If you’re a hot rodder at heart or simply prefer not to pay for vehicle work that can be done yourself, having the right equipment is a necessity. But, if your chosen ride has a lower height, getting a jack underneath for oil changes, brake jobs, or routine maintenance can exhaust you—pun intended.
Equipping your mechanic’s tool set with the best low profile floor jack can make the job much easier. Instead of driving a vehicle up on blocks or using a slow scissor jack, a low profile floor jack can slide underneath the vehicle and lift your pride and joy off the ground in no time.
Keep reading to learn about many of the features to consider when searching for the perfect low profile floor jack, and check out some of the best options on the market, below.
- BEST OVERALL: Liftmaster Heavy Duty Ultra Low Profile Floor Jack
- RUNNER-UP: Arcan 2 Ton Low Profile Quick Rise Steel Floor Jack
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Pro-Lift 2 Ton Low Profile Floor Jack
- BEST HEAVY-DUTY: JEGS Professional 3-Ton Low-Profile Floor Jack
- BEST EXTRA-LONG REACH: Pittsburgh Automotive 3 Ton Ultra Low Floor Jack
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Low Profile Floor Jack
If your car means a lot to you, you may not want to lift it up with just any floor jack. After all, outfitting a garage workshop with the right tools matters. Before shopping for the best low profile floor jack, there are some important points to know about these handy tools. The following are some of the most essential aspects of a great low profile floor jack.
Manual vs. Electric
When it comes to tools that jack up a vehicle, there are two types: manual and electric.
- Manual jacks come in a variety of styles, but when focusing on floor jacks, these jacks use hydraulic pressure to lift a vehicle. Floor jacks have long arms and wheels that slide under a vehicle and a long handle that pivots up and down. As the user lifts and lowers the handle, hydraulic fluid pumps through the system, lifting the arm until it lifts the vehicle off the ground.
- Electric jacks are typically scissor-style, which operate by turning a large screw and pulling two-hinged joints together, pushing the lifting platform up to lift the vehicle. By their design, these jacks can’t be low profile. Even the shortest scissor jacks are more than 5 inches tall, which is too tall for most low profile vehicles.
So, if it’s an electric jack, it won’t be low profile; a manual model is the way to go.
Depending on the model chosen, a low profile floor jack can lift between 2,000 and 8,000 pounds. For that reason, it’s important that they’re made with high-quality materials; strength and durability are key.
The majority of floor jacks feature steel construction. While steel makes these jacks very heavy (often as much as 100 pounds), it also makes them incredibly strong. If lifting an extremely heavy vehicle, it might be best to go with steel. While they might rust a bit over time, a bit of regular maintenance and lubricant in the pivot points after each use will help.
On the other hand, aluminum floor jacks are lightweight (sometimes as light as 40 or 50 pounds) and more than capable of lifting most vehicles. These jacks are easy to roll around, won’t rust, and are more than sturdy enough to lift the front of a vehicle off the ground without an issue.
The lifting arm is arguably the most important part of a low profile floor jack. While vehicles with ample ride heights don’t require a specially designed jack, lower vehicles—like performance and modified cars—need something that can reach the vehicle’s jacking point without damaging the body. The design of the lifting arm is an important factor.
Standard floor jack arms simply slope down to the lifting point, while most low profile floor jack arms curve sharply to create more clearance while sliding underneath the vehicle. This allows the lifting point of the jack to reach the jacking point of the vehicle without crushing side skirts or causing body damage.
The entire point of a low profile floor jack is to offer a bottom height low enough to get underneath a lower vehicle while still providing enough maximum height to lift the vehicle off the ground. In other words, an operational lifting range is essential.
Many of the best low profile floor jacks have bottom heights as low as 3 or 3.5 inches, allowing them to scoop even lowered vehicles up off the ground. But the top of the range for any type of jack must be more than 13 or 14 inches to ensure that it’s capable of lifting the vehicle high enough to place a jack stand under for safety.
The lifting point of a floor jack is also known as the saddle, and its size could be a consideration. Smaller saddle sizes concentrate more pressure on a smaller area, which can cave the jacking points on older vehicles. Also, a small saddle (just 1 inch or 2 across) can be harder to position on a large suspension component, such as an A-arm or ball joint.
At the same time, larger saddles (as much as 3 or 4 inches wide) can be cumbersome to maneuver around the brake lines, fuel lines, and other exposed components of a compact vehicle. Users will need to be careful with these larger saddles, but following manufacturer recommendations for jacking points will usually solve the issue.
The best low profile floor jacks need to be compact enough to sneak under a vehicle but also have enough power to lift it off the ground. Considering the average compact car weighs just under 3,000 pounds, a 2-ton lift will usually be more than enough to lift the front, back, or side of a vehicle without issue.
With that said, certain muscle cars and lowered performance SUVs can weigh between 4,000 and 6,500 pounds, which means a 3.5- or 4-ton jack is necessary to lift them safely. While it’s really a matter of the type of vehicle that’s being lifted, it’s safest to use more jack than is needed rather than to use a jack at the top of its capacity.
Handles and Rollers
The handle of a floor jack is what a user will use to pump the hydraulic fluid into the lifting mechanism to raise the vehicle. The longer the handle, the easier it is to pump up the system. These handles are also helpful for pulling larger floor jacks around, so it’s a good idea to find one with a knurled grip for a sure grasp. A pair of mechanics gloves can help as well.
