With one of the best floor jacks, you can do all of your car maintenance yourself, in your own garage. This piece of equipment is irreplaceable, which you will find you as soon as you start using it often. Making small repairs and tweaks is entirely possible, even if you don’t have a day of experience working at a repair shop. And sometimes, you just wish to take matters into your own hands. Because, let’s face it – professional mechanics can ask for a completely unreasonable price for a job that you could as well do on your own – if you only had the right tools.
So, which one should you get? We prepared floor jack reviews of our favorite models, and a handy buying guide to help you make an informed decision. Let’s dive right into it!
Should You Have a Floor Jack?
Many drivers can get by just fine without ever considering a floor jack. They simply take their car to the mechanic whenever they need a small repair or replacement done. But over time, these little repairs accumulate into a huge expense.
If you’re looking for the best way to save some money, investing in this essential piece of equipment can help you cut back on large expenditures later on.
A floor jack is an ideal investment (or gift!) for all handymen who like doing simple car maintenance on their own and their families’ vehicles. From changing tires, over replacing a top-rated oil filter and draining your oil, to installing new brake pads, a floor jack with a couple of jack stands will make a lot of regular car maintenance work possible to do in the comfort of your own garage.
So, if you’re a handy person who likes DIY work and dislikes unnecessary expenses, you should definitely get a floor jack of your own!
How Can You Find Your Vehicle’s Weight?
The best way to find the weight of your vehicle is by looking through your title deed, or the vehicle’s user manual provided by the manufacturer.
If you don’t have a physical copy of the user manual, you can find it online. You can easily find the user manual in a PDF or a similar format. You only need to search for it like this: car model + make year + “manual”. In practice, if you have a 2017 Honda Accord, your search inquiry should go like this: “Honda Accord 2017 manual”.
Once you find the weight of the vehicle, you should get a floor jack, which is rated to support the weight of your car with some leeway.
Best Floor Jacks Comparison Chart
Arcan ALJ3T 3-Ton Quick Rise Aluminum Floor Jack
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Torin Big Red Hydraulic Trolley Floor Jack 3-Ton
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Blackhawk B6350 Black/Red Fast Lift Service Jack – 3.5 Ton
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Torin Big Red Hydraulic Bottle Jack, 6 Ton
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Torin Big Red Steel Scissor Jack 1.5-Ton
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Arcan XL20 2-Ton Heavy Duty Low Profile Steel Service Jack
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Neiko Pro 20272B Premium Low Profile Aluminum Floor Jack 3 Ton
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Best Floor Jacks Reviews
1. Arcan ALJ3T 3-Ton Quick Rise Aluminum Floor Jack
If you’re looking for a reliable aluminum model, Arcan’s got you covered. Their ALJ3T model does not come cheap, but it’s one of those buys you only need to make once, and you’ll have a floor jack on hand for decades to come. The first thing you’ll notice about this model is that it’s made of aluminum. Floor jacks made of this material are lighter than their steel counterparts, so you’ll have an easier time maneuvering the jack around your workshop. For additional portability, it comes with 4 wheels, with its back wheels attached so they can swivel.
This model is a good pick for cars with very little ground clearance since its lowest height is 3.75 inches. On the other hand, it is also one of the higher jacks we encountered, with its maximum height at 18 inches. This jack can lift 3 tons, but it isn’t very fast, so you’ll need to pump quite a bit to lift your vehicle completely. It comes with a two-piece handle that can be disassembled for more convenient storage. This jack comes with a rubber pad, but we found that the pad wears off quickly. Luckily, you can get replacements for a very reasonable price. Overall, this is a good, well-build floor jack that will reliably help you do all your car maintenance for years to come.
- Made of aluminum – no rusting and relatively lightweight
- Only 3.75 inches of ground clearance required
- The rubber pad wears off quickly
2. Torin Big Red Hydraulic Trolley Floor Jack 3-Ton
Our next pick is a very affordable model made and distributed by Torin. This bright red floor jack is made of steel, and it’s a fair choice for occasional use. The steel construction is quite heavy, but the unit’s portability is enhanced with 4 wheels, two of which are made as 360-degree swivels. However, many customers complained that these are breakable, so you may want to be careful when maneuvering. The minimum height of this model is 5-7/8 inches, which makes it unsuitable for vehicles with low ground clearance, but great for most sedans and SUVs.
The model comes with a unique design – it has a neck extension, which can be attached or removed depending on how high you need to lift your vehicle. The maximum height is 17-1/4 inches. This floor jack can lift up to 3 tons, so it’s sufficient for all home use. However, like with other floor jacks, you should always use this hydraulic floor jack paired with jack stands for your safety, no matter how minor the job.
