A car jack is a key piece of kit in the armory of any well-equipped, at-home car mechanic. You need one so you can get complete access to all parts of your vehicle. Tire replacement, for example, or any kind of work to the undercarriage or suspension is going to be more difficult – or even impossible – without a good jack.
At the same time, this is a piece of equipment that you need to have complete faith in. Lifting a car can be a dangerous undertaking – you are in control of lifting tons of metal into the air. Therefore, you need to use a tool that you can trust implicitly.
To help you find it, here is our rundown of some of the best car jacks on the market.
The Best Car Jack
This Jack does exactly what it says on the box – it is big and it is red! Okay, there’s a little more to it than that. Straight out the box, this has a hefty feel, and is clearly well constructed – this is a tool you can put your trust in.
Which is good to know, because it is rated to lift a considerable weight. The extra-long neck makes lifting larger vehicles easy too – we managed to raise a Ford Explorer with no problem. For a small car, a jack of this size and capacity could feel like overkill; however, with it’s high lift capacity, it will certainly provide a real sense of security with smaller lift weights.
- Heavy Duty Lifting for Trucks and SUV’s
- Extra Long Neck
- 3 Ton Capacity
- Brand Torin
- Model T83006
- Weight 43.9 pounds
This jack is proof that good things come in small packages. When fully collapsed, it measures around 5 inches high, 5 inches wide and 18 inches long. That is pretty small and makes it very much suitable to carry in your vehicle for emergency tire changes.
The problem with scissor-style jacks is that they often suffer from stability issues. Happily, that is not a concern with this model. It has a big footprint that provides a very stable base. Combine that with a lifting capacity of 1.5 tons, and you have a highly capable piece of equipment in a very neat little package.
- Small Size
- Large Base
- 1.5 Ton Lift Capacity
- Brand Torin
- Model T10152
- Weight 7.7 Pounds
Not all jacks are suitable for all vehicles. If you have a truck or SUV, then most will happily get right underneath for easy lifting. However, if you have a car with low ground clearance then you may already know the futility of trying to get a full-sized hydraulic jack underneath.
If that sounds like you then Arcan have your back, because this model is made with low clearance vehicles in mind. The sleek, compact design will get under any car, but at the same time Arcan has not sacrificed quality to get the size down. How it did this we don’t know – but this sleek, low-profile tool is strong and sturdy with an excellent lifting capacity.
- Compact Design
- Perfect for Low-Clearance cars
- 2 Ton Lift Capacity
- Brand Arcan
- Model XL20
- Weight 67.2 Pounds
The problem with car jacks that come with a big lift capacity is they are often extremely heavy, making them frankly a pain to move around a home garage. Arcan listened to that complaint and brought this model to the market. Boasting an all-aluminum construction, the ALJ3T brings a lift capacity of 3 tons in a tool that barely tips the scales over 55 pounds.
That is a lot of lifting power in a pretty light package. If you’re worried that a light jack could have stability issues or feel flimsy, then you don’t need to be concerned. This is very sturdy, and the cleverly reinforced lifting arm provides additional strength and durability where it’s needed most.
- Low Weight
- 3-Ton Lift Capacity
- Reinforced Lifting Arm
- Brand Arcan
- Model ALJ3T
- Weight 56 Pounds
This is a heavy piece of equipment; lets get that out of the way. At the same time, that heaviness is not wasted. Instead, this is just very well put together and very sturdy. It’s ultra-low profile means that it can get under even super-low clearance cars for easy lifting, and its 2 ton lift capacity will help it handle just about anything that can be thrown it’s way except very large trucks and SUVs.
That long chassis is also very handy – especially for front wheel drive vehicles. Not only that, but it can lift a vehicle to a height of around 24 inches – that is a very generous lifting height for such a low-profile Jack.
