Best Car Jack Stands

Updated September 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

23 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
354 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best car jack stands

Last Updated September 2019

When it comes to working on your car, there are few products that impact your safety as much as the car jack stand you use. The average car weighs thousands of pounds, so when you jack it up to work underneath it, you need to know it’s going to stay there.

Car jack stands are intended to safely hold a vehicle in a raised position to allow for underbody access, but they don’t actually raise the vehicle itself. For that, you need a reliable scissor jack or a floor jack to raise your vehicle.

To guarantee your safety while working on your vehicle, you need to look carefully at the jack stand specifications. Was it made by a reputable manufacturer? Is it rated for the weight of your vehicle? This is not an area where you should skimp on research or expenditures. Read on to gain valuable advice about choosing the right car jack stand for your needs.

If you’re working on soft ground, heavy-duty plywood under the jack stands can help disperse the weight.

Key considerations

Construction

The first thing to consider when choosing a car jack stand is the material it’s made of and how it’s constructed. Most jack stands are made from steel, cast iron, or aluminum. While some individuals like aluminum stands for lightweight work, especially since they weigh less and don’t rust, for the heaviest-duty jobs, you should go with cast iron or steel.

Weight rating

Ideally, each jack stand should be rated to hold three-quarters of your vehicle’s weight on its own. For example, if your vehicle weighs two tons, each of your jack stands should be rated for one-and-a-half tons.

Weld points

Any time you weld two pieces of metal together, you introduce a weak point. For the strongest jack stands, try to find a model with the fewest number of weld points.

Base area

A jack stand’s base area is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, you want a base area as wide as possible for the best stability. On the other hand, in a confined work area, a large base stand can get in the way.

Lift height

Another thing you should consider is the lift height of the jack stand. How much clearance do you need, and how much do you have room for? It’s one thing to lift up a vehicle high enough to change a tire; it’s another to lift it high enough to have room to spend hours working under it. At the same time, if you have a tall truck or SUV and a low-ceiling garage, you may have concerns about minimum lift height.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

Always make sure your jack stands are set and locked at an equal height. If there is a big difference in the height of one jack to the next, you risk the vehicle slipping off.

Features

Locking mechanism

One of the most important features to look for is how the jack stand adjusts and locks. There are a couple of different types of mechanisms.

Ratchet

Ratchet-style locking mechanisms use an angled bar to hold the stand’s height in place. These mechanisms are simple and fast to use and allow small height adjustments to be made. The only disadvantage is that, in some cases, the rolling pin and pawl (or locking mechanism) can eventually rust through. When this happens, you will have to replace the entire stand.

Locking pin

The second style of jack stand uses a high tensile steel locking pin to hold the jack in place. This type of mechanism doesn’t allow for adjustments as small as the ratchet style, such as to compensate for uneven flooring. The pin, however, is easy to replace if it ever bends, corrodes, or rusts, unlike the ratchet style where the entire jack stand has to be replaced if the mechanism becomes compromised. In general, locking pin jack stands are considered stronger and used for the heaviest work.

Dual-locking

Some ratchet-style jack stands have a backup locking pin. The ratchet acts as the primary mechanism, but the locking pin provides added security in the unlikely event that the ratchet mechanism fails.

All vehicles have factory lift points. On unibody vehicles, these points are usually along the pinch welds on the unibody edge. On vehicles with frames, the mount points are on the frame rails. Check your vehicle’s owner manual to find out where its lift points are.

Car jack stand prices

Inexpensive: Entry-level jack stands designed for light use cost less than $50 for a set. They’ll be acceptable for small, compact cars, but you won’t want to use them for a full-size truck or similarly heavy vehicle.

Mid-range: Mid-range jack stands cost $50 to $150 for a set and are suitable for heavier vehicles. You’ll also start to see additional safety features, such as dual-locking mechanisms.

Expensive: High-end jack stands costing more than $150 for a set are designed to be used with the heaviest vehicles and are made from heavy-duty steel or cast iron. The will have official weight ratings and meet U.S. requirements for lifting equipment.

EXPERT TIP

Jack stands with rubber pads on the top post can be useful when working with a unibody vehicle. Sometimes the lift points don’t always line up well with the jack stand’s top post and a rubber top can be used to overcome that.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Never work under a vehicle that is held up by hydraulic jacks. Jack stands or ramps are the only safe way to work under a vehicle.
  • Only use jack stands on a level surface. If you try to use stands on an uneven or undeveloped surface, you risk the vehicle’s weight shifting and sliding off the stands.
  • If you’re only lifting up one end of the vehicle, block or chock the wheels to make sure the vehicle doesn’t roll off the stands.
  • Some jack stands have a saddle designed to cradle the axle. This can be a good way to secure the vehicle when it’s hard to find a good lift point.
  • It’s a good idea to have a backup plan in the event a jack fails. Some mechanics use one of the removed wheels, placing it under a solid point on the vehicle’s underside. While the vehicle may still drop if a jack fails, it won’t drop all the way. That can mean the difference between life and death.
  • If you’re only raising one end of the car, be sure the transmission is in park if it’s an automatic transmission or in first gear if it’s manual. Engage the emergency brake as an added precaution.
  • Try to raise your vehicle as evenly as possible. For example, if you’re lifting all four wheels off the ground, don’t lift a single wheel all the way up. Instead, go around the vehicle, lifting each wheel a little at a time. This will reduce the risk of the vehicle’s weight shifting and causing an accident.
  • Gently shake the car once it’s on the jack stands to make sure everything is stable and secure.

Other products we considered

The OTC 1780 Jack Stand is a heavy-duty set of jack stands that meets all U.S. requirements for lifting equipment. Each stand in the pair is rated for 22 tons of weight and uses a pin-style locking mechanism. The Craftsman 9-50163 4 Ton Jack Stand Pair is a set of four-ton stands featuring a ratchet-style locking mechanism.

Regularly inspect your jack stands for wear, corrosion, bending, or stress. It’s especially important to inspect the rolling pin and pawl on ratchet-style stands.

FAQ

Q. Can ratchet-style jack stands collapse or drop in use if the lever is pulled?
A.
No. Ratchet-style jack stands are specifically designed so they cannot collapse while under weight. This safety mechanism has been successfully used for decades and has a proven track record.

Q. Should I go for a set of stands with three or four feet?
A.  Each has their advantages. Four feet may have a wider base and be more stable. Three feet, on the other hand, can give you more flexibility if there is slight unevenness to the ground.

Q. What if I need to lift my entire vehicle, not just one end?
A.  Buy two pairs of jack stands, one for each end. As a rule of thumb, you should have one jack stand for each wheel.

Q. How tall are car jack stands?
A.
Most stands are 13 to 25 inches tall, but some can be extended as high as six feet.

Q. How much weight can jack stands hold?
A.
The amount of weight jack stands can hold varies from two tons on the low end to 25 tons on the high end.

The team that worked on this review
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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