Courtesy West Marine, Fulton
Where would trailer boaters be without tongue jacks? Without these telescoping mechanisms, we’d break our backs trying to hoist the trailer tongue, or we’d have to roll out a floor jack every time we hitched up the boat. Here are three types of tongue jacks for today’s boat trailers.
The Lift: Hand-crank jacks such as West Marine’s 1,500-pound-capacity swivel-mount model ($114.99; westmarine.com) bolt on or are welded to the side of the trailer tongue and stow in the horizontal position while towing. This is the most popular style, and most models have one or two wheels.
The Letdown: Not all trailers have enough space on the forward portion of the frame to accommodate the radius of the tilting action. Tongue weights max out at about 2,000 pounds.
Price Range: Between $55 and $250 depending on load capacity and the type of foot or wheels.
The Lift: Fixed tongue jacks such as the Fulton 2,500-pound heavy-duty drop-leg, bolt-on model ($139.99; trailerandtruckparts.com) offer greater load capacities than swing jacks to accommodate heavier trailer boats. Adjustable drop legs enable greater lift height. Some models can weld or bolt to the trailer’s A-frame. Capacities range from 2,500 to 7,000 pounds.
The Letdown: Requires more cranking to retract the telescoping drop leg. Most models do not come with wheels, so you can’t nudge the trailer coupler into position while hitching up.
Price Range: Between $130 and $170.
The Lift: Power jacks such as the Fulton XLT Power Drive 2,500-pound bolt-on model ($363.96; etrailer.com) use 12-volt DC power to lift and lower the trailer coupler. Some have LEDs to illuminate the task at night. Drop legs enable greater elevation. Capacities range from 2,500 to 5,000 pounds.
The Letdown: You need a power source, usually a battery installed in a box on the trailer tongue, which adds to the weight and cost. Electrical cables are subject to corrosion. Most power jacks lack wheels.
Price Range: Between $188 and $466 (excluding the battery), these are the most expensive tongue jacks.