Bottle Jack Vs Floor Jack: Which One Do You Need?

A jack is a hydraulic lifting device. A bottle jack looks like a wine or oil bottle and uses hydraulics to lift objects. A floor jack got its name because one places it on the ground. It also has a shorter handle than a bottle jack. If you are unsure which one you will need, continue reading below.

What’s the Difference Between Floor Jack and Bottle Jack?

The difference between the two types of jacks is the types of vehicles they best lift, stability, and size.

Both types of jacks lift the car/truck until they are high enough for work underneath them. Mechanics may work underneath the vehicle without having to place balancing objects. Both use hydraulics to enable their lifting capability.

The floor jack is powerful enough to lift the entire vehicle off the ground to allow for tire changes, oil changes, or work on your brakes. You can use a bottle jack if you need enough space to crawl underneath and work on it comfortably.

Bottle jack has a vertical design that enables it to lift a higher range. A floor jack has a more horizontal design with a longer handle.

Bottle Jack and Floor Jack Features Comparison

From the load capacity to the weight of the jacks, there are a ton of things that make them optimal for different situations.

Essential Bottle Jack Features

Here are the main features of a bottle jack.

Load Capacity

A bottle jack can lift anywhere from 2-50 tons of weight, depending on the specific model.

Average Unit Cost of a Bottle Jack

Due to the range of weight lift capacity, the cost of this type of jack heavily varies. You may pay as little as $20 or as much as $5,000.

Weight of a Bottle Jack

These highly portable jacks often weigh less than 20 pounds. It depends on the specific model.

Bottle Jack Stability

The vertical design reduces stability since it only takes up a narrow amount of space.

Lift range

A bottle jack has a lift range of 5-22 inches.

Bottle Jack Safety Features

A bottle jack can safely lift a vehicle but it is not meant to hold a vehicle. Hydraulic bottle jacks are safe to use but use them with a jack stand.

Average Size and Weight of a Bottle Jack

Bottle jacks range from 16-20 inches in height and 20-30 pounds.

Handling and Maintenance

Bottle jacks are hand-operated. Proper maintenance involves keeping the release mechanism clean and lubricated. It is best to use WD-40 to maintain the bottle jack mechanism.

When to Use a Bottle Jack

Bottle jacks are best used for small jobs, but you can use them on multiple vehicles. Ideally, you should use it in a garage or on a flat, open surface.

Essential Floor Jack features

Here are the main features of a floor jack.

Load Capacity

A floor jack can lift around 3-4 tons of weight. So it is more versatile.

Average Unit Cost of a Floor Jack

Be prepared to spend 5 figures when buying a 3-ton floor jack.

Floor Jack Stability

Floor jacks cover a wider surface area than a bottle jack’s square base. So they are more stable.

Floor Jack Safety Features

Most floor jacks have a foot pedal that will keep the hydraulic system balanced while you are using it.

Average Size and weight of a floor jack

The average size of a floor jack is around 16-20 inches high. A 3-ton jack often weighs around 70 pounds ( sometimes more).

When to use a floor jack

Floor jacks are best used on multiple vehicles and outside of a garage. Ideally, you should use them on flat, open surfaces.

Lift range

A floor jack has a lift range of about 21 inches.

Floor jack maintenance

Floor jacks need to be maintained with the proper lubricants. WD-40 can be used to clean and keep your floor jack’s hydraulic system in good shape.

Pros and Cons of Bottle Jack

Type of JackProsCons
Bottle jackSmall sizeWorks great on smaller vehicles.Lower cost than a floor jackEasy to usePortableGood for home garageNot intended to hold the weight of an entire vehicle.   Less steady/may slip   Needs to be in a garage or on a flat, open surface

Bottle jacks are a favorite of mechanic hobbyists since they’re very portable and easy to keep at home. The small size and lightweight design does not make it a burden when it comes to space. Despite their small size, they actually can lift a good load. Just be mindful of the stability issues due to its narrow design.

Pros and Cons of a Floor Jack

Type of JackProsCons
Floor jack  Good for medium and large projects Good for trucks and larger vehiclesCan fit under vehicle’s frame More stable than a bottle jackGood safety featuresCan use on multiple vehicles and outside garageSome of them can be used on SUV’s or larger vehicles, even though they are intended for trucks.    Higher cost Heavy to carryCan have smaller lift range than a bottle jack  

Floor jacks are best suited for large vehicles. They offer a wider base and can hold up to 8000 lbs of weight without breaking or running out of hydraulic fluid. They can lift a vehicle at least 3 feet off the ground and keep it balanced enough to work comfortably underneath without putting weights on the sides.

These are expensive and may not be worth it if you only own one small vehicle. They are large and take up a lot of space in your garage or shop, so you need to make sure that you have the room for them.

So, Which One is Good For You?

A floor jack is better for more medium and large projects, while a bottle jack is good if you only do small jobs. If you’re not sure which one you need, go with a floor jack. It’s good for anyone who does more than just small jobs and nothing too heavy.

For small jobs and hobbies, a bottle jack is for you. It’s lower in cost and easier to move around, but it doesn’t support as much weight.

Top brands include:

  • Titan
  • Torin
  • Precision Power
  • Blackhawk
  • Neiko

Look online for local retailers of bottle jacks or floor jacks.

When you purchase any jack, look out for the following safety features:

  • Safety catches that prevent the arm from falling down
  • A foot pedal brake that holds up the platform while you are using it
  • A handle that can be locked into place

Bottle jacks may have some of the safety features mentioned above, but floor jacks usually have all of them. Bottle jacks are cheaper than floor jacks. So you can purchase more than one for multiple vehicles or projects.

Final Verdict

A floor jack is the better option out of these two. Bottle jacks are cheaper and more mobile, but they can’t lift as much weight. They are not as stable – this is a safety concern. Most mechanics will recommend buying a floor jack for anyone planning on doing more than just small jobs.

A bottle jack is best to keep at home or while traveling on the road. You can use it in your garage or on a flat, open surface to work on small jobs around your car or truck.

FAQ

1. Can you use a bottle jack to lift a truck?

Bottle jacks are usually too small to support a truck. You can use a floor jack instead.

2. What if the hydraulic fluid leaks out?

If the hydraulic fluid leaks out, the jack will no longer work. You will need to get it checked at a garage with a professional.

3. Can you use a bottle jack on the grass?

You should avoid using it on any surface that is not flat and stable. So, no, you can’t use it on grass. It’s too easy for the bottle jack to slip or fall off.

4. How long will a bottle jack hold?

As long as it is stable, it can hold up a car indefinitely. A smaller bottle jack can hold around two tons, while a floor jack can hold around six tons of weight.

5. Why is my floor jack not lifting?

Your hydraulic fluid might be leaking out, or it might need a refill. It could also need a maintenance check to ensure good shape.

Author: DJ

Dave Junior is a hands-on automotive technician with experience in performing service, diagnostics, and repairs on domestic and imported vehicles. He enjoys writing and sharing his knowledge far and wide.

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