Best Floor Jacks of May 2017: Reviews & Buyers Guide
Probably one of the most underappreciated tools in your garage is the floor jack, also referred to as a trolley jack. The floor jack makes lifting the vehicles we work on quick, easy, and safe. They provide us with a stable platform and maneuver to positions where we need them most.
Without a quality floor jack, many of our projects would take considerably longer to complete. In addition to making our projects easier, they also help to make them safer. The design of a floor jack keeps the center of gravity low, closer to the floor. This helps with stabilization and thereby reduces the risk of the jack slipping.
However, picking the right floor jack is not as simple as you might think. Floor jacks come in various sizes, lifting capacities and profile designs. Having the wrong jack for your task can not only make the task more challenging, it can also be very dangerous. Attempting to lift a load that your floor jack does not have the capacity for can cause some serious damage to not only your vehicle but more importantly, to you.
In this post, we will cover important topics you need to know before you start shopping for your next floor jack. We will cover the different capacities, types of profiles, vehicle-specific floor jacks, the different types of materials floor jacks are made of, all of which are important factors you need to consider when you start shopping around. And finally, we are going to help guide you in the right direction by providing you with information on some of the best floor jacks currently on the market.
Types of Floor Jack
There are two categories of floor jacks, hydraulic and mechanical. Both are designed to provide amplified lifting force through either pumping a handle, or by turning a large screw. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Hydraulic jacks are available in two primary styles, bottle and floor jacks. Floor jacks are long and can easily be maneuvered across your shop floor and placed into position. Bottle jacks, which get their name from their bottle-like shape, have to be carried and placed where you need it. While you can use a bottle jack for automotive purposes, a floor jack is better designed for such tasks.
Hydraulic jacks are more efficient than mechanical jacks and some models can reach their max height in as little as three to five pumps of the handle. They also require less effort on your part to use. Floor jacks can be very heavy due to the levers used to increase their lifting range. Bottle jacks typically weigh less, but at the cost of reduced lifting range and stability.
The main disadvantage to mechanical floor jacks is that they require a great deal more effort on your part to use. Another disadvantage is their stability. Unlike a hydraulic trolley jack that has a large base for optimal stability, a mechanical scissor jack has a narrow base which diminishes it stability. Additionally, mechanical jacks can take a good deal of time and effort to reach their maximum lifting height.
Things To Know When Buying
Now that you have an understanding of the different categories of floor jacks, let’s take a look at some of the other important considerations you need to make before you decide on a specific model.
If your new floor jack is going to be used primarily in your garage or shop, then we would have to recommend that you stick with the steel floor jacks since they provide better strength than the aluminum models. However, if you will need to move your jack from location to location, then an aluminum floor jack would work better for your needs.
The lifting capacity of a floor jack is a big factor you need to consider. Floor jacks lifting capacities are measured in tons wit the most common being two and three-ton models. The two-tone is ideal for small to medium vehicles while the three-ton floor jack is better suited for mid to full-sized vehicles. If you have to lift very heavy vehicles, such as Super Duty trucks, 15-passenger vehicles or very large SUV’s, you may want to consider a five-ton floor jack.
For most floor jacks, you can reach maximum lifting height in about 10 strokes. However, you can reduce this to six or even three strokes by getting a floor jack that has a quick lift system.
Floor jacks are available with different lifting ranges and minimum heights. If you will need to lift vehicles that have high lifting points or will have to lift vehicles to considerable heights in order to work on them, you need to consider a floor jack that has a high lifting range. However, if you spend most of the time working on smaller vehicles, or low profile vehicles, then the lifting range isn’t as important as is the profile of the floor jack.
The design profile has to do with the way a floor jack is constructed, either low profile or standard profile. Standard profiles are fine for working on most types of vehicles that do not have low ride heights. For vehicles that do have a low ride height, you will need a low profile floor jack.
