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Trolley Jack vs Floor Jack: What’s the Difference?  

Trolley Jack vs Floor Jack

Elevating your car to change a tire, work on brake assemblies, or fix a leak is best accomplished with a jack. When choosing a jack, the critical aspects are the safety features included and the tasks it is designed to perform. Although a trolley and a floor jack are the same, they have a few key differences. We will discuss when it’s best to use a trolley or floor jack and what sets them apart below.

user guide divider

Trolley Jack

trolley jack
Image Credit: Ton Bangkeaw, Shutterstock

Most professional mechanics own a trolley jack, as do numerous car owners. Trolley jacks are available in different weight classes, enabling users to lift all types of vehicles. The wheels on the jack make it easy to roll it into position under the car.

After you’ve ensured that the small lever is turned to the right, you can insert the handle and pump it until the cradle reaches the jacking point. You can take the handle out and twist the small lever counter-clockwise when you want to lower it down.

If a car has lower-than-average ground clearance, a trolley jack is perfect since it has low-profile jacks. That is especially useful for lifting sports cars. Trolley jacks are available with an aluminum chassis, which is lighter than their steel counterparts. It provides maximum maneuverability, and the aluminum chassis is essential for racing jacks.

Trolley jacks provide a high lift or a long reach. It provides a greater lifting range, as well as flexibility. Another feature of some trolley jacks is the rocket lift, which ensures that you can complete the job with a minimum number of lifts due to the dual pistons.

Although a trolley jack is designed to lift a vehicle, it’s not designed to keep it up for a specific period. Since using a trolley jack by itself is unsafe, you should always work on a vehicle supported by axle stands to optimize your safety.

  • It works great on cars with low ground clearance
  • Provides a good lifting range and minimizes the number of lifts
  • Also used on heavy vehicles such as trucks, vans, and buses
  • It won’t work well on uneven or gravel surface
  • Not a one-size-fits-all for all vehicles
  • Can be complicated to set-up

Floor Jack

floor jack
Image Credit: thanom, Shutterstock

A floor jack is a manually operated hydraulic jack with a cylinder mounted horizontally, enabling a low profile. It can lift low-profile cars, but most floor jacks to lift heavy vehicles. The user pumps the handle after rolling the jack until the saddle is underneath the lift point. That results in the hydraulic cylinder raising the lift arm until the saddle touches the vehicle.

Users will appreciate a floor jack for its ease of use due to the wheels and swivel casters. The front wheels are locked, resulting in forward and backward movement, whereas the back wheels pivot. That enables you to move back and forth and to the side.

A floor jack has an extended handle, allowing you to lift the car without bending over, and the large lifting pad provides excellent support under the vehicle’s frame. Floor jacks are available in two sizes. The original design is 4 feet long, 1 foot wide, and can lift 4 to 10 pounds.

The compact model arrived later and is 3 feet long and could lift 11 to 12 tons. Manufacturers make mini-jacks, but most users do not consider them to be the typical type of floor jacks. Floor jacks tend to be heavy, so they’re not the type of jacks an operator will transport to other places.

  • Reach isn’t as high as some jacks
  • Tend to be heavy

user guide divider Conclusion

A trolley and a floor jack are similar in many ways, but they differ slightly, and the differences could make your job harder if you use the wrong jack. Setting up a trolley jack can be more complicated than a floor jack, but they’re better for light repairs and are more portable than floor jacks. Although floor jacks come in several weight classes, they’re generally found in most mechanic shops due to their heavy weight. Trolley jacks are more commonly found in the back of passenger cars and trucks than floor jacks.

The high reach on trolley jacks provides great clearance off the ground. Floor jacks also provide good clearance, but, generally, are lower than trolley jacks. A floor jack’s casters allow quick and hassle-free movement. They are generally heavy and tend to take up quite a bit of space.

Featured Image Credit: Torin T83006 Big Red Hydraulic Trolley Floor Jack, Amazon

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