Whether you’re a seasoned veteran who is looking for a new spring compressor or a keen hobbyist who has recently come across the joy of the strut spring compressor, you’ll know that you need to find the best coil compressor for your money. Not only that, but you’ll need one that is safe, secure and easy to use- without any risk to your vehicle or your hands.
If you haven’t heard of these handy contraptions before, you’ll be pleased to learn everything there is to know about strut compressors in this article. Keep reading to find our top picks, as well as answers to any of those burning questions you might be wondering about, and a general overview about what you should consider about the best spring compressor tools and how to use them.
The Best Strut Spring Compressor
Coming up at the top of our choices is the spring compressor from OEMTOOLS, as one of the safest tools to use and available at the best possible price. This is a great tool for novices and pro’s alike, as it covers the majority of uses on domestic vehicles and has a wide range of compatibility.
Customers mention how quickly this compressor works, which allows you to significantly cut down the time spent on removing or refitting your strut springs and vehicles coils- which can be a significant improvement, even when compared to many of our other options.
Added safety features
- Weight7.15 pounds
Featuring a reinforced, ACME thread and additional safety pins to allow for a secure grip, the ABN strut compressor is considered a universal coil compressor thanks to the wide range and easy use. Meanwhile, the strengthened safety features allow users to complete their task in confidence and security, creating a happier mechanic and quicker repair after use.
The simple compatibility and heavy-duty material allow this compressor to be used on a surprising range of domestic vehicles, even for regular users, without fear of bending or breaking. Better yet, these tools come in a blow molded case that allow for easy transportation and storage.
Carrying case included
- Weight8 pounds
The biggest benefit to this compressor tool from Shankly is easily the double-claw of the hooks, which is provided at one of the compressor, to ensure a firm grip and easy lock. That said, if your coil is damaged or has a different degree of coil, you might struggle to fit this on, securely. Be aware that this works best on a maximum width of 9.5 inches, although you may have to check on the diameter, if your coil is bent, warped or broken as this won’t attach as securely as others on our list.
Of course, if you’re simply looking for a compressor tool to shift the coil out of the way as you get on with another task, this is easily one of the better options available. Created using top-quality materials and with a drop forged enamel body, this is one of the toughest and most durable options available- perfect for regular use.
Attachable security hooks
Drop forged enamel body
- Weight6.05 pounds
If you’re looking for a compressor that is required for use on a daily basis (or more) this is the option that you, or your business, should choose. This comes with some versatile mounting options but can also be used freehand, although this can become a little more complicated than is necessary for occasional jobs- especially as the mounting options give way to a more permanent fixture than may be required by a hobbyist.
Great for use on heavy-duty vehicles such as light trucks and SUV’s, customers have regularly mentioned how impressed they were with the sheer ease-of-use with this compressor, as well as the overall strength of the compression. This is partly due to the reinforced thread which gives a greater grip and the elongated handles for additional torque.
Can be mounted
For heavy duty use
- Weight98 pounds
An interesting bit of kit that can take a little extra time to get used to but provides a fast, secure way or compressing springs on both heavy-duty domestic vehicles and light-duty commercials, this is a great “bridge” option between the more expensive but stronger wall-mounted options and the lighter but cheaper offerings out there.
Despite its large frame, this is a fairly lightweight offering, coming in at only 19 pounds. This makes it a great choice for providing the extra security require for extra-tough or warped springs without compromising on space and affordability.
Can be used with impact wrench
Can fit a wide width of struts
High quality compressor
- Weight18.3 pounds
This drop forged steel constructed compressor from Performance Tool is surprisingly versatile for such a cheap option. It comes with locking pins for additional security and replacement parts are easy to find thanks to the nature of the seller, who specializes in parts for automotive replacements. This, in turn, gives added security about the longevity of the tool, which is ideal for those seeking a starting compressor, before investing in more heavy-duty options.
Bear in mind that the hooks on this option are a little smaller than many of our other choices, so might not be best for those who are working on multiple vehicle types. However, if you’re sure that this option will fit your current car, or a car that you’re working on, then it’s a great, affordable option that will complete the task without fuss or excessive effort.
Drop forged steel construction
Includes locking pins
- BrandPerformance Tool
- Weight6.45 pounds
Another option that uses a dual-claw hook, the AMPRO spring compressor works by using both ends of the tool with this design which makes it a great option for standard coils. Of course, as with the Shankly, this is a good choice for undamaged springs but can be a little more a pain if you’re looking to replace or remove a coil that is warped or bent, as you may find the hooks aren’t at the right angles to firmly grip the edges with precision.
