Choosing and buying a really good jack today is an extremely difficult task. Especially if you look at budget and mid-priced options. It is important not to miscalculate with the design, and with the dimensions, and with the load capacity. And for a good jack, parameters such as safety, convenience, ease of use are important. The quality of materials is also not in the last place, since the vast majority of inexpensive models are made of plasticine and foil.
Contenders for the title of a good jack
To begin with, let's briefly consider the 4 most common designs that can be seen in the arsenal of ordinary motorists. We won’t touch on options for heavy SUVs and service stations, since it’s all expensive, cumbersome and cars don’t need anything. Next, we will run the proposed 4 designs through 10 signs of a good jack, which should help you with its choice.
We will consider the following jacks:
- Screw triangular.
- Screw diamond-shaped.
- Hydraulic bottle.
- Hydraulic rolling.
We can immediately say that in accordance with this list, the cost of models also increases. That is, triangular screw ones are the cheapest, while even a simple and dubious quality rolling hydraulic one costs at least four times more. This is said right away because the prices in this article are not used as a criterion or sign of a good jack. It is clear and so - the more expensive the model among those similar in design, the better (although not always).
Screw triangular jack - structurally, this option is the simplest. Reminds me of an ostrich's leg. It consists of a screw and two power elements, which together form a triangle. Hence the name. In addition to low cost, the design is extremely compact. As for whether these are good jacks, it is said further.
Screw diamond-shaped jack - structurally a little more complicated than a triangular one. It already consists of four power elements and a screw. Extremely popular among domestic motorists due to attractive prices. Also compact. Is it good? We'll figure it out later.
The hydraulic bottle jack is a classic of a bygone era, which is gradually being replaced by more successful designs. It looks like nothing more than a bottle, which is why it got its name among motorists. Simple models are inexpensive today. Approximately on a par with diamond-shaped. It does not differ in compactness, and also has a whole bunch of other shortcomings. including dangerous ones. Nevertheless, they are bought, and some consider them the best jacks. We'll see…
Hydraulic rolling jack - structurally consists of a "trolley" on wheels, on which the lifting mechanism is mounted. The first thing you will encounter when aiming to purchase this option is high prices. At least when compared with all previous contenders. However, rolling jacks gained popularity very quickly and, most likely, will soon crowd out all other structures. When the price drops a little. And this is inevitable.
10 signs of a good jack
Next, we will look for a good jack as follows. First, let's look briefly, and then in a little more detail, the signs of such. Then let's go through the aforementioned applicants in terms of these criteria.
10 signs of a good jack:
- Successful design.
- Sufficient load capacity.
- Correct sole.
- Suitable stop.
- Lift height.
- lift height.
- Ease of lifting.
- Descent and ascent time.
- Fall resistant.
To understand how to focus on all these signs, let's get to know them better.
Sign 1. Successful design
A well-designed jack can do more than just lift a car. It is also comfortable, safe, does not tend to collapse every time. How easily and quickly you can jack up your car also depends on the design. Unfortunately, not all of our applicants can boast of this feature. Moreover, the ideal design has not yet been invented, since absolutely all jacks that exist today have drawbacks associated with the imperfection of the device.
Sign 2. Sufficient load capacity
If you can somehow lift your car once to change a wheel, this does not mean that you have chosen a good jack. Firstly, it may not have the declared carrying capacity in principle. But you paid money for it, because the more tons are written on the model, the more expensive it is. Secondly, due to the fact that inexpensive jacks are completely made of plasticine and foil, after a couple of uses, the thread flies off, the handle breaks, and the power elements bend.
With the carrying capacity of modern jacks, in general, everything is difficult. It is written, it seems, that it is designed for 2 tons. You buy it, you try to lift the car to change a wheel. And he takes it, and the thread is licked off. But wait a second! You lifted far from 2 tons. To jack up one wheel of a standard passenger car, a force of about 400 kilograms is required. And also it is worth remembering that it was not so easy to lift. What are 2 tons here?
There is only one way to explain such a discrepancy with the declared characteristics. On all modern car jacks, the so-called relative load capacity is indicated. That is, if it is written that the model is 2 tons, then this one can be taken for a car that weighs no more. Although, in fact, a two-ton jack is not a two-ton one. The maximum that he can lift is no more than half a ton. And even then, depending on the design, not everyone has the strength to twist or press it.
