The 3 Step Jack Buying Guide

jack buying guide

As a mechanic – whether professional or otherwise – you’ll
need a jack. It may be that you simply want one for the boot of your car, in
case you get that dreaded flat tyre. Or it may be that you are an amateur racer
who needs a jack for those all-important pit stops.

Whatever your reason for considering purchasing a jack, we have put this guide together to assist you in making the right choice for you. It’s vital that the jack you choose is fit for purpose; that it lifts a vehicle with minimum effort. A jack will enable you and, if applicable, colleagues to work safely beneath the vehicle. Safety is paramount. So, let’s look at the capacity you need, first.

1. Capacity

Each type of trolley jack is rated, indicating the weight it
can take. As a vehicle that’s jacked will only be lifted up from one of its
corners, you will only need a jack that has a lifting capacity of approximately
75% of your vehicle’s weight.

We can’t stress enough that purchasing a trolley jack that isn’t rated correctly, i.e. is not fit for purpose, could mean you are putting yourself and others in danger. It’s crucial that your jack can lift a vehicle weighing more than a standard car. To be sure, refer to your car manufacturer’s guide to check the weight of the vehicle. You can also check this online.

2. Purpose

Next, consider the job that you want the jack to do.

Light Duty Jacks

For light home garage use or for carrying around in your
boot with you for emergency use, our low duty cycle applications are low in
cost and, if looked after, will prove to be superb value for money, lasting for

2-Tonnes Car Trolley Jack

The 2-tonnes max capacity trolley jack we supply has a
lifting range of between 130mm and 345mm. It has a short wheel-base chassis and
an integrated carry handle for ease of movement. Other features include an industrial
hydraulic pump with relief valve and a heavy-duty one-piece hydraulic pump.

2-Tonnes Low Profile Trolley Jack

As its name suggests, this device has a 2-tonnes max
capacity; it also has an 89mm to 359mm lifting range. This type of jack is
perfect for cars of a standard height and for low-slung cars too. Whilst it
fits beneath most cars, it lifts to standard height. Its 360-degree rotating
handle is super convenient as are its rear swivel casters. It boasts a heavy-duty
chassis with strengthening flanges.

Hobbyists / Garage Jacks

Is tinkering with your motor at the weekends your thing? If
so, the chances are you’ll need a medium to large duty cycle trolley jack. They
have some additional features such as low profile and high lift and rocket lift.
We recommend you check the weight of your chosen jack prior to purchase as you
find it’s too heavy to keep in your car.  

3-Tonnes Low Profile Garage Trolley Jack

The 3-tonnes max capacity jack has a 98mm to 535mm lifting
range. It also has dual pump pistons for fast lifting action and a bumper pad
on the handle for vehicle protection. With its top saddle protector, safer
lifting is made possible and its ball bearing mounted rear swivel caster wheels
enable even easier movement.

3-Tonnes Long Reach Professional Jack

The 3-tonnes max capacity jack has a lifting range of 150mm
to 525mm; and is a long reach, low profile appliance. These have fixed
direction castors, swivel castors and inside wheel. They have a foot pedal to swiftly
raise and lower the load arm and the vehicle. And they have a long reach pump
handle with a rubber grip, and a rubber saddle pad, for comfort.

Amateur Racing / Aluminium Jacks

If it’s track days you’re into, an aluminium trolley jack
may be just what you need. They are much easier to move around a paddock and
many of their features align with those of the garage jacks. Light in weight,
these types of jacks were created specifically for racers.

Let’s look at the 1.5 model first…

1.5-Tonnes Aluminium Trolley Jack

This is exceptionally easy to work with. In just 9 strokes,
you can lift the jack to its full saddle height. Now, that’s easy, right? And
terrific for saving valuable pit stop times.

With a 1.5-tonnes max capacity, it has a lifting range of 90mm
to 358mm. Its low profile and ergonomic carry handle, along with a pump
overload mechanism/relief safety valve make is a superb and safe choice.