That said, the drop forged steel jaws and hardened alloy steel center bolts still make this a good choice for some domestic vehicles which require occasional coil care. Indeed, it seems the biggest benefit to this choice is that their small size allows for greater clearance when trying to access coils. Thus, these may not be the best for larger components but they can definitely do the trick if your vehicle springs are placed in awkward spaces.
For light duty use
Forged steel jaws
Alloy steel center bolts
- Weight3.7 pounds
Our final option that provides a dual-claw jaw, you’ll need to watch out for the same concerns regarding possible incompatibilities with damaged, bent or broken springs. Of course, if you have no qualms regarding this and want a cheap but effective tool that will work great for one-off jobs, this may be the best choice of coil compressor for you.
These are best used for light jobs only, so be sure to check the size and strength of your springs before purchasing since, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for when it comes to these compressors. Naturally, if you only need a quick fix in the meantime or simply want something for use in emergencies, these could be the best option for your money.
Chrome plated jaws
Steel is heat treated
Great for light duty work
- Weight1 pound
A great choice for mobile mechanics that require something that is easy to carry and quick to use. This is a surprisingly durable compressor that works brilliantly with most passenger cars and light-duty vehicles without putting up too much of a fight.
While you may find yourself requiring a little bit of extra exertion during use, this is still a great option thanks to the forged hooks and hardened center screw which resist bends and won’t give way on tighter jobs.
Hardened center screw
Carrying case included
- ModelSpring Tool
- Weight2.2 pounds
Our final choice is a forged constructed spring compressor that is designed with the sole purpose of having a fantastic longevity and simple design. This is perfect for use on light vehicles and works like a charm on bent, damaged or warped springs that need a good grip and quick removal.
You won’t find that this works on all vehicles and it may not be as flashy, with a distinct lack of features. However, if you need a lightweight option for lightweight springs then this could well be the best strut spring compressor for your needs.
ACME threaded lock
- BrandATD Tools
- Weight4 ounces
Strut Spring Compressors Buying Guide
Things to Consider When Buying a Strut Spring Compressor
One of the best ways to tell whether your spring compressor will be strong enough to handle the tough work of compressing your vehicle’s springs, is through the materials of the strut spring compressor.
It’s vital to get a compressor that can handle the pressure, as one slip can cause serious- and harmful- issues that can cause damage to yourself or your vehicle. In particular, the tougher the spring, the stronger your coil compressor needs to be, which means you’ll need a durable, well-made tool that can handle the pressure without bending or snapping at the key moment (when your coil is fully compressed).
In order to find the best strut spring compressor for your needs, you’ll need to get a tool that is made to fit the right width and length of each coil you need to work with. Firstly, you should choose an item that can span the full length of the coil, as this is where your compressor will be attached to the coil.
Next, the claws that attach to the coil will need to be the right size to comfortably fit over the width, as these will ensure that your coils and springs don’t fall out of place and hurt you or cause damage to your vehicle.
Every tool is bound to come with a series of features that enhance the safety, ease-of-use or convenience of a product- the trick is to find the best features that work for you. In the case of strut spring compressors, those features are likely to include ways to make it easier to compress the spring- such as the OTC Clamshell, which can be used with an impact wrench, unlike many of the others on our list.
They are also likely to come with spare parts, which cuts down on concerns about replacements, or a toolbox, which is ideally suited for your new bit of kit and can make it easier to carry your tools with you, if you travel to your customers.
You should be able to get a decent strut spring compressor for a low price, but you should be aware that these are usually made out of cheaper materials and most likely won’t be suitable for tougher jobs or continuous use. However, you might find that you don’t need to buy a strut compressor that is too expensive, either- especially if you’re only using your new tool on occasion.
Naturally, if you’re looking for a strong, versatile option that will be put through its paces, you should definitely opt for one of the more expensive items that will yield consistent results, no matter how much you need to use it.
Easily the most important factor in buying your coil compressor is the safety of your item. Compressors that are poorly made are likely to bend and break, which can lead to the spring causing damage to you or your vehicle, so it’s important to buy a high-quality tool that put these concerns to rest.
You should also consider how each of the above factors can affect the safety of your piece. Ideally, you should go for a strut spring compressor that has been made to withstand extreme pressure, as well as having a heavy-duty thread that ensure no movement once locked into place.
Benefits of Strut Spring Compressors
- Negates the danger
At this point, you can probably understand that changed your shock absorber or springs can be a dangerous undertaking- especially for the novice handyman, although even the most seasoned mechanic could warn you about the dangers involved in playing with such a strong component without taking the necessary precautions.
Having a strut spring compressor can help to take away the dangers that are involved in replacing or removing your vehicle springs, as a good coil compressor will take care of the toughest part of the job and allow you to feel confident in the security of the compressed spring.
