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Updated Aug 31, 2022 4:26 PM

If you’re planning on doing any type of work under your car, truck, or SUV, you need a jack. You can’t take a tire off to replace your brakes or suspension without lifting it off the ground, and unless you’re extra thin or have a very tall truck, you won’t even be able to do a simple oil change. There’s more to picking a floor jack than just selecting the first one off the shelf, however. You need to choose one that will do the job you need: to fit under your lowered car or reach high enough for your off-roader. You also need to make sure you can trust it to lift your vehicle safely, time after time. We’re here to help you find the right floor jack for your needs with our rundown of some of the best jacks available.

The Best Car Jack

A jack that can fit under all but the lowest cars that still has the height to get your pickup or SUV off the ground? That’s what this Torin Big Red hydraulic jack offers, thanks to a removable saddle neck. Just 5 7/8-inches tall when fully collapsed, put the taller neck on, and it starts from 9 1/4 inches. That means you don’t just have the ability to get your taller vehicle off the ground, but you can do it with fewer pumps of the handle.

Two swivel casters and two rollers make it easy to maneuver this jack under the vehicle or garage, while a 24-inch handle gives you more lifting leverage to get your pride and joy up into the air. A 3-ton capacity means that lifting your truck or SUV should be a breeze, too, and the jack also has a safety bypass system to prevent overloading or overextending for safety.

Specification
  • Brand Torin
  • Model T83006
  • Weight 36 pounds
PROS

Removable long neck saddle

3-ton capacity 20 7/8-inch max lift height

20 7/8-inch max lift height

CONS

Heavy for its size

Small lift pad

Nowhere to store saddle

This Powerbuilt 2-ton jack has an extra-handy feature that’s great for anyone who has trouble finding a spot for the jack and another for their jack stands. Instead of a circular lift point, the Powerbuilt jack’s lift point is U shaped, which allows you to keep the jack where it is while inserting or removing the jack stands.

That U-shape lift point leaves room for you to put a jack stand with a base of up to 8.0 inches wide inside the legs of the jack. Lift your car up, slide the stand inside the jack, and set the weight back down on the stand in one easy step. The jack has a minimum height of 4.5 inches and can lift to 18 inches, supporting up to 4,000 pounds.

Specification
  • Brand Powerbuilt
  • Model 620516
  • Weight 79.8 pounds
PROS

U shape for easy stand use

Wide base for stability

Handle helps when carrying

CONS

Heavy

Fits only saddle-style jack stands

Extra-wide base may come too close to tires or mud flaps

Slipping a standard floor jack under a lowered car is no easy task. Sure, you can drive up on blocks or ramps to then fit a standard jack, but there is a much better way. This Arcan low-profile jack is just 3 1/2-inches tall when it is collapsed, so if your car can fit over most fallen leaves, this jack should fit under it. Equally important, the jack stays low, so if you need to slide it under the car to use a crossmember as a lift point, it will still fit.

A dual pump piston means it lifts twice as much with every pump to help you get your car in the air quicker, and a 2-ton lift capacity should be enough for nearly any car. A large rubber saddle protects your vehicle’s frame, while a foam-padded handle is good for your hands as well as your doors, bumpers, and fenders if you let go of the handle at the wrong time.

Specification
  • Brand Arcan
  • Model XL20
  • Weight 67.2 Pounds
PROS

Ultra-low height

Dual piston for quick lifting

Long jack length

CONS

Heavy

Can’t pick your color

Best for Heavier Vehicles

SUVs and trucks are getting heavier and heavier, and this jack from Performance Tool is meant to keep up with any and all of those offerings. Capable of handling up to 3.5 tons, this makes it strong enough for almost any pickup or SUV. With a height of just 4 inches compressed, it can fit under most standard-height cars, but with a 20 1/2-inch lift height, it should still have enough reach to help get you under your SUV and pickup come service time.

An extra-wide and long frame along with wide roller wheels on the lifting end provide extra stability even when fully extended. That should give you more confidence when you’re putting your vehicle in the air or bringing it back down. And a double-pump mechanism helps you get the jack to height quickly and get your vehicle in the air with less work.

Specification
  • Brand Performance Tool
  • Model W1627
  • Weight 85 pounds
PROS

Wide base for stability

Large rubber pad for finding your lift points

20 1/2-inch lift height

CONS

85 pounds is tough to move around

No padding means being careful with handle

Body gets tall quickly, so may not make long reaches under low cars

Best Aluminum Jack

Many of the jacks on this list tip the scales at 60-90 pounds. Go even heavier duty and you can easily hit three-digit weights. That makes for a lot of work just to get it into the proper position or returning it to the side of your garage when the job is finished. Take it easy on your back with an aluminum jack like this one from Jegs.

Though it’s not exactly a feather, its 50-pound heft is the lightest offering on this list and offers a far easier lifting experience than most. The 3.5-inch minimum height is perfect for all but the lowest of lowered cars, while the 14.75-inch-maximum lift should be enough to get even compact crossovers off the ground quickly and easily. This jack also offers a wide lifting pad for extra stability but won’t work for anything weighing more than 2 tons.