- Extra Low Profile
- Extra Long Chassis
- 2-Ton Lift Capacity
- Brand Arcan
- Model XL2T
- Weight 97 pounds
To say that this is a pretty basic jack is actually to do something of a disservice to the F-767. Yes, it is cheaper than a lot of comparable models, but that doesn’t mean you’re missing out. In fact, using this tool it soon becomes clear that you are getting a lot of bang for your buck.
This is a sturdy, well-built machine. It has a low profile that makes it easy to get under low clearance cars, and it has an excellent 2-ton lift capacity. If a complaint could be made, it would be that a lifting height of only 14 inches may not be suitable for everyone. That being said, it will get your car up quickly and efficiently – for the price you’ll pay, that is not bad going at all.
- Low Weight
- 2 Ton weight Capacity
- Lifting range of 3.5 to 14 Inches
- Brand Pro-Lift
- Model F-767
- Weight 30 Pounds
This combo set is lovely and compact and great for a smaller garage/shed or anywhere where storage is an issue. The price is also exceptionally low, and admittedly the jack is a very basic model. That said, both it and the stands are of sturdy enough construction, and when used in combination will provide a solid lifting platform for most cars smaller than a SUV.
The lifting height is pretty low, so this set is probably best deployed for tasks like changing tires – it may not lift high enough to make it easy to get underneath the car properly. Still, if you want a cheap and reliable jack to have on hand to tackle the occasional wheel change, this is a great set to invest in.
- 2 Ton Weight Capacity
- Heavy Gauge Steel Construction
- 5 to 13 inch lifting height
- Brand Liftmaster
- Model FBA_615ZH
- Weight 31.8 Pounds
Sturdy, simple to use and relatively cheap, these jack stands are a great addition to any home garage. If you are planning on working underneath your vehicle, you simply must invest in a set of stands. They will help to hold the vehicle and keep it safe as you work.
These stands are welded and will last a long time, making them an ideal long-term investment for occasional or frequent use. With the car up, these stands are nice and sturdy and will happily hold up any car smaller than a big SUV or truck.
- 2 Ton Weight Capacity
- Lift height 11 to 16.75 inches
- Large Saddle Surface
- Brand Torin
- Model T42002
- Weight 7.5 Pounds
This jack is a beast! It has clearly been designed for the serious home mechanic, boasting a number of useful features that will come in handy if you are regularly raising cars and bigger vehicles.
The first thing to notice is the high lift capacity of 3.5 tons – this tool will lift just about any vehicle outside of extra large trucks and Humvees. The second feature that impressed us was the fact that the saddle sits on a swivel, making positioning of the jack nice and easy. The built-in fast lift gets vehicles off the ground in just a couple of pumps, and the all steel construction feels nice and sturdy.
All in all, it’s an excellent piece of equipment that would very useful to most home mechanics.
- 3.5 Ton Weight Capacity
- Lift height up to 20inches
- Swivel Saddle
- Brand Blackhawk
- Model B6350
- Weight 85 Pounds
The trouble with branding your product as “Premium” is that it automatically has high expectations to live up to. Thankfully, the Neiko 20272B more than lives up to its lofty moniker.
Let’s tackle the build and construction first, and we can state that this jack is certainly premium class. An all-aluminum construction keeps the unit’s weight down to an easily managed 57 pounds. In addition to the low weight, it is so small with such a low profile; it will easily get under pretty much any car no matter the clearance.
As for operation, it lifts smoothly and feels sturdy and secure. A 3-ton weight capacity is superb, and a lifting height of a shade less than 20 inches is incredible for such a low profile jack.
No, it doesn’t come cheap, but frankly you should look at this as long-term investment, as this outstanding piece of equipment will probably provide all the car lifting capacity you will need for years to come.
- 3 Ton Weight Capacity
- Lift height up to 19.25 inches
- Ultra Low Weight
- Brand Neiko
- Model 20272B
- Weight 57 Pounds
Fans of everything aluminum will love the Powerzone with its 3-ton capacity fully capable of lifting up to 6,000 pounds. It has a robust construction that’s a perfect complement to your ultra-modern vehicle.
