a tricky situation.

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00042KGWG&Format= SL450 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=dobosiconsulting 20&language=en US
ir?t=dobosiconsulting 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B00042KGWG

Lift Mate – to lift your wheels directly

Trust Murphy’s Law

If something can go wrong, it will go wrong – so you better not leave anything up to chance.

If you don’t want something to be bruised or broken by the hi-jack firing line, you need to take it away from your car – or from its vicinity, for that matter.

What Hi-Lift Jack should I get?

This depends mostly on the size of your tires and your vehicle’s lift. Commonly off-roaders opt for a 48″ jack as it fits most 4WD’s. If your vehicle is bigger than the 48″ can handle you should consider buying a 60″ high-lift jack.

Using a Hi-Lift Jack

So, now you know the safety measures you should take when using a hi-lift jack. But how should you actually use one? Well, here is a step by step guide:

The Basics

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B000688VNE&Format= SL350 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=dobosiconsulting 20&language=en US
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B0017T7WHW&Format= SL350 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=dobosiconsulting 20&language=en US

Place the jack’s reversing lever in the down position before lifting the nose (or tongue) beneath your vehicle’s jacking point (usually metal bumper or rock slider) and pull up on the handle to bring the jack nose (or tongue) into the lifting position.

Once the tongue is in the right position, move the lever (or latch) up, until it clicks.

By leaning the hi-lift jack a little away from the vehicle, you can avoid damaging any body panels as it lifts.

Use one hand to hold the jack’s bar to make it steady as the rig goes up.

These jacks can be wobbly if the ground is not level and firm. 

Make sure there is nothing between the bar and the handle, especially your fingers or your head.

Find a Secure Base

The base plate needs to be on firm, flat ground. To further increase the footprint, you can use an off-road high-lift jack base, but it can also be a flat rock or a solid plate of some kind.

Regardless of the situation, you have to ensure that your hi-lift jack won’t go sinking into the ground and won’t slip on the surface.

A good anchor, like a jack-mate can help if a flat base cannot be used.

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B002YPSUKG&Format= SL450 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=dobosiconsulting 20&language=en US

Jack Mate


A 4wd truck will generally have jacking slots for you to safely connect your tool. Find those points, secure the jack, and then you may proceed with the lifting.

Be careful – if your vehicle’s weight is particularly heavy, you might want to use more than one high lift jacks to lift it up.

Once you begin to lift, you will need to keep your fingers and your head away from the area between the bar and the handle.

hi lift jack review

The above jack is not from the great Hi-Lift brand. The picture is for illustration purposes only

Push the Jacking Handle From the Top

While keeping a safe distance from your vehicle, push the lever up and down – constantly checking for the clicking sound. Place the resistance on the outer point of the handle – otherwise, you might not be able to lift it.

Once you lifted your truck high enough, make sure to snap the handle into a locking position.

This will ensure the handle doesn’t fall and start to ratchet on its own.

A lifted 4wd vehicle can be very dangerous.

A good practice is to place a tire underneath the vehicle. That will avoid the rig to fall too far, should it move due to any reason.

You shouldn’t work underneath your vehicle that is supported only by a jack.

Be Very Careful When Lowering the Vehicle

Once everything is in order, slowly lower the jack lever.

Before you start doing that though, ensure everyone’s clear. Some have a firing mechanism – others have to be lowered manually. For this, you will have to read the instructions manual!

Most often, you will have to put the reversing lever (latch) into a downward position and start lowering your vehicle. Move the jack handle up and down.

Take full strokes and wait for the click at the bottom of each stroke.

When the weight comes off the hi-lift jack, the lifting mechanism will drop to the bottom of the bar. Place the reversing lever back to the up position before storing the jack.

This will prevent the lifting mechanism from sliding up and down the bar.

how to use a hi lift jack

Hi-Lift Jack Uses – The Poor Man’s Winch

If there’s something that we particularly love about an off-road jack, it’s the fact that it’s so versatile. So, here are some of the other uses of a 4×4 jack:

  • Lift Your Car from Mud and Sand: if you have large wheels, mud and sand can be slightly problematic. However, by using an off-road high-lift jack, you can lift the rig, fix the flat tire or dig out the stuck wheels, and go down your way.
  • Turn Your Car Around: every now and then, you may reach a spot where it’s impossible for you to turn your car around. However, by lifting your car from the front and back with a hi-lift jack and then letting it fall off the side, you can turn it around a decent angle. The process may take a few hours – but at least it will get the job done.
  • Use it as a Spreader or Clamp: to fix something like a bent steering rod, you can use the off-road jack as a gigantic spreader or clamp. You will need a top clamp clevis in these cases.
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00042KQ58&Format= SL450 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=dobosiconsulting 20&language=en US
  • Winching: using recovery straps (and a tree saver if you’re ‘winching’ your vehicle with the help of a tree) and other basic accessories below, the hi-lift jack can be used horizontally – this way it acts like a winch, slowly recovering your rig from a stationary position.
mongolia overlanders trouble

Hi-Lift Jacks Reviews

All-Cast Hi-Lift Jack

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B000688VNE&Format= SL450 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=dobosiconsulting 20&language=en US

The first one on our list is the All-Cast Jack. From the name you can guess that it is made with all-cast parts.

