ARB JACK vs. Hi-Lift Jack

Last month I went out with Harry Wagner and Bradd Davidsonto test and shoot photos and video of the new ARB Hydraulic Jack for off road vehicles. I did a test of each lifting Harry’s Jeep LJ. My conclusions are that the ARB JACKis a far better and safer tool for lifting a vehicle than a Hi-Lift JackIf you can afford one. Most of us can’t because we’ve already spend 3 months salary on Yeti coolers and drink cups.
You can see how the JACK works and how a Hi-Lift Jack barely works, in the video. Below are excerpts from Harry’s articles about the ARB JACKand Hi-Lift Jacks on The Dirt.



The ARB JACK Review: Is This The Best Jack For The Trail? by Harry Wagner
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For decades the handyman jack has been a staple on the trail, but now ARB has built a better mousetrap. Handyman jacks, or trail jacks, are relatively inexpensive, tough as nails, and simple. So is the ARB JACK (while confusing, it is actually called JACK) a product looking for a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist? We don’t think so, as it addresses many of the issues that have plagued handyman jacks since their inception. These include instability when lifting, pins that stick when they are exposed to the elements, and difficulty in lifting heavy vehicles. Oh, and they can also break your jaw if your hands happen to slip off the handle when you are raising your vehicle. So there is that. [Photo by Harry Wagner]
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How To Use A Hi-Lift Jack: The Best And Safest Ways To Use An Essential Off-Road Tool by Harry Wagner
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There are few tools for your 4x4 that are as tough, versatile, and inexpensive as the ubiquitous Hi-Lift jack. The basic design by Bloomfield Manufacturing dates back over 100 years. Cast steel construction and a 7,000-lb. capacity means that the Hi-Lift you buy could last you the next 100 years. They can lift your vehicle, clamp together broken parts, spread bent cage tubes, and even winch you out of situations that would otherwise leave you stranded. Hi-Lift jacks can also be dangerous with the potential to cause smashed fingers, missing teeth, and concussions. That doesn’t mean that you need to be afraid of these tools. You just need to have a healthy respect for them and learn how to use them properly. The trick is to learn the easy way and not the hard way. [Photo by Harry Wagner]
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My own personal conclusions?

Well, the ARB JACK is clearly easier, safer and faster to use. The Hi-Lift is more versitile, and as we all know, very durable. We've all had a H-Lift bouncing around for many years that "works" when we need it. How well the ARB follows suit remains to be seen. If you're the kind of person who has a Yeti Cooler and upgraded headlights, the I'm guessing you'll get the ARB JACK. If you're like me and you have a Coleman Extreme and whatever headlights the previous owner installed, then you're with me in the Hi-Lift camp.

Whatever you do, I think we all need to recognize the hazards of a mechanical jack and be vigilant each and every time we use one.

-Mike
 

67cj5

Man On a Mission
Regardless of what ever you say, the arb Jack is a POS, and I wouldn't Pee on it if it was on Fire, It's a One Trick Pony and Cheaply made that can only be used in the upright position because of the Cheapskate Valving, They could of spent another 0.50c and fitted a 2 way valve system in it and then they have the nerve to charge people up to $1000 for it depending where you live in the world, This Jack is a Total Rip Off and most likely costs them about $25 to produce,

I have spent a fortune on ARB products but this is one POS that I would not Cheapen my Vehicle by putting One of them in my Vehicle, Hi-Lifts can sit around for months even years without being used and now arb want to Rip us Off for nearly a thousand Dollars for a jack that will most likely never get used,, The Last time I used my Hi-Lift was back around 2010/11, I have used it for lifting Vehicles, Horse Boxes, Pulling fence posts, and Clamping and Winching etc, One I bought back around 2001 and the 60" Extreme in 2016 and I paid around $100 for it, The Hi-Lift can do about 5 different Tasks and the arb jack can only do one that makes it worth about $20.00, There's no way in hell would I pay any more than 20 bucks for it and If arb want to sell any of these in numbers then they better drop the price down to a few bucks less that what a Person Can buy a Hi-Lift for because the Hi-Lift is the better product,

As New as your arb jack is I can already see a few bad things which are dangerous with it, 1) There is NO Hook on the nose of the Jack to stop the Load from slipping Off, And 2) As New as it Is, the Lifting Nose is already dented and Damaged where the teeth are because it is made of Alloy etc, So what kind of State will it be In in Ten years Time, when it looks like that in less than 6 months or less, ?? and 3) How well is it going to work when those seals get Torn up by Mud and Grit further down the track, Because that will happened, 4) and when it fails out in the field and they Do, How are you going to repair it when you need it Most.