This floor jack can be easily maneuvered under any vehicle that has a ground clearance of at least 8 inches. Maneuvering the Powerzone trolley jack is quite easy since its 2 rear casters swivel a full 360-degrees. The 2 front wheels, however, are fixed to give you utmost stability. It should be lightweight since it’s made of aluminum. Unfortunately, the Powerzone comes in at a hefty 59 pounds. Nonetheless, this should still give it stability when working on your car. Now that’s something any motorist would want to have.
- 4-18.25-inch lift range
- Rubber-padded saddle
- Overload safety valve
- 3-ton capacity
- Brand Milestone Tools
- Model 380044
- Weight 59.1 lbs
There are instances when you need a jack stand instead of a car jack. Alltrade heard you. With its Powerbuilt all-in-one bottle jack, you also get a jack stand built into its wide and stable platform. It’s an ingenious solution. You don’t need to jack up your car and place a jack stand underneath since the Powerbuilt already accomplishes this task handily.
The jack stand comes with 3 height adjustments, which should be perfect for trucks, while its safety bar can be easily locked into position so you’ll feel a lot safer working under your truck. The extra-wide base is a handy feature since this allows you to place the hydraulic jack even on sandy or rocky terrain. You’d also be surprised that it weighs not even half the weight of conventional floor jacks.
- Bottle jack-jack stand combination
- 8-5/8 to 18-5/8 inch lift range
- Lockable safety bar
- 3-ton capacity
- Brand Alltrade
- Model 3Ton All in One Trick Lift
- Weight 22.1 lbs
There are two issues with using a scissor jack. First, rotating the screw to raise the lifting pad can be a bit tedious compared to simply pumping it with a handle, such as what you’d use on a trolley jack. Second, the narrow profile of the jack can present stability issues. Well, with the Black Bull both issues are duly addressed.
Lifting your car using this car jack is easy as it comes with a motor that automatically rotates the screw to raise the lifting pad. The contraption can be easily plugged into your car’s DC power outlet and, with a simple press of a button, you’re already lifting your car for up to 14 inches. Stability-wise, the Black Bull comes with dual side stands to help secure it in place.
- 2,000-lb capacity
- Push button controller
- 5-14 inch hydraulic lift height
- 12-foot power cord
- 12-volt car DC power outlet
- Brand Black Bull
- Model EJ212
- Weight 5.02 lbs
Designed specifically for light-duty trucks and cars, the Performance Tool low-profile floor jack can easily raise vehicles up to 20.5 inches. Its low profile allows it to be easily inserted under your car, while the high-quality steel frame used in its construction gives it exceptional stability.
Its overload protection bypass valve gives you confidence and security while working under the vehicle, knowing full well that your car won’t crash down on you. The saddle is built to rotate a full 360 degrees for more accurate positioning of the lift, while the swivel casters at the back allow for precision maneuvering, especially when working in really tight areas. Whether you’re lifting a 7,000-pounder or a 2,000-pounder, this floor jack is sure to raise your vehicle in the safest and most efficient way possible.
- 4 to 20.5-inch hydraulic lift range
- Dual pump with swivel casters
- Overload protection bypass valve
- 3.5-ton capacity
- Brand Performance Tool
- Model W1627
- Weight 85 lbs
One of the best things about the JEGS floor jack is that its leading edge where the lifting pad is located is sloped at an angle to give it an exceptionally low profile, making this one of the best low-profile floor jacks on the market. The design is ingenious since you can easily insert the JEGS even on vehicles that have ground clearance that is as low as 4 inches.
Perhaps the only downside to the JEGS is that it can only lift vehicles not exceeding 4,000 pounds in gross weight. However, this shouldn’t really be a bummer since it can easily raise vehicles up to 15.75 inches without flinching. The dual side handles also make it super easy to maneuver this baby, while the rubberized lift pad won’t put a scratch on your car, even though it’s on the underside.