Specification
  • Brand JEGS
  • Model 80006
  • Weight 50.2 pounds
PROS

Light weight

Low minimum height

Large lift pad

CONS

Not enough lift for trucks

Low maximum weight capacity

Best Car Jack Buying Guide & FAQ

Your car, truck, or SUV weighs thousands of pounds, and that’s why you need a car jack that is strong, stable, and reliable. Cutting corners such as using a lower weight rating than you should can mean not just expensive damage to your vehicle but could cost you an arm, a leg, or your life. There is more to picking a jack than just getting the biggest and heaviest, however, and we’re here to help you decide which jack is right for your needs.

What to Look for in a Car Jack

Don’t let the weight of lifting your vehicle weigh too heavily on your mind. Here are some of the main things you need to look for when you’re choosing a car jack for your garage.

Weight Rating

Car jacks give their capacity in tons, and a ton is 2,000 pounds. If you’re planning on lifting a small car, a basic 2-ton jack should be more than enough. If you’re lifting your pickup, you’ll need something with more capacity. On a car or crossover, you can use the gross weight vehicle rating of the vehicle (usually on a sticker in the door frame) as a guide to how much capacity you need. On a pickup, take that same number and subtract the payload rating.

Height of Lifting Pad

Car jacks have to go under the vehicle to access specific lifting points. If your car is too low, the jack won’t fit underneath. About an inch less lift pad height than your actual ground clearance to the lift point is the right move. If you have a truck, however, you need a higher lift pad or you’ll be pumping all day just to get to the frame.

Maximum Heighty

Your jack is useless if it can’t lift your vehicle off the ground. This shouldn’t be a problem with cars, but trucks and SUVs, especially lifted ones, need more attention. Your jack’s maximum height needs to reach the frame or the axle lift point and then still go high enough to cover your suspension’s “droop” travel. That’s the amount the wheel drops relative to the body before the suspension is fully extended

Types of Car Jacks

Car jacks come in different types. Here are four of the most common:

Scissor Jack

A scissor jack is the type you’ll usually find included in your new car or truck by the manufacturer. A long screw is turned to draw the legs of the scissors together. As the legs are drawn closer, they also grow higher. While these do work and require little effort to use, they are intended for emergency use only. Don’t use one of these to do more than an emergency roadside tire repair, and don’t reach under your vehicle with it suspended by a scissor jack.

Floor Jack

This is the most common car jack, and it’s great for changing tires as well as performing repairs and general maintenance. It works on the principle of hydraulic pressure to lift heavy objects with relative ease. They come with four wheels for ease of placement under the car as well as a long handle that operates the lift mechanism. Floor jacks can be big and bulky and heavy, although on a smooth concrete garage floor this isn’t much of a problem.

Bottle Jack

These jacks look like bottles, hence the name. They’re thin and short, with the lift mechanism coming straight up out of the body of the jack. These jacks can be found with weight capacities much greater than a floor jack, but since they can only be used straight up and down, they can be less stable than floor jacks when used to lift a vehicle.

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 have truck-ready available lift capacities. They are also exceptionally long, the shortest being 3 feet. This makes them very impractical to put in your car’s trunk, but they can be indispensable for off-road and farm use.

Best Car Jack FAQ:

Q: How high can a scissor jack go?

Every jack is different, and every jack has a different priority. You can find floor jacks designed to fit under lowered cars that can only lift to around 15 inches. You can also find longer floor jacks that can lift a vehicle to more than 24 inches off the pavement. Most car jacks will advertise maximum and minimum heights, and a general rule is that the longer the jack body is the higher it will be able to lift.

Q: How does a hydraulic car jack work?

Hydraulic car jacks typically come with two cylinders where oil is moved through them by pump plungers. When the plunger is drawn back (pulling up the handle), the suction valve ball in the pump chamber opens and allows oil to move in. When the pump plunger is moved or pushed forward (pushing down on the handle), the oil moves into the cylinder chamber through a check valve. At the same time, the suction valve closes. This builds up hydraulic oil pressure in the body of the jack, and that’s what keeps your vehicle in the air.
Because it is hydraulic pressure holding up your vehicle, it is essential that you use a proper mechanical support, like a jack stand, to hold the weight of the vehicle once it is jacked up. Never put a part of your body under any part of a vehicle that is held up by a hydraulic jack alone.

Q: Is it safe to place a floor jack at the differential?

It depends. Every vehicle is a little bit different, meaning every vehicle has a different jack point. The usual safe spots are the clearly reinforced areas on the underside rails (called pinch welds) on a car or crossover. On a pickup, lift points may be on the suspension or frame. Check your owner’s manual for the proper lifting points. Your truck may be perfectly happy with a jack under the differential while others may end up damaged from the same move.

Our Top Pick

The Torin Big Red Hydraulic Trolley Floor Jack is our pick for best car jack because of its exceptional lift capacity, commendable range of lift height, and heavy-duty construction all at an affordable price. It’s the perfect lifting solution for today’s cars, trucks, and SUVs.

Sources:

  1. The 5 Most Common Tools You’ll Need for Home Auto Repair – HuffPost
  2. How Hitch Jacks Work – HowStuffWorks

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