Floor jacks are heavy, and the loads they carry are even heavier. For this reason, pneumatic or rubber wheels just won’t do. Instead, heavy-duty steel, nylon, and polyethylene wheels are usually best. They can handle the weight of a lifted vehicle while still rolling relatively smoothly across a garage floor.
One point to keep in mind: Floor jacks aren’t incredibly easy to maneuver, steer, or roll, so there’s a good chance new users might find them frustrating. That’s just the nature of these tools. Their main job is to get under the vehicle and lift, not do perfect figure eights on the garage floor.
Our Top Picks
With knowledge on some of the most important points about the best low profile floor jacks, choosing the ideal model becomes less daunting. The following list consists of some of the best low profile floor jacks on the market, with the aim to make shopping even easier. Be sure to keep the top considerations in mind while comparing these low profile floor jacks.
Drivers of modified and muscle cars looking for a way to lift their very low vehicle may want to check out Liftmaster’s 3-Ton Heavy Duty Ultra Low Profile Jack. This floor jack features all-steel construction for strength and durability as well as a dual pump system for lifting 3 tons of weight with ease.
The Liftmaster has a lowered height of 3 inches and a top height of 20 inches, allowing users to lift very low vehicles while also lifting the control arms of SUVs and trucks for brake work or tire rotations. Also, the long steel handle features knurled grips and a rubber bumper for better maneuverability without damaging body panels.
Those looking for a sturdy and reliable floor jack without the heavy-duty lifting power of an industrial model may want to give Arcan’s 2-Ton Low Profile Quick Rise Steel Floor Jack a look. This low profile floor jack has a lowered height of 3.5 inches and a top height of 18.5 inches, which is low enough for most low vehicles but high enough for many SUVs and trucks.
This floor jack features a long handle with knurled grips as well as a dual-piston pump system for easy lifting. Also, the large saddle makes distributing the vehicle’s weight much easier. The sharply sloped lifting arm is able to get under most vehicles while staying clear of fenders, bumpers, and side skirts.
When owning a floor jack is about saving money on vehicle maintenance, a budget-friendly floor jack like Pro-Lift’s F-767 just makes sense. This low profile floor jack features an all-steel construction for durability and 2-ton lifting capacity suitable for compact and midsize cars, all without a massive price tag.
This low profile floor jack features a lowered height of 3.5 inches and a raised height of 14 inches, which is enough for most cars. While it has a shorter pumping handle, this jack’s compact design allows the user to position it using the top-mounted handle with ease.
Keep in mind, with smaller jacks come smaller saddles that can focus too much pressure on one small area of the vehicle’s body, which could be a concern for unibody vehicles. Using the manufacturer’s jacking points will help minimize the risk of damage.
When the job’s heavy but the floor jack can’t be, JEGS Professional 3-Ton Low-Profile Aluminum Floor Jack might be the go-to tool. This floor jack features a 3-ton lifting capacity with aluminum construction, meaning it’s got heavy weight lifting power without being a heavyweight itself.
This low profile floor jack features a minimum height of 3.5 inches, allowing it to scoop up most lower vehicles with plenty of clearance. At the top of its range, the saddle sits at 19.25 inches, offering the ability to lift cars, SUVs, and trucks with one tool.
The long handle features knurled grips for sure handling and a foam rubber bumper for avoiding body damage. Also, the saddle has a 360-degree swivel, allowing users to find the jacking point and position the floor jack before lifting the vehicle off the ground.
Getting to the jacking points on some larger, lowered cars can be difficult with a compact floor jack. With its long reach and 3-inch minimum height, Pittsburgh Automotive’s 3-Ton Heavy Duty Ultra Low Floor Jack makes getting to those points a breeze. And the lifting arm’s shape offers plenty of clearance for body panels or suspension parts.
This low-profile floor jack features a long handle with knurled grips as well as a dual-piston design to make light work out of heavy lifting. The all-steel construction makes it incredibly durable, right down to the oversize steel wheels. The saddle also pivots, allowing the user to get this jack in the ideal position before lifting the vehicle off the ground.
FAQs About Low Profile Floor Jacks
Now that you know a bit more about the best low profile floor jacks, some additional questions might’ve popped up. The following is a collection of some of the most frequently asked questions about low profile floor jacks. Be sure to check for an answer to your question listed below.
Q. What is the difference between a floor jack and a trolley jack?
While some may claim that there are differences between floor and trolley jacks, there really aren’t. They’re essentially the same tool under a different name.
Q. How do you jack up a low profile car?
Jacking up a low profile car involves a few steps:
- Ensure the emergency brake is engaged and working, or use wheel chocks to keep the vehicle from rolling.
- Slide the low profile floor jack underneath the vehicle and place the saddle under the jacking point.
- Pump the jack handle until the saddle is touching the jacking point, and then position the jack where it’s comfortable to use but out of the way while working.
- Standing beside the vehicle, pump the handle until the vehicle is up off the ground to a sufficient height.
- Be sure to lift the jacking handle back into the upright position to avoid tripping and accidentally adjusting the jack while it’s engaged.
- Place jack stands under the vehicle to ensure it can’t fall while you’re working on it.
Q. What is the proper placement on a car for a floor jack?
The manufacturer’s manual will have the jacking points clearly listed, but you can also jack from the control arms by each wheel or anywhere they’re a structural frame member. Be sure not to crush any wiring, brake line, fuel lines, or other components with the saddle.