Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for best electric car jacks

An electric car jack provides effortless power when you need it most: when you’re stranded on the roadside with a flat and you want to change that tire fast. Simply plug the tool into your vehicle’s power socket/cigarette lighter, and you’ve got automatic lifting at the touch of a button.

That’s not all. The best electric car jacks come with a host of additional tools to make the task even easier.

We’ve been looking at things such as lifting capability, kit components, and safe use. Our top picks satisfy a range of price and performance demands for those who are ready to buy. In the following review, we provide a comprehensive guide covering all the important considerations in detail.

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Owners of pickups, SUVs or off-road vehicles need to check that the electric jack they’re considering provides sufficient lift height.

How an electric car jack works

These are really quite basic devices, which is good, because simplicity equals reliability. They’re based on either a mechanical scissor jack (the kind often supplied with your vehicle) or a manual hydraulic bottle jack, which is normally pumped up with a long bar.

In the case of a powered version, a 12-volt DC motor either winds the scissor jack’s main screw or pumps the bottle jack. The required electricity comes from the vehicle’s battery, usually via the internal power socket, though some jacks are also supplied with crocodile clips for attaching directly to the battery, if preferred.

Note: During our research we found some confusion (even among reviewers) between these devices and electric tongue jacks, which are used for raising and lowering a trailer or camper when attaching or removing it from a tow hook. What we’re looking at here are electric car jacks designed primarily for lifting your vehicle to change a wheel.

Key considerations

The two most important things you need to look for in an electric car jack are weight rating and minimum and maximum lift height.

Weight ratings run from around 2,000 pounds right up to 11,000 pounds. Some people advise that an electric car jack will raise more than its stated maximum, but we strongly advise against that approach. You would just be guessing, and that’s not really safe. Always choose a jack that comfortably lifts in excess of the weight of your vehicle.

Many people don’t know how much their vehicle weighs (why would you?) but it’s important to find out before choosing an electric jack. The information will be in your owner’s manual and should also be on a sticker or plate on the driver’s side door frame. You want the curb weight, not the gross vehicle weight (which is the maximum with passengers and luggage).

Minimum lift height is only really a consideration for low-slung sports car owners, as you’ll need to be sure that there’s enough clearance to get the jack in place under the vehicle. Most are between five and six inches, though heavy-duty models can be eight inches.

Maximum lift height will be worth checking if you have an SUV or off-road vehicle, which can sometimes have a very high clearance between the chassis and the ground. You’ll want to be sure the jack can lift the vehicle high enough to raise the tire off the ground for  removal. In general, the maximum lift height of electric car jacks is between 14 and 18 inches, though a few reach 20 inches.

It’s important to understand that these devices aren’t super fast. That’s actually a good thing, because it gives you plenty of time to make adjustments if necessary, or stop if you think things aren’t safe. They will still raise your vehicle to the required height in just a minute or two, which is probably as fast as you could do it manually, but without the physical effort.

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Did you know?
Not all tons are the same! A US ton is 2,000 pounds. A UK ton is 2,240 pounds, a European tonne is 2,204 pounds. However, pounds don’t change, so use those comparing weight ratings.

Electric car jack kits

You can buy an electric car jack on its own, but you’ll still need a lug wrench to remove and reinstall the lug nuts that attach the wheel to the vehicle and perhaps a tire pump for instances when a tire may simply be low on pressure but not punctured and doesn’t require removal. So why not take advantage of the electrical power on offer and buy a kit which includes powered versions of both of these?

Scissor versus bottle: On bottle-type jacks, the tire-inflator pump is often built into the jack unit (and the unit may also include a flashlight). This makes for a more compact device. In scissor jack kits, the tire pump and flashlight will be separate. You may want to check the output of the tire pump, but it’s safe to say they’re acceptable as an emergency device, rather than providing the rapid inflation you get from a compressor.