- Very affordable
- Unique extra-long neck for higher lifts
- The swiveling wheels break easily
3. Blackhawk B6350 Black/Red Fast Lift Service Jack – 3.5 Ton
Next up, we have a very heavy duty model made and distributed by Blackhawk. This solid piece of garage equipment is a great model to have, especially if you need to work with heavier vehicles. That’s because this floor jack can lift as much as 3.5 tons. Made out of red-painted steel, and considering its higher weight rating, you can expect this model is hefty. And it is – at almost 85 pounds, this model is not easy to carry around. However, the engineers considered this and added a good set of swivel wheels for easy maneuvering. This model is not ideal for low rise vehicles since, at its lowest, it’s 5.5 inches off the ground. On the other hand, it has an outstanding maximum height at 22 inches, which is one of the highest we’ve encountered.
This model has some special features as well. First of all, it’s designed to lift up towards your vehicle instantly, so you won’t lose your breath pumping unnecessarily. Furthermore, it comes with a magnetic tray to catch loose bolts and nuts, which can be very handy.
- Very high maximum height at 22 inches
- Can lift up to 3.5 tons
- The handle construction is not great
4. Torin Big Red Hydraulic Bottle Jack, 6 Ton
If you’re looking for a portable jack that you can easily store and carry around in your trunk, we have a good bottle jack for you. Made by Torin, this hydraulic bottle jack weighs less than 5 pounds, yet it can lift as much as 6 tons. But if that’s not what you need, and you need a stronger (or even smaller) jack, you can get them ranging from 2 to 50 tons. The common problem with bottle jacks is that they require a lot of ground clearance to set up, and this one is no different.
Make sure you have at least 8.30 inches of clearance before opting for this model. It can help you lift your car up to 15.9 inches. This is enough for an emergency tire change or any job where you don’t need to get underneath the vehicle itself. We still recommend using it with jack stands for your personal safety. Made of steel, this bottle jack is sturdy and well made. It comes with a zinc-plated handle for pumping and a rather wide base for added stability.
- Affordable model
- Very lightweight and portable
- Goes up to 15.9 inches
5. Torin Big Red Steel Scissor Jack 1.5-Ton
Next up, we have a jack that’s very handy and convenient to have in your trunk wherever you go. Made by Torin, this scissor jack doesn’t use the principle of hydraulics to lift your vehicle. Instead, the entire process is mechanical. That means you can rest assured that there will never be jack oil leaks in your trunk. However, scissor jacks are not designed to lift your vehicle enough to get under it. Instead, you can expect to go about 15-1/8 inches off the ground with this jack.
If you have a low-rise vehicle, this model may be a good pick, since it only requires 4-1/8 inches of ground clearance. However, you shouldn’t use this model on heavy vehicles like SUVs and trucks, since it can only lift up to 1.5 tons. The construction is made of alloyed steel, painted red. You can easily carry this jack around since it only weighs a bit over 6 pounds. Additionally, you will surely be happy with the price of this jack.
- Very affordable
- Easy to carry around and store
- Can only lift 1.5 tons
6. Arcan XL20 2-Ton Heavy Duty Low Profile Steel Service Jack
The next model we chose is a reasonably priced Arcan model. If you have a low-rise car which has very little ground clearance, you should consider this model, since it’s only 3.5 inches tall. The fact that this is a low profile floor jack doesn’t make its maximum height low, and in fact, it can go as high as 18.5 inches, giving you ample space to work. Made out of steel, this floor jack is quite sturdy, but also very heavy at over 60 pounds. Luckily, it comes with a well-built set of swiveling back wheels, which makes maneuvering around the garage much easier.
The model comes with a two-piece handle for easier storage. If you have a very heavy vehicle, we recommend to go with something else – this model can only work with cars which are less than 2 tons. There is one known problem with this model, and that is that air gets trapped frequently, so you need to release the air before you can lift your vehicle. Other than that, it’s a great value for the money.
- Low profile at 3.5 inches
- Reasonably priced for a floor jack
- Air gets trapped and needs releasing
7. Neiko Pro 20272B Premium Low Profile Aluminum Floor Jack 3 Ton
Made by Neiko, our next pick does not come cheap, but it’s surely worth the price. Weighing 55 pounds, we wouldn’t go as far as to say that this model is light, but it’s definitely lighter than a regular steel floor jack. That’s because this jack is made out of industrial-grade aluminum alloy. It comes with handles on the sides if you absolutely need to lift it up for storage. However, once you get it out of the box, you can simply roll it around since it comes with a long handle and a set of wheels, two of which are on a swivel mechanism. This model is pretty low profile, and you can get it under almost any car.
