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A floor jack is an essential tool for automotive and motorcycle service projects that allows you to manually lift a vehicle off the ground making it easier for someone to tinker around the underside of the vehicle, change flat tires and do other things as well. A hydraulic floor jack (as opposed to a mechanical floor jack) uses valves, hydraulic pistons, and different multiple levers to lift the vehicle.
Choosing a hydraulic floor jack from all the options available can be a daunting task. There are many different models, brands and each with its individualistic characteristics. Even deciding what you need in itself can be a challenge. That is where we come in. We give you all you need before deciding to buy a hydraulic floor jack to make sure you get the best value for your money. By the end of the article, we are hopeful you will be better informed of what you need.
Hydraulic Floor Jack Reviews
We will kick off by reviewing five hydraulic floor jacks we think are worthy to rank among the best hydraulic floor jacks in the market. Feel free to choose the floor jack that best satisfies your particular needs and fits well in your budget.
Powerzone 380044 3 Ton Aluminum and Steel Garage Jack
This is one of the best floor jacks in the market. It is extremely well made giving it nearly 150 5-star ratings. It is made out of both aluminum and steel and thus offers a mixture of both portability and strength. Its steel lifting arm gives you the capability of lifting to a 3-ton vehicle and at the same time, the aluminum frame keeps its weight down ensuring you can comfortably carry it around (it weighs less than 65 pounds). It has a 4-inch minimum height, but it is not a low-profile design. What this unit lacks in height it makes up in lifting range. It has a total lift range of 14.25 inches thus allowing you to lift your vehicle to 18.25 inches off the ground. This hydraulic floor jack has a dual cylinder quick lifting system to save time and effort when lifting loads. The hydraulic system is fitted with a safety valve to prevent damage caused by overloading. It features a two-piece handle, and the lower piece is covered in a thick black foam to prevent damage to your vehicle by accidental contact with pumping. The saddle comes with a rubber pad to prevent damage to the underside of your vehicle when lifting.
Its wheels are made of steel, the front wheels are fixed, and the rear wheels are caster-type wheels that can swivel 360 degrees for easy positioning. There is a handle on each side of the body for easy carrying.
In summary, Powerzone 380044 is a great addition to any home garage and a great value for the money.
-high lift capacity of 3 tons
-lightweight and easy to carry around
-dual cylinder reduces time and effort of raising the vehicle
-made in China
Blackhawk B6350 Black/Red Fast Lift Service Jack – 3.5 Ton Capacity
The Blackhawk B6350 floor jack is made from heavy-duty steel. It is manufactured in China by Banner which is owned by Shinn Fu America Corporation. It can lift to 3.5 tons and weighs 85 pounds. Its lifting range is between 5.5 inches to 22 inches. The unit has a standard trolley design fitted with fixed front wheels and rear caster style wheels. The saddle swivels and is removable leaving a large hole that is about 1.12 inches in diameter.
One feature that is unique to this floor jack is that it rapidly lifts a load, and once it senses a load, the raising becomes slower. The removable two-piece handle has been padded on the lower portion so that when the vehicle is in position, the handle sticks out at a slight angle and does not go completely vertical. Takes between 5-8 strokes of the handle for the lift to reach the maximum height of 22 inches.
-Maximum lift height of 22″
-Built-in safety valve and bypass device
-Padded handle to avoid damaging vehicle
-Heavy-duty steel construction with rolled side plates
-Quick lift to load system
-Rear caster wheels are small and can get caught on small objects when running
-The handle range is limited and does not raise to an entirely vertical position
-The rubber pad simply rests on the saddle, and some users have experienced it jumping out of the saddle when rolling over rough surfaces
JEGS Performance Products 80006 Professional Low-Profile Aluminum Floor Jack
The JEGS 80006 floor jack design is inspired by Sprint Cup’s lightweight pit jacks. It is also manufactured out of China but with quality aluminum with the fit and finish top-notch. It has a lifting capacity of 2 tons with a lightweight of 49 pounds. The floor jack’s chassis is 26.5 inches long and 14 inches wide with fixed front wheels and rear caster style wheels. The JEGS 80006 has a lifting range of 3.5 inches to 19.25 inches. Its side plates have been tapered from back to front to give the front quite a low profile. The saddle is also padded with a rubber disc and can swivel 360 degrees.
