Hi-Lift vs Smittybilt (1 Viewer)

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Feb 23, 2011
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Just popped down to the local 4x4 shop to check out a high-lift jack and possibly get one.

They didn't have Hi-Lift brand, but they had Smittybilt, which according to them is the same thing for less money.

Anybody have any experience with them? I'm a bit new to high-lift jacks... :x
 

80t0ylc

Hill & Gully Rider
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If they have the Smittybuilt in stock, look at it and on the box(if it comes in one). Does it say made in China? If it does, I would pass it up and get the Hi-Lift. Heard bad things about the Chinese knock-offs being poorly made. They won't hold up when they're under stress. If they don't have them in stock, call the help # on this link and see if they know where they're made. Remember, you get what you pay for. If the Smittybuilt is cheaper, chances are they're cutting corners somewhere.
 
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Hm... I ended up getting the Smittybilt.. it is made in China, though it literally looks exactly the same, with the exception of the handle being welded on.

I haven't really used it yet, and i have the receipt, so depending on what I hear in this thread I may return it.

The Smittybilt was $59 and they said the Hi-Lift is $79
 
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To be honest a welded on handle would be a deal breaker for me. There are many times i wind up using the handle for some other purpose. I have also upgraded the handles with heavier pieces of pipe as they have gotten dented/bent/damaged over time. or we stick a longer lever in there when we are using them in ways that I am sure the manufacturer would disclaim any responsibility for. :)


You already have it, but myself. I would gladly pay another $20 for a Highlift instead of "CCC"

I am sure that it looks the same. China copies, they don't design. But the materials and the tolerances would be suspect in my mind. I have seen, owned and used a number of Highlifts and knockoffs. The knockoffs have never been as high quality as the Highlift.

I am sure it will work fine. But when it wears out down the road, (or bends or breaks under extreme use) replace it with a Highlift.


Mark...
 
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Well, I should say the handle base is welded on, the bar can come out. I've never seen a Hi-Lift, but I can imagine the tolerances would be a bit tighter than what this has.

What quality factors are you referring to by the way? On their website they use that word a lot, but they don't really give specifics... it seems almost like its just something they're adding to try to sell, which is why I was curious about this. I try to keep an open mind until I get more information one way or another.

I'll take a look at their return policy and see about having them order a Hi-Lift pending this thread :)
 
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I used some knock off brand hi lift once, and only once.
Had to use it to help get off high center on a rock and the thing buckled it was not user error either got about half way up and the main I beam buckled in the middle.
I have a 5 foot Hi Lift brand jack now and the quality is definitly noticable over the other jack.
And I use the jack a lot with no isssues. I have jacked that thing almost to the top once on a bad stuck it performed the way it should by not failing.
But if it is not used properly any jack can fail hi lifts can be dangerous if not use right.
 
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In general when I say quality I am thinking about fit and finish and materials.


What sort of steel is used in the climbing pins and the shaft itself. How finely are the pins and the holes they slid in polished. How thick are the bars in the mechanism. All the little things like that where the factory can save .5cents per part. it adds up for them to save it everywhere they can and it adds up for you in the overall quality.

None of this usually means that the item is pure crap. But it does mean that it is more likely to wear faster, fail under lower loads, rust easier, jam more often and all the irritating things that eventually show the difference between a quality unit and a Cheap Chines Crap Copy.

It is still a LOT better to have the CCC copy than to not have a jack on board at all when you need one. ;) And I certainly would not refuse to borrow it if I was stuck and jackless. ;)


Mark...
 
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Very good to know guys, for some reason I hadn't thought of metallurgy and how they heat treat etc... all that could be different in a bad way.

I'll hopefully be able to return the Smittybilt and have a Hi-Lift on Monday or Tuesday.
 

Cruiserdrew

On the way there
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Yep-Get the real HiLift. If you are quibbling over $20, where else are you cutting corners? HiLift is a real company not a China crap reseller. You can call and talk to the folks that make it (I've done that). HiLift continues to make a great product with parts available forever. It is a lifetime investment, not a product you have to buy again every 2 years. I've had my HiLift for 10+ years, last used it 2 days ago. Where is your China copy going to be in 10 years? Likely in a land fill.

The Smittybuit no doubt, is a copy with suspect metal and tolerances that suggest it is worn out before you buy it. It will work the first time you use it. It's still junk.

There are few places in life where the price difference between the absolute best and the also-ran imitators is only $20.

It sounds like you are making a good decision.
 
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You are right, it is very unlike me to skimp on quality. The knives I carry and use every day are the $150-200 variety, because I know there is a difference in quality.

What had me was the guy said the Smittybilt was made in the US, wasn't until I got home that I noticed the China sticker.
 
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Hi-Lift for sure Had mine for 35 years been through every kinda weather muck and mud etc. give it a once over when I think about it a shot of oil work the pins its good to go again. amazing jack
 
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my grandfather gave me a old high lift that he bought in the 60's i put a $15 rebuild kit in it and bolted it to my rack where it road for the last year............... today i inverted a shackle playing in the woods so i broke out the high lift it worked flawlessly. this jack worked on a farm in central illinois for 40 years rode around on my roof rack un maintained for a year and still worked awesome i doubt anything made i china could compete with that, japan (TEQ) mabye:grinpimp:
 
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I know you've already decided, but thought I'd add this: There's frequent discussion regarding Hi Lift jack usage, safety, etc. and the general consensus is that they are very useful tools that can kill you. My own experience is that if I don't have to use it I won't, but if I do have to use it there's nothing else that will do as a substitute. It sometimes takes a little coaxing to get it working properly. The pins don't always slide like they ought. Sand, water, mud, salt all conspire to keep it from working as it should. Mark, Drew and a few others alluded to this, but if the difference between the best and a copy on something with the potential to drop a 6k lb vehicle on you is just $20, I'll take the peace of mind of knowing I've got a better chance it's going to do what I ask it to.
 
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Be wary of Chinese castings. We have had several 6 ton anchors simply snap in half on the ship I work on. They were all cast in China. I learned along time ago, you get what you pay for, especially in tools. Get a Hi-Lift...just my .02.

peace - Bob
 
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Matt,

D&B Supply (local to you) sells the original Hi-lifts. Buy one from them.

I have never had a Hi-Lift break, but I have had two stolen- someday I will buy a $3 lock for mine. Get the original, the one I currently have is VERY old and was not serviceable when I found it. One call to the factory and a small parts kit was on its way- new jack for me.

If you have not used one before, at the very least practice in your driveway before you are forced to use it in the field. They have some quirks you need to know about before you start jacking your truck up in the sand or mud.
 
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Be careful of the back kick of the handle. I had one graze my cheek many years back before I knew to expect that it could happen... got away with a scrape. Half an inch closer it would have busted my jaw.


Mark...
 
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Genuine Hi-Lifts, made in Indiana (US of friggin' A), on Amazon.com

48" - about $64
60" - about $67

They don't charge sales taxes and shipping is free. The decision of which to buy seems realllly easy to me.
 
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Didn't know D&B would carry them, makes sense though now that I think about it :)

That 4x4 shop should have ordered one today, hopefully it'll be there tomorrow. I definitely plan on learning with it in my driveway, will do some winching practice with it too.
 

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