Best Jack Stands for Cars, Trucks, and SUVs & How to Use Them
Cars require regular maintenance — it’s a simple fact of life. Let’s say you’ve found a suspicious leak after leaving your vehicle parked for a while or even just realized that it’s time to rotate your tires. Obviously, you’ll need a way to lift your ride and keep it elevated while you do your work. But when you do find yourself having to take a peek underneath your car, you don’t want to realize that you have a car jack — but no jack stands. That’s why I’ve decided to present my top 10 picks for the best jack stands for cars, trucks, and SUVs.
Ultimately, you don’t want to have to improvise with crates or cinder blocks, as I’ve seen some people do. One of my friends even used an empty gas cylinder to prop up his car once. Needless to say, that was an incredibly ill-advised idea. Why, just imagine your makeshift jack stand failing while you’re under the car!
Now, before we can get to the product reviews, I’d like to take a moment to explain why some jack stands can hold up cars, but not heavier vehicles. Then, after I present my reviews, I’ll offer a short buying guide as well as a brief guide to using the jack stands. So without further ado, let’s get into it.
So why am I such a staunch opponent of using miscellaneous objects to hold up your car? The reason is quite simple: they just can’t hold that much weight. And that’s exactly what this is all about.
If you’re dealing with a heavy vehicle like a truck or an SUV, you want to use the appropriate tools. Obviously, using the right tools is just as important when you’re fixing a passenger car. However, one would imagine that having a heavier vehicle fall while you’re fixing it would have more disastrous consequences.
Still, we ought to remember that even passenger cars can weigh anywhere between 3 and 4,500 pounds! That kind of weight will require you to use a jack stand that can support it. For 3,000-pound cars, that’ll mean getting a jack with a lift capacity of at least 1.5 tons. Moreover, if your car is approaching the 5,000-pound mark, you’ll need a 2.5 to 3-ton jack stand.
Fortunately, most of the products on my list are in that range, so most compact, midsized, and large passenger cars should be covered. On the other hand, if you have a larger truck or SUV, you may need a jack stand that can handle much heavier vehicles. If your ride weighs closer to 6,000 pounds, you’ll need to look for higher lift capacity.
While 3 and 2-ton capacity stands are the most common products on my list, I’ve also included several 6-ton products. Furthermore, I’ve even added a jack stand with a 22-ton capacity, which will easily handle most campers — although it would be an overkill tool for passenger cars. Still, if you want to be sure that your jack stand won’t fail, you can always size up, so to speak.
Does the Height of the Vehicle Matter?
You may also think that the height of your car or truck is another thing you’ll need to worry about when choosing a jack stand. However, that doesn’t really play much of a part in the process. After all, it’s not the jack stand that will lift your car from the ground.
Jack stands are only supposed to hold the weight of your car if you have to work on it for a long time. But they’re not the things that actually lift it. Conversely, as I’ve already said in a previous article, you don’t want to leave the business of holding your car up to the jack alone.
Sure, in order to lift your vehicle in the first place, you’re going to need a jack — not a jack stand. Vehicle jacks are tools that do the hard part of lifting your car, truck, or SUV from the ground. Once the vehicle is elevated, though, you should slide the jack stands under it.
Like car jacks, jack stands often have adjustable heights. But rather than having to look at the height of your car, you ought to be concerned with the height your jack can manage. That will allow you to decide how tall or short you need your stands to be. Luckily, the ones on my list can go between 11 and 26 inches — so you’ll definitely be able to find the right one for you.
TOP 10 BEST JACK STANDS FOR CARS, TRUCKS, AND SUVs
Before we get started, I should say that the following products are listed in ascending order by lift capacity as well as by height. So you’ll first see seven 3-ton jack stands going from shortest to tallest. Then I’ll follow that up with two 6-ton products — as well as a heavyweight lifter to close off our list.
1. TORIN Big Red Aluminum Jack Stands
As I have mentioned, I’m starting with the shortest jack stands with the weakest lift capacity. However, these Torin stands are in no way inferior to the other products on my list. It all comes down to the kind of car you need to lift and the height you need them to hold.
