8 Different Types of Jacks and When to Use Them

An in-depth guide on the different types of jacks available. 8 Different Types of Jacks and When to Use Them drivrzone.com

No, we are not talking about the game you used to play when you were a kid.  We are talking about the jacks you would use to lift items or objects in the air.  Most of us are used to the jack that you find in your vehicle, that you would use to boost your car to change the tire.  Did you know that this is not the only type of jack there is?  In this blog, we are going to discuss the different types of car jacks and the others that are available.

Types of Jacks

Many different types of jacks are available. Most are used for vehicles or the servicing of them; however, there are various uses for some.  Here is a list of more of the standard jacks.

Scissor Jacks

The primary jack that is found in the trunk of most cars is the scissor jack.  Instead of hydraulic power, it uses a screw mechanism to produce it’s lifting.  The size and portability of this jack make it optimal for small spaces.

Place underneath the spot to be lifted, use the handle to turn the screw to raise the car, when finished, you will just put the handle in a specific spot and lower the jack.

Floor Jack

A floor jack is the most common form of jack being used in repairs and maintenance.  This is because you can position it into the exact spot you need it to be in due to it consisting of a ground unit on that is on wheels.  This jack uses hydraulics to raise and lower vehicles to allow mechanics to check under the car for any damage or repairs.

The user will use a long handle to pump the hydraulic lift part of the jack, where there is a round disk that makes contact with the vehicle.  Since this jack can be easily maneuvered, it is considered a workhorse in the mechanical world for vehicle repairs.

There is another form of the floor jack that is used by homeowners.  This jack is used to keep walls from coming down or have sagging foundations.  As a preventative measure, it can support floor joists to help prevent your home from sagging.

Bottle Jack

Another hydraulic jack is the bottle jack.  This jack is commonly used in the automotive industry, as well.  The main body is in the shape of a bottle.  This is used as a manual jack, where the user has to use the handle to pump to elevate the lift.  Depending on the bottle jack, some can lift from four to fifty tons of weight.

A barrel jack is a larger model and a more heavy-duty form.

This jack does have flaws, though. Its height is only half that of its extended height, so regular clearance on vehicles would not be a fit for this style.  However, vehicles with a higher clearance, like trucks, will not have a problem.

This jack also does not have disc for buffering your vehicle, so many mechanics will use a block of timber for a buffer between the car and the jack to help cushion the impact on the body of the vehicle.  The jack also does not have the mobility that a floor jack has, so therefore not stable enough on the side of the road, so changing a tire is not ideal.

Pneumatic Jacks

With the help of compressed air, this hydraulic jack is mainly used for servicing buses, heavy-duty machinery, and trucks. This one is sometimes called a telescope jack. It is one that provides fast and easy lifting and is made for very high axles. It operates smoothly and is silent on the floor because of its three handle position options.

Hi-Lift Jack

This particular jack is a vital recovery jack for anyone who loves road adventures.  This jack is used when lifting a vehicle out of mud, changing a flat tire, or just using the winch to free your vehicle.  The hi-lift jack, or as some call it, the farm jack, is rated up to 7,000 pounds and would be able to lift a car up to 5 feet.

These are pretty heavy jacks and would not be something to carry around in a regular vehicle.  This would also be due to its versatility in uses, such as clamping, winching, and pulling for all off-road vehicles.

Strand Jacks

For your heavy construction loads and engineering purposes, this jack is used for lifting these loads.  Skidding operations and heavy lifting procedures are done in bridges, power stations, and other structures are what this lift was made for.

Trolly Jack

The easier and safer jack that can be wheeled around and is a choice jack for many professional mechanics is the trolly jack.  This jack can lift weights from 2-4 tons, and some of them feature a manual braking control.  Some have brakes that lock automatically when the jack is in use.  Since this jack can be used safely on gravel and dirt, this will lift the vehicle higher and be safer, due to not slipping or disengaging unless on a flat, firm surface.

Motorcycle Jack

This particular jack is used for picking up a motorcycle and ATV four-wheelers.  It will hold the back of the vehicle securely so that it may be worked on an elevated height.

Stand Material

What jack stands are made of can make a big difference will make a great deal of difference in the variance that jacks can do and lift.


These will usually be made out of light steel or aluminum.  Those that need to be made more robust will be made out of cast iron or steel.

Fixed Height

This means that they have no moving parts that will fail.  Since they can’t be adjusted, they are not versatile and should only be used in one spot with the same vehicle.

Adjustable Height

This means that the height of the stand can be adjusted.  The most common type is called a tripod and uses a cut-out spot that can be adjusted using an attached ratchet.


These will come with a steel pin that will be put into holes in the stand on the center column that usually comes with a safety pin.

Rotation Stands

This is where the center column must be turned to raise it to the level needed and then turned back to lower it.


Here are some safety tips for you to consider when using a jack and stand.

  • Read the owner’s manual for the recommended lift and the support area located on the vehicle that should be followed.
  • A jack should be used to only support vehicles to hold it in place and lift it off the ground.
  • Never go underneath the vehicle when it is being supported only by a jack.
  • Make sure to block the other tires on the vehicle so that it does not move while lifting.  Wedges and bricks will do nicely in a pinch.
  • Only lift the vehicle on a level surface so that the jack does not falter.
  • The vehicle should be in a park and a parking brake engaged.
  • Give the vehicle a gentle shake when on the stand to make sure that it is securely under the car.

Find the Right Tool for the Job

In the end, when choosing the right type of jack for the job you need, make sure that you discuss it with a mechanic first.  Each jack is rated something entirely different and dependant on the vehicle you may own, will make deciding the proper jack you need for the job.  This could be in your garage or on the go.  No matter what your reason is for needing a jack, having one in case of an emergency on the side of the road could save you some time and money.


  1. Haynes – Understanding the 3 different types of car jacks
  2. ItStillRuns – Types of Car Jacks
  3. Your Mechanic – All about car jacks and stands
  4. Best Floor Jacks – Different Types of Jacks
  5. Metro Hydraulic Jack Co. – Types of Hydraulic Jacks
  6. The Green Book – The most common types of hydraulic jacks and their functionality