Because of that, it will be more rugged and last longer than the standard Hi-Lift off-road jacks. It has a load capacity of up to 7000 lbs. or 3175 kg.

This one is available in 60, 48, and 42 inches heights. If you are looking for a heavy-duty and truly rugged Hi-Lift Jack that you will use frequently, you can get this without any hesitation.

Cast and Steel Hi-Lift Jack

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B000CMFN4E&Format= SL450 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=dobosiconsulting 20&language=en US

Frankly, this is their entry-level high-lift jack. As the name suggests, this one is made with a mix of cast and stamped steel.

Most of the parts of the jack are made with cast iron except for 4 pieces. That way it has a lower price than the All-cast jack.

However, that doesn’t mean that it is not capable of lifting a heavy weight. Matter of fact, it comes with the same load capacity of up to 7000 pounds or 3175 kg.

This one is available in 60, 48, 42, and 30 inches (heights). But remember because of the stamped steel, it will wear faster than the All-Cast Hi-Lift Jack.

Patriot Hi-Lift Jack

This is also similar to the All-Cast jack. However, it differs in color (blue powder coated and white powder coated handle & socket).

Plus, it comes with zinc-plated hardware. In addition, it comes with a red-colored handle-keeper.

This one also has the same capacity. You will get in 2 heights that are 48 and 60 inches.

This is named as the Patriot Jack as a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this goes to ‘The Hope For The Warriors Foundation’.

X-treme Hi-Lift Jack (Gold zinc-coat)

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B0017T7WHW&Format= SL450 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=dobosiconsulting 20&language=en US

If the budget is not an issue for you and you want the best of the best off-road jack, then the X-Treme Hi-Lift jack is the way to go. This one also sports an all-cast construction.

But it has a few more improved features compared to the standard Hi-Lift off-road jacks. For instance, it comes with a gold zinc-coated handle and hardware.

In addition, it has the ‘X-TREME’ top clamp clevis for winching. The top clamp clevis can withstand up to 5000 pounds. Whereas this off-road Jack is also capable of lifting up to 7000 lbs. or 3175 kg.

This is available in 2 sizes that are 48 and 60 inches (heights). If you are a serious Hi-Lifter, you should get this one. It will serve you for the longest.

UTV/Side by Side Hi-Lift Jack

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B003CEFJ0C&Format= SL450 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=dobosiconsulting 20&language=en US

If you own either a UTB, ATV, ROV, or Side x Side, then you must get this one. This is specifically designed for farmers, off-roaders, ranchers, and usual outdoor enthusiasts.

It is available in 2 sizes as 36 inches and 42 inches (heights). Plus, it weighs only about 30 lbs. But it has the same power as the full-size jack. Moreover, it also has a top clamp clevis.

First Responder Hi-Lift Jack

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B01G8ZDI40&Format= SL450 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=dobosiconsulting 20&language=en US

As the name suggests, this jack is particularly designed for heavy rescue, extrication, shoring, forcible entry, and other similar emergency situations. Thus, it has a lift capacity of up to 4660 lbs.

You will get this one in 3 sizes that are 36, 48, and 60 inches (height). It has a 36 square inch base plate and luminescent features for using it reliably and in a low light environment. 

Hi-Lift Jack Uses

There are multiple usages of a Hi-Lift jack. Here are some of the most common ones.

  • Using it as a winch to move the vehicle in any direction
  • To lift the vehicle off an obstacle
  • To lift the wheel of a vehicle off the ground
  • Vehicle recovery from mud or sand
  • Use the jack as a winch clamp or spreader

How We Use Our Hi-Lifts the Most

Above, we have mentioned how to use a Hi-Lift Jack. We also use our off-road Jack in the same manner.

This off-road Jack comes in handy in many situations like if the tire is in a hole, or if the vehicle is off-track, or if you want to change the direction of the vehicle. 

Hi-Lift Jack Accessories to Carry with You

There are many Hi-Lift Jack accessories available directly from the brand itself. Interestingly, some of those accessories are very important, and having those at your disposal will make using the tool very simple.

In this post, we have already reviewed and talked about some off-road Jack accessories briefly.

You can get an idea about their importance and functionalities from that section.

Nevertheless, some of the must-have Hi-Lift Jack accessories are the

Jack Protector,

Neoprene Jack Cover,

Handle Keeper,



Off-Road Baseir?t=dobosiconsulting 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B00042KJQ4, and so on. 

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B000F285EG&Format= SL450 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=dobosiconsulting 20&language=en US

Hi-Lift Jack Handle-Keeper

Are Hi-Lift Jacks Dangerous?

Definitely. Hi-Lift Jacks are very powerful and huge sized recovery tools. So, like any other automotive recovery tool, this is also very dangerous if not used correctly.

To be noted, we are not saying that Hi-Lift Jacks are so dangerous that you should not even use them.

Rather, we are saying that it is a highly dangerous piece of tool that you should use respectfully and by maintaining all the safety precautions.