As it is, these stands could hold 3 tons — which is about 6,000 pounds — between the two of them. According to the manufacturer, that means that they’ll be able to hold small cars, jeeps, and even UTVs. Like most products of this kind, they do come in pairs, which is what you want. After all, you’ll usually be positioning both of them on one side of the car for the sake of stability.
The jack stands are made of lightweight high-grade aluminum without sacrificing build quality. They have a sturdy hexagonal foot base that’s about 7 by 6 inches wide and a vertical stand of adjustable height.
Using a locking pin, you’ll be able to set the height to anywhere between 10.71 and 15.63 inches. Moreover, the pin is chained to the base of the stand, so you’ll never lose it. The top of the stand, or the saddle, is flat and rectangular. It also has somewhat curved edges, so it should connect with the bottom of your car nicely.
2. AmazonBasics Steel Auto Jack Stands
Now, this pair of jack stands comes to us from Amazon’s own, AmazonBasics brand. They have a lifting capacity of 6,000 pounds, like the previous pair. However, the manufacturer also has 2 and 6-ton lift capacity products available for purchase.
As for the 3-ton jacks, they seem to be quite sturdy, between their steel frames and the height adjustment mechanism. Additionally, the whole thing is covered with a rustproof coating, which should extend its durability even more.
The AmazonBasics jack stands have a four-point base that narrows up to the pinless height adjustment mechanism. From there, you’ll be able to extend or retract the vertical stand, which has notches that allow it to self-lock. The stand goes from just over 10 inches to 16.5 inches — although the 2 and 6-ton products have different minimum and maximum heights.
The saddle of the stand has a rectangular shape, though the surface that holds the car itself curves inward. That should help the product hold the car if you find something for it to grip on to.
3. CAMCO Olympian Aluminum Stack Jacks
In the product description of the Camco Olympian Aluminum stand jacks, you’ll see a few mentions of RVs. Overall, I’d say that the manufacturer is pretty confident that their product can hold any vehicle that weighs in under 6,000 pounds — as they should be.
Unlike the previous products on my list, this one gives you the option to buy one or two pairs of stands. Of course, if you prefer one of the other jack stands I’ve mentioned, you can always but several pairs of those. Still, as far as the construction of the stands goes, this one looks deceptively simple.
The Camco Olympian aluminum jack stands have a 6-inch square base and a sturdy-looking pyramid shape to them. The adjustable stand uses neither pins nor ribs to hold its place. Instead, you can rotate it to your desired height, allowing you to set it to your specific liking. In a completely retracted position, the stand is 11 inches tall, while the extended column gives it an additional 6 inches.
The saddle is circular, rather than rectangular as it was with the other products we’ve seen so far. Furthermore, they’re made of cast aluminum, which is also often used for car parts. So they’ll certainly be sturdy enough to hold up to 3 tons of metal, whether you’re working under your vehicle or using them to stabilize your camper.
4. CARTMAN Double Locking Jack Stands with Safety Pin
The CARTMAN double locking jack stands combine all the best features of the first two products on this list. In their appearance, they resemble the AmazonBasics stands quite a bit. Between their red 4-point stands and black notched adjustment rod, the two products may seem pretty similar at first. However, as I have mentioned, there is more to it than meets the eye.
Namely, in addition to the notched height adjustment bar that can take your vehicle from 11 to 17 inches, CARTMAN’s 3-ton stands can also come with or without safety pins. Like the pins in the first product, these are attached to the base of the product with a short chain. I find that the extra safety precaution makes these stands too good to pass up.
Of course, none of those precautions will matter if the build quality isn’t all that great. Fortunately, these jack stands are made of solid, high-grade forged steel with pieces that have been welded together. That kind of sturdy build can easily hold 3 tons of weight. However, the product also comes with 2 and 6-ton lift capacities — although, without safety pins.
5. Alltrade Black All-in-One Bottle Jack
The Alltrade jack is different than all the other products on my list in that it serves a dual purpose. Aside from being able to hold your vehicle up, it can also physically push it up, thanks to the bottle jack that’s a part of the device. For the unaware, bottle jacks are tall and narrow devices that use hydraulic pressure to lift vehicles. You just need to insert a jack arm into it and pump until the vehicle is elevated.
