Working on heavy trucks often requires a heavy duty floor jack. Choosing a jack that meets your needs is complicated by the wide range of jacks available. Here is some information that can help you know what to look for when selecting a floor jack:
Key Features of a Floor Jack
There are many features that you should consider when choosing a heavy duty floor jack. At David’s Heavy Duty Tool Sales, we believe lift capacity and clearance to be the two primary features of any jack. Finding a jack that meets your lift capacity and clearance needs is the first step to choosing the right jack for your operation.
A key consideration when purchasing any jack is the lift capacity. An unladen semi-tractor can weigh as much as 25,000 pounds. If your jack fails while lifting such a heavy vehicle, the jack operator and other nearby people could be in danger.
When choosing a heavy duty floor jack, consider the trucks you expect to maintain. It is best to choose a jack rated for the weight you plan to lift. It is better to err on the side of caution. Choosing a jack rated for more weight than you expect to lift may cost more upfront but could prevent injury and expensive damage to the vehicle and nearby equipment.
The other core feature of a floor jack is its clearance. Even the mightiest jack in the world will do you no good if it can’t lift your truck off the ground. The clearance specifications of the trucks you work on will affect your required jack size.
Types of Floor Jack
A jack’s type impacts many of its features. Some designs lend themselves to high lift capacity, while others are better for transport and use in unusual conditions. Understanding the advantages of different jack types can help you know what to look for when choosing a jack.
Standard floor jacks thrive on their portability. Jacks of this type usually feature heavy-duty casters. This makes it easy to adjust the jack’s position to get the lift arm exactly where you need it.
The downside of standard jacks is that they can be unwieldy. Standard jacks are often long and heavy, making them difficult to maneuver in tight spaces. These jacks also require a hard, level surface like a concrete floor or tarmac. Softer surfaces like gravel and dirt can negate the benefit that the jack’s casters provide.
Bottle jacks are more compact than standard jacks. This makes them excellent portable jacks for field repairs and emergency tire replacement. While bottle jacks lack the casters that make standard jacks easy to position, their disadvantage is that they are generally less powerful than standard jacks. This can make it challenging to find a bottle jack with the weight capacity and clearance necessary for work on heavy trucks.
Farm jacks are optimized for lifting heavy loads high off the ground. This makes them ideal for lifting trucks with big wheels and high clearances. While farm jacks are larger than standard jacks, their design makes them easier to transport. A farm jack’s portability and lift capacity make it an excellent emergency jack for vehicles operating in uneven terrain.
The biggest drawback of farm jacks is that they can be more dangerous to use than standard jacks. Farm jacks tend to have a narrow profile and small footprint, making them slightly unstable at times.
Scissor jacks use a screw mechanism to raise the jack saddle. Scissor jacks are lightweight and low-cost, making them a suitable choice as an emergency jack. The drawback is that they often have limited lift height, which makes them unsuitable for high-clearance trucks.
Electric jacks use an electric motor to lift the vehicle. They are easy to use and very compact. Electric jacks can be expensive and less durable than mechanical jacks.
While lift capacity, clearance, and type are the core features of a jack, there are a few other factors to consider. A jack’s weight, durability, ease of use, and safety features are not necessarily key to its function, but they can be the difference between a good and great jack.
Weight and Durability
One thing to consider before choosing a floor jack is the weight and durability of its construction. If you need the jack to be lightweight and easily portable, a jack made with an aluminum body might be the ideal choice. Aluminum is light and strong but lacks the durability of steel. Steel may be the better option if a sturdy and long-lasting jack is a key feature you desire.
Ease of Use
Another key consideration when choosing a jack is its ease of use. While the jack’s design is a significant component, the expected environment should not be overlooked. If your workspace is limited, a smaller and less powerful jack may be better than a larger one.
The final thing to consider when choosing a heavy duty floor jack is its safety features. Mechanisms that prevent overloading or that keep the operator away from the truck may help prevent accidents. Paying extra for these features when buying a jack can help avoid accidents later.
Get Heavy Duty Floor Jacks Today
David’s Heavy Duty Tool Sales carries various floor jacks and related equipment. Whether you need a heavy duty floor jack, jack stands, or other heavy duty tools, we can help. Visit our website to see what we have to offer.