For most people, a car jack is simply something that you find in the trunk or other compartment of your vehicle that, if you have to use it, signifies disaster or at least a bad day. However, when you need a car jack, it is imperative that you have one that can do the job effectively without issue. With a variety of different types of car jacks on the market it helps to know which kind is right for you.
However, if you are looking for a jack that can pretty much do it all, then look no further than the floor jack. This jack is extremely convenient and easy to use, which is a benefit whether you are a seasoned pro or someone who does not regularly wash grease of their hands. Moreover, while it is not the most mobile of jacks, floor jacks are often ostensibly portable and can be used on the go.
This jack is also incredibly easy to use, often relying on a pumping motion and positioned with ease. This jack is most useful when you plan on spending more time than it takes to change a tire working on your car. These jacks are also useful if you are not able to exert yourself too strenuously.
Floor jacks are some of the more versatile jacks for consumer and commercial use. These jacks usually have a low profile and wheeled base for easy placement. The contact point is less positional specific, and they lift with a hydraulic pumping mechanism that uses pressurized fluid to do much of the work–though some floor jacks use a turning hydraulic mechanism, like a hybrid between a scissor jack and other hydraulic jacks. The floor jack is excellent for working under a vehicle and found in the garage of many mechanics.
When purchasing a floor jack, you need to ask yourself some questions first. How much weight does it need to be able to lift? What is the jack’s minimum clearance, and how high do I need to lift the vehicle? An often overlooked consideration, though by no means unimportant to those of you who use their car jacks all the time, is it comfortable to use?
All of these questions and more factor heavily when weighing the options, and since a quality jack will run you anywhere from $50 to over $200, those are not a series of questions you want to have to answer more than once.
That is why we have assembled this list of 5 best floor jacks, generally for use in a garage but often adaptable to a variety of situation, so you can answer the preliminary questions before you ever place your purchase and not have to worry about the hassle of making a return—or worse, having to purchase a replacement.
|Weight||Max. Height||Min. Height||Load Capacity|
|Powerzone Garage Jack||59.1 lbs||18 ¼ Inches||4 Inches||3 Tons (6000 lbs)|
|Torin SUV Service Jack||43.9 lbs||21 Inches||6 Inches||3 Tons (6000 lbs)|
|Arcan ALJ3T Floor Jack||56 lbs||19 ⅖ Inches||3 ⅗ Inches||3 Tons (6000 lbs)|
|Powerbuilt Triple Jack||85 lbs||17 ½ Inches||5 ½ Inches||2 Tons (4000 lbs)|
|Pittsburgh Racing Jack||26.8 lbs||14 ¾ Inches||3 ⅜ Inches||1 ½ Tons (3000 lbs)|
Powerzone 380044 3 Ton Aluminum and Steel Garage Jack
Powerzone 380044 car jack is an all-around favorite. It does so many things exceptionally well, though it is rarely the leader in any given category. However, its price point when compared to its quality offerings make it an incredibly attractive option for a great number of different outfit needs.
The handle is two pieces, but it fits snugly, and you will not feel it wiggle or come loose. At the same time the handle sports a foam cover so that extended uses remain comfortable on your hands. At just under 60 pounds, this is one of the heavier models on the list, but can still be relatively easy to transport.
This jack is made of both aluminum and steel, depending on the specific parts, so that it can accommodate different target points. For instance, the body and frame are made of aluminum so that you do not have to break your back when loading or unloading, while the lifting arm is forged from heavy duty steel. This combination allows the jack to remain sturdy and durable without having to sacrifice weight and be a pain to lug around.
The maximum lift height does a leave a bit to be desired though. While Powerzone 380044 can only raise your vehicle 18 ¼ inches, it does offer a fairly low 4-inch clearance. This means that even vehicles with some of the lowest clearance on the market—or especially those that have been modified after market with a lowered suspension—will generally be able to be lifted with this jack. Still, it is usually not the low clearance that can become a problem, except in certain circumstances, but the maximum height clearance that can become frustrating. At the same, 18 ¼ inches is not too shabby.
The jack head itself is padded with rubber so you do not have to worry about the vehicle suffering damage to its frame, nor does it pose the risk of warping that some of the more solid heads pose. And that is an important factor to consider, because this jack is designed to lift up to 3 tons of weight.
With that much weight focused to a single point, many vehicles frames could buckle, even a little, under their own weight. As an additional advantage, the jack head is generally a bit broader than some of the others you may run across which provides more surface area contact and will ensure the vehicle’s frame is even further protected and stabilized.
