Whenever I find someone buying tools for their car, I always advise buying a floor jack for their ride. The reason being – it is one of the integral parts that you need for performing car maintenance.
And because it takes off the load that is needed to lift your ride, that is where the question comes in – what size jack do I need?
I have an auto repair shop, and I always keep a tow truck in case of emergencies. You’d be interested to know how many people I get in my shop every week. These people come with issues flat tires, broken brake shoes, leaked oil pan, and what not. And all these works require you to lift the car from the ground so that you can work from underneath and take a better look.
And what better than to use a hydraulic jack or a floor jack. Now, a floor jack is a tool that does all your heavy lifting and keeps it steadily raised until the work is done.
But knowing that much isn’t enough because there are a lot of moving parts to that question that I am going to answer for you in this article.
So, without waiting, let’s jack it up. I promise that you will have all the understanding you need to know what size jack do I need for your truck and why by the end of the article.
Table of Contents
- 1 In a Rush? Here’s a Takeaway
- 2 What Things Do You Need to Consider before Buying a Floor Jack?
- 3 Different Types of Floor Jack
- 4 Choosing the Best Floor Jack
- 5 How to Choose the Right Material for Purchasing A Floor Jack?
- 6 To Wrap It Up
In a Rush? Here’s a Takeaway
Most cars weigh between 1800kg to 3000kg, which roughly translates into 3000 to 5000 pounds. Based on the weight, the best choice would be to choose between a Z-jack or a hydraulic floor jack because of its utility and lightweight.
In my experience, the most durable floor jacks are made by AllTrade 4000lb Triple Lift that is simply the best.
But I would be cheating if I didn’t mention the BlackHawk Black/Red 3.5 Ton Service Jack as I’ve been using it for almost 10 years now.
In my experience, knowing what you know up and until now is enough to get 10% of job done. To take a more informed decision, you need more than just a suggestion, and that is what I am here for. And normally, people would ask one simple question before going to shop for a floor jack.
What Things Do You Need to Consider before Buying a Floor Jack?
Weight of the truck, building material of the jack, and the lift range – these three points determine which jack you will need for your ride.
Let’s talk a little bit about these three.
1. Vehicle Weight
Knowing the vehicle weight is the first thing you confirm to know what ton jack you need. The average vehicle is measured by its Gross Vehicle Weight or GVWR.
The GVWR rating is a measure of the extent of the total weight supported by a vehicle while also maintaining the safety level. Most people know their trucks are identified by one standard – the ‘GVWR’ Classification Table.
Truck Classification By Gross Weight
US Truck Class
EU and UK Truck Class
Range: 0-6000 pounds
Average: 4000-4700 pounds
Jeep Gladiator, Ford Ranger, Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado
Range: 0-8500 pounds
Average: 5000-5500 pounds
Ford F-150, Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra 1500
Range: 0-10,000 pounds
Average: 6300-7000 pounds
Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Ford F-250, Ram 2500
Range: 0-14,000 pounds
Average: 6000-7500 pounds
Ford F-350, Ford F-450 Pickup, Ram 3500
Range: 0-16,000 pounds
Average: 6000-8000 pounds
Chevrolet Silverado 4500HD, Ford F-450 Chassis Cab, Ram 4500
Range: 0-19,500 pounds
Average: 8000-8500 pounds
Ford F-550, Ram 5500, Chevrolet Silverado 5500HD
Range: 0-26,000 pounds
Average: 8000-9000 pounds
Chevrolet Silverado 6500HD, Ford F-650
Range: 26000-33,000 pounds
Average: 10,000+ pounds
Sweepers, Garbage Trucks, Furniture Trucks, Small Semi-Trucks
Range: 33,001 and above pounds
Average: 12,000+ pounds
Large Semi-Trucks, Freightliners, Kenworth, Peterbilt
2. Build Material of the Jack
Build material of the jack is of utmost importance when you want to buy a good jack. And I say this because a good jack is a matter of investment for the long run. I have used a BIG RED T825013S1 Torin Hydraulic Trolley for about 8 years now, and it still works as good as new.
The key to retaining such load-bearing tools is to check what they are made of and what is the maximum load they can bear so that you don’t exceed that limit. With that in mind, let’s check out which material is the most durable for choosing the best floor jack.
3. Lift Range
Checking the lift range is the last bit of the information you need before confirming a purchase. Most trucks you see on the road are raised high above the ground due to the use of customized extra-large sets of tires and high suspensions.
