Best Jack Stands – Buyer’s Guide 2017
Introduction – Best Jack Stands
A quality set of jack stands is one of the most important pieces of equipment for any home mechanic. Jacks are designed to lift the vehicle up, but prolonged time under tension supporting the extreme weights of modern vehicles can result in failure. If you’re going to be stuck underneath a 4,000 lbs chunk of steel, you had better make sure that the load is properly supported.
We actually recommend employing multiple redundant forms of support when working underneath a car. This includes setting the e-brake, chocking the wheels, and placing wooden blocks underneath the lifted tires in addition to a quality set of jack stands and the jack. Better safe than sorry!
Choosing the best Jack Stands
Choosing the best jack stands can be complicated due to the sheer number of very similar-looking sets that are available. Here are a few things that you can look at that may help you decide which jack stands are best for you.
Weight capacity is important due to the vast differences in the weights of modern cars, trucks, and SUVs. For instance, a tiny Mazda Miata weighs right around 2400lbs whereas a higher end pickup truck can weigh up to 7500lbs.
Jack stand sets weight capacity is typically listed as the combination of both the stands included. So a 3-ton set consists of a pair of 1.5-ton stands. However, when jacking up a car, you are never supporting the entire load with just two stands. We recommend calculating approximately 75% of the total vehicle weight to account for the front/rear weight differential and always round up to the next capacity.
Material – Aluminum vs. Steel
Aluminum is typically significantly lighter than the heavy steel designs. However, it is also typically more expensive. Both are extremely sturdy and durable, so the only real consideration here is how much you value the portability of the lighter aluminum designs.
Ratcheting vs Pin
These are the two most common styles. The ratcheting style is typically much quicker and easier to operate. However, they don’t provide quite as much portability as the pin-type stands due to the extra weight of the ratcheting system. Both are very safe and meet the ANSI standards. However, if portability – weight and size – are important, pin-type work great.
Best Jack Stands Comparison
The Cartman 3 Ton Jack Stands are a typical set of ratcheting stands. They are very similar to our #1 rated Torin set however, these weren’t quite up to par with the quality and reputation of the Torin set. They are priced very similarly as well with the 3 ton pairs under $30 shipped.
With a range from about 278-415mm (11in – 16-3/8in), they don’t have quite the range of some of the other sets. The steel construction is ANSI-rated and the ratcheting mechanism will lock securely into place drastically reducing the chances that the load could fall while there is weight on the stands.
This set has 4.4/5 stars and with the Torin set around the same price with very similar features and a better reputation, it’s hard not to recommend them. Definitely take a look at the current pricing by following the link below to be sure that the pricing hasn’t changed. If these are more than a few dollars cheaper than the Torin set, they are worth consideration.
Craftsman is one of the largest manufacturers tools in the world. The name is synonymous with quality and durability and these jack stands are no different. The main reason that they’re not higher up on our list is due to the price. At just over $50, its a bit of a premium to pay for the brand name.
They are a pair of sturdy, stamped-steel constructed, ratcheting jack stands with a mechanism that allows a smoother movement up and down. They are also designed to meet the latest ANSI/PALD standards and are rated to support up to 4 tons between the pair. This set also has the highest max support height on the list at 18″ (minimum 12″).
A solid option for those interested in the backing of a large company with a known brand. The reviews are solid with 4.4/5 stars across the reviews we examined. One thing to note is that the base seems to have small flared metal “feet” at the bottom which could help prevent it from digging into your concrete or pavement. Pricing and more details at the link below.
Powerzone Jack Stands are moderately popular set of racheting style steel stands. This heavy duty steel construction provides increased durability as well as stability with it’s wide steel frame. The ratcheting style of these jack stands are the easiest to operate, no screwing or pins to insert/extract.
Rated for 2-tons of weight capacity per stand, the set will support up to 4000lbs of weight. A support range from 10-3/8 inch to 16-3/8 inch puts them on the upper end of the spectrum for maximum support height.
This set doesn’t have quite the review base as some of the others on the list but has a very respectable 4.5/5 stars across the reviews that we examined. This set is very similar to the Torin set in our #1 spot, but has a slightly larger range of support heights going about an inch lower on the bottom end. If support range is an important factor, definitely take a look at these at the link below.
Torin Big Red Jack Stands are actually featured twice on our list (in the #1 & #2 positions) which speaks to how we feel about them. The Big Red Aluminum Jack Stands are the premium offering from Torin featuring a lightweight but extremely sturdy aluminum design making them significantly more portable.
These stands have a 3-ton weight capacity and 10-2/3 in. to 15-1/2 in support range. Made from cast aluminum, they are extremely rigid and utilize an extra-large cast aluminum base for great stability. One of the key benefits of going with this type of jack stand is that it provides a uniform surface on the bottom of stand which will prevent it from digging into soft surfaces such as asphalt.
This set also has wonderful reviews with 4.6/5 stars across a few hundred reviews. We really like these stands, however, due to the fact that the price is a bit higher than the other stands on the list, we can only give it the #2 spot and our recommendation for best performance jack stands. More information can be found at the link below.
Torin Big Red Jack Stands are factory tested and certified to meet ASME PASE Safety Standards for Portable Automotive Service Equipment. This set of jack stands includes weight capacities of 2-ton, 3-ton, 6-ton, and 12-ton all at reasonable prices. The Support range is 11 1/4 in. – 16 3/4 in.
Each set of jack stands is constructed of high-grade steel and built to exacting standards for quality and durability. They are constructed with a single piece self-locking multi-position forged iron ratchet bar provides precise adjustments and a large 7 11/16 in. x 6 7/8 in. foot base size. Large saddle surface area provides better contact with the load being supported.
These stands are by far the most popular that we reviewed. With 4.6/5 stars across almost a thousand reviews, there is plenty of 3rd party evidence of their quality and performance. These are the best balance of value and performance earning our #1 spot and the MaintainYourRide recommendation for best jack stands. Check out the link below for additional images, information, and pricing.
How to Use Jack Stands
Step 1 is to always refer to the car’s manual for the manufacturer recommended jacking and jack stand support points. Some cars have a frame that you can directly jack up while others are unibody and have specially designed jack points where the metal is extra thick.
Step 2 is using your jack to lift the car to your preferred height. Place the jack stands in the manufacturer recommended support areas and GENTLY lower the car onto the stands. Once the pressure is off the jack and the load is being supported by the jack stands, we recommend leaving the jack underneath just barely unengaged for support purposes.
Once you’re done working underneath the car, carefully jack the car back up to remove the tension on the jack stands, lower them back to the bottom and remove them from under the car. Slowly lower the car back down onto the ground and repeat on the other side. That’s it! Just a few simple steps can greatly increase the level of safety while working underneath your car.
A more detailed guide can be found at WikiHow.com – How to Use Jack Stands
MYR Recommended Best Jack Stands – Overall: Torin Big Red Jack Stands
MYR Recommended Best Jack Stands – Performance: Torin Big Red Aluminum Jack Stands
MYR Recommended Best Jack Stands – Value: Torin Big Red T43002 Steel Jack Stands
If you haven’t already, you may want to consider investing in some high-quality Car Ramps. We have created a great buyer’s guide for the Best Car Ramps that will help you get the best value for your money. We also can provide recommendations on the Top 5 Best Oil Filters if you’re interested in the top quality filtration to protect your engine. Perfect opportunity to put your new jack stands to good use!