Best Mechanic's Creepers: Make Undercarriage Automotive Work Comfortable
Reach those troublesome spots underneath your car with these top mechanic's creeper
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON June 3, 2019
Reaching the undercarriage of a car can be difficult when it comes to routine or unexpected automotive maintenance. A good mechanic's creeper does the job of getting you under a vehicle and supporting your body while working for long hours at a time. The best creepers are easy to move around, comfortable, and slim enough to get you under low vehicles if needed. Here's our guide to the best mechanics creepers.
- Best OverallPro-Lift C-9100SummarySummaryThe creeper to choose when you want a good balance between comfort, durability, and versatility.ProsProsFeatures a unique folding frame design with steel construction that changes from a traditional creeper to a small padded creeper seat in just a few seconds.ConsConsThe assembly process can be somewhat lengthy at the start before you use the creeper. The included instructions are difficult to read due to small font.
- Best ValuePro-Lift C-2036DSummarySummaryA budget-oriented creeper that includes Pro-Lift's unique folding frame design. Offers a lot of versatility and decent weight capacity.ProsProsSlim design and lightweight steel frame. Casters do a good job of rolling over slightly uneven ground with small debris around.ConsConsLess-than-ideal build quality around the padding for the headrest and seat panel. Seat foam can start to become loose after some use.
- Honorable MentionTorin Big RedSummarySummaryOne of the best traditional creepers meant for anyone wanting some extra padding over the entire body length.ProsProsThe adjustable headrest is easy to move with a convenient bar within reach. Padding is high in quality and comfortable.ConsConsPoor rolling performance on uneven ground, partly due to low-quality ball bearings on the casters. Plastic casters could be bigger.
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Why Buy a Mechanic's Creeper
- Reach hard-to-reach spots. Depending on the type of vehicle, the undercarriage can be very difficult to access without a creeper with swivel caster wheels. Low ground clearance, rough ground, and hanging automotive parts all create an obstacle course a good creeper can help you navigate.
- Stay comfortable. Longer automotive maintenance requires extra support and comfort to get through if you don't want a sore back at the end of it all. Padded shop creepers have a good deal of ergonomic support to keep your back comfortable as much as possible.
Types of Mechanic's Creepers
Traditional car creepers are nothing more than a large plank of wood with casters attached to the bottom. This design, while not the most comfortable, is very effective at reaching tight spots underneath a car due to the low profile. Some come with an adjustable headrest and extra padding to offer more comfort and support.
Contoured car creepers take the same basic design approach as traditional creepers but with some extra curves along the main surface. These curves contour to the body's shape, hugging these areas more for better support. These curves can be along the sides or top to support the back.
For some extra versatility, folding mechanic's creepers tend to transform into a seat or stool you can work from when servicing the sides of a vehicle. The padding tends to be thicker on these creepers, especially around the headrest that often doubles as the seat.
Top Brands of Mechanic's Creepers
Torin offers a wide range of different lifting products like service and bottle jacks and stands. In addition to the large vehicle lifters, the company also offers a line of mechanic’s tools, organizers, and creepers that make automotive maintenance easier, quicker, and more comfortable. For creepers, check out the Big Red Creeper for a great option to consider.
Owned by Shinn Fu Company of America (SFA), Pro-Lift is a line of creepers, jacks, stands, wenches, and other heavy-duty movers. SFA has been making automotive accessories for more than 40 years and has a large presence in distributing hydraulic lifting equipment. The company's Z Creeper line is a good contender for one of the best creeper lines available.
Mechanic's Creeper Pricing
- $50 and under: Budget mechanic's creepers tend to be relatively simple in design. Most will have a basic plank with minimal padding and average casters to move around.
- $50-$100: If you want a high-quality creeper that isn't necessarily professional-grade, this is the range to check out. Within this range, most creepers have better padding and casters to make automotive maintenance more ergonomic and comfortable.
- $100 and above: This is largely the professional-level range of creepers. Many creepers here have thick padding, large casters, and ergonomic contours to better support the body as you roll around under a vehicle.
Lying on a solid plank of wood or metal can quickly become uncomfortable after a while. Worse, it can lead to pain and other issues in the back. This makes padding along the top of a creeper important. With extra padding, you get extra support and comfort so you can work longer without worrying about the health of your back. Pay attention to the thickness of the padding when considering different creeper options.
To move around, a creeper needs a set of high-quality casters. Most come with either four or six casters placed around the frame to distribute the weight equally. The size and surface of the casters are important. Larger wheels with grippy edges make it easier to move around the uneven ground or over small debris.