The floor jack reaches full lift height with only 5-6 handle strokes. The lower portion of the handle is padded to avoid damaging the vehicle if contact is made when raising. To lessen the likelihood of slippage, the upper part of the handle has a knurled grip.
-Low profile design
-Quality craftsmanship, finish and fit
-It is light making it easy to carry
-Raises to full height with only 5-6 strokes
-Padded handle helps avoid vehicle damage
-Has two side handles to easily maneuver and move
-made in China
Arcan ALJ3T Aluminum Floor Jack – 3 Ton Capacity
The Arcan ALJ3T is a beautifully designed piece capable of a maximum lift capacity of 3 tons. It is as functional as it is beautiful and thus one of the best aluminum floor jacks around. It can fit almost under any car with a lifting range of 3.6 inches to 19.4 inches. It weighs a mere 56 pounds allowing you to easily carry it around. It has thick frame sides with a reinforced lifting arm. The floor jack tackles 3-ton lifting jobs without being as heavy as a steel constructed jack.
The piece is fitted with dual pistons for fast-rising action. The piston has dust shields to prevent the contamination of the fluid. The Arcan ALJ3T is equipped with bypass and overload valves that prevent the over-extension of the hydraulic ram and jack use beyond the rated maximum capacity. The piece has ball bearing mounted rear swivel (360 degrees) caster wheels and wide track front wheels to provide superior stability and at the same time enable effortless rolling and positioning.
-Extremely light floor jack
-Lift capacity of 3 tons
-Can fit almost under any car
-The rubber jack pad is too soft and gets torn up rather quickly.
-Made in China
Hein-Werner HW93642 Blue Hydraulic Service Jack – 2 Ton Capacity
The Hein-Werner HW93642 is a2-ton capacity floor jack with a 99-pound weight. It is ‘Made in the USA’ and it is what you would consider as a ‘classic’ floor jack. It has a lift range of 3.75 inches to 20 inches and it is fully constructed out of steel giving it plenty of strength to handle the 2-ton lifting capacity. The bodyside plates are flanged to reduce flexing and increase rigidity. The saddle has no padding and is shaped like a square with round corners with notches on its four-sided to avoid slipping of the vehicle’s lifting points. The rear casters can swivel 360 degrees allowing easy rolling and positioning. The jack can be easily moved around by removing the lifting pole and carrying it by the front axle.
The removable one-piece lifting pole is made out of steel and thus extremely rigid. The single hydraulic piston is sealed to prevent dirt or other debris from damaging the seals or contaminating the hydraulic fluid. The floor jack has a safety overload valve that prevents it from lifting loads rated higher than its maximum capacity.
-The effort requires to operate the lifting pole is minuscule
-Uses a universal joint in between the lifting pole socket and the hydraulic valve making it very easy to operate the hydraulic valve in a precise manner.
-Decent minimum lifting height
-Made in the USA
-A heavy tool
-There is no padding on the saddle
-The one-piece lifting pole may be a problem in tight spaces
-The lifting pole is not easy to remove
Benefits of using a Hydraulic Floor Jack
A hydraulic floor jack is much faster than a typical scissor jack. Some top-rated models with dual lifting pistons require only 4-5 pumps to reach their maximum heights. This saves you an enormous amount of time and effort needed to get the hydraulic floor jack to its maximum height.
This is perhaps the most significant benefit to the customer. Because of the larger base, ample gripping surface, and solid build, hydraulic floor jacks are the most stable and safest type of jack. Scissors and bottle jacks have a slight tendency to tilt and eventually collapse if they are used on a ground that is not correctly leveled.
- Ease of Operation
The huge mechanical advantage you get from the hydraulic system, and the long jack handle makes it incredibly easy to lift a corner of any vehicle with a few easy pumps. To lower your car, you just slowly twist the handle. This is opposed to the mechanical jacks in which you have to sweat to get your car to the required height that is ideal for you.
Factors to consider before buying a Floor Jack
- Lifting capacity
This is the most important factor to consider in a floor jack. Most hand-operated floor jacks can lift a weight from 1.5 tons up to 20 tons. It will be crucial for you to select a floor jack that can handle the weight requirements for the job you intend doing. As a general rule, when lifting a vehicle, your floor jack should have a maximum lifting capacity that is greater than or equal to the total weight of the vehicle. Even though the jack does not lift your entire car, selecting a floor jack that closely matches the vehicle’s weight gives you an adequate safety margin keeping in mind that the actual functional capacity of a jack is often less than its stated maximum rated capacity.
