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Very frankly, if you have a motorcycle, ATV, car, truck, SUV or any other vehicle you may need to repair or simply service at times, you need a way to lift it and keep it lifted. And for that, you need a jack, so why not get the best car jack on the market? That’s where Garage Chief crew aim to help you.
In this article, we’ll start off by introducing what we think are the best picks across different types of car jacks. We’ll then go over the basics of the different types of jacks that are on the market and we’ll also cover some different car lifts, which can provide a good other way to lift the stuff.
Finally, we’ll also provide links to some of our earlier articles that give more in-depth information and product reviews within each type of jacks discussed in this post.
One thing that you should always keep in mind, no matter which kind of jack that you might purchase, the jack is only for lifting the car. Once it is up, if you need to work on it while elevated you need to swap from the jacks to a set of jack stands. These are devised to hold the car for an extended period of time.
Best Car Jack – Our Picks Across Different Types
|item-title||Torin Big Red T10152 Steel Scissor Jack||Pro-Lift B-004D Bottle Jack||Hi-Lift Red All Cast Jack HL485 48"||Powerzone 380044 3 Ton Aluminum and Steel Floor Jack||Torin Big Red TR4053 Pedestal Transmission Jack|
|• Rugged alloyed steel construction with heavy-duty steel frame and saddle|
• Protective, high impact-resistant coating helps to prevent rust
• Meets ASME PALD standards
|• Steel lifting saddle engineered to hold load securely|
• Designed to meet ANSI/PALD standards
• Built-in bypass system
|• Two piece handle and socket is durable and reliable|
• Constructed with cast iron components for ultimate strength and durability
• Equipped with a shear bolt which prevents the jack from being used on greater loads
|• Made of light weight aluminum frame|
• Quick lifting hydraulic system
• Rubber padded saddle protects vehicle frame
|• Durable steel and dipped enamel finish|
• Saddle adjusts to fit any transmission and safety chain tilts forward, backward and side-to-side
• Designed to use with in-ground and above-ground lifts
Best Car Lift, Ramp and Stand Products – Our Picks
Clear Floor Lift
|item-title||TRIUMPH NT-9 9000Lbs Two Post Clear Floor Lift||Dannmar Portable Mid-Rise Scissors Lift||Dragway Tools 2 Ton Folding Hydraulic Engine Hoist Cherry Picker Shop Crane Hoist Lift||RhinoGear 11909ABMI RhinoRamps Vehicle Ramp||Torin Big Red T42002 Steel Jack Stands|
|• Three stage front arms provide excellent reach on a wide variety of vehicles|
• Floor Plate to cover cables and hose and fit under low ceiling
• Includes Power Unit/Motor and floor mounting hardware
|• Adjustable arm assemblies and multi-position safety lock add versatility|
• Portable motor cart serves as a tow handle for easily moving lift from bay to bay
|• 6 Fully Rotating 3" Steel Caster Wheels Easily allow you to move this hoist in any direction for increased maneuvering|
• Premium Steel
|• Portable automotive ramps with a rugged and structural design|
• Provides reliable and convenient access to the underside of your vehicle as well as nestability for maximum storage space
• CoreTRAC non-skid base helps reduce slippage
|• Constructed of high-grade steel and built to exacting standards for quality and durability|
• Large saddle surface area provides better contact with the load being supported
• Meets ASME PALD standards
Choosing the RIGHT Car Jack or Lift – All You Need to Know
Most everyone knows that car jacks lift cars, but there is a lot more. Here we’ll touch on some different styles so that you will have the background to know how to select the best hydraulic jack for your particular needs.
Car Jacks Explained
This is the class of jack that most people are familiar with when they picture a car jack. While some of them are the types of jacks that come with your car, it is always a good idea to track down another quality jack. There are any number of places that offer car jacks for sale, but unless you are sure that the person selling you a used model is really on the up and up, a new model from a trusted source, like Amazon, is the best source.
You’ll want to look over each of these different types, as all of them have their strengths and their draw backs. There will undoubtedly be one that best fits your particular needs and is set up the way that you prefer to use it.
One thing to note on these is the way that you are looking to use them. Some styles are highly portable and easy to take with you on trips, while other styles are more suited to be used in a garage. If you need to work in several different conditions it is not a bad idea to have a mix of styles to suit the need of the moment.
These are the jacks that are most often found as the jack that comes with a car. The feature a long screw that you turn with the use of a handle in order to lift the car up. While the jack may look like a long metal rectangle when collapsed, it looks like a diamond as you start to crank it up.
These jacks tend to be lightweight and fairly easy to store. It doesn’t hurt to have a few of these for emergencies. On the other hand, there isn’t any real help to lift other than the screw mechanism. So you will have to put some sweat into it.
This type of jack brings the power of hydraulics to bear on whatever you need to be lifted. They look like a small jug or bottle, hence the name, and have a port for a handle. Here instead of a cranking motion, you pump the handle up and down and a lifting rod extends.
They have some big advantages, such as the fact that they take up very little space, so they are easy to bring with you. On the down side, as you look at it in its collapsed state you have to accept that it half the height you will get out of it.
If you have spent time off roading or just driven behind a Jeep, you have probably seen one of these styles o jack. They have a plate to put on the ground and are between 3 and 5 feet tall.
Normally they are used in situations where you are stuck off road since they have the ability to lift your vehicle higher than most other jacks to get over rocks and the such. Additionally, they can be used as a winch to pull you out of the mud if required. They are, however, rather large and can be some what heavy to move around. We’ve covered them pretty extensively on our site – see our best Hi-Lift Jack post for more details.