If your vehicle has a ground clearance only slightly bigger than 3-3/4 inches, you’re good to go. But low profile doesn’t mean that the lifting height is insufficient. In fact, this model can lift a 3-ton car as high as 19-1/4 inches. It comes with a rubber saddle pad, but we found that it isn’t of very high quality, so you may need to replace it quickly. Overall, this is a very sturdy model that will surely be sufficient for any hobbyist mechanic.
- Aluminum construction is sturdy yet relatively lightweight
- Only 3-3/4 inches of ground clearance needed
- The rubber pad is not of great quality
Types of Car Jacks
Not all car jacks are made equal. In fact, there are three main types of car jacks, and the differences between them are very big. Between the scissors, bottle, and floor jacks, which type you opt for truly depends on your personal needs and the situations you wish to use the jack in. Let’s go through the most important distinctions between the three!
1. Scissor Jacks
Scissor jacks are the easiest to use since they don’t use the principles of hydraulics to lift. Instead, you lift the jack by turning the crank. Being entirely mechanical, the scissor jacks are simple to use and rather secure, but they’re not as heavy-duty as other types of jacks are.
Scissor jacks are very handy to have in your trunk, in case you need to have an emergency stop on the road to change your tire. They’re the best choice of equipment to have in your truck because they’re relatively lightweight, and because they aren’t filled with oil, which could possibly leak and create a mess like a bottle and a floor jack would (though to be fair, that is quite rare).
The problem with scissor jacks is that they have a somewhat small and narrow base, so they aren’t the most stable type on the market. You should absolutely never use this type of a jack to hold your vehicle while you’re under it, so we mostly recommend these for an occasional tire change.
2. Bottle Jacks
Bottle jacks are the smallest type of car jack, but that doesn’t make them the weakest. Just like with other types of jacks, depending on the model, they can lift anywhere between 2 and 6 tons.
Bottle jacks work on a principle of hydraulics, which means that they’re filled with pressurized liquid. Because of that, raising one of those is simple and easy. You only need to pump the provided handle or your tire iron until the centerpiece lifts your vehicle as much as you need it to.
However, because of the design of the bottle jack, you need to get one that has the exact minimum and maximum size that fits your vehicle. The bottle needs to fit entirely under your car’s ground clearance and extend far enough to lift the vehicle. Getting the right dimensions is extremely important when getting a bottle jack. Since the maximum height is limited, bottle jacks typically only lift enough to do work around the tires. Because of this limitation, they aren’t used to get under the vehicle.
Bottle jacks are medium-priced, and they’re a popular choice of a portable car jack.
3. Floor Jacks
Floor jacks are the most powerful type of car jacks. They utilize the principle of hydraulics to lift anywhere between 2 and 10 tons depending on the rating of the particular model. Most consumer-grade floor jacks can lift 2 or 3 tons.
Floor jacks are the most powerful and stable, but also the most heavyweight type of car jacks. Because of that, they aren’t typically suitable to carry around and are best used within your garage. But don’t worry about the mobility of the device – they come with a set of wheels and a long handle for effortless maneuvering.
Similarly to bottle jacks, you need to pump a floor jack up to lift your vehicle, and then lock it into place. They are very simple to operate and offer the best range of motion with the highest maximum height and the lowest required ground clearance. A floor jack can help you lift your car enough to get under it, but you should never rely on its power alone. Instead, as soon as you get a floor jack, you should also get a couple of jack stands. Essentially, you lift a side of your vehicle with the floor jack, place the jack stands, and then you can go on under the vehicle to do your required maintenance and repairs.
A high-quality floor jack is perhaps the most expensive among car jacks, but it’s the only one that can provide you with the biggest array of possible tasks you can do in your own garage. But the higher price is there for a reason. If you invest in a high-quality model, you can rest assured that the floor jack will work just like the first day for not only years, but decades to come.
We will mostly focus on floor jacks in this buying guide, though we will mention and compare with other types of car jacks as well.
2-Ton vs. 3-Ton Floor Jacks
The weight rating of any car jack tells you how much weight the jack can safely lift. While the range of possibilities is quite high, with professional-grade floor jacks being able to lift as much as 10 tons, most consumer models don’t go further than 4 tons. The most commonly bought household floor jacks can lift either 2 or 3 tons.
You can definitely go safe and get a heavy-duty floor jack, which can lift a 6-ton truck with ease. But those models are incredibly expensive, and honestly, only the people who actually work on those heavyweight trucks need such a powerful car jack.
For most daily drivers, though, these weights go far overboard. Most city vehicles, from sedans, SUVs, and even light trucks, all fall under the category of light vehicles, weighing under 4 tons. In fact, a large SUV would generally weigh around 2.5 tons.
