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How do you choose the best floor jack to buy? How do you determine which is the best car jack for your vehicle? Would you also need the best jack stands to complement these floor jacks and car jacks?
There are many manufacturers out there offering the best floor jack, the best car jack, and the best jack stands for regular consumers. Wading through all of these companies and finding the actual best is challenging given that there are a multitude of choices out there. So let’s shorten the list and get the actual best.
The first thing we have to do is determine what features you’ll need in the best floor jack and best car jack products offered by these companies. Next, we’ll find the best jack stands by finding the simplest ones that seek only to serve one purpose, to elevate your vehicle off of the floor without fear of dropping it.
Features To Look For In Floor Jacks And Car Jacks
The best floor jack isn’t necessarily the biggest. The same goes true with the best car jack.
You’ll need to choose the right material it is constructed with, the appropriate lift capacity, and the right lift height. There’s no sense in buying a bottle jack if what you intend to lift is an off-road machine with lifted suspension. The bottle jack might not have enough lift height to make it usable in any situation.
In the same manner, buying a heavy-duty floor jack for your micro car can be considered overkill. Not only is it unnecessary but you’ll also be spending too much on an overpowered floor jack’s potential that you barely need.
So here are some tips on how to choose the best floor jack or best car jack for your specific needs.
Jacks are primarily made of steel or aluminum or both. So how do you choose which one is the best?
Steel jacks are the most popular type of floor jacks and car jacks owing to the fact that this material proves to be the most durable. Another thing that makes this the best floor jack option is the price. Steel is the least expensive material to use in the construction of these floor jacks.
The only problem is that these are also the heaviest. It’s a good thing these jacks have tires or else moving them from one spot to another would be a challenging prospect.
So, if you’re planning on getting steel floor jacks, get the ones that can handle the most weight. These are best suited for garage use.
On the other hand, don’t get a steel car jack. These will only add unnecessary weight to your vehicle. Plus the fact that you’ll seldom use these car jacks, that means you’ll be carrying an essential item only to use it once or twice a year. You’re better off with a lighter variant.
If you’re looking something lighter, then an aluminum floor jack or car jack is your best option. The only problem is: these jacks are very expensive.
Another difference between aluminum and steel floor jacks is their durability. Aluminum just isn’t as strong as steel is. So why would anyone want to invest in an aluminum floor jack? The answer lies in its portability.
Remember what we said about not bringing steel car jacks or floor jacks inside your vehicle? Well, this is definitely one you can bring without worrying about its contribution to your car’s total weight.
So, if you’re looking for the best floor jack to bring along on your trip, aluminum floor jacks are the best for portability. Just make sure you replace them after a few uses for your own safety.
Hybrid (Combination Of Steel And Aluminum)
Hybrid floor jacks and car jacks offer the best of both worlds. Hybrids offer all the strength and durability of a steel floor jack without too much of the overall weight.
Hybrids are constructed in a way that all the important structural components are made of steel. This means the lift arms and power units are made of the denser material while all the rest are made of aluminum. This retains the strength of steel jacks while diminishing the cost and weight of the overall unit.
You can also store this in your trunk as a substitute for an all-aluminum floor jack. Just don’t expect this to last as long as an all-steel floor jack.
Does this make it the best floor jack? It does if you value portability and strength but not if you’re looking for a unit that will endure a lot of abuse.
Note: some hybrid floor jacks also feature plastic parts to further count down the over-all weight. These plastic parts are often found in the wheels (for floor jacks) and side panels or housing (for car jacks).
This is the most important feature to look for in the best floor jack. After all, the simplest reason why jacks exist is to lift heavy objects.
How much lift capacity should you expect your floor jack to handle?
The bare minimum should be 1.5 tons. This is enough to lift a portion of a small car off the ground from where your floor jack is positioned. This will make it possible for you to do simple things like changing a tire to inspecting the bottom of your chassis.
For larger vehicles like pickups and RVs, heavy-duty floor jacks exist. These can handle 3, 4, or more tons. The only downside to this is that it is slower to operate and heavier to move around for repositioning. You could get one that has a double pump piston system to make lifting easier and faster.
The most common lift capacity is 2.5 to 3 tons for its versatility.
To make sure you get the right one for your vehicle, check your owner’s manual for your Gross Vehicular Weight Ratio (GVWR) and buy the best floor jack based on that information.
Another thing you should consider to get the best floor jack or best car jack is how high you can lift the vehicle. There’s no point in getting a floor jack that can barely lift your vehicle an inch or two off the ground. This limits your ability to do anything with your jack and your vehicle.
It also won’t make any sense to buy a floor jack that you can’t slip under your vehicle if you have a low ground clearance.
So before you buy one, measure your ground clearance first and make sure the highest point of the floor jack or car jack can easily slip under it. Make sure the contact point is big enough for the platform and can securely rest on it as it is being raised. Lastly, ensure that you can lift the vehicle 8 to 12 inches off the ground so you can comfortably work under it.
Top Floor Jacks To Buy
These are examples of the best floor jack or car jacks that consumers and professionals alike use. We’ve based this list on the practical potential of each product and versatility it possesses inside your garage. We’ve included steel, aluminum and hybrid examples to get you started in the right direction.
- Built-in internal safety valve and vent plug ensures safe operation
- Swivel saddle provides easy jack positioning and user safety.Saddle Diameter: 4 inch
- 3.5-ton/7,000 lb. lift capacity
- Jack Size: 28 1/2" L x 13 3/4" W x 6 1/2" H
- Rugged universal joint for precise load control
- Two pieces handle for easy transportation and storage
- Wide stance provides stability under load
- Automatic safety valve prevents jacks from overload
- Steel casters for longevity
- Quick lift design
- The Hi-Lift Jack X-TREME jack is our top of the line, all-cast jack that includes many special...