Many people worry about the ability of car jacks to continue to hold the car up for longer periods. However, I wouldn’t worry about that when it comes to this product. Just a quick glance was enough to assure me that it would be strong enough to lift and hold my own car.
Between its 10-inch square for the base and its sturdy steel construction, this device should last you a long time. The wide base should also be incredibly helpful if you’re planning on using the jack on soft terrain. Furthermore, bottle jacks have somewhat of a reputation for being unstable, so the base should help with that as well.
The height range of this all-in-one jack is 11–17.25 inches if you use the automatic lifting. However, you’ll be able to bring it up to 21 inches if you continue to pull the bar up manually. Once you have your desired height, you can insert a safety bar, ensuring that the device doesn’t release the car. However, keep in mind that this product doesn’t have that helpful chain that keeps the safety bar close by, so make sure you know where you left it.
6. ESCO Jack Stand
The ESCO jack stand brings us back into the familiar territory of regular old jack stands. We’re staying in the category of stands with a lift capacity of 3 tons, so this product is still as strong as the previous ones we’ve seen. However, some features set it apart from the crowd. So let’s go over them one by one.
The first thing I noticed about this jack stand is its understated design. It has a tripod shaped base. The rounded feet at the end of each of the legs will prevent it from sinking into the ground if you have to set it up on soft terrain. From there, we move up into the vertical column that allows you to adjust the jack stand height from 13–21 inches. Once you set the height, you can slide a safety pin through the hole to keep everything secure.
Additionally, the very top of that column has a circular saddle with a thick rubber pad on top of it. Not only will that rubber tip provide the padding necessary to protect the underside of your vehicle, but it’ll also provide that much-needed slip-proof grip. We’ve already seen other products achieve that result by having the tip be metal and slightly inwardly curved, sometimes even ribbed. However, rubber is a nice change of pace.
7. Performance Tool Heavy-Duty Jack Stand Set
The Performance Tool jack stands are another model that shares some features with the AmazonBasics stand we’ve already seen. However, instead of the red and black paint, this stand continues the yellow theme you’ll recognize if you’ve used other Performance Tool products.
The jack stand has a durable steel frame that spreads out into a 4-point base, which is about 8 inches wide. As we’ve seen in some of the other products, the extending column has notches, so it doesn’t require a safety pin. The saddle on top of the column has a bit of an open lobster claw shape to it. If you position it somewhere where it can grip onto the car, it’ll be very secure.
Like most of the other products I’ve showcased, this one has a lift capacity of 3 tons. There are also 2 and 6-ton options available for 4 and 12,000-pound vehicles, respectively. According to the manufacturer, the 3-ton version will be enough to support most cars and light trucks as well.
8. PRO-LIFT Double Pin Jack Stands
Similarly to the jack stands I just reviewed and some others on the list, the Pro-Lift double pin jack stands have a sturdy 4-point base and a notched extending rod. However, unlike most of the other products on this list, this model has a lift capacity of 6 tons.
As the name of the product suggests, this stand has something in common with that double-locking CARTMAN stand. In addition to the self-locking ribs on the height adjustment rod, you’ll also be able to use a handle lock and a safety pin (attached to the base with a chain) to keep the stand at a certain height. Furthermore, the shape of the column allows you to pull it out smoothly, but it doesn’t automatically slide back down. So there are actually three levels of security here.
The lowest this stand can go is 15 inches without any locking mechanisms whatsoever. If you want to use the double lock feature, you’ll have to have it at a height of 17.5 inches. Finally, the tallest it can be is 23.5 inches.
While the 10 by 9-inch wide base is impressive enough, the saddle of the device is similarly large at 4 by 1-inch. Like most of these kinds of models, the top is inwardly curved, to provide a better grip. The whole thing is made of durable stamped steel.
9. TORIN Big Red Steel Jack Stands
The TORIN jack stands also use the double locking safety style we’ve just talked about. So they have the self-locking notched height adjustment column as well as the iron bar and safety pin that’s connected to the base with a small chain. Like other similar stands, this one has a sturdy, steel build.
