As a professional technician, it’s easy to become a little complacent when it comes to lifting a car. You’ve done it hundreds of times before. You’re only doing a quick job. You’re not going to be underneath the car. Whatever the excuse, you tend to forget about safety.
However, simple jobs such as changing a wheel can go wrong – the floor jack moving, the car unstable. Whatever it is, the simple fact of the matter is that a car is heavy. If there’s the slightest risk of being caught under it or even a part of it, then the use of best jack stands is a must.
Best Car Safety Jack Stands
It’s important to remember that when a manufacturer lists a weight limit for jack stands, it’s usually divided by the number of stands per kit or pack – usually two. So if you’re buying a set of 6-ton jack stands, that’s 3 tons per stand – 6 tons per set.
Remember also that if you’re using these to support a car, then you may not be lifting the whole car – just the front or rear end so you don’t need to factor in the complete vehicle weight. With that said, you should always look to keep a safety margin in mind. If your vehicle weighs 4 tons, then you should look to have something around half again – 6 tons would be safe.
We’ve picked out a selection of jack stands. From lightweight to super heavy-duty stands, they all work well. They are all safe at their weight limits. So, the difference is how suited they may be to your needs. Do you want something with a little more height? Lightweight? Easy storing?
You can buy these stands in multiples, each rated at 3 tons.
ESCO say these are professional grade. They are definitely well made and well designed. They have round feet to provide a nice load-bearing and a sizable saddle with a rubber platform. They’re great for lifting vehicles where a cup-shaped saddle doesn’t work.
The height is adjustable with a locking pin that you slide through the body of the stand. They’ll fit with everything from 13″ to 21″. That’s a good all-round size in my opinion. Powder-coated for durability, they look quite smart, and the rubber pad on the saddle is replaceable.
All in, it’s a good quality jack stand, I just don’t understand the pricing.
Smart looking, bright anodizing, and cool design means that these stands look the part in any situation. Whether they’re holding up a race car in the paddock or underneath your old Hemi at home.
They’re a 3 piece design, so they can be broken down for easier storage, and when they’ve been put together, there’s no hint of them being parts. They feel like a traditional 2 piece stand; sturdy and solid.
Capable of holding 3 tons, but at a fairly low height – 10.71″ to 15.63″ means that these won’t work for anything bigger than a regular sedan (height-wise). Made from high-grade aluminum, and the design meets the latest ASME standards. If the height works for you, these would definitely be my choice.
A large flat bottom (7.48″ x 6.81″) means they’re stable, and the lifting bar fits snugly inside the stand – no wobbling here. Great choice of aluminum jack stands.
Looking for something with a little more meat?
Omega jack stands could hold the world up. They’re rated at 22 tons in total. It’s no surprise that they’re heavy; like 63 lbs. heavy. Made from a very sturdy welded steel construction, the designers have put some thought into the stands. It has a handle for carrying or maneuvering, and a socket-type thing to store the pin (which is around 1″ in diameter) so it doesn’t get lost. Not that it could thanks to the wire retainer.
With a working height of between 13 1/3″ and 19 2/3″, they’re tall enough for most vehicles. The base measures up at 9 5/6″ square. That’s sturdy and very stable.
Yep, these aren’t for lugging around the race meets and are well over-specced for anything sedan wise, but if you need something to cope with larger vehicles, these are definitely the number one choice.
They’re made from sturdy stamped steel and are designed to meet all the latest safety standards with ANSI / PALD. They feature a wide saddle which helps to spread the weight loading, and are adjustable from 12″ right up to 18″ – the lower entry point being useful for smaller vehicles, but conversely, they’re a bit too small for SUVs.
The quick adjustment gives you plenty of height options without having to fiddle with a locking pin, and they’re held safe with a pawl lock system – simply lift the bar to lower them. At 18 lbs. in weight, the Craftsman 3-ton is substantial enough to make you feel safe, without being too awkward to move around underneath the vehicle.
Torin Big Red come in a multiple of different weight ratings, but these ones I’m looking at have a rating of six tons, that’s per pair of stands.
They have a double locking mechanism – the pawl and a pin. Torin says that it increases safety by 200%. The height is adjustable from 15 3/8″ to 23 13/16″ which gives them a good range and is about the tallest here.
My only thing is that the forged iron ratchet bar (the bit that holds the vehicle) isn’t a perfect fit in the stand, so when they’re fully extended, they tend to wobble about a bit, however in reality, with a vehicle placed on them, they’re solid.
Speaking of solid, Torin has a large footprint – 10 13/16″ x 9 7/16″. This helps to spread the load and keep them stable. The stands are made from high-grade steel with a welded frame – which adds up to around 28 lbs. in weight. They’re not lightweight, but still easy to maneuver. Meets ASME safety standards.
How to Safely Use Jack Stands
Most modern-ish vehicles have set jacking points, and unless you understand where else is safe to lift from. You should always look to jack the vehicle from the manufacturer’s specified points. Anything else could lead to vehicle damage, or cause a safety issue for anyone working on the vehicle.
Once you’ve identified the lifting points, you should ensure that your hydraulic floor jack is placed safely, on flat ground, ideally at right angles to the direction of motion so that it can’t roll. Once the vehicle is in the air, you need to find a suitable point to place your car jack stands. Remember that anything attached to the wheel/suspension will be subject to suspension travel, so it may end up lower with spring or damper compression.
Fixed points like a chassis subframe, chassis are best. Never be tempted to place the jack stand on the oil pan, no matter how handy that may be. There’s a very real possibility of it collapsing in on itself.
You should also never be tempted to use any of the engine’s ancillary components either. They will get damaged. You may be thinking that this is just common sense. But, believe me, I’ve seen people do that, and much worse (like using the bottom of an open door to try and support the weight).
Always place the stands on firm, level ground. If the ground is quite soft and there’s a risk of sinkage, then place some wood underneath the foot of the stand to distribute the weight more evenly.