- Design profile
Floor jacks come in two design profiles-standard profile or low profile. A low profile jack allows you to roll it under vehicles that have a lower ride height such as sports car models.
- The Construction Material
Floor jacks are made up of either aluminum or steel. A steel floor jack will be suitable if you are going to use the floor jack in and around the garage. In the case that you need to move your floor jack from place to place regularly, an aluminum floor jack is the one to go with.
- Lifting Range
Another important factor to consider is the lifting range. Every floor jack has its rated minimum lifting height and the range it can lift. You should, therefore, consider how high you want to raise the vehicle and make the appropriate choice.
- Lifting Speed
A standard jack will take about 8 to 10 strokes of the lifting bar to raise the vehicle to the designated height. If you want it to reach full height faster (say in 3-6 strokes), consider buying a floor jack with dual lifting pistons or a quick lift system
You will need to consider your budget before choosing a hydraulic floor jack that meets your needs. Anything between $150-$250(and above of course) should get you a solid, easy-to-use, and reliable floor jack
How to Use and Maintain a Hydraulic Floor Jack
- Never use Jack to lift a weight higher than its maximum rated weight. This will damage the floor jack and lead to safety issues.
- Always store the hydraulic floor jack with the hydraulic piston in a fully retracted position.
- Wipe your jack with a lightly oiled rag before storing it to ensure metal parts don’t rust while in storage.
- Before using your floor jack after an extended period of storage, check the hydraulic fluid using the fill plug. In case the level is low fill it off with hydraulic oil and look for any leakage in the equipment.
- Check all the nuts, bolts and fasteners to make sure they are in place and firmly secure. If any of them is loose, tighten them first before proceeding to use the hydraulic floor jack.
- Lubricate the hinge points with high-quality grease to reduce friction and increase the durability of the parts.
- The front and rear wheel axes should also be lubricated with high-quality oil.
- Regularly inspect the jack’s body, lifting arm and handle for any signs of a crack or excessive wear. If any defect is found, your jack needs to be repaired by a professional, or you may need to buy another jack.
- Do not continually expose the jack to water as this will cause it’s metal parts to start rusting.
- Who invented the Floor Jack?
The floor jack was designed in 1851 by Richard Dudgeon during his time working as an apprentice and with Allaire Ironworks. At that time, heavy objects were lifted with great effort using inefficient screw jacks, and he recognized the need for a robust and portable lifting device.
- How does a hydraulic jack work?
Hydraulic floor jacks use valves, hydraulic pistons, and different multiple levers to gain mechanical advantage and lift the vehicle. The handle of a floor jack is positioned so that the hinge gives the user a tremendous mechanical advantage right from the start. For every pound of force that is applied to the floor jack handle, an amount of energy exponentially greater is applied to the hydraulic piston system.
- Should I get an Aluminum Jack or a Steel one?
It depends on your requirements. Aluminum jacks are lighter thus easy to carry around, but a steel jack can lift more weight than its aluminum counterpart. You are going to pay more for an aluminum floor jack that lifts the same amount of weight as a steel one. You should also check on the type of Aluminum used to make sure you buy the highest quality aluminum.
- Can I Use the Differential as a Jack Point?
To answer this question, it would be best first to refer to the owner’s manual. In case the owner’s manual specifically says not to, or there is no definitive answer, it is perhaps best not to use it to avoid localized physical damage and bending of the axle housings.
All in all, the hydraulic floor jack is a necessary tool that all vehicle owners should have. Its portability, speed of lifting, ease of operation and safety make it the best jack to be used when you want to lift your vehicle. There are many types of hydraulic floor jacks in the market and before buying you should consider your budget, the lift height range, the material, the rated maximum lift, lifting speed and the design profile to make your money count. As the hydraulic floor jack is useful, it can also be very dangerous when not maintained well. Always use the jack for its proper rated load, do not exceed the rated maximum load as this might cause damage to the hydraulic floor jack. Check the jack for any faults and leakages of the fluid to avoid any accidents while lifting your vehicle. We hope this guide gave you all the necessary information that you need before making a decision on which floor jack to buy.