The jack stand has a 10 by 9-inch 4-point base, which should add stability to the product. Once again, we can see a familiar color theme with the red base and the black extension column with notches. At the lowest height, the stand will be just over 15 inches tall. But when you extend it, it’ll be close to 24 inches tall.
In addition to the version of the jack stands that have a lift capacity of 6 tons, the manufacturer also makes 2 and 3-ton stands. The company has also chosen to emphasize that the 6-ton capacity refers to the stands when you use both of them. But that’s kind of a common sense tip: you have to use jack stands in pairs. Otherwise, they wouldn’t sell them in pairs.
10. OMEGA Black Heavy-Duty Jack Stand
Lastly, we have the Omega heavy-duty jack stands with an astonishing lift capacity of 22 tons or 44,000 pounds. The design of the device is actually deceptively simple for such a powerful tool. Namely, they use a simple safety pin height adjustment mechanism for the vaguely tower-shaped stand. Basically, you can fix the stands to anywhere between 13 and 19 inches, and slide the thick steel column through the holes to secure the hold.
The base of the jack stands is a 10-inch square, which is made of a sturdy welded steel. Additionally, the center column on top is made of the same stuff. Furthermore, its angled saddle allows it to hold the underside of a vehicle.
So why would you need a jack stand this powerful? Well, for one, a product like this could easily hold a loaded trailer during the off-season. If you want to spare your tires while your mobile home is stationary, you can simply take them off and have these things hold it up instead. Essentially, you can use them for whatever you’d like since they’re basically indestructible.
BUYING GUIDE FOR JACK STANDS FOR CARS, TRUCKS, AND SUVs
Now, we’ve seen my top picks for the best jack stands on the market. However, maybe you haven’t found the perfect one for you. If that’s the case, I wanted to quickly go over the features that factored into my decision-making process, so you’ll be able to know which jack stands are good on your own.
Type of Jack
As we already know, jack stands and vehicle jacks are not the same thing. With that in mind, you should also know that jack stands can’t be cleanly divided, unlike vehicle jacks.
There are plenty of kinds of vehicle jacks: floor jacks are probably the safest option, while scissor jacks are easy to carry around. Then, there are also hi-lift jacks and bottle jacks like the one we saw with the Alltrade jack stand. However, jack stands don’t really come in similar categories. Instead, we can try to divide them by their main features:
- The base, which can have a flat surface or separate feet, like a tripod. Generally, flat bases are more stable on soft terrain as well as on concrete, while 4-point or tripod style bases are more reliable on solid ground.
- A central column that sides from the base and often allows for the height adjustment of the product. As we have seen, some columns have holes in them while others have notches, in order to secure the height of the stand.
- A locking mechanism, which can be safety pins you push through the holes of the center column or a level that locks the column in place.
- The top of the center column, or the saddle, which establishes a firm hold on the underside of the car. Most of the ones on my list have an inward angle or a texture that can hold onto the body of the car. However, there’s also that one product with a rubber saddle.
All these components can differ in appearance, but they usually give all jack stands a similar kind of look. So that’s why there aren’t any general types of jack stands — most of the products are simply too similar.
One of the most important things you’ll need to pay attention to while shopping for a jack stand is the amount of weight it’ll be able to hold. That number is usually represented in tons or pounds. As you have seen, most of the products in my recommendations have been 3-ton jack stands. However, there are also more powerful ones on the market, even stronger than the last one I’ve shown you.
When in doubt, I’d say that it’s always good to get stronger jack stands. After all, they’ll be able to hold anything you need them to, big or small. However, the ones with a lower lift capacity are also usually more compact and therefore more easily portable. So if that’s something you anticipate needing, get one of the products at the top of my list.
Another feature you’ll want to look out for is the height range you’ll get out of the jack stand you’re considering. Since I presented the products on my list in ascending order of lift capacity and height, the first product I listed had the shortest range. Without expanding the center column, it was just under 11 inches tall, and it came in at just under 16 inches with the column up. Conversely, the tallest 6-ton stand was over 15 inches tall without extending the column, and just under 24 inches with it up.
