Trying to raise a car with a standard scissor jack isn’t easy. A standard jack can take a long time to lift a vehicle and it isn’t completely stable so it can be dangerous. Handy as a normal jack can be if you get a flat tyre out and about, or if you are planning to work on cars regularly you really need a floor jack.
There are a number of benefits to having a floor jack instead of a scissor jack. Floor jacks lift faster, they are more stable and they have a greater range of movement. Not are they essential for a professional garage but anyone who is going to be regularly maintaining and working on cars should also have a floor jack.
Below you will find our recommendations for the top 3 aluminum floor jacks available now. We have assessed the jacks for weight, lifting capacity, features, and price to decide which we think are the best.
Quick overview chart showing our top choices:
Click the ‘More Details’ buttons above for detailed specifications for each product, or read each of our reviews of each of the top 3 aluminum floor jacks available in 2018.
Our overall winner is the Arcan ALJ3T Aluminum Floor Jack. It’s an impressive product, delivering quality on every front. The Arcan ALJ3T Aluminum Floor Jack regularly gets excellent reviews and in our opinion they are all justified.
Firstly, the Arcan ALJ3T Aluminum Floor Jack is impressively light. If you have been accustomed to struggling to drag your floor jack across your garage, you are going to be thrilled when you find how easy the Arcan is to move. It actually weighs 56 pounds but it seems much less thanks to it’s aluminum construction. The shaft can be removed to make it even lighter. To make it even easier to carry, there is handy handle on the side.
Due to its aluminum construction and clever design, this jack is able to lift 3 tons of weight, while being only 56 pounds. This weight seems like even less, as the shaft is removable, and there is a convenient handle on the side for carrying across the shop. When it comes to lifting the Arcan is no light-weight though – it is capable of lifting 3 tons.
Plenty of thought has been put into the design and functionality of the Arcan ALJ3T Aluminum Floor Jack. You get dual pump pistons so the jack raises and lowers extremely quickly. The Arcan has a great range, going as low as 3.6” and as high as 19.4”. This means it can get under low-profile vehicles such as sports cars. The lift arm is reinforced giving added strength and chassis torsion control. The pistons have dust shields to prevent hydraulic contamination. This jack is also fitted with bypass and overload valves to prevent over-extension of the hydraulic ram.
To make this floor jack more maneuverable it has ball bearing-mounted rear swivel caster wheels and wide track front wheels. Along with the thick frame side plates this makes the jack very stable under a load. A rubber saddle pad protects the vehicle’s frame and components. It also complies with the 2009 ASME PALD Standard.
More DetailsDon’t just take our word for it though – a look at the customer reviews show that the Arcan ALJ3T Aluminum Floor Jack is a very popular floor jack. This product is well tested and well liked, as it has about 250 reviews averaging almost 5 stars. Customers who purchased this jack had things to say such as “This jack is amazing” and “LOVE this jack”.
The final thing in the Arcan’s favour is its price. Not only is it a well-made, feature packed model but is available at a very reasonable price. All these things combine to make it far and away our top recommendation for an aluminum floor jack.
- Extremely light weight
- Good safety features – bypass and overload valves
- Easy to carry with side handles
- 3 ton lifting capacity
- Fast and effortless lift
- No weaknesses, this is an excellent aluminum floor jack
Our second choice is the Powerzone 380044 3 Ton Aluminum and Steel Garage Jack. While similar in many ways to the Arcan there are a few key differences which led to us putting this floor jack in the silver position.
Most significant is the lift range. The Powerzone jack’s range is slightly smaller than the Arcan, going as low as 4” and as high as 18.25”, which is still impressive. Both models can lift 3 tons but the Powerzone makes you work a little bit harder.
The Powerzone is slightly smaller than the Arcan but weighs about the same. It’s made from light-weight aluminum with a heavy duty steel lift arm for strength and durability. A padded rubber saddle protects your vehicle’s frame and the handle is covered with foam to protect your hands. You get a quick lifting hydraulic system to speedily lift your car and a safety valve to prevent you overloading the floor jack beyond its rated capacity. When you are finished this floor jack lowers your vehicle equally speedily.
More DetailsThe rear wheels swivel which helps to make the jack maneuverable and easy to position on rough surfaces. The handle can be dismantled into two bits, handy for close quarters and storage.
All in all, the Powerzone is an excellent floor jack. It is well designed and robust and will make any home mechanic’s task much easier.
- Extremely light weight
- Easy to move, very maneuverable
- Easy to carry with side handles
- 3 ton lifting capacity
- Smaller than the Arcan
- Smaller lift range compared to the Arcan
Our final recommendation is the PITTSBURGH Aluminum Racing Jack. Since not everyone needs to lift a 3 ton vehicle, we thought it would be good to include a smaller floor jack.
While of a similar quality to the two floor jacks above, the Pittsburgh has smaller specification. It is capable of only lifting half the weight of our other choices but this also makes it lighter and smaller. To be precise it weighs 40 pounds and it is 23” x 10” x 7”. All of which obviously also makes it much cheaper!
