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It happens when you least expect it: you’re driving to work or the grocery store, you hear a “pop,” and you find yourself pulling off the road with a flat tire. Having a portable jack with you will make managing your tire emergencies significantly easier.
While many vehicles come with small, portable jacks, you may need to buy one for your car or truck. But that doesn’t mean you can buy just any jack. For the best experience, you need to purchase one that can lift your vehicle weight, is durable enough to last, and user-friendly. Most importantly, though, it needs to be portable enough that you can easily carry it with you. We’ve rounded up the best portable car lifts on the market today.
The Best Portable Car Lifts
If you’re looking for a durable jack that you can use while traveling, then this is an ideal choice. This portable car lift comes as a part of a complete emergency kit. The kit’s jack is powered with a 12V plug for use in your vehicle’s cigarette lighter. There are also included battery cables for an alternative power source. The scissor jack can lift three tons, which is plenty for most vehicles. It can achieve a maximum lifting height of 17 inches. Additional components in the kit include two double socket wrenches, two spare fuses, and a roadside reflector outside the tough carrying case.
One potential drawback of this lift is that the screw support can bend during use. The jack isn’t as durable as other parts in the kit. You’ll also want to only use it on the pavement as it can be unstable on dirt or grass.
Three-ton loading capacity
Electric Scissor lift Jack
Lifting range: 17 inches
- BrandJinyun County TianYang Tools Co., Ltd
- Weight18.06 pounds
Professional double-purpose tool box
Two double socket wrenches
Two spare fuses
Screw lift can bend
Can be unstable
This durable scissor jack is constructed of solid steel, giving the jack durability, strength, and stability. It has a maximum lifting capacity of 1.5 tons, with a lifting range of 4-1/8 to 15-1/8 inches. The base of the jack is extra wide and long to give it increased stability. This makes it ideal for use on both paved and unpaved surfaces. The one-piece handle provides the jack with stability and strength when raising and lowering the jack. It also meets the ANSI/ASME PASE safety standards.
Unfortunately, you may find that this jack is not sturdy on uneven hard surfaces. This is because the extra-large base won’t sit flat. However, you can easily address this by only using it on flat hard surfaces or soft ground.
1.5-ton lifting capacity
Scissor lift style
Lifting range: 4-1/8 to 15-1/8 inches
- Weight7.7 pounds
Meets ANSI/ASME PASE safety standard
Metal is thin
If you have a large vehicle, you need a heavy-duty lift to move around easily, and this 3.5-ton portable car lift is the perfect solution. It has a large handle and two caster wheels to make maneuvering and using your jack easy. The large saddle measures four inches in diameter. The jack has an internal safety valve to prevent it from collapse should the regular valve disengage.
One potential issue with this jack is that the hydraulics can bleed out while you’re using the jack. You can prevent this by adequately maintaining your jack and ensuring the seals are secure. The instructions included with the jack are also a bit confusing, but thankfully, the jack is intuitive to use.
Measures 28.5L x 13.75W x 6.5H inches
Four-inch saddle diameter
- Weight85 pounds
Built-in internal safety valve
Rugged universal joint
Bleeds off while using it
Can get stuck in the up position
If you aren’t interested in manually lifting your jack, then you’ll love this electric version. This portable car lift is perfect for roadside emergencies with its three-ton weight capacity, hydraulic lifting power, and height range of six to 17.5 inches. There’s an easy-to-see built-in LED switch and up/down off switch. To work the lift, you’ll plug it into the 12V outlet and then have an 11.5-foot cord to reach all of your tires.
Unfortunately, the hydraulics can leak on this jack. You can avoid this by checking and maintaining the seals. Because it’s electric, it’s louder than other manual jack options. It will also take it some time to lift to its maximum height, and you may find it to be slower than other options.