- 3.5-inch profile
- 2-ton capacity
- 15.75-inch hydraulic lift
- 360-degree rotating saddle
- 4-9/16-inch diameter lifting pad
- Brand JEGS
- Model 80006
- Weight 50.2 lbs
Lifting a piece of metal weighing more than 100 lbs is not an easy proposition. It requires physical strength, quick stance, and of course a powerful tool. The task, if done improperly, can even cost your precious life. You need a quality jack as fixing a car can’t certainly be avoided.
Car jacks come in various sizes, colors, shapes, and load capacities. While the ideal is to purchase a jack with the highest load capacity and the longest, most flexible neck, this may not necessarily be a wise decision all the time. You need to know your requirements in order to identify which of the following top quality car jacks suits you best.
What to Look for in a Car Jack
It can be tricky picking the right jack for your car but that’s what we’re here for. Here are the things you need to look for when picking the right car.
- Weight Rating
Most hydraulic car jacks are rated in tonnage. Economy, mid-sized, compact, and subcompact cars can be safely raised by a 2-ton hydraulic car jack while 3-ton jacks should work well with trucks, SUVs, luxury midsized cars, and vans. If you’re not sure about the appropriate weight rating of the jack for your car, you can always consult your manual.
- Height of Lifting Pad
Car jacks have to go under the vehicle to access specific lifting points. As such, if the height of the lifting pad is greater than the ground clearance of your vehicle, then you may not be able to put the jack under your car. As a general rule, the lifting pad should have at least an inch of clearance from the lifting point under your car.
- Build Quality
It goes without saying that the overall build quality of the jack should also be considered in your buying decision. Always go for jacks that are made mostly of solid metal. Heavier car jacks should also be chosen over lightweight ones since these can also offer you stability. The sad thing is that you won’t be able to try the car jack before you buy it so reading online reviews should give you an idea of the car jack’s performance in real life.
Types of Car Jacks
Car jacks come in different types. Here are 4 of the most common:
- Scissor Jack
This is the type of jack that vehicle manufacturers already include in their cars. A long screw is turned to draw the ‘legs’ of the scissor together. As the legs are drawn closer, they also grow higher. Scissor jacks are purposely built for specific models of car as they are designed to fit the lifting points in the car. It’s very portable and is often secured in a compartment in the trunk designed specifically for storing such jacks.
- Floor Jack
This is the most common car jack that is great not only for changing tires, but also for repairs and general maintenance purposes. It works on the principle of hydraulic pressure to lift heavy objects with relative ease. They come with 4 wheels for ease of placement under the car as well as a long handle which is used to operate the lift mechanism. Floor jacks come in different weight capacities so it would be wise to check the gross tonnage of your vehicle and get a floor jack with a higher weight capacity. The downside of such car jacks is that they can be very bulky and heavy that it isn’t really practical to put them in your trunk.
- Bottle Jack
As the name implies, a bottle jack is a type of car jack that takes on a cylindrical shape. It comes with a mechanism that allows for the insertion of a lever so that it can be pumped and create pressure in the bottle jack. This also works like a floor jack, except that it is more compact and doesn’t come with wheels. The problem is that, like the scissor jack, its stability is dependent on the type of surface it is placed on.
- Hi-lift Jack
These are specialty jacks that are designed to raise off-road vehicles or any other vehicle with a lifted chassis. These can raise vehicles up to a staggering height of 5 feet and are rated at 7,000 pounds in lifting capacity. They are also exceptionally long, the shortest being 3 feet. This makes them very impractical to put in your car’s trunk.
How to Safely Use a Floor Jack
When working on your car, safety is always a must. And this includes working with a floor jack. Here’s how to use a floor jack safely:
- Always check your floor jack for proper operation before using it. Any obvious sign of damage or leaks should warrant its immediate replacement.