So, the first thing you need to do is find out the exact weight of your vehicle, and other vehicles you will lift on the stand. Of course, if your car weighs, for example, 1.9 tons, you could technically go for a 2-ton model, but we’d highly recommend getting a floor jack rated for 3 tons. If you are working with your body parts under the vehicle, you want to be sure that your floor jack and jack stand can support the weight of the vehicle and then some – otherwise, the mistake may cost you your life.
Floor Jack Buying Guide
Floor jacks are not extremely expensive, but they’re an investment you should definitely think through. After all, the jack should be able to hold the weight of the entire vehicle and keep you safe while you work under the car. So, what are the most important properties of any good floor jack? We will go through all of the essential things you should pay attention to when making your pick.
1. Weight Rating
As we mentioned before, you should make sure your floor jack can support the weight of your vehicle. Consumer floor jacks typically come rated for either 2- or 3-ton vehicles. Before you can choose the right one, you should be certain you know the weight of all of the vehicles you’ll have mounted on the floor jack. Remember, if your vehicle’s weight is close to the limit of the jack, it’d be wise to pick a model rated for heavier vehicles.
2. Minimum Height
Before you can lift your vehicle, you need to get the floor jack under it. The problem arises when you have a particularly low-rise car, and the jack is too tall to get under it in the first place. So, before you pick up a floor jack, you should measure the ground clearance of your car. Ground clearance is the distance between the floor and the lowest part of your vehicle (or at least the jack support points).
Once you have your car’s ground clearance, you should pick up a jack that has a lower minimum height. With the exception of particularly low set cars, the minimum height is rarely an issue with floor jacks. However, it often gives users headaches when it comes to bottle jacks, and sometimes scissor jacks as well.
3. Maximum Height
Maximum height is another issue with jacks, especially if you need to lift the car enough to get under it.
One fact that’s often overlooked in jacks is that their maximum lifts aren’t measured from the bottom of the car body, but instead, from the floor. That means that you should take your ground clearance into account. For example, if your floor jack has the ability to lift 13 inches off the ground, and your car’s ground clearance is 6 inches, you only really get an additional 7 inches of space.
When considering how tall you want your jack to lift, you should take into account the ground clearance of your car and your own body constitution. You want to be comfortable under the vehicle as much as possible. Of course, you should get matching jack stands.
4. The Material
If you invest in a floor jack, you want the tool to be sturdy, secure, and durable. A well-made floor jack should work flawlessly for decades, without requiring too much maintenance.
In general, floor jacks are either made of steel, cast iron, or aluminum. Heavy-duty steel is the best material for a jack, but aluminum is also a good pick, especially since it’s a bit lighter compared to steel. Cast iron is quite sturdy, but it must be treated with a coat of anti-rusting spray on a regular basis. Rust can be very detrimental to the stability and sturdiness of the metal, so it can be a liability if it gets out of hand.
Apart from the main body, you want your padding, seals, and nuts and bolts to be well-made as well. Padding is generally made out of foam or rubber. The purpose of padding is to protect your vehicle from harm. It essentially serves as a “seat” for your vehicle on the jack.
Floor jacks are very heavy. That means that you won’t be able to carry one of those around very easily. If you need a jack to go, you should opt for a bottle or a scissor jack.
That being said, a floor jack is not an immovable object. However, once you get it into your garage, you won’t ever have to lift it again. Most floor jacks come with a set of wheels and a long handle, which allow it to simply roll around your place. One thing you should definitely look for are swiveling wheels. These will make navigating and moving around so much easier.
Finally, you should look for the warranty you get with your product, especially if you decide to get a model that is supposed to last for a long time and cost accordingly. Many lower-tier models are warranted with a 1-year limited warranty, but you can easily find models which come with 2, or even more years of warranty. Depending on the price, this may be more or less important to you. You should also consider the fact that the warranty often reflects the manufacturer’s confidence in their own product.
Car Jacks vs Jack Stands
We have already mentioned that you should always use a floor jack in combination with jack stands. But what exactly are jack stands, and how do they differ from the jack?
Essentially, while the job of a floor jack is to lift, jack stands are used to keep the vehicle lifted. Jack stands can’t do the lifting themselves, but that allows them to be completely secure.
The stands are generally made in the shape of a tetrahedron, with three legs that keep it stable on the ground and unlikely to tilt. They have an adjustable arm in the middle, which makes their height variable, though they do generally have a higher minimum height compared to most jacks.
You would typically use two jack stands to hold your car lifted in a tilt. If you want your vehicle completely lifted off the ground, you need four stands to do the work.
