The effect on your boat’s performance that a hydraulic jack plate can give you is phenomenal.
Not only does one increase your top speed, but it also increases the efficiency of your outboard engine so that it consumes less fuel over time.
We’ll look at how that works further on in this guide, but for now we’ll keep to the practical stuff.
Like, for example, how the huge boost to efficiency a hydraulic jack plate gives you will add up to hundreds of gallons of fuel in savings over the course of a year.
Or that you also get the really nice added benefit your boat lasting longer between refuels too.
Anyway, there aren’t really too many hydraulic jack plates on the market that are really able to stand up to the big two main brands, because those two really are just leaps and bounds above the competition.
Click to jump straight to each topic.
The Best Hydraulic Jack Plates Reviewed
Here’s a handy comparison table if you just want to see our recommendations straight away.
Quick Reference Comparison Table
|Editor’s Award||Winner||Setbacks Available|
|Best Hydraulic Jack Plate||Bob’s Machine Shop Action Series Hydraulic Jack Plate||6″, 8″, 10″, 12″, and 14″|
|Alternative Top Pick||T-H Marine Atlas||4″, 6″, 8″, 10″ and 12″|
|Best for Small Outboards||T-H Marine Atlas Micro Jacker||4″|
Best Hydraulic Jack Plate: Bob’s Machine Shop Action Series Hydraulic Jack Plate
Best Hydraulic Jack Plate
The reason that the Action Series of hydraulic jack plates from Bob’s Machine Shop have made the top spot in this guide is because they are simply the highest quality hydraulic jack plates on the market.
Yes, although the T-H Marine Atlas is more popular with boat manufacturers, and, in general, more widely known, there’s something special about the level of quality that Bob’s Machine Shop is putting out.
Design-wise, this hydraulic jack plate is how they should all be: an internal pump design, which makes the whole plate one single neat, space saving package that just works beautifully.
So, there’s now no longer a need for a hydraulic pump inside the boat now, thanks to the Action Series.
It’s rated for engines up to 300hp, or up to 625 pounds dry weight, so it’s safe to say that you’re unlikely to find that this hydraulic jack plate isn’t capable enough for you.
What We Like:
- Pump Inside the Jack Plate – The internal pump based design makes this one a really neat space-saving solution on your boat’s transom.
- Pre-Drilled for Dual Side Mount Power Pole Brackets – For easy installation of a power pole, without having to worry about compatibility, since this hydraulic jack plate is officially compatible.
Alternative Top Pick: T-H Marine Atlas Series
Alternative Top Pick
A very strong contender for the top spot in our rankings of the best hydraulic jack plates on the market right now.
One of the most impressive things about the Atlas is just how well-built it is.
The mechanism uses from high-tech engineered polymer rods that are six times more abrasion resistant then steel so that it can reliably lift even the heaviest V6 outboards on the market from bottom to top in under 8 seconds.
The rods are also self-lubricating, so maintenance is pretty minimal.
Top that off with the slot lifting design, and you’ve got yourself an extremely reliable and easy to operate hydraulic jack plate.
And, just so you know, the Atlas is rated for engines up to 300hp, or up to 625 pounds dry weight too, just like with the top pick in this guide from Bob’s Machine Shop.
What We Like:
- Rods Six Times More Abrasion Resistant than Steel – The high-tech engineered polymer rods on this one are even self-lubricating, which makes this hydraulic jack plate by T-H Marine a great long-term option.
- Requires No Reservoir or Lines to Install – Easy to set up, and easy to operate. You can rest assured with Atlas that you’re buying a complete piece of kit.
Best Hydraulic Jack Plate for Small Outboards: T-H Marine Atlas Micro Jacker
Best for Small Outboards
All of the quality of the world-renowned T-H Atlas, but at a significantly reduced price compared to the full-size version.
If your outboard is under 425 lbs in dry weight and outputs less than 115 hp, then this is exactly what you need.
Weighing in at 23 pounds, this hydraulic jack plate plate is an ideal option for shallow water boats such as Gheenoes, River Runners, Jon Boats and skiffs.
Smaller engines can be mounted with these official T-H Marine clamp-on brackets for the Atlas Micro Jacker, and you’ll definitely need to getting them if you have a small engine that doesn’t mount with bolts on the standard BIA engine hole pattern.
What We Like:
- Better for Small Outboards than a Full-Size Jackplate – You simply don’t need something bigger than this for really small boats. No need to waste money on a piece of equipment that’s overbuilt for your small fishing boat.
Check the latest price on Amazon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does a jack plate really help?
Well, it’s the same answer I’d give to someone asking, “Does my boat need an outboard motor?”
If you don’t have one, your boat is going to be pretty inefficient compared to how it could be.
Simply put: a jack plate significantly improves the performance of your outboard motor by creating space between the engine and the transom.
You see, when a jack plate is lowered and the engine is moved away from the transom, the planning pivot point changes to increase the length of the hull, which, in turn, gives leverage to lift the bow.
Not only that, you also give the propeller some distance from the turbulence around the hull, so it’s able to get a much better bite.
These are the two main advantages of using a jack plate. They’re where the improved efficiency comes from.
What is the difference between a hydraulic jack plate or a manual jack plate?
The difference between the two, in practical terms, is that with a hydraulic jack plate you can lift your outboard motor hands-free as soon as you enter shallow water.
This typically takes under 8 seconds for the most popular hydraulic jack plates currently on the market.