What’s the best FLOOR JACK for your garage?
Choosing the best floor jack (or sometimes called trolley jack) for your home or garage can be a difficult task. There are many different types, brands, and models all with different characteristics, pros and cons. Do you need a floor jack that is light and portable, or one that is heavy duty and has a high lifting capacity? Do you need a low profile trolley jack, or one with a high lifting height? Steel or Aluminum? There are so many questions that is can make you dizzy, but don’t throw in the towel just yet because FloorJackAdvisor.com is here to help you make an informed decision and find the best floor jack for your particular needs. We hope that it’s a valuable resource in helping you make an informed decision on which model to purchase. We also have many helpful tips on how to safely use a floor jack in our Safe Lifting Guide. Also, don’t forget the jack stands…doing so COULD KILL YOU!
Don’t forget to check out our other comparison charts and buying guides too. They are full of great information to help you make informed decisions.
We hope that you enjoy our reviews and other great content like our Automotive Blog. It has many great articles on automotive related topic such as Tires, Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS), and brakes.
Top 10 Passenger Vehicle Floor Jack Comparison Chart
The chart below compares the top selling passenger vehicle floor jacks. You can sort the table by clicking on the column headers. If you would like to see a more comprehensive comparison, please click here.
Note: On small screens the table is scrollable (left & right).
|Capacity||Body||Quick-Lift||Min Height||Max Height||Weight||Price||Price||Rating||Rating|
|2 tons||Steel||N||3-1/2"||19-1/4"||49 lbs||199.99||4.9|
|2 tons||Steel||Y||2-3/4"||24-0"||97 lbs||234.5||4.9|
|2 tons||Steel||N||3-3/4"||20-0"||125 lbs||355.15||4.9|
|2 tons||Steel||Y||3-1/2"||18-1/2"||67 lbs||157.42||4.8|
|3 tons||Alum||Y||3-3/4"||18-1/8"||56 lbs||249.95||4.8|
|3-1/2 tons||Steel||Y||3-1/2"||21-3/8"||109 lbs||139.99||4.7|
|2 tons||Alum||Y||3-1/2"||19-1/4"||50 lbs||217.83||4.6|
|2 tons||Alum||N||3-1/2"||18-0"||43 lbs||256.33||4.3|
|3-1/2 tons||Steel||Y||4-0"||20-0"||85 lbs||149.99||4.2|
Types of floor jacks
Floor jacks can be broken down into two primary categories; hydraulic jacks and mechanical jacks. Both types of jacks are designed in a way that allows the input force of turning a screw or moving a handle up and down to be magnified many times into a much stronger lifting force. To do this, mechanical jacks use mechanical advantage and simple machines and hydraulic jacks use hydraulic fluid, pistons, and pressure chambers. Each type of jack has its advantages and disadvantages. If you are interested in learning the details of how a floor jack magnifies input force please read our blog post titled “How Does a Floor Jack Work?“.
Mechanical jacks are the ones that typically come in a vehicle’s emergency roadside assistance kit. These jacks benefit from the fact that they are compact, fairly light in weight, and do not require any ongoing maintenance. The most common type of mechanical floor jack is the scissor jack which uses a central screw mechanism to convert rotational input force into linear lifting force. The primary disadvantage of most mechanical floor jacks is the amount of input effort and motion required to raise the jack. For example, the scissor jack requires the screw to be turned 20-30 times before the jack will lift the vehicle. This can take quite a bit of time and effort. Another disadvantage of mechanical jacks is that they typically have a small base that can cause them to be less stable than a trolley-style floor jack.