2.5-Tonnes Aluminium Racing Trolley Jack

This jack, with its 2.5-tonnes max capacity, has a lifting
range of 100mm to 460mm. Its ultra-lightweight aluminium chassis makes it a
perfect choice for sports car enthusiasts or those with vehicles with a low
chassis. Features include a rubber pad which is designed to protect your
vehicle’s underside. And again, it lifts speedily due to its dual pumps which
extend to full saddle height in a mere 9 strokes. It also has an ergonomic
carry handle, designed with efficiency and comfort in mind.

High Duty-Cycle / Professional Jacks

If you are a professional mechanic, your lifting equipment
is naturally going to be used frequently. It’s therefore important that your
jack withstands this continuous usage; so, for you, we recommend one of our
professional jacks.

These jacks all come with a 2-year commercial warranty and,
as you would expect, are precision engineered to be fit for purpose. If looked
after properly, your jack will last for many years.

2-Tonnes Ultra Low-Profile Professional Service Trolley

This jack’s 2-tonnes max capacity and 70mm to 500mm lifting
range are just a couple of its features. It also boasts a top saddle protector
and foot operated quick lift hydraulics for safer and easier lifting. Its ergonomic
looped handle and polyamide wheels allow low-key positioning.

10-Tonnes Long Reach Professional Service Trolley Jack

With 10-tonnes max capacity and a 160mm to 560mm lifting
range, this jack really means business. It accommodates lorries, coaches, buses
and large vans. Easy access deep jacking points with a long reach design and a
foot pedal make for a speedier and simple process.

Hydraulic bottle jack

The difference with this type of jack is that the cylinder
isn’t mounted on a wheeled chassis; instead, it’s fixed on a flat support. The
cylinder does the lifting, and this enables greater load capacities, of up to
20 tonnes. That said, its shape means it can’t fit beneath vehicles that are
low to the ground and its lifting height is often less than that of a trolley

Pneumatic jack

These jacks are for weighty and demanding lifting. Used by
professional mechanics, they can lift vehicles of up to 30 tonnes. Coupled to
an air compressor, pneumatic jacks there are two main types:

With air cushions. Generally, they come with two or
three cushions. Load capacity is around 2-3 tonnes. Whether you opt for a fixed
version or one on a wheeled chassis, they are practical and easy to use and can
reach an impressive lifting height.

Hydropneumatic / oleopneumatic. With these, compressed air pressurises a hydraulic fluid to activate a cylinder. Akin to a trolley jack, in shape, they enable lifting capacities of up to 30 tonnes. And with an already significant lifting height capability, you can even increase this by way of extensions. This first-rate jack comes with many safety features.

3. Finally, some Important notes

As a guide, when considering the saddle diameter, the bigger
the diameter, the safer the lift will be.

The jacking height refers to how high you need to be able to
raise your vehicle/s.

Low profile trolley jacks are engineered for use on vehicles
with lower than average ground clearance. They are necessary for many types of
sports cars.

An aluminium chassis is lighter in weight than a steel one.
These are vital for racing jacks and for anyone needing maximum manoeuvrability. 

High lift jacks are for anyone needing a greater lifting
range for more specialist lifting applications and greater flexibility. Long
reach jacks are for vehicles with arduous to negotiate or deeper jacking points
than your average car.

A rocket lift feature is a mechanism that enables the
speediest of lifts, using the least amount of effort. 

The job of a trolley jack – or any other type of hydraulic jack, for that matter – is to lift a vehicle only. It is not for keeping a vehicle there for a sustained period. For this you will need to use good quality supports, such as axle stands so you can be sure you’ll be safe. Under no circumstances should you or anyone else work beneath a vehicle that is supported by a trolley jack alone. If you would like to purchase your trolley jack and stand together, we can help. We offer some extraordinary deals on trolley jack and stand packages.

For more information contact us or ask a van rep.