How to Choose the Best Floor Jack Ultimate Buying Guide

If you have a garage, there are a number of tools, which are common and need to be used on daily basis. One critical device is the best floor jack, which is used in lifting vehicles off the ground. This makes it easier and possible to work in the components that are on the underside of the vehicle effectively.

There are a number of models, which are on the market and as such, you may be left wondering which would be the best floor jack. There quite a number of considerations that come into play, when choosing what floor jack should be used in your garage. It is advisable to compare a number of models before making the ultimate decision on the exact model or brand to buy for your garage.

In order to fully understand, and eventually be able to make an informed decision on the right floor jack, there are some things that you need be clear about.

How to Choose the Best Floor Jack

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Definition of a Floor Jack

It would be quite unfortunate if you were to go out shopping for a floor jack, not knowing exactly what you are looking for, or even the purpose it serve. A floor jack is a mechanical device, which is commonly used to lift and support vehicles off the ground. There are three main types of floor jacks, namely, scissor jack, bottle jack and the hydraulic floor jack.

The hydraulic and the bottle jack use hydraulics to be able to lift the loads, while the scissor jack uses a lead and screw. The professional mechanics tend to prefer the hydraulic floor jack, as it is easy to use and it quite versatile.

However, the bottle jack comes in handy when you have to lift very heavy vehicles, with a higher ground clearance. With that understanding of the definition of the floor jack and the various categories, it is much easier to choose a floor jack that will serve your needs effectively.

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Using a Floor Jack

The main use of a floor jack is lifting a vehicle off the ground, for purposes of repairs and maintenance. The main advantage is the fact that the floor jack will grant you easier access to all the components that are underneath the vehicle. Whether you are a professional mechanic or a car enthusiast, there is so much to accomplish using a floor jack.

There is a wide array of tasks that can be completed, easily, with the help of a floor jack. Some of these tasks include suspension and transmission works, changing brake pads, rotating wheels, changing the oil and mounting the engine among so many more. When working on the engine bay, the floor jack can also be used to lift the motor.

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Types of Floor Jacks

As mentioned earlier in the definition of a floor jack, there are 3 main types of floor jacks on the market. Each type of floor jack has its own advantages and it would be important to analyse each category so as to find the best floor jack. The 3 categories are:

  1. Hydraulic Floor Jack
  2. Bottle Jack
  3. Scissor Jack
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Hydraulic Floor Jack

Hydraulic Floor JackThe hydraulic floor jack is the most preferred type of jack, which makes it common among most users. There are of reasons why most people love this type of floor jack, with the convenience and the ease of use being the main attributes.

This is commonly referred to as the trolley jack, since it comes with a set of wheels at the front and steel casters at the back. The use of hydraulics is what makes it easier to lift loads using this floor jack. There is a cylinder that has the hydraulic fluid, which is compressed by the pumping action. This is what causes the saddle of the floor jack to start rising.

Most models of the hydraulic floor jack come with a varied height range and this allows you to be able to lift your vehicle to the desired height. They will also have different weight capacity rating, which is indicated and should be observed keenly. Over and above lifting your vehicle with a hydraulic floor jack requires very little effort. This is one of the main considerations, when choosing the ideal floor jack to buy.

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Bottle Jack

Bottle JackThe bottle jacks comes in different sizes, and they also operate through hydraulics, just like the hydraulic floor jack. One of the greatest advantages of this floor jack is the fact that is has a compact size and can be used on vehicles with a higher ground clearance. The floor jack is shaped like a bottle, which gives it its name.

This is also referred to as a Piston jack and it is quite handy. It has a small footprint at the bottom, which provides the support and stability needed to be able to work on unlevelled surfaces. With the high free height, you can use it with trucks and SUVs, making it easier to place it on the jack points, without much difficulty.

The bottle jack is the one that has the highest lifting capacity and as such, you should consider this is you have many trucks and heavy vehicles. These jacks are made from heavy duty steel, which makes them durable and long lasting in addition to enhancing the stability.

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Scissor Jack

Scissor JackThe scissor jack is not a heavy duty floor jack and cannot be used to very heavy load lifting. This jack, will be provided by car manufacturers, in most cases. They are quite small and easy to carry around in your vehicle. The jack uses the lead screw mechanism to lift vehicles and as you can imagine, that takes a whole lot of effort.

As such, you should use this floor jack for emergencies and other lighter tasks like changing a flat tire. Depending on the size of the scissor jack that you will have, you will be limited to a particular height. In most cases, these jacks will only be able to lift the vehicle to a height that allows you to change a flat tire.

