Leveling jacks versus stabilizing jacks

Leveling Jacks vs. Stabilizing Jacks: Differences, Terms & Definitions

If you’re new to RVing, you’ve probably heard some variant of the terms “leveling” and “stabilizing.” Even if you’ve been traveling in your rig for a while, it’s likely you know these terms, but may not be quite clear on the differences between them.

One common mistake made by RV owners is confusing leveling jacks with stabilizing jacks, or stabilizers. Knowing the difference between these products and systems is imperative for preventing costly damage to your equipment and your unit.

In short, leveling jacks are specifically intended to level your RV from side to side or front to back. When used properly, they can handle the weight of your trailer and get it appropriately leveled based on the terrain where you’re parked.

On the other hand, stabilizers should never be used for leveling a camper. They are made to merely support portions of your RV and absorb the shifting weight caused by movement inside. When used correctly, stabilizers make a noticeable difference when owners are walking around inside their rigs, but they cannot eliminate all movement.

Watch the below video about the correct use and misuse of stabilizing jacks to learn more.

Leveling & Stabilization Terms & Definitions

Before we jump into the different types of jacks and stabilizers available on the market today, let’s review some RV leveling and stabilizing terminology that will help you set up your rig at the campsite correctly.

  • Trailer levels: Used to level your trailer properly side to side and front to back. While leveling, you should always have two of these. Outside your RV, one will go on the passenger side of the front of the trailer left to right, while the other will go on the driver’s side front to back.
  • Leveling blocks: Used to level your travel trailer. A 12-piece leveling block set allows for three blocks per tire minimum, depending on the type of travel trailer you have. Depending on the campground or RV park, and how level their sites are, you may need a second set of leveling blocks.
  • Wheel chocks: Used under your tires to prevent trailer rollaway. In order to use wheel chocks, you'll get your travel trailer in place on the leveling blocks, then place the wheel chock opposite the blocks. It never hurts to have more than one wheel chock on hand in the event of getting an especially uneven campsite.
  • Stabilizers: Used to stabilize an RV but not level it. Stabilizers, or RV stabilizer jacks, are designed to keep your trailer steady when you walk around inside after leveling it.
  • Jack pads: Used to prevent your stabilizer jack from sinking. Some campgrounds require the use of jack pads to protect the ground underneath your jack.
  • Scissor jacks: Used to help stabilize your RV. Scissor jacks eliminate rocking and swaying caused by improper or poor leveling.
  • Manual jacks: Used to level your RV from side-to-side or front-to-back. These types of jacks require manual cranking to achieve proper leveling.
  • Electric jacks: Used to level your RV from side-to-side or front-to-back. These types of jacks are powered and often come with bonus features to make leveling easier.
  • Auto-leveling system: Used to level your RV from side to side or front to back. These systems usually cut down campsite setup time with one-touch leveling functionality.

Types of Manual RV Leveling Jacks

Quick Drop® Tongue Jack 

The Quick Drop tongue jack gives you the best of both worlds with power and manual options. Uniquely designed with a 3/4” hex nut at the top of the crank, you can conveniently use a power drill to raise and lower your A-frame trailer — especially helpful when you’re parked away from a power source or need a break from manual cranking.  If you'd prefer the manual option, you can use the top-wind, ribbed crank handle to get the job done. This trailer jack comes complete with a 14" vertical range, 2,000 lb. load capacity, durable, powder-coated finish and a footpad.

Quick Drop tongue jackQuick Drop tongue jack
Manual Sidewinder Tongue JackManual Sidewinder Tongue Jack

Manual Sidewinder Tongue Jack 

Our Manual Sidewinder tongue jack is a classic, tried-and-true jack solution for A-frame trailer owners. Economical and extremely reliable, this jack is perfect if you need to replace an old, broken manual jack, or if you simply want a back-up jack to keep with you for the road ahead. Our Manual Sidewinder tongue jack comes with a 2,000 lb. load capacity, powder-coated finish and ergonomic handle for comfortable cranking.

Direct-Weld Square Jacks 

Direct-weld square jacks are a heavy-duty trailer jack option for boat trailers, utility trailers, livestock haulers, recreational vehicle trailers or any receiver-style trailer. Designed to weld directly onto the RV’s frame for superior holding strength, these jacks feature heavy-duty lift capacities and a variety of travel lengths. With a jack foot plate attached to the bottom, this type of jack also provides added stability for your trailer on rough terrain. Our direct-weld square jacks are available in top and side handle options.

Direct weld square jackDirect weld square jack
Swivel jackSwivel jack

Swivel Jacks

Swivel jacks get their name from the pull-pin swivel feature that allows the jack to pivot on its mounting bracket and swing up and out of the way for travel. Our pipe-mount and bracket-mount swivel trailer jacks feature heavy-duty lift capacities and a variety of travel lengths. With a jack foot plate welded on the bottom, these types of jacks also provide added stability for your trailer on rough terrain. Each jack comes in top-wind and side-wind handle options and includes a weldable pipe or bracket for secure mounting. 

