Best Scissor Jacks: Our Top Picks for Spare Tire Relief
The best scissor jacks to get you up and going from a flat tire
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BY Bryan Long / LAST UPDATED ON March 9, 2019
Flat tires happen to all of us: while you’re driving, almost always on a day when it's raining. All you want to do is get on with your day. To do this, you need a good scissor jack to lift the car and replace the flat with the spare. Whether you're replacing an old scissor jack or didn't get one to start, we're going to cover the best options out there.
The best scissor jack for cars you can find. Easy to use and ideal for those unavoidable emergencies.
Only takes two minutes to jack up your car fully, can plug into the cigarette lighter or directly hook up to the battery, and is entirely automatic for effortless use.
Takes up more space than manual scissor jacks.
Affordable and versatile. Perfect for a reliable scissor jack that won’t break the bank.
Ergonomic hand crank, a large base for maximum stability, and compatible with a wide range of accessories for any emergency need.
Bulkier than factory jacks. Could be too tall for lower cars.
High-quality scissor jack that you can rely on for roadside emergencies. Ideal for your average coupe or sedan, and easily stored.
Compact design perfect for vehicles with limited space, a higher weight limit compared to the competition, and high-grade steel with a corrosion-resistant finish for a longer lasting product.
An awkward lever design could make it hard to jack up a car.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Scissor Jacks
- Emergency use. While we hope you don't get a flat tire every day, chances are that it will happen eventually. The last thing you want is to be stranded without the right tools when you're in a rush.
- Easy to use. A standard scissor jack has a hand crank to get the vehicle off the ground. Things get even easier if you go for an electric option.
- Best choice for storage. In a perfect world, we'd all have industrial floor jacks with our vehicles at all times. But when it comes to fitting a lift in your trunk and not spending hundreds of dollars on something that gets infrequent use, scissor jacks are the best option.
- Reliability. While some people will tell you horror stories about using a jack on the side of the road, scissor jacks are consistently reliable if you use them correctly. You don't have to be afraid of having a jack that isn't going to get the job done.
Types of Scissor Jacks
Car Scissor Jacks
Chances are, you can't fit an industrial-sized floor jack into the trunk of your car. The best scissor jacks are small enough to keep with your spare tire and strong enough to rely on when a flat happens. When it comes to roadside emergencies, a portable scissor jack is a great choice.
Stabilizing Scissor Jacks
It is very common to see regular car scissor jacks appear online with stabilizing scissor jacks. Despite the similar looks and names, these do not have the same uses. Stabilizing jacks are heavy-duty scissor jacks meant for trailers and campers. They typically bolt on (sometimes requiring welding), and you'll often see them sold in pairs of two. Using these types of jacks for the wrong task can be a safety hazard.
Electric Scissor Jacks
These jacks have all of the advantages of an average scissor jack, with none of the work. If you're not a fan of crawling on the ground to change a tire, then an electric scissor jack is going to be an ideal choice for you. Most power jacks can be powered by your car, so you never have to worry about being away from an outlet.
It’s almost impossible to talk about scissor jacks without mentioning EAZ Lift. Established in 1952, the company makes a wide array of fantastic products and consistently gets some of the highest satisfaction ratings. Their 24" RV Stabilizing Scissor Jack often lands on top of the Stabilizing Jack category.
Libra has been centered in Memphis, Tennessee for over a decade. While they mostly advertise their trailer parts, they are constantly innovating new products. Their most popular lift is the RV Trailer Stabilizer Leveling Scissor Jacks.
This California-based company is huge when it comes to jacks. Their Torin Big Red Steel Scissor Jack is a top contender, but the company offers a huge selection of jacks from heavy-duty truck scissor jacks to low-profile jacks. They also sell jack stands, floor jacks, and bottle jacks to meet anybody’s need.
Scissor Jack Pricing
- Under $30: Generally, these are small scissor jacks. A great option to consider if you want a lightweight scissor jack for emergencies, they’re not ideal for every situation.
- $50-$80: This price range consists of many stabilizing and high-end car jacks. This is the typical range to consider for an affordable and durable jack.
- Over $90: The more expensive prices cover electric scissor jack lifts: easy to use, but possibly too expensive for what you’re looking to spend.
The best part of having a scissor jack is the compact design; not just for storing, but also in the space you’ll need to lift a vehicle. If you've ever used a floor jack, you know that it can be a pain when there are other cars nearby. Scissor jacks have a short crank handle, so you won’t have to worry about your surroundings as much. Even less space is required if you choose an electric model.
In addition to a wide base, another important part of any scissor jack is the saddle, the piece that makes contact with the vehicle. The saddle on most jacks is relatively small, so you have many options for where you can place the jack to lift the vehicle. The lift height is also influenced by how far the saddle can extend. The lift range you need will vary depending on the vehicle.
All scissor lifts share a similar design: There is a threaded shaft that revolves slowly, lifting the vehicle. This is different from floor jacks that are usually hydraulic, which can eventually leak at some point. While no tool is impervious to breaking, scissor jacks are made out of heavy-duty steel construction for ultra durability.
- Space Restraints: Not every jack is going to fit with every vehicle. It’s important to know how much space you have and what specific products require in terms of space minimums.
- Weight: While scissor jacks are great for small cars and lightweight SUVs, not every vehicle is going to be compatible with certain jacks depending on the load capacity (aka lifting capacity). Make sure you know the weight of your vehicle and the limitations of the jack you want to buy.
- Personal Limitations: While people may appreciate manual jacks for their affordable pricing, it's important to remember not everyone has the same physical capabilities. Electric scissor jacks are great for people who may not be capable of using the lever on manual jacks.
Best Scissor Jack Reviews & Recommendations 2020
- Make sure you know the correct points where you can lift your car before an emergency arises. This information can often be found in the owner’s manual, but if you can’t find it, the information should be online as well.
- Any scissor jack you buy will come with information about weight limitations, maintenance, and other important details. Be sure to read these over for your safety.
- Always lift your vehicle on solid ground. Surfaces like gravel and sand will not be able to support the weight of your vehicle properly.
- When replacing a flat, keep in mind that a fully inflated tire will need more space, so lift your car up high enough to clear the ground.
Q: How do I know if a specific jack can lift my car?
A: This is always the first question that comes to mind when buying a new jack. Overall, the make and model is not going to influence the effectiveness of the lift. As long as your vehicle is under the maximum weight limit and not especially lifted/lowered, then you should be fine.
Q: What is a normal vehicle height?
A: Four to eight inches is a common range for vehicle heights. SUVs and trucks can be higher, especially if they have lifted suspension. Most jacks have a minimum height between four and six inches. So, if your vehicle is lower than that, you will need something compact.
When it comes to roadside emergencies, there’s no beating a scissor jack. The best overall value is the ROGTZ Electric 3 Ton Scissor Jack since it’s easier to use compared to a hand crank.
If you’re looking for a great value, go for the Torin Big Red Steel Scissor Jack. It’s an affordable, reliable option well-suited for smaller vehicles.