Using any Jack is a risky thing So don't try to tell me that the arb is going to be safer to use, Because In the real world it all boils down to the Idiot who is working the Jack,

You say the Hi-Lift is Super Complicated and Hard to Figure Out, ???, The Hi-Lift is Idiot Proof and extremely easy to use, So what on earth are you talking about,

Rubbish Total Rubbish.
 
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Metcalf

Expedition Leader
Can you explain what makes the ARB jack more stable feeling than the Hi-Lift?
It looks like there was just a slight difference in the interface of the nose of the jack and the rocker.

I'm still definitely not sold on perimeter jacking as the only solution on the vehicle. To get a tire off the ground on most vehicles you are either going to have to max out the either jack just about OR you are going to have to crawl under it anyways to chain the axle to the frame. There are some accessories that can lift from the wheel, but that doesn't help you change a tire. At this point, I am looking to make my bottle style jacks ( toyota double extending mechanical unit ) work for the rare perimeter jacking I do...rather than carry two jacks.
 
Can you explain what makes the ARB jack more stable feeling than the Hi-Lift?
It looks like there was just a slight difference in the interface of the nose of the jack and the rocker.

I'm still definitely not sold on perimeter jacking as the only solution on the vehicle. To get a tire off the ground on most vehicles you are either going to have to max out the either jack just about OR you are going to have to crawl under it anyways to chain the axle to the frame. There are some accessories that can lift from the wheel, but that doesn't help you change a tire. At this point, I am looking to make my bottle style jacks ( toyota double extending mechanical unit ) work for the rare perimeter jacking I do...rather than carry two jacks.
Mostly the contact point. The Hi-Lift was only contacting the hook. The ARB was contacting the the whole flat of the slider. The base also conforms to the angle of the ground on it's own.
 

67cj5

Man On a Mission
Mostly the contact point. The Hi-Lift was only contacting the hook. The ARB was contacting the the whole flat of the slider. The base also conforms to the angle of the ground on it's own.
You Better take a Close Look at the Second picture you posted because it clearly shows that the whole of the nose of the Jack being used, I have never known anyone to lift anything on the Tip/Hook of the Hi-Lift, Sorry mate but you are making this up as you Go,

AND, The Standard Base on a Hi-Lift has enough free play in it to Allow for the base to follow the contours of the ground,

We get it you like your ARB Jack and that's a good thing, But it will never compare with a Hi-Lift, when it comes to power, Strength and usability Or Price, So forget about comparing it to a Hi-Lift because It is not even in the same class, and that is just not my view and the fact is Hi-Lift has sold Millions of their Jacks world wide and they have been used in every theatre of war since their invention, Sorry but you can't reinvent the Wheel and ARB was foolish to even try because Hi-Lift did it 100 years before them, And although I Own a heck of a lot of ARB Gear I think their train of thought on this is a Joke and their Pricing verses value for money is damn right embarrassing,

As a company ARB has lost the focus of their Origins about making good quality product at a reasonable price and this jack fails on both of these points, As with their new fridge range they changed the colour from blue to black and messed with it's software and gave it a 300 Dollar Plus price rise, That Alone has increased sales for Engel and Snomaster, I own 2 ARB fridges but now I am thinking about replacing them with 2 Engels or 2 Snowmaster's, I am so sick of their BS.
 