Living in Texas, I see trucks like these all the time, every day. And even more, a lot of people are into this trend of raising their vehicle.
So, it becomes increasingly necessary to own the right floor jack that has the capacity and the lift range to lift these raised trucks. I would say a hi-lift jack is perfect for a lifted truck. Trust me, it’s a lifesaver.
4. Jack Stand
Above all, you need to ascertain that you’re using a jack stand along with the floor jacks. I say this to everyone just to maintain operational safety.
The jack stand is a strong piece of equipment that ensures that your vehicle sits firmly on the load-bearing arm of the jack. It also ensures that the jack does not slip during maintenance works.
Having 4 jack stands is ideal to completely lift the car off the ground level. But, don’t be fooled into thinking that you can buy 4 stands with equal load-bearing capacity on each corner – most cars are not perfectly weight-balanced on all 4 sides.
Also, choosing the build type of the stands should come into question.
Steel stands are generally the best ones to choose from, but there are other materials out there as well. Ratcheting A-frame is the most versatile jack stand out there.
Different Types of Floor Jack
The floor jack shaft is rotated in a horizontal direction. The mechanism is straightforward, when the handle is pushed downward, the jack raises the vehicle higher.
It is possible to buy two different kinds of hydraulic floor jacks:
- One that works mechanically – like with a motor or a lever that you move by hand to lifts and lowers things.
- Another that operates hydraulically -A hydraulic jack generates pressure by pumping oil through two cylinders. In general, bigger cylinders produce more force when a small amount of pressure is applied . This is because the hydraulic pressure is greater there, and the circle’s area multiplies force.
For example, the floor jack has the ability to sit close to the ground while still operating quickly and efficiently.
A screwing mechanism is used in the development of a mechanical floor jack. Lifting the weight is accomplished by the use of a screw mechanism.
A hydraulic floor jack, on the other hand, is designed with check valves and a cylinder piston to elevate the weight of the vehicle.
Choosing the Best Floor Jack
The ideal floor jack you need should be 3/4 of the gross weight of your truck. Let me break it down with an example. Suppose your Ford Ranger weighs about 4000 pounds.
So, your ideal floor jack should be ¾ of 4000 pounds which is 3000 pounds or roughly 1.5 tons.
Also, I think different jack sizes and types make it really confusing to choose from all the options.
So, it’s safe to go for the biggest one or one that can balance more load than your current ride.
For example – you can use a 1.5-ton jack for lifting a 3000 pounds Ford Ranger. You can crank up the load to 4000 pounds but not more than that. It’s dangerous and risky!
The average American household owns at least 1 truck, which has become a norm. Based on all types of usage, this is a list of top 5 floor jacks that I think are super useful whether you need to lift a truck or something similar.
- Alltrade 4000lb Triple Lift Jack (620422E)
- Pro-Lift Low Profile Jack
- Black Hawk 3-Ton Service Jack
- Arcan 3 Ton Aluminum Floor Jack (ALTJ3T)
- Arcan 2 Ton Steel Service Jack (XL20)
How to Choose the Right Material for Purchasing A Floor Jack?
All floor jacks are built using three types of materials:
Supports the heaviest of loads, is durable, heavy weighing and bosses all other build types with ease and also comes at a lower price. Floor jacks made of steel are usually used to lift medium-duty trucks to heavy-duty trucks, i.e., Class 5 – 8.
Aluminum is light but comparatively durable steel. Jacks made of aluminum are used for lifting light trucks. And because of the lightweight, carrying is super easy. But on the downside, it costs a little more than steel-built jacks.
Hybrid jacks are a perfect balance between steel-made jacks and aluminum jacks. It’s like getting the best of both materials, especially while using the advantages.
Aluminum makes it lightweight yet durable, while steel parts do the heavy lifting and retaining. Hybrid jacks are expensive but durable and easy to carry than steel floor jacks.
To Wrap It Up
So, to sum it up on what size jack do you need, it all depends on your utility, truck weight, choice of material, versatile use, and above all, your budget.
I would not force my opinion in any way, but if I were you, I would buy a steel floor jack that has versatile use, is made of steel, is easy to carry at the back of your car, and one that follows ASME/ANSI standards.
Overall, I believe this is all you need to make an informed decision to buy a good floor jack as I always say to everyone – a good jack is a good investment.