It’s never safe to rely on the car jack alone to hold your vehicle up. This can lead to serious injury or even fatality if any of your body parts are under the car. Always use jack stands along with your car jack.
How to Use Floor Jacks Safely?
Jacking up a car is not complicated. However, you should always beware of safety hazards that lurk when dealing with heavyweight machinery. We have some tips for you on how to use your floor jack properly and safely.
1. Always check your floor jack before using it
Inspect your tool before you start your work for the day. You should under no circumstances use your floor jack if it has any sign of damage. This includes things like leaks, bends, or rust. Immediately replace your floor jack if you notice a sign of damage because it is not safe to use.
2. Always use jack stands to carry the weight
You should under no circumstances rely on your floor jack to hold your car while you’re working on it. A floor jack is only good for lifting the weight, but it’s not able to keep it in position for prolonged periods of time.
Instead, you should have 2 or 4 jack stands on hand whenever you need to work under your vehicle. If any of your body parts get under the car, the situation warrants the use of jack stands. Ignoring this rule may have dire consequences, including serious physical injury or even death.
3. Find flat, even, and solid ground to work on
If you’ve ever tried jumping on the sand, you know that you aren’t able to push yourself off the soft, unstable surface as easily as you would from a floor. The physics in play there applies in jacking your car too.
You should always work on solid, even ground when lifting something as heavy as a car. You don’t want your jack sinking into the soft surface. This also applies if you need to plant something underneath the jack for additional height. The best pick would be a solid piece of hardwood. Avoid soft types of wood like cedar or pine.
4. Lift on jack points only
Your car has pre-determined spots where it’s safe to use the jack. If you try to lift your car with your jack pressing on, for example, the oil plate, you can create a mess and destroy your engine. Instead, you should look through your car manual to find the jack points which were designed to handle the weight of the car. Your car bodywork may even have arrows marking the location of the jack points, so inspect the lower portion of your vehicle closely before placing your jack.
5. Use wheel chocks
Wheel chocks are sturdy wedges that are used to back up your wheels, making them unable to move. This is especially important for the wheels opposite of the part you’re lifting. For example, if you’re working on the back left wheel, make sure to back up your back right wheel, since it holds most of the weight. You don’t want your car moving and rolling over during jacking since this could potentially destroy some of the more vulnerable inner parts, or even cause the entire construction to fall with potentially fatal consequences.
FAQ About Floor Jacks
1. Can I use a floor jack even if I’m not a professional mechanic?
Yes, you absolutely can. Floor jacks are not at all complicated, even though they’re powerful machines. However, make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions and follow all safety precautions when operating a floor jack. If you ever get any of your body parts under the lifted vehicle, don’t rely on the jack alone to hold the car up. Instead, get a pair of jack stands to hold your vehicle up for as long as you need.
2. Are there portable floor jacks that I can carry in my trunk?
No. Floor jacks are not suitable for carrying because they are way too heavy and bulky. Floor jacks are only good for garage use. However, you can get a different type of jack, which is more convenient to carry around. We recommend always having a bottle jack or a scissor jack in your trunk for an easy solution to emergency tire changes, tire chain installation, and so forth.
3. Can I work on my car while it’s lifted by a floor jack?
No. Never rely on a floor jack to hold the vehicle up while you’re working on it. A floor jack can easily lift your vehicle, but it’s unlikely it can hold it standing for prolonged periods. Instead, you should get two or four jack stands. Stands are designed to keep your car lifted for as long as you need it to be, without moving an inch. Only with jack stands are you safe to work under the vehicle.
4. Can I use a floor jack if my car is heavier than the jack rating?
No. If you own, for example, a 2-ton floor jack, but your vehicle weighs 2.5 tons, you should not even attempt to use the floor jack to lift the car. If the difference is very small (and by that, we mean less than 0.1 ton), you may attempt to lift the vehicle if you have very reliable, heavy-duty jack stands. However, you should never rely on the floor jack alone to keep your vehicle up.
Once you have a floor jack of your own in your garage, you will be able to tackle a wide array of car maintenance and repair jobs at home. This is not only a wonderful, useful hobby, but it’s also a way to save a lot of money. By investing in one of the best floor jacks, you keep the money that would otherwise be spent on numerous small tasks at a mechanics shop. Over time you will see how much money you’ve saved, as you change your tires, drain your oil, replace your filters, bleed your brake fluid, and do another simple, small repairs all by yourself, at the comfort of your garage.
We hope our floor jack reviews and buying guide helped you find a high-quality tool that will serve you well for decades to come. If you have any questions left, don’t hesitate to get in touch!