Which floor jacks are best?
A floor jack, also known as a trolly jack, is a versatile piece of equipment used for raising a vehicle from the ground to perform maintenance. It has an elongated, low-profile body, which slides under the side of the car. It has a long handle, which provides good leverage and four wheels, allowing it to move around easily.
Floor jacks come in several styles, for different types of vehicles. An excellent all-around choice is the Arcan Quick Rise Aluminum Jack. It has dual lifting pistons and a three-ton capacity. Its lightweight construction makes it highly maneuverable, and a built-in overload valve prevents damage through overextension. Alternatively, there are several other models worthy of consideration with different weight capacities and design features.
What to know before you buy a floor jack
A jack needs to have the correct weight capacity for the vehicle that you want to lift. Standard floor jacks are designed for professional use and usually have a 2 or 3-ton capacity. This is sufficient for most family cars and SUVs. However, some vans and trucks may be much heavier.
The maximum and minimum heights are also critical. The minimum height is how low the jack can adjust to the floor, ensuring it is suitable for vehicles that sit close to the ground. The maximum height is how far the jack will extend and should be high enough to lift taller vehicles like SUVs and trucks.
The wheels are the only part of a floor jack that comes into contact with the ground, and therefore, they carry all the weight. Metal wheels, such as cast-iron and steel, are durable. However, they may scratch painted floors. Alternatively, Polyurethane wheels are non-marring and offer similar strength.
What to look for in a quality floor jack
Lifting and lowering mechanism
All floor jacks use a hydraulic piston as the main lifting component. Some models have twin pistons, which reduce the effort needed, and are a good choice for large vehicles.
The longer the handle, the easier the jack is to use. However, this does make it more challenging to store. Look for a jack with handles that break down into pieces if you have limited space.
The saddle is the part of the jack that comes into contact with the vehicle. A larger saddle will make it easier to position on the car’s lift mount points and spread the weight more evenly. It is essential to check the location of the mounting points for each vehicle as lifting on the wrong part of the body can damage its structural integrity.
Safety is of the utmost importance when using any heavy lifting equipment. Look for a jack with an overload protection valve, which prevents it from damage through overextension. Once the vehicle is lifted to the desired height, you should secure it with a set of good-quality axel stands before commencing work.
How much you can expect to spend on a floor jack
Weight capacity and build quality are the main factors affecting the price of these jacks. For under $100, you can find a strong jack for occasional use on small to midsize cars. A strong enough jack for daily use and heavy vehicles expect to pay $200-$300.
Floor jack FAQ
Why do I need a floor jack?
A. Floor jacks have a long body and a wide stance, making them more stable and thus safer than a bottle or scissor jack. They are cumbersome, making them better suited for home or garage use than roadside repairs.
Do floor jacks require a lot of maintenance?
A. As with most mechanical tools, all the moving parts need to be kept clean and well-lubricated. The piston mechanism should be checked for leaks before each use as a lack of hydraulic fluid could cause the Jack to fail.
What’s the best floor jack to buy?
Top floor jack
What you need to know: A three-ton capacity, a low profile body and an 18-inch lift height make this jack an excellent all-round choice.
What you’ll love: It is made from aircraft-grade aluminum, has dual lifting pistons and a two-piece handle for easy storage.
What you should consider: It must be stored flat to prevent hydraulic fluid leakage.
Top floor jack for the money
What you need to know: At its minimum setting, it is just 3.5 inches high, making it an excellent choice for low ground clearance vehicles.
What you’ll love: It has a rubber saddle to protect it from scratches. It has a high lift range up to 18.5 inches.
What you should consider: Its two-ton weight capacity may be too small for some larger vehicles.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Ideal for SUVs and trucks, this jack has a 3.5-ton capacity and a 22-inch height range.
What you’ll love: It has a built-in safety valve to prevent damage from over-pumping and non-marring wheels.
What you should consider: At 85 pounds, it is cumbersome and quite tricky to maneuver.
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Chris Gillespie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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