But it is the hydraulic pumping mechanism which really steals the show and makes this one of the better offerings on the market. This is far from the only jack that lifts through a hydraulic system, but the Powerzone was designed to be exceedingly easy and quick. Often times, you can pump this jack to its full height with only 6 pumps. Moreover, the jack is designed with a safety valve that prevents it from being overloaded beyond its rated capacity, so you do not have to worry about risking injury or malfunction while in use.
Torin T83006 SUV Service Jack – 3 Ton
Torin T83006 is definitely the least flashy floor jack on our list. It does not come with nearly as many bells or whistles as some of the other jacks, but that does not mean it is any less suited to do the job. First, this jack bills itself specifically for sport utility vehicles. In some regards this can be an accurate assessment as the 3-ton weight capacity definitely provides the necessary oomph for it to hump up even some of the larger and heavier consumer models on the market.
However, due to its rather limited size overall and its relatively narrow base in particular, this jack does not provide the same sense of stability that you feel with some of the other models on this list. That is not to say it cannot do the job, but some of the beefier models will definitely leave you feeling more secure when climbing below the undercarriage.
Still, the Torin provides the largest lift height on the list with 21 inches of total clearance. Moreover, it also offers 6 inches of clearance if you do not need to get underneath the vehicle and do not want to expend the extra effort, and pumps, lifting the vehicle higher. This jack comes with an extension adapter to make it easier to pump while its extra-long neck allows the jack to lift the vehicle easily.
Moreover, the neck itself is removable which allows you to use this jack even with vehicles that have a lower clearance than normal—something other entries on this list will have difficulty with. However, there is no neck extension for even more clearance, and the base would not support that height anyway. The neck is fitted with a grooves that allows the weight of the vehicle to essentially pin the jack in place which does provide even more positional security.
This jack is a very manageable 44 pounds. The two rear wheels swivel so you do not have to fight with the jack while positioning it. Even better, you will generally not have to worry about the wheels breaking, bending, or otherwise malfunctioning within their casters—a bit of a surprise considering the design and weight capacity.
The scissor lift mechanical function does provide an added sense of security that the slender base may lack, but it comes at the cost of taking up a bit more space. Still, this is one of the smaller jacks on the list, so it is ideal for garages where space is placed at a premium.
Arcan ALJ3T Aluminum Floor Jack – 3 Ton Capacity
The Arcan ALJ3T is a very solid floor jack and gets great reviews wherever you look. It has one of the lowest height clearances on this list at just over 3 ½ inches, but at the same time it also boasts one the highest maximum clearances as well at just under 19 ½ inches. This makes the jack incredibly versatile being able to fit under a wider variety of vehicles while still providing more room than most.
The body and frame of this jack is constructed from aluminum to cut down on excessive weight, but the frame is 13 ½ inches wide which provides a nice base that is both strong and stable. This puts it in a nice spot compared to the Torin which can lift a vehicle higher, but the Torin’s 11” wide frame gives the impression of less stability.
However, the additional width and height clearance does not detract from Arcan ALJ3T’s utility as it comes in under the Powerzone in weight at just 56 pounds, making it easier to transport or use on the go. All of these features combine with the Arcan’s 3-ton maximum weight capacity to give you a jack that not only feels stable and is solidly constructed, but can also lift with the big boys.
The hydraulic lifting mechanism is smooth, using a dual piston pump mechanism for easy lifting. Moreover, this jack comes with a dust shield that is designed to prevent particulate contaminants from getting into the hydraulic mechanism and gunking it up.
Another nifty feature to the hydraulic system that differs from the Powerzone is the ability to by-pass the maximum weight capacity. Whereas the Powerzone will simply release any additional pressure if you attempt to continue to pump beyond the maximum weight capacity, the Arcan has an integrated valve that will allow you to bypass that measure altogether.
However, it is important to note that you do this at your own risk. This jack may have a nice size base and a solidly constructed body, but if you extend the arm beyond the recommended maximum weight capacity, you could be injured or the vehicle can be damaged if the hydraulic system experiences mechanism failure. This is especially troubling if you are working underneath a vehicle with an exceptionally low clearance, because the roughly 3 ½ inch minimum height means the jack will not offer any real barrier between you and the vehicle.
The jack head is fairly large which provides a wide base of contact surface to prevent and warping or damage to the vehicle frame, while it also sports rubber to provide additional grip and extra protection. The wheels are encased in ball-bearing swivel casters for smooth positioning while aluminum handle give you an easy grip when transporting the jack. The handle is heavy-duty steel so it will not bend, but occasionally bows in the middle. The foam grip provides additional comfort for extended or repeated use.
