Jacks: bottle vs. floor vs. trolley -- pros and cons

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Thread: Jacks: bottle vs. floor vs. trolley -- pros and cons

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    Jacks: bottle vs. floor vs. trolley -- pros and cons

    So, I'd like to start doing some basic maintenance and repair myself again. One thing I'll need is some ability to jack up my car to get it on jack stands and there seems to be a lot of options over a lot of prices. We don't have Harbor Freight in Canada, but we do have some similar options (Princess Auto, Canadian Tire). Options range from really cheap trolley jacks (2 ton) at Princess Auto, equally cheap bottle jacks, combo packs (3 ton floor jack, two jackstands, and creeper) for about $120 or dedicated 3 ton floor jacks for 150 and up (in some cases way up).

    I will only be doing work on my own vehicles (a compact car and occasionally a minivan). I may start out with good intentions and find I really don't have the time (in which case, the jack will sit in my garage!), or I might really enjoy it an move on to bigger automotive projects -- I'm kind of testing the waters here.

    Any advice/experience? I know that the cheaper the jack the less reliable, but I don't ever intend to get under the car unless its on jack stands. Is more money basically buying more ease-of-use (less effort, shorter pumping distance)? Or is there a substantial functional difference as well?

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    Re: Jacks: bottle vs. floor vs. trolley -- pros and cons

    I don't like bottle jacks because of the rather small surface area of where it comes intact with whatever you're lifting. They tend to be tippy too and not being able to move freely is somewhat dangerous to me.

    The only bad thing about floor jacks is portability...picking up and carrying a 3 ton jack sucks unless it's aluminum. A 2 ton or smaller is decent enough to keep in the trunk.

    Unless you go aluminum you might as well buy the cheapest jack possible, since I don't work under a car without blocks or stands either
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    Re: Jacks: bottle vs. floor vs. trolley -- pros and cons

    You may want to try your local Costco store as well. At certain times of the year they sell a floor jack and stand combo (sometimes they even have a floor jack as a stand alone item.) The combo can usually be had for about $140 but if you hold out for when it goes on sale it is usually between $100 and $110.

    They have a floor jack available on their website at $125

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    Re: Jacks: bottle vs. floor vs. trolley -- pros and cons

    I like the 3-ton floor I bought from Harbor Freight over the WWW, the shipping was really reasonable.. but I picked it up at a US address. I think the whole thing cost me less than a hundred bucks (I want to say $80 but that may have been w/o shipping)

    I have had a couple of 2 ton floor jacks and every one has sucked balls. They are marked "2 ton" but if you actually try to lift roughly 1500 lbs the thing goes to hell and pisses oil everywhere.

    Bottle jacks seem more reliable but for anything involving a car, they are useless.

    That said it depends how much you're going to use it. I end up most of the time just using the scissor jack because it fits nice in the jack point, and then using the stands are easy. But cranking a mechanical jack because of the worm friction takes a lot of work. But hey, we don't get enough exercise anyway.

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