Hydraulic jacks come in two primary styles; trolley jacks and bottle jacks (or piston jack). Trolley jacks typically have four wheels (casters) that allow the jack to be easily maneuvered into place. Bottle jacks have no wheels and are typically round in shape like a bottle. In general, hydraulic jacks are far more efficient at transferring input motion into lifting force and motion. Some multi-piston hydraulic floor jacks can be moved into the fully raised position with 3-5 strokes of the input handle. These types of jacks also require significantly less input force when compared to most mechanical floor jacks. The primary disadvantage of the trolley-style hydraulic jack is its size and weight due to the levers that are used to amplify the lifting range. Bottle-style hydraulic jacks on the other hand can be small and weight less, but they sacrifice stability and lifting range in order to accomplish this.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUYING A FLOOR JACK
- LIFTING CAPACITY – The most important feature of any floor jack is how much weight can it safely lift. Hand operated hydraulic floor jacks range from 1-1/2 tons all the way up to 20 tons. It is absolutely critical that the floor jack you select can handle the lifting requirements of your job. In the case of lifting a vehicle, the general rule is that your floor jack should have a maximum lifting capacity greater than or equal to the total weight of the vehicle. Of course you are never going to lift your entire vehicle with the jack, but selecting a floor jack with a max capacity that closely matches your vehicle’s weight gives you an adequate safety margin. Keep in mind that the functional capacity of a jack is often less than its maximum rated capacity.
- CONSTRUCTION MATERIAL – Floor jacks are made out of either steel or aluminum. If you are going to primarily use your floor jack in and around the garage, I would recommend that you purchase a jack made out of steel. If you need to move your floor jack from place to place then a lighter aluminum one is the way to go.
- DESIGN PROFILE – Floor jack are designed with either a standard profile or a low profile. A low profile floor jack allows you to roll is under vehicles that have a low ride height such as sport cars.
- LIFTING RANGE – Every floor jack has a different minimum height and lifting range. If you need to lift you vehicle a considerable distance off the ground, or if your lifting points are high due to large tires then consider purchasing a floor jack with a high lifting range.
- LIFTING SPEED – The standard jack takes in between 8 to 10 strokes of the lifting bar. If you would like your floor jack to reach full high in 3-6 strokes then you should consider a jack that has dual lifting pistons or a quick lift system.
HOW TO SAFELY USE A FLOOR JACK
Lifting a vehicle with a floor jack can be a daunting task for the inexperienced vehicle owner. The weight of a vehicle is enough to cause serious injury or even death if the unsafe lifting techniques are used. Follow the steps below to safely lift your vehicle each and every time. As a disclaimer, floorjackadvisor.com always recommend that you read your vehicle’s manual before attempting any service. Furthermore, floorjackadvisor.com will not be held responsible in the event that you injure yourself or damage your vehicle while following the guide below.
STEP 1: MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE PROPER EQUIPMENT
Before lifting your vehicle you need to make sure that you have all of the equipment listed below
- Eye protection
- Floor Jack with a lifting capacity equal to or greater than your vehicle’s weight
- A pair of Jack Stands
- A pair of Tire/Wheel Chocks
- Plywood (if needed)
STEP 2: EVALUATE THE LIFTING SURFACE
When a vehicle is lifted, the weight that is normally spread out among the tire’s contact patch (the area of the tire that makes contact with the ground) is concentrated into the smaller contact patch under the wheels and casters of the floor jack. The same goes when supporting the vehicle with jack stands. It is important to make sure that the surface your floor jack and jack stands rest on is hard enough to support this concentrated weight. Most concrete surfaces can handle the concentrated weight, but clay, dirt, grass, and many asphalt surfaces cannot. the best practice is to move the vehicle to a proper lifting surface. If this is not possible then you will need to place plywood (5/8″ thick at a minimum) under the floor jack and Jack Stands to distribute the weight more evenly over the surface.
STEP 3: LOCATE YOUR VEHICLE’S LIFTING POINTS
This can be tricky, and getting it wrong can be dangerous and potentially damaging to your vehicle. The best place to find the proper lifting points on your vehicle is to reference your vehicle’s owners manual. The information is normally found in the “Emergency” section or the manual. If you can’t locate your vehicles manual and want to make 100% sure that you have the correct information you might want to order the Automotive Lifting Institutes (ALI) $10 guide HERE. Another alternative is to search the internet for forums related to your vehicle and ask the forum community where the lifting points are for your vehicle.