Metcalf

Expedition Leader
You Better take a Close Look at the Second picture you posted because it clearly shows that the whole of the nose of the Jack being used, I have never known anyone to lift anything on the Tip/Hook of the Hi-Lift, Sorry mate but you are making this up as you Go,

AND, The Standard Base on a Hi-Lift has enough free play in it to Allow for the base to follow the contours of the ground,
Since I don't really like either.....

I think the tip hook of the Hi-lift was contacting the underside of the rocker panel on Harry's jeep.
The ARB unit has no upturned tip at the end of the foot so it was resting flat.
 
Since I don't really like either.....

I think the tip hook of the Hi-lift was contacting the underside of the rocker panel on Harry's jeep.
The ARB unit has no upturned tip at the end of the foot so it was resting flat.
Yeah. I was referring to what I saw in the video. The Hi-Lift's hook will hit in different spots on different vehicles. Not everyone has the experience and familiarity with hi-lifts as some. So that's where a simpler, though limited, product is still good to have.

To clarify, the ARB jack in the video isn't mine. I don't own one. It's a sample Harry got from them for review purposes.
 

Metcalf

Expedition Leader
Yeah. I was referring to what I saw in the video. The Hi-Lift's hook will hit in different spots on different vehicles. Not everyone has the experience and familiarity with hi-lifts as some. So that's where a simpler, though limited, product is still good to have.

To clarify, the ARB jack in the video isn't mine. I don't own one. It's a sample Harry got from them for review purposes.
Doesn't the tip/lip on the Hi-lift serve a reasonably critical function though? It can hook the inside of something to help keep it from sliding off the foot....
I'm not sure the ridges on the ARB unit can do the same thing?

I've always thought the best approach for a perimeter jack was for the foot to key into something. I think this is pretty common in places they get used a lot.....Euro stuff, Australia, etc. There are pockets and pins all over the place for the jack to prevent it slipping on the bottom of the tube. I think overlooking this feature with either jack system is a bit short sighted. MANY vehicles, especially in the USA these days are not set up for perimeter jacking at all. The bumpers/rockers are not heavy duty enough at all. Jacking under a flat smooth surface with either system sounds dangerous to me, especially with how high and how much the slope of the bumper will change over that distance.
 
Doesn't the tip/lip on the Hi-lift serve a reasonably critical function though? It can hook the inside of something to help keep it from sliding off the foot....
I'm not sure the ridges on the ARB unit can do the same thing?

I've always thought the best approach for a perimeter jack was for the foot to key into something. I think this is pretty common in places they get used a lot.....Euro stuff, Australia, etc. There are pockets and pins all over the place for the jack to prevent it slipping on the bottom of the tube. I think overlooking this feature with either jack system is a bit short sighted. MANY vehicles, especially in the USA these days are not set up for perimeter jacking at all. The bumpers/rockers are not heavy duty enough at all. Jacking under a flat smooth surface with either system sounds dangerous to me, especially with how high and how much the slope of the bumper will change over that distance.
Yeah, well it does if it fits. If it doesn't fit, then it's really sketchy. But I think you're definitely right. I like the bumpers or sliders that have pockets specifically designed for a hi-lift foot. That probably makes a pretty big difference.

It's true that most modern vehicles aren't liftable with a perimeter jack unless they have upgraded bumpers or rock slider.
 

67cj5

Man On a Mission
If either of you wish to take a good look at a Hi-Lift, You will see that All Hi-Lift Jacks ALSO Have Ridges on the Lifting Tongue and ALSO a Hook as a Secondary safety Feature to Stop the Load Sliding Off the Jack, AND, The Lifting Tongue Is 4 and 3/4 Inches Long OR 120mm AND 2 and a Half Inches or 65mm Wide at the Base, Which is way more surface area to spread the Load, Where as the Lifting Tongue/Noes of the ARB Jack is Much much smaller.

AND If the Tip/Hook of the Hi-Lift is Contacting Any part of the Rocker/Sil Panel then that is Due to a Design fault of who ever made the Sliders, Because Sliders are a Duel purpose Item that are meant to protect the Vehicle against Rocks and things and most of all they are meant to be Jacking Points.

