Floor jacks are generally made from steel, aluminum, or a combination of the two. So, which one do you need? The idea that there could be any sort of major difference between aluminum and steel jacks might be lost on some of us. However, there are some very specific situations where you might want one or the other. We’re going to take a look at both types, examine the pros and cons, and help you make an educated decision.
Aluminum Floor Jack Overview
Aluminum floor jacks are usually all that is needed to handle do-it-yourself work of typical homeowners. Aluminum weighs significantly less than steel does, so it begs to differ that the aluminum jack is lighter than the steel one. A 3-ton jack typically weighs in at around 60 pounds. Though this is still a little on the heavy side, this weight is still manageable to pick up and throw in the back of your truck if you need to take it someplace other than home to use.
These jacks are relatively flat and have four-wheels; they look kind of like a skateboard with a handle. The wheels make them easier to move from one place to another, and to quickly and effortlessly maneuver it into position.
Aluminum jacks are incredibly durable and can handle a good amount of wear and tear. They stand up to being abused in your garage, or shop, and they won’t rust. The one downfall may be that aluminum costs more per pound than steel does. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the aluminum jack will be the most expensive of the two, though. Even if the materials cost more, it costs less to shape the aluminum than it does to shape steel, the costs may be about the same. The aluminum may even be slightly less.
Steel Floor Jack Overview
Steel is a much more dense material than aluminum, so it weighs a great deal more. A steel floor jack can weigh up to 100 pounds, so it isn’t something light that you casually take to other places with you.
Like their aluminum counterparts, the steel floor jacks have wheels to make them more maneuverable. They are still easy to move around, but due to their weight, they don’t roll as smoothly as the aluminum ones do.
Steel is one of the hardest materials out there and is made to take a beating. These jacks can withstand the daily abuse of a busy shop that works with more substantial equipment. The strength of the jack doesn’t actually rely on the material, but the construction of how the jack was made.
That being said, as long as the jack that you purchase is rated for the weight of the vehicle you will be lifting, it really doesn’t matter which type you use. The advantage to aluminum is its lighter weight and the fact that it won’t rust. Though steel can rust if kept in damp conditions, their edge is that they are nearly impossible to beat up. You can drop heavy items, or even hit them with a hammer and not put much of a dent in it if any at all.
When looking to purchase a floor jack, one of the biggest things you need to consider is its weight. If you are looking for something light enough for you to throw in your trunk to take places with you, then aluminum is your answer.
On the other hand, though aluminum jacks are durable, they can’t handle as much as their steel counterparts do. If you have large trucks or extremely heavy duty equipment, then steel is your answer. Just be aware that these jacks can weigh up to 100 pounds so they can’t be easily transported from one place to another.
Both jacks have a long handle to give exceptional leverage to help you pump them up to raise a vehicle, effortlessly. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, it all comes down to your personal preference.
Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons
Pete has been working in the trades since high school, where he first developed a passion for woodworking. Over the years, he has developed a keen interest in a wide variety of DIY projects around the home. Fascinated by all sort of tools, Pete loves reading and writing about all the latest gadgets and accessories that hit the market. His other interests include astronomy, hiking, and fishing.
As the founder of House Grail, David’s primary goal is to help consumers make educated decisions about DIY projects at home, in the garage, and in the garden.