Obviously, the only sure way to choose a good jack on this basis is to buy a model with a small margin in terms of load capacity. That is, if you have a classic one and a half ton sedan, do not consider options for 2 tons at all. Most likely, it will not be easy for them to work, and it will break after several uses. At least a three-ton jack is considered optimal for such cases. For other situations, multiply the weight of your car by one and a half, round the resulting figure up, and focus on this tonnage.
Sign 3. Correct "sole"
The sole of the jack is the part with which it stands on the surface under the car. An extremely important detail on which the safety of the user depends. The first sign of a good jack sole is the thickness of the metal from which it is made. If it is less than 4 millimeters, then this is a bad option. Moreover, it is life-threatening. The second sign is how the manufacturer made sure that the jack did not slip while lifting the car. Accordingly, if the sole is smooth, it is bad. Corrugated or with cloves - excellent.
The only type of jacks for which this sign looks a little different is hydraulic rolling jacks. They have a fairly large area of support, and in most cases they are generally placed on small wheels. Accordingly, when choosing, pay attention to these very wheels. Do they inspire confidence? And what happens if the car has to be lifted not on a hard surface, but somewhere on the side of the road? That is, on grass or rain-soaked soil.
Sign 4. Suitable stop
The emphasis on the jack is the part with which it contacts directly with the car. The shape of this part determines whether you will be able to jack up your car at all. For some models, the stop is semicircular, and resting it on a flat beam is not very safe. Also, some jacks suffer from excessively large heads, which by no means fit the entire surface where you want.
A suitable stop is one that has room to rest on all four sides under your vehicle. However, he should not try to slip, even if the jack itself is slightly tilted. If you are considering buying a structure in the form of a triangle, make sure that the stop can generally “reach out” to the right points, and the screw, at the same time, will not “gnaw” the threshold of your car.
Sign 5. Height before lifting
The height before lifting is the size of the jack in the folded state. In practice, this feature is important, by and large, only for bottle models. The remaining three configurations are usually folded so that they can be slipped under any car. When choosing a bottle jack according to this criterion, keep in mind that sometimes it will not be necessary to install it on the most even surface and, most importantly, with a flat tire. These two factors reduce the available clearance by several centimeters, which means that if you choose the wrong one, you will have to dig a hole under the car.
Sign 6. lifting height
The minimum task of any jack is to raise the car so that the desired wheel is off the ground. In order for him to cope with it, the maximum lifting height should be enough to:
- Run an empty path until contact with the body.
- Overcome the distance that the suspension spring will work.
- After removing the punctured wheel, you were able to put on an inflated one, which means a larger diameter.
It is quite difficult to determine the maximum lifting height of the jack, since it is impossible to predict all possible situations in advance. The only accurate way to measure the right size is to jack up each side of the car one by one, measuring the distance from the ground to the stop point with a tape measure. Again, keep in mind that there will not always be a flat and hard surface under the car.
It is not worth choosing a jack with the expectation that in which case you will put plywood, boards, bricks and other improvised materials under its sole. This kind of increase in the height of the lifting tool very often ends sadly. Remember once and for all: what is under the sole, what is under the emphasis - you can’t put anything! Sooner or later, it will crush so that mom does not grieve.
Sign 7. Ergonomics
A good jack should be comfortable. Not all models can boast of this feature. Screws are often not very convenient to use during the initial ascent. That is, when the handle to be rotated is close to the ground. To partially solve this design flaw, the levers are made two-piece or curved.
As for all hydraulic jacks, they do not have this problem. But there is another. To make lifting the car easier, the lever is made longer. And because of this, it is not always convenient (or even possible) to work in cramped garage conditions. However, in more advanced and expensive models, this drawback has been resolved. The lever is made swivel, and you can “swing” it at any convenient angle. Cheap models do not have such a function, and you should pay attention to this when choosing.
Sign 8. Ease of lifting
On this basis, a good jack can be considered one that any representative of the fair sex can handle. Unfortunately, some proposals are so undeveloped in this regard that it is not possible to lift the car with them even for those who can tighten nuts by 36 with their bare hands.
