Best Jack Stands: Be Confident When Lifting Your Vehicle
Complete multiple maintenance tasks on your vehicle using these high-quality jack stands.
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BY Lisa Conant / LAST UPDATED ON May 6, 2021
Every garage needs a pair of jack stands. You'll need them to support your vehicle every time something underneath needs fixing, after all—and depending on how you drive, that need can be fairly commonplace. There’s simply no reason to forgo having jack stands in your garage, given their affordability. Of course, the number of products on the market vying for your attention can make choosing the proper set confusing. See our guide below where we look at the best options available and discuss their features.
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Benefits of Jack Stands
- Increased safety. Hydraulic jacks are good for lifting your vehicle during emergencies, but it's not safe to rely on them to keep your vehicle suspended for extended periods. For this, you'll need jack stands. They're strong enough to support your vehicle and keep it suspended off the ground while you work underneath.
- Tire preservation. f you won't be using your vehicle for months, jack stands can help you preserve the condition of your tires. Vehicles left parked for long periods have all their weight on a small part of each tire, making that part more susceptible to flat spots and dry rotting.
- Easier maintenance. With jack stands, you can get work done on your vehicle from the comfort of your own garage. This will save you from the time and expense of taking your vehicle to the service shop.
Types of Jack Stands
The pin lock is the most common type of jack stand. This stand will typically have a pyramid shape and a row of holes into which a pin can be placed to keep the height of the support bar in place. It's simple to use, and the pin will be made of a hardened steel that's strong enough to support the weight of a range of vehicles.
Once the height of the support bar is adjusted to touch the relevant pinch point underneath the vehicle, a pin is inserted through one of the holes to keep it in place. It isn't the fastest to work with, but its simple design makes it one of the most durable.
This type of jack stand uses a ratchet system to automatically lock the support bar in place. It's one of the easiest designs to use because all that’s needed is to pull the support bar to the required height. Compared to a jack stand with a pin-lock design, the height increments in one with a ratchet system are smaller, allowing for more flexibility in terms of where the stand can be used underneath the vehicle.
Most jack stands with ratchet systems will be durable, but compared to other locking systems, it's the design with the most risk of failure. If you prefer a stand that offers the convenience of a ratchet system, get one from a trusted manufacturer and make sure the tool was built to support the weight of your vehicle.
This type of jack stand is the least common, and although you can expect the design to be stronger than a ratchet type, it won't be as strong as a pin-lock stand. One disadvantage of this design is that it takes longer to use compared to the other types. Basically, the saddle where the pinch point of your vehicle is supposed to rest is fitted to the top of a screw-like center column whose height can be adjusted by screwing or unscrewing.
As you can imagine, it's not the fastest to work with, but the design does allow you to set more custom heights.
For more than 40 years, the Powerbuilt name has represented consistent quality and performance. Tool users can depend on this company to continually produce innovative and durable products for automotive work. The Powerbuilt Unijack with 6,000-Pound.Capacity is sure to hold up to your lifting needs.
Torin Automotive Equipment
Founded in 1993, Torin distributes its products through the United States and Canada. Its product line features wheels, valves, engines, jacks, and a variety of lifting equipment. The Big Red Torin Steel Jack Stands are a solid set of stands for holding your vehicle.
Founded in 1978 in Kansas City, Pro-Lift has continually developed and produced innovative automotive products. Its products are widely distributed throughout the automotive industry. The Pro-Lift Double Pin Jack Stand is a reliable and durable stand.
Jack Stands Pricing
- Under $30: You'll find jack stands in this price range suited for small to medium-sized vehicles. They will typically have a 3-ton capacity or lower.
- $30 to $50: Stands in this range will be built from more heavy-duty materials and will have wide application. Capacity will be between 3 and 6 tons.
- $50 and up: These jack stands will be better than those from lower price ranges in terms of quality and strength. They will typically come in pairs, and some will be packaged with a hydraulic jack.
Different jack stands will cater to different vehicles in terms of lifting height. It's important that the tool you choose can keep your car at the height that allows you to get work done underneath. Most jack stands will work just fine for a small vehicle or sedan because they don't need to be raised as high as a midsize SUV or truck. Getting one to accommodate a larger vehicle can be trickier, but it's just a matter of checking the specs of your jack stand and making sure it can adjust to the height that you need.
Another thing to consider in a jack stand is its weight capacity. Stands typically come in capacities ranging from 1 to 10 tons, but some will be designed to handle more. Needless to say, using a jack stand for a vehicle it wasn't designed to support is dangerous, so if you have a large SUV or truck, you'll need to be extra sure the stand you choose can withstand the weight. Take note that the listed weight of a pair of jack stands refers to the total weight they can withstand when working together, so if the pair is rated for 2 tons, this means they can support 1 ton each.
In terms of build quality, not all jack stands are the same. Some are made from sturdier materials and have better rust and corrosion resistance. Your best bet for saving money and frustration in the long run is to go for stands with a good quality build. They'll be more expensive, to be sure, but their increased durability and reliability will give you peace of mind.
- Locking Mechanism. This is how you secure the stands into place so they can hold a consistent height. The pin lock style is the most secure because there’s minimal risk of the pin coming out or breaking. The screw lock is the next most secure because it would have to spin to change the height, and it can’t do that while a vehicle rests on it. The ratchet is secure, but the least secure of the three.
- Saddle Construction. Look for stands that have a wide saddle for your vehicle’s frame to securely rest on. Some have a contouring design to cradle the frame instead of having a flat surface that it could slip off of. Some higher-quality stands have a non-slip surface on the cradle for a more secure setup.
- Base Size. The base size is the foot of the stand that rests on the ground. A stand with a larger diameter base will be more stable. Some even have extra welding to create larger feet on the wide base. The higher the stand can lift, the wider the base should be for the necessary support and stability.
Best Jack Stands Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- It's important that you use the jack stands on level ground, or the vehicle can slip. If the surface area is a bit soft, you can put the jack stands on heavy-duty plywood, which will provide better support.
- Make sure the jack stands each has a weight rating that's three-quarters of the weight of your vehicle. So, if your vehicle weighs 4,000 pounds, each jack stand should be rated to 3,000 pounds.
- Once you've raised your vehicle on the jack stands, ensure that it is stable by gently shaking the vehicle. You want to make sure it's solidly in place before you start working on it.
Q: Can I work on a vehicle that’s being supported by hydraulic jacks?
Do not work under a car or truck that is being held up by hydraulic jacks. When you are working on the underbody of a car or truck, it's safer to use jack stands or ramps.
Q: Can I lift just one side of a vehicle with jack stands?
Yes, but you have to follow some safety precautions. Make sure to put blocks or chocks under the wheels so that the vehicle doesn't roll off the jacks.
Q: What do I do if a jack stand fails?
Plan in advance. After jacking up your vehicle, put one of the removed wheels in a solid section underneath the vehicle. If the jack fails and the vehicle drops, it won't fall completely to the ground. This could save your life.
Our pick for the best jack stands is the Torin Big Red Steel Jack Stands: 6 Ton Capacity, 1 Pair. They can accommodate between two and 12 tons and are constructed of solid steel. They're also durable and rust-resistant.
For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Pro-Lift T-6903D Double Pin Jack Stand.