Lifting range of six to 17.5 inches
- Weight7.9 pounds
Built-in safety device
LED light switch
Plugs into a 12V outlet with an 11.5-foot cord
If you have a car that you’re buying a portable lift for, then this two-ton jack and roadside kit is perfect. The jack may be smaller, but it has an all-steel construction for strength and durability. The lift’s scissor-style helps it to have a low profile and slip under your car. When lifting it, you’ll have a range of 15 inches. Your kit comes with everything you need for emergency roadside maintenance, including gloves, three fuses, a battery hookup, and a hand crank.
One drawback of the jack is that it has a low maximum weight capacity. However, it’s plenty for small cars and sedans. The lower weight capacity also means that it’s smaller, so it’ll take up less room in your vehicle.
Two-ton weight capacity
Heavy-duty steel construction
Connects to 12 V outlet
Lifting range of 15 inches
- Brandinyun County TianYang Tools Co., Ltd
- Weight13.07 pounds
Large base and saddle
Two removable raised heads
Two minutes to raise
Low weight capacity
Backplate doesn’t stay in place
While all of the jacks on this list are portable, this option is even more portable, with its plastic carrying case. The jack has a 2.25-ton maximum weight capacity, and the construction is of durable steel. It has a lifting range of 5.25 to 15 inches. What’s nice about this lift is that it has a 360-degree swivel for the most adjustability and versatility. For its size, this jack is lightweight at 29.8 pounds. To prevent accidents, there’s a built-in bypass valve that will smoothly and slowly lower the jack.
Unfortunately, you may find that the hydraulics bleed out while using the jack. You can prevent this by checking the seals and adequately maintaining your jack. This jack is also quite long, which means it’ll take up more space in your vehicle.
Steel lifting saddle
5-1/4 to 15-inch lift range
- Weight29.8 pounds
Included plastic case
Can bleed out while lifting
Screws can loosen
Long in length
This bright white scissor jack is capable of lifting a maximum of three tons. It also comes with a 12V outlet plug for easy powering, no matter where you are. If you don’t have the appropriate plug, there is an included battery adapter. The jack has a maximum lifting range of 17 inches. The two removable raised heads let you use this jack with both sedans and smaller SUVs. It will take you about two minutes to lift your vehicle. Your jack also comes with work gloves and three spare fuses.
Unfortunately, the compressor that powers this lift can malfunction. If this happens, you’ll have to use the manual crank, which is relatively small and awkward to use. You may also find that this jack isn’t as durable as other jacks on this list.
Lifting range of 17 inches
- Weight13.68 pounds
Two removable raised heads
Two connector choices
Takes two minutes to lift
Compressor can malfunction
Slow to lift to maximum height
If you’re looking for a portable car lift that will get your vehicles raised quickly, then this option is perfect. Since it’s designed for use on the track or racing, it’s easy to use, lightweight, and portable. Instead of steel, this jack is constructed from aluminum, making it both lighter and more corrosion-resistant than other jacks. It has a 1.5-ton maximum weight capacity. The handle may look long at 37-3/8 inches, but the jack has a compact design, helping it be more portable. It has a lifting range of 3-3/8 – 14.75 inches.
One drawback of this hydraulic jack is that it can leak if you don’t properly maintain it or leave it lifted for too long. You may also find that the wheels struggle to roll well over uneven surfaces.
Handle length: 37-3/8 inches
Knurled aluminum handle
- Weight40 Pounds
Lifting range of 3-3/8 – 14.75 inches
Doesn’t roll well on rough surfaces
While other jacks on this list are only meant for lifting, this one can also function as a jack stand. This means you can raise your vehicle and then leave it raised with this single unit. The jack has a three-ton maximum weight capacity thanks to the hydraulic bottle design. It has a lifting range of 11 to 21 inches. This jack is incredibly durable and compact, which makes it great for taking it with you. The dual function makes it versatile for a wide range of needs.
One potential drawback of this lift is that it lacks some of the safety features that other jacks on this list have. This can make it less friendly to those who are less experienced with portable car lifts. It can also leak from the hydraulics if you leave it supporting a vehicle for too long.