Powerbuilt 620422E Heavy Duty 4000 lb. Triple Lift Jack
Powerbuilt 620422E jack is a bit of a mixed bag. It has many additional features that make it a great fit for a wide variety of uses, but it does not have some of the better maximum or minimum clearances that you would generally like to see out of your jack.
First, this is a hulking beast of a floor jack. It is easily the largest jack on the list. This presents both benefits and disadvantages. The wide 17-inch base gives this floor jack an especially stable feel. You will have no reservations climbing under a vehicle with this monster propping it up. However, in the same vein, the Powerbuilt also has the highest minimum clearance. This means that those vehicles with lowered suspension or custom skirts may very well be inaccessible to this jack.
However, to make matters more frustrating, Powerbuilt 620422E also has the lowest maximum height clearance of only 17 ¼ inches which makes it the jack with the overall smallest range of our entries. But as mentioned before, you will have no concerns with this jack holding up, because it comes with a safety bar. This means that even though the maximum height is lower than the other models, with the safety bar in place, it will not drop any lower—even if the hydraulic lift system fails.
The hydraulic lift mechanism is also a bit different than its fellow competitors in that it is not simply a single or double lift system, but a triple lift system. This, like the other features of the Powerbuilt, comes with some benefits and disadvantages. First, the triple lift system allows the weight to be distributed further and more evenly throughout the hydraulic lift system. This means it is less likely to fail in any given instance. However, the simple addition of more moving parts inherently means that it can fail in more ways.
Still, another benefit to this system is that it can be used for a wide variety of vehicles that the other floor jacks on this list simply cannot accommodate. While all of these jacks are fine for cars, trucks, SUVs, and the like, the Powerbuilt is also suitable for the much smaller and lighter ATVs. With the triple lift system, you can simply use the second level as the contact point, though your maximum height clearance will be considerably diminished.
This beast is also not one for portability or transportation. At 85 pounds, it is heavier than the next heaviest jack on this list by more than 25 pounds. So once you get it to where it is going to go, you will inevitably end up leaving it there. Ideally, this jack works best in a large garage with a variety of vehicles to maximize its value and utility. Unfortunately, another limitation of this jack is that it only offers 2 tons of maximum weight capacity, so those vehicles better not be on the heavier end of the weight spectrum.
1.5 Ton Compact Aluminum Racing Jack with Rapid Pump
The obvious limitation of 1.5 Ton Compact floor jack is its maximum weight capacity, at 1 ½ tons, is even lower than the Powerbuilt’s. Moreover, this jack has the lowest maximum height clearance as well at 14 ¾ inches, though it somewhat makes up for that with the lowest minimum height clearance of 3 ⅜ inches as well. However, with a similarly low clearance as the Arcan, this floor jack is still 3 inches shorter at full extension, so that benefit is a bit of a wash.
It is made from aircraft aluminum billet which does provide some of the most durable materials in this list and is by far the lightest jack we have reviewed. At just under 27 pounds this jack is a breeze to take on the go. You can easily lift and carry it with one hand while carrying other tools or supplies in the other.
The hydraulic pump system is very easy to use requiring only 3 ½ pumps to reach full extension, though, as noted before, it does not have quite as far to go nor is it going to be lifting nearly as much weight. Many of the other entries on this list can lift twice as much as this jack, and one can even be bypassed to lift more than twice this jack’s maximum weight capacity.
The handle is made from aluminum as well which may give you pause while pumping as there is the possibility it could bow, though the lower weight capacity should help alleviate that. The handle comes with a knurled design to assist with gripping, but it can also cause some discomfort if used for extended periods. Still, for a solid travel jack for low weight vehicles, this is the most convenient if not the strongest.
As you can see, there are a host of different floor jacks that each serve a different purpose. Moreover, for every feature you add, there is often a corresponding disadvantage that you must take into account.
If you are looking for a floor jack that you can also take with you on the go, you are generally going to have to sacrifice maximum height clearance and maximum weight capacity—unless you are willing to lug around a piece of equipment between 45-60 pounds.
Likewise, if you have numerous types of vehicles, the Powerbuilt is an ideal tool for the various jobs, but it will require more space than the other options. Moreover, it will not be easily transported and its maximum weight capacity leaves a bit to be desired.
Essentially, you are going to have to do some thinking and figure out ahead of time exactly what you need a floor jack for before making your decision. However, once you know all the different situations or vehicles that will require use of this floor jacks, you can rest assured that you can make the right decision.