- Always use a floor jack with a weight rating that is appropriate for the weight of your car.
- Don’t buy cheap floor jacks. You cannot place a price tag on safety.
- Always make sure to put your car in a flat, firm, solid, stable, and even surface before placing the floor jack. Make sure the car is in the Park position and that the emergency brakes have been engaged.
- Place a wheel chock on the wheel opposite the one you will be working on. If you’re working on the front right wheel, then place the chock on the front left wheel to prevent accidental rolling.
- Use a jack stand to support your vehicle while you’re working on it. This is just a precautionary measure in the event that the floor jack fails.
- Put the floor jack in the correct lifting points of your vehicle. Check your car’s manual to learn the locations of these lifting points.
- Make sure to test the stability of the floor jack even before you start working under the vehicle.
- When you’re done working on your vehicle, always make sure that no part of your body is still under the vehicle before you start lowering the jack.
Car Jacks vs. Jack Stands
A car jack is a device that can raise a vehicle several inches and up to a few feet off the ground. Most employ hydraulic pressure to lift the car, although there are also those that operate on a screw-type mechanism.
Jack stands, on the other hand, are fixed devices that are placed under the vehicle once it is already lifted or raised. Ideally, a car jack is used to lift the car. Once in the desired height, a jack stand can be placed on the frame or axle to help support the vehicle in an elevated position. The hydraulic pressure on the car jack is then slowly released until the vehicle safely rests on the jack stand.
Best Car Jack FAQ:
Q: What is a car jack?
A: Any device that can be placed under the chassis of a vehicle and manipulated so that it can raise the vehicle several inches to a few feet off the ground can be rightfully considered as a car jack. Having a car jack can easily lift that side of the car where you want to change the tires so you can go on your way. A car jack can also be useful in other situations wherein you need to increase the clearance between the bottom surface of your car and the ground surface. This will allow you to work under the car, although we strongly suggest getting a more stable platform if you’re going to work under the vehicle for a long time or if the work entails some serious tasks.
Q: How high can a scissor jack go?
A: Everything depends on the length of the screw that draws the two ‘legs’ together. Some can go as high as 15 inches, maybe even higher. Keep in mind, however, that the higher the scissor jack is raised, the more unstable it becomes since it has a very narrow base. So, it is best to read your car’s manual since this type of jack often comes packaged with each type of car.
Q: How does a hydraulic car jack work?
A: Hydraulic car jacks typically come with two cylinders where oil is moved through them by pump plungers. When the plunger is drawn back, the suction valve ball in the pump chamber opens and allows oil to move in. When the pump plunger is moved or pushed forward, the oil moves into the cylinder chamber through a check valve. At the same time the suction valve closes. This leads to the buildup of pressure with the cylinder and allowing it to lift very heavy objects.
Q: Is it safe to place a floor jack at the differential?
A: You may have seen seasoned mechanics use floor jacks and place them right under the car’s differential to lift it up. Then your neighbor will tell you not to do it because it’s not safe. So what gives? If the car manual says you can safely lift your car with the differential as a lifting point, then it should be perfectly fine to lift it at the said location. However, if it mentions that only the pinch weld or the frame of your car should be used as lifting points, then by all means use these points instead. Professionals lift cars at the differential because they know what they’re doing and they use only the right kind of jack for the job.
Our Top Pick
Torin’s Big Red Hydraulic Trolley Floor Jack is, hands down, our best car jack because of its exceptional lift capacity, commendable range of lift height, and heavy-duty construction, all at a friendly price. It’s the perfect lifting solution for today’s cars, trucks, and SUVs.
Picking the right car jack is crucial to ensuring safety while working on your car. Choosing the one with the right weight rating, height of the lifting pad, and overall build quality should help you bring home the best car jack.
- The 5 Most Common Tools You’ll Need for Home Auto Repair – HuffPost
- How Hitch Jacks Work – HowStuffWorks