Hydraulic bottle jack
Height range: 11-21 inch
- Weight22.7 pounds
Can sporadically release
Lacks safety features
This portable car lift comes in a compact plastic case with a large carrying handle on the top, making it easy to move your jack. It has a maximum weight capacity of 3,000 pounds. For durability, it has a welded steel frame construction and steel casters. You’ll have a lifting range of 5.25-12 inches. This jack is strong, stable, and durable, and is resistant to corrosion.
Unfortunately, the seals on this jack aren’t as durable as other jacks. If you find this is an issue with yours, you can replace them. This jack also has a lower weight capacity than jacks of similar size and style. While the case isn’t as durable as others on this list, it still gets the job done.
Welded steel frame construction
Lifting range 5.25-12 inches
- BrandShinn Fu Company of America Inc.
- Weight18 pounds
Sturdy carrying handle
Included carrying case
Low weight capacity
Best Portable Car Lifts Buying Guide & FAQ
Carrying a portable car lift with you will ensure that you never get stuck on the side of the road. It’ll also be a convenient tool to bring with you wherever you need to use it. Buying a portable car lift is about finding one that’s strong enough to lift your vehicles and durable enough to last.
This guide will help you determine the best jack for your needs. It’ll cover the benefits, common types, and important features. That way, you know which one of these top portable car lifts is going to be able to come to your rescue.
The Advantages of Owning a Portable Car Lift
There are several advantages to owning a portable car lift. The most obvious is that it’s portable, which means it’s lighter and smaller, making it easier to carry and stow in your trunk. The small size of these lifts means that they will take up a minimal amount of space.
These jacks also tend to have a simple design, making them intuitive and easy to use. Even if you don’t have experience with using a jack, you can figure out how to use one of these. If you carry a portable lift with you, you’ll never have to worry about getting somewhere. You can pull out your lift, raise your car, and change your flat tire.
The lighter weight of these jacks makes it easier to carry and maneuver while having less of a negative impact on your fuel economy. You also won’t have to struggle as much to get it correctly positioned under your vehicle’s frame.
- Easy-to-use design
- Never get stuck anywhere
- Lighter weight than other jacks
The Most Common Types of Portable Car Lifts
There are three main types of jacks that are available on the market: bottle, scissor, and floor. The type you choose will depend on the size and height of your vehicle. You’ll also want to consider the amount of effort you want to exert to raise your jack. Depending on the make and model of your car, you may not have a choice.
If you have a vehicle with a high stance or is heavyweight, then a bottle jack is an ideal choice. This is because its stance starts more elevated than a scissor jack would, and many scissor jacks are reaching their maximum height around the height of your vehicle’s frame. Bottle jacks get their name from the shape of the lift that looks like a bottle.
Bottle jacks use hydraulic power to lift your car, which reduces the amount of manual labor you need to work it. They also have a release that makes lowering a vehicle quick and easy. However, these jacks lack the mobility and maneuverability that floor jacks have.
If you have a lower profile vehicle, then a scissor jack is a better option because it can fit under your vehicle’s frame. This is the primary type of jack that comes with most vehicles. To use your jack, there’s a large screw mechanism that you’ll crank to lift the jack upward.
One drawback of this jack is that it requires manual labor to lift and lower the jacks. They also have more joints, which can make them less durable or more prone to failure. What’s nice is that because they only require manual power, there’s no risk of failure due to hydraulic or electrical failure.
Floor jacks are mostly used as car lifts for a garage. However, there are some smaller options that you can bring with you. What’s nice about this jack style is that they are easier to use and position because they are on caster wheels. They also come with a longer handle to make raising and lowering them easier.
The downside is that the handle can be quite large to carry with you. There are some options where the handle breaks apart into pieces, but this can reduce the handle’s strength and durability. However, this may not be an issue if you’re only rarely using the jack in emergencies.
What to Consider When Buying a Portable Car Lift
To test the best types of car jacks, you need to start with a few varieties to compare their size, weight, and functionality. A larger jack will have a higher maximum lifting height and a larger weight capacity. However, with these benefits come a bulkier and heavier unit.
