Unless you absolutely never have to go underneath a vehicle, there’s a chance that you already own a mechanics creeper. They can be bought for a few bucks to a few hundred bucks. But, how do you know if you’re buying the best creeper? It really comes down to your needs and requirements.
Sure, you can buy one from a big box store, it may be sufficient to get the job done, but could it be better? Probably.
You see, a great many of the cheaper creepers are just built as something that’s marginally better than trying to slide your body across a hard floor. They haven’t had much thought put into them. Consequently, they either fail prematurely or don’t work as they’re intended.
The biggest problems usually come from two areas – the wheels (or casters) and the strength of the baseboard. Finding a creeper with a baseboard that isn’t strong enough just means that it will break if you apply too much pressure on a single point. They’re designed to have the load spread across the whole creeper. This means that even just sitting on the creeper could break it.
The wheels are a whole issue on their own. If they’re too small, they get stopped with the tiniest obstruction. If they’re too big, the creeper is too high. Then, we have the issues of control, direction, bearings, breaking, etc. – a whole world of pain if you get it wrong.
You should also consider that a creeper doesn’t just have one use. I’ve seen them used to slide transmissions under vehicles, heavy engine parts, subframes, etc. Actually, transporting a human around is a small part of their job.
Before purchasing a creeper, you should also think about where it’s going to be used. A super smooth floor will work with any of them. But, if the floor isn’t smooth, or worse still – outside, then you need a creeper with suitable wheels.
Comfort plays a role too. Spending hours under a car on your back isn’t fun at the best of times. And if it’s on a creeper that’s just plain uncomfortable, you’ll soon be wishing for something else.
In days gone by, a creeper would have been made from a wooden base, with small casters attached and that was that. Today though, we have cushioning, ergonomic designs, adjustable headrests, and they can be constructed from metal, wood, plastic, composite. You almost want to take them for a test drive!
The Best Car Creepers Reviews
The Pro-Lift can transform from a flat creeper into a mechanics stool. It’s about the right height for working on wheels or suspension without tools and with no fiddly operations. As an owner (and user) of both creepers and mechanics stools, I like this idea. However, it does come at a cost – there’s no adjustable headrest.
It’s a 40″ steel frame construction with a decent backboard and some padding. The padding could do with being a little stiffer or thicker. It can cope with loads of up to 450 lbs., but again, that’s spread across the whole creeper. Be careful about trying to place too much weight on a smaller area.
Underneath, we have 6 x 3″ polyurethane casters which are oil resistant and are fitted with full bearings to help cope with the load and make for smoother maneuverability.
If you’re looking for a 2-in-1 folding garage creeper, then the Pro-Lift C-9100 is high on the list.
Another 2-in-1 creeper, and it’s almost identical to the Pro-Lift – 450 lbs. capacity, 6 x 3″ casters, padded cushions, etc. The main difference being that it’s slightly lower.
The wheels sit outside the frame, which helps to keep it low. But, that can also cause some problems. If you’re wearing loose clothing, for example, you may find yourself running over it. You may also get tangled up, or even worse, actually pinch your skin. And that hurts.
You can configure the creeper to either lay flat, as a mechanics stool, or as a low profile chair type of thing. With it laying flat and then the ‘backrest’ lifted up. I’ve never used a creeper in that way, but I can think of a number of situations where that may be useful. It’s for that reason that it’s on the list for the best low profile creeper.
Before we get to the technical bits, it’s available in a number of colors and comes at a premium. If I was purchasing this, I’d have no problem with picking any other color than black.
It’s a one-piece, plastic creeper that offers no adjustments or fancy bits, but I think it’s a better product for that. It’s been designed to be comfy and to offer support where it’s needed. They’ve tested it on numerous body types to ensure that it fits and is comfortable.
It has small urethane rollers (2″) inserted into steel bushings, which are then molded into the underside of the creeper. It’s quite a good arrangement, but I have seen similar styles where the molded part has failed, leaving no choice but to scrap the creeper. To be clear, that wasn’t with this particular brand, just this style.
The Lisle 97102 creeper has a very low profile – just 7/8″ from the ground at its lowest point. It does need some margin as it can flex a little. It’s 100% made in the USA. It’s also easily assembled – two minutes and you’re good to go.
Steel construction means that it’s pretty heavy, but also pretty durable – sliding that tranny underneath the car has never been easier!
It’s a 40″ frame size, which is long enough for most people. It has a 4 position headrest, however, a number of users have mentioned that the fastening for the headrest isn’t the greatest. A slight knock and it will fall down. I’ve experienced something very similar on my Snap-On creeper so I wouldn’t take that as a sign of poor quality.
6 casters are fitted underneath, and while they glide smoothly, you do need to keep an eye on them. This type of design just seems to always find their weaknesses.
For a budget shop creeper, this is well made, durable, and built well. It’s definitely worth considering if you’re just after an occasional use creeper.
I like the Traxion creeper. It’s not trying to offer anything other than a solid, well-riding creeper that’s been ergonomically designed for maximum comfort. There’s a dip where your shoulders rest, a wide body. There’s nothing that can catch bits of your body or clothing.
This creeper will hold 401 lbs. of weight safely, provided that it’s spaced out of course. However, it uses 4 x 5″ wheels (that’s really big for a creeper) that are all fitted with full bearings – both on the top for swivel movement, and through the axle. It’s smooth!
With a base made from plywood, and an extra bit of lumbar support, the ProGear is definitely one of the best mechanics creepers with big wheels on the market right now. It’s sensibly priced. It’s a little more expensive than some of the others, but it’s worth it.
100% USA made, it’s called ‘The Bone’ because that’s exactly what it resembles – a giant bone. It’s also unofficially known as the off road creeper, mainly in thanks to the large 5″ wheels, that are also 1 3/8″ wide. They have the ability to roll over the roughest of surfaces.
They say that it’s the preferred choice of the military and police, and RVers, farmers, truckies – anyone that’s going to be working on their vehicles outdoors. With a 400 lbs. weight rating, large footprint, it won’t tip over, tip-up or fail your need.
The deck of the creeper is made from a special engineering grade polypropylene copolymer. It’s oil, solvent, and gasoline proof. The steel frames for the wheels are fitted directly into the deck with completely adjustable wheel bearings. This is a neat touch that none of the others have.
Sure, it’s more expensive than the rest of the creepers here, but I’d rate it as the best creeper for rough surfaces and heavy-duty jobs.