As a rule, hydraulic jacks are the best for this feature. They are much easier to work with than screw ones. Therefore, if you do not want to sweat and use foul language every time you lift the car, pay attention to this criterion. In fairness, it should be said that many screw jacks are so well thought out that they do not require much effort during operation. It is clear that among the cheap ones there are none.
Sign 9. Ascent and descent time
In fact, this sign of a good jack could not be mentioned at all. But many sellers talk about it, so we'll say a few words. The rise time from one structure to another varies on average from 25 seconds to two minutes. If such a small difference is important to you, below is the fastest jack.
Sign 10. Drop resistance
This is the most important indicator of a good jack, since safety directly depends on it. Naturally, the risk of falling can be partially reduced by correctly setting the stop under the wheel or by taking other measures (transmission, handbrake). But often such security measures are disdained. So it’s better to think in advance about which option is the most stable and which is the most shaky.
Which jack to choose for your car
Now that we know all the main features of a good jack, let's get back to our contenders. Consider them in the light of the knowledge gained. The rest will have to be looked at according to the situation, since some features may change from model to model. Theoretically, all this should help you find the answer to the question - which jack to choose.
- Not the best design. Rather, on the contrary. In many parameters that depend on the design, it is inferior to other options.
- In terms of carrying capacity, you should always look for a double, or even a triple margin. Due to not the most successful design, both the power elements and the screw experience extremely high loads, which tend to bend the first and break the threads of the second.
- The sole of such jacks is usually floating and does not look very impressive. However, when used correctly, it shows itself from the good side.
- The stops, due to the same design, are almost always semicircular. Or floating. Mistakes neither one nor the other do not forgive.
- The height to lift is always minimal, and then you don’t have to worry, even if you have a very low car.
- The maximum height is also usually quite large. The main thing is that the screw does not rest on the threshold.
- There is no ergonomics here.
- It's hard to lift the car.
- The time of ascent and descent is about a minute.
- In terms of resistance to falls, this is the worst jack. Requires extreme caution and forethought.
- Better design than triangular ones.
- When choosing for carrying capacity, you need to take with a double margin.
- The sole, if not made from a tin can, is usually not bad.
- The emphasis, as a rule, is universal, and does not cause problems.
- The height to lift is very small for almost all models.
- The maximum lift is also easy to find the right one.
- Ergonomics is lame.
- Don't expect easy lifting either.
- By the time of ascent and descent, these are the slowest jacks.
- Drop resistance is average. But without additional precautions, work is not worth it.
- The design is successful 50 to 50, and this will become clear further down the list.
- In terms of carrying capacity, these jacks are one of the most "honest". With a margin, if you take it, then with a small one.
- The sole is often smooth, which is bad. Pay attention when choosing.
- The emphasis is usually in the form of a round patch, which can be “attached” under the car without any problems.
- Height before lifting - in the case of bottle jacks, this is one of the most important characteristics. Choose carefully, bearing in mind that the wheel will not always be inflated, and the ground under the car will not always be flat.
- The maximum lifting height is often difficult to select. Alternatively, you can look towards models with a telescopic stem.
- Ergonomics is average.
- Ease of operation is almost perfect.
- Rise time about a minute. Descent is instant.
- Drop resistance is extremely poor. Cannot be used without stops and other safety measures.
- At the time of writing, the most successful design in almost all respects.
- The carrying capacity is “honest”, but you need to pay attention to the metal from which the power elements are made. Often comes across foil.
- Soles, as such, no. Pay attention to the wheels and the axles on which they are mounted.
- The emphasis due to the design is often floating. Good jacks of this type are equipped with adapters, which is good news.
- The height to lift is minimal if the model is selected without undue enthusiasm.
- The maximum lift height is also usually not a problem.
- In terms of ergonomics, this is by far the best jack.
- The ease of lifting is the same.
- In terms of ascent and descent, this is the fastest option.
- Drop resistance is maximum.
Speaking objectively, no matter how good the jack you choose is, it cannot be cheap. There are decent models among both hydraulic and screw ones. If you don’t look too closely at prices, then definitely the best is a hydraulic rolling jack. In all important respects, both bottle and all types of screw ones are inferior to it. The main thing is not to buy the cheapest one.
VIDEO: how to choose the jack