- Freedom of movement
Having an item to hold your spring in place gives you your hands back, which will allow you to continue with your work, without any risk to yourself. Using a compressor means that your vehicle components will stay put, without any extra effort from yourself.
- Use at home
Most strut compressors are extremely portable and can easily be carried around with you, either from job to job, or to and from your car storage space. They take up almost no room- unless you opt for a heavy-duty, professional compressor- and can therefore be easily stored away when not in use, too.
- Save time
Removing and replacing coils and strut springs is a time-consuming task that takes a lot of effort, as well as a considerable amount of strength. Rather than spend your time fussing around and spending a considerable amount of your day struggling with an extremely tough component of your vehicle, use a compressor to cut your time in half (or better), without risking your hands.
Types of Strut Compressors
- External Spring Compressor
These are perfect for the standard spring and one that you will see the most of in our list. These grip the spring from the outside of the coil and will grip from two points. Once attached, you simply use a good wrench to tighten the two claw-like clamps, which will slowly come together to the center point of the tool. In doing so, they will bring the coil to a closed position (making the spring shorter and allowing it to easily be removed from your vehicle.
- Internal Spring Compressor
Usually more expensive and placed on the inside of the spring itself, when there is no central structure that can get in the way. The internal compressor uses a jack-shaft that slip between the spaces and pull the coil together from the inside. These are a lot trickier to work with and generally aren’t used much, anymore.
- Klann-type Spring Compressor
Available more widely in Europe, this is an expensive, heavy-duty compressor that is only really suitable for constant use and heavier vehicles that require a lot more precision and care. These involve telescopic jack-shafts that use plates to make the job extremely easy and quick to finish. However, they are harder to come by and usually cost too much if you aren’t looking to use these continually.
How to Use a Spring Compressor
Using the most common spring compressor type- the external compressor- you should follow these steps to safely remove your strut springs:
- You should first ensure that your vehicle is safely secured, and that your compressor is fully functioning and ready to use.
- Measure out the length of your coil and have the claws on your compressor at a suitable length to reach the maximum width of the second layer of your coil, for maximum closure.
- Carefully attach your claws to this area, ensuring that there is no movement from the compressor
- Place your pins to secure your compressor, if these are available
- Using your wrench, begin tightening the compressor, so that you can see the two claws moving closer together with each turn
- Keep tightening your spring until you can comfortable remove the strut spring without having to fight against any components which might cause the coil to get waylaid.
- To return your spring to the correct state, simply place the coil back in the correct spot, and use your wrench to loosen the coil until it is suitably placed.
- Once you are comfortable with the length of the coil and are sure that it has reached the maximum elasticity, undo your pins and remove the compressor from your strut spring.
Best Strut Spring Compressors FAQ:
Q: What is a strut spring compressor?
A: A spring compressor tool works on tough springs, usually within vehicles which have tough coils that require a lot of energy and strength to compress. Using this tool creates a much safer environment, not only for your muscles, which will thank you for the helping hand, but also in terms of avoiding any entrapment from extremely tight and dangerous springs. In turn, using a car spring compressor creates a much more effective working environment around your vehicle.
Q: How does a strut spring compressor work?
A: Your new strut spring compressor tool will work by attaching itself, securely, to the second layer of the coil. Once firmly attached using the claws available on your coil compressor, you can compress or expand your spring until it is at the safe, desired level and can easily be removed or restored. To read more about how to safely use a strut spring compressor tool, check out our buying guide, above.
Q: How should I maintain of my strut spring compressor?
A: The most important aspects of the vehicle coil compressor are the claws, which need to be strong and kept rust-free for optimal grip, and the thread, which allows for added strength. To keep these in optimal condition, you should always store your tools in a clean, dry area that isn’t easily susceptible to moisture.
You should also regularly grease the thread and components of the compressor to ensure that every area is working fully- it is usually recommended that this be undertaken every 6 months, whether or not the tool has been used frequently.
Finally, you should always check your compressor is in good condition before use. If you suspect that there are any instabilities or question the effectiveness of your tool, such as a weakness over any areas, then contact your manufacturer who will help you to decide on the best course of action- whether that’s to repair, replace components or buy a new set.
Our Top Pick
As one of the best value-for-money tools online today, the spring compressor (25550) is a highly-rated and much-loved options from hobbyists and mechanics alike. The versatility and safety aspects of this item allow for greater reach and quicker compression and expansion of coils, at virtually no risk to the user.
The added safety features and strong material allows even the most novice beginner to feel confident in the safe movement of their springs, allowing customers to quickly cut down on the time it takes to get on with the task at hand. It’s also available at a great price- especially when compared to others of the same quality- which makes it a great addition to any toolbox, especially for regular mechanics.