While you can find a swivel wheeled trailer jack on eBay for as little as $20, most of these inexpensive accessories (indeed, most wheeled trailer jacks) utilize cheap caster wheels. That's bad. Cheap caster wheels will fail quickly, and if you're unlucky, they will fail spectacularly.
Here's why you should avoid buying a trailer jack with a cheap caster wheel.
The Trouble With Cheap Caster Wheels
A wheel is a wheel, right? When it comes to the the typical caster wheel utilized on most trailer jacks, the answer is no.
First off, the cheapest casters are usually quite small, and that’s because "small" saves money. However, the small diameter makes them useless on anything but a flat, smooth surface (like a concrete floor). If you need traction on dirt, a tiny caster wheel is going to make your life harder by quickly getting stuck.
Second, cheap casters aren't made to support a lot of rolling weight. The "fine print" on the advertised weight rating of most wheeled trailer jacks is that the advertised load rating is for "static" loads...which basically means the rating is only applicable when when the wheeled trailer jack isn't rolling!
Note: A "dynamic" load is moving or rolling. A "static" load is stationary. Static and dynamic load ratings are different because the stresses associated with movement - even gentle, careful movement on a perfectly smooth surface - are different. Particularly on the caster.
If you don't think that a wheeled trailer jack could be advertised as a "1,000lbs jack" without actually being able support 1,000lbs while rolling, think again. Most trailer jacks have both a "static" and "dynamic" load rating, and the static load rating is always higher. Generally speaking, the dynamic load rating of a trailer jack is only 65% (or so) of the static load rating...and that limitation is always because of the caster.
Third, cheap caster do not feature sealed bearings. Submerge a cheap caster wheel in water, for example, and you'll soon have a caster wheel that doesn't roll. Sealed bearings don't let in water that can damage or corrode bearings, ensuring proper caster wheel function in all conditions.
Basically, cheap casters are likely to fail if you use them on a heavier trailer, use them off-road, etc.
The Alternative To Cheap Wheeled Trailer Jacks
Stating the obvious, a wheeled trailer jack that costs less than a couple of large pizzas isn't a great quality accessory. Unless you only need to use a wheeled trailer jack a couple of times a year - and you're only using that wheeled trailer jack on a smooth flat surface - you don't want to go cheap.
Instead, check out our new XO Trailer Jack. It features:
- A 1,650 lbs static rating, and an 1,100 lbs dynamic rating
- A pair of large, heavy-duty wheels with off-road tread
- The wheel bearings are sealed, ensuring long-lasting performance
- A bunch of features specific to towing off-road (stowable handle, corrosion resistant coating, structural reinforcement for trail use, etc.)
While a good quality wheeled trailer jack like the XO is going to cost a little more than 2 pizzas, it's also going to last (practically) forever. The XO has a dynamic load rating that accommodates most single-axle trailers and the XO's wheels can roll through dirt, roll over obstacles, etc. It's also height adjustable, making it a great fit for lifted trucks or SUV owners.
If you haven't seen the XO Trailer Jack yet, check it out!