Vehicle Specific Jacks
Our Top Floor Jacks By Ton Measurement
Now that we have all of the finer details taken care of, let’s get to our picks of the best jacks for each type. These these floor jack reviews were selected based on construction, capabilities, and most importantly, quality. While there are plenty available on the market that you can choose, these have been selected
Best 2-ton Floor Jack
This low profile jack features dual pumps for faster lifting, which means quicker repair times. Its low profile enables it to get into tight, 3.5-inch clearance areas while still providing you with 18.1-inches of lift. The steel frame also helps for added safety while you’re working under a vehicle and the built-in overload protection will help to prevent any accidental damage. Lowering the Arcan XL20 can be done with the handle raised or lowered to the ground for added versatility.
Best 3-ton Floor Jack
This 3-ton floor jack combines aluminum and steel in its construction to provide strength while keeping the weight at a reasonable 59 lbs. It has a minimum height of 4-inches and a maximum height of 18.25-inches for ensuring you have plenty of clearance. The rear wheels swivel and allow for optimal maneuverability while the quick lift system cuts down on repair times.
Best 4-Ton Floor Jack
This lifting beast features a cast iron lifting arm to handle serious loads. It can be operated in two ways, manually or with air and the long chassis allows for reaching secure locations under vehicles. The dual piston action makes for fast lifts and the sealed hydraulic unit prevents moisture and debris from entering. Even though this monster weighs nearly 240 lbs., it is easy to maneuver with quality casters. With the Speed Pak technology, you can lift a vehicle up to 25.75-inches quickly, making this a solid high lift floor jack.
Best 5-ton Floor Jack
Perfect for SUV, heavy-duty and light-duty applications. The precision metered release valve gives optimal control when lower heavy loads. The 7390 has a wide stance to further and a low center of gravity, providing maximum stability and safety. The heavy-gauge steel frame prevents twisting and distortion when under heavy loads. Features a foot pedal for getting the saddle to the point of contact quickly.
Best 6-ton Floor Jack
This bottle jack is one of the few to make our list. However, don’t let its small size fool you. This little guy is a beast when it comes to lifting some serious weight. Included with this model is a convenient two-piece handle that breaks down for easy storage in the built-in storage clip. The minimum height is a little over 8.5-inches and has a maximum lifting height of just under 17-inches. With it not being as large as a traditional floor jack, this bottle jack can easily be used in places where large floor jacks can’t go. Additionally, at only 12 lbs., it won’t break your back while you are using it.
Best 10-ton Floor Jack
For those that need a floor jack with a lot of lifting muscle, the Torin T81001 is probably what you are looking for. The extended long chassis keeps you away from large vehicle overhang and can easily lift 10-tons. The handle can be adjusted to three different positions and is also removable. Lowering your load is as simple as twisting the handle and the large 6.75-inch saddle ensures the contact with the vehicle is solid. With a minimum height of 6.75-inches, the T81001 has a maximum lifting range of 22-inches. This massive 360 lb. monster is ideal for larger shops that work on heavy machinery and equipment.
Best Motorcycle Floor Jack
When working on a motorcycle, you need a jack that can not only lift the bike but also support. This Powerbuilt model provides just that with a 4,000 lb. lifting capacity and large padded lift rails. Highly durable and easy to use, the 620422E is also very versatile. The lift rails can be removed so that you can use this jack for other applications. Another feature that makes this floor jack stand out is the locking safety bar. With the bar, there is no need to mess with cumbersome jack stands.
Whether you are a weekend mechanic that likes to spend his free time in the garage working on your 1982 Chevette project car or the serious professional mechanic that spends the better part of his days crawling under vehicles, having a solid, high-quality floor jack can make a repair easier and safer to complete.
We hope this post has helped shed some light on what to look for when you are trying to pick your next jack, and we hope that our pick of the best types of floor jacks makes your selection that much easier. Good luck.
Table of Contents
- Types of Floor Jack
- Things To Know When Buying
- Our Top Floor Jacks By Ton Measurement
- Best 2-ton Floor Jack
- Best 3-ton Floor Jack
- Best 4-Ton Floor Jack
- Best 5-ton Floor Jack
- Best 6-ton Floor Jack
- Best 10-ton Floor Jack
- Best Motorcycle Floor Jack