Bottom line is The Hi-Lift has been improved upon for well over 114 Years So as a Company Hi-Lift has had a good head start over the ARB,

The Noes of the ARB in the picture above is already showing signs of Wear and Damage and it is only a couple of months old, I have 2 Hi-Lift's One I bought back in 2001/2 and I have a New 60" Hi-Lift Extreme Jack which is 3 years old and I also have a Hi-Lift Clone which is also from around 2001 and all 3 of them are in Better Condition than the ARB pictured above, And Mine have been used for lifting every thing from stock Trailers to fence posts to Lumps of Concrete and Large SUV's. Judging buy the picture above this ARB jack is going to be a Mess by this time next year and in 18 years time like my Hi-Lift it will most likely be Land Fill somewhere.

So what if a Hi-Lift is a Heavy SOB, But this is the Nature of the Beast Overlanding Or Off Roading Is a Rough/Tough Environment and weakness will Prevail, The arb jack is a pretty little thing but whats it going to be like after 3 to 5 years of Trail Damage, ??
 

Metcalf

Expedition Leader
If either of you wish to take a good look at a Hi-Lift, You will see that All Hi-Lift Jacks ALSO Have Ridges on the Lifting Tongue and ALSO a Hook as a Secondary safety Feature to Stop the Load Sliding Off the Jack, AND, The Lifting Tongue Is 4 and 3/4 Inches Long OR 120mm AND 2 and a Half Inches or 65mm Wide at the Base, Which is way more surface area to spread the Load, Where as the Lifting Tongue/Noes of the ARB Jack is Much much smaller.

AND If the Tip/Hook of the Hi-Lift is Contacting Any part of the Rocker/Sil Panel then that is Due to a Design fault of who ever made the Sliders, Because Sliders are a Duel purpose Item that are meant to protect the Vehicle against Rocks and things and most of all they are meant to be Jacking Points.

Bottom line is The Hi-Lift has been improved upon for well over 114 Years So as a Company Hi-Lift has had a good head start over the ARB,

The Noes of the ARB in the picture above is already showing signs of Wear and Damage and it is only a couple of months old, I have 2 Hi-Lift's One I bought back in 2001/2 and I have a New 60" Hi-Lift Extreme Jack which is 3 years old and I also have a Hi-Lift Clone which is also from around 2001 and all 3 of them are in Better Condition than the ARB pictured above, And Mine have been used for lifting every thing from stock Trailers to fence posts to Lumps of Concrete and Large SUV's. Judging buy the picture above this ARB jack is going to be a Mess by this time next year and in 18 years time like my Hi-Lift it will most likely be Land Fill somewhere.

So what if a Hi-Lift is a Heavy SOB, But this is the Nature of the Beast Overlanding Or Off Roading Is a Rough/Tough Environment and weakness will Prevail, The arb jack is a pretty little thing but whats it going to be like after 3 to 5 years of Trail Damage, ??
I used a Hi-lift jack for decades.....or rather.....carted it around and didn't really use it that much because I honestly didn't find it that useful. I used it more as a farm impliment that anything for vehicle recovery. I'll take a winch any day personally.

As far as rocker/bumper designs, MANY MANY on the market are not designed to be used for perimeter lifting. Take a good look through the current offerings for say the common Jeep JK or JL these days. The majority of the rockers on the market are BODY mounted armor. I have my doubts about lifting a loaded 5-7K 4-door jeep by a body mounted rocker personally.

I don't think the ARB jack is damaged, but it is mostly the coating coming off for better or worse.

Coming from the other side of things. I have had just as many issues with Hi-Lift jacks over the years. I've probably bent 3-4 main beams. I watched a friend almost get killed by getting hit by the handle. I've had a few loads drop when I didn't want to from pin wear. They aren't infallible either.

The Hi-lift is a big heavy cumbersome piece of kit. There is no way around that. I find it isn't worth carrying around personally. I know a lot of people like to carry one. I've honestly seen VERY little use for one in the last few decades....and less use on the trail in general in the sport. Personally, for the weight, I will put it toward a good winch.
 