That way, you can be sure that it will not be harmful to the users. For your convenience, here are a few pointers (Hi-Lift Jack DOs and DON’Ts) to keep in mind while using an off-road Jack.

Hi-Lift DOs

  • Maintain a safe distance from the jack
  • It is recommended to throw a tire or log under the vehicle while using an off-road jack
  • It is better to use the Hi-Lift base for better stability
  • Use strong and aprotic jacking points
  • Use the off-road Jack in a firm ground
  • Take care of your off-road jack regularly

Hi-Lift DON’Ts

  • Don’t change a tire using this off-road jack
  • Don’t jack too high
  • Never release the handle while lowering the load
  • Never put yourself or anybody between the jack and the vehicle
  • Never go under your vehicle when it is jacked up by this off-road jack


What Is A Hi-Lift Jack And Hi-lift Jack Company Brand History

Simply put, Hi-Lift Jack is the name of the ‘high lift jacks’ from the company of the same name ‘Hi-Lift’. That means Hi-Lift Jacks are off-road jacks from a top brand that specializes in making high-end jacks for off-road vehicles.

They have numerous types of premium quality jacks. They manufacture their jacks using 2-piece hand and socket design.

This is a unique approach that ensures longevity and reliability compared to other jacks on the market.

The Hi-Lift Jack company was founded back in 1895 in Indiana by Philip John Harrah. This is a family-owned company by the Harrah family.

From the beginning, they used to manufacture various automotive accessories. Among them, they have released a new product named ‘Automatic Combination Tool’ back in 1905. This was the beginning of the current Hi-Lift Jack. 

Later, they have changed the look and functionalities of that tool and improved it to a greater extent. The tool got major overhaul 3 times in the year of 1919, 1950, and 1963.

At the moment of writing this post, they have several types of off-road Jacks of varying sizes. You can see that they have a rich history of making off-road high-lift jacks.

So, you can rely on their tools without any hesitation. 

Do You Need a Hi-Lift Jack?

This is one of those ‘Yes and No’ questions. It totally depends upon your choice whether you are going to get a Hi-Lift Jack or not. Also, various overlanders use their vehicles in various situations.

There are many overlanders that don’t even have an off-road Jack.

However, from our first-hand experience, we can tell that an off-road jack is a very important tool to have at your disposal especially if you are an off-road enthusiast.

What Is The Best Hi-Lift Jack?

Hi-Lift Jacks are available in many variations. For instance, the All Cast Jack, cast-steel, X-treme, patriot, UTV Jack, and more.

Among them, the Hi-Lift X-TREME Jack and the Hi-Lift All-Cast Jack are thought to be the best Hi-Lift Jacks because of their high load capacity and strong build quality.

Hi-Lift Jack Alternatives:

What Size Hi-Lift Jack Should I Get?

We wish we could provide you with a straightforward answer to this question. There are various types of vehicles out there.

Similarly, there are multiple types of Hi-Lift off-road Jacks that are available in varying sizes.

That means there is no one-size-fits-all Hi-Lift jack. You will have to research your vehicle first and then you will be able to decide on the most perfect size of Hi-Lift Jack for your vehicle on your own.

If you are not comfortable with it. You can ask for suggestions to the ‘Hi-Lift’ tech support team.

How Do I Lift My Jeep With A Hi-Lift Jack?

Lifting a vehicle with the Hi-Lift jack is very easy. However, you must take all the necessary safety measures before starting the procedure. Also, you should be familiar with the basics of using an off-road jack.

Above, we have shared the process of using a Hi-Lift Jack to lift and lower a vehicle in a step-by-step manner. Thus, we are not talking about that here again. We would suggest you give a re-read to the procedure in detail from the tutorial above.

Final Thoughts

If you are passionate about off-roading or overlanding (What is the difference?), a 4×4 high-lift jack is something you should never leave your house without. It can take you out of a bad situation when you are badly bogged.

Because this cannot be said too many times: whenever you have to use it, make it sure your priority is safety!

Photo of author
Ferenc Elekes has been a devout Overlanding enthusiast for many years. During that time, Ferenc has explored 75 countries on six continents, with overland travel involved in 40 countries on three continents. From his trusty 2006 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado with a roof-top tent, he’s blogged about experiences that can only be found in the remotest regions on Earth. Along the way, he's gained in-depth knowledge of the novel challenges overlanders encounter and practical ways to meet them. On his website, he shares informed opinions about everything from the best overland gear to how to get a vehicle unstuck. Ferenc has also written for Ih8mud, the Expedition Portal, the Overland Journal, and he is often invited as a guest to outdoors-related podcasts.
Which Overlanding Vehicle Best Fits You?!

Take the quiz to find out which overlanding vehicle best fits you and your travel style.

Overlandsite - take the quiz

12 thoughts on “Hi-Lift Jack Review and Guide”

  1. This is one write up I particularly find informative.. I never knew that the high lift jack has some other uses…great share..

  2. Having the moving parts of the hi-lift jack lubricated is very vital. This is especially true if you rarely use it as it can become stiff at the joints over time.


Leave a Comment