Floor Jack vs Bottle Jack: Which is Right for You?

Jack is a very important tool when it comes to performing maintenance on your vehicle. Most of the times you will need to jack up the vehicles to change a tire or oil. Unfortunately, there are very few options available to do this job. In fact, a hydraulic jack is the most common way to lift up the vehicles. Amateur mechanics along with professionals sometimes struggle with determining whether to use a floor jack or a bottle jack for repairs. There is always a debate over which one is better, the floor jack, or the bottle jack. Here we will discuss each jack and let you decide which is best for your needs.

Floor Jack

A floor jack is a kind of jack which will stay right under the vehicle and is operated hydraulically. It has two essential parts, a piston pump, and a cylinder assembly. A piston pump is operated by hand. Floor jack allows you to lift the vehicle to a significantly greater vertical height. You can do this by the hand-operated pump. The hand-operated pump has a long handle. You have to pull the handle forward and turn it to open a valve. This process allows the hydraulic fluid to enter into the cylinder assembly. Then the cylinder assembly lifts the vehicle upwards. A floor jack is available in two sizes. The large one is a 200-pound model which is capable of lifting vehicles that weigh between 4 tons to 10 tons. The other one is a smaller one which can lift up to 1.5 tons of vehicles. Apart from these two sizes, there is also a large selection of mini-jacks available in the market. These mini-sized jacks have a very compact size and design and they can lift various weights.   

Bottle Jack

There are a few differences between floor jacks and bottle jacks. You need to mount the jack vertically if you want to use the bottle jack. The design of bottle jack is simpler which makes it able to lift more weight at higher distance. The bottle jack is relatively small in size and they are also cheaper than the floor jack. You don’t have to be a professional to use a bottle jack. Just place the bottle jack under the vehicle and turn the small piston in a counterclockwise direction so that you can adjust the piston’s height. Now you have to locate the valve towards the bottom of the jack. There is a key at the top of the handle assembly. It helps you open the valve. You have to keep turning the key until it is tight enough. The pumping process of bottle jack is very easy and you can lift up your vehicle very easily.    

Floor Jack vs Bottle Jack

Now that you know what floor jack and bottle jack is and how they work, now is the time for you to decide which jack is best for you according to your needs. To help you we compare the advantages and disadvantages of both jacks and what purpose they can be used.

Choosing the Right Type of Jack

It is very important to choose jack according to your needs. So whether you are buying floor jack or bottle jack mostly depends on what kind of vehicle you have. There is no difference between the mechanisms of both jacks as both operate using a hydraulic mechanism.

The Case for Floor Jacks

Stability is one of the major advantages of a floor jack because of its size. Floor jack distributes the weight of the vehicle it carries over a larger area. So the chance of vehicle falling off from the jack is very low. A lot of floor jack model comes with wheels that allow the jack to be easily moved around along with the vehicle instead of causing the vehicle to fall. This feature is very helpful when you need to perform repairs under the vehicle.

Again, the size of the floor jack is a significant drawback. They are big in size with huge weight, so they are not portable. However, if you are planning to use your jack in the driveway or the garage then Floor jack is the right choice for you.        

The Case for Bottle Jacks

The bottle jack lift more weight than the floor jack but bottle jack needs more ground clearance. So bottle jack is best for vehicles that are heavy and has more ground clearance. Because of the small size of the bottle jack, the raised vehicle is not stable. So the chance of vehicle falling off from the jack is very high. That is why it is not safe to repair underneath the vehicle while using bottle jacks.   

If you only want a jack to change your tire then without a doubt bottle jack is the right option for you. Moreover, bottle jacks are highly portable and easy to travel around with.

Bottom Line

Bottle jacks and floor jacks offer different features and advantages, and each type is well-suited to a range of different automotive uses. If you are working on big trucks you will probably prefer the bottle jack however, if you work mostly on cars then floor jack will be better as they require minimum ground clearance.

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