Check Hi Lift Jacks available at Amazon
If you are staying in the garage, a floor jack is a great option. These are normally wheeled and will have a removable handle to operate. Like a bottle jack, they are hydraulic driven, meaning a little bit of work on your end can lift quite a bit of weight.
However, unlike their bottle jack cousins, these can get some serious lift due to their design. Sometimes you will find these called trolley jacks since they are wheeled about on the floor. The disadvantage of this style is mostly that they aren’t the most portable solution.
The last category is a bit of an odd ball one. It is the transmission jack. While every other style of jack we have talked about is designed for lifting the car by the chassis, for any number of things from changing a tire to inspecting your muffler, a transmission jack is more concerned with the transmission. It is designed to lift the transmission so that you can remove it from the rest of the car.
Seeing as how this alone can weigh a ton in some cases, these are rather beefy jacks. While they handle their designed job rather well, they are somewhat of a one trick pony, so you’ll only need to look into this style jack if you are doing some specific transmission work.
Car Lifts Explained
A jack is used to lift up a car, but only lifts a section of the car at a time. This can be great if you are out somewhere and changing a tire, but if you are going to be doing extensive work on your car, a jack and a jack stand can be rather annoying to use.
That is where the world of car lifts come into play. These raise the entire vehicle and hold it in place for you to do work.
One major upside to any of these models is that you don’t have to worry that you have all the jacking and stands set to precisely the same height, as these take care of that for you. You will have to be aware though, most of these options are not exactly inexpensive and will not be a highly portable option. If you are just starting out and looking to save money on an oil change, this might not be the best route to go down.
On the other hand, if you are serious about maintaining your car or looking at starting a business working on cars, these are a must.
Clear Floor Lifts
The clear floor lift has two major categories, the 2 post, and the 4 post. If you have taken your car in to get worked on and they have lifted it off the ground, this is most likely what they used.
The 2 post will have a pair of posts and the lift mechanism will go under the center of the car, while this will take up less of a footprint and cost less, you have to make sure that the car is properly positioned prior to lifting.
The 4 post model has a post at each corner, taking more of a footprint, but leaving less worry that a car may tip. These will lift the car high enough that you can easily walk underneath and do work on it.
Check all Two and Four Post Floor Lifts at Amazon buyers guide.
While these are similar in principle to the scissor lift jacks, they tend to be a bit sturdier. Also, instead of the normal diamond, these form an x while they lift. The lift will be positioned under the car and then engaged, lifting the car to the desired height. Various models are available that can lift a car between 36 and 48 inches high.
This is probably not high enough to walk directly underneath and even if it was, the lift itself is directly under the car, so you are somewhat limited as to where you can get to with this style. However, this lift can collapse to nearly flat and doesn’t have any posts itself when not in use which makes for easier storage if you don’t have a dedicated space.
The most low tech solution is the simple lift ramp, like this one. These are sold in a pair and the car drive up, either forward or backward onto them. Once the car is up on the ramps, you’ll want to block the wheels so that it doesn’t roll off while working on the car.
This style of lift can be taken just about anywhere that you got a car to go and can be adjusted on placement to work with any wheel base out there. However, you need to be sure that you get the placement spot on and when driving up the ramps you don’t want to go too far or you’ll get yourself stuck.
The last lift isn’t concerned with lifting up the whole car, just part of it. In this case, it is designed to lift the engine from the engine compartment. Normally this would be set up above the engine and connected as per the instructions. The engine would then be unbolted from the chassis and the device would lift the engine up and out.
This allows you to work on the engine and gain easy access to all sides of it. However, this is a rather specialized piece of equipment and you would most likely need to be doing some in depth automotive work before have a dedicated engine lift makes sense.
While a jack is great for getting a car lifted up, if you are going to keep it up for a period of time or while you do some work on it, you’ll want to find the best car stand possible.
Sometimes you’ll see these listed as jack stands as well. These are sold in pairs and should be used in a pair as well. As a rule of thumb, you should use at least one stand for each wheel that has left the ground. Most stands are adjustable, so you can use your jack to lift the car, set the stand for the height and placement that you want and then lower the car back onto the stand.
The two major styles of the stand that you will come across are the four footed stand and the single plate foot. The single plate stand resembles a bottle jack and is a good choice if you need to take your stands with you, but the four-foot models tend to be much more sturdy as they have a wider base. You will also have an option of finding models that lock the height into place with an extra pin.
Just a friendly tip! Do you happen to own a motorbike? If so, why not to have a look into our detailed motorcycle lift reviews?
When it comes down to tracking down the best car jack for you, hands down safety should be your number one concern. You need to be sure that your desired jack can lift the weight needed for the car that you are using it with. Once you have that taken care of, you’ll want to look into your own comfort while using it. Find the one that is the easiest for you to use, not one that you hate using and find ways to work around pulling it out. Lastly, since this is a piece of safety equipment takes care of it. The last thing you want is for your jack to give out while it is lifting a car.
Best Car Jack & Lift – Bottom Line
The truth of the matter is that we have only scratched the surface of methods of lifting a car here. This article was designed to give you some knowledge as you start your search for the best car jack and then work as a jumping off point. Once you determine the style of jack or lift that you need you’ll be ready to move to a more focused piece that can give you details on that particular device.
But you should now know some of the different types of lifts and jacks that are presently on the market as well as some of their high and low points. Even if you aren’t in the market currently, it never hurts to arm yourself with this knowledge.
Lastly, we’d love to hear from you. Is there something that we may have over looked in our jack overview? If you can come up with anything, please let us know in the comments section below.
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