Floor jacks are excellent for raising a vehicle off the ground. They allow access for regular maintenance, repairs, and just general inspection, but they also can be heavy and difficult to maneuver. However, they all don’t need to be that heavy, and the best aluminum floor jacks aren’t.
Made from aluminum, floor jacks can be much lighter, making them an excellent addition to many home workshops. They’re easier to roll around the garage, position under a vehicle, and in some cases, they’re even easier to operate. Keep reading to learn more about these vehicle lifting options, and check out some options for best aluminum floor jack.
- BEST OVERALL: Arcan 3 Ton Heavy Duty Aluminum and Steel Floor Jack
- RUNNER-UP: NOS NSJ0301 3-Ton Aluminum Service Jack
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Torin TAM815016L Hydraulic Aluminum and Steel Jack
- UPGRADE PICK: JEGS Professional Low-Profile 3-Ton Aluminum Jack
- BEST LOW-PROFILE: Arcan 2-Ton Quick Rise Aluminum Floor Jack
- BEST PRO-GRADE: Arcan 3 Ton Professional Grade Service Jack
- ALSO CONSIDER: BIG RED T815016L Torin Hydraulic Aluminum Floor Jack
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Aluminum Floor Jack
Whether it’s an oil change, a tire rotation, or an exhaust repair, you need the right tools for the job. Getting a vehicle up and off the ground can be essential, and an aluminum floor jack may help. However, a lot goes into choosing the right model. The following are some of the most important considerations to keep in mind when selecting the best aluminum floor jack.
While shopping for the best aluminum floor jack, a large portion of the decision will come down to the type of vehicle it’s intended to lift. For example, if it’s a lightweight compact car, an aluminum jack with a 2-ton capacity is almost always more than enough. For midsize vehicles and light-duty SUVs and trucks, an aluminum jack with a 3-ton capacity will do the trick.
For full-size SUVs and heavy-duty trucks, an aluminum jack will probably be fine, but “probably” is not enough assurance for safety reasons. Since most aluminum jacks don’t have the rated lifting capacity of some heavy-duty steel jacks, steel might be a better option if the jack will spend most of its time lifting heavy-duty trucks.
Manual vs. Electric
If you’re shopping for an aluminum floor jack, it may be to save weight. An electric floor jack’s compact size might seem appealing for the same reasons, but there simply aren’t any options.
Electric floor jacks consist of an electric motor, a hydraulic pump, and a steel, piston-style lifting arm, in addition to other things like compressor motors or other accessories. There are so few parts eligible for weight-savings that it doesn’t make sense for a manufacturer to use aluminum to save a few ounces. And, most electric floor jacks have extremely high lifting capacities, which isn’t an atmosphere where aluminum thrives due to its relatively lower strength than steel.
Floor jacks operate by a hydraulic pump forcing a lifting arm upward; that lifting arm’s design and size matter. In fact, because aluminum isn’t always as strong as steel, the best aluminum floor jack’s arms have several points of reinforcement underneath. This allows a lightweight aluminum arm to lift as much as a steel jack and provide as much stability, without the heft of steel.
Also, many of the best aluminum floor jacks have long arms that can slide underneath a vehicle and reach its frame or a particular suspension component. Shorter-length arms (under 12 inches or so) can’t reach these points as easily, restricting much of their use to the jacking points on the perimeter of the vehicle.
Vehicles vary in height considerably. A sport compact might be extremely low to the ground, while an SUV might have a lot of ground clearance. When purchasing an aluminum floor jack, these ranges must be taken into account.
Most low-profile floor jacks, aluminum or otherwise, offer a bottom height between 3 and 3.75 inches. This height allows them to scoot under a vehicle easily. But, thanks to their design, many of these jacks have a top range of 18 or 19 inches, allowing them to lift a small car just as easily as a vehicle with lots of ground clearance.
The part of a floor jack that makes contact with the lifting point in the vehicle is the saddle, and its size is a consideration. The larger the saddle, the better the weight distribution while lifting. But, while bigger is almost always better, it can be difficult to put these large saddles in tight places for suspension repairs. Note, saddle size is usually consistent with lifting capacity.
Three-ton floor jacks will have larger saddles, usually in the 3-inch range, while smaller 1.5- and 2-ton jacks will have smaller saddles (around 2 inches). But keep in mind that there are no hard-and-fast rules on saddle size.
Floor jacks have ratings described as tons. The common sizes are 2-, 3-, and 4-ton, with aluminum floor jacks rarely exceeding 3 tons. Even if a 6,000-pound vehicle needs to be lifted, a 3-ton floor jack is never lifting all that weight.
When a floor jack lifts a vehicle, it’s only lifting a fraction of the vehicle’s entire weight. Remember, these tools lift only a corner at a time. At most, a jack will lift roughly half the weight of the car, but it’s usually closer to one-quarter or one-third of the total weight.
However, it is best to choose a jack with a weight capacity to handle a vehicle’s weight. With most cars weighing between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds, and most SUVs and light trucks between 4,500 and 6,000 pounds, a 3-ton jack will usually get the job done.
Handles and Rollers
Though aluminum floor jacks are much lighter than steel models (sometimes 30 or 40 pounds lighter), they aren’t necessarily lightweight. Most weigh between 50 and 60 pounds, so their handles and rollers become extremely important for portability’s sake.
Handles with knurled or rubber grips make dragging a floor jack across the floor much easier, even with a pair of gloved hands. Also, many handles have foam or rubber pads to keep them from damaging a vehicle if they come in contact with a door or fender.
The best aluminum floor jacks still use steel wheels or rollers for scooting across the ground. These wheels are strong enough to support the weight of a heavy vehicle without bending or flattening, allowing them to stay operational for a long time.