- Mobility: Since a creeper is meant to move around to different parts of a vehicle, mobility is quite important in the design and function of a creeper. Beyond the rolling casters, mobility is influenced by the size and shape of the creeper. Low-Profile design makes it easier to get around vehicles with low clearance. Portability features like built-in handles also help store the creeper when not in use.
- Clearance: Good clearance, in general, is the most important thing to have for a creeper to be effective. Clearance is partly influenced by the vehicle itself and how much you can lift it safely, but the creeper's design also comes into play. Here, smaller caster wheels and a narrow frame contribute to a low-profile design.
Best Mechanic's Creepers Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: Pro-Lift C-9100
Pro-Lift's C-9100 Foldable Z Creeper Seat and Platform is the one to check out if you want to really get some versatility and comfort out of your mechanic's setup. The garage creeper looks like a regular, heavily-padded creeper in its normal configuration and does a good job of moving around the garage on its 3-inch casters. The "folding" part comes in with its alternate mode: A couple of flips transforms the creeper into a padded seat on wheels.
The foldability and quick transformation process make this creeper one of the most useful options available to professional and enthusiast mechanics. The seated configuration is just high enough to reach the mid-level of typical vehicles without having to stretch the arms. With the C-9100, there is also an extra level of padding for additional comfort.
While the transformation process is quick and simple once everything is together, expect a bit of required assembly beforehand to last around 15 to 30 minutes. The major challenge with assembly is the included instructions: The print is smaller than average, so it may be difficult to make out important details from the small text.
Best Value: Pro-Lift C-2036D
Like some of the other creepers in Pro-Lift's line, the C-2036D features the company's unique folding frame that transformers the creeper into a padded seat. Unlike some of the more expensive options in the lineup, however, this creeper is all about saving for the budget-oriented customers. As a result, you'll notice a slimmer build with this creeper that reduces weight and cost.
The versatility of this creeper, given its folding frame, is where it really shines. The configuration process is pretty quick, especially with the lightweight frame. Despite the slim build, the creeper does a good job of supporting larger weights near the upper end of its maximum capacity range. The six casters also roll easily over uneven garage floors with small debris lying around.
Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks created by the creeper's budget-oriented design. First and foremost, the small wheels require a relatively smooth surface that's free from major cracks; otherwise, the creeper will get stuck in its tracks. Second, the cushion's vinyl doesn't have the same high-quality construction as the frame itself. The fabric can tear easily, and the foam underneath starts to become loose after a while.
Honorable Mention: Torin Big Red
The Torin Big Red creeper sports a fairly traditional design with heavy-duty construction meant for professional or average use without spending too much. The full padded bench is meant to provide a high degree of comfort during casual automotive tasks, while the adjustable headrest offers a greater degree of ergonomic support than traditional creepers.
Using the Big Red, including moving around and adjusting the headrest all while lying down, is fairly straightforward. The padding along the entire length of the creeper offers a lot of support during lengthy automotive procedures without applying too much pressure to any particular spot.
The only trouble the creeper can encounter is on uneven garage surfaces. The casters roll smoothly but have a difficult time when the ground isn't even or there is small debris or rocks around. The creeper's bulk and length also add to the problem, since the awkward shape requires an even support surface for the best rolling performance.
- If you use a mechanics creeper with jack stands, make sure you use some redundant stands in case load-bearing stands fail.
- A tool tray or organizer makes it easy to keep tools within reach when using a mechanic's creeper. A sliding tool holder is the best way to roll your tools right along with you.
- For storage, hang the creeper on a wall when not in use. This is easy to do when the creeper has a built-in handle.
Q. How high should a mechanic's creeper be?
A. Lower tends to be better. A low creeper helps with clearance with the undercarriage. If you need to work on an uneven or rough surface, however, something taller with larger casters may be warranted.
Q. How do I clean a creeper?
A. A good mechanic's creeper should have an easy-to-clean surface, especially around the padding. Vinyl and other heavy-duty fabrics tend to be the easiest to clean with a good wipedown or disinfectant.
Q. How much padding do I need?
A. Most creepers come with less than an inch of padding, which is enough for most routine maintenance applications. The right amount is a personal preference, but more tends to be better. At the very least, you should have plenty of padding around the head.
Our top pick for the best mechanic's creeper is the transforming Pro-Lift C-9100 for its increased versatility and durability, turning into a mechanic’s seat as well.
If you don't mind a slimmer build and lightweight frame, the Pro-Lift C-2036D offers some unique features with a smaller price tag.