To initially test a jack, try having it lift a particular vehicle. This will help you determine which option can give you the most stable base. You can also compare how easy they are to raise and lower. Consider each one’s maximum lifting height and how durable they are when fully extended to the maximum height.
The Most Important Features of Portable Car Lifts
When deciding which port lift is right for you, consider the size, stability, and maximum weight capacity. These will tell you if the jack is compatible with the height and weight of your vehicle. It will also tell you if the jack will work in the locations you intend to use.
The jack needs to be small enough that it can be portable. You should be able to easily move it about either on wheels or by carrying it. The weight should be manageable for one person. The jack also needs to be small enough that it will fit under your vehicle’s frame. However, it also needs to be large enough to lift your car adequately.
Consider the lift’s dimensions, weight, and lifting range to determine what size of the portable jack is best for you. You’ll find that jacks with a lower clearance when compressed have lower lifting ranges. This is because you shouldn’t need to lift your vehicle very high to get the necessary clearance. Lifting your car too high can make it unstable on the jack.
The weight capacity of a jack will tell you how much weight it can safely lift. Aluminum jacks have lower weight capacities, while heavy-duty steel jacks have higher weight capacities. To determine the weight capacity you need, take a look at the driver’s side door sticker. Then look for a jack with a maximum weight capacity that’s over this weight amount.
Be sure to have plenty of cushion between your vehicle’s weight and the maximum weight. You shouldn’t be maxing out the lift with your car. This puts extra stress on the jack and can create a potentially dangerous situation.
If you’re working on your car in the garage or on a paved road, then you’ll have an easier time keeping your portable lift stable. However, this may not be the only place you use your jack. There may come a time when you’re on the side of the road in grass or dirt using your jack.
Look at the size of the base on the lift. The larger the base is, the more stable the jack will be when lifting. You should also consider a jack that specifically states that it can be used on unpaved surfaces. These off road jacks have special features that prevent them from sinking into the softer earth.
Care and Maintenance for Portable Car Lifts
Caring for and maintaining your portable lift will ensure that it’s in good condition and ready for use whenever you need it. This starts by always keeping your jack in the protective case that it came in. Not all jacks come with a carrying case, but if yours does, you should use it.
The next thing you should do is check your jack before each use. Look for signs of wear and corrosion. Tighten any screws or bolts that may have come loose to prevent an accident from happening while using the jack. When you’re finished, you should always clean your lift. This will prevent corrosion and damage from occurring.
- Clean your jack after you use it
- Keep the jack in its case
- Give the jack a check before you use it
Best Portable Car Lift FAQ:
There are several best portable car lifts on the market because there isn’t one jack that works for everyone. Instead of looking for the best overall jack, focus on finding the best jack for your needs and budget. Then once you buy your lift, take it out and test it out. Ensure you know how to work it so that you’re ready when the day comes that you need it.
Q: What is the best portable car lift to buy?
A: The best portable lift is one that fits in your available space, doesn't weigh too much, and is capable of lifting the weight of your vehicle.
Q: How much is the cheapest portable car lift?
A: The most affordable jacks on the market are scissor-style jacks around $25.
Q: How do you use the portable car lift?
A: Place the lift on a flat surface and position under your vehicle's frame's lifting point. Then raise the jack until your car lifts off the ground to your needed height.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick for the best portable car lift is the Rogtz Electric Car Lift. This lift comes with more than a jack; it’s an entire emergency kit. The jack includes spare fuses, two double socket wrenches, a roadside reflector, and a durable carrying case. Thanks to the scissor design and 17-inch lifting range, you’ll have a lot of versatility with this jack.
The Rogtz Electric Car Lift and emergency kit will keep you safe when on the road. For a more affordable option, the Big Red Torin Steel Scissor Lift Jack won’t let you down with its extra-wide base, one-piece handle, and steel construction.
- Car Lift - Wikipedia