Wrench: In either case, the impact wrench will be an individual tool. Usually these come with two sockets, which fit just about every wheel nut around, but check them against your lug nuts before you’re in an emergency situation.

Saddle: The saddle is the piece that rests against the vehicle’s frame. On some jacks you get two, low and high, for sedans or SUVs.

Power cable: Power cable length is usually around 11 or 12 feet, which is plenty for the jack and will normally reach all around your vehicle if a pump or impact wrench are included. A popular extra is a cable extension so you can use these items further from the vehicle. They are available up to 25 feet long.

Operational switches: There are usually two switches, one on/off, the other up/down. They are often on the body of the jack or will be incorporated in the power cable. Some models include a wireless remote, which allows you to stay clear of the vehicle while operating the jack.

Safety features: There should be safety features that prevent the jack from extending beyond its maximum height or from dropping down if power drops out for any reason. Some have a cut-out switch that will detect if the maximum load rating has been exceeded. A manual valve release can be operated if the jack gets stuck in the up position. A few of the scissor-type jacks have manual winding handles in case of complete power failure.

Storage case: All the electric car jacks we looked at come with a case, so it’s easy to keep things neat and tidy. Bear in mind that in order to accommodate all the components that are provided in some kits, these cases can be quite large – particularly scissor jack units, where pump, impact wrench and flashlight are all separate items. That won’t bother some people, but many modern compact vehicles have limited trunk space, so it’s worth thinking about.

Additional items:  Things you might find included in an electric car jack kit are:

  • Safety tools for cutting seat belts or breaking glass
  • Tow rope
  • Spare fuses
  • Screwdriver
  • Cloth gloves
  • Extra tire inflator valves
  • Reflective warning triangle

Electric car jack prices

Inexpensive: The cheapest electric car jacks are the scissor type, with prices starting at around $65. Weight capacities are usually modest, and while they’ll do an adequate job with a small car, they are often criticized for being slow.

Mid-range: Good quality, high-capacity electric scissor jacks start at about $75. If you’re looking at a bottle-type jack, you’ll pay around $100. From here up to around $150, you’ll find a huge assortment of kits with all the extras mentioned above.

Expensive: In the price range of $200 to $250, it's less about additional features — these models should come with all the extras mentioned above — and more about power and build quality. If it's highest strength and greatest durability you're after, this is the range for you.


  • Only use a jack on a firm, level surface.
  • Never exceed the stated maximum load rating.
  • Always chock the non-lifted wheels or, at a minimum, turn the wheel to rest against a curb, so if the vehicle does fall off the jack, it can’t roll. Leave it in park or first gear if it’s a stick-shift.
  • Never crawl under a vehicle that is only supported by an electric jack. Use axle stands or other solid supports.
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Some power cords incorporate a remote on/off switch so you can stay well out of the way while the vehicle is being lifted.


Q. Is it safe to unplug the electric jack once the car is lifted?
It should be. Most vehicles only have one internal power socket, so if your kit includes an electric wrench you need to be able to swap between the two. There is a built-in safety feature which allows this. In fact all electric jacks should have this, whether they come with an impact wrench or not. So in the event your car’s electric goes out, like if a fuse blows, the jack will stay up.

Q. Which is better: an electric scissor jack or an electric bottle jack?
There’s little to choose between them, so a lot will depend on the kit contents as to which suits you best. Bottle models often have pump and flashlight in the same unit, and so are more compact — yet they have a larger footprint so are arguably more stable. In general, scissor models are a little cheaper, and some offer a choice of saddle, thus providing greater lift height for SUV owners.

Q. What’s the difference between an electric car jack and a floor jack?
These electric car jacks as well as their manual counterparts are small and portable devices. A floor jack is a larger, wheeled version that you usually see in auto shops. They often have a greater lift height to accommodate a variety of cars, trucks, vans, etc. Although compact models do exist, it’s not usually the kind of thing you’d throw in your trunk.

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