RV Stabilizer Jacks: Everything You Need to Know

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complete guide to rv stabilizer jacks

Have you ever set up your RV and noticed the constant swaying or wobbling as soon as you start walking around?

Unlike a house, RVs don’t have a solid foundation. Because of this, they’ll always sway back and forth when you move inside them. To fix this, you need stabilizer jacks!

There are plenty of stabilizer jacks out there and in today’s guide, we’re going to talk about all of them (as well as the ones we’d recommend getting), and so much more!

Let’s dive in!

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What Are RV Stabilizer Jacks?

What are rv stablizers

Simply put, RV stabilizing jacks extend from the frame of an RV to the ground in order to reduce the movement sometimes felt in an RV.

Tons of RVers (ourselves included) will use wooden blocks, wheel chocks, or plastic leveling jacks to help reduce the amount you have to extend an RV stabilizer jack (as you really shouldn’t over extend stabilizer jacks).

Some RVs and travel trailers have automatic RV stabilizer jacks. When you get to camp, simply push a button on the inside of your rig and all four stabilizer jacks extend (and retract) automatically!

Manual stabilizer jacks, however, are far more common and require you to use a hand crank (or a handheld power drill) in order to extend them.

Do RVs Need Stabilizers?

The short and sweet answer? If your RV isn’t stabilized properly, you’re going to have a difficult time moving inside of it (and there’s a chance you roll out of bed at night).

Keep in mind that your RV’s refrigerator needs to be on a leveled surface in order to work efficiently. If not, the fluids within the refrigeration system will circulate, causing it to overheat (which could lead to damage).

What is the Difference Between Stabilizing Jacks and Leveling Jacks?

One of the most common mistakes you can make is assuming that leveling jacks serve the same purpose as RV stabilizing jacks. Here’s how they’re different:

  • RV Stabilizer Jacks – An RV stabilizer jack is able to support portions of your RV in order to absorb the shifting you may feel as you walk around in your rig. While they can’t fully eliminate movement, they do make a noticeable difference when used properly.
  • RV Leveling Jacks –  As their name implies, leveling jacks help to level your RV from side to side (or front to back). These jacks help to ensure that your RV’s systems perform as they should while also providing a comfortable experience.

If you try to use either of these jacks for anything other than their intended purpose, you can damage both your jacks and RV!

Can You Level a Camper With Stabilizer Jacks?

Absolutely… not. 

As we stated above, leveling jacks are much different than RV stabilizer jacks. The intended purpose of a stabilizer jack is only to stabilize your RV.

Apart from us telling you this, there’s a chance that you see warning labels telling you not to overload your jacks, too!

10 Types of RV Stabilizer Jacks

Without further ado, let’s go over what stabilizer jacks you can get on the market today (as well as what stabilizer jack we recommend).

1. Scissor Jacks

Scissor jacks

Scissor jacks are the most common stabilizer jacks you’ll see on travel trailers and older fifth wheels. For the most part, manufacturers will install scissor jacks onto their RVs because they’re cheap, simple to work, and they do a good job.

Scissor jacks require you to manually raise and lower them. Typically, you’ll have a bolt that you have to tighten and loosen by using a drill or ratchet. Try not to over-tighten scissor jacks, as you run the risk of putting too much weight on them.

If you’re looking for some awesome scissor jacks for your RV, we recommend getting the Libra RV Trailer Stabilizer Leveling Scissor Jacks:

2. Hydraulic Jacks

Hydraulic jacks

With hydraulic jacks, you don’t need to manually set anything up! If you have a larger rig (or have trouble cranking manual jacks on your own), hydraulic jacks will be perfect for you!

If your RV doesn’t come with hydraulic jacks already, you are able to add them on! Most systems are pretty easy to install and will simplify your stabilizing process.

Interested in installing some new hydraulic jacks into your rig? We highly recommend these ones by Lippert:

3. Electric Jacks

Lippert electric jack

Electric jacks help you to set up your campsite easier and faster than ever. This stabilizer jack uses a 12-volt DC electrical power, typically from the onboard battery, to electrically extend or retract the trailer leg.

We highly recommend this electric jack from Lippert – it’s engineered with 30 AMPS of power and comes with four integrated LED lights that conveniently shine on the coupler (just in case you have to use this at night). Not to mention, it’s efficient (and very quiet):

4. Screw Jacks

Camco screw jacks

If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to stabilize your RV, screw jacks are for you! The aluminum construction is what makes them lightweight, yet strong enough to easily hold 6,000 pounds.

Because screw jacks don’t mount or secure to the RV, you’re able to easily adjust them as well as move them around your camper! We’d highly recommend these Camco Screw Jacks:

5. SteadyFast Stabilizers

Steadyfast stabilizer

SteadyFast stabilizers are designed to give the best possible movement reduction for a parked fifth wheel or travel trailer while also providing easy (and convenient) setup. If you have a heavy rig, SteadyFast jacks are one of your most popular choices!