A-Frame Jacks

A-frame jacks are designed specifically for A-frame trailers. They can be bolted or welded directly onto the trailer frame. Though they are not able to swing up and out of the way like our swivel jacks, A-frame jacks are made to retract completely to ensure enough clearance for safe travel. Our A-frame jacks feature heavy-duty lift capacities and a variety of travel lengths. Plus, they are available in top and side handle options.

Swivel jackSwivel jack
Marine JackMarine Jack

Marine Jacks

Designed to withstand the wear and tear of frequent water exposure, boat trailer jacks are the jack of choice for the avid fisherman or boating enthusiast. Unlike any of our other jacks, our marine trailer jacks are equipped with wheels, allowing for greater mobility and easier coupling of your trailer. Boat trailer jacks also have a heavy-duty pull-pin that allows them to pivot on their mounting bracket to be out of the way for travel. To protect them from corrosion and moisture damage, these jacks come with a zinc finish. Our marine jacks come with a side-wind handle and all the necessary bolt-on hardware for complete installation.

Types of Electric RV Jacks

Power Tongue Jack 

The Power tongue jack lets you take a break from manually lowering and raising your A-frame trailer. Engineered with 30 amps of power, this electric jack is fully equipped with four LED lights that light up your coupler for nighttime operation, quiet and efficient helical-cut gears, a textured casing for protection against damage, a 3,500 lb. lift capacity and a powder coated finish.

Power Tongue JackPower Tongue Jack
Smart JackSmart Jack

Smart Jack™ 

Our Smart Jack lets you lift and lower your A-frame with just the push of a button. This trailer jack combines all the great features of our Power tongue jack with innovative updates. The auto-hitch memory function remembers the exact hitch height needed for your trailer, the backlit control panel is easy to operate, the integrated LED lights shine down on your coupler for nighttime use and the battery indicator lets you know the status of your RV battery life. 

Power Stance™ Tongue Jack 

Engineered with all the same great features as our original Power tongue jack, the Power Stance can be operated with an industry-first 2-way to 7-way plug powering system. The Power Swap Auxiliary Cord™ can be added to any Power Stance — allowing you to easily connect your jack directly to your tow vehicle without worrying about draining your RV power. This trailer jack comes standard with an integrated safety chain storage ring and a storage inlet to tuck away your 7-way connector.

Power Tongue JackPower Tongue Jack

Types of Automatic RV Leveling Systems

Ground ControlGround Control

Ground Control® TT for Travel Trailers

This auto leveling system saves you time and effort by leveling your trailer in less than three minutes. As a five-point power leveling system, Ground Control TT delivers precision and accuracy with just the press of a button. It is also accessible through OneControl®, so you can operate your leveling system right from your phone.

Ground Control® 3.0 for 5th Wheel Trailers

Available in four-point and six-point configurations, the Ground Control 3.0 auto leveling system can level a 5th wheel camper in minutes, saving RV owners from the hassle of manual leveling. It comes complete with auto re-hitch functionality that remembers the exact height at which the RV was unhitched and durable jack footpads for added stability on soft, uneven surfaces.

Ground Control 3.0Ground Control 3.0
Hydraulic SystemHydraulic System

Level Up® Hydraulic Leveling System for 5th Wheel Trailers

This six-point hydraulic leveling system levels a 5th wheel in less than a minute using a one-touch auto-leveling feature. It incorporates leveling jacks before the front axle and behind the rear axle, always maintaining the integrity of the RV chassis. It also comes with the same great auto re-hitch functionality as the Ground Control 3.0 system.

Power Gear Hydraulic Leveling System for Motorhomes

This six-point hydraulic leveling system levels a 5th wheel in less than a minute using a one-touch auto-leveling feature. It incorporates leveling jacks before the front axle and behind the rear axle, always maintaining the integrity of the RV chassis. It also comes with the same great auto re-hitch functionality as the Ground Control 3.0 system.

Power GearPower Gear

Types of RV Stabilizer Jacks

Scissor JackScissor Jack

Scissor Jacks

Lippert scissor jacks help stabilize your rig, eliminating unwanted and potentially dangerous rocking and swaying that can be caused by improper or poor leveling. These manual jacks are designed with a bow-tie base for stabilization on soft, uneven surfaces, are constructed from heavy-gauge steel and are finished with black powder coating to inhibit rust. The easy, bolt-on design of our scissor jacks helps to streamline the installation process, so you can quickly stabilize and get back to your adventure. 

PSX1 Power Stabilizer 

With a PSX1 high-speed power stabilizer, you can stabilize your RV in a fraction of the time it’d take you to manually operate your scissor jacks. With the flip of a switch, this quick and convenient electric stabilizer takes care of all the hassle, sweat and frustration that comes along with adjusting jacks. Plus, each leg individually adjusts to uneven, bumpy terrain, giving you optimal stabilization, no matter where you set up camp. Constructed out of heavy-gauge steel and equipped with embossed legs and a durable, powder coated finish, every detail of our PSX1 is designed to withstand the wear and tear of travel and the great outdoors.

PSX1 Power StabilizerPSX1 Power Stabilizer