The scissor jack is not really stable and as such, it should not be used as the main supporting jack when working underneath the vehicle. This may end up causing a whole lot of damage to your vehicle and any person underneath the car. You should only choose this jack if you want something that can get you out of the woods in an emergency situation.

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Safety while Using a Floor Jack

Floor jacks are quite diverse and versatile in nature and can be used to accomplish a whole lot of tasks. However, irrespective of what the manufacturer of the floor jack claims, your choice of the floor jack should be influenced by your personal safety.

A floor jack, like the hydraulic types tend to be quite stable and easy to trust. However, for your own safety, you should consider these tips below, so as to make proper use of the jack, without compromising on your personal safety.

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  1. Use Jack Stands

If there is a set of floor jack accessories that you should always have at your disposal, then it must be the jack stands. When you go out shopping for a floor, you may come across models that claim to be stable and can work without any extra support; stay away from such models.

Even the most stable and secure floor jack may fail because it is a mechanical device. The fact that you may never know when it will fail, means that you should never go underneath a vehicle without placing jack stands to support the car.

Once the floor jack becomes old and worn out, you may not notice when it is dropping, as it does this very slowly. By the time one notices, it might be too late, causing severe injuries and even may occasion death. As soon as the vehicle has been raised to the desired height, place the jack stands before going under the car.

  1. Avoid Uneven Surfaces

The stability of you floor jack and the vehicle that is being support depends on the type of surface that you are using the floor jack on. There is a higher risk level when you attempt to use the floor jack on unlevelled surfaces. This will compromise the stability of the floor jack since it cannot be placed in the right position.

Unless, you are on a survival situation, you should never make any attempts to jack a car on a slanted terrain. Even the best hydraulic floor jack may not be able to withstand the challenges posed by an uneven surface. It is advisable to examine the floor surface and park your car at a place that appears to be levelled before you can start raising the vehicle, using your floor jack.

  1. Operate the Jack in Slow Motions

Most floor jack manufacturers use the rapid lift technology as one of the key selling points for floor jack. However, in order to use the floor jack in a safe manner, you should lift the car using slow and gradual intervals. By so doing, you will able to observe the floor jack and check if there are any unusual tendency on the jack.

Should you detect any problems, like difficulty in pumping the floor jack, you should stop using it right away. The slow motions tend to be controlled and this can guarantee you of your personal safety.

  1. Make Use of Jack Points

It is important to note that you cannot lift your vehicle from any part of the frame. There are specific jack points which would provide the advantage point when you raise the car using the floor jack. Be sure to place the saddle of the floor jack at these jack points.

There are some vehicle models with labelled jack points, which makes it easier. If you are not sure, you should check the owner’s manual or even use the internet so that you can learn the particular jack points on your vehicle. This will enhance your safety and prevent unnecessary damage to the vehicle.

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Key Factors to Consider When Buying a Floor Jack

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With hundreds of floor jacks on the market, you may be spoilt for choice and wonder which one would be ideal for you. When shopping for a floor jack, there are a number of factors to consider so as to ensure that you make an informed decision. Here are the main considerations:

Consider The Vehicle’s Weight

As a safety precaution, it is advisable to only lift vehicles that are within the rated capacity of the floor jack. The 2 ton and 3 ton floor jacks seem to serve most of the vehicles on the market. Before purchasing your floor jack, it would be prudent to check the overall weight of the car. The bottle jack is ideal for the heavier vehicles and trucks, but it is imperative to ensure that the floor jack is not overload.

Consider the Profile of the Car

Ground clearance is the other essential consideration when choosing the type of floor jack to buy. Vehicles come with different and unique designs and you will realize that sports cars and racing machines are pretty low. If you have a lowered vehicle you would need a low profile floor jack. The bottle jack has a higher height, and makes possible to reach the vehicles that are pretty high.

Consider the Floor Jack Build

Take time to examine your floor jack so as to establish the materials used to construct it. A good floor jack will have most of the components made of metal and not plastic. If you buy a low quality jack due to the cheaper price, you will end up comprising your safety and will also be forced to buy another one after a short while.

Read Here How to keep proper maintenance Your Floor Jack?

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Take time to review all these details that we have shared with you. With all these factors put in place, you will be able to choose the perfect floor jack for the job.

About Kimani Muhia

Hey there, my name is Kimani Muhia, I am the one who runs Best Floor Jack Guide. For over 10 years, I have been running a family-owned Auto repair shop. I am happy to assist with any questions or concerns that you may be having about floor jacks. You will learn a whole lot from my experience. Hit me up, in case of anything.

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