It takes a few hours to install the system (which includes adjustable strut braces fixed on two adjacent sides of the rig). After that, you fix these braces on the other end of the landing gear in a sort of triangular shape. The shape, as well as the fact that the jack touches the rig at three different points for support, makes this jack incredibly stable.

We’d recommend getting these SteadyFast stabilizers:

6. Drop Leg or Drop-Down Jacks

Drop-down jacks

Drop-down jacks (also known as drop leg jacks) are another type of RV stabilizer jack. These mount to the frame of your RV and retract upon themselves when not in use. They typically come in both automatic and manual options, too!

A lot of higher-end systems will often use heavy duty drop-down jacks as a part of their auto-leveling system. With the press of a button, your RV will be able to level and stabilize itself! Keep in mind that not all drop-down jacks are able to handle a heavy RV (so don’t overload your jacks).

We’d recommend these drop-down jacks:

7. Permanent Jacks

Permanant jacks

Most jacks are able to be permanently installed underneath your RV (which is a great space saving hack as it’s one less thing to store in your RV).

Unlike tripod jacks, nearly every jack on our list is able to be bolted under your RV’s frame and retracted when you need them. Tripod jacks fit into your king pin (which you’ll need for hitching your RV to the tow, so you’re unable to install these permanently).

If we were to recommend an awesome permanent jack, we’d go with the Camco Eaz-Lift:

8. Tripod Jacks

Rv tripod jacks

Having a fifth wheel is great, however you might need some extra stability. Which is where a tripod jack comes into play! Tripod jacks are able to give you three new points of contact with the ground, which helps to absorb more movement and vibration.

For the most part, tripod jacks shouldn’t work alone and have a weight capacity of 5,000 pounds. When you do purchase a tripod jack, be sure to find one where the legs are able to be individually adjustable as it makes it easier for you to set it up on the ground if it isn’t level!

We recommend getting this one:

9. Full-Width Double Stabilizers

Lippert high-speed power stabilizer jack

Double stabilizers are incredibly convenient and easy to set up. They have legs on both sides, so if you’re in need of a quick and easy way to stabilize your RV these will do the trick.

Each leg comes down simultaneously to save you some time and are available in both manual and electric varieties (however, the electric set up is what we’d recommend). Electric, full width double stabilizers can do the job of stabilizing your rig with the push of one button.

10. Universal Stabilizers

Universal rv stabilizers

As you can probably tell by the name, universal RV stabilizers are able to be used on nearly any type (and size) trailer, cargo carrier, RV, and fifth wheel (a permanent trailer jack would be a lifesaver, too).

Universal stabilizers also have two adjustable legs that are mounted onto a single beam that you’re able to insert under your RV’s frame. From there, adjust the legs, strap them together using the strap that comes in the package, and then ratchet the strap and make sure the jack fits tightly under the frame.

We’d recommend grabbing these:

So Which Camper Stabilizer is Best?

Honestly, it’s up to you and your needs!

Would you rather have permanent RV stabilizers? Or do you want to be able to store them when you’re done using them?

While we’re pretty impartial to the classic scissor jack style, there are plenty of great models on the market today. As long as you have something that’s able to keep your rig steady on uneven ground, you’re in good hands!

Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question that wasn’t answered above? We’ve got you covered!

Where Do Stabilizer Jacks Go on an RV?

Typically, stabilizer jacks are located at the front and rear of units. Be sure that each jack is in place when it touches the ground and try not to extend it any further as it can get stuck or damaged in the process.

How Many Camper Stabilizer Jacks Do You Need?

That answer really depends.

For lighter RVs, two stabilizer jacks on either side will be able to do the trick. However, we do recommend you have one under each corner. If you’re using a trailer, you should add stabilizers behind the tires as well for added stability.

Simply put, the more stabilizers you add, the better stability you’ll get. There’s really no limit to how many you can add!

How Tight Should Travel Trailer Stabilizer Jacks Be?

A common mistake you can make with your travel trailer stabilizers is having them too snug. While you want them to be snug, you don’t want them to be too tight.

Get to the point where there’s tension on them, but not so much that you’re lifting your RV. It’s very easy to over-tighten your stabilizer jacks, especially if you’re using a drill to do the job.

Should You Put Blocks Under Stabilizer Jacks?

Yes, absolutely!

You should always put blocks under stabilizer jacks. This protects your RV but the soft ground at a campsite as well. Some RV resorts and campgrounds require a barrier between your leading gear and the campsite surface, too.

Are RV slide out stabilizers necessary?

That depends, is your RV an older or newer model?

If you have a newer RV, you don’t need to use slide out stabilizers. In fact, they may do more harm than good – your rig has slide outs that are electronic and automatic, therefore you may not have to support them at all!

With an older rig, though, they can be necessary. RVs with manual slide outs or pop outs may benefit from using them as they’re able to provide peace of mind should you have a shaky slide out!

We hope you enjoyed this guide on RV stabilizer jacks! If you have any additional questions that weren’t answered above, be sure to leave a comment below!

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