67cj5

Man On a Mission
I used a Hi-lift jack for decades.....or rather.....carted it around and didn't really use it that much because I honestly didn't find it that useful. I used it more as a farm impliment that anything for vehicle recovery. I'll take a winch any day personally.

As far as rocker/bumper designs, MANY MANY on the market are not designed to be used for perimeter lifting. Take a good look through the current offerings for say the common Jeep JK or JL these days. The majority of the rockers on the market are BODY mounted armor. I have my doubts about lifting a loaded 5-7K 4-door jeep by a body mounted rocker personally.

I don't think the ARB jack is damaged, but it is mostly the coating coming off for better or worse.

Coming from the other side of things. I have had just as many issues with Hi-Lift jacks over the years. I've probably bent 3-4 main beams. I watched a friend almost get killed by getting hit by the handle. I've had a few loads drop when I didn't want to from pin wear. They aren't infallible either.

The Hi-lift is a big heavy cumbersome piece of kit. There is no way around that. I find it isn't worth carrying around personally. I know a lot of people like to carry one. I've honestly seen VERY little use for one in the last few decades....and less use on the trail in general in the sport. Personally, for the weight, I will put it toward a good winch.
I have owned some really old Hi-Lifts and I have been using them for more that a couple of Decades Too,

If any Hi-Lift has bent then that is down to judgement in setting it up or misuse and like all things if parts fail then It is a Cheap Fix and the parts are available at any 4x4 parts store so again Failure is down to the Owner not the Jack,

And as for your friend getting injured then Again that is not the Jacks fault, That is Operator Error, Owning and Using a Hi-Lift is very much like Driving your Truck and in fact using any Jack is Like Driving your Truck, Because you need to pay Attention the Whole time you are using it . Not just for a couple of pumps of the handle, And While someone is Operating one then Those around Him should Shut Up and be Quiet and let him focus on the task at Hand, There'll be plenty of time for talking after the Job Is Done.

The Rules are Simple with a Hi-Lift, Keep your head hands and Body Parts Clear of the Jack Handle, and Always Fix the Handle in the Upright Position, Hi-Lifts Don't Just Fail EVER and the Only time they will is if the Jack Is Poorly Maintained to the point of where the Climbing Pins are Sticking, and If that is the Case that is Due to the Owner Also, because a person would not allow their engine to get full of Mud or run out of Oil and a Hi-Lift is No different, It Clear States this In the Hi-Lift Manual and they Have released enough Video's on the Subject as well as Video's on Jack Safety.

There are No grey Areas here, Hi-Lift as a Company Warn the Owners of Every New Jack they Sell About Bad Maintenance, A Quick clean down and a Squirt of WD-40 is all it takes, to stop Rust and STICKING Climbing Pins yet people Ignore these simple Guidelines, My Jack That I bought back in 2001/02 Still looks like the day is was made and it is 18 years old,

Sorry but if anyone owns any type of machinery be it Manual or Motor Driven then they have a Duty of Care to keep it in full Safety Working Order.

All these Tails of Woe, Just
 
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shade

Well-known member
Doesn't the tip/lip on the Hi-lift serve a reasonably critical function though? It can hook the inside of something to help keep it from sliding off the foot....
I'm not sure the ridges on the ARB unit can do the same thing?
I wouldn't use a Hi-Lift (or the ARB) on a square or round tube slider without an adapter, or possibly a sling designed for such things. The next time I have mine off, I may add some channel to create a pocket.
 

67cj5

Man On a Mission
I wouldn't use a Hi-Lift (or the ARB) on a square or round tube slider without an adapter, or possibly a sling designed for such things. The next time I have mine off, I may add some channel to create a pocket.
Good Idea, I see that on most of ARB's Bull Bars Winch Bars they have "T" Slots cut in to them so you can Lock in the Nose of the Hi-Lift So no adapter is needed and there is Zero chance of Slippage,

There is an Adapter made to fit round Tubing

,hi-lift-jack-slider-adapter-lotus-developmen_max-450x450_jpg_pagespeed_ce_E6XHSlsRxU.jpg
 
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