Our Top Picks
There is a lot to consider when choosing the best aluminum floor jack, and it usually involves striking that perfect combination of weight, lifting capacity, range, and maneuverability. To help streamline the process even more, check out the following list of products. This list consists of some of the best aluminum floor jacks on the market, and there’s something for almost any application.
Home mechanics looking for a floor jack that blends the weight savings of aluminum with the strength of steel may want to check out Arcan’s 3-Ton Hybrid Heavy Duty Aluminum and Steel floor jack. Weighing just 58 pounds but providing 3 tons of lift, this floor jack has a steel arm and wheels combined with an aluminum chassis.
This jack has a dual-pump piston that allows users to lift the saddle into place quickly for fast setup. The handle has a knurled section at the end for improved grip as well as a foam bumper pad. The saddle is large and also rubber-lined, improving grip and stability. When lowered, this jack has a minimum height of 4 inches, and at the top of its range, it reaches 18.5 inches. The bright color also is a benefit, as users will be less likely to trip over the jack.
NOS’s NSJ0301 3-Ton Aluminum Service jack doesn’t compromise capability for weight. Instead, this aluminum jack has thick side plates and a reinforced arm for strength while still weighing just 58 pounds. It also has a 3-ton lifting capacity and steel wheels for added strength and stability.
This jack from NOS has a wide, rubber-lined saddle for maintaining a sure, stable surface for lifting vehicles. It also has a rubber pad around the lower portion of the handle to avoid damaging vehicles while jacking. The dual-pump piston quickly and easily lifts the arm from its lowest position of 3.75 inches to a maximum height of just more than 18 inches.
Not every project requires a big, burly, high-dollar jack. For light-duty jobs and mechanics on a budget, Torin’s hydraulic low-profile aluminum and steel floor jack is worth checking out. This floor jack has a 3,000-pound maximum lifting capacity and a range between 3.5 and 14.125 inches, which can work well for compact cars.
Heavy-duty steel wheels and a weight of under 35 pounds make maneuvering the Torin under a vehicle a breeze. It also has a knurled grip and a rubber pad on the handle to prevent vehicle damage. The saddle has a rubber lining as well, allowing for a secure lift.
JEGS Professional Low-Profile 3-Ton Aluminum Floor Jack has a 3.5-inch minimum height, for sneaking under low profile vehicles, and a 19.25-inch maximum height. With its 3-ton capacity, it’s truly a capable upgrade.
The low-profile jack from JEGS has a wide (4.5625-inch) rubber-lined saddle that quickly registers against the vehicle, thanks to the dual-pump lifting piston. The handle has a long knurled grip section and a rubber pad for avoiding dents and scratches in the side of a vehicle. And, weighing under 60 pounds, it’s light enough to maneuver easily while still offering plenty of lifting capacity and range.
When it comes to outfitting a home shop for maintaining a sports car or the family cruiser, Arcan’s 2-Ton Quick Rise Aluminum Floor Jack is worth a look. This low-profile jack has a minimum height of 3.5 inches, allowing it to slide easily under almost any vehicle, and it features a 19.25-inch maximum height for plenty of workable clearance.
The Arcan 2-Ton has a two-stage quick lift pump that allows the user to register the saddle against the vehicle quickly. And, since it weighs just more than 50 pounds, positioning it in place is quick and easy. The handle has a knurled section for grip and a foam bumper to prevent dents and scratches. And while the body is aircraft-grade aluminum, the wheels are sturdy steel.
Home shop mechanics searching for a professional grade lift with consumer-level accessibility may want to give this aluminum and steel jack from Arcan some serious consideration. This jack has a 3-ton capacity and a lifting range between 4 and 18 inches, which is suitable for most home shops.
This jack features a steel arm, steel wheels, and an aluminum body, allowing it to weigh under 60 pounds while still retaining the ability to lift 6,000 pounds, which is an admirable trait that benefits both DIYers and pros. The handle has a knurled section for grip and the wide saddle has a rubber lining to help distribute vehicle weight and avoid damage.
It’s not always necessary to use the biggest and burliest floor jack. For those looking for a simple, easy-to-use jack that won’t break the bank, Big Red’s hydraulic, low-profile aluminum jack might be the way to go. This floor jack has an aluminum body and a steel arm and wheels, so it is very light but still quite capable. With a maximum lift of 1.5 tons, or 3,000 pounds, it’s enough for most small vehicles.
This floor jack has a minimum height of 3.5 inches and a maximum lifting height of 14 inches, giving it the ability to sneak under low cars while still lifting them sufficiently for service. The rubber padded handle has a knurled grip on the end for easy transport. The BIG RED weighs under 35 pounds.
FAQs About Aluminum Floor Jacks
Even with an extensive primer on the best aluminum floor jacks, there might be some additional questions popping up. The following aims to address them. It’s a collection of some of the most frequently asked questions about aluminum floor jacks, so be sure to check for an answer to your question below.
Q. Where do you put a floor jack under a car?
All vehicles are different, so the best way to determine where to put a floor jack is by referring to your owner’s manual. It will point out the exact points that the manufacturer recommends for jacking the vehicle for safety purposes.
Q. How do you jack up a car with a floor jack?
- Place the saddle under the vehicle’s jacking point.
- Pump the handle to lift the saddle to the jacking point.
- Position the jack so it will not be in your way while working.
- Pump the handle until the vehicle reaches a sufficient height.
- Place a jack stand underneath the vehicle to keep it from falling accidentally.
After you jack up the vehicle, be sure to lift the jack’s handle so it is in the upright position; this will prevent you or someone else from tripping over the jack and causing an accident.
Q. How long will my aluminum floor jack last?
It’s not uncommon for floor jacks of all sorts to last more than 10 years. Ensuring that it’s clean and spraying the joints and wheels with a bit of lubricant, like WD-40, after each use will help.