- Unique gold zinc-coated winch/clamp/spreader attachment ensures the greatest rust resistance from...
- Two piece handle and socket is durable and reliable, One position for all winching, clamping, and...
- Safe use information stickers, including rated load details and operating instructions, affixed to...
- COLORS MAY VARY: XL2T = A20016
- LIFT RANGE Provides the lowest low height (2 75”) and the highest high height (24”) compared to...
- LOW PROFILE FRAME For easy access under low ground clearance vehicles
- DUAL PUMP PISTONS Quickly raises the floor jack saddle to load
- STEEL CONSTRUCTION For heavy duty use
Features To Look For In Jack Stands
The best jack stands are the ones you can rely on to support your lifted vehicles with.
But first, why are jack stands important?
Jack stands are critical safety equipment for working underneath your car. This is an adjustable support structure or frame that can safely keep your car lifted in place. It provides a solid structure to keep your car from falling once you have it at the desired height.
You should never use a floor jack to keep your car aloft so you can work underneath it. So many things could go wrong. You could accidentally knock it out of place or the internal mechanism could fail and release the hydraulic pressure keeping the arms or post in place.
Unlike a floor jack, a jack stand has limited points of failure. With a jack stand in place, you won’t have to fear getting crushed by your car when you’re working underneath it.
A jack stand is a very simple tool. It has an A-shaped base frame with four legs pointed outwards to provide a solid base on which to rest your vehicle on. It also has a ratcheting post with a sizable platform or saddle to rest your contact points on, and a ratchet handle with a stop to keep it from slipping.
Most jack stands can be operated by pulling the ratcheting post up to its desired height. Once lifted, the ratchet keeps it in place. It is nearly impossible to lower your vehicle at this point. You would need to lift the vehicle up in order to release the ratchet mechanism.
Why Use A Jack Stand?
Take advantage of the features of the best floor jack by complementing it with the best jack stands. Use your floor jack to lift any point of your vehicle up and secure it with a jack stand. This frees your floor jack to lift another point of your vehicle so you can secure it with another jack stand.
Only work under your car when all four points are lifted with a jack stand. The reason for this is that floor jacks only provide one point of contact. Jack stands on the other hand multiply the contact points making it more secure.
When using a floor jack, especially those with little tires, you run the risk of the unit slipping, wobbling, or folding under the weight of the car if it is raised for an extended period of time. The potential for danger increases based on the duration of time you have to work underneath your car and the quality of the jack’s build.
Using jack stands negates those dangers. But just the same, test the stability of your lifted vehicle before crawling underneath it even if you have the best jack stands employed.
Top Jack Stands To Buy
- Heavy duty holding pins for adjustable heights
- Large saddle securely supports load
- Sturdy welded steel construction
- Heavy gauge steel frame helps prevent twisting
- Height range of 13-1/3 inches to 19-2/3 inches
- Item may ship in more than one box and may arrive separately
- Four leg steel base
- Made of heavy schedule pipe for added strength and stability.Base Length:38.27 inch
- Quick and easy height adjustment
- Large saddle with locating lugs support
- Counterweighted pawl locks ratchet bar securely in place
- Sturdy, welded steel construction
- One piece, multi-position ductile iron ratchet bar
- Sold and to be used only in pairs
- Wide base frame for extra stability
- Made in USA
- Low Height 11 " Max Height 17 3/4 " Base 10 " x 10 "
So, when looking for the best floor jack, the best car jack or the best jack stands, quality of construction should always be your prime reason why you bought it. You do not want to end up “saving” money for a non-performing product.
If you’re keen on doing repairs in your garage, you should get the best floor jack first. This will help you lift the heaviest vehicles with ease. The best floor jack can easily lift 2 tons and remain in position until you choose to lower it.
You can then slowly purchase two or more of the best car jack in the market to provide additional support for fixing vehicles in your garage. You should also stow one in your boot for emergency purposes. In fact, each vehicle you own should have its individual car jack for that reason alone.
Last but not least, invest money in buying the best jack stands. This will free your floor jacks and car jacks for other purposes when doing repairs. These are also more stable if you want to keep your vehicle elevated for long periods of time.
Do I Need Floor Jacks If I Live The RV Lifestyle?
Yes. You’ll still need the best floor jack if you want to lift the heaviest vehicles. RVs count as one. But there are other ways to employ floor jacks or the best car jack when you live the RV lifestyle. For example, if you have RV slide outs, you don’t want those to be unsupported. That can lead to mechanical failure in the long run due to wear and tear. You’ll need the best jack stands to keep them in place while fully extended.
Related Article: Should RV Slide Outs Be Supported?
Can I Use A Floor Jack To Fix Tire Rubbing?
You should. You can also use the best car jack or the best jack stands to lift your vehicle up and inspect the reason why tire rubbing exists. You can determine this by checking the vehicle while it is lifted with the tires still in place before removing them for a closer look. If the problem is sever, get a professional body worker.
Related Article: How To Fix Tire Rubbing On A Truck
Do I Need A Floor Jack If I Plan To Drive Trucks On Snow?
Yes. Always have a floor jack or car jack in your emergency tool kit. This can help you get out of a tight fix if you ever find yourself in a sticky situation. If the snow is deep enough, you can use the best floor jacks or the best car jacks to lift your truck and replace your tires with snow tires or attach snow chains for better traction.
Related Article: How To Handle Trucks On Snow: A Beginner’s Guide