Disclaimer: Safe Jack contributed to our travels by donating the system that I review below in return for photography and videography for their own use. This has in no way affected my opinions expressed below. I aim to keep my reviews unbiased and truthful, and remember – they are OPINIONS, I do not claim to be an expert.
Before the Safe Jack system, we lugged around a massive three-ton floor jack and two six-ton jack stands in the event that we (I) needed to do work on the truck or replace a tire. In fact, one of the main reasons we even have the front tool box on the truck was because I refused to leave home without a strong and sturdy jack to lift the combined weight of our truck and camper, also I wanted to bring all my tools with us. The floor jack and stands took up nearly a third of the front box. Upon seeing the Safe Jack system at Overland Expo West we fell in love and knew that we desired such a compact system to replace our behemoth.
Holy cow! This system is compact and light. On the day I sold our massive floor jack I could almost hear Darlene’s suspension breathe a sigh of relief. The entire Safe Jack system (minus the orange “footprint”) fits within a 14″x 9″ bag. This is above and beyond smaller than what we had before and the “Bottle Jack Recovery Kit” and the “8×10 Compact Jack Stand Kit” include: 6 ton bottle jack, 3″ extension, 6″ extension, 8.5″-12″ adjustable extension, flat jack pad, round tube jack pad, 8″x10″ jack stand pad, 5-ton jack stand adapter, a “big foot” jack baseplate, and nesting wheel chocks. The bag is hefty and durable, able to hold the weight of the system and take a beating. I don’t have a scale with me but the bag feels around twenty or so pounds, potentially a bit more. The best part is that it takes up no space in our tool box and now we can fit more junk in the truck.
Here is where my opinion on the Safe Jack system falls behind on expectations. When I purchased our original floor jack I made sure that it had a high lifting range so that I could actually get our 1997 Dodge Ram up and off the ground. Call me dumb, but the first time I used the Safe Jack system I couldn’t get it to lift high enough for our truck. I emailed the owner, Richard, and he informed me of the screw-top that most bottle jacks have which gives them more lifting range. D’oh! With this problem solved I encountered a new one – I found myself in a “Goldie Locks” predicament of not being able to get the truck high enough or the jack stand low enough to slide underneath and provide support. Also a large proponent of the safety in the Safe Jack system – the custom made tops for the jack and stands (a square footprint and an axle holder) wouldn’t fit on my front axle. With some creativity I was able to manage both issues to a degree, however I still wasn’t able to use either of the safety tops on the jack stand which made me feel a bit uneasy with all that weight balancing precariously on a ~1″ cylindrical top. With a bit more playing around I might be able to make something work, but it doesn’t look promising. The caveat is that these issues may be vehicle-specific: our truck’s front axle doesn’t have a lot of empty retail space to lift from, and lifting from the frame would require all the included extensions before the wheels would raise an inch. The rear axle has a lot more area with which to place the jack and stands, and I did not have any issues there. The custom-built extra-large footprint for the bottle jack adds stability and safety to the entire process, and the handles make positioning the jack a breeze. I normally hate bottle jacks because they feel so unsteady and unsafe with their pitifully small footprint and short lift range, but the Safe Jack system assuaged any fears of a toppling jack while providing extra lifting range.
LONG TERM USE
Luckily our use of the jack has been limited. The majority of our Safe Jack system’s use has been to testing for the purpose of writing this review. It will be used in the coming weeks when I replace our brake pads on Darlene and I expect the performance to remain the same. If anything changes I will promptly update this review.
The Safe Jack system is a very very well-built system. I can not stress this enough – you can tell that this is high quality craftsmanship with high quality materials There are quirks to using it, but like I mention above, these may be limited to certain vehicles. Because of this I would highly recommend that you figure out a working method with your Safe Jack before you wind up needing to use it. You will definitely appreciate taking the time to learn a system that works best for you when you’re in dire need of the jack, rather than scratching your head and wondering if you’ve made a good investment as you sit on the side of the road with a flat tire in the pouring rain. On that note, would I consider the Safe Jack system a good investment? To be honest I was, and still am at times, on the fence – mostly because the gear reviewed retails at over $500 and half of me longs for more universal ease of use and more variety of heads and extenders. The other half of me loves that this is made by hand in the USA with quality products and great intentions behind them all, which is an industry I want to support. I wish I didn’t have to fiddle so much with the system to get it to work, but I greatly appreciate that it does work and that I can store everything I need to safely lift my vehicle within such a small package.
If you have the money to spend and don’t mind having to fiddling around to get everything to work, then I highly recommend purchasing a Safe Jack system and supporting American ingenuity and labor. If you’re strapped for cash Safe Jacks offers a variety of accessories you can purchase to augment and improve your current bottle jack. At the least I would recommend anyone buy their bottle jack footprint extender for a much safer and secure way to lift and support your vehicle. If you are a fan of the hi-lift system of jacks, they also provide an product to increase the footprint and help stabilize the load while lifting.
Visit SafeJacks.com for more information and to purchase their systems.