Depending on the kind of work you’re doing, you’ll need jack stands of different heights. If you’re just using them to lift a machine off the floor, you can use one of the shorter ones. However, if you’re going to be working under your vehicle, a taller stand might be a good idea.
Now, as I’ve already mentioned, you’ll also want to understand what kind of height adjustment system you’ll be working with before you make a purchase. There are three mechanisms you’re most likely to run into:
- Center columns that have notches which lock into place as you pull them out. Once they’re locked in, you have to release a level to get them to release, so they can’t collapse.
- Jack stands with safety pins, which are a personal favorite of mine. I don’t see how those could fail, as long as the pins are made of durable metals.
Finally, I also included one rotation stand, the Camco Olympian. Those are pretty simple: you twist them clockwise to increase the height and counterclockwise to decrease it.
Obviously, if you’re going to have something holding your vehicle while you’re underneath it, you’ll want it to be a durable product. That’s why I’ve made it a point to emphasize the materials the products on my list are made of.
As we have seen, the more lightweight options are typically made of aluminum or lightweight steel. However, most of them are made of heavy-duty steel which is certainly a more durable material.
Still, the construction of the jack stands matters just as much. If you get a chance to see a product in person, or even just watch video reviews, make sure to check out the seams where the pieces of metal meet. If the manufacturer welded the pieces together, make sure that they did a good job.
Among other things, the build quality is also why you shouldn’t be afraid to spend a little extra on a jack stand. After all, it may actually save your life. Speaking of which, before we talk about my final thoughts, let’s see how you can use your jack stands safely and responsibly.
HOW TO USE JACK STANDS
After this short guide, you’ll see that using jack stands is really easier than you might think. It comes down to knowing the right way of doing things. So with that being said, let’s see where you can start.
1. Park Your Vehicle on a Solid, Flat Surface
If you’re going to be working on your car, you’ll want to make sure that it’ll remain stable when you jack it. So you’ll need to find a nice flat piece of concrete to park in.
If you absolutely have to jack up a vehicle like an RV or camper on unpaved ground, make sure you’re using jack stands that are large enough to support it. Also, you’ll want them to have a large and flat base. Still, make sure that the ground is completely flat. Never try to jack your car on an incline or an uneven surface.
2. Make It So the Vehicle Doesn’t Roll
In order to make sure your car doesn’t roll off into the sunset when you start to lift it, you’ll need to implement a few precautions. For one, you can start by pulling the parking brake. You should also use wheel chocks on the tires on the opposite side of the car from the side you’re jacking.
3. Check the Vehicle Jack and the Jack Stands
Before you slide your jack under the car, make sure that it’s good to go. Try to raise it and apply pressure with your foot to make sure it won’t spontaneously disengage. Additionally, you should check if it’ll disengage when you want it to. Do similar tests on your jack stands before proceeding.
4. Find Good Jacking Spots
Next, you’ll want to find the appropriate spots under your car to jack and insert jack stands. You’ll probably find those in your car’s manual. However, this video below also has a wealth of information on the subject. Ultimately, though, you’ll want to know the anatomy of your own car in order for this to work.
5. Jack the Vehicle
Once you figure out where you need to jack, set up your vehicle jack and lift the car. Elevate it to the height you’ll need to get your work done and remember that your jack stands will need to be able to fit into the gap.
6. Slide the Jack Stands In
Put two of your jack stands in the spots you’ve found earlier. Carefully raise the height of the center columns until they barely brush against the areas you want them to hold. You’ll always want to use your stands in pairs, to keep your vehicle stable.
7. Disengage the Jack
After the jack stands are in their positions, you can slowly release the pressure on the jack, lowering the car onto the stands. If you want to completely lift the vehicle, you can do the same thing on the other side of the car. Otherwise, that’s pretty much it — you can get to work fixing whatever needs to be fixed.
Ultimately, if you often find yourself tinkering with your vehicle, I’d say that you could benefit from having several pairs of jack stands. Ideally, you could have 4 of the same kind, and several sets in different sizes. Hopefully, my list of recommendations can get you started on that front, at least.
On the other hand, even if these weren’t exactly what you were looking for, you still ought to stick to my buying guide. That way, any jack stand you end up getting will have an expert’s seal of approval!