So what do you get? Surprisingly you get most of the features of the more heavy duty models. Designed similar to their more expensive models that are used by professional race teams, the Pittsburgh is solidly built out of precision-machined, high strength, aircraft aluminum and steel. If you are curious as to which bits are which metal, we are reliably informed that the blue bits are aluminum and the silver are steel. Either way, it is a solidly constructed floor jack!
The Pittsburgh’s lifting range is more than respectable. It can go as low as 3.25” and as high as 14.75”. It only takes five pumps of the handle to get it to it’s maximum heights!
More DetailsThe Pittsbugh floor jack has a dual parallel pump system that can lift most vehicles to an appropriate work height in just 3-1/2 pumps. A universal joint release mechanism provides precision control of load descent in any handle position. Speaking of the handle, it is made of knurled aluminum, it is covered with foam so it doesn’t damage your vehicle’s finish and it comes apart by way of a thumb screw to make two pieces.
Overall, if you don’t have a heavy vehicle then this is an ideal floor jack. Compact and easy to transport if will still do all the heavy lifting for you and that it why it is our third recommendation
- Lightest floor jack
- Aircraft grade aluminum
- Extremely quick to use – only 3.5 pumps to max lift height
- Great for professional racing teams
- Lowest price
- Only 1.5 ton lifting capacity
Aluminum floot Jack accessories that will make your life easier
If you are going to use a floor jack, you may as get a Jack Pad. This little accessory sits between the jack and the truck and provides a larger area to grip the jacking points and also provides the vehicle’s frame some protection from damage. So added safety and peace of mind that you are not going to cause any damage.
Cheap to buy and you can often get them for a couple of $’s, as add-on products, if you are picking up a new floor Jack.
Wheel chocks are simple but effective and should be part of every mechanics toolset. By pushing these tight against the wheels of your truck or SUV prior to jacking it up, you will prevent your vehicle from moving, which means you maintain a stable connection to the underside of your truck and keep yourself safe at the same time.
They are cheap and a must have for any garage, personally we use this brand which you can get delivered tomorrow over on Amazon.
If you are tired of crawling under cars and getting wet and dirty, make your life easier by using a Mechanics Creeper. We particularly like the ATD 81051 Plastic Blow Molded Creeper as it has six wheels which means it does not flex or wobble, is low profile, so it fits under most vehicles easily and can accommodate a 265 pound, 6.5 foot man comfortably.
There are more expensive options available, but this is perfect for most commercial and home garages.
Why an aluminum floor Jack?
OK, so you have made the sensible decision to treat yourself to a floor jack instead of getting by with a standard scissor jack. But why would you get an aluminum floor jack when you could get a steel one?
Aluminum vs. Steel
The major reason to choose aluminum is that is much, much lighter. When you stop to think about how you will use your floor jack, being able to maneuver it around your workshop without breaking your back is a major advantage. Also, being able to put it into your trunk or trailer to transport it without needing to sit down for a while afterwards is also a good thing!
The downside to aluminum is that it is not as durable as steel and they tend to be a bit more expensive. However, the aluminum floor jacks are still extremely resilient and head-wearing. The actual metal pieces of a jack are not the parts that tend to break. Instead, it’s the little things like seals and castors that wear out and they are the same on both steel and aluminum models. The main deciding factor is how you are going to use your floor jack and in most cases being able to lift and move the jack easily is more essential than it metal lasting a few more years, which is why we would recommend aluminum over steel.
How to Repair your Floor Jack
Floor Jacks are pretty simple tools and although they are fairly robust, over time, they may need some maintenance, like most of your garage tools. But don’t worry, one of the best things about garage jacks is that they are simple to repair and maintain. Take a look at the video below which shows you how to fix common issues and save yourself a couple hundred $’s with 10 minutes effort.
How To Use A Floor Jack
Floor jacks are simple, straight-forward tools to use. However, as always common sense safety measures are needed. After all, you are hoisting a heavy lump of metal into the air! To help, here a some safety tips:
- First of all, make sure your car is completely turned off and the parking brake is on (and it is in park if you are using an automatic). You don’t want it to move when you are partway through lifting it.
- You have to have your vehicle on a flat surface. If you are using a jack on an angle it could slide off the saddle with disastrous results.
- Don’t work under your vehicle with it just on the jack. Always use jack stands. They are cheap and they mean there is no danger of you getting squished if for any reason the jack starts going down.
So how do you actually use a floor jack? Your jack should come with instructions but to help you out we will go over the basics:
- Start in one of the corners of your vehicle and center the floor jack under the frame.
- Start slowly pumping the handle until it makes contact with the frame. Take a moment to make sure it is correctly aligned and that the saddle padding is in the right place to protect your car.
- Continue pumping the handle to the height you require.
- Slide a jack stand underneath and slowly lower the corner until the frame is resting on the stand. Check it is in the right place.
- Finish lowering the jack, then move it to the next corner and repeat until all four of your vehicle’s wheels are off the ground. Now you can safely work on your car.
As long as you are sensible, take your time and check that everything is in the correct place, using a floor jack to lift a car is a simple straight forward process.
How to Jack Up your Truck, SUV or Car, the right way
Modern vehicles require you to be a little more careful when jacking up your ride, otherwise you could end up damaging your body work or breaking a weld. Follow this simple video guide to ensure you not only get the job done, but remain safe whilst at the same time.