STEP 4: IMMOBILIZE YOUR VEHICLE
Its now time to make sure that the vehicle stays in place during the lifting process (Note: engaging the parking brake is not an adequate). If the vehicle roles while lifted it can possibly slip off the floor jack or jack stand resulting in serious injury or even death. The best practice for immobilizing the vehicle prior to lifting is to place tire chocks on both side of the tire on the other side AND axle of the vehicle (diagonal). For example, you are using the lifting point closest to the driver’s front tire then you would place the tire chocks on both sides of the passenger rear tire.
STEP 5: POSITION THE FLOOR JACK AND LIFT YOUR VEHICLE
Once your vehicle is immobilized and you have identified the proper lifting point you should move your floor jack so that the saddle (the part of the jack that makes contact with the vehicle) directly below the lifting point. In order for the jack to hold pressure and lift the saddle when pumped the hydraulic valve needs to be put in the closed position. You can do this by turning/twisted the handle clockwise until it stops. Once the handle no longer turns you can begin to slowly move the handle up and down until the saddle is about 1″ away from the lifting point. Double check that the saddle is going to come in contact with the lifting point and not damage any other part of the vehicle. Once you have verified the correct position of the saddle slowly continue to move the floor jack handle up and down to raise the vehicle to the desired height. Note: It is normal for the floor jack to role slightly during the lifting process due to the way the floor jack lever system operates.
STEP 6: SUPPORT YOUR VEHICLE WITH JACK STANDS
Floor jacks CAN and WILL fail. If you are relying on your floor jack to support the vehicle while you work on it then you are risking your life. Let me say it again, floor jacks CAN and WILL fail. This is the step that so many people leave out, but it is one of the most important when it comes to safety. I have heard countless horror stories of people being crushed by their vehicle when the floor jack fails. You might loose a limb, you might lose you life. Don’t risk it! Once the vehicle is raised to the desired height, place a Jack Stands with sufficient weight capacity under the vehicles axle close to the tire/wheel or under the vehicle’s lower control arm. Slowly twist/turn the floor jack handle counter-clockwise until the floor jack begins to slowly lower the vehicle onto the Jack Stands. Give the vehicle a firm shake to make sure it is firmly resting on the Jack Stands.
Your vehicle is now properly lifted, secured, and stabilized. It is now safe to work on and under your vehicle.
With over 380 5-star ratings on Amazon, the Powerzone 380044 floor jack is one of the best floor jacks around. Even though it is made in China, it is extremely well made. Its unique steel and aluminum construction gives you the best of both worlds. The steel lifting arm give the strength needed to lift up to 3 tons (or 6,000 pounds) while the aluminum frame helps keep the overall weight down. This is one of the few 3 ton floor jacks weighing less than 65 pounds.
The Arcan ALJ3T aluminum floor jack is so beautifully designed that you might call it “Garage Art”. Buy don’t be fooled by its beauty, it’s as functional as it is beautiful making it one of the best aluminum floor jacks. In fact, the Arcan ALJ3T is a beast of a floor jack. It will fit under almost any vehicle yet has a high maximum lifting height. Having thick frame sides and a reinforced lifting arm, this floor jack is designed to tackle lifting jobs up to 3 tons (6,000 pounds) without being as heavy as a steel constructed jack.
The “Made in the USA” Hein-Warner HW93642 floor jack is commonly referred to as a “real man’s” floor jack. It is constructed of solid steel with the strength to lift up to 2 tons (4,000 pounds) with ease. This is not a “quick lift” jack, but it requires very little effort to lift heavy loads. The hydraulic valve is operated using a universal joint allowing precise control. This jack should be in every “real man’s” garage.
The Blackhawk B6350 floor jack is made out of heavy duty steel and is manufactured in China by Banner (now owned by Shinn Fu America Corporation). It has the standard trolley design with fixed from wheels and rear caster style wheels.Most reviews about this jack say that it’s a decent floor jack for the money.
The JEGS 80006 floor jack design is inspired by Sprint Cup’s lightweight pit jacks. Although it’s manufactured in China, the fit and finish is top notch. The body is made out of high quality aluminum allowing it to weigh in at only 49 pounds.